Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Running the Race for Him

"Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." ~Hebrews 12:1-2~

Several weeks ago, I was preparing for a 5k, here in my home town. I was pretty excited about it, and was hopeful that I would be able to beat my goal. In preparation for the race, I was training, and running about every other day. On one particular day, I was about half way through my run, and there was a big puddle in my path. I ran around the puddle, and up on higher ground to avoid getting wet. I was running along the irrigation ditch, and there were a lot of rocks on the path. As I was running, there was a rock that hit the tip of my foot. I stumbled, and almost fell sliding right on my face into the rocks. Luckily, I caught my footing again, and was able to avoid the possible injury. I was very determined that I was not going to stop running. I wasn't going to let a little rock stop me, trip me, or ruin my training session.

As I began thinking about that run, I thought about how that relates to my Christian life. Each one of us, as humans, are on a course. From birth, to death, we are running a race to get to the finish line. We as well have to choose which course we are going to take, some are harder than others, some are easier than others, some have twists and turns, and some are pretty straightforward. Whatever course we choose to take, Satan, the great deceiver, will always try and make the course that much harder. He will put things in our way to distract us, to hinder us, or to knock us down. He will do anything in his power to take us of our course, and redirect us onto his. But that's where we have to make the decision, are we going to let those distractions and obstacles trip us up? Are we going to get distracted, and detour off of the path that we are on? As Christians, we should never give up, never give in, and never surrender.

As Hebrews 12:2 says, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith". Jesus has already finished his course. He has lived a great life, He has faced the same trials, and temptations we face, and He is at the finish line, waiting for us to arrive. As runners, We have to set our eyes fully on Him. We can't focus on the distractions or obstacles. We can't focus on the the things around us, we just have to focus on Him. That doesn't mean we won't slip up. Many times, as humans, we will sin. I will be the first one to tell you, I have done things that I am not proud of; But that's where God is with us, ready to pick us back up, and help us keep going on the right path. We just have to keep running the race. Our priorities have to be right, our focus has to be right, and we should run the race for Him. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Day to Remember

"Living, He Loved Me, Dying, He Saved Me, Buried, He Carried my sins far away, Rising, He Justified freely forever, One Day He's Coming, Oh Glorious Day"

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and millions of people are celebrating. Whether it's Easter bunnies, chocolates, or the cross, there are many people celebrating something. Yesterday, the story seemed to ring in my heart once again. As this time of year came around, I was thinking about the life of our Risen Savior. He went through so many things for me. As the song above says, "Living, He Loved Me".....Just think about it for a minute. Jesus, a perfect Son of God, came down from Heaven. There was no sin, no sickness, no sorrow, and no death. He had dominion, power, glory, and everything He could ever want. But He gave it all up. For money? For fame? For popularity? No, He did it because He loved us. He who had everything, gave it all up, so that I who had nothing, could have everything. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

Then there's the fact that He died. He didn't have to do it. He didn't deserve death. But He went through it all. All of the people who were praising Him just a few days prior, saying "Hosanna, In the Highest", turned their backs on Him. Instead of saying, "Hosanna, In the Highest", they were now saying, "Crucify Him". He went through pain, whipping, being spit upon, and beaten. He went through thirst, turmoil, and anguish. The world had turned His back on Him, and now His own Father was not there for Him either. The wrath, the punishment, and the payment that we deserve, Jesus put on Him that day. He could've snapped His fingers, and could've avoided it all, but He didn't. He did it all, so we could be saved. 

He was buried. When Jesus died, He took every single sin that was, is, and ever will be committed. Lying, Cheating, Adultry, Disobedience.....Everything, and He put it on Himself. When He said "Father, Forgive them" I believe He was talking about us too. He took a burden that was not His in the first place, and buried them with Him in the grave. They were taken off of our slate, washed away, and the price was eternally paid, carried far away, never to be seen again. 

If that was the end of the story, it would be the saddest story ever told. But I praise the Lord that it wasn't. He went through the cross, He was buried, But He is not there anymore. He is now risen, and living again. God raised Him from the dead, and now we know that someday we can freely live with Him. 

He has saved me, forgave me, and has given me the best gift I could ever be given. I think Him that even though I didn't deserve any of it. He did it all for me. That's why we celebrate Easter. The food is great, and the fellowship is wonderful, but the time to remember is, and should be the most important part of our day. I hope this Easter Sunday has rung in your heart, like it has mine. God has done so many great things, and even though we don't deserve it, He did it all for you, and for me. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014


    Well, I'm back once again. It's amazing how fast time gets by you, and how easy it is to forget about writing. It has been over a year since my last post, and I find it a little hard to sum everything up in  a short way, But I'll do the best I can.

    The past several years have been a roller coaster ride for me. There have been ups, and downs, twists, and turns, and unexpected opportunities behind every corner. If you remember one of my last posts, I was asking prayer for several things. For those of you who did pray for me, I greatly appreciate it! I look back on my life, and realize how much God has been teaching me. I had so many wants, goals, and ambitions. I wanted to do this, I wanted to go there, and I knew exactly when I wanted it. But it seems that my ways were, and are usually not God's ways. Don't get me wrong. If I had my way, my life would be a mess. But God has been using each one of those opportunities to teach me different things.

    I look back on my life and realize how immature I was, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I wanted to jump out of the nest, and spread my wings, but God was holding me under His wings, and saying, "No, you're not quite ready yet" He was teaching me patience, He was teaching me growth, He was teaching me wisdom, and discretion, and He was teaching me to trust and rely on Him. Have I arrived yet? No, definitely not, but it's all a learning experience, it's all a growing experience, and it's all a part of my life.

    This all seems a lot like rambling to me. But I suppose I say all this to say, I had my plans, I had my goals, I had my ambitions. I knew what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and when I wanted to do it all. But God had different plans for me. Did I understand that different plan? No, definitely not! Did I like that different plan? No, I can't say I did at the time, But God had it all in His hands. He was in control of it all. He already knew what I was going to do, where I was going to go, and when I was going to do it. He was just waiting for me to surrender it all to Him. When I decided I was going to do whatever He wanted me to do, Go wherever He wanted me to go, and Be the kind of person He wanted me to be. As I decided I was going to make the most of the life I have for Him, instead of making the most of the life I have for me. I was amazed to see puzzle pieces come together, and see His magnificent story unfold. I had to stop relying on my own understanding, and start trusting in the Lord with all my heart (Proverbs 3:5-6). I had to realize that no matter how much I didn't like how things were going, or how much I didn't understand God's plan, He was working all things together for my good. (Romans 8:28). He has been good to me in so many ways, and He has blessed me so much. I don't necessarily know what tomorrow may bring, and I don't necessarily know what He has planned for the future. Do I still make plans? Of course, as humans, I think we need to. But if God changes my plans, I know He knows best. I know He is in control, and I know that He is working it all out for my good. Once again, don't get me wrong, I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to grow in. But I hope and pray I will continue to learn and grow everyday, and as I learn and grow, I pray that God will use me and my life, in a special way.

    I guess this is enough of my rambling for tonight, I hope to be able to start blogging a little more often again. Thanks for putting aside a little of your time to read. As we begin a new week, I hope it is full of many wonderful blessings for you.