Thursday, January 7, 2010

Running the Great Race in 2010

Wow! Where in the world did 2009 go? It seemed to have whizzed right by with its twists and its turns. I feel I have been riding on the autobahn for the past 365 or so days, how about you?

Looking back at the various events that have happened in my life and in that of my family, I am thankful to have lived this past year in the richness of God's glory, growing ever closer to Him and making new friendships, nurturing relationships I have had for years and letting some go that aren't yielding fruit in my life. Life is like a race, one in which we are continually training for. Having God on my side, friends and family to cheer me on and sacrificing much to obtain the reward God has set before me humbly makes me wonder what's in store for 2010?

Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. God has put us in a race and He is giving us a much needed tip in running the race with success. We are to throw off, take off, remove, toss aside everything, not some things, but everything that hinders and entangles us in life. First of all think about this. God wants the best for us. His plans for us are for God and not for harm to give us a hope and a future as He has said in Jeremiah 29:11, right? With that in mind, we must realize because He is God He knows what He is talking about when He tells us to get rid of or avoid those things that weigh us down. In a race, runners wear shoes lighter than air, their clothing is feather light and they don't try and run with suitcases attached to their ankles dragging them down. They don't carry backpacks, sacks of clothing or equipment, cell phones or laptops along with them. They run as freely as possible with nothing to hold them back. That is how God wants us to run the race of life. Freely dashing from day to day taking what comes our way in stride knowing we are never without God by our side, Hebrews 13:5. God wants us to run the race with perseverance. Training alone for a race takes alot of willpower, patience and endurance. We aren't born fit to run any race but are equipped as we go along the journey of life, sacrificing for the greater good during the course. Training involved suffering and agony sometimes as we push ourselves to greater heights yet we know great joy is ours for the taking along the way. Just as Jesus suffered greatly at the hands of ill-willed men, so it is with us. If we believe we can sprint through life avoiding pain and sorrow, rejection and ridicule when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ could not, you might want to reconsider these notions.
But do not despair, we have hope. Isaiah 40:21 says, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." What greater hope can we have while running the race of life? As we wait upon the Lord around every turn, as we face new obstacles, when we grow weary and want to just give up, our strength is renewed by the One Who gave us life. God Himself gives us strength we can find nowhere else; enough strength to mount up as eagles flying high in the sky above all the cares of this world. We can run and not grow weary when we grab hold of His hand and run the race together. When all is said and done, we will walk and not faint once we have finished the race and our reward lies ahead of us.

With this encouragement, let me challenge you in the year 2010 to remember you do not have to run the race of life alone. At any time, you can grab the hand of God through Jesus His Son, (John 14:6 says "No one comes to the Father {God} except through Me {Jesus Christ}, and be filled with His strength to endure whatever trials and hardships you are facing. God will give you patience as you need it and help you endure whatever it is that you are tackling. He will not leave, abandon or ignore you. He wants good things to happen in your life, things that offer you a great future and one that is hopeful.

You don't have to run this race alone, unless you choose to. God did give us a freewill to believe in Him or not, to have eternal life with Him or to spend eternity in hell with satan. John 3:16 reminds us, "For God loved the world so much, He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Jesus, will not perish (spirit ad soul)but have everlasting life."When the race is over, and rewards are handed out for the way we ran the race, there will be only one of two places we spend the rest of eternity. Either in heaven or in hell and that is completely our choice. God is a gentlemen and He will not force Himself on anyone. It is His desire that no one spends eternity in hell, II Peter 3:9 and in Hosea 4:6 God tells us we perish for lack of knowledge. Well, now you have the knowledge you need to spend eternity in with God instead of in hell with satan, what will you do with it?

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