Tag Archives: race

Numbers 27; Psalms 70,71; Isaiah 17,18; 1 Peter 5

Inheritance. Restoration. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies. A prowler and an exhortation.

At times, I thought it was a sprint–times of intensity and the perception of an end … in a week … in a couple of weeks … I’m beginning to understand I can’t look that far ahead. It’s a whole new level of one-day-at-a-time. Sprint turns marathon, and did I exhaust energy early on? I stumble here or there, weary. There are unfamiliar hurdles, and they are harder to clear. Defeat comes from inside.

A post on identity in my inbox encourages me after a fall, and I get back up. I read today of inheritance–and I remember I am a child of God.

An enemy taunts from a new vantage point; it’s too close and I’m caught off guard. The psalms sing:

19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
    You have done such wonderful things.
    Who can compare with you, O God?
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
    but you will restore me to life again
    and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
    and comfort me once again. Psalm 71:19-21, NLT (emphasis mine)

I run through mines that are buried in the course–a battlefield. I will not forget the God who can save me. I will not forget the Rock who can hide me. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11, NLT (emphasis mine)

I am reminded God cares for me and I can give all my worries to him. I am reminded to stand firm against an enemy, and to be strong in my faith. I am reminded that God will restore, support and strengthen me. He will place me on a firm foundation.

My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. 1 Peter 5:12b, NLT

Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 28; 1 Corinthians 9; Ezekiel 7; Psalm 45

I was a late bloomer athletically.  During most of my school years, I was one of the slowest boys in my class, year in and year out.  I’m not sure when that began to change, but by late in high school I could keep up with the pack when running, and in my college years I discovered I could actually leave many behind in a sprint.  Only in sprints though.  I had developed a quick but short-lived burst of speed.  Several times I began a jogging regimen only to remember a couple weeks into the process that I absolutely hate distance running.  My all-time record distance is a two-mile run.  Noteworthy, it is not.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Paul uses athletic events such as foot races as metaphors for our spiritual journey.  He doesn’t mention the distance of the race he has in mind, but for the comparison to have any validity, he must be referring to a long distance event.  My spiritual growth remarkably mirrors my running achievements, and thus you may correctly imagine that I find this passage  somewhat concerning.

My spiritual growth tends to come in sharp bursts followed by distressing plateaus or even periods of backtracking.  I see the growth I’ve undergone, or I revel in new knowledge or a breakthrough in understanding that God has provided me, and I stop growing while I indulge my sense of satisfaction.  On occasion I’ve even gotten so confident I’ve grown past a given sin that I’ve gotten complacent and fallen right back to the struggle I had supposedly overcome.

Paul urges us to instill in our spiritual growth the attitudes of an elite athlete in training.  Stopping in the middle of the race course to revel in my progress along the track…  Getting so confident in my lead that I actually backpedal along the more scenic sections of the course so that I can take it in all over again…  Paul says that’s no way to run this race of the life of the Believer.

Enduring self-discipline.

Constant clawing and scratching for every new inch of the track.

Steadfast determination to never give up ground.

Focusing on the prize awaiting every victorious servant of God.

Doing all things that draw me closer to it and doing nothing that carries me away from it.

These are the attributes of any Olympic runner capable of grasping a prize of limited value.  Paul invites me to consider how much more I should be doing to win a prize of eternal value.  My conclusion?  Far more than I’ve ever done thus far.

Dear God, You’ve taken me far from where I began in my journey of sanctification and service in Your glorious name.  At times, You’ve grown me in ways and with speeds that took my breath away.  In between those times I’ve often sat idly waiting, distracted from the goals You’ve set before me.  Forgive me.  Build within me great energy and endurance.  Teach me to keep You and Your plans for me in the forefront of my mind at all times.  Show me how to love all actions that bring me closer to the man You desire me to be, and teach me to hate every use of my time and energy that takes me in other directions.  Make me into a servant that pleases You, one with a record of service that is worthy of the time You’ve given me on this earth.  Amen.

Michael  (mmattix)

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament

Numbers 15; Psalm 51; Isaiah 5; Hebrews 12

A long time ago, I had a friend who was part of a group of runners. One or two people in the pack would head out with flour and mark a trail for the rest to follow. Some trails intentionally had a dead end. But one trail would lead to a real end where there would be a party waiting. Or maybe just snacks or some beer. Whenever someone found a trail that continued, they’d yell out, “On, on!”

I read a book called Disciplines for Life. When the authors posed the question of what scripture (I) could use to battle recurring temptations, Hebrews 12:1 came to mind (along with the image of the runners … except for the party and beer part).

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

I was in a tough spot battling some heavy emotions: anger, injustice, pride. And while I felt I had had a prayer answered, instead of focusing on the joy of that, I found myself unexpectedly sinking into some pretty murky thoughts: it’s still not fair; they never said … why do I have to shoulder this?

I was in quicksand and sinking fast. I was focusing on all of what wasn’t done, instead of the one thing that was–miraculous in itself. And this verse came to mind to battle the temptation to be doubtful, discontent, disheartened, discouraged. Throw it off. Stop letting sin trip you up. Run your race. The one marked out just for you.

On, on.

It’s Hebrews 12:2-3 that tells me the true path to follow.

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.

Lord, strengthen my feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for my feet so that I may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under Hebrews, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament