Friday, October 29, 2010

Get ready, get set ... get ready ...

Life can be like a series of races. Its finish lines, the individual goals of each participant. The track however, is not the same for every runner. It’s an awkwardly staggered race for some.

Some runners have been carefully groomed - “racing” is in their DNA. Each of their prior generations have passed along a competitive spirit. These fortunate participates have experienced a life-time of carefully orchestrated training. They are committed to training, but they have had the tools and the support to press on.

There are others, however, who are unaware of the race. They’ve never heard a starting gun. They don’t even realize they too have a participant’s number. They appear to have no one in the crowd to cheer them on.

One group of runners “make things happen” while the other group looks back at their course - and “wonder what happened” ...

Life’s inequities exist. A person might appear to have every right to view their position in life as a victim of it’s circumstances. Their starting starting line might be marred by the scars of a broken family, abusive relationships, poverty and loss. Yet, even for them the testimonies of individuals who have previously run similar races in their shoes, upon their track, facing their obstacles - in some instances, even greater obstacles - TO BECOME OVER-COMERS - EXIST! These are true champions; victorious in their human endeavors!

Nick Vujicic is an interesting participant in the race. Some of you might recognize his name. I’ll let him tell you his story ...

Hebrews 12:1 proclaims:

“Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony of the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside ever encumbrance - unnecessary weight - and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us. Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher, [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (also see Psalms 110:1)

The Apostle Paul encouraged the congregation at Philippi follow his example and to also observe those who live after the pattern he had set (Philippians 3:17). He too looked to the the testimony of veteran runners who had run the race before him (please read Hebrews chapter 11 for the Bible’s Hall of Fame).

Life is like a series of races. Its finish lines, the individual goals of each participant. The track however, is not the same for every runner. It’s an awkwardly staggered race for some.


The most encouraging words I read from Hebrews 12:1 are these:

“... and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.

Life isn’t a sprint, it is an endurance run. There are no rest stops, we must continue to pursue with active persistence. Most important, it isn’t an unknown course - it is an appointed course that is set before us by Him Who loved us so!

Today is a great day to clean the spikes, get rid of some of those things that might be hindering your progress. As you run, keep an eye out for a fellow sojourner who who needs encouragement. Someone you meet today might need a servant’s loving hand. Someone might need to hear that the race is worth running and the prize has been personally ordained by the God who loves them!

Ready? Set? ... well, you know the rest!

God bless!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

... And yet, ANOTHER DAY ...

Change can be an unsettling interruption or the threshold of unknown opportunity. When change is the result of a planed sequence of events culminating in a prescribed outcome, each element within the process creates anticipation. However, when change is sudden and unexpected it can shake the very core of one’s being.

Change is constant. There is no lull in the process of change. No moment is repetitive; no sunrise, no circumstance, no thought. All, however similar, are unique. All, though constant, merely resemble the previous. Today is not the same as yesterday nor will it be tomorrow.

Life can seem uncertain, fraught with danger and peril except for an often overlooked constant, the fingerprint of God.

No fingerprint is the same; each is individually unmistakably unique. So too the fingerprint of God. It is unmistakable. While mankind may attempt to lay claim to progress, to “change”, close inspection reveals it’s Author’s True Identity.

The Bible sheds light upon God’s “influence”.

“Your’s O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and Yours it is to be exalted as head over all.” - 1 Chronicles 29:11

And in the New Testament:

“Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will - of His plan, of His purpose. [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him. [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will.” - Ephesians 1: 9-11

“For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him (by His service, intervention) and in and for Him. And He Himself existed before all things and in Him all things consist - cohere, are held together.” - Colossians 1: 16,17

“Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and dominion, for You created all things; by Your will they were [brought into being] and were created.” - Revelation 4:11

Today, today is going to be different; unlike any other day you or I have experienced. TODAY is a very special day, uniquely predestined with limitless opportunity. TODAY my faith will be enriched and strengthened -

“For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made - His handiworks. So [men] are without excuse - altogether without any defense or justification...” - Romans 1:20

This is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” - Psalm 118:24

God bless!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How do YOU measure up?

I like descriptive word pictures. Here's one. There is a magic, no - no - "spiritual" 18-inches that often goes unnoticed. It is the distance between the mind and the heart. 18" - not that great of physical distance - but it sure can impact lives. Inflexible dogma may, to some, provide a form of security; while often leaving a trail of carnage along it's heartless path. Emotional compassion may, to some, also provide a form of security but it alone seldom provides a foundation upon which lasting stability is achieved.

Uniquely extending from between these too [seemingly] opposing points are the hands. Outstretched hands have opportunity to provide unselfish and balanced care and guidance to those in need. No, I suppose I am not much of a politician. I'm a Christian. Outstretched hands paid a price for me - so that I might share That love with others. It is not by declaration or decree that I would have individuals embrace the central figure of Christianity. That is a personal matter of which I have no influence. But if I am tempted to volley knowledge for my own edification I am nothing. The first letter from Paul to the Christians in the church at Corinth states it clearly. In the thirteenth chapter Paul, through inspiration, writes:

“If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not the love [that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as inspired by God’s love for and in us], I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers - that is, the gift of interpreting the Devine will and purpose; and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I gave (sufficient) faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love [God’s love in me] I am nothing, a useless nobody. EVEN if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned [or in order that I may glory], but have not love [God’s love in me], I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious or boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited - arrogant and inflated with pride; it is not rude (unmannerly0, and does not act unbecomingly. Love [God’s love in us] does not insist on on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it - pays no attention to a suffered wrong. It does not rejoice in injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, it hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails - never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end. As for prophecy [that is, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose], it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [that is, it will lose its value and be superseded by truth]. For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and [total] comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away - become antiquated, void and superseded. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part 9imperfectly); but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. And so faith, hope, love abide; [faith, conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and Devine things; hope, joy and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love , true affection of God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three but the greatest of these is love.”

So, how do YOU choose to measure up - today?

God Bless