Let GO and Let GOD!

Oct7inthewordHebrews 12:1-3, “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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he 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 sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

In this scripture, the author tells us that we should throw off all that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us.  This message is important for those of us who are truly seeking to make Heaven our home.  Imagine yourself running the race for God.  You are running, but you have a heavy load on your back. There are obstacles that keep jumping in front of you that you are allowing to hinder your forward progress. You cannot win a race that way.  You must throw off and get rid of that which hinders you from winning the race!  What is it that is hindering you right now?  Is it a relationship?  Is it a particular sin?  Is it an attitude?  Whatever it is, throw it off such that it doesn’t stand in your way anymore.

It’s so encouraging to know that we can always seek God’s Word and His Will in our time of need. All we need to do is pray and ask God if it is His Will that the obstacle be put aside as you strive to run for Him.  Doing this will not always be easy, but sometimes you have to do something hard for the sake of your relationship with God.  It’s time to evaluate our lives and what is hindering us from being all we can be for God and then as the scripture say–Throw It Off!!!

Asking for Directions

When I was running this morning, I noticed that we are a world of signs. Signs warning us of what is ahead on the road, (when to slow down, when to turn), when there is danger, keeping us off a path, or to stay on track. Our Christian life is meant to be a life with a purpose. It is not supposed to be a walk to nowhere or anywhere, but to somewhere. It’s not just a walk we take, but a journey that has a destination, and there are signs along the way to let us know how far along we have traveled in God’s Word.

The Apostle Paul knew from personal experience what the Christian life was all about. He knew where he was going, and he could tell you or anybody else how to get there. Although Paul had a past, the Christian life to Paul wasn’t about the past, but instead, it was about the present and the future. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13, 14)

Today, we tend to solve our problems by looking back to the root. To Paul, he had a past, but he did not waste time looking backward. We tend to move in the direction we are looking. As we drive, if we spend our time looking back, we will go off the road. It stands to reason that a person who spends a lot of time looking at his or her past life will sooner or later end up going backward. When a person really understands what the Christian life is all about, there is no reason to look back. We can have confidence in knowing that God knows exactly where we are going and how we should get there. So as we navigate through life, we need to continually ask God for directions and through prayer and God’s Word, He will keep us on the right path.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

A Light Unto My Path

Several years ago, I visited Tybee Island for an adventurous race after several weeks of fighting bronchitis and making some tough, emotional family decisions. I headed out solo for a hundred eighty-seven-mile road trip to Georgia’s coast seeking solitude in something us runners seem to know best—run. It was the annual Critz Tybee Run Fest, which consist of five races equaling marathon (26.2) distance. Running is a great stress release and a healthy distraction – not to mention, a great time to meditate with God.

The 5K began Friday evening. The course was very dark and cold. We were told by race volunteers to follow the arrows to stay on course in case we lost our way. We were also given glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets, so we would be seen by motorist on the road. The only visible light to runners was the night sky and the lighthouse above.

Once the race began, I felt the week’s events settling. Step by step, the stresses released and the silence took over. Beneath the silence, God began to speak. He opened my eyes to His truths surrounding me. (I love when this happens and this is what my was heart was thirsty for this particular weekend. It’s as if my soul was ignited and coming alive. Excitement filled my heart and I wanted to sing and shout.) This is when my iPod exploded with the words of Third Day. “Jesus, light of the world, shine through the darkness bright as the day. Jesus, light of the world, shine in our hearts show us the way tonight.” It was only then that realized I was already halfway into the race and noticed the lighthouse above shining its light and guiding my steps ahead.

Oftentimes, this is what it’s like when we follow Jesus. He gives us enough light on our path to see our next step. If we knew what we were to do weeks or a month from now, our faith would grow weary and we would not depend on Him. Instead, Jesus shows us what is before us and says, “Trust Me with the rest.”

Just about that time, the course grew darker and I couldn’t see runners or the road. I ran for several minutes listening only to the sound of my breath. I squinted my eyes trying to focus on the course ahead. Suddenly I saw the light of the lighthouse shine, it was like God Himself leading the way. The lighthouse became my guide in the night and to the finish line. Thanks God, this is why I run.

“Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” (Psalm 43:3) Jesus is our Light. He will show us the way.

Have you ever felt like you were in the dark and didn’t know how to proceed? Please share and comment below.

Learning to Stretch Our Faith

images-44“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7 (KJV)

I remember the first time I trained to run my first 5k. I would run as far as I could around the high school track. I felt so defeated if I couldn’t run the entire lap. I didn’t have faith in myself that I could do it. It’s like I gave up on myself before I even started at times.

The Bible teaches us that we are to be growing in our faith. To do this, the Bible says to read God’s word, pray without ceasing, wait on the Lord to accomplish His will, and believe that He has a plan for us. By practicing these spiritual disciplines, we can grow in our faith in Christ. The Lord, however, calls us to go even deeper. 

Our Faith grows when stretched. How do Olympic runners stay in top physical condition? Their muscles had to be exercised, and as they were exercised they were stretched, and as they were stretched they grew stronger. Something we know about the process is that it’s painful. The same occurs with faith. If growing physically stronger was easy everyone would be walking around looking like champion athletes. The Bible says in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 that the believers’ faith was growing “exceedingly” because of the trials they were enduring. Everyone will experience hard times. The promise of God’s Word is that as our faith is stretched it also grows stronger.

Through time, my faith was stretched and I eventually was able to not only complete one lap, but four laps (an entire mile). I have to admit, it was tough and a bit painful at times, but I was finally able to reach my goal. And guess what? I didn’t stop there, I stretched myself and through prayer and perseverance, God gave me faith and the strength to go even further.

In our spiritual walk this faith process can also be painful. More importantly, God knows it’s painful. However, we have a reward; these trials remind us we are worthy of the kingdom of God (2 Thessalonians 1:5). If we suffer, Jesus understands, for His suffering on our behalf was greater than ours. In Him we find the strength, and the faith, to carry on and run forward in victory.

Benefits of a Foot Scrub

 

We have a silly little game we like to play in our family. When we are all together, bunched up on the couch or snuggled in the bed, we like to smell and tickle each other’s feet. I know it may sound strange, but my husband and I have played this game with our boys ever since they were little. They laugh, smile and even play with our feet. My youngest calls his feet “ticky toes” because they are our tickle toes. I suppose that when my boys get older the game will get a bit smelly, but for now it is something very special to us. 

Several years ago, my boys and I spent the day running the beach and beaten trails of Jekyll Island. For hours, we played in the sand, hiked through the sandy trails geocaching treasures and witnessed, first hand, sea turtles being nursed back to health. Throughout our adventure, there were many slip and falls, laughs, tears, and very dirty feet. 

During the forty days of Lent, our family takes a turn drawing an activity for us to participate in the following day. For our second Day of Lent, my youngest son, 3 years at the time, chose a “Maundy Thursday foot-washing”. Throughout the day, we all joked about who would wash whose feet. Whose feet would be the smelliest? After our family devotion that evening, I began the set up. I pulled up a chair, prepared a cooler full of warm water, grabbed a few towels, gathered my family, and shared the story found in John 13:1-17. We then took turns washing each other’s feet. 

“Before the feast of the Passover and after the last supper, Jesus rose, “laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.” After that He poured water into a basin and began washing the disciple’s feet. He then wiped their feet with the towel which He wore around His waist. Jesus told the disciples in John 13:14, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet.” Jesus not only encouraged us to do the same as He did, but He said we will be blessed if we do them. 

Some of Christ’s teachings can only be taught by demonstration. What a powerful demonstration it was, because washing each other’s feet is not that easy. It is an act that must be done in love and being servant minded. I believe God used our family activity to set an example, just as Jesus set for his disciples, and encouraged us to love and serve wholeheartedly. I also believe God reminded me to be more aware of other opportunities that I can serve my family. Whether its enjoying the moments of bath time scrubbing the precious feet of my sons or rubbing my husband’s tired feet after a day of work, Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me.” 

Even though we all snubbed the thought of washing each other’s feet; once we knelt down and began washing each of those beautiful “ticky toes,” we all experienced the joy and love in serving one another. Washing each other’s feet is a symbolic act, a lesson in humility and a reminder of Christ’s example to us.

Tanna Friday, Run for God

Story found at Faithful Trainer blog