Run for God – Devotions

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 4.36.19 PM

Below is an excerpt from Run for Gods – Devotions. Formatting will be different in actual book.

Week 18

Run the Race God Has Set Before You

One Sunday morning during the meet and greet time at church, two ladies commented on my upbeat personality. One woman said that I am always so bubbly, and another said that I always smile. I didn’t have time to tell them that I don’t always wake up that way. Some days I have to talk myself into that smile. I also have to remind myself daily to be grateful for all I have and force myself not to dwell on things I don’t need.

Every morning, I mentally prepare myself to face the world. I hit snooze a few times. I get up, go into the bathroom, and look at the scared person staring at me in the mirror. I make breakfast and pack lunch for my son and myself, but during this whole process, I am in prayer. If you were sitting in my kitchen watching me, you might think I was doing what any normal mom does as a morning routine. If you were to look closer though, you would see that I was quietly talking.

I give my fear and anxiety over to God. Jesus says I don’t have to carry that burden, so I try not to. I thank God for the food I am preparing, the home we live in, the little boy laughing at cartoons in the other room, the heat, electricity, and the most basic of things that I take for granted every day. By the time I am ready to walk out the door, all of the worldly junk that fills my mind has finally been cleared. When I get to my porch, I am able to greet my neighbors with a smile.

Most people don’t understand how I can be so positive all the time. It is simple. I choose not to worry about what I can’t control. I choose to give the negativity, illness, worry, and stress in my life over to God, but I didn’t learn to do that on my own.

In January 2013, my sister convinced me to join a local Run for God 5K challenge. Scared and worried about embarrassing myself, I agreed to try it. I ran track in junior high and high school, and I was so bad my parents begged me to quit at the end of my freshman season. Run for God was not what I expected at all. Everyone was so warm and friendly. The program is tailored to reach people of all faith levels and fitness levels, and God did what God does. He met me where I was and carried me to the finish line.

The Run for God class prepared me to begin a journey back to God. Each week I read the story and listened to people’s responses to the discussion questions, and I thought, “Why am I so angry all the time? I have a good life in spite of being a single mom. I have enough money for all the things my son and I need, a wonderful family, and a good job. Why can’t I just be happy?” During week three of our Run for God class, the discussion was titled “Running Your Own Race: Running the Race God Has Set before You.” I knew then that it wasn’t my sister who led me to the class, but God.

My sister is extremely athletic. She runs much faster than I do, but when we trained together for the 5K, she never left my side. She pushed me through each work out, running beside me step by step. She refused to allow me to quit or fail. A week before our race, the words “run your own race” rattled around in my head. My sister would have stayed with me through the whole course if I had wanted her to, but I decided it was time for me to trust God and let Him carry me to the finish line. I told her to go run her race, meet her time goals, and I would run mine.

I was scared out of my mind when the gun went off, but I turned on my mp3 player and went on my way. I became discouraged in the first half mile because I felt as if hundreds of people were passing me. I knew I had to change my focal point, so I concentrated on my breathing and paced myself to the beat of the music. Around the one-mile marker, I started seeing the leaders of the race looping back. I passed people from my RFG group as they headed back to the finish line. They were over half way done with the race and I had at least a mile ahead of me. They were throwing me high five’s and yelling, “Good job!” I felt overwhelmed by their love. God was showing His love through them.

My sister’s house is about half way through the course, and when I reached it, I cried. My son was sitting in the front yard with my mom. He yelled and waved a sign that read “GO MOMMY!” It took about 300 feet for me to pull myself back together, but I picked up the pace and started the loop back. As my music carried me, I felt a second surge of energy take me into the last mile. Then I saw my sister, who had already crossed the finish line, running toward me. She ran the last mile with me, encouraging me to stay strong. She stepped off to the side about 200 feet from the end, and in the photo of me crossing the finish line, you can see her in the background with her hands around her mouth, yelling at the top of her lungs.

Faith and God’s great love carried me through that race. Run for God taught me that anything is possible with God on my side and faith in my heart. I smile and have a happy heart today, because I am running God’s race.

In Galatians, Paul says they are focused on the wrong things. Christ gave them a mission. He has given each of us a mission. I had to run a 5K to realize my mission, and now that I am running my race, I don’t plan to ever look back. Every morning I wake up, praise God, and ask Him to show me what path I need to run. Without Him, I would be lost on the trail.

Katie Hendricks – Carrollton, OH

Get In The Word

Galatians 5:7–8

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Scripture Memorization

Write out the scripture(s) in the space below and recite them ten times.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Something to Ponder

What are you withholding from God? What burdens do you carry that you should give up to Him?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and allowed God to carry you through your fears?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Do you spend time with God each day, asking Him about your mission in order to avoid allowing Satan a foothold for distraction?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Running Observations by Dean

Thank the Volunteers

Races are great fun! It doesn’t matter if it is a local race with 100 participants or a party moving down Peachtree Street in Atlanta called “The Peachtree Road Race.” There are mud runs, color runs, and foam runs. Some races are plotted through downtown areas, some through the woods. Some have tons of awards; some are no-frills. There are 5Ks, 100 milers, triathlons, and duathlons. There is a race for everyone. Whether a race requires a lot of planning or only needs someone to draw a line in the dirt, they all have one thing in common—volunteers.

Many volunteers are runners themselves and understand what you are going through as you run. Many of them get up early on Saturday mornings to help their community or the race’s charitable beneficiary: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or ROTC for example. Almost any race that takes place on the roads will employ the services of the local police department, and although they may be paid for their services, they usually volunteer to do the work.

Race directors have a huge responsibility to bring their event together for everyone to enjoy. Have you ever wondered how the portable toilets show up for the event? Yes, the race director has to pay attention to every detail, and at most events they have curve balls thrown at them all day long. They must make decisions quickly, because more questions are coming in another three minutes. Usually when I want to talk to the race director on race morning, I have to wait in line.

On race day, those who hand out drinks, tell you where to turn, and protect you from traffic have put love and time into their roles under a director’s supervision in order to give you a great experience. If you are not one who already tells the volunteers how much you appreciate them, tell someone the next time you race. For most events, volunteering means giving up a day to a cause, and you are part of that cause. Remember that whenever something doesn’t go well for you. These people care about doing things right. I once ran a marathon and was going to receive the first place masters award. When they called out the winner, the time was fifteen minutes slower than my time. Imagine my shock. I calmly walked to the front to explain what had happened, and the race director sent me a trophy in the mail the next week. Problem solved, and I didn’t need to get upset about it.

Like a race, God has set up a course for us to follow. He is standing at the corners telling us which way to turn. He has aid stations along the way to help with any need. He waits for us at the finish line with something much better than a medal—everlasting life.

  • Races are full of volunteers trying to make your day the best it can be.
  • The volunteers really like hearing appreciation from participants, so thank everyone at your next event.
  • God wants us to run His course.  He said it would not be the easy course, but it will be worth the effort.

Order your full copy of Run for God’s – Devotions today at

www.RunforGod.com

Spiritual Base

Slow RunningThis past week I began a forty-week training plan that will hopefully land me at the Chattanooga Ironman finish line in under twelve hours in just over nine months from now.  Training for an event like his is something that I have become very familiar with.  I have read about this kind of training, gotten formal education on this kind of training, been certified to coach this type training, and I have personally endured this kind of training.

The first thing you will learn about any kind of endurance training is that you must first establish a base.  Base is a period of time in your training that you will exercise at an intensity that will many times seem easy, monotonous, and just a waste of time.  So why do I say that it may seem to be a waste of time?  Because as athletes we have an inner desire to always do better, to push ourselves to the limit, and as runners, to just get faster.  Base work accomplishes none of this; at least that is what we athletes often think.

It has always been said that many runners never get faster because their hard days are not hard enough, and their slow days are not slow enough.  Many times, you will fall into one category or the other, but rarely into both.  Base work builds endurance and is the foundation for everything that your training is built on.  Sure you can go out and do speed work every day of the week, you can even do 100 meter sprint until your heart is pounding out of your chest, but without a base level of fitness you’ll find it very hard to complete a 5K or 10K, much less a half or full marathon.  I once read a study that talked about the fact that many NBA players will often run 4.5 to 6 miles in a game at high intensities with no problem, but ask those same players to run 6 miles straight and they’d find that to be a real challenge.  Why?  Because basketball players do not build a base level of fitness, nor do they need it.  They train those fast twitch muscles to do exactly what they are designed to do, go fast, and neglect those slow twitch endurance muscles.

Speed work is great!  It’s challenging, it pushes you outside your comfort zone, and it makes you a better runner.  But without a good base period even the best speed work plan will not be sustainable.  If you’re running an endurance race and all you’ve done is speed work in training, you WILL blow up, hit the wall, and crash and burn.

So let me get to the point that I set out to make.  Today I was running one of those dreaded Six Mile Low Intensity Zone 3 training runs.  For those of you who don’t understand what that is, just take your comfortable running pace and at about two minutes per mile to it.  It’s a slow run; it’s almost embarrassingly slow and I was having a battle in my mind as to whether or not I should speed up.  The runner in me wanted to pick up the pace to my “comfort zone” and not look like the turtle rolling down the side-walk, but the trainer in me was hammering home the point that base work is a must and without it this 140.6 mile race might end at 70.3 or sooner.

It was at this point that the Lord began speaking to me about my Spiritual Base.  Don’t you just love it when God takes a point that you are trying to make to yourself and uses it to make His point for where you may be spiritually?  He began to show me that just like I must have an athletic base when competing in endurance events; I must also have a spiritual base when competing in this earthly event called life.

Spiritual base is also very basic.  It’s spending time in prayer and in Gods word.  This is the base by which we should all build our spiritual lives.  If you’re like me, I love to read books or hear sermons on how to be more spiritually fit.  These are great resources and if Biblically grounded will definitely add to your spiritual toolbox and make you sharper.  But these resources are like speed work, they will make you more knowledgeable and for a lack of better words, more spiritually fit, but without a strong base, they are useless.  Hearing a great sermon or reading a great spiritual book and having a deep daily relationship with God is like sharpening the edge of an industrial size log splitter.  That log splitter has a base big enough to get the job done even with a dull edge, but having it razor-sharp only makes it easier.  Hearing that great sermon or reading that great book without a deep daily relationship with Christ is like sharpening the edge of a razor blade.  Yes, it’s very sharp, but when put to the test against an oak log, it will fail!

So I challenge you today to join me in building a spiritual base that will stand up to even the biggest hurdle.  Make prayer and spending time in Gods word the backbone of your spiritual life.  Yes, it’s OK to sharpen the edge, but only after the base can back it up.

God Bless Everyone!

Mitchell

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   John 1:1

Mary’s Faithful Journey

Aside

While reading the Christmas story in the book of Luke, I am completely amazed by Mary’s faith. The thoughts and feelings she must have experienced when approached by the angel of the Lord? How was she able to handle the news of raising the Son of God? How did she feel during the lonely journey that she and Joseph took together? She must have felt afraid and unsure why she was chosen by God to carry out His precious plan. There are many lessons that the bible has shown me through Mary’s life in my journey as an instructor today. I want to share a few with you this holiday season.

  1. Mary knew the Word of God and kept it hidden in her heart (Luke 1:54-55). As a Christian, and an instructor, it is important to know His Word, make time for it daily in order to grow and speak His truths to others.
  2. Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). There are times when I have found myself relying on my own strength rather than submitting to the power of the Spirit to help me get through some tough situations. Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27) I pray that we continue to learn to submit our lives to Him in order for Him to work in and through us.
  3. Mary said “YES” (Luke 1:38).  She not only said yes to God’s plan, but she also was obedient, submissive and had a humble heart. Being obedient can sometimes be very frightening. I remember God calling me to become an instructor with Run for God. Even though I was terrified, and felt inadequate, I knew I wanted to do more for Him. Today I still ask, “Lord, if it is of you, I will go.” Are you willing to say, “Yes Lord?” May we have ears to hear His call and become faithful and obedient servants for His glory.
  4. The Lord chose Mary to be a vessel (Luke 1:30-31 ).  As Christians, we are all chosen to be an instrument for God. Whether you are leading or studying the Run for God program, you can use what God has given you to reach and encourage others. Run for God’s mission is to prepare individuals to be better witnesses for Christ mentally, physically and spiritually. All you have to do is share what He has done for you, leave the rest to Him.
  5. Mary asked Jesus for help (John 2:3-5). When I decided to take a leap of faith and lead my first season of the 5k Challenge, I wasn’t sure how to begin the journey that was ahead. Then I remembered the story of Moses when he told God that he wasn’t a speaker. God told him that He would equip him with everything he needed. Sometimes we all feel unsure if we are able to lead or are worthy to His calling, but you need to know that He needs you. Most of all, you need Him. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
  6. Mary praised God in all things (Luke 1:46-47).  She praised God in every circumstance. Learning to praise Him in all circumstances brings honor to Him, reflects our relationship with God and brings others to Christ.
  7. Mary was faithful (John 19:25).  When everyone had begun to desert Jesus, Mary stayed with Him all the way to His death. We live in a society where being bold for Christ is not popular. Are you willing to be bold and lead others to Christ and help individuals become better witnesses for Christ? Be bold and share your faith! Join us this January

The one lesson I hold to the most is being able to say, “yes Lord.”  I used these two words in Fall of 2011, and I am reminded with each season of Run for God. As some of us conclude this Fall season of Run for God as an instructor and prepare for the next season that the Lord has for us and as we enter into this Christmas season, may we remember to have hearts that are submissive to God’s will for our lives.  He may call some of you to say “yes” to becoming an Instructor or a student of this ministry, but one thing He has called us all to, as followers of Christ, is faithfulness. May we surrender our lives to His will and purpose for our lives.  May we surrender to Him on bended knee and say, ‘Yes Lord.”

Running for Him,

Tanna Friday, Run for God Instructor – Warner Robins, GA