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!!!

Shining Out for Jesus

images-76“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God” (1 Pet. 2:9-10).

Whenever I put on my Run for God shirt before a run, I pray that God will use me and remind me that I am running for Him. Not only do I have to remind myself that I am running for God, but that I am wearing a symbol that reflects that I am a follower of God. I have to remember that I cannot just talk the talk, I also have to walk the walk (or run) in my every day life even while I am running. I want everyone to see that I’m not just wearing a shirt with God on it, I am living for God because He is in me.

Mitchell Hollis, founder of Run for God, has shared many times that it started with a t-shirt. A simple, yet unique opportunity to share his testimony. God has not only helped Mitchell disciple others through the Run for God program mentally, physically and spiritually, but has allowed him to do so through his passion of running and coaching youth triathletes.

You see, I don’t believe that Jesus intended for the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to be an impossible burden. God meant for us to be witnesses of Jesus Christ through naturally living for Him, but somehow, we make it complicated. We think that it has to be a study or we have to be an expert before we can actually answer His call. The thing is that God already designed a program for us and made it pretty simple for us to understand – faith for me, then you.

If we are not committed to applying Christian principles in our own lives, we will not only be unsuccessful, but also we will be seen as insincere. People are not as interested in what we say as they are in seeing how it is working in our lives. One of the best methods to share our faith is to demonstrate the things we believe by staying positive and having a good attitude even in the middle of a crisis in our own lives. Remember the story of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33 walking out onto the water to meet Jesus? He kept walking above the water as long as he was fixed on Jesus, but once he focused on the storm, he sank.

When people around you see peace in our life, especially during the storms, they will definitely want to know how to get what you’ve got. On the contrary, if all they see is the top of your head as you sink into the water, there is not a lot to ask.

Here are some things we can do without saying nothing at all:

  1. Treat people with respect and dignity, no matter the circumstances. Jesus treated people right, even when they mistreated Him. People around you will wonder how you’re able to show this kind of respect for others. You never know, they may even ask.
  2. Find ways to be a blessing to others. This not only plants amazing seeds for a harvest in your own life, it shows that you live what you believe. Saying you’re a Christian is one thing, but living it in tangible ways every day is something else. The Word says, “They’ll know them by their fruit.”
  3. Don’t compromise your beliefs. Situations happen every day where compromise is not only possible, but many times is expected. Show people that your Christianity means living a life of integrity. And, oh yes, that means you tell the sales clerk when she undercharged you for that quart of milk!
  4. The ability to forgive quickly is a very powerful way to show how Christianity really works. Become a model of forgiveness. Nothing creates division, hostility, and turmoil more than an unwillingness to forgive the people who hurt you. Of course, there will be times when you are absolutely right. But being right doesn’t give you a free pass to punish, humiliate, or embarrass someone else. And it most certainly doesn’t eliminate your responsibility to forgive.
  5. Be an example. People will want to know how you can be peaceful in the storm, why your kids are doing so well, why your marriage is so great, and how you know for sure about your purpose in life. And when they ask, you’ll have all kinds of great stuff to share.It is my prayer that in this journey together that it become our hearts desire to learn to run to be light.

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.