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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Run the RACE, keep the faith.


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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider Him who who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. {Hebrews 12:1-3} NIV

As 2013 begins, I am encouraged to keep the faith by the words of Heb 12:1-3.
The life lived following Jesus is like a race. It has a;
BEGINNING PART; When I first believed and trusted Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
MIDDLE PART; The course of MY life for which God has a purpose and it is unique and different from all other people. Just as your life is unique and has a God given purpose.{Jeremiah 29:11}
END PART; When I die and go to live with God in heaven forever. Not because I'm any good, nor have I done anything to deserve this but it is because of what Jesus has done for me. Amazing!!

WHY DO I CONTINUE TO RUN THE RACE IN 2013 AND BEYOND?
Because there is a PRIZE of greatest worth - THE CROWN OF LIFE.{Rev 2:10} I continue to believe in Jesus and live for Him because at the END PART the God who loves me will receive me into heaven and I will have life eternal. No more cying or pain or suffering or sin or death only all that is good {joy, peace, love and God Himself} will be in heaven. Is there a prize that you live for? Is your prize, worth your life? {Revelation 21:4}

BUT I NEED ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE MIDDLE PART. Because I do become discouraged, sometimes it seems too hard when life is not going my way or sickness befalls or there are financial pressures or relationship problems or you are suffering for being a christian and prayers appear to not be answered. I become wearied and lose heart. But I can do 2 things;
1. Look at all those who have gone before me who have not wavered in their faith. {read Hebrews;11} Where we lived in Africa there is a graveyard which holds the graves of many missionary children and adults, who have died in Africa because they have kept the faith. The picture of the embroidered cross was given to me by a godly Australian lady who later gave her life serving God in Africa, her medical emergency could not be treated. She faithfully finished the race and has been a great encouragement to many by her life and death. She kept the faith. I have been given permission by her husband Peter Burke to identify this Aussie missionary as Anne Burke. Who encourages you to be faithful?
2. Look at JESUS,the Son of God. He is the pioneer of our faith, it is He who has forgiven my sins and payed the penalty for my rebellion on the cross, not caring about the pain, persecution and shame, He ran the race faithfully to the end never turning from Gods'will but endured it all for the joy of saving those who would come from every tribe and nation and He sits now enthroned at the right hand of God. Ready to welcome those of us who faithfully finish the race. Ready to hand us our prize or crown. I want to be welcomed by Jesus into heaven, don't you? I want to be faithful to the end and receive the prize, don't you?

WHAT PRACTICAL WAYS CAN I KEEP RUNNING?
1.PERSEVERE;  
 Keep running, I need to be patient while having faith, not everything works out all at once or this side of heaven. Some of us have difficult people in our lives or monotonous, tiring and severe circumstances to overcome but let's keep our eyes on Jesus he never gave up, He was tortured for me and you and He is ever present to help us, we are never alone!!! {Hebrews 13:5 - 6}

3 HOT TIPS FOR PERSEVERING, 1. Read the bible every day. 2. Pray about everything. 3. Meet with other christians regularly.

2.BE DISCIPLINED;
A. Throw off anything in my life that is stopping me from fulfilling Gods'calling on my life. It is funny to watch young children run competitive races because there is always one group that completely leaves the track as they become distracted by the pretty flowers on the way, usually everyone gives up waiting for them to finish because they don't finish. It saddens me to hear of people who say "Oh I used to follow Jesus but that was a stage." I can't help wondering what it was in their life that they allowed to take them away from running the race? Let's not be distracted by the flowers in my case they would include, money, comfort, career, education, relaxation, holidays, relationships, all good in themselves but not if I allow them to become my purpose and take me away from Jesus. What would your list of possible distractions be? If you have been distracted, from the race, I have found that NOW is always the best time to come back to Jesus.

B.Put off all sin because it trips me up and hinders me from running. Sin pulls me off course and away from the race. I should get rid of it, don't have anything to do with it because it contaminates my walk with God but sometimes I pat it and pet it and make excuses for what I know to be wrong. Sometimes I like to hold a grudge or I allow myself to gossip, or to be unkind or to be hard towards people or to refuse to say sorry or I am angry at God. Are you like that? What is the sin that prevents you from running the race? If I continue in sin and do not ask for forgiveness and stop the sin it will do all it can to prevent me from finishing the race. I have found that NOW is always the best time to seek forgiveness.


MY GOAL IN 2013 AND BEYOND IS TO RUN THE RACE FAITHFULLY, EYES FIXED ON JESUS SO AT THE END I RECEIVE THE PRIZE.I can only achieve this through Christ who strengthens me.God enables me to be faithful to the end. He perfects my faith.{Phillipians 1:6}
I need to remember there is NO PRIZE if I don't finish the race and keep the faith.
What race are you running in 2013? Does it lead you to the best PRIZE of all? Or have you turned off the track? or perhaps you have never started the race? I have found that NOW is always the best time to start or get back on the track.
 

2 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    My wife and I have recently been pressing into what God's will for our family is in 2013. We have only recently begun looking into missions as a family, although I have long wished to be involved in some way. Only recently, I have begun to meditate on the words of Paul to run the race and keep the faith... as a daily reminder. It is encouraging to read your comments. Thank you. In these days we live in, it is ever so much more relevant to live as Christ lives and abandon our old lives for the will of God.

    May Christ strengthen you and keep you til the end, as with all his saints.
    Laurence

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  2. Hi Larry and family,
    Thanks for your encouraging comment, I pray God will continue to guide and strengthen you all as you seek His will. I agree there is no better way to live than in the middle of God's will.

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