Run the Race!

Do you enjoy a good race? Since the beginning of time, different forms of racing have consumed mankind—whether on foot, on wheels, or on the back of a horse. Some, like my daughters, love to run in marathons, while others gear up on a bike, like me.

Andre Greipel beats Peter Sagan to win the final stage. Photo courtesy of Peter Dejong/AP

Andre Greipel beats Peter Sagan to win the final stage. Photo courtesy of Peter Dejong/AP

One of my favorite races to watch is Le Tour de France. After a grueling twenty-two days and twenty-one stages totaling 3,512 kilometers biked through mountains and valleys in France and parts of Switzerland, Chris Froome collected his third win today, July 24, 2016. Zipping into the winning yellow jersey and accepting the grand prize must have been a thrilling moment, as well as his team’s victory lap in Paris.

Chris Froome crosses the finish line with his teammates to win the race. Photo courtesy of Jeff Pachoud, AFP Getty Images

Chris Froome crosses the finish line with his teammates to win the race. Photo courtesy of Jeff Pachoud/AFP Getty Images

Niall McVeigh wrote on his blog: (www.theguardian.com)
Chris Froome has taken a third Tour, another achieved through the phenomenal strength of his team, but crowned with individual moments of drama and determination, demonstrating a will to win that runs as deep as Team Sky’s resources.
Froome has run up mountains, bled through his yellow jersey, borrowed bikes and gone for broke to squeeze every second out of the road to Paris. His place in the pantheon of Tour legends, and Britain’s all-time greatest athletes, is assured.”

Congratulations to Chris Froome on winning Le Tour de France 2016. Photo courtesy of Christophe Ena, AP

Congratulations to Chris Froome on winning Le Tour de France 2016. Photo courtesy of Christophe Ena/AP

Did you ever think of the Christian life like that? The Apostle Paul compared his quest to proclaim Christ’s gospel to running a race. Just like Chris Froome, he had to endure a challenging obstacle course that was thousands of miles long, but, as he told Timothy, … which persecutions I endured, and out of all of them the Lord delivered me! (2 Timothy 3:11)

What were those hard times like? Paul describes them in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28:
Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a day and a night I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.

At the end of the race, there is the prize and the sweet victory lap. Here’s Paul’s account:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there’s laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing (2Timothy 4:7-8).

No matter how many prizes and awards you’ve earned on earth, there is one that is waiting for all of us who love Jesus. Like Paul, let’s encourage each other as we run, hand off bottles of living water to quench our thirst as we travail, bandage our cuts, get back up after a fall, and keep racing. Together we can make it. Don’t quit—the finish line is just ahead!

Run the race!

Christopher Froome, winner of the 2016 Tour de France. Photo courtesy of Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Christopher Froome, winner of the 2016 Tour de France. Photo courtesy of Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Vacationing in the Caribbean? Check This Out!

One of the most beautiful places in the world! Enjoy God’s handiwork on earth and let His beauty soothe your soul today. First published on Writingpromptsthougthsideas

Inspired Prompt

By Karen Jurgens

Cayman Islands Sea Seven-Mile Beach

Pearl-white sands … azure skies … crystal blue waters … tropical breezes … a golden-hot sun. Welcome to the Cayman Islands.

Upon arrival at our Seven-Mile Beach hotel, an Islander dressed in uniform offered guests pink lemonade in champagne glasses. Through the lobby reggae music danced, its drums beating out Caribbean tunes, leading straight out to the pools and the beach beyond an avenue of palm trees. Just about anything we could wish for was at our fingertips—from thatched huts housing beach towels and beach rental equipment to food and drinks for guests to enjoy on their lounges under umbrellas or shaded lanais.  We enjoyed floating peacefully on rafts, swimming in the calm, aqua waters and taking long walks on the seashore. Laying aside stress and worries for an entire week guaranteed a peaceful and relaxing vacation for my daughter Cait and me.

Most people…

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Are You Full of Fear?

 

Are you full of fear?

Are you full of fear?

Current events explode on our TV and computer screens with unthinkable scenes. Crime and violence are on the rise, while respect for authority, law and order are on the decline. Ordinary citizens find themselves squeezed in the middle.

How can this endless stream of unrest and lawlessness not make a person jittery?

First, let me begin by commiserating. I truly empathize. But my jitters began years ago when every area of our American way of life began to change. As they slipped away, I wondered—weeping—could they ever be recaptured?

As Christians, we must respond—must be informed—must have a ready answer. Realize that the Lord will use each of us in a unique way to answer those within our hearing. Pray that He would give you those words of truth and comfort, especially for bringing the Lost into His kingdom.

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances (Proverbs 25:11, NASB).

As for fear, let the Word of God bring you peace. Remember that God tells us not to fear 365 times in the Bible—once for every day of the year! No matter the next tragedies— insane as they all are—run to Jesus and find your solace through your personal relationship with Him.

Are you full of fear?

Also, pray for and assist those who are being victimized in whatever way you can. This is a great time to be a doer of the Word and not merely a hearer, as James tells us in 1:22-25:

But prove yourselves doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But he who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Most of all, look up. Our citizenship is in heaven. As the world spins away from God’s laws, so we know that Jesus is coming soon to take us to be with Him for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The Word says the Redeemed will be swept up and delivered out of the tribulation that is coming on the whole world.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, NASB).

If you have been full of fear, I pray the Lord take it from you and fill you with His perfect peace.

Are you full of fear?

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (John 14:27, NASB).

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33, NASB).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7, NASB).

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

May these words of Jesus bring you blessings of peace, comfort, and joy.

Are you full of fear?