Do you see what this means-all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running-and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through-all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best.
At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!
Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing-but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. (Hebrews 12:1-17 MSG)
THIS IS A TOUGH ONE.
NOT MY TYPICAL BLOG.
BUT I HAVE BEEN SPIRITUALLY LAZY LATELY, AND WHILE MY GUARD HAS BEEN DOWN, THE ENEMY HAS USED SOMEONE I USED TO CONSIDER A FRIEND TO COME IN AND TRY AND DESTROY MY JOY.
HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?
HAVE YOU EVER LOST SIGHT OF THE PRIZE THAT WE WILL ALL WIN ON THE DAY THAT WE MEET JESUS IN HEAVEN?
IT’S SO EASY TO FORGET WHY WE ARE HERE AND WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO DO.
OUR SOCIETY IS PLAGUED WITH TUNNEL VISION AND IT’S EASY FOR US TO BECOME INFECTED WITH THE SAME “I DISEASE”, THINKING THAT IT IS ALL ABOUT ME. THIS LIFE IS NEVER ABOUT ME. IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT GOD AND OTHERS.
REMEMBER THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS.
IN A BLOG WHERE MANY PEOPLE COME, LOOKING FOR A “FEEL GOOD” AND A “PICK-ME-UP”, LET TODAY’S SCRIPTURE AND THOUGHTS ENCOURAGE AND CHALLENGE US ALL TO CONTINUE RUNNING THE RACE, FOCUSED ON JESUS, WHO IS THE JOY SET BEFORE US ALL, AND STRIP AWAY EVERYTHING THAT HINDERS US, SO THAT AT THE FINISH LINE, HE WILL WELCOME US HOME, WITH A SMILE, AND EMBRACE THE PRODIGAL, LIKE ONLY OUR ABBA CAN DO.