Every person in the world has their own race to run in life! When I was in high school, I had a difficult time with direction and worse I needed glasses too, but didn’t know it yet! One day, I was running this most awesome race in the woods! So many colors and the air was filled with the fragrance of fall! We all lined up to run our race and suddenly a shot signaled us to go! I took off with all my heart and just kept going, I didn’t look back leaving everyone behind! I was excited because Fall is my favorite time of the year and the best part for me, the rain! I loved running in the rain!! I was so far ahead! It was quiet, peaceful and so beautiful! Finally, I realized, I didn’t know which path to take! I had to make a choice, do I just keep going not knowing where I was going or slow down and ask! There was no one around me and it was so quiet! I made the decision to slow down and ask the person behind me! She was surprised and could have lied to me too! I wanted to finish my race but I couldn’t do it alone and I needed help! I could not see the lines marked out for me and was completely depending on the person behind me! She pointed the way as I followed because I couldn’t see with the lines especially with all the rain. We can’t see the path marked for us in our life but we can trust God who is the one who marked it for us! I remain confident in what Jesus told me to do that is clearly marked out to share the good news about Jesus wherever I go! Matthew 28:16-20 NIV, “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Through this experience, I learned something about following! We all follow something or someone and to be a good follower means you either will go the right way or the wrong way depending on who you chose to follow! As we live our life, we must pray and pray for each other as we seek God first and His righteousness while we trust God in all parts of our life! We can remain confident Jesus will be with us and never leave us! Romans 12:2 NIV, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” There are two choices, either we will follow the world (conform) or God (transformed by the renewing of your mind) Our foundation is our starting block for our spiritual race and we must surround ourselves with people who will be your guard rails pointing you back to Jesus! We need our abiding relationship with Jesus, to know which way to go and that means we need a relationship with our sisters and brothers in Christ to help us, encourage, support, remind, spur us on, and point out our blind spots! God will surround you with people in your life at the right time, a cloud of witness! Hebrews 12:1 NIV, 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,” The things that hinder us could be pride by thinking we know best or not willing to listen to the wisdom God places in our life!
The starting block matters in our spiritual race! It’s starts with a relationship with Jesus, God’s one and only Son! God’s perfect gift for all of us! James 1:17-18 NIV, “17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” The world patterns are like the sinking sand, changing wind patterns, and moving shadows which will lead you astray, lost and eventually alone! If we don’t have a solid foundation, we will follow anything that benefits us during that time or phase in life we are going through! It would be like chasing the wind or following shadows! It didn’t make sense to my cross country coach when I asked the second place person where to go, and it won’t make sense to people who don’t know God’s love yet! There is no competition in the body of Christ!
When we chose to be transformed my the renewing of our minds, we chose to follow Jesus example filling ourselves up with His living words! Our race is marked out for us and it’s not a race to be in competition with each other because we are all individuals made in God’s image to do good works planned for us to do in advance! We are all apart of the body of Christ United with our sister and brothers! My coach only saw from the outside and didn’t know what was going on within the individual race we were running! We have to be guarded by truth from God’s living words from the Bible to not assume what we think we see in other peoples life or heard! We are instead supposed to love the way God loves, encourage, and support while we spurs each other on to love and good deeds! Life can get hard but don’t give up and don’t give up on each other including yourself! The battle isn’t against flesh and blood! We glorify God when we Unify together in Jesus by loving the way He loves, and forgive the way He forgives by not holding records of wrong! God’s love is never ending! John 14:27 NIV, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The world’s ways can consume us like the suffocating world of smoke from the fires around us! It’s like pressing into the glass of your ice water in hope to get a breath of fresh air while escaping the heat holding your glass. How do we get a breath of fresh air in a world filled with so many different ways to find relief from the smoke? The smoke is like all the pressure around us from all sides telling you to do this, think this, run from that! It blinds you and even distorted what is right in front of you! How do we live in a world full of distractions that keep us on the purpose God has for us to do in the consuming smoke around us? We are called to live a life set apart from the ways of the world. John 15:19 NIV, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Instead of searching wisdom through the internet, we need to be searching for God’s wisdom in the Bible!
How do we react when pressure in life is like wearing a mask in the heat while the air is filled with smoke? Do we stop and Pray and run to scripture (Bible) to find and match up what going on with what God says we should do or go with what feels right and even search for it in the internet? There so much controversy over who thinks what is right or wrong! The only solid truth that we can stand firm on comes from the Bible! We need to remember and be reminded! “Remember, your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:7-8). God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
We are seed planters everywhere we go either good or bad! How we handle pressure in this world is an opportunity to plant seeds to those who don’t know God’s love yet or water the seeds already there! We have an influence wherever we go and each day we choose who we will we serve. You can only choose one, because you can’t serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other. Matthew 6:24 NIV, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” What kind of seeds do we sow? The seed you plant comes from the master you serve, God or money (world) What you put into your mind comes out of your heart and it effects your choices. Do we sow in The Spirit, by loving God and everyone with love and respect or the flesh, love when you feel like it at the time or because you know yoursuppose to love. 1 John 4:18 NIV, We love because he first loved us. It is impossible to love without God because it’s His love in us that make it possible to love the way He loves. You cannot give someone a drink of fresh water when yourcontainer is empty. Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world,but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Father God, praying that we will be all You called us to be for your Will to be done on earth as it is in heaven for your Glory! Praying for for Unity as all our sisters and brothers in Christ cling to your ways and hold onto truth according to your living word in the Bible! As all, sisters and brothers, everywhere gather in prayer for one another be Unified in you, living for your purpose for our lives in everything we do to further your Kingdom. I meditate on your living words all throughout the day, it refreshens me (a breath of fresh air) way down deep in my soul, as “we are hard pressed from each side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV). I keep my eyes on you, Jesus who is the Author and perfector of my faith who has good planned! I trust everything you said in the Bible, that you want us to have an abundant life in you! All scripture is from your breathe! I will not give up on doing what is good because I trust in your plan and will drop my ways for only your ways! I will not overlook the urgency you put in me and all of us, to share the Good News about Jesus, your one and only Son who came to save all people, once and for all because you love all and want no one to perish but have life in you! I will fix my eyes on you even if things like when I slipped of the counter in the process of moving last year made it difficult to move around. I will lean heavily on you because I desperately need you to guide me day and night! As you fill me with your strength and not my own, I am able to continue and will never give up! Praying with All my heart, that I become lesser (i) as YOU become more in me to further your Kingdom Come forever with you in heaven!“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV)
All through scripture God shows real life struggles and how we love each other through them! It’s like when Moses grew tired and Arron and Hurr not just noticed Moses struggle and hoped he could make it but came to help encourage and support Him to finish what God called Him to do! We are meant to do life together! Remember we need to we awake, alert, and sober minded in everything we do in life! The distractions are loud and can be used to rob and steal precious time that you can’t get back! Arron and Hurr didn’t take the responsibility from Moses, instead they brought a rock to him so he could rest and they helped hold his hands up! Exodus 17:12-13 NIV, “When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” When we love each other we go where our sisters and brothers are by praying and doing what we can with what we have been given help them do what God called them to do! We always tell them the truth with love and respect using wisdom and discretion given to us from God! Telling the truth can be hard but love lives out truth! Love come from God who is our foundation that we all stand on!Love depends and trust God’s understanding by choosing to listen to those sisters and brothers who God places in your life to help you stay on course! Love is being completely humble as you accept and listen to correction and allow yourself to be disciplined because God disciplines us for good! We need to align our lives to what the Bible says and we point each other back in the right direction! Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres! Love never fails!
Large rocks never really get in the way because they are obvious! However, it’s the little pebbles that you can’t see that get stuck in the rubber part of your shoe! You don’t notice until you hear the clicking sound when you’re back on the sidewalk! If you stop, you might lose too much time, but every step you take, you hear click, click! You try scraping your shoe with each stride but nothing! You decide to ignore the sound and keep going because nothing is going to stop you! You want what you want and nothing is going to get in your way! So, you try to keep moving! Because you have a schedule to keep! But, the click, click sound turned into knock, knock! So, do you hear God’s small still voice? The only way to remove the pebble, is to slow down and stop so you can take it out! We need the abiding relationship with Jesus (John 15:5) to keep us from spiritual blindness, so we can hear His voice! The pebble is just a physical example of what happens spiritually! Now that we are home, the world is trying to sneak through our tv and electronic devices opening us up to a world full of things to do. However, we need to be awake, alert and sober minded (1 Peter 5:8-9), because this multimedia world can become a stumbling block! If we’re not careful, we might do social distancing inside our home with our own family. If we’re not standing firm on Jesus the cornerstone, we will be stuck like sinking sand!
When we read scripture, pray, and discuss what we learn. We will grow as we are lead by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 7:4, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? What will happen if I take my eyes off the road and slow down to examine the pebble in my shoe, or condition of my heart! It is through talking to God and asking Him to search me and know me and to actively listen to the truth! When we listen to what Jesus says by slowing down, so we can actually hear His small still voice God will lead us and show us through relationships what is going on inside our own hearts. We need to be humble to receive by choosing to stop and listen. It might be stopping to hear my child share his heart or listen to my brother! It might be setting aside what You want to do for your spouse or friend in need, we are to be the light in all circumstance! When we are the light, we are the salt too because we are living our love for each other. Jesus says, If you love me, you will follow my commands. We are the salt when we love the way Jesus loves us!
God won’t allow his children to be snatched out of his hands (John 10:28-29). So, the click, knock is an opportunity to trust Him with all of my life and not just a part of it! I will take the time to sit at His feet to listen and trust God with All my circumstances, in every relationship. If we keep listening and abiding in Jesus, he will show us more! If We start to go our own way, God will slow you down in interesting ways, to slow you and show you which path to take! If we’re not humble and are to busy you might miss it! God will keep pursuing us and will keep putting things in our path to keep you on the straight and narrow! God knows each step you will take so He already has everything worked out for your good for those who love him who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
We need scripture and each other to keep on the right course and keep watch (Matthew 24:36-42). It is through talking to God and asking Him, “if I should stop or keep going?” The little things that slow down the progress of your day are like “pebbles” stuck in your shoe! They are not always bad! They can be losing your keys or phone! God can use that to get your attention, to slow you down! To remind you that we need to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! (Matthew 6:33) It could be a sudden snow storm in summer! It can be annoying but meant for our own good! It might even cause you to get off course because you were heading in the wrong direction! The only way to know why something like “pebbles” comes into your day, is to pray and talk to sisters and brothers about what going on in your day! This brings everything into the light for God’s glory!
Learning is like watching a beautiful garden filled with a variety of different plants flourish together during each season! The beauty grows each year as you cultivate, add, move or take away from your garden. Learning starts in the womb as your beautiful baby listens to your heart beat while he/she grows. Before they take their first breath, he is experiencing the world through you with every breath you take! Right after birth your child knows the sound of your heart and voice along with everyone closest to you. Then like a rocket, learning takes off! The love to learn is so beautiful and valuable because it must continue as you become an adult! We must stay open and humble! I enjoy watching my children get excited when they create or learn something new! I know God must enjoys us too! I imagine he loves it when we do things that give him glory because we are created in His image! We are his children and he is our father! The best part is every one of my children learn in a different way! They have their individual garden of learning that is unique to them. One of my older sons created a practice area for him to learn how to pedal fast while in place. I watched my sweet little son practice petaling in the water puddles as he turned to see the water splash behind him. He was in his own world of fun! He was getting really good at riding fast in place! The water splashed behind him was exciting to watch. They put soap in the water to make bubbles for fun.
One day, he decided he wanted his training wheels off! He was more than ready for this adventure because everyone zipped around up and down the driveway much faster than he did! He wanted to go fast too! In his mind, he thought if I just took off those training wheels, I could be as fast as them! It reminded me of what scripture says, drop everything that hinders, the sin that entangles us or holds us back (Hebrews 12:1) For my son, it was the training wheels that held him back. The big adventure has begun and we were excited to remove the training wheels. My older son ran to get the tools. They eagerly watched him remove each bolt and screw! He loves taking things apart! Right when the training wheels were off, guess what happened? He darted like a bullet, but didn’t get very far before he fell over! He lost his balance! He didn’t realize how much the training wheel supported him until they were off! A lot of times we don’t know how much we depend on something until it’s removed! Life can be hard and when we take on new challenges like riding your bike without training wheels, you are being developed for a purpose God has for you later in life. A life of faith doesn’t depend on what you can see or hold on to! (2 Corinthians 5:6-7) Through David’s life, God chose him as a shepherd boy working in the fields for his father while taking care of the sheep! (1 Samuel 16:11-13, and 1 Samuel 17:34:36). If you take care of little, you will take care of much! He did everything he was asked to do with a heart for God. So in what seems small is big for God! He develops our character with the small things in life like helping your little brother or sister learn balance, or being there if they fall to encourage him to get back up! When my son fell, he looked at me in shock because he thought he would just ride like everyone else! I explained about how we need to learn a few things first before you go and ride with your brothers! One of my older sons came alongside him and helped him learn balance. As I watched my sons, it reminded me of how I learned from my dad! It also reminded me of how important it is to keep getting up no matter how many times you fall! Don’t give up and go back to the old ways by putting the training wheels back on! Instead, keep looking forward! It is hard to wait patiently but through struggles you develop Godly character as you grow not only on the outside but inside too! He was determined to keep trying and jumped right up and tried again and again! He had a support system encouraging him to keep going!
Balance was hard at first just like it was for me. However, we had a really rough driveway! It was like a rollercoaster ride! Our driveway is unstable filled with pond size pot holes and dramatic dips leading even our van off course! Life is the same way! Knowing how to ride your bike isn’t the same as actually riding your bike! Only Knowing how to do something and never doing it is like being stuck in “idle” . He was riding in idle when he practiced pedaling in the water! Now he is in motion.He is putting into action everything he had learned because we are meant to run the race not run the race in place! Even when he rode along the road, and slipped in a crater size hole, he got back up. He kept practicing by leaning to the left and the right while he went around the holes!
I was a little older when my dad took off my training wheels! It sounded easy! I saw my friends ride their bikes up and down the street with such grace and confidence. I thought to myself, “I want to do that too!” However, I couldn’t push the pedals! I would always try to push them at the same time, or I would try to pedal backwards because that seemed to always work better! I wouldn’t get far before I would lose my balance and fall! I just sat there motionless! Sometimes in life we think we have to do everything all at once because we see everyone else having fun! You might feel like you’re missing out on something amazing! However, looking back I was given a valuable gift, special time with my dad! He isn’t here anymore, but I can remember the time my dad set aside for me! So, even if I wanted to already know how to ride my bike, like pushing both pedals at the same time, God had set aside something better for me! Just like it’s easier to pedal backwards by staying stuck in your thoughts or living out memories in the past, God wants you to keep moving forward! We need to be patient with each step we take in life because there is so much peace at Jesus’ feet! You can still be at Jesus’ feet on a busy day! We can stay connected all day to Jesus! Everyone has to start at the beginning, like starting a new job or learning something new in a job you have for twenty years! But, when we allow God to balance our life through him, we can struggle with peace and joy! I struggled with balance and without it I didn’t go far on my bike! Just like in life, we won’t go far without Jesus balancing our day! It must be a priority to seek him first and his righteousness!
The important lesson was boring and took the most time, but today I would love to do that again! The best part is, I do get to do this again as I teach my own children! He had me sit on my bike, as he let go without warning! He had me lean to the left or right, so I could experience what it felt like! He taught me to feel the pull of gravity, so I would know what to do! I learned so much more than balance! Life can pull you and weigh you down, will you let the troubles of the world take you with it? Or will you lean on God as he leads you down the right path? Trusting God takes off the weight of the world as you cast your cares on him! You will experience God’s Peace in the most muddy situations in your life! (Proverbs 3:5-6) Through a lesson my dad taught me as a kid, I learned more than how to balance my bike! I didn’t know it yet! Just like God says train your children which way to go and they will not depart from it! My dad’s loving kindness overflowed onto me which carried on for many generations!
I learn to adjust by listening to my father’s voice and follow his instruction! He said to me, if you force it, you will break it! If we go your own way in life, you will break! If you force your ways, you will break relationships and more! If I take off soon, it will be harder for me because I wasn’t ready! My foundation is secure in the waiting! Because in the waiting there are many blessings like a special time with my father! God never forces us to love him or to learn from him! Love is patient and my dad was so very patient with me! He held my bike in place on the soft grass which made me feel safe, and then he let go! We do have to let our children go one day, we only get them for a short time! We need to stay confident that God loves them even more than we do! The plans for them are much better than we could ever imagine! Each time he did this, I grew more confident each time! It was time for my Dad to give me a push so I could pedal on my own! However, I had a struggle with pedaling my bike using one foot at a time!
My next struggle was learning how to pedal! My dad was so very creative, he found a way to teach me! The desire to learn really does matter! I needed to “want” to learn first! My father wanted to help guide me, with my struggle with my right and my left, but I also had to be open to receive instruction. I was more than eager! God works in our weakness and makes us strong. Using two different slippers, my dad taught me how to pedal using my left and my right feet. My left foot was Burt from Sesame Street and my right foot was Ernie! He would push me on the bike saying, Push Burt and Ernie over and over, until I was in full motion! Deuteronomy 32:47, “They are not just idle words for you they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”God said these words are not idle words for you! Knowing God’s word without doing or living it out is like being “idle”! Knowing my left and right was necessary for everything in life! Being “idle” is like sitting on the fence watching your friends ride their bikes, or living in the past! Everyone has a choice, follow Jesus or Not to follow Jesus! There are only two choices because the one in the middle called “idle, maybe, or no means the same thing!! (Joshua 24:14-15) Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands” All of what you know from scripture must be put into your life each day “in action” by first praying, picking up the Bible and fellowship with other believers! Just like getting on the bike, balance, and putting your feet on the pedals then go! We will fall and get hurt but our Heavenly Father is right there! Through Physical life lessons like teaching your children to ride a bike, leads to spiritual lessons that lead to eternity with our Heavenly Father through his son Jesus! When we honor our father and mother! We give glory to God when we teach our children about God and his love for us in scripture, and carry on to each generation (Deuteronomy 11:18-21).
God wants to teach us and guide us and he does this with our family and friends! Yes, you will fall but God will help you and send help through brothers and sisters in Christ. Psalm 121:8, “the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” However if you wait for everything to be perfect, like a perfect time by checking your schedule, perfect roads, house, yard, garden, computer, or van, you will never start! Sitting or watching is being “idle” and you will not go anywhere! You will miss out! It’s like being Lukewarm! Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm neither hot nor cold I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” You must make a choice! Isaiah 55:6-8, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” You don’t have to be stuck in idle! We all have to start at the beginning and need to learn balance! We need God to show us which path to take! I wanted to get on my bike and go with my friends, and so did my son! God shows himself in a mighty and beautiful way when we trust Him completely and hand over our fears and uncertainty of perfection to him. When we allow Him to do His work in us for his glorious plan, our view of the world changes! Matthew 6:33,”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Today, step out in faith because Jesus’ arms are open! Revelation 3:19-22,”Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. If we don’t accept his rebuke and discipline it would be like turning our backs on God while closing our eyes and ears!