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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Photo of Tomato basket
Brooksyne's tomato basket (click to enlarge)
One day's picking!

"Running With Purpose"

"Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly" (1 Corinthians 9:26).

Yesterday I passed a group of high school students running along our country road. They were training for cross country, which I was also active in when I was in high school some 35 years ago. In fact I recall long training runs out in the country east of Independence, Missouri.  I was actually a fairly decent runner at that time and won some races.  I learned that it was so important to focus on an objective and to have a goal.

I suppose due to my participation in long distance running I have always found it interesting that Scripture writers, particularly Paul, use the race as an example of the Christian life.  In my teaching I frequently liken the Christian life to "a marathon, not a sprint".  I've met plenty of sprinters and middle distance runners in the Christian race. Some may start and run for awhile but give up.   But it's the long haul that matters and an early expression I learned was being "in it for the long haul."

In our daily verse Paul is speaking of his ministry in the Gospel (9:23).  A key word in today's text is "aimlessly."  Another version uses the word "uncertainly."  Perhaps positive words or phrases to describe how Paul ran and we should run are "with an aim, with certainty, with purpose, with a goal."  The runners who have trained for years for the marathon definitely have an aim or goal in mind, but only a very few have a realistic chance of "winning."

As the Apostle Paul prepared to die he declared, "I have finished the race."* That's a great expression of assurance and confidence by a dying man!  In the great Christian race all who faithfully finish are winners.  Let us press on toward the goal and stay faithful to Christ as we run our race with purpose! 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Jesus, when I'm distracted from my goal or tempted to withdraw from the spiritual race, impress the following truth upon my heart.  "It's not the one who runs the swiftest nor the one who shines for a day, but the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved."  May I pass the test of endurance and be found faithful even as I draw my last breath.  It is by Your grace that I can accomplish this.  Amen.

Note from Brooksyne:  Something that can help us to stay on course and not fall into Satan's wasteland is to select a pertinent Scripture that becomes our life's verse.  Post the verse where it will be seen frequently, memorize it and quote it often in your prayers.  Amy Carmichael's verse that shaped her life was I Corinthians 3:12-13:  "If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, each one's work will become obvious for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire that will test the quality of each one's work."  What a powerful verse to live by!  It was evident in Amy's life in the 1800's as this verse motivated her to love the poor factory girls and other outcasts and share the love of Jesus with them.  This led her to eventually provide shelter for the poor which gave her golden opportunity to lead scores of people to Christ.

A book that I've really come to appreciate is "Words To Die For" by Lawrence Kimbrough.  Lots of books are simply "fluff" but this book gets to the heart of what motivates individuals to make a difference in the world around them.  Kimbrough gives a brief biography and the life verses of Augustine, Clara Barton, Corrie ten Boom, John Wesley and other well-known and not so well-known individuals.  Perhaps this book would be of blessing to you.
The link will take you to the CBD bookstore.

30800: Words to Die For: Verses That Shaped the Lives of 30 People Who Changed the WorldWords to Die For: Verses That Shaped the Lives of 30 People Who Changed the World
By Lawrence Kimbrough / Broadman / Holman

What was the verse that brought Augustine to his knees? The verse that helped Bonhoeffer make sense of his suffering? The verse that motivated Martin Luther King to look death in the eye?   
Throughout the years, God's Word has changed the course of history by changing the lives of men and women. In Words to Die For you will meet 30 of them. Each chapter contains a biographical and inspiring story of an important Christian who changed the world in their time and ends with a Scripture to read and a thought to contemplate. Gift Book with gold edge.

* 2 Timothy 4:7

An old song that comes to mind as we prepare this message is "It Will Be Worth It All"  The last line of the chorus is a great charge to the believer:   "So bravely run the race, till we see Christ."

Country Fair

I enjoy country fairs and we have one in our area at this time called the Elizabethtown Fair. I want to share some photos I took last night.

Photo of Fair QueenFair Queen (click to enlarge)
Roanna Martin is a high school senior and a good friend to Ester. She gave a great speech she wrote and is well deserving of her title as Fair Queen.  

Photo of tractor with bucket seat"Farming in Comfort" (click to enlarge)  The tractor I learned to drive on when I was 14 certainly didn't have the seat shown here. It was a bare, uncushioned seats and certainly provided no back support.  Perhaps if it did, kids would want to drive it all over the neighborhood instead of using it for its intended purpose.Brooksyne

Photo of dentist in dunk tankI realize this is not a very good photo but it means a lot to Ester. She loves her very personable dentist who is jolly, friendly, and caring. He allowed himself to be dunked over and over with a great attitude!

Photo of Darin's prize-winning pigsEster's friend Darin had several prize winning pigs.  So many of the young people are involved in FFA which is a great way to keep them out of trouble!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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