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Friday, February 2, 2007
No, this is not a current photo!
This is the scene we hoped to awaken to this morning, based upon the weather reports, but it was not to be so we pulled up a previous winter photo.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
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"The Ultimate Super Bowl"
"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 Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1, 2).
For football fans here in America this is the BIG weekend, and I guess many around the world will also be watching. In fact it's called Super Bowl weekend. I recently heard that someone is attempting to make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday!
I enjoy various sports, in my younger years as a participant and now as a spectator, although I still enjoy riding a bike, playing "Catch", and throwing a Frisbee. I'm way past having any ability or interest in contact sports! Based on the illustrations he uses, I believe that the Apostle Paul enjoyed sports. If he were writing today I think he might use the Super Bowl as an illustration to connect with his readers.
All of us who follow Jesus Christ are also participating in a great contest. The writer of Hebrews (many believe to be Paul but this is not specified) alludes to this in our daily text reminding us that "We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses." These witnesses are the men and women of faith chronicled in chapter 11. I believe they are those who have gone on before us after a life of faithful service to Christ.
We are to take this event seriously and are instructed to "Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles."
This contest is specifically likened to a race, "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." This race is most analogous to a marathon, which begins the moment we accept Christ and continues throughout the remainder of our lives until we either meet the Lord in death or in the rapture. It's a lifelong race!
A great character quality essential in any athletic contest, but certainly a long distance race is expressed in the phrase "Run with perseverance." All great athletes are characterized by perseverance. They overcome pain, rejection and all kinds of setbacks to achieve their goal.
Likewise strong, persevering followers of Christ just keep pressing on in spite of the hardship. They keep looking unto Jesus our greatest example, "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Today let us stay faithful and keep running this great race with perseverance!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, the race You've marked out for us doesn't require nearly as much physical stamina as it does spiritual endurance. Those who are physically weak due to disease, illness, and aging are just as qualified to run as those who have young athletic bodies. It's a spiritual race where You call us to perseverance as we discard anything that would trip us up or lead us on a disastrous detour. The great cloud of witnesses spur us on; those from the Biblical period, throughout history and from our own generation. But above all I thank You, Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the suffering that accompanied it, being spurred on by the joy You knew would be Yours afterward. You cheer us on by Your own example and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit when we become weary in our struggle against sin. Keep us faithful, Lord. Amen.
Today's musical selection is by Marie Barlow Martin, a local artist who lives in our area. We enjoy the song and her voice, but I suppose in this sample version our favorite part is the fiddle! ("He Leadeth me" audio)
(Since this is a sample clip it will not play the song all the way through.)
I received this observation based on yesterday's message. An alert reader pointed out that based on the conveyor belt moving at 90 mph there was a mere .01515 second between the spot the chip passed the optical scanner and the spot where the puff of air removes the defective chips!
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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.
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