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Monday, April 21, 2008

Boston Marathon finish line
A welcome sight to marathon runners!

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"Life's Marathon"
"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"  (Hebrews 12:1).

Boston Marathon start in Hopkinton
Start of Boston Marathon in Hopkinton Massachusetts

Today is one day I would really rather be somewhere else. If I had my rathers I would sure be in the Boston area for the 112th running of the Boston Marathon. Twenty thousand runners will begin the race in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on this beautiful Monday morning. And approximately 500,000 spectators will line the 26.2 mile course all along the route and the finish line will be packed in downtown Boston.  I know that personally since Brooksyne, Ester and I have been there!  Although we didn't know a single runner we could still honor them as they completed the race and really get the sense that each one was a winner, even those stumbling in hours later. 

Each of us is running in a race as well; life's marathon. I am so thankful that there's not just one winner in the race we are running.  Everyone who finishes is a winner.  As we run life's race we are surrounded by scores of fellow runners who witness our endurance and persistence.  These are the ones who've gone before us and completed the race.

Boston Marathon heartbreak hill
Heartbreak Hill in the the Boston Marathon

They are not like the vast majority who will view the Marathon today though they never ran in one.  Instead our witnesses could say, "Been there, done that!”  Joshua pronounces, "My family and I chose to serve the Lord!"  Daniel speaks up, "As a young man I purposed in my heart to live God's way!"  Paul joyfully declares, "I counted all loss and I finished the race!"  Stephen, in perpetual rejoicing, sees the Lord on His Throne. And our Lord Jesus, who also ran this race victoriously proclaims, "I did all that my Father asked of me."
Witnesses include completers throughout the history of the church; some well-known, so many, many others known only by their generational peers.  I gain spiritual inspiration by realizing my parents are among these witnesses, as is my first pastor as a born-again Christian, James Howard. I gain inspiration as I consider a growing group of brothers and sisters I’ve known personally who have crossed the finish line. Jim Lutton, a close friend of ours, who was called home early is among them. (If they have humor in heaven he's right in the middle stirring it up.) In my spirit I can almost hear them all crying out, "Come on Stephen, you can make it, stay faithful, it's incredible up here!"

Boston Marathon finish
Boston Marathon finish line
We are also surrounded by scores of fellow runners still in the race. Look around you today! What a great blessing they are. Count me in as one of these runners. We're not in competition; we are in this together and we need each other.  Let’s encourage one another as we run this spiritual marathon together.  Let's keep running, believers!  Let us indeed run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, we recognize that our endurance and persistence are attitudes derived from a faith-filled life with You. Our endurance is realized by continuing this race though others may drop out making us feel like we run alone.  Our persistence is marked by our determination to finish the race though struggles weigh us down and doubts cloud our vision of the finish line.  Thank You for marking the race out for us by showing us the great examples of those who cheer us on as we participate in this Christian race.  They finished their race on earth through their enduring faith, though they experienced opposition from sinful men.  We endure hardships and struggles as discipline from You, our loving Father, that we may share in Your holiness.  We look forward to the harvest of righteousness and peace that comes as a result of our persistence in this spiritual marathon.  Strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees as we repent of the sin that entangles us.  We lay aside everything that drags us down or tempts us to give up.  We persist in the name of Jesus Christ for the heavenly finish line, amen.

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Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

Team Hoyt at Boston Marathon finish

Featured video:
The Team Hoyt video with their story and ending with the song, "I Can Only Imagine." This is a very inspiring and touching presentation. A powerful model of a father's love. Team Hoyt is a dedicated father and disabled son, who run in marathons and triathlons. We recall seeing them on Heartbreak Hill at the Boston Marathon many years ago. This was one of the most memorable times of all the sporting events I have witnessed in my entire life.  Team Hoyt is running in their 26th Boston Marathon today!!! I shared a related song several weeks ago that is fitting today as well: "My Redeemer Lives"  Video 

"His Strength Is Perfect"
 Video  Brooksyne suggests this song.

"What A Day It Will Be"  Audio  This song blesses me as I consider crossing life's marathon finish line!!!

"This Is My Offering"  Video  
Yesterday the young adults led our church service and this song was sung during the offering.

Here are two archived articles I wrote concerning the Boston Marathon many years ago.

Here's the official website for the Boston Marathon.

Red Sox home game begins at 11:05 AM, a rather unusual time for a weekday baseball game. The timing is designed so that the game will end as the runners approach the stadium and thus the fans get a two for one sports deal. I was there once when the stadium emptied to the already packed streets and it is one amazing sight!

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

BunnyThis last Saturday evening we went to a banquet for a ministry we work with called "Transport For Christ."  Here's a photo of our friend Bunny, who serves as director of chaplains for the ministry.  We met Bunny over eight years ago at a conference in Boston when we lived in New England. Bunny and his wife Peg have wonderful testimonies.

Transport for Christ is an international ministry to truck drivers that places chapels in truck stops staffed by dedicated chaplains.  They use our daily encouragement messages as a means of follow-up.

This photo was taken by chaplain
Sam Houchins. Sam and his wife Margaret serve at the Life-Saver Chapel in Elkton, Maryland. Here are some more photos including one of Brooksyne!

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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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