The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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"Purpose And Perseverance"
"Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly" (1 Corinthians 9:26). "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).
We saw a group of high school students running along our country road in training for cross country. This is a sport I was also active in when I was in high school some 40 years ago. In fact I recall long training runs out on the country roads 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. Two important components were purpose and perseverance.
I suppose due to my participation in long distance running I have always found it interesting that Scripture writers, particularly Paul, used running 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 before they reach the finish line. But it's the long haul that matters and an expression I learned early on was "being in it for the long haul."
In our first daily verse Paul is speaking of his ministry in the Gospel (9:23). "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly..." A key word is "aimlessly." Another version uses the word "uncertainly." Perhaps positive words or phrases to describe how Paul ran and how 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. This speaks of the vital importance of purpose.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." The farmer is interested in a good harvest. This morning a farmer friend of ours is chopping corn, a part of the harvest process.
That is the reason for sowing. The farmer doesn't sow aimlessly. But a second major point is also seen in this text that can be applied to running, farming and certainly our service for the Lord in the phrase "if we do not give up." This speaks of the vital importance of perseverance.
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 and perseverance!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & 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 on this side. It is by Your grace that I cross the finish line and hear Your welcoming words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Amen.
Some photos from our weekend.
Friday afternoon we had the opportunity to personally meet Howard Blichfeldt. Howard contacted us several years ago after meeting Alvin Worthley, my chaplaincy director, who suggested we contact each other. Many times we have featured his photos on our site such as the photo we used today. He is a professional photographer with outstanding nature photos along with correlating Scripture passages. He was in our area for a large art show in Mount Gretna. Here's a portion of his mission statement: "A greater reward comes from knowing that my experience and love of nature has drawn me closer to the God who created it. If through my artwork I can aid others in accomplishing the same, then in some small way, maybe I will have made a difference." See below for a link to his website.
Bob Grant, our long-time friend from Bible College stopped by for a visit Saturday. We were friends in college in the seventies. He lives in Connecticut but was on his way to South Carolina, stopping in Washington DC to see his daughter. For about 25 years after college we lost contact with Bob but reconnected when he found us on daily encouragement. He is actively serving the Lord teaching a 4th grade Sunday School class and leading a men's group. Here are two photos our freshman year in college. One was taken by Brooksyne with me and three friends and I apparently took the other of Brooksyne standing amongst my three friends!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"It Will Be Worth It All" Video "So bravely run the race, 'til we see Christ!"
"It Will Be Worth It After All" Video Terry Terrell
"It's Gonna Be Worth It" Video Rita Springer
Note: Readers may find the first photo of the runner in today's message interesting. Oscar Pistorius, is an amputee runner demontrating both purpose and perseverance!
Here are some samples of Howard Blichfeldt photographs on his website but frankly after visiting his display they are much more astounding up close in real life displayed in the large frames!
Finally today: We thought this photo of our friend Bob was interesting. He is the sales manager for the company that makes this product. Can anyone identify it? (Sorry for the poor scan from a sales brochure.) If you think you know what it is report here. I will provide the answer tomorrow. Hint: It is not a large galvanized wash tub.
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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