Daily Encouragement Net Header
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Home   About Us  Archives   Free email subscription   ListenListen to these messages
  Print Text only for printing

  Bookmark and Share  

Make A Donation
 See here for more info.

<Previous Message                                                   
Next Message

April 20, 2012

Playing Pennsylvania bear cubs (photo by Mel Kurtz)
Yesterday I visited with three brothers over lunch. Mel, John and Linford  have worked for the same company an accumulative 90+ years.  I noticed the bear cubs photo on Mel's screen. He took it at a camp in Tioga County in northern Pennsylvania. Mel explained they were playing on a bird feeder before they tipped it over. It looks a little like a teeter-totter!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Finish The Race Well!"
(Lessons from Life's Marathon Part 5)

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24). "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Today we conclude our series drawing spiritual illustrations from the Boston Marathon. Over 22,000 participants started the race this year while some 500,000 spectators lined the course.

In 1997 we watched the Boston Marathon near the finish line where the crowd was so dense that Brooksyne, at 5 feet 3 inches, could only see the backs of the spectators so she wandered off to explore the wares of street vendors. (Women will always find excuses to shop!) I hoisted Ester, who was a very small eight year old at the time, on my shoulders so she could see. At 6 feet 2 inches I managed to look over the thick crowd that lined the course for miles to see the finish.

Boston Marathon finish lineThe finish line is in the shadow of the Boston Public Library and the John Hancock Tower, the tallest skyscraper in New England. Only a few of the runners who start the race have a reasonable expectation of actually being the "winner". The vast majority set a goal just to finish and many have a target time they hope to run it in. The Boston Athletic Association website reported that 21,554 runners finished the marathon this year, including our friend Nikki Higgins.

Each day, unheralded for the most part, thousands of Christian marathon runners also finish the race. Only a few are publicly recognized apart from their own family, church, and close friends. Certainly not to the degree famous entertainers or athletes are recognized or celebrated.

But the most notable recognition that really counts will be on the other side where Christian runners aspire to hear the words of our Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

In our daily texts we see several components of finishing well in life's marathon:

1) "
I consider my life worth nothing to me." John the Baptist said it so well, "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).

"Completing the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."  Essentially this is the great commission given to all His disciples. Like the apostle Paul, we also have "the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." We are certainly apportioned with a variety of specific giftings. You may be a student, a businessperson, a homemaker, a professional or a "minister". You may be young or old, black, white or otherwise. You may be wealthy or not so wealthy. But if you are a follower of Jesus Christ you are called to "the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Let us all be faithful in doing so!

"I have fought the good fight." In 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul wrote, "Fight the good fight of faith".  This is not a physical fight, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil' (Ephesians 6:12). If you are not fighting you have surrendered to the enemy!

4) "
I have kept the faith." Each generation is called to keep and contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). The definite article is very significant in each of these texts. The order in the Greek emphasizes this, "The faith I have kept." "The faith" is the apostolic doctrine taught from the very beginning of the church age. This is the standard we must maintain.

We will all finish this race. The question is, "Will we finish well?"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to run the Christian race wholeheartedly testifying to the gospel of Your grace all the days of our life. We choose to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.  It's not the one who runs the swiftest, nor the one who runs for a day, but the one who endures to the end who shall be saved. We anxiously await the rapturous moment when we cross the finish line from mortality into immortality, from death unto life eternal, when we will hear Your wonderful commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

A wonderful promise follows our second daily text. "
In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).

This week our series has been on lessons from life's marathon.
Monday: "Running In The Path Of His Commands"
Tuesday: "The Start of Life's Marathon"
Wednesday: "The Disciplines of Life's Marathon"
Thursday: "The Heartbreak Hills
of Life's Marathon"
Today: "The Finish of Life's Marathon"

This week's series covered several verses in the New Testament concerning running and the race. Here are all the other New Testament verses I've been able to find with this theme:

"It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain" (Galatians 2:2).

"You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?" (Galatians 5:7).  This is one I have really been considering. What a sad expression in these words, "You were running well."

"Holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain" (Philippians 2:16).

Last night I attended a banquet at the Shady Maple for the Associates in Biblical Research and heard John Morris of The Institute for Creation Research make an interesting presentation about the Genesis flood. I appreciate these trustworthy defenders of the Faith!

Roadside flower sale, Lancaster County PA
Yesterday we passed many roadside perennial flower stands with self service, honor system payment boxes. Many of them have nothing but a cool whip container with a slot in the top to drop the money in. Brooksyne enjoyed the variety of plants offered at this location.  We are also blessed by the old fashioned honesty expected at these self service stands.  

Old-fashioned honesty: We had another experience yesterday illustrating this presumption of honesty. Earlier in the day Lee, a friend of ours, had told us about an interesting place off the beaten path, an old order shoe store where the owner is blind. We found the place and purchased a bottle of shoe polish. Brooksyne went to the register and the blind store owner asked, "What is the price of your item?"  Brooksyne answered, "$3.45" and handed him a $20.00 bill.  He asked her, "Is it a $5.00 bill?" "No, it's $20.00" she replied. He opened the cash drawer and with his fingers carefully felt the coin and note compartments as he counted out the proper change. Now, how's that for trusting the customer!   (BTW - There were a number of old order employees present, should there be needed support for this owner.)

Tioga County PA bear family
Here's another photo of the Tioga County bears we showed in our lead photograph, but this time with MaMa bear looking on. Perhaps she was afraid her cubs would get hurt playing on the teeter-totter!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What A Day That Will Be!"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  A group of Canadian young adults at a camp in Nova Scotia. This song has a line I recalled in the message that states "so bravely run the race till we see Christ".

"It'll Be Worth It After All"  Video  Terry Terrell

"Find Us Faithful"  Video  Let There be Praise Singers

I chose this song recalling these lines,

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace.

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

"My Redeemer Lives"
 Video  Nicole Nordeman  This song is played with images of a father son team with an incredible story. Here's a news story on the Hoyt Team.  Video

"Runner"  Video  Twila Paris

"Take Time To Be Holy"
 Video  Choir

"The Hour I First Believed"  Video  Karen Peck and New River

"He Who Began A Good Work In You"
 Video  Steve Green

"A New Name In Glory"  Video  Gaither Homecoming singers

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

Sign up here for the free daily email encouragement.

Ministry Update  (Revised 12/11)

Make A DonationAre our daily encouragement messages a blessing to you? We ask you to consider making a donation to Daily Encouragement Net so that we can continue to prepare and provide this daily resource which is accessed by believers and seekers all over the world. Daily Encouragement Net relies solely on the generosity and financial support of its readers and podcast listeners. See here for more information on supporting this ministry. Gifts are tax deductible.

Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.

Text only version for printing: To make a text only version for printing (without photos or any of the supplemental materials)
1) Open the basic text editor that comes with all computers (known as wordpad, textpad, etc.) You can also use a program like Word and select paste text only.
2) Select and copy the text from the portion of the message you want to print.
3) Paste into the text pad. (The photos won't show up but you will have a brief text description of the photo which you can delete or just ignore.)
4) Format if you desire (change font, increase or decrease size, etc.)
5) Print!

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."

Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com

© Copyright 2012 Stephen C. Weber - All Rights Reserved

Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552  USA

This device counts unique visitors by nation and state. I installed the international version in mid April 2010 and the state version later. They thus register unique visitors to since then.
free counters

Free counters!

"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"