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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Red leaves in our driveway (Photo by Ester)
Ester took this photo of crimson leaves in our driveway

"Bravely Run The Race"

to this message on your audio player.

"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).

Galen Marin 11/8/15Galen is a friend of ours from church and a career farmer. He's a hardworking man of faith and commitment to Christ. In the last 15 years his family has grown with the addition of many grandchildren. This last Lord's Day he shared with excitement how he had run a 5k in a benefit for a local Christian charity on Saturday (a 5k is just over 3 miles). Galen is a few years older than we are and had never run in a race like this nor trained for it. He's just in good shape from his work and surprised even himself that he could complete a 5K without training for it! His wife, Nancy, and daughter-in-law, Kelly, crossed the finish line as well with Galen's grandchild in tow.

I admit that the notion of running a 5km race in the shape I am in is... well, very daunting. Although Brooksyne and I both take long walks and ride our bicycles for long stretches it has been many years since I have run anything except a very short distance. At my size, age, and weight it's just not a pretty sight I'd want to expose others to!

But some 45 years ago I was a good runner in both cross country (fall) and track (spring) at Truman High School in Independence Missouri. In fact I recall long training runs out on the country roads east of the city. I was actually a fairly decent runner at the time, won some races, and at one point, participated in the state track meet. Two important components in being a good runner include
having a purpose and perseverance.

Stephen running track relay in high school I suppose, due to my participation in long distance running, I have always found it interesting that Scripture writers, particularly Paul, use 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 reaching 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."

1) Running the race with purpose: In our first daily verse In speaking of his ministry in the Gospel (9:23) Paul states, "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly". A key word is "aimlessly." Another version uses the word "uncertainly." The Amplified Bible states, "without a definite goal". Perhaps positive 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.

2) Running the race with perseverance: The second daily text uses an agricultural illustration rather than a sports illustration making a similar point: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." 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" (2 Timothy 4:7). That's a great expression of assurance and confidence by a dying but victorious 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 bravely run our race with purpose and perseverance!

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, 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, the same shall be saved. May I strive for the goal, pass the test of endurance, and be found faithful even as I draw my last breath. It is only by Your grace, through my surrendered will, that I can accomplish this. Amen.

Next Tuesday, November 17, we will be travelling down to Washington DC for a screening of a powerful new film at the Capitol theater. 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy concerns the hellishness of the abortion industry which is increasingly coming to light, although the side of darkness and evil just seems to get more and more resistant to any light or truth on this modern day abomination. Local readers may be able to join us. See here. A trailer is here.

Old order parking Lancaster County 11/11/15
Yesterday morning we passed this old-order Mennonite Parking Lot in Lancaster County
with lots of buggies in the garages. The young men told me they were having an ordination service.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  Ben Markley

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  Bill Gaither Trio  (This must have been from one of their very first albums!)

"Grace Alone"  Video  Maranatha Singers

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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