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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hebrews 12:1 truck decal

"The Ultimate Race"

Message Summary: Today we call all readers to join us in the ultimate race!

Please note: Late last night we returned home from our trip to San Diego. Of course it's great to be home!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"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).

Hebrews 12:1 truck decal
Sunday morning we attended City View Church. As I stood outside on the extensive veranda following the service I considered the contrast in views from our country church back home that overlooks farm land to this church's expansive view of San Diego. We appreciated the worship service, in addition to visiting with Clare, whom we referred to in a message last week.

But our message today is prompted by a decal on a truck window we saw as we parked our car in the church parking lot. It presents a powerful faith outlook, "
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."

We are all running in a race; not just a 5K but we are running in life's marathon which is the ultimate race.

1) The ultimate race requires a deliberate start. Jesus is the "Author of our faith."  In John 3 He calls this start being "born again". At some point in life we all need to place our faith in Christ, confess our sins, ask His forgiveness, and follow in His ways. Some do this at a very early age, others after years of open defiance toward God and His teachings.

2) The ultimate race is on a designated course. This is the "race that is set before us". We have guidance from the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, along with holy men and women who demonstrate the way. Fundamentally our race map is the Word of God, which is "a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path" (Psalm 119:105).  The Holy Spirit's guidance is wonderfully expressed in this verse: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21). And the Lord will place those with godly influence in our lives, "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).

3) The ultimate race is run with dependable witnesses. As we run this race "we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses." These are the scores of fellow runners who witness our endurance and persistence as they encourage us on in the faith.

These witnesses include those from the Bible who've gone before us and completed the race. 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 everything loss in comparison to finishing the race!"  Stephen, in perpetual rejoicing, sees Jesus standing at the Father's right hand, only moments before his earthly race was completed. And our Lord Jesus, who also ran this race victoriously proclaims, "I did all that my Father asked of me."

These witnesses also include finishers 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 dad is among these witnesses, along with Pastor James Howard, my first pastor as a born-again Christian. I gain inspiration as I consider a growing group of brothers and sisters I’ve known personally who have crossed the finish line. In my spirit I can almost hear them all crying out, "Come on Stephen, you can make it. Stay faithful! It will be worth it all!"

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. Just keep running, believers! Run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

4) The ultimate race has a definite finish. I am so thankful that there's not just one winner in the ultimate race.  Everyone who finishes this race is a winner. This finish will either be at our death, or if we are living at the time, in the rapture of the Church. Either way it will most certainly be a definite event! We need to look to the Lord who is the finisher of our faith. He faithfully finished His race and is now our main role model, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

Today we call all readers to join us in this ultimate race!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we acknowledge that endurance and persistence are attitudes derived from a faith filled-life with You. Our persistence is marked by the determination we have 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 and for 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 made possible through Your amazing grace, though they experienced opposition from sinful people.  We endure hardships and struggles as discipline from You, our loving Father, that we may share in Your holiness.  Strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees as we throw off everything that drags us down or tempts us to give up.  We persevere in the name of Jesus Christ for the heavenly finish line, Amen.

Some more photos from our San Diego trip:

San Diego zoo giraffes 10/24/16
We thoroughly enjoyed our day long visit to the San Diego Zoo on Monday and will share more photos the remainder of this week. Today, due to our catching up after our return trip, we will just post this one.

Ollies sign at Harrisburg airport 10/25/16
It was nice to get back to Harrisburg last night at 11:00 PM, over an hour later than initially scheduled. In Chicago we were put on a different plane due to a mechanical problem discovered on the original plane we were to board. I was relieved since I was watching the two mechanics working on the front landing gear in the dark. They were using only a small flashlight on their helmet which was not all that reassuring! Then when I heard one of them ask, "Do you suppose duct tape will hold it together for one more flight", I was really alarmed. (Just kidding about that part). As we picked up our bags in Harrisburg I smiled at this welcoming sign at the baggage carousels. We appreciated Bunny and Peg O'Hare who picked us up though we were near the midnight hour before returning to our homes. Isn't it great to have friends that help us out when it's convenient or even when it's inconvenient! We assured them of our availability on their next flight out.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  Mark Murchison "So bravely run the race till we see Christ"

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  Homecoming Singers with narration

"Worth It All"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"It Will be Worth it After All"  Video   The Spencers

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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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