A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Monday, February 8, 2021
Ester was excited about decorating our family room and getting it all set up to watch the Super Bowl. She made signs, hung streamers, strung footballs and placed other Super Bowl theme related items about the room to get us into the spirit of the big game.
"So Great A Cloud Of Witnesses"
Message summary: We are all in a great contest; one that is far, far more consequential than any Super Bowl game. We are running the race set before us. In this race we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1,2).
After two weeks of non-stop hype for the Super Bowl the big game was played and it is finally over. There's a new champion in pro football. As predicted on Friday one side experienced the thrill of victory, the other the agony of defeat. Fans who made it to the stadium were greatly outnumbered by cardboard cut-out virtual fans who paid $100.00 to "attend" the game in proxy. If one of the reasons for attending the Super Bowl was to be recognized by viewers, the cut-outs won since their full faces were in view. They weren't required to wear a mask!
The reality is that we are all in a great contest; one that is far, far more consequential than any Super Bowl game. We are running the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1). Some are still at the starting line so we urge you to start running! Others have recently started while some are well along after many years of running. Many are nearing the victorious finish line; some of them hobbling along in weariness, others bruised and battered from the weighty trials of their race. But they can victoriously declare:
Since I started for the kingdom,
Since my life He controls;
Since I gave my heart to Jesus,
The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.
The race can be hard at times, sometimes very hard. We are called to be overcomers and some have more overcoming than others.
In this race we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. These are not fake cut-out fans but those who have finished the race, now residing on the other side, testifying to the worthiness of a life of faith. Those like Paul, who wrote, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).
Can we by faith understand they are cheering us on, urging us to stay faithful, as they did, and to finish the race?
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
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we want to be numbered among the great cloud of witnesses. The race is long and hard, with the allurement to sin clamoring at our ankles daily and the incline rising with every step on some days. Yet in our steadfast determination to run with endurance the race set before us, we fix our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith who awaits us at the finish line rewarding us with His presence and the eternal inheritance that He has prepared for us. Keep us strong and faithful in our spiritual race, in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Longer I Serve Him" Video Fountainview Academy
"Find us Faithful" Video Steve Green
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
In our view the best Super Bowl ad by far featured Jessica Long, a paralympic swimmer Video (1 minute)
The rest of the story - Her testimony for Christ will bless your heart! "I Am Second" "Paralympian Jessica Long's Greatest Triumph" Video (10 minutes) This is well worth watching!
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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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