Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 31 - Running the Race

Day 31 of the 31-day blogging challenge - a post a day, and although challenging at times to find the time, I reached my goal. It feels good. I love to set goals and reach them. Often I set my goals higher than humanly possible and set myself up for defeat. I'm definitely learning to listen and set God's goals for me instead of my own.

This last 31 days has been a blogging marathon of sorts. In 1993, I ran the Honolulu Marathon. I didn't set any time records, but I finished. It felt great to set that goal and accomplish it.

Our journey in our relationship with the Lord is likened several times in the Bible to a race. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easly beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

That's the race I want to run. I want to discard those things which weigh me down, reject the temptations which would hinder me, and run with patience the race that is before me. I want to be found faithful at the end of my race. Don't you? God is cheering us on - every day, every step.

I want to encourage you as well to run the race with perseverance, keeping your eyes as well on Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. God bless you!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 30 - Blessings

Life is filled with blessings...

Do you see them?

It's filled with other stuff, yeah, but the blessings - They're abundant.

When we open the eyes of our heart.

Even the other stuff comes with blessings tucked inside.

In fact, the other stuff enables us to see God in a bigger way.

When I think about the blessings in my life, so many have faces,

Kind, gentle eyes.

Words of encouragement.

Love in spite of my unloveliness at times.

What (WHO) are your blessings?

For my many blessings:

"I thank God upon every remembrance of you,

Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 1:3-6

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 29 - Seasons

Fall is beautifully upon us. Having grown up in the southwest, I never really understood the fullness of each season until I moved to the midwest. The contrast of summer heat and brutal winter freeze, the spring awakening, and fall resting. Such a treasure feast for the eyes.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 talks about seasons of life:

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

Much can be learned from each season. It's really ours for the taking if we choose. What will be learned from a time of weeping? Silence? Love?

Rather than run from the less desirable seasons, I am trying to choose to learn instead. To embrace. To walk through instead of walk around those seasons. Easy? Hardly. But God promises to make each season work together for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Nichole Nordeman has a beautiful song about the seasons of life. Which season are you in?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 28 - Be Strong

What do you think? Is courage something that you either have or don't have? Can you create courage in your own soul? What if you don't have courage? Are you just out of luck?

Several years ago, I gave my guys small metal shield emblems to wear around their necks. Joshua 1:9 was inscribed on the back.

It reads, "Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord they God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

A command? Really? I'm pretty sure from reading it over and over again that courage is an act of our will, God living through us. Will we choose to walk in courage, or in fear? In victory, or defeat?

I know what I want to do. It's not always easy, but I choose, and that's a good place to start. Father God, help each one of us to walk in courage because you promise that you are with us always.

I have a friend who needs courage today in a big way. I'm praying. Will you pray too?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 27 - My Shepherd

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters,

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: though anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 26 - Be Still

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of hte tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he had made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh his bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in fire.

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Psalm 46

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 25 - Red Letter Words

My new Bible has crisp, clean pages unlike the worn, comfortable, tear-stained ones from my previous Bible. I miss my old Bible, my friend and constant companion. We've been through many, many things over the past many years.

My new Bible is a 'red-letter' edition, meaning the very words Jesus spoke are all in red.

I love the fact that the words of Jesus without error are in print for us to read and re-read, over and over again.

Instructions, teaching, comforting words, promises...

I want to share with you a few of my favorite 'red-letter words' today.

First off, my favorite, and the most important: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotton Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

John 14:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a plce for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also."

What about this? Can you do it? Luke 6:27-28 "But I say until you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." Hmmm. That's a tough one, but if you can do it, even once in a while, you're growing!

Mark 12:30-31 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind, and with all they strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

We've only just scratched the surface, haven't we?

So what about you, don't be shy! Hello?

What are your favorite red-letter words?