where love is alive 

I have spent a lot of time in the last couple of years working out and running getting myself back into shape and losing weight.  In the process I have gotten involved with obstacle course races.  As you may be able to guess these races entail running and obstacles.  Now the distance can be anywhere from 3 miles to 14 miles.  With anywhere from 12 to 35 obstacles mixed in.  These obstacles can range from crawling through the mud to physical strength challenges like having to traverse 20 feet of monkey bars up hill, to testing agility and balance like crossing a balance beam.  There is a different way of training and thinking that must go into these races.  It’s not just running and making sure that you have the distance.  It’s not just lifting to make sure you have the strength.  It is a combination of both.  It takes many hours to prepare and there is also some mental preparedness that needs to happen as well.  My goal for these races is to finish and to do better than I did last time, complete more of obstacles, run a faster time, and also enjoying the time spent with friends as we encourage each other on.

In many ways the course of life that we are traveling on is like these races I have been running.  There is a goal at the end which is heaven.  There are going to be many different obstacles in life that are going to try and divert you and throw us off course or discourage you and take your eyes off of God when we don’t complete them.  You can get weary along the way and lose sight of the prize at times.  We are also supposed to run this race together with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ encouraging each other along the way.  Helping pick each other up when the obstacle looks like it is going to defeat us instead of us defeating the obstacle.   We are supposed to train together through Bible studies, fellowship, and praying together.

What are you doing to prepare for the obstacles of life?  Are you just coming to church on Sunday morning and hoping that is going to be enough or are you in the Word every day and spending time in prayer every day.  I tell you I couldn’t go to the gym and run once a week and hope to be ready for a race.  I do some sort of physical activity every day to prepare for my races.  In the race of life, we will face much more difficult obstacles and we need to be prepared with the Word hidden in our hearts and our tanks full from the time that we spend alone with God in prayer.  We have to do the work and prepare if we are going to face the challenges of this life.

Have you surrounded yourself with a group of believers that will lift you up and encourage you?  That will help to pick you up when the obstacles of life have run you over.  Will they speak words of life and love and truth to you when you need it?  You can not run this race alone.  You need a family of believers that will help carry you and hold you up when you need it, but also whom you can also hold up and encourage when they need it.  It may not be a large group it may just be one or two people, but we all need support.  If you don’t have anyone let me encourage you to join a Sunday School class or a small group discipleship or prayer group and find someone who will encourage you, but also speak words or truth that will help you grow as a believer.

“Therefore, 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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:1-3

God Bless, Lanny

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