Rise Up With Hope and Finish This Race

Being wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus can be a difficult road. Well, it is a difficult road. I believe that is why God tells us to ‘finish the race’ we started. When we start a race, we are sprinting and so excited and we feel like we have the energy to go forever. I used to run long distance in High School and I have been trying to get back to running again. You would think I would remember the whole pace yourself thing from all those years running, but no, this Mama is going to sprint those first couple of blocks and then stop and wonder why I only went .15 miles on my running app! There is a maturity that comes with a seasoned runner. You understand where you need to pick up your pace and you understand when you need to conserve your energy in that moment. You don’t always know what kind of terrain is coming around the next corner and if you aren’t paying attention, you could hurt yourself.

I think you could say similar things in your Christian walk. When we first get saved, we are so excited and we are probably running like a child again. We are leaping over obstacles in our way without a care in the world. We want to tell everybody about Jesus and what He has done for us. This is not a bad thing right away. As we move along this path of life though, we gain a maturity in our walk with Christ; at least we are supposed to. The Bible talks about going through valleys and low times in our life where we may feel alone but God is always with us. Sometimes we can’t see anything through the density of the troubles that are in front of us, but as we read the Bible and spend our time with God in prayer and worship, He always guides us. Spending time with Him matures us. We eventually see that obstacle in front of us and automatically know exactly what we need to do to get past this.

If you have walked with God for any amount of time, you know what I am trying to talk about here. If you feel like you still don’t know what to do when difficulties arise, you need to search your heart and find out why you haven’t matured. We all have times when we need some help along the way. Those long races are filled with people handing out water and at times an energy bar or something to help you finish the race. The church that you are called to is filled with those people. They are ready to hand you what you need in those times of difficulty. My concern here is that you may have never been one of those people who helps others in their times of need. Are you so lacking in maturity and growth that you can barely get through the day or week without the thought of giving up? God calls us to a place of maturity. There are times we rest in Him, but we never give up. We wait with hope. Search your hearts and be honest with yourself and God. He sees your heart and we can hide nothing from Him. Maybe you just don’t want to help people. That is immaturity. Maybe you don’t know how to help people. Step out in faith! I am not always the best communicator in certain situations, but I trust God will guide me so that I can help the person I am talking to. When I spend time with Him, He gives me the endurance I need to finish the race and to help others along the way. You can do this! Don’t give up because you don’t know what is around the corner; it could be your breakthrough moment!

Isaiah 40:31

“Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.”

Here I Am…..Maybe…

I have been going through a process in the last few years trying to figure out what is good for my body and what isn’t. I know some things are just plain bad for me, and I try not to eat or drink them, but sometimes, there is a grey area. What may work for another person to lose weight, may not work for you. I feel frustrated at times when I feel like I have just starved myself for the last couple of weeks only to see the scale move up instead of down. I get confused when I don’t even try and I end up losing a couple of pounds, then think I’ve caught on to something, only to gain 5 more. This is my body….and sometimes it’s a little hard to love. After having 5 babies through 5 invasive surgeries, my body is fighting back. I try to eat well and exercise, but I fight sinus problems all the time and I begin to feel overwhelmed. At this point in time, everybody knows exactly what I am doing wrong and what I should and should not do. Believe me people; I’ve tried it ALL! All I can do at this point is take care of myself by eating healthy and exercising.

But what about that other part of me? What about my spirit-man? I have no scale in my bathroom that measures how I have been treating it. Do I feed it enough? So many times we only look at our flesh. I only look at my body and forget to look at my spirit. Is it thriving? It’s easy to say, ‘I’ll read more tomorrow, or I’ll pray more tomorrow’, when nobody can see my spirit. I don’t walk down the street and have some lady stop me and wonder what my secret is. Nobody says, “Boy, somebody has been reading their Bible lately!” I can feel it. I know YOU can feel it too. Just like when we fill our physical body with unhealthy ‘garbage’ food and feel horrible the rest of the day, this is what happens to our spirits when we treat it the same way. Our spirit needs to be nourished with prayer and fasting and spending time in the word of God; spending time with God.

I may be only speaking to myself here, but my spirit is malnourished. Today is the day that I decide what I want my spirit to look like. Do I want to be a warrior for Christ, who knows and understands His scriptures, or do I want to just get by on what I learned as a kid in Sunday School? Today is the day I change. Today is the day I repent for my lack of spiritual nourishment, because one day when God is calling on me, I want to stand in full armor and say, “Here I am God, use me!”

If Only

If only. Two words. If only I could pass this test, then I would be happy. If only I could get this raise, life would be so much easier. How many times over our lives have we used those two words? I use those words as if something is improbable; out of reach; impossible, but fun to think about. 

I am always humbled and truly amazed at the faith of the woman with the flow of blood in the New Testament. She used those words; if only. She used those words in the most powerful way. If only I can touch the hem of His garment. If I could just touch the a piece of clothing that the Son of God wears, then my whole life will change. I will be healed. If only….

It literally brings me to tears that she only wanted to touch His clothes. She didn’t want to bother Him. She fought her way through the crowd to touch His clothes. She understood the power and authority that Jesus walked in. Wait; hold on a minute. Didn’t Jesus say that even greater things we would do than He did?! So that means, WE have that same power and authority that Jesus has. My if only’s need to grow in faith. My God is the creator of the universe! He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He has time for everybody and everything. I shouldn’t be wishing for enough money to pay my bills. I should be understanding Who I worship and serve. I should understand that I have full power and authority to completely believe as the woman with the flow of blood did. 

How do I do that? Pray without ceasing. Worship Him in good times and bad. Get in His word and stay in it. Don’t give up and understand who you are and who He made you to be!! He loves you!!