Together We Take the High Road

Why are so many believers dropping out of the faith race?

This morning I awoke in my brother-n-law’s house to find the Tour de Spain on television. I’ve never liked watching those races because you cannot simply watch it. You experience it, and it transports you to a very uncomfortable place.

The first few seconds are dedicated to your brain telling you, you are watching a race. Next a light bulb realization – man is one with the machine. Then your legs begin to twitch. You can almost feel the cyclists’ quadriceps screaming. You sit further on the edge of your seat, and your tailbone sympathetically winces. The television camera zooms into the competitor’s faces for a close up, and your lips involuntarily purse and blow, draw in and exhale. The camera spans out to reveal the treacherous mountain road spiraling up ahead. Your eyes celebrate the splendor while your heart plummets over some ravine, because the incline is too steep. They can’t possibly make it. You see a spectator jump in close, and raise his fist to the sky as he cheers the cyclists onward. You instinctively know the crowds’ applause is what the riders need to hear in order to finish. The lap counter continues to test their limits, and yours, with only one point eight kilometers to go. You can’t take it anymore. One rider begins to weave towards the sidelines. You gasp, and close your eyes. Your hand reaches for the remote to change the channel, and find something less intense.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read Paul say “I’ve fought the good fight, I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7), but today, watching the Tour de Spain – I got it. People are dropping out of the faith race because they’ve forgotten how incredibly hard the race is. Don’t misunderstand me please. There is joy in the race, but it certainly is not without sacrifice.

To say we believe is one thing, but to understand we must be one with our master, is another thing entirely. Jesus is our guide (the rider if you will), and we are the instruments in His hands. Together we take the high road.

A Christ follower enters the race with the understanding training is mandatory, training which parallels that of a professional athlete.

Teamwork is essential for success. No one is to go it alone. We are to run the race as one united mass or body. Not only does the team keep each other accountable, we build each other up, and cheer one another across the finish line, whether that line comes before or after death.

The rigorous regiments of professional athletes are difficult to fathom, especially if you are not one of them. The act of believing in and following Jesus Christ is a mystery, which can only be fully realized with the help of the Holy Spirit, and the truth He so wisely opens up to us through God’s Word, and yes, analogies through the Tour de Spain Cycling Race.

If you are a believer – you are in the race. The clock is ticking. The eternal count down has commenced. And although you might be tempted to change the channel – don’t. The reward is great.
“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 (Hebrews 12:1).”

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Christmas Hope

Everyone needs some.  It is invisible almost all year round, but at Christmas time, if you look carefully you can see where it came from.

I heard about it year after year but never really got it until tragedy struck.  You don’t have to be broken to receive it, but it helps.  Because when we are broken, we realize we need it  more than anything else in the world.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, in fact once you find it, you still need to be reminded it is there.  Life is hard.  I’m not talking about the job you may not like, or the child who is acting up.  I’m talking about the spouse who left, or the child who died.  Maybe you have healed up pretty good and are trying to move on.

I have to grab on and hang on to it really tight, not just every Christmas but every day, and I am never disappointed.

Have a listen and grab onto some Christmas Hope.

 

Missing – leather bound Bible, last seen?

dreamstimefree_175096By recognizing we are ignorant on how to show up in the lives of single parent families, or any other “neighbor” for that matter, a deeper truth appears.

We, the believers of North America have lost our Bibles.  God is not relevant anymore.

With our Bible buried underneath some stack of magazines, God becomes far away and forgotten.  If we get stuck we can pull out a scripture or two or maybe some popular tweet.

Besides, we all have our own problems, and we really shouldn’t be helping anyone else until we get our own lives together, right?

We’ve also become so smart.  Who needs Jesus, who needs to read the Bible?  Look what we can create on our own.

Oops, that’s when our condition is glaringly revealed.  Mankind might look intelligent on the surface, but God sees the heart.  Look out because history is repeating itself.  Contrary to popular belief, we are not getting better.  Society is digressing.

If we desire to be relevant in someone’s life today, first of all be very happy Jesus planted that seed in the first place because it certainly didn’t come from our own self-righteous hearts.  If we want to be relevant in someone’s life, Jesus needs to be relevant in ours.  We need Jesus and we need to know what He is saying to us.  Only through Him will we be able to move past our own flaws and embrace others.  Only by embracing others are we able to really get the big picture!  The Bible, God’s Word is the only place you find the “big picture” and we can hear His voice and see His plan if we read it.

We can stay where we are if we want to, with our techno toys and our busy lives and our own pain, but we’ll miss the miracle – the miracle of love.

And although the “miracle of love” might sound light and fluffy and sweet, it isn’t.  Love is bloody and sacrificial and hard work, and miraculous.  Just ask Jesus, He knows.

John 19:17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull

Luke 9:23  Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Romans 15:4 NIV  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Below is just one website I found with a list of verses that talk about the importance of reading God’s Word.  There are many other resources that can help you dig into scripture.

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Reading-Gods-Word/

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Cindy Palin
Break of Day (practical break for the single parent family in our community)

www.firstbaptistolds.ca