Strength for the Race

Hebrews 12:1-2

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do you like to run? In junior high school I ran a little cross-country. I liked how running made me feel free and light and the challenge of the ups and downs of the trail. The pursuit of running to not only beat my competitors but to better my own time was part of the appeal as well. For the most part I was in control of my own destiny.


The race of life is a little different. We don’t always get to choose our race.

When life is filled with joy and we see a flat, easy road ahead of us we feel like we can run it forever. It can be tempting to run it on our own and not depend on Jesus or draw strength from our faith. We may also run past others, not stopping to see their needs or learn from those who have run their race before us.

Sometimes it feels like our life-race is uphill. We look ahead and behind and only see twists and turns. It takes endurance to keep going and not give up. It can seem impossible when we are tired and overwhelmed. We feel like there is never an end to the race, or an easy road ahead of us.


In an uphill race it is so important to keep our focus on Jesus and to allow those around us to come alongside us, support and encourage us. It can be so easy to feel like we’re all alone, but we don’t need to be.

As the writer of Hebrews points out, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, both here on earth and those who have gone before us to leave examples of running the race with endurance. We can be reminded that we have the same reward waiting for us that Jesus did, an eternal forever with our Lord. Jesus endured shame, disgrace, and a nasty death on the cross to bring us with Him to this paradise.

We are made lighter and more free to endure the twists and turns of life when we examine what entangles and weighs us down. Repenting of our sins and releasing the weight of worry and the need to control our surroundings frees us and reminds us to look up, and perhaps find the good things hidden along our path.

Whether the race is smooth or an uphill climb we can’t do it on our own, but by the grace and strength of Jesus, the precious Holy Spirit and those He has put in our lives to walk alongside us, we can keep going…and find blessings along the way!


Blessings and peace along your race today,


Rest from our Labors

September us upon us and with the first Monday we celebrate Labor Day. The official holiday began in 1882 as

a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  (

In the early years the American workers were celebrated with parades, speeches and festivals to celebrate the labor unions and their contributions to the progress in America. These celebrations may take place in some areas of the country but I believe most Americans look at Labor Day as a celebration of a day we don’t have to labor – a time to celebrate rest and recreation.

It turns out this is not a new idea! God designed a time of rest into His creation.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Genesis 2:2-3 NIV

God doesn’t get tired and He doesn’t need to rest, yet He spent a day of His creation doing just that. I believe it was an example for us to follow, showing us that since we are created in His image we also need to rest. Add in the fact that we are human, not deities and His point is made even more strongly!
To reinforce His point when Moses was given the Ten Commandments God again emphasized a day of rest.

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.                                            Exodus 20:9-11 NIV

A full day was set aside by God for the purpose of rest.

I like the way the King James version puts it:

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God…
                                                                                            Exodus 20:9-10a

I have been part of the Seventh Day Baptist denomination for most of my life. We are evangelical Baptists who hold to keeping the seventh day Sabbath of the bible as sacred time. (You can learn more about us here: We seem to see this day of rest differently than other churches I have attended over the years. Our Sabbath mirrors the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sundown Friday night and continues until sundown Saturday/Sabbath. While each person/family is free to celebrate the Sabbath in their own way there is something special about the day. For most it is more than fitting a church service into busy weekend, it is a time to slow down, take a deep breath, rest and worship.

feet & Lucy

I grew up on a dairy farm owned & run by my father and uncle. The only work they did on the Sabbath was to milk the cows and make sure the animals were fed, safe and healthy. It didn’t matter if Sabbath was the only day to get the hay in or if it was harvest time and it had finally stopped raining enough to pick the corn. Those tasks could wait. My parents did not take us to birthday parties or friends’ homes on the Sabbath. As a general rule we didn’t shop on the Sabbath either. It was family time, and often included a nap for Mom & Dad. As a kid I sometime thought it was a punishment to spend my Saturday differently than my friends. Now I realize that my parents both worked hard and needed a day to rest and prepare themselves physically, mentally and spiritually for the week ahead. The older I get the more thankful I am for the example they gave.

One of my most precious memories growing up were the rides we would often take on Sabbath afternoons. I sometimes thought it was boring, but now reflect upon how Dad knew people for miles around and would tell us stories as we traversed the countryside, checking the progress of a new barn or business or just enjoying God’s creation. We might pop in to say, “hi” to a family member or friend and visit for a while. I still like to ride around with friends and family, discovering new places, experiencing adventures and making new memories.

Do you experience a day of rest each week? Do you set aside time to stop, reflect and become refreshed? I hope you do, and whether your Sabbath falls on the same day as mine or another day during the week I hope you’ll realize the gift we have been given. Our lives are so filled with work and other activities and it is rare to stop long enough to catch our breaths and catch up with family and friends and worship our Lord together. We shouldn’t wait for a day to come along when we are excused from our everyday work in order to fit in this precious time.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! May it be a time of creating memories and perhaps reevaluating our schedules to fit in a time of rest every week. We might be surprised at how good it feels and the rewards we reap from the time we set aside.


Blessings & peace to you as you enter His rest this weekend!




We live on a major highway at a point where it changes from four lanes into two lanes. Several times a day horns blare as two cars meet the merge at the same time and are unwilling to yield to one another. I’m thankful there has not yet been an accident.


As I heard the blare of horns again this evening I realized how much of a challenge it can be for me to give in to God’s will instead of my own. Going along through life I often come to a place where I either yield to His lead or continue on my own path, leaving Him behind.

There are always consequences to the decision not to yield, sometimes more severe than others, but always pulling me farther from the Lord and destroying the peace of my life.

My prayers should echo the psalmist:

Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
    and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
    preserve my life according to your word.
                                                                     Psalm 119:34-37

The best part about yielding to God is the more we do it the easier it becomes. We find His will becomes our own until it becomes instinctive to look to Him before making decisions. Our friendship with Him is strengthened and our time together deepens.

Though it seems unnatural at first we will find that yielding control to the Lord brings a true peace to this puzzle of life.

blessings to you as you seek His will day by day.

Books I’m Reading

Close Enough To Hear God Breathe by Greg Paul

In Close Enough To Hear God Breathe the author encourages us to discover a closeness to God that few experience here on earth. He weaves personal experiences and stories with scripture to draw us in to know God more intimately.

The book reads like a story, describing Jesus and events of the Bible in comfortable language to bring it close to home. It is unlike any book I have read in a long time and I devoured it in a few sittings.

If you are looking for a closer relationship to the Lord this is a book I would recommend adding to your reading list!

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book  through BookLook Bloggers. I have not received any compensation by the author or publisher for this review.

Expecting Blessings

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you
and I know you by name.”

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” Exodus 33:17-18 NIV

Moses had a remarkable relationship with the Lord. From his birth God protected Moses from death, even when he messed up and ran away. God chose Moses for the extraordinary purpose of leading His people out of their slavery in Egypt to a land set aside for them to enjoy.

The task was not an easy one for as often happens when people get together there was negativity, complaining and whining over the long trip and lack of an abundance of food and water. The negative people seemed to infiltrate the ranks causing God to tell Moses they could still go to the Promised Land but that He would no longer go with them. (Exodus 33:1-6)

Moses wouldn’t accept this proclamation. He had grown so close to the Lord that Moses reminded Him that though stubborn and hard-headed these were God’s people and Moses couldn’t lead them without the presence of the Lord.

God relented and Moses pushed the envelope even further, asking God to show him His glory.

Would you dare request this of the Lord? Do you have such a closeness with the Lord that you know even if the answer was, “no” that you could ask whatever you wanted within God’s will and He would not be angered but instead pleased that you asked?

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”                                                                                                                          Exodus 33:19-20 NIV

God was so pleased by Moses’ desire to know Him better and draw closer to Him that the request was granted. But Moses needed to be put in a special place in order to see the glory of God. He had to be willing to do what God told him and be content with how God blessed him.

Treman Cleft In Rock
Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.
When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”                              Exodus 33:1-23 NIV

No one had ever dreamt of being so close to God, let alone seeing Him. Mind you this was not an angel but the very presence of God Himself. Moses was tucked away in the cleft of a rock and protected by God so that he could receive this blessing.

Blessings from God come in all shapes and sizes, often not in the way we are expecting or hoping with our earthly hearts. However God can’t bless us if we’re not open to and even seeking blessings from Him in whatever way He chooses to give them. Moses may have been expecting to see God’s glory in an entirely different way but didn’t question God’s methods. Instead he relished in the glory of God and the blessing he received, looking forward to the future whatever it held, knowing God would be with him.

I have been praying over the past few months for a difficult situation that I was certain I knew the solution to. As I prayed and sought God for resolution I received an unexpected blessing far different from I planned. It changes my perspective and leaves me wondering with anticipation what the future holds. I feel in a small way I have been placed in a cleft of a rock, waiting to see God’s glory come to pass in this situation.

Is there a situation in your life where you are desiring a blessing from God but perhaps are afraid to ask for it? If you feel unworthy, remind yourself that you are God’s child and He is pleased by blessing us. He desires to give us good things.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  Matthew 7:11 NIV

When we come to God with a humble spirit and a heart washed clean with confession and filled with adoration for Him we can be assured just as Moses was that our request for a blessing will be met.

Seek His blessings for your life today and then be looking for them, possibly in unexpected ways. You won’t be disappointed!

blessings and peace to you today!


A Servant’s Heart

Jesus washing feet

There’s an old hymn, Living for Jesus by Thomas O Chisholm that begins like this:

Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.

When I think of living for Jesus I also think of living the way Jesus did when He lived on earth, having a heart like His. As I begin to examine all Jesus did and said as He walked the earth I find that truly His heart was that of a servant. Although He is God Himself He lived to serve others and show then the love that runs deeper than human understanding.

I began to wonder, what does it mean to have the heart of a servant? A servant sets his or her needs and desires aside until those of the master are met. The only goal is to serve the master. The second verse of Living for Jesus reminds us of how the price Jesus paid as a servant here on earth should compel us to follow His example.

Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.

We are called to be servants of God and set aside our goals and desires while we serve Him, and in turn serve others in His name.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition and vain conceit, but in humility consider others better (more significant) than yourselves. Each of you should look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.   Philippians 2:3-4

Serving looks differently for each of us. For some it is meeting a financial need or providing a meal or ride. It may be helping with household chores or repairs, or perhaps lending a listening ear, a warm hug, or simply the presence of a friend. We are all called to pray for each other, lifting up needs and celebrating joys. (Romans 12:15)

 The third verse of Living For Jesus speaks to this very thing:

Living for Jesus, wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His holy Name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.

It goes against our human instincts to seek to serve our Master instead of serving ourselves, our wants and needs. Having the heart of a servant sometimes takes us out of our comfort zone. It compels us to listen to God and those around us instead of being quick to speak. We may also be called to reach out to someone different from us, but through our servanthood we give hope to others and hopefully point them to Jesus.

Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.


As often happens in the kingdom of God, when we are obedient to serving our Master and pleasing Him we find an interesting twist.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of heart.
Psalm 37:4

God is not a master who requires us to serve until we are weary and discouraged. He is so loving and generous to us that as we focus on serving Him and reaching others with His love we find our deepest desires are also fulfilled.


As we go through the week ahead may we focus on having the heart of a servant. Let’s look less at ourselves and more at those around us who could use a helping hand, listening ear or extra prayer. Let’s pray the prayer of commitment in the chorus of Living for Jesus, dedicating ourselves to Him.

O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.


As we look back at the end of the week we’ll be amazed at the blessings that have come our way!

Blessings & peace to you this week!


Still Waiting…

Have you ever heard the phrase, “active waiting”? I would dare to suggest that it is a biblical principle.

Waiting is a part of our lives, but one that frankly most of us don’t enjoy. Our society is becoming increasingly instant and those of us living in it decreasingly patient. If our internet doesn’t load a page fast enough we throw a fit. When our cell phone doesn’t have coverage it is an inconvenience instead of an opportunity. Speaking of cell phones, how long do you stand in line at the grocery store before yours is out of your pocket and you are texting or checking social media? Yeah, me too.

Waiting is an expected companion to our daily routine. While we might not like it most of us have found ways to accommodate, or even embrace it.

summer 3

When it comes to waiting for answers, well that’s something different.

Do you remember waiting as a child for an answer from your parents about whether you could do something you longed to do? Or waiting for a birthday or Christmas to see if you would receive that special gift you’d been longing for? As a kid waiting can seem unbearable. I’m not sure it gets easier as adults.

Many have been waiting a long time for an answer to a special prayer. I know I have. Whether it’s direction for the future, longing for a child, the dream job, or healing from a hurt or illness those prayers are precious to us and we don’t understand why we have to wait. It can be easy to question God and at times put our lives on-hold while we wait.

I have found this can be a mistake. Whatever the reason we are being asked to wait, life goes on around us. God expects us to be a part of it and gives us some principles in scripture for what we should do in the meantime.

1. Look inward:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

I do not believe every unanswered prayer is left unanswered because of sin but I think we should always begin by examining our heart and life for places where sin may be keeping us from God’s will and His answer.

2. Reach outward:
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Luke 6:38

It can be so easy to become focused on our prayers and desires that we forget about those around us who also have prayers. God may want to use us as part of His answer to them. By looking outside of ourselves, giving of ourselves through God’s gifts to us we will not only receive a blessing of being part of someone’s answer, we may find God giving us part of our answer in the process.

3. Never give up hope:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
omans 12:12

God will not abandon us. He may take us through a process before He can answer our most fervent prayer. There may be lessons we need to learn, a mission we need to complete or our relationship with Him may need to deepen before He is able to bless us with the answer we are seeking.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

If you are still waiting for the answer to that special prayer I encourage you to think about how you can wait actively, and remember to continue fixing your eyes on Jesus, seeking Him and a deeper relationship with Him. You’ll find the time will pass with unexpected blessings for you and those around you.


blessings and peace to you as you wait today…