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.

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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.

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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,
Paula

 

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Habits ~ Words Worth Remembering Week #13

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NIV

I love to bake.

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…and I love to eat what I bake (or what anyone bakes for that matter!)

Eating too much of what’s not healthy for my body has become a bad habit for me.

I don’t mind exercise, but it has not become a good habit of mine.

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Combining these two have resulted in too many pounds and preventable health issues for my body.

The older I get the more intently I look at my lifestyle and realize that if I don’t change poor habits soon my physical challenges will only increase and I may miss out on adventures and experiences because of limited capabilities.

While this should be enough to instigate change, because I have struggled with these poor habits for so long it seems like I will never conquer them. I try again, mess up and then give up.

I start believing that I can never beat these bad habits.

Can you relate?

The thing is that I cannot beat these habits on my own. Not in my own strength. I’ve proved that over and over.

But the truth of today’s verse is that if I rely on strength greater than my own I can do anything.

yes, ANYTHING.

So can you!

God doesn’t promise isn’t that it will be easy. And He won’t do it for us. But  the strength of the Holy Spirit in and through us can beat any poor habit, bad mood, or self-defeating attitude.

The Lord also gives us others to walk along with us and help hold us up when our strength fails. We are called to encourage each other and build each other up. In a community of struggling believers we can find strength to overcome and then help others to find strength they didn’t know they had either.

Do you have a habit you need to change?

Need someone to help you find God’s strength to change it?

Share with us in a comment here, or send me a note at pauladavispeace@gmail.com.
I would be honored to pray for you and encourage you.

Let’s hide this truth in our hearts and find the strength to overcome anything that comes our way!!

 

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balancing Act ~ Week #7 Words Worth Remembering

But the Lord is faithful,
and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

                                                                                                     2 Thessalonians 3:3

I am on a quest for a healthier me and discovering how parts of our body work together to create the person who was ”fearfully and wonderfully made.’ (Psalm 139:14) There are so many elements it can be overwhelming to think about how intricately we are made by our Creator.

Lately I am learning a lot about balance including balancing the forms of exercise, how often to exercise, and measuring in the right amount of stretching, eating right and sleeping enough. The comparisons to other areas of our lives are almost endless and have been addressed by many others.

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The part of balancing that I hadn’t spent much time thinking about before is the idea of core strength. In order to properly balance our body our cores must be strong. Our body’s core is the abdomen and lower and mid-back regions – the center of us. The stronger our core, the better our balance will be, thus the less we are apt to fall.

In our spiritual lives our core is our relationship with the Lord
and the truth of His Word living in us.

The stronger our relationship is with the Lord and the more we know and live out His word the healthier our spiritual lives will be and the less apt we are to “fall” into the ways of the world and struggle in our daily lives. We make God our core and depend on His strength to bring balance when we feel off-balance.

Strengthening our physical core is not necessarily easy. While the range of exercises has become broader than the old-fashioned crunches, those exercises are not always fun and can cause a bit of pain in the process. But the pain (if it’s not extreme) means the exercises are working our muscles and making them stronger. As we are consistent with our exercises and increase our balance we are able to do things we never could before.

The same is true with our spiritual core. As we consistently spend time in prayer and God’s Word He will become our core and give us strength against the difficulties in life. As we rely on His strength to keep our balance we will find ourselves able stand up against anything the evil one tries to throw at us.

What are you working on balancing in your life? Can we help you find your balance and strength in Him?

blessings & peace to you!
Paula