Wednesday, November 30, 2016

FINISHING WELL




Run and not grow weary...




Isaiah 40:
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.



When I was younger and applied myself I could run long distance. I discovered that pacing, breathing and focusing on my destination kept me moving forward. I found that there is a second wind when you push through the initial waning of power.

It’s not that runners do not get weary; they do. But, they have learned to use their energy, stride and preparation time wisely. There is a certain toughness that pushes through when the flesh says it’s time for a jump in the pool.

The ancient writer wrote:


Hebrews 12: 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.


In waiting, trusting and resting we train for the human race. We learn from those who have run ahead and alongside us—this great crowd of runners. We learn to let go and put aside the things that slow us down.

We train for life’s race by looking at Jesus’ example. He pressed on and covered the distance because of the joy of winning. People who keep running have learned to pace themselves in ways so they do not lose heart. The runner has the advantage of using their time well and covering lots of ground.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

FLYING ABOVE



Isaiah 40:
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.


Soar on wings like eagles…

An eagle has learned to rest his wings on the updraft that will take him higher. From a great height the eagle can see with precision that which it is hunting for. By resting its wings until the last moment, an eagle dives with great speed upon its target.

At the last moment the skilled wings are poised to slow its descent and the hungry bird is satisfied with its prey.


Ephesians 2:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 


Waiting on God is likened to a soaring eagle. The wind does most of the work to lift the bird to great heights where it can see a great distance. There are many times in life when we need a higher view of our surroundings and circumstance. Pity an eagle that has to walk along the ground looking for its next meal. It will settle for a diet of bugs or road kill instead of fresh meat.


Waiting on God allows us to be lifted above by the wind of God’s Spirit. God wants us to share the view from above.



Thursday, November 24, 2016

EAGLE VISION AND A GOOD PAIR OF SHOES


What does a high-flying bird, a marathon runner and a man or woman taking a walk have in common? 



They all have an advantage and perspective that helps them in their journey. They are all moving forward and are getting somewhere. Their exertion is balanced with their self-care.

Eventually a bird will roost, a runner will pace his or her self and a walker will sit on a bench before continuing.

Part of the rhythm of being a Jesus follower involves learning to rest, trust and wait.

Have you noticed that people who are impatient have a hard time finishing well?


Isaiah 40:
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.


Let’s look closer at the advantage that comes from resting, trusting and waiting on God. We see the distinct advantages of an eagle, a runner and a walker.




Monday, November 21, 2016

SLEEPING IN STORMS, WAKING WITH SOLUTIONS

There are good examples from Jesus of choosing rest over endless activity. Do you remember the story of him sleeping in the boat? After a strenuous, busy day of teaching and serving the crowd, Jesus makes the call for rest. They needed to leave the work in the crowd unfinished and go somewhere else. So, they climb in a boat and head across the lake.


Mark 4:
37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”


Jesus knew the value of resting. He worked hard and he slept solid. They had to wake him up in the middle of a storm. He was able to rest because he fully trusted in God. When the proverbial ‘what if’ hypothetical situation actually materialized, he was able to respond to the crisis with authority.

Jesus was able to sleep in storms and wake with solutions. When people are uncertain about what to do, there is an old adage about ‘sleeping on it.’ The disciple of Jesus learns the value of ‘resting on it’. I do not have peace or a solution today, so I commit myself to the care of God and rest in spite of my unanswered concerns.

We have often read of the Master leaving the crowd to be alone or sometimes with a smaller number of friends to pray and wait on God. Then he would resume a full life of meeting with people, travelling and working at the Heavenly Father’s business.

 Followers of Jesus can learn much about work and rest from the One who worked six days and rested on the seventh. What happens to us if we do not learn to rest? What happens if we keep going without a break?

Without rest you will find yourself restless. Without a break, you will break. Sometimes people burn out and give up following Jesus because they have not learned to trust God and rest when God rests.


Galatians 6:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 


There are people who grow weary in doing good things. When change does not come as quickly as they had hoped—when they meet resistance and ingratitude, they are tempted to stop. What is the use of trying?

If we can only measure by the things our flesh craves, we will be disappointed and give up doing the best things.  If we look at Jesus we find someone who stayed on course because he knew how to rest and how to wait for the slow moving growth.


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