All these people are known for their faith, but none of them received what God had promised. God planned to give us something better so that they would be made perfect, but only together with us.
We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Think about Jesus’ example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him. So do not get tired and stop trying. Â Â Â Â Â Â Hebrews 11:39-12:3 (NCV)
I have really enjoyed watching the Olympics this week. One of the advantages to owning my own business and working in a home office is that I can have the TV on whatever channel I want. The Olympics is truly awesome compared to the usual options. Praise God for a music option!
The discipline and commitment that the Olympic athletes and their families have given to their craft is humbling and inspiring. This passage from Scripture ran through my mind as I watched the Olympians.
Surrounded by Witnesses. How often have I heard a story how of a medal-winner watched another Olympian when they were a child and decided â€œI can do that!â€. And so it is in Jesus’ Church. The more we share our own journey, the more we encourage others, including the next generation. It’s not about â€œpreachingâ€ about what others should do but instead sharing a day-to-day story of how Jesus is in my life, in joy or sorrow.
Trials don’t defeat but strengthen. I suspect every Olympian has a story of some sacrifice (financially or moving away from home to train) or injury that derailed a training plan and threw doubt as to whether they would qualify or even compete. And so too, does every disciple have a story of great trial when doubt or a season came upon them that threatened to â€œderailâ€ the plan that God had for them. My flesh is a place of weakness that can cause me to focus more on the â€œgiantâ€ that I face instead of staying focused on my LORD who stands between me and the giant. Paul has that wonderfully inspired passage that tells me â€œsuffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope;â€ (Romans 5:4). It is never easy to see the positive aspect of trials at the time that the are happening. That is why for me journaling is a way to recall to my mind how God did see me through and have the faith and hope that He will do so again.
Never give up. There are also many stories of Olympians who almost made the decision to give up their training and quest to qualify for an Olympic opportunity. Young Gold-medal winner, Gabby Douglas, was so homesick and tired that she almost gave up one year ago. It was her family who supported her and encouraged her to pray and listen to what God had to say about it. I need encouragers in my life to help me not give up on the race God has given me to run (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). It is in that accountability and fellowship that I find strength to continue, listening to my brothers and sisters (Mark 3:35).
Hebrews 11:39 reminds me that I may not see the reason or answer of God immediately or even for years â€“ or ever. That is hard to accept. But my relationship with God is about faith. It is about believing in Someone and His something that cannot be quantified through my human reasoning. I am seeking what God has promised â€“ and it is â€œGoldâ€. There is no Silver or Bronze in God’s Kingdom. His reward is only perfection, no second best. The question is: Will I persevere to run my race and receive God’s promise? Yes, LORD, I will â€¦
Yes LORD, We Will Ride by Andy Park, sung by Lindell Cooley