Sunday, October 30, 2016

Finishing the Race Strong

Hebrews 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 

Philippians 3:14-21 "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus...But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing."


Running a race is never easy, regardless if you are a seasoned runner or are just starting to run for the first time. You begin your race strong and you run as hard as you can to keep up with the "fast" runners. Unless you've learned to hold your own tempo, you can quickly run out of steam those first few minutes. Part of running a race is endurance. When you start to get tired, you set little goals (I can make it to the next block). At times you need the crowd around you to keep you moving your feet toward that goal. Once you see the goal, that finish line ahead of you, you start to run faster. You run with more purpose. The end is in sight! 

I find it very interesting that God tells us to keep our eyes on the finish line. I think that God wants us to remember every day that we are running a race. He doesn't want us to be stuck in the middle of the race where we are having a hard time staying motivated. He wants us to fix our eyes on Jesus and push forward strong to the end. There is an elation at the end of the race to push harder those last few yards to make it across the finish line strong. That is how I want to run the race of my life...strong and with my eyes fixed on the finish line.

Through our journey last year with cancer, we were blessed to meet different people along the way. Some people we have met were diagnosed before Wayne and some were diagnosed after Wayne. Those who were diagnosed before us were able to give us some insight on what to expect. Early in the journey, I wanted God to be able to use me to help encourage and help others who were diagnosed after us. There is a common bond in sharing our experiences and understanding how to pray for people in the same circumstances. God was entwining our lives and our stories with many different people around the country. One couple that God introduced us to was Terry and Jan Kent. We discovered that we had many mutual friends, but God had never crossed our paths until Terry was diagnosed with brain cancer two months after Wayne. 

I was privileged to meet with Terry and Jan early last summer. It was the beginning of a friendship that I know was ordained by God. Jan has been a constant encouragement to our family, a prayer warrior, and someone I am blessed to call my friend. I am always amazed how God is weaving together a beautiful story in each of our lives. 

This week Terry finished his race here on earth. Although I didn't have the privilege of knowing Terry long, the impact of his life can be seen all around. He lived a life fully surrendered to God. God used his life to impact many lives around him. His passion was in glorifying God, in both his life and in his suffering. Terry had a passion for the lost and loved to share the HOPE of Jesus with everyone. He opened his home to strangers, he shared the love of Jesus with friends, he discipled and trained up younger believers, and even up until his final breath, he prayed for his neighbors and those who didn't know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. This man leaves behind an amazing legacy of faith to his family and a challenge to all of us to live fully for God, to live lives fully surrendered for the glory of God! Terry is no longer suffering and is rejoicing with his Heavenly Father up in heaven. Terry ran his race well and he finished his race strong. 

The challenge for us left behind is this: run your race full speed ahead keeping your eyes on the finish line. When God asks you to do something, even if it is crazy, don't be afraid to say YES! We never know how God is going to use our lives to impact those around us. Let's all finish running our races strong for the glory of God's name!! My prayer is to hear these words, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

Regardless of what we face in life, we know that God is with us and we can say "It Is Well With My Soul" 

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