Trust Issues

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Proverbs 3:5-6 to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” 

This past week, I had the opportunity to see the viral video, Kony2012.com.  You may have heard about this on the news or even seen the video yourself, but, if not, let me briefly explain its content.  Kony 2012 is a campaign by a San Diego-based charity called Invisible Children, and it was developed to bring global awareness of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.  Kony, a self-proclaimed Christian, is the head of a guerrilla group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which began in 1987.  The LRA began in Uganda, but has since moved to the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.   Kony claims that success for the LRA would mean a theocracy for these areas with laws based on the Ten Commandments.  But, there is a problem in his view of a sovereign government ruled by our great God.  Kony has used and continues to use extreme violence and immoral activity to fight this war he has raged.  In fact, over the years, Kony and the LRA have kidnapped more than 60,000 children to use as fighters or sex slaves.  It is also reported the LRA forces each child to kill their own parents so they won’t have homes to return to.  Needless to say, the video is heart-wrenching, and it has forced me to think and pray a great deal this week about the immense amount of evil in our world today. 

For me, it is incredibly easy to turn a blind eye to areas where evil abounds.  I like to remain content and happy in my neighborhood “bubble” which keeps me safe and sound.  When my eyes are opened to the horrific acts which are occurring even as I write, my emotions are overcome with a profound feeling of helplessness, and quite honestly, it shakes my faith.  I begin to question God.  But, as I’ve learned, questions can be good – especially when you take them directly to His Throne and allow Him to guide you in His Word for answers.  One word God kept bringing to the forefront of my mind was “trust.”  Do you trust Me Katie?  Despite the evil in the world and the innocent lives being affected as a result, do you trust Me?  I wanted to answer wholeheartedly, “yes!”  But, I really wasn’t sure if I did, and I realized I needed to reevaluate my heart on this issue.

As Christians, trust in our Holy God is crucial in our relationship with Him.  Isaiah 26:4 tells us to “trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”  Nahum 1:7 says “the Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.”  And, we are also told in the familiar verses of Proverbs 3:5-6 to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  Trust God.  Acknowledge God.  Seems simple enough – however, “trust” in its very nature, requires unanswered questions.  Therefore, in reality, our trust in our wonderful Heavenly Father is actually based on our acknowledgement of Him.  The word “acknowledge” in Proverbs 3:6 means “to know, to perceive and see, to find out and discern,” but it also means “to be made known or to be revealed.”  It’s not enough for us to read God’s Word and know His scriptures.  Our acknowledgement of God has to also be based on our observations of Him and His ways.  The more we observe Him, the more He will make Himself known.  In turn, our faith and trust will grow – allowing us to be content with our unanswered questions. 

So, yes, we will continue to experience evil in this fallen world – extreme, horrific evil – but, we serve a God who is good and trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28).  Do I still have unanswered questions?  Absolutely!  But, I recognize my questions are based on what is seen and temporal.  I must continually adjust my eyes to the unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18).  In the meantime, I rest in the words of our Creator in Isaiah 55:9 – “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Amen, my powerful and mighty Father.  Amen.

Until next week, relying on His ways… Katie

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Raising Warriors

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Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

As Daylight Savings has come and gone this weekend, I’ve been left wondering – where has this school year gone?  In my mind, it seems like yesterday I was taking my fourth-grade daughter to meet the teacher.  For that matter, it feels like last week that my now 12 (soon to be 13)-year-old son was saying, “hold you” to me so I would pick him up.  Where did the time go?  When did my children grow into the self-sufficient, self-motivated young people that they are, and where was I when this happened?  Ten years ago, I distinctly remember being in the grocery store with my children when an elderly woman said to me, “just watch, you will blink, and they won’t need you so much anymore.”  I think I just blinked.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on time lately, especially as my children are on the brink of innocence lost.  I can almost feel the world knocking at the doors of their hearts, just waiting to be let in.  Oh, how I don’t want them to open that door!  Don’t get me wrong, I want them to experience life – I simply don’t want them to experience the sin that accompanies it.  While our culture offers incredible opportunities to grow in a meaningful relationship with Christ, it also presents many other deceitful, more alluring avenues.  I’ve seen how this world can change a child – a once faith-filled teenager turned faithless wanderer, an all-American girl turned hopeless addict, a humble young man turned arrogant and prideful, a once shy student turned bitter and angry.  I could go on and on, and it leaves me asking myself, “Have I equipped my children for the spiritual war their hearts are about to face?”

One of my favorite pieces of scripture that Jesus spoke to His disciples referred to keeping a child-like faith in the midst of a self-centered society.  “At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  He called a little child and had him stand among them.  And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:1-4).  I pray my children will never lose that spirit of humility, and that their love (for Christ and this world) will “abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (Philippians 1:9).  For, I am desperate for them to grasp our extraordinary God and His Holy Word much sooner than I did!

In the meantime, I sit and wait for what the future will bring, and I try my hardest to be a good leader.  I realize while I have been given the precious privilege of being a parent, my children have only been entrusted to me for a short time.  I must use my time wisely and continue to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  I cling to and claim the words of Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”   I pray God will help me guide them to His mighty throne so they will recognize their particular place in His Kingdom and know their Creator has a specific purpose for them to  fulfill.  I need to focus my energy into training my children to not only be Christians, but also be active warriors for Christ!

So, today, as I reflect on the past decade, I am so very thankful for my babies – who aren’t babies anymore.  I cherish what time I have left to influence their decisions regarding their lives, and I recognize the urgency of the role I play.  May they continue to cultivate their relationship with our Heavenly Father and develop their spiritual armor so they will be ready for the battle that lay ahead.

Until next week, seeking to raise a warrior…Katie

You Are What You Eat

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Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, ‘It is written; Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Our bodies are magnificent pieces of machinery.  When our Creator sculpted us in His incredible image, He gave us not only a glimpse into His eternal realm, but He also left us with an amazing amount of imagery that correlates directly with His Word.  I saw this imagery last weekend when I attended a continuing education course on nutrition and our bodies.  The instructor who was leading the course at one point in her lecture said, “Simply put, you are what you eat.”  She continued saying if we make poor food choices on a regular basis, we will inevitably begin to feel awful; but if we fuel our bodies with what they were built to run on (the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, with little processed foods), we will experience a more active, healthier life.  Toward the end of the course, she assured us, if we began to consistently eat the way our bodies were intended to be fueled, we would crave the right foods and never desire to go back to the junk food way of living.  I left the lecture that day thinking about the choices I was making for my health, but then, as He is known to do, God redirected my thoughts.  While my food choices are essential to my well-being, my intake of His nourishment is indispensable to my soul.

As Believers, we know we are spiritual beings, and as such our bodies crave spiritual food – that food consists of two major components – Jesus Christ (John 6:55) and God’s Holy Word (Matthew 4:4).  They are what we were created to run on.  This concept is  illustrated beautifully in the Gospel of Matthew.  “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  The tempter came to (Jesus) and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’  Jesus answered, ‘It is written; Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:2-4).  Are we, as Christians, getting enough of God’s precious Holy Word so that our spiritual souls don’t starve?  Research shows we aren’t.  In fact, an article published at Christianity.com, showed that the number of Christians who read the Bible on a daily or even regular basis is dropping at an alarming rate.  It went on to state, “Nowadays, it seems, many (Christians) view Scripture, not as a book to read regularly, but as a text book one dips into when wishing to remind oneself of the basis of faith or when seeking an answer to some perplexing spiritual issue.”   What is wrong with us?  Are we just not getting it?!  After all, the Bible is God’s one and only published book – shouldn’t we, as His followers, be immersing ourselves in it on a consistent basis?  Or, maybe we are so used to filling our hearts, minds, and souls with the junk food of the world that we rarely allow ourselves the opportunity to eat the pure, non-processed spiritual food found only in His Word.

We must remind ourselves that reading the Bible occassionally versus immersion in the Word is the difference between a liquid diet and one of solid food.  The writer of Hebrews explains this –  “anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (5:13-14).  There are two phrases in this scripture that give us a hint as to what is expected of us in order to receive this solid spiritual food.  First, the words “constant use” are actually translated “a power acquired by custom, practice, or use; a habit.”  We must make reading His word a daily practice in our life, an act that comes as a natural response to living.  Second, the phrase “trained themselves”  means to “exercise vigorously the faculty of the mind for perceiving, understanding, and judging.”  Much like an athlete vigorously trains for his sport, we must vigorously train ourselves to be in His Word in order to digest His magnificent gift of solid spiritual food and subsequent nourishment for our souls. 

So, how are you feeling these days – depressed, anxious, sluggish, powerless?  Maybe it has to do with the food you are eating.  Go get His Holy Word and feed your soul today! I have a feeling, like the nutritionist assured me with my food choices, once you get a generous helping of Jesus Christ and God’s Word, you will never crave anything in its place!

Until next week, stuffing my face at His banquet table… Katie

Infectious Attitudes

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James 3:9-10 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers this should not be.”

I have a dear friend who got me thinking last week about infectious attitudes.  She did this through an event she recapped in the funniest way.  I asked her permission to share her story with you, because I think, like me, you just might relate. This is how she told it.

“Katie, you’re going to die when I tell you what I did the other day.  I’m so embarrassed over what happened that I don’t even want to tell you.  (She certainly had my attention now – she continued)  I was  driving morning carpool, enjoying the ride and talking with my son, when it happened.  I made a turn from a stop sign, and as I turned, I noticed an older gentleman walking his dog in the middle of the other lane.  As I got closer to him, I could see he noticed me as well, because he was screaming at me to slow down and obnoxiously waving his hands to emphasize his anger with me.  As I passed by, completely annoyed at the ugliness I had just witnessed, I couldn’t help myself –  I had to turn around and give that man a piece of my mind.  After all, I wasn’t speeding, and he was walking in the middle of the road!  As I rolled down my window to make him see the error of his ways, my plan backfired.  Embarrassingly enough, we ended up having a shouting match with absolutely no resolution.  As I drove away from him, I was so mad at myself for turning around!  I should have let it go.  But, I didn’t!  Instead, I let his mean get all over me!”

Can you relate? Oh, how I can! I loved her analogy “I let his mean get all over me!”  Have you ever let someone’s mean get all over you?  I have many times.  It’s certainly not something I’m proud of, it’s just the truth.   As a result of my retaliations, I always had regrets.   Regret for not holding my tongue.  Regret for not having self-control.  Regret for not honoring my heavenly Father with my actions.  It reminds me of James’ words, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless…With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers this should not be” (James 1:26, 3:9-10).  No, it should not be.  Mean for mean is unspiritual.  But, how do we fight our flesh?  Simply put, as followers of Christ, we must be willing to accept the offenses of others with humility and silence our precious pride. 

In the Gospels, Jesus tells us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to treat others as we would have them treat us.  It’s radically different from what our society tells us to do!  When we are offended we must be willing to turn the other cheek and stand with Jesus.  Please know, this is not a weak form of complacency.  It’s a strong, self-determined, God-motivated love for Christ.  Can you imagine the impact we, as Christians, could have on our culture if we truly practiced everything Jesus preached?  Our Christ-like attitudes just might become contagious!  

This week I challenge myself and each of you in the body of Christ to start a revolution.  “Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).  “Rid yourself of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips” (Col. 3:8).   Immerse yourself in His word which breeds wisdom that is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit” (James 3:17).  In doing so, you just might infect someone’s attitude with the life-giving Spirit of Christ.

Until next week, striving to start a revolution…Katie


Filling Your Love Tank

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Ephesians 3:17-18 “be rooted and established in love so that we may have the power to understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

God had me thinking about the concept of love recently.  I don’t know if He used last week’s date of February 14th to peek my interest in the topic or if it was just time for me to reflect on how His abounding love has transformed my life.  Regardless, as the hoopla of Valentine’s Day came and went, I realized just how much my image of love has changed.  Believe me, it’s been a long, hard lesson for a self-confessed “love junkie” like me to learn.  Let me explain.

For many years, I looked to those around me to fill my need for love.  I would crave the attention, adoration, or affection of my family and friends; then, however much I received, or didn’t receive, of this love would determine my emotions and subsequent actions.  I don’t want to sound dramatic, but it was like an addiction – one that left me looking to anyone for my next “fix.”  I found myself in a self-centered cycle of sin which, looking back, brought with it many self-inflicted scars.  You see, the pressure I put on those around me (in particular my spouse) to satisfy a need only my Heavenly Father could fill was like putting a square in a round hole – as much as I tried to make it fit, as much as I wanted the love of those around me to fill me up, I was always left with some empty space.  This emptiness would inevitably leave me looking for someone to blame.  Praise God, after much soul searching and mis-guided finger pointing, I found who the guilty party was – me!  I had placed myself in a position where my so-called “love tank” would never get filled, and I knew I needed to make some changes.  Our compassionate God gently spoke those changes to me through His precious Holy Word.

 As Believers, we know God is love (1 John 4:8), and we were created in His image (Genesis 1:27).  Therefore, to experience love is an essential component to our being.  In fact, even a study in Forbes magazine called “The Science of Love” concluded love was more of a “primal drive akin to hunger, than it was an emotion.”  Knowing this, what happens when we run on empty in that department?  I mean, let’s face it, we are sinful people having relationships with other sinful people, and, on top of that, we live in a sinful world – most likely, no one is getting their fill of love purely from those around us.  The fact is, while we were made for love, we were made specifically for God’s love, and only He can fill our alleged love tank.  Don’t get me wrong, as humans, we can enjoy, esteem, and cherish the love of our family and friends, but we are not to rely on it.  We must, as our Father tells us through the disciple John, “rely on God’s love” (1 John 4:16) alone, and trust me, it’s an incredible, unconditional, individual type of love!  

But, there’s even better news – the only prerequisite God requires of His children to experience His amazing love is for us to open up our hearts to Him through our time and cultivate a more intimate relationship.  After all, we can’t truly receive the love of someone without knowing who they are.  The apostle Paul tells us we must “be rooted and established in love (or God) so that we may have the power to understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17-18).  We can’t grasp the love of our Savior without developing roots where it can grow.  Rest assured, when it grows, you are blessed with the most incredible taste of true love – a love which surpasses this life into eternity. 

How is your love tank these days?  Are you  trying desperately to fill it with the love of those around you?  Or have you found, the only true spiritual gas station for your tank?  I have to be honest, while my image of love has changed over the years, it continues to be a daily struggle for me to look only to God to fill me.   My flesh can be strong.  Without consistent redirection, it can guide me to the wrong fueling station, leaving me with that familiar feeling of emptiness.  Where are you fueling up?  Do you need redirection?  Have no doubt, there is a station close by where your love tank can be filled, and its Attendant is always waiting with a surplus of fuel!

Until next week, making my way to His station and standing at His pump…Katie

Stepping Into God’s Zone

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2 Corinthians 12:10 “That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Well, He did it again.  God stepped into my comfort zone and challenged me to step out.  He enjoys doing that every now and then to make sure I stay on my toes, because, admittedly – I like to be comfortable.  I’m not fond of embarrassing, awkward, unpleasant or self-conscious situations, and I certainly don’t take pleasure in willingly putting myself in those circumstances.  But God does.  I’ve found it’s where He does His best work.

God took the initiative to confront me through a comedian named Michael Jr. who recently spoke at our church at a special Sunday night service.  His presentation was hilarious, but even better was the message his material brought – step out of your comfort zone and God WILL have your back.  He went on to explain how God had blessed him with this amazing ability to make people laugh.  It was a gift – a gift Michael Jr. knew needed to be shared with those who were hurting the most across America.  So, he decided to step out of his comfort zone and see if his gift could make a difference.  In his words, he decided it was time to stop “getting laughs and start giving them.”  So, on the road he went.

God led him to several different venues – a homeless shelter, a shelter for abused children, a clinic with HIV patients, but one of the places that pushed Michael Jr. out of his comfort zone the most was a highly secured prison facility.  It was where God wanted him to go, but certainly, not where he wanted to be.  He tells the story of walking into the prison, and for the first time on this journey, being scared.  He had no idea what he was going to say to these men.  He began to pray, “Lord, you have brought me here.  What am I going to say to these men who are facing life sentences behind bars?  How can I give them laughter?  How can this gift you have given me affect these men?”  Michael Jr. literally had no material as he walked into the room filled with men who had absolutely no expression on their faces.  He says he stepped on stage full of fear feeling completely alone.  But he wasn’t alone.  God was there, and He had been preparing for Michael Jr.’s arrival.  You see, as Michael Jr. looked out into the audience of men, one man in particular caught his attention.  It was a man with long white hair and a white beard.  Seconds passed.  Michael Jr. says he still didn’t know what he was going to say or how he was going to get these men to trust him enough to laugh.  He then, on a whim, decided to ask the older man what his name was – his answer – “Moses.”  Michael Jr. knew immediately his Lord was not only there, but He had his back!  He finished telling the story in a hilarious way, saying he looked at the man and exclaimed, “Moses, I want you to do me a favor.  Tomorrow, I want you to go to the warden, look him straight in the eyes and say, ‘warden – let my people go!’”  The entire room broke out in laughter, and by the end of the show, lives were changed.  Did you get that?  As a result of his discomfort, as a result of his obedience, lives were changed.  Are there lives around you that need to be changed?  Is God calling you to possibly change your life by doing some work for Him?  Rest assured, you don’t have to visit a prison to make a difference.

Stepping out of your comfort zone has many different facets.  It can be the more obvious physical step of faith – serving at a local shelter, volunteering in your community, going on a mission trip, or befriending someone who is different from you.  However, stepping out of your comfort zone can also be an emotional step of faith – letting go of anger or bitterness and allowing joy to dwell, offering forgiveness in what seems to be an unforgiveable situation, allowing peace to reign in a season of chaos, or being kind to those who are cruel.  Both types of steps require spiritual courage, and both can be difficult.  After all, it’s scary when we step into the unfamiliar territory of what I can only call the “God zone.”  God’s zone challenges us.  It makes us rely solely on His power, and that can be frightening.  Remember when Moses was called by God to save the enslaved Israelites, he exclaimed, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it” (Exodus 4:13). Even the Apostle Paul was scared to step out of his comfort zone as seen in his letter to the Corinthians, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3).  When God calls us into His zone, we subject ourselves to rejection, disappointment and hurt, so our flesh pulls us in the other direction.  But God wants us to put our insecurities into His mighty hands.  He wants us to celebrate our weaknesses instead of running from them so that His power may be made perfect.  Both Moses and Paul saw this incredible  power first hand.  In fact, as a result, Paul gave us some words of wisdom when we doubt our ability to step out of our comfort zone, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

If we want to experience the magnificent power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it is essential for us to step into God’s zone and out of our accustomed one of comfort.   God will be there waiting for us.  Remember, when we make that courageous move, He WILL have our back.  May we hold each other accountable in making those steps of faith.  For as a result of our steps, lives will be changed – and that life may be our own.

Until next week, desperately trying to take a giant step into His zone… Katie

Running Through Stings

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Romans 5:3-4 “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.”  
My husband, Allen, and I are training for our second ½ marathon (we ran our first one a little over 13 years ago, so we felt it was time to torture ourselves again).  Anyway, for the past ten weeks we have been diligently hitting the treadmills or the streets, trying to prepare our bodies for the day of the race. We have scheduled our long runs to be on Sunday afternoon, and I have to say, I rarely look forward to them, as they have cut into my routine of church, lunch, and nap – not run!  Nevertheless, a couple of Sundays ago,  our training schedule had us making our first 11-mile run.  I wasn’t looking forward to it!
As always, the first few miles weren’t bad at all, but once we hit mile 8, we certainly had to push ourselves to finish.  Then, while we were closing in on mile 10, our run was unexpectantly  interrupted.  Allen had stopped, hunched over, and was grabbing his eye.  I kept my feet moving (I feared if I stopped, I might not start again).  I looked back at him and asked what was wrong.  No answer.  He was still stooped over, and I could see him rubbing his eye intensely.  Now, a little worried, I jogged back to him; and once there, I knew my feet had to stop along with his.  After Allen struggled with his eye, he finally regained his composure and was able to tell me what was wrong.  Something had flown into his eye and stung it! I thought he had to be mistaken, bugs don’t fly into your eye and sting it, but he was right.  Some sort of bug had flown in, out of nowhere, and landed on his eyeball and stung it – it was bloodshot and already beginning to swell.
I asked Allen if he wanted to stop or walk the rest of the way back (after all, he couldn’t see out of his eye), but he was determined to finish the run.  We started back, slowly but steadily picking up our speed, and before long, we were finished.  The pain in Allen’s eye was still there, and you could see the effects of the sting; but his vision had cleared up.  We laughed at how odd that was – a bug flying around, that happened to land on and sting his eyeball.  It was definitely an interruption we hadn’t foreseen and certainly one we couldn’t have planned on!   I thought isn’t that what our life here on earth is all about?  Those crazy, painful interruptions we don’t see coming.  They hit us head on, skew our vision, and stop us in our run with Christ.
Over the past year, I’ve seen many of those stings in my circle of family and friends, as I’m sure you have – the sudden death of a loved one, the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, the illness of a child, an addiction gone awry, the aftermath of a natural disaster, the loss of a job – the list goes on and on.  And while Jesus is clear to His followers that we will face suffering on this earth, His foresight doesn’t make the hurt and the heartache go away. In fact, sometimes the wounds those stings leave on our lives are devastating, and we are left with a choice to pick back up and continue running with Christ or to stop the race all together. I’ve seen both choices made, and only one breeds hope and eternal life.
As Christians, we are told to rejoice in our sufferings (1 Peter 4:13) and to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2).  However, how do we do that?!  The answer – we can’t!  We weren’t made to.  But our Savior was.  It is only through the power of Jesus Christ we can allow our “suffering to produce perseverance, perseverance, character and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4); and, therefore, “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).  We must endure this life in order to reap the extraordinary benefits of the life to come.  But that endurance must be sought.  In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us to “pursue endurance” (1 Tim. 6:11) – “endurance that is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 1:3).  Strong’s concordance tells us this word endurance Paul speaks of means “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and suffering.”  Read that definition again.  Have you seen this type of spiritual endurance in action?  Over the past few years, I have.  I’ve seen it in men and women of faith who have prepared themselves for the stings of life through their complete devotion to our Lord and their unwavering faith in the hope He promises.  How grateful I am to those who, through their pain and anguish, have given me a glimpse of our Father’s love through their loyalty to Christ!
Yes, we will suffer, but we suffer with hope.  We continue running through the stings, and we endure the after effects – being certain that one day “He will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things (will have) passed away” (Rev. 21:4).  What a beautiful picture we are painted of our eternal destination!  In the meantime, through our tears and our heartache and our pain, we keep our eyes focused on the prize that awaits – assured we aren’t running this race alone.  For we have a great cloud of witnesses running alongside of  us, and the mighty power of our Savior within us.  Thank you Lord.  Thank you.
Until next week, running the race (stings and all)…Katie