Staying the Course and Keeping Our Faith

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“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 30:31

I like to compare running to my life as a Christian. Paul’s comparison in 2 Timothy is probably one of my favorite analogies in the Bible. We learn from Paul that trying to follow a path approved by God and trail blazed by Christ is hard. He doesn’t sugar coat the narrow road. He tells you up front that Christian Living doesn’t mean easy living.

I have running goals. One is to increase my speed to finish a 5K in under 30 minutes. Another is to train for and run a 10K in the spring. I also want to run more on the hills during a race, instead of giving in to my burning legs and walking.

My goals are modest compared to other runners, but not easy. To achieve these goals I will need hard training, focus on the goals, stamina, and faith that I can do it.

God has goals for each of us. Like running, our goals require discipline, training, focus, and faith. Our goals are not all the same. They will be difficult. Sometimes we will feel like God is making us run uphill. We will meet adversity. Others will criticize our actions and us personally.

The hard work will pay off. We can run our race successfully when we, like our woman in Proverbs 31, fear God above all else in our lives. When we keep our focus on Him, He leads us through the course. Don’t be discouraged by others who stand like obstacles on your route. Keep running.

Blessings!

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Making Tough Choices With Courage

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Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our decisions could be based simply upon what is right and what is wrong? In a perfect world, the right decision would be easy to see, cause no harm, and always “feel” like the right choice.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the way our world works.  Occasionally we are faced with choices that will hurt others no matter which decision you make.

As a teacher, I often have to choose between devoting more time and energy to my job and spending time with my kids.  Putting in more effort at school, staying later, bringing home more work, and spending more money on my students can be very helpful to them.  I may be able to reach a student in a different way.  I may be able to take them further through the curriculum.  The added effort may be the difference in this kid passing state tests or failing.  But at what cost for my own kids?

When I stay late at school or bring home piles of papers to grade, my own kids lose their mom.  That extra time should also be spent folding clothes, cleaning house, and playing with my kids. Darling Daughter LOVES to spend her evenings reading books and singing songs with us.  Superhero Son wants to spend every moment drawing treasure maps, creating “movies” with his action figures, and reading his books about superheroes.  Don’t they deserve my time?

Then again, my students deserve the best teacher they can get, too!

Tough decisions face us around every corner.  It stinks when we know our choices will hurt someone no matter which direction we choose.  We pray for guidance, we hope for miracles, and we ask others for help.

Sometimes we even come across those choices that take great courage.  Jesus is a great example of a man who needed great courage to do what was right by God.  He also didn’t worry too much about hurting the feelings of others.  He was truthful and confrontational.  That takes courage!  For those of you facing one of these decisions, a choice that will require courage, go pray about it.  Take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone!

Blessings!

 

Standing Alone: A Lonely Journey Down the Narrow Road

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“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14)

Our middle and high schoolers at church began a new study this week.  We started Courage by Francis Chan.  It is the amazing story of the book of Daniel and how it applies to the lives of our youth.  After just glancing through, I realized this message is vital to their growth as young Christians.

Francis Chan begins the unit by sharing Matthew 7:14.  After watching the video of student vignettes, my group of middle schoolers talked a lot about feeling alone as Christians.  We discussed how it is way easier to follow the world’s rules instead of God’s rules.  They agreed that it is easier to follow the crowd than stand alone.  Feeling left out is no fun at all.

Granted, they all said they had parents who would back them up in their Godly decisions.  However, they all said they wanted a group of friends who would support those decisions as well.  They also said they wanted to be the voice of encouragement for their friends when those friends face tough choices.

I wish someone had explained this to me when I was younger.  I think I thought following God was supposed to be easy if it was right.  I didn’t realize the world would judge by a different standard.

It is amazing to watch and listen to these kids as they discuss these tough issues.  They are a great group of kids, and I am blessed to be a part of their journey each Sunday morning.

How are you encouraging those who feel alone today?

Blessings!