It's All Grace

Amazing things can happen when you allow the Lord to work in your life.

How will you run, & will you conquer?

Hebrews 12:1-2   “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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A race implies an exact distance, a measured course, a starting place and finish line.  It is not a continuous loop that we can repeat over and over until we get it right.  Once the race has started, you cannot start over, go back and erase.  You must keep pressing forward.

The Christian life is also a race, one to endure.  It is not a sprint, it is more like a marathon, and similar to conquering the gauntlet.  There will be those who will not reap benefits, because they won’t run with patience (meaning to persevere & endure).

Many marriages won’t make it because they won’t stay together through the hard times.  The world says, “enjoy NOW” and God says “WAIT NOW & enjoy later”.  Marriage brings with it many obstacles, wounds, and weights even when there is rough terrain that may leave scars and hurts.  Stick it out.  Keep running, laying aside your weights that beset you.

Recently, I participated in an event with friends and family, knowing in advance I would be tested, stretched, left physically exhausted with possible bruises and cuts from trauma to my physical body.  I not only participated, but I had to register and pay a fee that would allow me to endure such things I did not know I would encounter.

Conquer the Gauntlet is an extreme 4 mile run/race/event with 30 + obstacles on grueling terrain, fire, barbed wire, walls to climb over, mud pits, etc., that will challenge you in every area that you can imagine, just as the Christian walk will do.

To endure and succeed in such an event, you must have determination, purpose and will-power.  Qualities required are honesty, courage, integrity and the like.  You will have to overcome or surmount physical, mental or moral force to be victorious, just as you do in your daily life as a Christian.

On this 154 minute journey (for me) in 96 degree temps, to “conquer the gauntlet”, I realized just how deceitful the heart can be.  Your mind and your body are not always in agreement when you are faced with an obstacle you must overcome, by going over, under or through it.  Going AROUND the obstacle that was provided to stretch you, only means you did NOT endure.  Your mind says you can do it and yet your body begins to argue, or vice-versa.

As we set out to run and conquer the gauntlet, we endured and encountered many things that I would like to share, but too many to write in one post, so I hope that you will check in and read the posts to follow.

How will you run the race, and will you finish well?  Will you finish the race standing up or will you be carried out on a gurney needing oxygen to help you breathe, etc?  Will you see it as an accomplishment or a regret and never run again?  How we view what is ahead, is in direct relation to how well we will finish.

Stay tuned as I will be writing about obstacles, weights, accountability, encouragement, thoughts, enduring & persevering, wounds, and even humor!

Conquering the Gauntlet was a journey I gained so much from . . . too much not to share!

One thing is for sure:  We look much different at the starting line, than we do the finish line, when we choose to overcome and conquer!

 

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Wasn’t it SMART of God to:

Give the Bombardier Beetle the ability to defend itself by shooting boiling liquid out of its abdomen.  (Thankfully this is an ability HE withheld from people.)

Design a few folks to be ambidextrous — a rare ability found in mostly ravenous growing boys anywhere free hotdogs are found!

Create cats and humans with very different ideas when it comes to personal hygiene.

Make nose hair not grow as long as the hair on our heads . . . and small scissors to keep it that way.

Make us unable to tickle ourselves so we can wash the bottoms of our feet and under our arms without uncontrollable laughter.

Give us the capacity to breathe around 23,400 times in a 24-hour period without giving it a lot of thought.

Design the human heart with enough pumping pressure to squirt blood 30 feet (but not for long).

Make some species of ribbon worms capable of eating themselves if they can’t find food.  (Be thankful God didn’t design us that way or “finger foods” would have a totally new meaning.)

We have an amazing creator that saw that all HE created was very good.  May we enjoy all HE has created and be thankful for all HE’s done to and for us, and NOT DONE!   Have a blessed day!

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Wasn’t It Smart of God To:

Make rain fall in little drops instead of one big one.

Put our feet as far as possible from our noses.

Give a new dad 9 months to prepare for how much his life with drastically change.

Give us hips to use as baby rests.

Give us lips so when we kiss we don’t bang our teeth together.

Give us 32 teeth so if we lose a few we still have some to chew with.

Give us gnats to test our patience and tongue control.

Wasn’t it smart of God to:  Design light and objects to make shadows.  (Otherwise there would be no sundials, no hand shades for the eyes, and no relief from the blazing sun under the trees and behind large rocks.  And we wouldn’t understand these beautiful and comforting words:  “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  Psalm 91:1)

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What’s In Your Wallet?

Saying Surrender.  Lord, I’ve heard people say, “Give God your wallet and He’ll have you.”  You have my wallet, God.  That’s easy — it’s usually empty anyway.  So, how do I begin to give myself completely?  “Give me your mouth, child.  It’s never empty.  Then I’ll have you.”  OUCH

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Wasn’t It Smart Of God To:

Make the palms of our hands flat so we can write notes to ourselves on them — and give us the ability to fold our hands when we don’t want anyone to know what we wrote.

Design the human brain to triple in weight between birth and adulthood — but wrinkle as it grows so it will fit inside our skulls.  (Speaking of brain wrinkles, if you removed your brain and flattened it with an iron it would cover an extra large ironing board — but that would really hurt!)

Make 300 million cells die in the human body every minute.  (Many preachers wish God would do the same for cell phones during sermons!)

Create a world that contains more chickens that humans — and then make us big enough so we won’t get eaten by them.

Give the alligator 2,000 to 3,000 teeth during its lifetime so we won’t complain about having to floss our measly 32.

What are you grateful for today?  Make sure you take every opportunity to laugh at yourself and love God!

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Wasn’t It Smart of God To:

Make our nose holes go down instead of up so when it rains we won’t drown.

Make aging a slow process instead of a sudden change, like while at youth camp.

Make our knees knobby so that we feel just enough discomfort to keep us alert and focused.

Give us nails to bite when we are nervous that aren’t made of metal and don’t taste like Brussels sprouts.

Cover our entire body with skin that flakes and sheds at a rate of up to 105 pounds during 70 years of living — and thankfully not all at once.

Have the spider be the first “web site” designer.

Design human legs perfect for straddling a horse or a Harley.  (Both are safe to ride if handled with respect.  Leather goes well with both.  And neither one needs a windshield.)

Not play “hide and seek” with us.  (Instead He plays ” seek and find” and promises our success!)

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Wasn’t It Smart Of God To:

Design Esau to be a skillful hunter and Jacob to be a quiet man living in tents so we know it’s okay to be country folk or city slickers!

Send us into the world with nothing and then take us back with nothing so we’re reminded that the most valuable thing in life is that we belong to HIM.

Make children washable and guaranteed not to shrink!

Design the human body to self-maintain by feeling thirsty when it needs water, hungry when it needs fuel, tired when it needs rest — and grumpy when any of those needs aren’t met.

Give instructions to parents to not spare the rod of discipline so the rest of us won’t mind being around their kids.

 

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Wasn’t It Smart Of God To:

Give us fevers so we will know when we are sick or in love.

Give us two eyebrows instead of one — and tweezers to help keep them that way!

Give us tongues so that when we talk we don’t “hown ike ikh”.

Make the human blood cell able to make a complete circuit of the body in about 60 seconds — guaranteeing that at least part of us is getting exercise!

Give us chiggers so that scratching feels good.

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Wasn’t It Smart of God To . . .

Make our lower jaws move when we talk instead of our upper jaws, so that when we talk our heads don’t violently bounce up and down!

Make our bodies using enough phosphorus to cover 2,200 match heads, but not ignite while filing our nails.

Make tooth enamel the hardest thing in our bodies.  (Some of us have skulls that run a close second).

Give us sweat glands on our foreheads that produce a different kind of moisture than our armpits so when we get nervous at least our faces won’t stink!

Design boy babies to not grow beards.  (It’s hard enough to potty train them, much less teach them to use a razor.  And the image of toddlers with full beards would be way too weird.)

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Wasn’t It Smart Of God To . . .

Make our bodies able to feel pain as a warning we’re hurt and give us tears so that others would know we’re not kidding!

Make our bodies with spare parts, such as toes, feet, legs, fingers, arms, shoulders, eyes and ears — but wisely giving each of us ONLY ONE MOUTH!

Design us so we can fold up to half our size in height.  This handy feature is especially useful when our beds are short-sheeted at youth camp!

Make us sleep with our eyes closed so we won’t see our spouses sleep with their mouths open!

Pack all our vital organs into our torsos so if we lose an arm or leg we’ll still be alive!

 

Laughter is good for the soul, heart AND the face!

Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth bones”.

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