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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Are You Blocking the Way?

Something to Ponder:

Salvation is not “home plate” . . . It is just first base!  If you’re going to “join the game”, keep running.  Don’t stop and stand, blocking the way for others to make a “home run”!

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Who Will Benefit?

Who do you love that will benefit from the ones who love YOU?  AND…who will you love based on the ONE you love?

Just yesterday, a precious friend of mine came (a great distance) to my house not only to get a hug, but brought with her “something of great monetary value” for one of my children to use and benefit from.

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Our youngest son Brady, is temporarily leaving behind karate and running, due to a bone spur in his foot, and has decided to take up bicycling in hopes that he can still be active and enjoying what life has to offer in spite of any physical setbacks that this life brings to his doorstep.  By the grace of God only, Brady sees his glass 1/2 full and not 1/2 empty.

This idea and encouragement came from my friend Tandy who has been cycling now for 6 years and just recently completed her 5th 100 mile ride!  She has not only encouraged him on this new adventure but provided a way for him, and brings to our home much experience and wisdom.

Tandy came to our home on Labor Day, seeking hugs FIRST, then the chance to spend an hour or so of intentional training and instruction about the “bike” that would carry our 16 year old son on a different journey, that WILL include obstacles he may have not yet encountered.  For her to send a text or email explaining these details, was not enough.  She was determined and purposed to see him face to face, ensuring that he “understood” the depth of instruction, hearing her voice, looking into her face, as his life would depend on his choice to be attentive to his surroundings and listen to instruction.

As I watched this unfold, I was reminded of how the Lord desires for us to look into HIS face, gleaning instruction, heeding warnings as HE always has our best interest at heart.

Tandy shared with Brady two first hand experiences and reasons to take this instruction to heart.  Two of those she rides with had been greatly injured and even killed due to situations out of their control – a place many times the Lord allows us to be, so that we will surrender to HIM and HIS ways.

Have you found yourself disregarding instructions from the ones who love you and have your best interest at heart?  Are you listening to instruction that could save your life?  Are you finding the blessings in those who love you?  Do you acknowledge God’s Hand in all that happens to you?

This morning I received a random text from Tandy asking if my mother had died from Multiple Sclerosis or Muscular Dystrophy?  As I gave answer to the cause of death, she told me she wanted to pin a picture of my mother and I on her back and ride in honor of my mother and her fight of Multiple Sclerosis!

Humbled and full of tears by a “woman of grace” who continues to love me and my family as a result of the ONE she loves.

God’s blessings continue to flow as a result of our love for Him.  Who are you loving and who will benefit?

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Conquering the Guantlet of Life!

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Three friends started on a journey together.  All smiles, looking pretty with a great outlook on the road ahead.  The road of life brings with it many obstacles that we must jump over, crawl under, go through in the dark, some laced with barbed wire, while some  you will be on your hands and knees with one eye open, battling the mud that someone has thrown at you!
This past weekend, our 15 year old daughter and two of her friends decided and purposed they would attempt to “Conquer the Guantlet”. . . AND THEY DID!  However, I must say, they looked and felt quite different when crossing the finish line, than they did on the starting line.  In the end, they were much dirtier and covered with mud, exhausted, fatigued, marred with cuts and bruises, thirsting for water and nutrition and not near as excited in the end as they were in the beginning.  This trio was relieved to cross the finish line standing up and breathing, yet ready to get cleaned up, lay down and rest.   *Psalm 23:2
Olivia, Megan and Kayla headed out together on a 4 mile journey along rough terrain that encompassed potholes and thick stobs – not exactly fit for running!  90 degree temps with high humidity only added to the difficulty of this event.  There were over 25 of the largest, most unique and challenging obstacles along this 4 mile stretch.  It was this 2 hour and 15 minute journey, that stretched these girls and pushed them to their limits, trying their physical, mental and spiritual ability like never before!
The further into the trails they went, each one began to realize just how important it is to “not go it alone”.   We need friends on this journey through life.  Not just “friends” but the friends that will encourage you and push you to keep running — not ones who will give up and encourage you to quit!  *Proverbs 17:17
They also began to verbalize what things they would lay aside next time, that were a (bothersome) “weight” for them.  For example:  their tu-tu’s – cute and fun, but not needed for such a race.  How many things do we carry through life that is not needed or just an added weight?  *Hebrews 12:1
It was neat to listen to them encourage each other.  As one began to grow weary, not sure she could press on or challenge the next obstacle, the other two would pipe up exclaiming, “YOU CAN DO IT” while pulling or pushing the other one up or over the obstacle.  The obstacles on this course were optional.  You could take the challenge or go around, watching others push themselves above and beyond what they “thought” they could do!  *Galatians 6:9
I was informed by my husband just minutes AFTER the starting gun went off, that I could go along the course and take pictures if I wanted to.  This meant I had to hurry and catch up!  I was able to follow along (tongue hanging, tail dragging and sweat pouring down between my spectacles) taking pictures while cheering them on!  I definitely was NOT equipped in the best attire or shoes to travel this journey with them, alongside them or even behind them, as I did not attend this event prepared for the same journey.
There were several different walls they were challenged to climb over.  Some were approximately 15 feet tall with different length ropes to run and grab, pulling yourself over then climbing down the other side.  Some were 8 feet tall straight up and down, some were 6 feet tall and slanted for you to run up as far as you could and climb over.  As I watched the girls on the 6 foot slanted wall, it was difficult for them to make it over.  So, two of them would get at the top (leaning from opposite side) while the other would run up the wall.  The two girls would grab her hands helping to pull her over.  They had great difficulty and tried several things to beat this obstacle. I was immediately reminded of how it is in life, when others will pull us down easier than we can pull them up.
**We don’t know what life’s journey holds, but the Lord does.  May we be prepared and equipped with God’s Word and great friends to embark on this journey through life that brings with it, rough terrain, obstacles, marred flesh, etc.  There is so much spiritual application to this event.  Hope you enjoyed the snippit of their journey to Conquer the Guantlet.
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