Saturday, May 19, 2007

Race to Win!

I Corinthians 9:24-25  "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
For those who do not know this about my family and me, we are HUGE NASCAR Fans. Tonight is {after the Daytona 500} about as good as it gets in NASCAR!  Tonight is the All-Star race, only the best of the best are on the track and it counts for money and prestige only, no points towards the championship.  All the drives are going to race their hardest but in the end only one will come away with the big $1,000,000+ prize (and bragging rights for life).  What I think I love about NASCAR that I don't see nearly as often in most other professional sports (perhaps even rarely) is that when you see the drivers away from the track nearly all {if not all} of them are decent, family men...and most importantly to me they are Christians!  They begin each race with a prayer - what other sport can claim that anymore?  Then they sing the national anthem and we all listen as someone gives the most famous words in motor sports, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!"  But at the end of the day, away from the cars, away from the hype, away from the crowds & chaos, these guys know what Paul was telling the Corinthians in the above passage: that in life we "run in such a way as to get the prize..." and that prize for Christians is "a crown that will last forever" as we are all Princes and Princesses of the King of all Kings!  I believe we need to throw ourselves into everything we do in life with 100% of what we have to give, and to try our best to keep our eye on the ultimate prize of eternal life and let God's love reflect in us.  Then we can make it to the finish line knowing in our hearts and minds that though we stumbled and fell along the way we tried our best, we repented when needed and we showed love and compassion to all our fellow competitors whenever possible.  I pray today that you are able to focus on the only prize we need to win.  I pray that we put ourselves into strict training by keeping our hearts and minds focused on God and making time each day to spend with Him in prayer and in His Word.  I thank you for continuing to join me in praying for Summer's healing, thanks & praise for healing already received and asking our heavenly Father to please continue His awesome healing power in her.  I also continue to be grateful that you are joining me in prayers for strength, comfort & peace for her family, and also for the families of those in service to our country here and abroad.  Please join me in remembering to pray for our service men and women's protection & deliverance as they stand guard and fight to protect us and our country.  I ask a new prayer this morning, as with Summer I do not wish to go into great details for the privacy of these individuals and their families but may you please remember in your prayers: Nick, Wayne, Pat, Sharleen, and Meg for healing; and as always for each other as brothers and sisters, princes and princesses in Christ for peace, comfort, protection, love and favor. 
Have an awesome & blessed weekend and week ahead!
Love through Christ,
NOTE FOR NEXT WEEK: My family and I will be out of town for the day on Saturday, looking at houses with the hopes of buying one soon, and I am not sure whether I will be sending a message on Friday or Sunday but I will still send one.  Thanks for your patience, understanding and continued interest in my weekly thoughts!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

God Created Mothers

To all moms, grandmas, aunts, step-moms, and special women who act as surrogate moms where needed I pray that today you feel as special as you make everyone around you feel all of the time!
Isaiah 66:12a & 13  "For this is what the LORD says...As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.""
The word special does not seem to cover enough of what mothers really are, they are the glue that holds families together, they are the nurturer who gives their families what they need to stay strong and grow, I know that mothers are so many other things to each of us...and, as in the above verse, they comfort their families and children on a level that people recognize so greatly that our Lord compares His promise of comfort to that same loving way that our mothers comfort us.  God knows that mothers are amazing...HE created them that way!!  I tend to believe that He knows what He's doing so I believe it was pretty intentional for mothers to have all the qualities and characteristics that they have.  I think we should most definitely celebrate mothers today and show them how much their love and comfort and support has helped make us who we are...but I think we should not wait until this once a year day to show and tell our moms all of this, we should take every opportunity to tell our moms that we love them, we appreciate them and we are thankful that God created them to be our mother!!  I hope my own 3 moms, 3 grandmas, many aunts, and my godmother know that I love, respect, appreciate and thank God for them each day...I would not be who I am without each and every one of them!  I pray that we all take time each day to thank our wonderful heavenly Father for creating for us such amazing earthly mothers!  I pray we are able to remember to make our moms feel special all throughout the year and especially today.  I ask that we continue to please pray  for Summer and her family, praising God for all He has already done in her healing process and asking for His amazing healing touch to continue to bring Summer along to a full recovery.  Please, in prayer, let us remember our troops, some of whom are themselves mothers who may be thousands of miles from their own children as they fight to keep our country free, many of whom have mothers who they rely on for emotional support and most of whom probably credit their mothers as being a big part of who they are.  I pray that each of you are surrounded by God's love, protection, favor and blessings today and always.
Love through Christ,

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Raising Your Ebenezer

1 Samuel 7:12  "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us.""
In my journey so far this year of reading the Bible on a one year plan I have found that, for me, the Old Testament can be difficult to read at times.  There were a lot of battles recorded, a lot of lineage and a lot of betrayal.  In 1 Samuel 7 the Israelites were afraid of the Philistines and were asking Samuel to pray for them and on their behalf to our God whom they had not necessarily been all that faithful too.  In verse 12 they had just been granted by God a victory and Samuel praised God and raised this stone and said how God had helped them thus far.  Samuel knew they had a long road ahead of them but he also knew the value in being thankful for every victory.  Maybe in our everyday lives we have forgotten to give credit where credit is due.  I know on my "bad" days it is extremely hard to remember that God has already done so much for us, for me...but I try very hard to push myself to remember that "Thus far the LORD has helped us."  HE has and will continue to help each of us in all we do.  It's not an easy thing to remember when we feel our lowest, I know this because I have been there and will probably be back there again...that is what the evil one wants, he wants us to stay in despair and feel defeated.  This is why it is so important to push ourselves to remember to thank God for all He has already done for us, all He has helped us through thus far...and then I truly believe it will naturally follow that when we begin to remember all He has helped us with and thru then we will also begin to hold fast to our hope and faith in all that He will still accomplish through us and for us in our days, weeks and years to come. So today let us each raise our own Ebenezer and take it a day at a time remembering that God is helped us thus far and He will continue to grant His promises for our lives as we continue to set our hopes in Him.  I pray for each of you today that you are able to really see God's victories in your life that thus far HE has helped you achieve.  I pray you are blessed and protected and surrounded by His love, joy and peace.  Please join me in continuing our prayers Summer and her family, for our military and their families, and for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Love through Christ,
Hymn: Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing @