1 Corinthians 9:26-27: Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
How many of you watched the Kentucky Derby yesterday? I did! It was incredible to see the strength, muscle and determination of the horses, trainers and jockeys. They are racing with one goal in mind…. to make it to the winners circle where they will be draped in roses. Always Dreaming accomplished his goal yesterday.
We are all running life’s race. Many around us are running the race of career, good works or religiosity, but few are running the race of faith. They are not running with aim or determination. Our race lasts longer than Always Dreaming’s 2 minutes 3.59 seconds. It lasts a lifetime.
Look at Jesus as you run your life’s race. When you’re looking at Jesus, you will not stumble or become discouraged or distracted. You will find the energy and example you need to run this race of faith. He will become your sole goal.
Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Tomorrow is May 1st, and with it comes the tradition of hanging May baskets on the doors of those you love. I look forward to listening for the giggles of two special little people before they find the courage to hang their May Day basket and ring the doorbell as they dart into the back yard. I rush out the door behind them trying to catch them as I cover them in kisses. And so the tradition continues…..
Jesus celebrates May Day differently. Jesus STANDS at the door. Jesus does not run when the door is open for me to chase until I can catch him. No, instead Jesus comes in to eat and live with me all the days of my life!
Jesus STANDS with arms open waiting for you to open the door. Will you let Him in?
John 10:27-28 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
My oldest son raised and showed sheep when he was growing up. It was his passion. He spent many hours with his sheep. Every day he would sit with his sheep, feed his sheep just the right amounts of feed, exercise his sheep to develop muscle, and talk to his sheep to encourage them to be the best they could be on show day.
When the lambs were young, they ran away from my son. The first time on a walk with a halter, they resisted by falling to the ground, rolling their eyes in the back of their heads and making an awful noise. Through persistence and patience, those sheep came around and began to trust their shepherd.
By the end of the summer, when my son drove on the yard with his loud pickup, those sheep went running to the fence to see him.
Jesus is your shepherd. Do you resist his leading, or do you run to the fence anxious to spend time with him when you hear him approaching? Your shepherd wants only the best for you. Allow Him to guide you and protect you.
Matthew 28:1-10 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you. So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’
He is risen.
He is risen indeed.
John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”
Oh, how I love springtime when everything comes to life again! I was able to spend a few hours in my yard this past week digging in the dirt. There is nothing like the smell of dirt, and it is hard to explain the calming, soothing effect gardening has on me.
My gardens flourish when I spend the prep time in the spring as well as daily tending to the flower beds. It is the summers that I become sidetracked and leave the gardens to themselves for weeks on end that they become unmanageable. Isn’t it crazy how fast those weeds pop up to overtake the beautiful blooms?
My faith life is very much the same. When I spend time connected to the true vine, being pruned by the gardener, I have the strength to conquer any obstacle. But, those weeks when I venture out on my own, the weeds pop up and I struggle to breathe.
Only through the gardener’s pruning can we bloom into someone beautiful!
How will you spend your springtime?
Acts 10:1-2&9 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. (9)About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.
Prayer! My word for 2017.
Prayer! Both men – Cornelius and Paul, a Jew and a Gentile – knew the importance of time spent in daily prayer. Not only did they take time out of their day to talk to the Lord, but they took time to listen and obey when Jesus talked to them.
This week I had the privilege to visit a home and safe haven for women in rural Minnesota, Whispers of Hope. It is truly a special place where you can not only feel, but see the hand of God at work. When the women who built this special home began their work they were excited to begin, they were told to wait. PRAY for a year before starting going forward. Wow, a year is a long time when you are excited about a project. But they were faithful with their prayer and commitment. Today they help so many women as well as the blessing they have been to the volunteers who used their gifts to make the dream of Whispers of Hope a reality. whispersofhopemn.org
Have you ever heard Jesus during your prayer time with Him? Slow down to listen as part of your quiet time today…. and then obey!
John 4:44 Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
Jesus did not feel welcome as he traveled the dusty path’s to share salvation with the world. You may experience the same feelings. It seems that every direction I turn these days I am met with division and arguing and protest. Not only on the news, but in my daily life. It seems life is spinning out of control….
But then, Jesus quietly whispers “I have been there. I have walked the same paths. I have dealt with conflict in the past. Come to me. Let me be God.”
When you are feeling uneasy, find comfort in Jesus and knowing that you are safe in God’s Country!