Good Morning Everyone! I trust everybody is up and running at this point of the day ... well not literally, but chances are you may find yourself in some state of consciousness. This morning I had the pleasure of running with one of the older Gentlemen in my running group and we let our feet take us almost a mile past our intended stop. There are just some days that running feels so good that you don't want it to end.
While I'm still fired up about a great run I wanted to talk about my obsession with running. Running makes me think of endurance and one of my favorite bible verses:
"If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me, the task of testifying the Gospel of God's Grace. ~ Acts 20:24
Wow, never thought you would get such an analogy so early in the morning, did you? I know the group in this email is fairly diverse, but chances are you have run at one point in your life. Some maybe just in gym class and you wanted to puke and hated it. For others it has become your passion. At any rate I'm sure everyone can appreciate Paul's analogy to a race in Acts. If you really think about it, being a witness is much like being in a race.
I'm a much better witness than I used to be, but still miss chances to be bold for Christ. I still find myself not being quite as vocal as I should be. I guess I'm still trying to strike a delicate balance between the "in your face" Christian and the one that is seen as a resource. Believe it or not, one of my greatest challenges is not with strangers, its with those that have seen me fall. Much like the back of the pack or "penguin" runner (i.e. not the best) I struggle to be a witness because I'm often clouded by the perception of coming off as a hypocrite. That is one of my greatest prayers and one for you too. That you will not allow your past to cloud your future. What's done is done. No looking back. I had great wisdom shared with me yesterday about sin. Scott and I were talking about the very human phrase "I have forgiven, but I will never forget". Scott showed me a great display of how he sees that. Basically he took several napkins, balled them up and put them on a plate. And he said "now these are the sins for which you are forgive... If we truly live like Christ when we forgive... these go away; we don't pull them back off the plate and we don't use them for reference in the future because who you are today is probably much different than the person who committed those sins." Took almost 24 hours for that to sink into my thick skull, but wow... great stuff. It made me realize that I cannot control others view of me as jaded as it may be based on the past. And, I may not be able to control the discomfort I feel around what I may see as their "judging" eyes, but I can still work to get past it by using the words the Holy Spirit places in my mouth and the strength and wisdom I gain from others like Scott.
I hope you can take something away from this. I hope that if you are a forgive and not forget person that you are convicted by the Holy Spirit to let it go... just like the napkins on the plate. Who knows who/what you might be holding back. If you think its a who... share it with that person. I hope God imparts this wisdom on me as well so I can feel less hypocritical and more of a warrior for him. Am I perfect? NO, but neither was Paul and I think if I could show a spark of the fire he showed I would be doing something.
Let's all look forward to a great and SNOWY weekend!
Love in Christ,