Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God— ~Hebrews 12:1-2 MSG
Thoughts on today's verse...
WOW! Sometimes I just love the Message Bible and they way a verse or verses are phrased. Today's is one of those. I like to use http://www.biblegateway.com/ enter the scripture verse and then check out all the various translations.
There was a song a number of years ago by a contemporary Christian singer - Steve Green and it was entitled, "Find Us Faithful". It's a wonderful song and in the beginning it speaks of being 'surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses'. Immediately, in my minds eye, I can envision all those faithful Christians who have gone on before us, somehow being able to see us in our 'here and now' and cheering us on, encouraging us to finish the race.
Since I began walking on a regular basis, I've determined that someday, sometime, I will do a marathon. Nothing spectacular, just a marathon. I may not finish first and I may not finish last, but I am determined to finish the race!
That's how it is supposed to be in our Christian walk. We may not be able to keep up with the 'others' who are ahead of us in spiritual maturity, and we may be more advanced than those who are just beginning their faith walk. But we are to continue walking. When another brother or sister comes upon us in our walk, perhaps they will have the voice of encouragement and say something, just a word, that will help us to continue on in our race... our marathon.
I cannot tell you how many occasions I've had, where I've been struggling with something, ready to walk away from the 'faith' when a stalwart Christian has come to me with a word of encouragement. It is during times like that when I know that I am His and that He is mine!
Oh, and I think it is important to remember, this walk is a marathon - not a sprint. We need to 'finish' the race, not burn out before the end of the marathon... You know, when I'm on my early morning walk and I just think I can't do it, can't finish the walk, I have some words I repeat to myself, "I've done it before, I can do it again!" Silly, I know, but it helps me to finish the course.
Lord God, Creator of all heaven and earth, Lover of our souls... hear my prayer! You who formed us know our weaknesses... and You also know our strengths. Send us encouragers along the way, like those who line the streets during the Boston Marathon, those who shout encouragement to the participants of the event, encouraging them, giving them the gumption to carry on, to finish the race!
Then again, dear Father, allow us to be encouragers too. There are those among us who need a word of encouragement to continue on in their own marathon... fill us with Your Spirit so that we may be able to discern when someone needs to have a word of encouragement spoken. In Jesus' name I pray ~Amen!
Yours, because we're His,