Wow, it’s been quite a while since my last blog post. I haven’t stopped writing, however. This year I’ve been reading through a chronological version of the Bible, and I post each day on what I see in that particular scripture. Daily Facebook posts have taken over, so the blog has been shelved for several months. You can follow along here.
I’ve also written a new devotional called Let Us Run The Race. The inspiration for this devotional came in the form of a request from our good friends, Dave & Shelia. We’ve known this incredible couple for almost 30 years. We met in Asheville in the early 1990s, attended the same church for many years, sent our daughters to the same schools, and spent a lot of time together, even vacationing together at times. They have always had a heart for young adults, and I can’t tell you how many young adults they’ve mentored through the years. They both have an entrepreneurial spirit, never afraid to step out in faith to build something new. Shelia has been a fitness instructor, a cosmetologist, and a preschool teacher. Dave is a builder. In their spare time, they’ve owned a coffee shop and built a thriving storage facility (which they’ve since sold). And in between all that, they’ve worked with AIM (Adventures in Missions) to lead several mission trips to South American countries.
I guess they got bored because now they’ve committed to being coaches for the World Race (also an AIM mission). The World Race takes teams of young adults through 11 countries in 11 months for mission and cultural experiences, to learn how to serve and share the gospel. My friends won’t be going along on the entire trip; instead, their roles will be as mentors/counselors, flying to five different stops along the way, keeping in touch with the racers via email and social media, encouraging them in their journey and helping to problem-solve when issues arise.
Dave & Shelia asked me to write a devotional that would encourage these young adults while they are on mission. They gave me their insights on things that the racers might face and wanted a scriptural foundation to address them. As I listened and observed, it came to me that if I was going on a year-long mission, I’d want advice from someone who had experience as well as wisdom. Who better to offer just those things, than a missionary who changed the world – the apostle Paul? One of my favorite verses, Philippians 1:6, came to mind, and from there, the idea for the devotional took off.
What was Paul’s encouragement in this familiar verse?
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is the one who begins His work in our heart. Even before we surrender in response to His call, the Spirit does His work of regeneration, bringing our spirits to life. We respond and experience salvation. The rest of our lives are a journey, learning what it means to follow Christ, to know Him, to experience Him through His resurrection as well as suffering, and to obey Him. Whether He calls us to an 11-month mission in foreign countries, or to the mission field of our workplace, our neighborhood, or the mission field of our own home, the truths that Paul shared with the Philippian church will inspire and encourage us, and teach us how to live in a way that shows we are devoted to our Savior.
This devotional is dedicated to “all who run the race of life with a passion for the gospel and a love for Jesus.” It’s meant to encourage you to persevere when things get tough, to learn to allow God to do His work in you and through you and to motivate you to a life of holiness and commitment to the call He has put on your life.
Are you tired?
Are you discouraged?
Are you wondering if your life is going to count for anything when it’s all said and done?
That’s what this devotion is about…persevering with single-mindedness and finding joy along the way.
Scripture assures us that every life matters and that God has a purpose in our journey. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and run the race.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)