Run With Me

 

woman-girl-silhouette-jogger-40751I was supposed to be hanging out with one of my dearest friends to run a 5k race tomorrow, but the coronavirus stole that plan.

So I’m left to daydream about the race, knowing we would have kept the same pace to encourage each other to keep reaching for the finish line. And if I would have wiped out on my face, I know my dear friend would have stopped to help me. That’s just the kind of friend she is. (Love you, Dawn! 😉 )

We all need someone to help us when we stumble and fall, don’t we? We need someone to help us see the markers, to know which path to take, to know which way leads to the finish line.

We don’t want to wander off, get lost, and find ourselves in the dark at the end of the day wondering where we went wrong.

Maybe you already feel that way. Maybe you feel like you’re running all by yourself and the road is treacherous and you don’t see any safe places to stop and rest. Maybe you’re broken and you would never trust any of the other runners to help you because you’ve been hurt before. You’d rather limp along and do the best you can.

But what if there’s a better way? What if I told you the world is full of runners who are all aiming for the same finish line. They’re not perfect. They’ve got sprained ankles and scraped-up knees, some from their own stumbles and blunders.

But they keep going. They don’t quit. For years, they’ve run. They can’t see the finish line, but they know it’s there. They know they’re getting closer. And each one is keeping an eye out to help you. That’s just the kind of people they are. (It’s the kind of people they’re supposed to be.)

And the pace is increasing. It’s just a matter of time before the finish line comes into view; when we all round the corner and see that glorious ribbon appearing as a beam of light, separating top from bottom, past from future, life from death.

Are you struggling in your race, in your life? Dear Soul, you don’t have to run alone.

You can run with this great big group of runners known as the Church.

Oh dear, Soul. Please hear my heart. I am a part of the Church. I am SO imperfect. But I keep aiming for the finish line, focusing on the prize. I keep running.

And I hope you’ll run with me.

If you’ve stumbled and fallen, I’m reaching out my hand to you right now. Run with me. Let’s finish this race together, breaking through the finish line and right into the arms of Jesus Christ as He and all those who have run before us wait to welcome us home.

I can’t think of a better prize.

 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NIV.)

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1b NIV.)

 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV.)

And the race is marked out for us beginning here:

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 NIV.)

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

Now Is the Time

shallow-focus-photography-of-white-sheep-on-green-grass-678448

We’ve all been hurt by someone. Perhaps it was a parent or a close friend when you were just a child. Maybe it didn’t happen until you were much older, blindsiding you and leaving you crushed and wondering how you’ll ever come back.

Maybe you were even hurt by someone in the Church.

It can happen. The Church is not a building where people gather but a family of believers, a group of imperfect people trying to follow the perfect Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, most families do hurt each other at one time or another.

But what devastates a soul is when the pain becomes a loud rushing sound, drowning out the voice of God, and that soul walks away from Him.

I imagine Almighty God lowering His head and sobbing, longing to hold His child who has turned away from Him and is suffering alone. (If this is you, please turn back to God. Please let Him hold you and help you to heal and move forward.)

Now is the time, dear Church, to prepare to bring back those who have been wounded by our imperfections; each and every lost and wounded soul. Now is the time to open our hearts to God so He can fill us with His love to overflowing, so when the doors of the building open wide and the injured, the broken, and the lost come in, we are ready to pour out His love upon them.

We must be ready to love like never before.

And we must prepare to find those who have wandered off, to take His love to them and not wait for them to come to us. Let us remember this time of being the Church outside of a building and not grow comfortable when we return to meeting inside of a building again. Let us be so moved in our desire to please God, the One we met with when we were withdrawn and in our homes, that we can’t sit still, that we must go whenever He calls and wherever He leads.

Heavenly Father, help us to be ready to obey You when You call. We invite You, Holy Spirit, to have your way and lead the Church inside and out of the buildings where we meet, beyond the social media sites. Expand our territory. Jesus Christ, You are the head of Your Church, and we yield and surrender ourselves to You. Use each one of us as the members of Your body, Lord. Please forgive us for the time we’ve wasted and redeem that time, Lord. Our hearts need You. Our spirits long for You. Our desire is for more of You and less of ourselves. Lead us, Holy Spirit, guide us and teach us how to love others more deeply than ever before. Teach us to worship in spirit and in truth. Teach us to speak Your Word with great boldness. Show us how to reach those who are hurting in the world. Help us to bring the wounded back into Your fold. And teach us to love You more deeply with all that we have and all that we are without worrying what others might think, aiming only to please You.  It’s in Your name, the powerful name of Jesus Christ, we pray these things. Amen.

May the Lord prepare His Church for the mighty movement of His Spirit. May He stir us from our sleep, stir something deep within our spirits now so when we are drawn together in the physical realm again, the whole world will hear His voice and know our God reigns.

And those who have wandered off, those who are lost, and those who have been wounded will be overwhelmed by the very love of God who never, ever gives up on His children.

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28 ESV.)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV.)

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)