…Here she comes around the last curve of her last lap. I’m ready…knees bent…arm back and palm open. I bounce in anticipation as she runs nearer and my heart beats faster, ready for the hand off. As she closes to within 20 yards, I start to jog and I pick up the pace as she closes to within 10. Leaving my arm back, I no longer watch as I start to run harder…coming up to speed and before I know it, I feel the cold, smooth cylinder slap the palm of my hand and my fingers close around the baton…
Thanks for the hand off hon! If you are reading this and are completely confused right now, you need to go to Lisa’s BLOG entry for today to get caught up! But before I get to the story that Lisa mentioned, this whole idea of passing the baton, running a race and having a teammate got me to thinking. Hebrews 12;1-2 says, ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ‘ Running a marathon…the exertion and pain as well as the dedication, training and stamina needed to finish such a race in many ways mirrors our Christian walk. We encounter hazards and distractions almost on a daily basis and at times we are faced with a choice and if we choose poorly or haven’t prepared and read our ‘map’ of the course, we can stray from the path and soon become lost…taken out of the race. Take a quick look at the top of my BLOG, under the title…It’s a good thing that we have our trail guide! Jesus has gone out before us and knows the course intimately! As long as we ‘fix our eyes’ on Him and refuse to let ourselves become distracted, our pace can be steady. Now, how much easier is it to run with a partner? To have someone run along side of you, encouraging you each step of the way…to help push you just a little further…to persevere. The same is true for our daily walk with the Lord…reading, praying and discussing life, His word and our troubles with another, eases our burden and helps us not to not feel alone. Matthew 18:20 says ‘For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.’ Think about that a second…when you pray with your spouse or your friend or just another Christian, He says that He’s THERE in the midst of what you’re doing, listening and worshiping with you! That’s incredible!
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’
Ephesians 4:29 ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.’
Hebrews 10:25 ‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’
I am thankful for the encouragement that Lisa provides to me. When I get discouraged about something, she is always quick with a word of encouragement or a wise word and although there are times when I may not snap right out of my ‘funk’, she has planted the seed of encouragement which grows and just the fact that she’s there and cares enough to ‘plant’ it is always appreciated!
Brownies. Hmmm, yes…
Psalms 101:3a ‘I will set before my eyes no vile thing.’
I was listening to Focus on the Family on my IPod the other day (I download the podcast for the current day and listen to it, and many others, throughout my work day) and the discussion centered around teenagers and what they consider as acceptable today as compared to even what I considered as acceptable when I was a teen. More specifically, what is shown and available in movies these days. About a month ago, I went to the video rental store here in Baraboo and was actually appalled to see that close to 75% of the movies that were on the new releases wall(s) were what I call ‘hack and slash’ movies. It seems to me that blood and gore co-mingled with near-nudity and sex have come into the mainstream. When I was a kid, yes, we had our share of horror movies, but it seems to me with the SAW and HOSTEL movies, they have taken 'horror' to a new level. It’s bad enough to have a monster unleash a killing spree, but now it’s about torture and maiming and showing these acts in vivid, graphic detail. One has to wonder what these images do to the minds of our teenagers. Anyway…A story was related about two teenagers who approached their father about going to a movie. The father asked what the movie was about and the kids said that the movie was super hyped and that all of their friends have been talking about it for weeks about how it’s going to be a blockbuster and set ALL types of sales records within the first week. Again, the father asked what it was about. What the father gathered from what his kids told him about the movie was that it portrayed graphic violence, blood, gore and a highly sexual scene that while not showing any nudity (so it can be PG-13, I’m sure), didn’t leave much to the imagination. The kids ended their sales pitch by telling their father the movie had just a little bit of bad in it and when compared to how great the rest of it would be, it would hardly be noticed. The father told his kids that he’d think about it and let them know his decision tomorrow. The next day, the father called his kids into the dinning room and on the table before him was a plate of brownies. The father explains to his children that he has decided to let them go to the movie…on one condition. All smiles and excited, the kids say ‘Sure! Anything!’ The father proceeds to tell them that they can go to the movie if and only if they have one of his brownies. However, just like the movie, the brownies have pros and cons. He assures them that the brownies are made with the finest chocolate that he could find and with the freshest ingredients that could be bought and personally handmade from scratch. The downside was that he added just a little bit of dog poop to the brownies, but that he made sure to mix it in really well and that he’s sure that any bacteria would have been killed during baking. He went on to say that it was jst a little bit of dog poop and that he was certain that with the high quality of the rest of the ingredients, they would hardly notice. The kids were aghast! They were shocked that their father would want them eat something that was so disgusting and they told him as much! He asked them, ‘Then why on Earth would I allow you to take into your mind anything so vile, so filthy as the movie as you have asked me to allow you to see?’ Philippians 4:8 says this - ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.’ Hmmm, something to think about. We are constantly bombarded with the images that the world tells us are acceptable…would you want to look at these things with the eyes of Christ? If not…why are you looking at them with yours?
What are you mixing into your brownies?