Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. (HCSB)
I don’t like to start something and not finish it. I recently talked to someone who just completed a craft project that she started four years ago. Four years!??!! On the same project!??!! I would have been so agitated and probably given myself an ulcer just knowing I had that unfinished project waiting for me. I would have given up sleep, TV, food, — okay, maybe not food — but I would have been totally driven to see the completion of that particular project. I love needlework and pretty much always have something in the making — sometimes for a specific reason, sometimes just to be busy. Sometimes I’ll have a “just to be busy” in the works when I need to begin a “for a specific reason” and have the most difficult time starting one while knowing I have left something incomplete. I like to complete projects that I start in such a way that they honor the pattern, but as I’m running the race that I started with You, Lord, am I running in such a way that I will complete the race with honor to You? As I am pondering all of this over a cup of coffee, I think of 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (HCSB). When I finish the race, will I finish having kept the faith or will it just be cessation? I don’t know specifics about what caused this person to lay aside her project four years ago, but I know that it just got easier and easier to not even think about getting on with it and, after so much time had passed, really not knowing how to start. I begin to think of Hebrews 12:1 that tells me to lay aside the things that are holding me back and get on with the race that is before me, and verse 2 tells me how I need to do it — keeping my eyes on Jesus. I know that working on a craft project and running the race for You, Lord, are not the same thing, but I also know they are both things that I want to do well. I like the praise and accolades that I get from a well done craft project, but how much better to hear those precious “well done” words from You.
Hebrews 12:2: 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.” (NIV)
Lord, I seem to be going in all directions this morning. I pick up something in one room and take it to another room, where I see something that I need to do, which leads me to another room and another task. I have made my own amusement park ride – going in all directions just to end up where I started. I decide I need to sit down with my cup of reheated-again-coffee, take a breath, and focus. Lord, I hear Your still, small voice reminding me that the way I live my life is sometimes like my time this morning. I spend a lot of time going in all directions when I need to focus on You and the direction that you have for me. Studies have shown that where our eyes go, our bodies will follow. Runners are told to focus on a point ahead. Professional drivers are told to focus on the road. Christians are told to focus on You. We all know what can happen when we lose focus. Runners cross out of their lanes. Drivers run off the road. Christians become confused. Matthew 14:29 tells us that Peter was walking on water when his focus was on You but sinking in the water when his focus changed. Professional drivers have caused major traffic issues because their focus changed. Well-trained runners have caused injuries to themselves and others when their focus changed. Christians have become mired in sin because their focus changed. Lord, help me to keep my focus on You, to look to You on my life’s walk, to look to You when things seem to be racing by, to look to You when I am on top and when circumstances seem to be pulling me under. Lord, help me to focus on You instead of the situation, to focus on Your healing instead of the pain, to focus on Your generosity instead of my wants. Psalm 121:5 says that You watch over me. Thank You, Lord, for never losing Your focus.
Hebrews 13:6: Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (HCSB)
Psalm 56:3-4: When I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (HCSB)
Lord, I’m sitting here with my coffee and my computer trying to focus on You and not on the voice in my head putting doubt and fear in my heart. I heard You speak to me about writing a devotional, but like Moses I thought “I can’t do that” and thought You must be giving the devotional to my husband and asking me to support him as he wrote. I came to realize that You were giving it to me. You made it so clear to me that I accepted but asked You for 30 devotionals in 30 days. I was amazed at Your works ……..until one morning when You didn’t tell me what to write. Then came the doubts and fears. What if this is all from me? What if I was right the first time? What about those 30 devotionals in 30 days? Then I heard You say “I promised 30 days but not 30 consecutive days.” I know that I need prayer support, but I can’t tell anyone that I’m writing devotionals. What will people think? Will they think I’m being a prideful show-off by saying that God speaks through me? I know someone who is writing a book – will people think I’m just trying to copy her? What if I tell people and things don’t work out? They will think I’m a failure, or worse, a nut job. What if I look foolish? Lord, I know that these messages are from You, so why do I care what others think? Hebrews 13:6 tells me that You are my helper and not to be afraid because man can’t really do anything to me. Lord. I am scared and I am humbled and I am not at all confident that I can do this, but I know that I need to hold onto Your promises and Your truth for the security I need. Lord, it is a little crazy that You want me of all people to do this. It’s a little crazy that I hear You speak to me. It’s a little crazy that I expect people to read what I write. But, Lord, it was a little crazy that Peter stepped out of that boat (Matthew 14:29). It was a little crazy that Joshua had people march around the city (Joshua 6). It’s a little crazy that You allow me to be a part of Your great plans. Your word tells me 365 times not to fear. It’s a lot crazier that I would ever doubt You!