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"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;" 2 Cor 9:24-26

The Best Journey of My Life

Posted by Emma on November 16, 2011 | Filed under: Christianity,Faith,Life's Race,Prayer,Repentance

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with your whole heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Eleven days ago I embarked on a journey that changed my life. It was the best journey I have ever taken. This journey was not a journey in the physical realm. It was a spiritual journey, a journey to the heart. That journey is probably the best journey you could every take.

After a few days of prepping, the 42 girls and eight wonderful leaders taking part in this journey traveled up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. During our time of prepping to Lord gave me a verse to take with me on this journey. Psalm 10:17 “Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” This was His promise to me for the time we were in the Northwoods. There in a quiet secluded part of the world we began searching our hearts and seeking the Lord.

The time was insightful and I learned lots but I just kept feeling like something was between me and God. I did not want that, but I was not really sure what it was or what to do about it, also Satan was bringing doubts about whether I was saved. After struggling with it for about a day, I asked my amazing team leader if I could talk to her. She was wonderful and talked and prayed with me for several hours. However, nothing was really different.

A battle was going on inside of me. I knew there was ground that I had given to Satan, but I did not know how to break free from his hold. The next day was spent fighting an inner battle. I prayed, meditated, searched the scriptures, cried out to God, meditated some more, begged God for help, thought and fought the day away. The day went really fast, I don’t have a clear memory of a lot of it. I just know I was seeking God with all I could, hanging on to the promise He had given me at the start of the journey.

Towards the end of that day, I got another opportunity to talk with my team leader. I told her what had been going on that day inside of me and she gave me different scriptures. At length we prayed. By this point I knew I needed to surrender to Christ, although those words had not formulated themselves in my mind; the concept was there. I could not do it. I prayed. I begged God to bring me to a place of complete brokenness. But I could not surrender. Something was holding me back and I could do nothing about it.

The rest of that night was spent with this inner battle and turmoil. I continued to seek God as best I knew how and pretty much spent the time alone with Him. At one point I told a good friend, who was praying for me, what was going on. I found out I did not need to tell her much because God had already told her. I was up late that night praying and seeking God. As I was sitting up, pretty much everyone else in bed, I could sense the battles going on. More than just mine were being fought and won, as I found out later.

The next morning we headed from our cabin to the main lodge. The lodge has a tower with big windows, it was to this tower that I went. That morning I prayed and paced and meditated ad paced and prayed some more. Nothing was changed. Our leaders had told us to look at a prideful heart. After awhile of praying and pacing, I settled down to read it as best I could. There was a list of evidences of pride. The last item on the list slapped me across the face. It read, “Pride is refusing to surrender your whole life to God or resisting HIs will in any matter.” Then and there I knew what I needed to do. I needed to surrender everything to God. But it was not as easy as just knowing. Satan did not want me to surrender. So I paced and fought some more.

Finally, in desperation, I went onto my face before the Lord. Visually and verbally, I surrendered every area that I could think of to the Lord. When it was all in Jesus’ control, I had more peace that I had felt for days. Now, I could quietly read and pray.

There was not much time after I surrendered and when our leaders called us together. I found out more of the battles that had been fought and won the previous night. Although I had more peace, I knew it was not a finished work. That afternoon, I called home and confessed to my parents a whole ton of different sins and things which I either had not told them or had not been perfectly honest about. I asked their forgiveness and they graciously gave it. When I finished, I had even more peace and felt free.

That night, Jesus smiled on me in many ways and I felt the love of God more that ever. The next morning I woke up before the other girls in my cabin and was giddy with joy. It is very rare for me to be giddy, I knew it had to come from God. It was the most amazing feeling ever! I cannot describe it but I wish I could live in it for the rest of my life. I prayed, read the Bible and then because I could barely contain myself went on a walk with Jesus. I ran, shouted, jumped, sang, and in general praised my Savior and Lord and communed with Him. It was wonderful, just not long enough. Later that day, God confirmed His love for me in the form of a heart shaped rock He put on the beach just for me.

A mighty work had been done. But the work was not complete. Although, I had peace and was free, I knew something still was not right, something seemed to be lacking. I did not know what, I still do not know. But that evening, after I had surrendered all to the Lord, I was sitting talking with God and meditating. He gave me another promise; one to take with me as I left that part of the journey. “Being confidence of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will preform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Phil 1:6. God’s work in my life is not finished. There are still areas that need to come completely under His control. There are still areas that need cleaned out. There are still things to be dealt with. But I know that He will continue this work that He has began.

I am going to keep seeking God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I am begging Jesus to help me do this. I would appreciate your prayers, as I keep seeking Him and wanting Him to take complete control of my life. I know the prayers of my leaders and friend helped carry me through my battle during Journey and I know your prayers will help carrying me as I continue journeying on. Thank you ahead of time for them.

I embarked on what I thought was a ten day journey. I found it was a life time journey. My journey has just begun. I am not far on it. But I am journeying on with Jesus as my leader, guide, and companion.

Thoughts from a Basketball Game

Posted by Emma on December 28, 2010 | Filed under: Christianity,Heroes of the Faith,Life's Race

I went to a Bucks game last night. For those of you who do not know, the Bucks are Milwaukee’s Basketball team. Several things struck me throughout the evening and one of them I decided to comment on.

As we were watching the players warm up, one of my brothers commented to me that Basketball players are some of the best played sports players.  This set my brain to thinking about how much professional athletes are paid. It’s a whole lot. As I was pondering this questions popper into my mind.

Why aren’t Christian “athlete’s” paid the same as professional athletes?

By Christian “athletes” I do not mean Christians who play basketball, football, baseball, etc. I mean Christians who are seriously running the race of life. Those would be your missionaries, pastors, and others in full time Christian service. They get paid next to nothing compared to secular athletes and yet they are playing for eternity.

How many Christians would pay 60+ dollars for a close seat at a missionary convention or to hear a preacher speak?

Not very many. Yet a lot of Christians are willing to pay that much for a good seat at a sports game. We are not willing to pay much to hear what these Christians are doing or listen/watch as they seek to draw us closer to God. It is shameful that most of us are not willing to pay that much to spend an evening drawing closer to God and being spiritual encouraged but we will pay to sit back and watch a sports event that will not count for anything a year from now, not to mention eternity.

How many Christians long to have an item that is signed or used by a missionary or pastor, or better yet Jesus Christ?

Maybe one in a thousand, at least of the Christians I know. Yet how many of us clamber for a baseball that flies into the stand or would give a lot to have a football signed by a great player on our favorite team? I think a lot of Christians would. We want the sports memorabilia. We are willing to pay to own hats and jerseys for our favorite team. I do not think I’ve ever seen anyone walking around wearing a shirt with the name of a missionary printed across the back of it or a hat that a pastor signed. I’m not necessarily advocating that we start doing this. I’m just wondering why we proclaim the names of these athletes who live less than honorable lives to the world but do not proclaim the names of Christians who live more than honorable lives. A question to ponder is how many Christians would take a Bible signed by Jesus over a football signed by their favorite big name player?

When do you hear Christians discuss the stats of their favorite missionaries?

Quite often we have conversations about how our favorite sports team or athlete are doing, what points they are scoring and so on, but rarely do people talk about what their favorite missionaries or pastors are doing or how many converts they have and so on. We should be able to talk about those important facts far more readily than sport facts. I think part of the problem with having those discussions is that Christians do not have a missionary or pastor they are routing for. If you do not know missionaries, get to know some. Find out what they are doing and know their stats so you can discuss them.

Why?

Why is this so? Why is the state of things as it is? Why can Christians pay to go to a game and not give a cent to missions?

Because our loves are mixed up. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” Rev 2:4

We are focused on the things of this world and enjoying ourselves now and we have forgotten about the world to come and what matters then. We live in the now and do not give a thought for eternity. Brothers and sisters this is shameful and wrong. Our eyes should be looking heavenward. Our fist love must be the Lord Jesus Christ and not self and our personal entertainment during our short space on earth.

So I challenge you:

  • Next time you pay to go to a sports game give the same amount to a Christian who is ministering. I’m not against sports, I like them as well as the next guy but I think we need to keep them in their proper place.
  • Next time some one ask you to pay to go to a Christian function do so gladly knowing you pay to go the the games.
  • Get some missionaries and pastors to rout for.
  • Post there stats in your status and see what people say, if they even comment.
  • Next time you find yourself in a sports conversation turn it to missions and see what happens.

In simple, see to it that our Christian heros and “athletes” are treated as we treat the professional sports players and paid the same. The Christian “athletes” play for eternity, they deserve it.

Pictures for the Days

Posted by Emma on April 19, 2010 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Daily Thought,Life's Race,Picture Perfect,Strength

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” 1 Cor 9:24

Often we will be the odd one out. The orange in a world of silver and green. We, as Christians, should expect to be different from the world. We are called to be the orange in a world of silver and green, to be righteous in a world of wickedness, to be godly in a world of ungodliness. We should stand out. Live in God’s will and stand out. Be different than the world.

Run This Way

Posted by Emma on March 25, 2010 | Filed under: Bible,Christianity,Life's Race,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” -Psalm 119:32

This verse caught my attention because run is the third word. I enjoy running and I really like the concept of running the race of Christ. This verse goes along with running the race of Christ, it is part of running the race of Christ.

The first word in this verse is דרך (dereche) which means way, road, journey, distance or manner. Here it is talking about the way of God’s commandments. This is a path our journey of life should be overlapping.

The next word is מצותיך (mitzivotecha) which means your commandments. It is talking about God’s commands. These are the things He has instructed us to do. They are easy to find. Read your Bible and you will come across them. God was gracious to us and recorded His commands in the Bible. We have no excuse for not doing them.

ארוץ (arutz) means run. We all know how to run. Running is not always easy, but you must persevere if you would win. The analogies that can be drawn between running physically and running spiritually are many. Run the race for the Lord!

The word תרחיב (tarichiv) is a verb meaning enlarge. It is to make bigger, more open. What is being made bigger? The last word in this verse is לבי (liby) which is the inner man, your mind, will, and heart. It is your thoughts, your emotions, your affections, what you determine to do. Along with your soul it is the core of who you are. We should all want God to enlarge our hearts to Him. To give us more of a love for Him.

The Psalmist is stating that he will run the way of God’s commandments, but he wants God to enlarge His heart. We should all ask God to enlarge our hearts, to fill us with His love and let that love come out of us. The more we run God’s way, the closer we will be to Him. The closer we are to Him, the more He will dwell in us and our hearts will be enlarged. It all works together. We must do our part as He does His part, but it is only by His grace that we can even begin to do our part. Without Him we would be nothing, we must never forget that.

If you are saved, running the way of God’s commandments is running the race for Christ. Christ said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Jesus is God. The way of God’s commandments is the way of Jesus’ commands. If we love Jesus we should be eager to run in it. Run the way of God’s commandments. Ask God to enlarge your heart. Expect an answer.

Thoughts from a Run

Posted by Emma on March 11, 2010 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Daily Thought,Life's Race

I enjoy running. Recently, I have been working on building my endurance. It is not easy. The last stretch is always the hardest. My muscles are sore and usually I feel very out of air. However, that is usually the time when I have the most worthwhile thoughts.

I was running along yesterday and started thinking about how running in the physical world is like running the race for Christ. You have to work hard to build muscles, and stronger muscles do not come without soreness. So too in the race of faith, you will not build spiritual muscles without work and it is not easy. You have to keep pushing if you want to be able to run further distances. In the life of faith, you have to continually be pushing to climb higher, getting rid of sins, which are the weights that so easily beset us.

I find that it is a lot easier to run in the physical than in the spiritual, but the spiritual is so much more rewarding and far more worth it. It is easier to keep putting one foot in front of the other to get to a finishing point than it is to daily be fighting against sin and drawing closer to the Master. I realized yesterday that I need to look at my life as a big race and be as devoted to running it as I am to reaching my physical running goals. I must never give up. As long as I can keep fighting and moving forward and upward, I must. I intend to keep my eyes on Jesus and build spiritual muscles, reach higher places in my walk of faith. I want it said of me that I ran a good race for God.


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