Where’s Your Water Stops?

Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul thirsts for you, my God.”

Mile marker one. Mile marker three. Mile marker five. These are etched in your mind. Why? These are the official water stops for the race you’re training for. You know exactly where they are. For most races you can locate these specific locations online. They’re crucial. You wouldn’t survive without them. They aren’t just randomly placed without thought along the course. They are intentional. Purposeful. Strategically positioned exactly where they need to be. On race day, you breathe a sigh of relief as the first water stop comes into your view. Race volunteers line the road, each one holding out plastic cups of water. Grabbing the cup, you gulp down every last drop. Your thirst is immediately quenched. Feeling refreshed, you continue on with confidence, knowing there’s another water stop up ahead in a few more miles.

You would easily become dehydrated without your water stops. No matter how fast-paced you are, without water stops you would crash and burn. You know about how far you can run before your body needs water. Continue past that point and you start to wear down. Even when you’re training, you plan out when and where you’ll get water. Running around the block, maybe you put a bottle of water by your mailbox as you circle around a familiar path. Running with friends, perhaps you run a certain circuit and return to your cars for a fill-up. Sometimes organized groups set up tables for runners. Whatever the case may be, you strategically plan for water when you need to be refreshed.

Do we have the same urgency on our journey of faith? Do we intentionally plan spiritual water stops to quench the thirst of our weary souls? Refreshment is vital for the long road ahead.

What exactly does a water stop look like on one’s faith journey?

It could be worship services on the weekend. Perhaps it’s a weekly Bible study or an accountability group. Praying regularly with a small group. Meeting a fellow believer for coffee or calling a trusted friend. Each of these is purposeful—giving refreshment when we’re weary. They are like a pit stop on the journey of faith.

But waiting until things fall apart before seeking out these water stops would be like running aimlessly without any thought of where your water is going to come from! Just as the water stops on a race course are strategically positioned, we too as Christ followers must be intentional when it comes to discipleship and staying strong in our faith.

We get weary. Life happens. Sometimes it feels like a drought! We must be purposeful in planning out where we will stop to be renewed, refreshed and refueled!

READY? Can you identify specific water stops in your faith journey? Are you stopping often enough or do you need to add some more to your course? How does having water stops affect the level of peace and hope you have when things get tough? If you don’t have any water stops, pray and ask God to show you who, where and when they might be.

GET SET. 1 John 1:7  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

GO! Heavenly Father, I praise you for being my ultimate water stop on my path of life. Help me to humbly embrace the water stops you’ve put into my life. Help me reach out to others when I’m feeling weary. Thank you for refreshing my soul with the power of your word. Amen!

water stops

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

Through the Storm

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…”

I absolutely love running under a clear-blue sky, sun beaming overhead. Cold weather? No problem. But I utterly despise running in the rain. If it’s raining the least little bit during training, I happily opt for my elliptical machine or head to an indoor track.

Two years ago I trained for the Country Music half-marathon in Nashville. The day before the race, the weather forecast did not look favorable. The 95% chance of rain left a slim possibility for clear skies. I prayed like crazy for those gloomy clouds to quickly disappear. In one final, desperate plea I prayed for the rain to at least hold off until I finished my race. Come on God, really? Can’t you make it stop raining for just a few hours? Don’t you know I hate running in the rain?

As it got closer to our start time, the weather forecast remained the same and I had to finally accept the sad reality…I was going to get wet. Anxiously pulling a rain-poncho over my body, I hoped this flimsy piece of plastic would keep me dry from the raging downpour. Boy was I wrong! Huddling up together with a sea of 30,000 runners, I anxiously awaited my turn to arrive at the start line. The steady rain drenched my socks and shoes as I inched my way forward. Before the race ever started I was soaked to the bone. After a grueling thirty-minute wait, I was finally off and running. The driving rain felt like a torrential flood as I sloshed through puddles the entire thirteen miles of that race.

Halfway through the race I flung off the heavy rain poncho. My attempt to stay dry proved futile. The sound of rain drumming the pavement almost drowned out the music I was listening to on my IPod. But I could still hear the gentle whisper of my Heavenly Father above the noise.

Lisa, just as I am with you in this pouring rain, I am with you through all the storms of your life. Sometimes I calm the storm around you. But sometimes I allow you to go through it. Although you’ll get wet, I promise to be with you.

Drenched and shivering on the outside, I finished the race. But an inward peace had saturated my soul, ushered in by God’s truth. Once you’ve run through a constant downpour, the scattered showers don’t seem to bother you as much as they did before. And the same is true in our walk of faith. Once we’ve waddled through a heart-wrenching storm, we come out stronger on the other side. Our faith grows. Our perspective changes. The key verse in Isaiah doesn’t say if you pass through the waters; it clearly says when. And we lean harder on Him because we know He’ll be with us through it all.

So what about you, dear friend? What storm of life are you sloshing through? Are you begging God to remove your difficult circumstances? Are you trying to protect yourself from “getting wet” with your own human devices? Or can you humbly accept that He might take you through the storm? Maybe you’re drenched at the start line and the storm is raging. Maybe you’re in the middle and you feel as if you’ll drown in worry and fear. No matter where you are or whatever the storm is, He promises to carry us through it.

READY?  Can you identify some past storms God has brought you through? How can you apply the insight you gained to a current storm you are in now? If you’ve been resisting a storm, can you embrace it with absolute trust in God? The next time you’re running in the rain, ponder the truth of how God is with you always.

GET SET.  Matthew 5:45 “…He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

GO!  Heavenly Father, I confess my selfish desire for you to remove all the storms in my life. Help me to trust you when your plan is not to calm the storm, but to calm my anxious heart in the midst of the storm. Thank you for promising to walk with me through all the storms of my life. Amen

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Embracing Our Day of REST

Exodus 20:8-10 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God.”

Runners follow a strict training schedule if a race is on the horizon. Short runs. Strength training. Cross training. And of course the weekly long runs. All of these pieces of the runner’s puzzle work together, each one fulfilling a specific role to ensure success. But something crucial that simply can’t be overlooked is the day of REST. Most training schedules have this word in bold letters, calling attention to its importance. At first I didn’t’ understand why this day of rest was part of the runner’s world. Shouldn’t I be doing something ? What if I got behind earlier in the week and needed to squeeze in a quick three-mile run or weight lifting session? Couldn’t I use that day to get ahead in my training? What could it possibly hurt? Besides, I didn’t even feel tired.

It is no surprise that the day of rest comes the day after a long run. Your physical body must have that day to recuperate from the stress placed upon it. It’s a crucial day to recover. A day to let your legs relax, unwinding from the persistent impact of constantly pounding the pavement. A runner’s body needs this time to repair and recover. Miss this day and you’re setting yourself up for injury. Ignore the warning and you’ll regret it later.

Just as our physical bodies require rest to recover, our souls desperately need a day of rest for renewal. After a full week of living at a break-neck pace, we must slow down. We must simply be still in the presence of God. We must pull away from our hectic schedule. We must unplug from the rest of the world–basking in His loving presence. We must put to death the nagging urge to use this day of rest to get caught up on things—to get ahead. No dear friend, our God designed us to rest. He set the example for us when He created the world. This day of rest is included in the ten commandments to His people. If God set the pace for us in this area, then shouldn’t we embrace it and obediently follow suit?

But I have so much to do! I need to get caught up on work, errands and projects!  I feel so guilty resting when everything is piling up!

He calls us to unplug from the crazy pace we attempt to survive in and beckons us to simply sit at his feet.  He wants to recharge us. Renew us. Refresh us. But He can’t do this if we ignore our day of rest. We bypass many blessings when we ignore the call to rest. Just as a runner’s physical body will suffer harm without rest, our souls will ache deeply and our faith will be weakened. When you see the word REST on your training schedule, let it be a reminder to embrace the day of rest God created for YOU.

READY? How are you doing with carving out a day of rest from your busy schedule? Is it easier for you to justify a physical rest compared to a rest for your soul? Why or why not? What do you need to change to allow this day of rest?

GET SET. Matthew 11:28 Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

GO! Lord Jesus, I struggle sometimes with embracing a day of rest in the quick-paced culture we live in. Help me to slow down and pull away from the cares of this world. Please help me to embrace this day to worship you and be renewed by your peace. Thank you for designing my life with a built-in desire to rest in your presence. Amen

Runner-relaxing-in-grass

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

A Time to Run and a Time to Walk

Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” 

Many runners can run continuously from start to finish without ever slowing down. But that strategy doesn’t fit everyone. When training for my first half-marathon, I’d gotten up to four miles without stopping. My heart soared with pride, but my knees seared with pain! After getting advice from seasoned runners, I attempted a strategy from expert, Jeff Galloway. His premise is that if you incorporate short walks in between spurts of running, you’ll avoid exhaustion and injury. It also conserves your body’s resources and allows for quicker recovery.

Now I run for five minutes and walk for one minute. After falling into this routine, I realized two crucial things. First, this strategy gave my knees a rest in between my spurts of running. I was able to increase my mileage each week without any further discomfort. No pain! Second, I realized these short breaks of walking gave me a mental break. Instead of thinking, Wow—I’ve got to run multiple miles today, it was easier to think, Okay—I can run for the next five minutes; but then I’ll get a break. I embraced this strategy! Much more doable than running full force without stopping.

Who are we to think we can keep running and not slow down on this journey of faith we find ourselves on? We falsely think we can keep going at a break-neck pace, but God designed us to intentionally slow down at specific times on our race of faith. One minute walks paint a picture of our time to be still with God. Life is often weary. We feel as if we’ll faint at the next announcement of bad news. We are so easily overcome with stress, worry and anxiety. But when we continue at full steam with no intention of slowing down, we feel overcome with exhaustion and pain we simply can’t handle.

We must be intentional in carving out time with Jesus. Time to rest. Time to be renewed and refreshed. Time to just be still in His presence. We’re called to soar like an eagle, not rage mindlessly like a hamster on a wheel. Our quiet time with Him prepares us to go back out on the course of life and keep going. Our time in prayer keeps us connected with Him, allowing us to breathe easier when life unexpectedly shakes us up.

This whole run/walk approach gives us a new perspective on how we ought to view the challenges that seem insurmountable at different seasons of life. When it says in Isaiah that we soar on wings like an eagle, it means we get an eagle’s perspective. Just as an eagle soars above the storm and sees the bigger picture, we too can get that same perspective if our hope is truly in God. So when I get overwhelmed with a long-term challenge facing me, I can choose to run and not grow weary. I can choose to walk and not faint. Why? Because my hope is in Him.

Ready? Is there an area of your life in which God is asking you to slow down? Where do you need to walk with God instead of running in your own strength? Take time to be still before Him so He can give you the eagle’s perspective.

Get Set. Proverbs 4:12 “When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

Go!  Lord Jesus, please help me to slow down and be still before you. Forgive me for the times I haven’t paused in your presence and sought your help. I humbly ask you to renew my strength. When I’m weary and faint, help me to thank you for the hope you’ve promised me. Amen

walkingshoes

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

http://www.reststopforthesoul.com

 

What’s Your Pace?

Hebrews 12:1. “…Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”

One of the phrases you’ll frequently hear among fellow runners in conversation is this: “What’s your pace?” It’s also a  question most registration forms require an answer to when signing up for a half or full marathon. Deep down we probably know the answer to that question, yet sometimes we may be tempted to alter this figure so as to appear faster. Some runners are fast and can run like the wind no matter what the distance. But for me, long distance running is all about endurance. Speed is not a priority.

Could I run faster at the start? Absolutely!

Could I run at that pace throughout the entire race? Absolutely NOT!

If I started off running with all my might, I’d be sick to my stomach for the rest of the race. So I pace myself, trying to remember that it doesn’t matter if people are passing me quickly. It doesn’t matter who is in front of me. It doesn’t matter if someone else crosses the finish line before I do. My determination is focused on finishing the race. At my own unique pace.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an elite runner, as a follower of Christ you are in a race. Not a physical race, but a spiritual race. Maybe you’ve never thought of your life as a race, but it really is. Our goal is Jesus. We should desire to finish well and have Him say to us “Welcome home good and faithful servant.” 

But if I compare myself to someone else’s pace, I’ll crash and burn if I try to keep up with them. Trying to keep up with your friend who’s further ahead in their life’s journey would be like a brand new runner trying to keep up with a veteran marathoner. Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Yet we often try to keep up with others to achieve a certain image. Or perhaps we feel unrealistic pressure from others to keep up with them. Sometimes pride drives us to run someone else’s pace. Or maybe it’s fear of walking a leg of the race alone. Whatever the motive is, it’s not good if it isn’t where God wants us. We are designed to live this life at the unique pace God calls us to. This life is definitely not a quick sprint, but a marathon with lots of twists and turns. Lots of valleys and hills. And sometimes a lot of flat land in between.

READY? Are you in a season where things are rough? Are you at the start line of a new adventure God is calling you to? Or maybe you feel as if you’re plugging along slowly in a desert land with no oasis in sight. Ask God to show you where you’re running ahead too quickly or not quickly enough. Wherever you may be, pace yourself.

GET SET. Galatians 5:25 “Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit.”

GO! Dear God, I confess that sometimes I try to run my race of faith at a pace you simply did not design me for. Forgive me for running in my own power instead of relying on the Holy Spirit. Help me surrender completely to the purpose you created me for as I run with endurance each step of the way. Amen 

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

http://www.reststopforthesoul.com

 

 

HURLING OFF THE HINDRANCES

Hebrews 12:1  let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…”

It’s race day!  A cold breeze gushes through the crowd. Runners quickly jog in place to stay warm. You can see your breath in the coolness of the air. Shivering, you count down the minutes until start time.  Your outer layer will be discarded later, but for now it’s keeping you warm before the race. The race finally begins and you’re content with this outer layer. It fits snugly around you, giving immediate warmth and comfort. But then something happens. Your body thaws out, gradually heating up to a full sweat. This shirt you earlier couldn’t do without feels cumbersome, causing you much distress. You’re ready to throw it off.  You literally peel it off and toss it, knowing you’ll never see it again. But at this point you don’t care because you can run with more ease and freedom. Getting rid of the sweat shirt lightens your load.  As you continue running along the race course, you notice a mass of shirts and jackets strewn across both edges of the road. You realize you’re among other runners who know this truth: you can’t run efficiently unless you throw off the things that weigh you down.

Should we not have this same attitude with our sins? The hindrances entangling us—weighing us down.  They utterly leave us burdened and miserable. But we often convince ourselves we’re okay with them. We think they’ll keep us comfortable, snug and protected from the cold, distant world. But we can only go so far before we start to realize we’re getting uncomfortable. Our soul is miserable with this added weight. We feel burdened with anguish. Feelings of defeat hinder us from walking in victory.

The verse in Hebrews tells us to literally throw off our sins. A runner who’s fallen into her perfect stride isn’t going to slow down, prance over to the side of the road and neatly lay her old sweat shirt down. Of course not! Just when she notices the change in her body temperature, and feels the heat inside, she knows it’s time. She quickly peels off the cumbersome sweat shirt, tugging furiously to get it over her head. And with all her might she’ll fling it as far away from her as possible.

That, my dear friend, is what we are called to do with sin. Just when we recognize the change in our thoughts. The change in our heart. The change in our attitude. We detect something isn’t right. We feel miserable. Maybe it’s selfish thoughts. Perhaps it’s a prideful action, hurting our loved ones. Or maybe we lash out with angry words to defend our way of doing things. Then we feel weighed down with guilt we weren’t meant to carry. Anguish rises up inside. When we recognize this, that’s when we grab the ugly thing it really is and strip it off. We hurl it out of sight and into the forgiving arms of Jesus. He’s strong enough to catch those sins we’ve thrown at Him along our path. He has the power to forgive and redeem because of what he did on the cross. And then He does something incredible; he hurls our forgiven sins completely away from us…never to be seen again.

 

READY? What are you allowing to hinder your walk with Jesus? Are you clinging tightly to a certain sin? Are you ready to call it what it is and throw it off? Ask God to show you what is weighing you down so you can cast it off and run your race in victory.

GET SET.  Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west He has removed our sins from us.”

GO!  Lord Jesus, I come to you humbly and ask you to show me the sins I’m allowing to weigh me down. Help me acknowledge them before you. I confess them now and ask your forgiveness. Soften my heart so I can be more sensitive to the sins that grieve your heart. Help me let go of anything that keeps me from walking in victory. Amen.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

http://www.reststopforthesoul.com

 


Watch Out for Black Ice!

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

 

Snow had fallen the night before. Previously covered roads were now cleared completely. Or so it seemed. We were warned to look out for black ice before gearing up for our weekly long run. Mounds of snow lined the edges of the road. The path ahead looked safe, yet patches of black ice couldn’t be detected with the naked eye. A few runners up ahead were in their perfect stride, their eyes fixed ahead, when suddenly one of them slipped! She tried furiously to catch herself. Yet her attempt was futile. Bam! Spinning out of control, she fell onto the frozen ground. Shaken, she slowly stood up, caught her breath and continued—at a much slower pace.  Nobody could see the culprit. That sneaky patch of black ice, lurching in the shadows. She didn’t know it was there until it was too late.

Black ice. Why is it called this? If it were black, wouldn’t one be able to see it? But by definition, black ice refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. Because of its transparency, it allows black asphalt roadways to be seen through it. It’s practically invisible to drivers as well as runners, causing a risk of skidding and accidents due to the loss of traction.

Isn’t black ice kind of like those sins we hold onto sometimes? Not the outward ones obvious to most. No, I’m referring to the ones that are embedded deep within us. Those secret sins we try to keep hidden. To the naked eye, they can’t be detected. On the outside we may look polished, presentable and perfect. But deep inside there’s a losing battle with an ugly thing called pride. Although it can’t be seen, pride will rear its ugly head out of nowhere when least expected and before we know it, we’re sliding. Skidding. Losing our balance. We try with all our human might to catch ourselves. Just like the runner I witnessed.  But most often we come to an abrupt halt and crash humbly to the ground.

Pride comes before a fall. Just when we think we’ve paced ourselves with our perfect stride, patting ourselves on the back for all we think we’ve done in our own power, that’s when we’re most susceptible to the black ice of pride.

I’m not like that person.

 I’m better than he is.

I haven’t given in to the sin she struggles with.

We blow ourselves up with such powerful pride that we don’t even see the ground beneath us. We don’t see the danger of what’s ahead. Pride is such a deadly sin because it takes our eyes off Jesus and puts the focus on self. Instead of going at the pace designed for us, we do things our own way and suddenly we lose traction, falling to the ground.

READY?  Do you ever find yourself pointing out obvious sins of others? Why are we so quick to do so? Are there areas of your own life where God is pointing out pride? Are you willing to humble yourself and surrender before you fall? Ask him to shine his light on your pride.

GET SET. Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

GO! Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times I’ve judged others for outward sins when I’ve neglected to see the pride in my own heart. Help me to keep my eyes on you one step at a time so I can be aware of anything that would cause me to fall. Thank you for your grace.

black ice

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

http://www.reststopforthesoul.com

 

 

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Matthew 14:29  So Peter got out of the boat. He walked on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. He began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Right away Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “Your faith is so small! Why did you doubt me?”

After running six half marathons during a four-year stretch, I felt God nudging me to attempt a full marathon. At first I fought against this gentle nudging. What? Are you getting me mixed up with someone else, God? Can’t I just stick with what I’m already doing? But when I realized He was indeed nudging me, I completely surrendered. Yes! I stepped way out of my comfort zone. I’d grown quite comfortable in running half marathons. I knew what to expect. I was comfortable with my pace. Comfortable with the training schedule. Confident in beating my own personal records from previous races. I was satisfied with my collection of medals from finished half-marathons.

But when I finally decided to attempt a full marathon, I stepped into unknown territory. It took me several days to muster up enough courage to actually register for the race. And once I officially registered, fear gripped my heart. I was no longer comfortable.  Maybe you’re comfortable jogging a few miles around the block, but you think you’d be too uncomfortable to sign up for a 5K. Perhaps you’ve grown accustomed to running nothing but 5K’s and the mere thought of going beyond that distance makes you break out in a sweat. You don’t want to leave your comfort zone because it’s just not….comfortable. But you know what? Sometimes that’s exactly where God wants us to be.

I’m sure Peter felt the same way in today’s passage. It’s pretty obvious that Peter most certainly stepped out of his comfort zone! The other disciples huddled together as they watched comfortably from inside the boat. Nobody else dared to follow behind him. He progressed from being a spectator to a participant. He stepped completely out of the boat and then he walked toward Jesus.

But when Peter saw the huge waves in the distance, he began to sink. He didn’t sink from the presence of the waves; he sank because he gawked at the ferocious waves and took his eyes off Jesus. When Jesus calls us out of our comfort zones, the wind and waves may still distract us. What are your distractions? Doubts from your inner soul? Criticism from others who don’t understand? Unexpected circumstances?

When Peter began to sink, he didn’t have to wait long for Jesus to rescue him. It’s because Jesus was right there. When Jesus calls you out of your comfort zone, he doesn’t just watch from a distance. He is right there beside you to catch you when you fall. The first timid step into the unknown can often usher in a tidal wave of fear. When that happens, humbly drop to your knees in prayer. Call out to Him like Peter did and let him rescue you with the strong grip of his loving hand.

READY? Where do you think Jesus is calling you to come out of your comfort zone? Are you still in the boat? Then trust Him as you take that first step out. Are you a few steps out of the boat? Then keep going one step at a time as you fix your eyes on Jesus. Are you beginning to sink? Then call out to Him! He is still there to catch you and get you going again.

GET SET. Psalm 105:4 Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.

GO!  Lord Jesus, I humbly come to you and ask you to show me where I need to come out of my own comfort zone. Please forgive my unbelief and my human tendency to worry! Help me to not focus on the gushing waves around me, but to focus on the strength and peace you promise when we choose to seek your face. 

 

 

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

http://www.reststopforthesoul.com

Are You Thoroughly Equipped?

2Timothy 3:16-17  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

If you’ve lived in the runner’s world for any length of time, you’re familiar with all the specialty stores lined with endless racks of nothing but running attire: shoes, socks, shorts, shirts and jackets.  These items are pricy, yet each piece of equipment is essential if you desire to be thoroughly equipped for running your race effectively.

 

I shook my head in disbelief when I paid $120 for my first pair of running shoes. Really? Why can’t I just wear the cute tennis shoes I got on sale at Target?  An experienced marathon runner explained the facts to me about running shoes, “If you don’t have the proper shoes, you’ll be miserable!”  I had to experience aching feet and painful knees before I realized I didn’t have the right shoes. Shoes are to a runner what tires are to a car. Attempting to use the wrong type is damaging and utterly reckless.

It’s essential to equip yourself with uniquely designed socks allowing your feet to breathe and avoid blisters. There’s also a myriad of shorts, shirts and jackets specifically designed for every occasion and every season of weather.

God also calls us to be thoroughly equipped, my dear friend. If we’re going to run our race of faith well, we too must be thoroughly equipped. What does He call us to equip ourselves with? According to the key verse in Timothy, he’s speaking about the word of God. We must equip ourselves with powerful truth from scripture. These compelling words must first cross the threshold of our mind and penetrate like deep roots to the depth of our soul. We have to intentionally embrace them, meditate on them, ponder them continually and digest them through every fiber of our heart. In doing so we will be prepared for every situation we face.

 

The scripture in Timothy tells us God’s word will teach us. So we must embrace scripture and allow our hearts to soak up this precious knowledge of who He is and how He desires for us to live. His word will also rebuke and correct us when we stumble and get off course. These moments may be difficult, yet we’re promised His truth will set us free. God’s word also trains us for the purposes He’s called us to. The power of His word enables us to humbly walk in the righteousness of Christ.

Just as the runner invests in the necessary equipment, we as followers of Christ must make an investment. Not with money—but with our time and effort. We must be intentional with prioritizing our lives around God’s word, no matter what the cost may be. I foolishly thought the cheap tennis shoes were sufficient, yet I suffered the consequences! In the same way, if we don’t invest in God’s word, we’ll end up with something much more serious than painful blisters and aching knees; we’ll end up with painful consequences and aching hearts. Zipping out the door unequipped leaves us empty and too exhausted for running our daily course. Neglecting time in God’s word is an invitation for damage, disaster and ruin.

 

Dear friend, I urge you to make the most crucial investment of your journey of faith: embrace the word of God as the fuel that fires your very soul! The power of His word will keep you on track to face whatever trials come your way and will thoroughly equip you for every good work.

 

READY?   Are you consistently spending time in God’s word? Are you meditating on the power of His word throughout your day? If this is an area of your faith journey you are lacking in, what needs to change for this to be a priority? If you’re walking through a difficult season, embrace His word to give you strength, hope and peace.

 

GET SET.  Psalm 119:10-11, 105 “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Your word is a lamp for my feet; a light for my path”

 

GO!  Dear God, I thank you for the gift of your word…that I can hold it in my physical hands and turn the pages with ease. Forgive me for the times I’ve neglected and ignored your precious word. Please ignite a passion in my heart to embrace it like never before. Help me remember the power that comes from your word. May your word be firmly planted and deeply rooted in every area of my life.

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Counting the Cost

John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

“You mean you’re going to pay money to go run?” Yes, this is the question many people ask when you mention you’ve just registered for your first race. For those who’ve never run, it really doesn’t make sense that someone would actually pay money to do something that seems so exhausting. It’s one thing to talk about signing up for a race. It’s another to actually go online, register, give your credit card information and finally click the submit button. Once you’ve clicked that button, it’s a done deal. You’re in. No chances of getting your money back at this point. Whether you run the race or not, you’ve paid money you will not get back.

 

The first time I registered for a race, I wavered back and forth. Do I really want to do this? Do I have enough time to train for this race? What if something comes up and I can’t make it? Am I really cut out for this? But once I clicked the submit button, I knew I’d made a commitment. I was all in. There is no maybe option when you go to register for a race. You either do it or you don’t. Once you’ve made the commitment, there’s an immediate urgency to follow through with the necessary training. You’ve paid a price and you don’t want to lose your investment. Now that I’ve signed up, what’s the next step to be ready for the race?

 

Is this how we approached the crossroad when we decided to become a follower of Christ? Did we really ponder what we were signing up for? Did we consider the cost? Did we truly realize the commitment we were making when we said yes to Him? Was there an urgency to follow through with the next step?

 

The good news is that when you give your life to Christ, you don’t have to pay anything. No fees. No credit card number required. In this case, He is the one who paid the price up front. He is the one who gave freely of Himself. He did this while we were still sinners, knowing that many of those He died for might choose to reject the option of signing up for the race. Yet He still did it. For everyone. For me. For you.

 

Although it doesn’t cost you anything tangible, there is still a cost. There is an investment we make. We don’t have to do anything to receive salvation; we’re saved by faith and grace. But it will cost us something when we come out of our comfort zone. It will cost us our pride, selfishness and desire to take control of our life. When we say yes to Jesus, it means we say no to the ways of this world while allowing Him to live out His purpose through us. When we signed up to run the race of faith, we clicked the submit button. We chose to fully surrender and submit to Him.

 

What we get in return is of much more value than anything this world has to offer. Dear friend, we receive eternal life! Forgiveness of our sins. Joy overflowing. Peace and hope in our relationship with Him. You can’t even begin to assign a value to what we receive when we sign up to run the race as a follower of Jesus. It doesn’t compare to anything. It’s priceless.

 

READY?  If you call yourself a follower of Christ, are you all in? When you first came to Him did you consider what it would cost you? Did you consider what it cost Him? Are you living your life fully committed to Him? Are you living daily with the truth of what He’s already done and is still doing for you? If so, what is your next step?

 

 GET SET.  Luke 14:27-28 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?

 

GO!  Jesus, I praise you and thank you for what you’ve done for me on the cross. Thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank you for the promise of eternal life. Help me to live each day with a heart fully devoted to you as I continue with the commitment I’ve made to be your follower. 

Clip Art Graphic of a Green American Dollar Bill Cartoon Character

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

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