Tag Archives: run

Lighten Your Spiritual Baggage!

My Expedition fits 8 people…well, it is possible to get 4 adults and 4 children into the car with the 3rd row up. I found this out last week when we had friends visiting from overseas. It was a tight squeeze, but we managed to fit both our families while traveling to NC and TN. I’m glad to say our friendship survived the trip!

At first, it seemed so simple: 8 seats for 8 people. But it was complicated by one obvious issue – luggage. Several rounds of “luggage Tetris” were needed to put bags in small spaces, under feet, and in laps…and that was with packing bare essentials only!

Truth is, most of us need luggage when traveling. That’s obvious. Still, we probably bring more than we need. Lightening our load would make things easier.

But as much of a nuisance as luggage can be, spiritual baggage is an even greater burden. And the worst thing about carrying spiritual baggage is that it is unnecessary! With size 14 shoes, I need a big bag for my stuff, but big spiritual luggage doesn’t help anyone.

Spiritual baggage comes in many forms. We cram past hurts in our backpack; we haul sins in a suitcase; we strap Satan’s lies to the luggage rack, and we schlep our worries and fears everywhere we go. No wonder many people don’t want to begin the journey to recovery!

The Hebrews writer tells us to:

lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Running the race is easier when we unload our baggage.

Isn’t it time you dropped a few bags? Jesus told the weary and heavy laden to come into His rest and unburden themselves (Matthew 11:28-30). What could you unload today at the foot of the cross? Live in the freedom Jesus provides. He carries it all.

And if you want to know how, get in touch; I’d love to help.

Urged To Finish

runners-olympic, hugOccasionally, at the Olympics, we get the privilege of witnessing something greater than a world record being broken. Because these moments are so rare, they are even more precious than gold medal victories. Sometimes, because of an accident, we get to see what true sportsmanship is all about.

Often, a person’s true nature and character are revealed in times of stress, pain, and disappointment. It is easy to be “all smiles” when you are at the top of the podium receiving a gold medal. But how we react when we get tripped up and see our dreams crashing in front of us, well…that is a true measure.

That is why I was so impressed with American athlete, Abbey D’Agostino, and New Zealand’s, Nikki Hamblin, in Tuesday’s 5,000 meter run. Due to a mid-race collision, Hamblin tripped and fell, causing Abbey to fall as well. What they did next represents a greater spirit than competition.

You see, as Nikki sat there, stunned, Abbey D’Agostino put her hand on Nikki’s shoulder, and urged her to finish. Hamblin recalled Abbey yelling, “Get up, get up! We have to finish! This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.'” And as the pair went on, when it was obvious that Abbey had trouble finishing due to her injury, Nikki returned the favor, encouraging Abbey to finish.

When the race was finished, Hamblin said a great thing about D’Agostino: “I am so grateful to Abbey for helping me.’ “That girl was the Olympic spirit right there. I am so impressed and inspired by that.” Nikki and Abbey didn’t know each other, but now they have a bond that can never be broken. They overcame adversity together and finished the race.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus reminds us what our attitude should be. It wasn’t the champions of that day (Pharisees, Priests, etc.,) who stopped to help the man who was beaten and robbed. It was a lowly Samaritan who showed the right heart (Luke 10:30-37).

The Apostle Paul saw some Galatians who had been “running well” in their faith but had stumbled because of bad teaching (Galatians 5:7). He helped pick them up, and he encouraged them to run their race “by the spirit,” not the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Finishing the race is more about how we run than coming in 1st (2 Timothy 4:7).

Everyone stumbles in life. We all need encouragement. There are two types of runners generally: 1) Those who say, “They can pick themselves up!”; or 2) Those who say, “Let’s finish this race together.” What kind of runner will you be?

Interrupted, but Pressing On!

Terrorism, in any form, is one of the lowest, most cowardly things that one human being can do to another. The ultimate purpose of terrorists is to inflict fear. One of the best ways to inflict terror is to take something that seems happy, safe, and predictable and turn it into something painful and chaotic. This is exactly what the recent bombers of the Boston Marathon hoped to accomplish.

In Galatians 5:7-10, the apostle Paul deals with terrorists who were interrupting a different kind of race. When he sees runners in the Christian marathon stumbling, he asks, “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” He then warns terrorists that the judgment will be harsh for those who interrupt, bomb, and terrorize those who are running for God. Paul says, “The one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.”

While the Boston terrorists were successful in causing harm, it remains to be seen what our reaction will be. If the past is any indication, Americans are very resilient. Marathons will continue, and many will come to cheer runners in the future. For most of us, life will go on as before with the exception that a little more innocence has been stolen from us.

My heart and prayers go out to the families of the victims, the participants in the Marathon, and the citizens of Boston for the recent terrorist action. At times such as this, we are comforted in the knowledge that neither bomb, nor terrorist, “nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

No matter what happens along the way, no matter what our enemies try to do to stop us, we must “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). For those who remain faithful despite all challenges, there is a “crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).