Philippians: Day 9

Reaching Forward

by

Today's Text: Philippians 3:12-16, Colossians 3:1-4, Romans 8:28-30, 1 Corinthians 9:24

It was the state meet qualification race and I wanted the prize: my name on the record board in the field house. A freshman in high school, I was competing on the varsity track team against girls who were older, stronger, and faster than myself. I had a history of tripping over my own two feet, yet here I was, about to run 300 yards while leaping over hurdles.

The gun went off and I quickly fell into stride. I had no idea where I was in the race because of the staggered start, but I kept running. As I hit the final straightaway, I could feel my legs begin to burn. My breath was short and heavy and I wanted to slow down. Straightening out, I realized I couldn’t see any of the other runners— meaning I was out front!

I dug as deep as my fifteen-year-old self could dig. I ran and hurdled that last 100 yards like my life depended on it. I ran to get the prize.

I’m still running these days, but I don’t always run with that same fire. Sometimes I try to hit a time goal in a half marathon, but now, it doesn’t make sense to try to place in a big race. I don’t run for “the prize” anymore. In fact, most races, I don’t even know what the prize is.

As much as I hate to admit it, my current approach to running often parallels the way I approach my spiritual life: still running, but not always running in a way to get the prize. Many days I lose sight of what the prize even is. Paul knew I’d need a reminder:

I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:14

As Christ followers, our prize is being made complete in the likeness of Christ. Yes, this takes a lifetime of following Jesus and allowing Him to work in our hearts and lives. But this truly is the only thing that matters. What could be more worthwhile?

Our relationship with God is what will last through eternity. If we have nothing else on this earth, we have Jesus. He promises to be with us and to complete the good work He began in our lives (Philippians 1:6).

Following Christ isn’t always easy. At times it’s even painful. Sometimes, He asks us to do things that don’t make sense, don’t feel good, or don’t agree with worldly wisdom. But friends, the insurmountable joy of knowing Him will always be greater than our pain and suffering, greater than our struggle and heartache.

We are in the race, but we are not in it alone!

I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:12

Christ has taken hold of us! He is already working in us to perfect us and make us like Himself.

Jesus doesn’t expect our perfection. He doesn’t demand that we never falter or slow down, or never fall flat on our faces. He has already made up for our deficiencies. He only asks that we keep our eyes fixed on Him and our bodies running hard after the goal. And He Himself promises to hold us, especially when we lose our strength.

Like Paul, we have not yet attained our prize, but we can rest in the confidence that our God is working in us. So let’s faithfully run hard after the prize. Run hard after Jesus.

Run in such a way to win the prize.
-1 Corinthians 9:24

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  • BlessedandFavored

    My strength comes from knowing God is with me in this race. AMEN

  • Kasey Summers

    Amen!!!

  • Cassidy F

    I’m finding myself aching for a season of life I’ve not yet reached- motherhood. It is not our time yet, but I know God will be faithful to prepare my husbands heart and bring him into the season of readiness He has brought me to already. I find it so easy to sit in discontentment about where we are now, but this passage reminded me to keep going, keep walking forward in love and gratitude, knowing that the Lord is faithful and that He is what I’m truly aching for inside.

  • Jamie Vandegriff

    As a mom, there are a lot of days I feel like a failure…so many things I could have done differently throughout the day. But this passage reminds me to forget what happened yesterday and to keep my focus on Jesus, and that because of his work in my life, he can grow me as a mom, wife and woman.

    • Lwest

      Well said Jamie, I feel the same way. Praise God we can look ahead instead of behind & have his strength to keep us there.

    • Thank you Jamie! I needed to hear that! Last night o was in tears over being a horrible mom. A bad weekend of mothering! I have to let it go and move on! Keep going! Thanks!

  • Wow, I needed this so much today. A song that brilliantly captures the heart of this devotional is "My Revival" by Lauren Daigle. You should check it out if you connected with Missy's words. :)

    • Leah

      Bri, how funny is that, I just attended a Lauren Daigle concert and have been listening to that song all week, but never thinking of it like this! thank you! Jesus works in crazy ways :)

  • Monica Medizky

    I'm just so thankful for having these devotionals everyday. May God continue blessing and guiding all of you at SRT. I'm in the middle of a law competition and it's been very hard and time demanding, and reading this today made me realize so many things God wants me to understand and learn from this experience…it's amazing. Big hugs from Bogotá, Colombia.

  • bellissimanh

    Many (many) years ago, a promising Greek artist named Timanthes was under the instruction of a well-known tutor. After several years, the young painter created an exquisite portrait. He was so thrilled with what he had painted that he sat, day after day, gazing at his work.

    One morning, however, he was horrified to discover that his teacher had deliberately ruined his painting. Angry and in tears, Timanthes ran to him and asked why he had destroyed his cherished possession. The wise man replied, "I did it for your own good. That painting was retarding your progress. It was an excellent piece of art, but it was not perfect. Start again and see if you can do even better." The student took his advice and produced a masterpiece called "Sacrifice of Iphigenia," regarded by some as one of the finest paintings of antiquity.

    I wonder if I don't do something similar when it comes to my walk with the Lord. It can be tempting to look back on my journey, see how far I've come (with God's help), and relax – pleased with the progress we've made. I compare who I am now with who I used to be, and feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction… losing sight of the fact that there is still much more work to be done. God has done some amazing things in my life, and I'm in awe of the changes he has brought in my heart… but I can't let that keep me from pressing forward. I am not yet the woman He wants me to be, and I need to keep running this race with all I have in me. Even Paul knew the dangers of getting stuck in the past:

    "My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:10-14)

    Here's to pressing on… He is worth the journey!

  • Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
    This should be the motto of all Christians. Paul did not profess to know it all or live it all as a follower of Christ so how can any of us claim to? Always we should be humble in our intellectual religious knowledge and unselfish in our spiritual Christian knowledge. By our example, as with Paul, will we fulfill our calling to bring unbelievers to God. Not with the arrogance of flesh because we can quote the bible, or because we volunteer at church or lead a study or any number of other works, but because we were kind, thoughtful, considerate, unselfish with time and talents. It will be because we shared the word of God after we listened to the heart of the person we are with ; so that we are ministering to their needs not our earthly need to be recognized for biblical knowledge. Like Paul, we admit our failures and press forward to perfect our behavior, thoughts and deeds to take hold of the grace and love that God holds for us and out to us, to share with others.

  • Jennifer

    I love how Missy talks about how she may still be running the race, but is she running with a goal to win the prize? Is there fire and passion to win still? What a great reminder because I know I’m guilty of just being satisfied with a participation ribbon from time to time.

  • Jesus is all that matters. And I’m glad He’s in the race with me. I pray God would help me keep my eyes on Him.

  • tabitha_n

    "If we have nothing else on this earth, we have Jesus." That lone statement says it all.

    I find that it is so easy to get lost in the race (of life) and sadly, my spiritual life tends to take the fall. It's easy to see when I've neglected household chores…clothes pile up, dishes pile up, garbage needs to go out, plants are drooping. The same is true with our spouses and children….they (especially the kids) let me know when they are deprived of my full attention. Work, responsibilities, commitments…things of this world always seem to take precedent, I think because they are literally begging for attention. But God doesn't approach us that way, He is gentle. We must turn to Him, acknowledge and give verbal thanks for all the graces that He has bestowed. We have to see the prizes that our Father has laid out for us each day not just the one awaiting in heaven. We must transform our way of thinking from looking towards the end of the race as being at the ends of our lives, to the end of the race being at the end of each and every day. His love never fails and there are graces (prizes) bestowed to us daily, we must be open to receiving them.

  • I am always amazed how my morning reading of, She Reads The Truth, lifts me up..I pick up my coffee ..breathe in it's peace and exhale the doubt, fear, disappointments of the day before..Some days the race has me going around in circles and I get so tired chasing my own tail (Like the Israelites It's one more time around the mountain..)..Thanks for the reminder..This is the day the Lord has made not only will I rejoice..I will fix my eyes on him..stay the course and even If I run my day in the manner of a tortoise I can be sure that He who began this good work in me is faithful and will bring it to completion..I'm not where I need to be ..But not where I used to be..I'm on my way..

  • A PEACH IN ITALY

    I love to run. When I run, I feel so much joy. Even when I am tired, achy and out of breath, there is still so much joy.
    A few times I've experienced runners high- the feeling that I could run forever. It's an amazing feeling. It feels as if you'll never tire out.
    This is the race I want to run for Christ.I want that joy-filled runners high.

    And at times when the running isn't quite that easy- my lungs burn, my feet and shins ache, my body is screaming "STOP" I still want to maintain that joy.

    Running on the hills- Joy
    Running through the valley- Joy
    Running through the mud- Jo

    May I have constant joy as I run this race with Christ.

  • The running analogy really brought things in perspective this morning as I woke up at 5:30am to run with a friend, but for several reasons I chose not to run, I stayed in bed and canceled my commitment. Sometimes though this is what the spiritual life is like, forgetting that first it’s not about us and second forgetting our purpose in running. Just like I lost sight this morning of my goal for running, I lose sight of my spiritual goal for running. Thank the Lord for his words of encouragement to keep pressing through, and his beautiful love and mercy that picks us up and helps us run again. This was a needed word!

  • "As much as I hate to admit it, my current approach to running often parallels the way I approach my spiritual life: still running, but not always running in a way to get the prize. Many days I lose sight of what the prize even is. "

    This right here is he truth!! I run so the running analogy was perfect for me this morning. But this race….the human race that we're all in- man it's a long one. Definitely filled with running and gazing & totally forgetting what the prize is. Forgetting that there is even a prize!

    Thanks for the reminder to fix our eyes on Jesus. Thanks for the reminder that it is He who works things out in us for his glory at the end.

  • Diane Huntsman

    I left a church I was very involved in 5 years ago for personal reasons, my leaving left some people undone.. I upset them in that process. It was a very self absorbed time for me, but I find myself continually looking back, knowing there are people displeased with me, I let them down, I failed to live up to the church leader status I was once in.. I often feel defeated and feel my reputation is forever marred.. But I realize that’s looking “back” that’s distracting me from pushing forward and keeping my eyes on the prize. May all of us let go of the things we can’t go back and redo! It’s done! We can make our apologies, but what’s done is done and mulling over it and becoming enslaved to regret is no way to run a race.. Weighed down and preoccupied.. May we all allow Jesus’ forgiveness to wash over us, let ourselves off the hook for our failures, be renewed in His truths, and run our fannies off for the eternal rewards that await us!! No looking back.

    • Kristin

      Amen!

    • Gina Gomez

      Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off EVERYTHING 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. Amen
      No looking back. Have an amazingly blessed day Diane❤️

    • Melinda

      Amen! I too have had this struggle of laying down those regrets, receiving Christ’s full forgiveness and moving forward. Well said.

  • I sense an awakening in me; a shifting of spirit. I've known for awhile that I don't like the track I'm on; the track of teacher. I'm realizing that the teacher track frustrates me because we work towards earthly prizes. Public school prizes conflict with the prize I long to obtain. I don't have solutions to this conflict, unfortunately, but trust that God is working in me.

    At the same time, I've set my sights on another track – one I'm convinced will save me. As my tween-age daughter would say… sigh. ;)

    What I'm realizing is that, regardless of the track, I must keep my sights on things above, where Christ is. I must press on, with God's help, trusting that I am being made complete, in the likeness of Christ.

    • shereadstruth

      Amy, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! Excited to see how God moves through your obedience!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Melinda

      Amy I too am sensing that it’s time for a new direction. I am a teacher also. Praying for you as we both seek and fix our eyes on Him and run towards Him.

  • Thank you for this renewed focus this morning!

    Life throws so many distractions. I stop and stare at shiny and unique objects, parking my mind there for awhile. I'm distracted by fear, distracted by the past, by someone else's race. Today, I 'm remembering to focus. My eyes on Him and pressing in, praying we will see every distraction for what it is and keep our eyes focused on Him today.

  • Danielle

    As a busy college student, studying church ministries and Christian leadership, I often become distracted by school work and ministry and forget why I am doing all of it. I forget to look toward Jesus for everything, especially my strength (physically, mentally, and spiritually). What a great reminder to keep my eyes on the really prize!

  • All we non athletic types, non prize driven women can do is press on because we LOVE Christ. That's my only motivation.

  • I struggle with what to focus on and become easily distracted by the many voices telling me the myriad good things I should be doing–mentally, physically, spiritually. I get overwhelmed thinking of time wasted in the past, the ways I missed the mark and failed in the race. I love how Paul boils life down to ONE thing: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” One thing to prize above all else, one goal to set before me. So today, I am blocking out the distractions and regrets and looking towards the ultimate prize in Jesus.

  • I´ve played sports since I was tiny, but when the soccer season ended, or gymnastics got too intense, I liked the simplicity of just heading off to run alone. When I first came my current city,I decided to head out for a run in our neighborhood a couple days after arriving… at 10,000 feet of altitude. Needless to say, while I was in good shape, I didn´t make it more than a couple minutes before I was gasping for air and decided a brisk walk would be just fine for now. These days I´m running but really just to get some exercise in and feel better about eating some chocolate every day… :)

    This got me thinking though, Missy´s line "still running, but not always in a way to get the prize", is where I find myself in my physical running, and often in my spiritual running. If I wanted to win the next 10K or half marathon here, what would I need? Training partners, good shoes/gear, a training schedule, and goals? Spiritually this could be community who talk about this race and are training themselves, the Word, commentaries, a notebook, disciplined time of study and prayer, focus on God´s goals for me (Philippians 1:6).

    Fix my form, Lord.

  • Kelly_Smith

    May I jump on the "this reminds me of" bandwagon? Can you have a conversation about running without mentioning Forest Gump? (I know you hear his voice now, "I just felt like running.") He ran without cause. He had a broken heart. He was lost. He said he ran to put the past behind him. Then, after running across the country several times, he just stopped. "I'm pretty tired. Think I'll go home now."

    1 Cor 9:26 says, "I do not run aimlessly." There's the dog track racing. The marathon running. The track meet. All with a purpose and a prize. And then there's Forest running. Running from the past to no particular place at all. Instead of running aimlessly, let us all lace up our shoes and run toward our goal–Christlikeness.

    The long running scene: https://youtu.be/QgnJ8GpsBG8 (language alert–"it happens")

  • Deb Black

    Last week was a difficult week for me and the weekend was not much better – starting out on Friday evening with my pride raring up and causing a not so nice scene with a friend and sister in Christ (we worked things out and I confessed my pride, asking for forgiveness). Needless to say, I've been a little discouraged – my prayer last night was that God reveal to me what needed to change in me because I was really feeling that my life is just filled with busyness. I have taken my eyes off the prize – I've taken my eyes off of Jesus and shifted my focus to doing things rather than pursuing Him. Thankful this morning that our Father hears our cries and answers us!

    Thank you for the encouraging reminder to keep pressing on toward Him!

    • Amy J

      I, too, notice how my life is filled with busyness, and it often discourages me. I find hope in knowing God does not want that for me, and that together, He and I can make changes. Like you, I'll keep pressing on, trusting in Him.

    • shereadstruth

      Deb, thank you so much for your transparency! I, too, am guilty of filling my life with busyness. Thanks for the reminder to fix my eyes on Christ!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Sarabeth

    “Christ has already made up for our deficiencies.” I love that. It helps me to look past all my failing and press on towards him. He is the Ultimate prize.

  • michelle of LA CA

    "the insurmountable joy of knowing Him will always be greater than our pain and suffering, greater than our struggle and heartache."
    Amen and thank you for your writing today

  • Caroline @ In due time

    I can’t think of anything better than being formed in His image!

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • Pressing on!

  • Candacejo

    This all reminds me of the Andy Griffith episode (pardon my simplicity) where little boy Opie runs in a track meet to "get me that medal". He trains for it, although he is awkward and clumsy. He isn't quick and you can easily decipher the outcome is not going to be in his favor. Sure enough, on race day he takes off with the best of them but immediately he is left in the dust. He does not get his medal and goes home pouting…not even staying to watch the rest of the races or to congratulate his friends.

    His dad is not happy with his attitude. It stinks! And he reminds him that life is this same way…it may seem that others outrun us (they are smarter, prettier, more popular, more spiritual) and breeze by but the race is not to the swiftest. You just keep getting up and getting back on that track, no matter what.

    I know it's a little of a stretch today because we ARE to run to obtain the prize, the high calling in Christ Jesus. But thankfully it isn't just a trophy (so to speak) for one but "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Mark 13:13. Run that you may obtain! ♥

    • Tamara

      I think it fits in aswell. If you are feeling like you can't win the price, and all people are doing better… It doesn't means you should give up!

    • ~ B ~

      Love this N! Love that show, we could use it again these days. Great thought on the reading. Too often we get so caught up in what others are doing, we need to keep our eyes in our own lane. Love this! ~ B

      • Kristin

        Agreed! It’s easy to lose focus on what you need to be doing when you’re comparing yourself to those around you who may seem “more spiritual” or like they have it all together.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Never, ever give up! Keep on…..press on!!!

      On Saturday at the Half Marathon I ran, one of my girlfriends had convinced her boyfriend to run it with us. He trained all summer – it was so cool to see him building miles and working towards the goal. Race day came, and with it, nerves and excitement. A couple of miles into the race, his knee started to hurt…..by mile 6 he was in incredible pain. My friend called him and we found out he was still on the course, at mile 12…..he was staying the course and finishing. The first marathon runners had already came thru…..but he was DETERMINED to persevere. As he turned the final corner, hobbling across the final 100 yards, with pain slicing across his features, we witnessed what reaching for the prize and never giving up truly looks like. As soon as he crossed the finish line, volunteers and medics were there to swoop him up and get him patched up…..but HE DID IT. (He did get to the Dr yesterday and it looks like he did a number on his IT band…..hopefully PT will be the answer!)

      • Melinda

        This makes me think of a conversation I had last night about following God’s leading into the scary, the painful, and the dangerous places. Following God is not about playing it safe, but following Him and ultimately knowing that our lives are hidden in Him, no matter the outcome.

  • Joyce Pelletier

    Romans 8:28 is a verse that we can hang on to through thick and thin! God is faithful!

  • Ah, the things God uses others to remind you of. This piece today brought round an old memory, one that stings a bit, but one that also lights fire to my feet. Since I was a wee one I loved to run. My parents always said that once I figured out running, I saw fit to never walk anywhere again. They were tired. I felt good running and I was really good at it. When I was in junior high I so aspired to run track that my Dad made a makeshift couple of hurdles for me so that I could practice to my hearts content and I would. I would spend hours in the yard running for the prize, mastering the skill, for years, dreaming of the day I could actually run track on the same team my sister ran cross country. Freshman year came and I couldn't wait until Spring try-outs, but then, well life and a social world happened. I let a boy become my favorite thing and I forgot about this passion in this dream. Spring came and I thought about it. I watched others take to the track and I knew I could run too. It was the first thing I knew I could do well, but I walked right past the track and hit the green courts instead. After a friend's encouragement. I knew the schedule for tennis was less restrictive and it would leave me more time for socializing and yes, the boy, whose athletic practice happened just happened beyond my courts. Go figure. ;) Well, no surprise, that relationship ended and I was left playing a sport I'd never known much about. School field day came and I ran for my class. I won that race and my spirit was lifted. I smiled as I heard the track coach say to another teacher, "She should be on track, why isn't she on track?", but the other teacher indicated that I played tennis and my coach wouldn't be happy if I quit. I was far too shy to push for change and went about the mindset, I'd look to switch the next year, but each year came and went and I never ran track, for various reasons and growing insecurities. As an adult, I look back and it hurts. I was made to run, this I know. I feel it in me even as I type, but I didn't. I let worldly things complicate my vision and I lost time doing something I know would've made my heart and spirit sing. Now I"m left dreaming for the day I can run a marathon, emotionally righting my own wrongs and running out the welling up inside. :)

    When we look back on times we didn't run for the prize, seasons that we chose to pass the track, it hurts. We feel the pain of our decisions and it is hard to review that time, but it is also a good reminder. I want to honor what I was truly made to do …. run for Christ. While I know I was a great physical runner and it gave me a great deal of peace, I know the peace that comes with running with my Savior in mind versus myself. My track is no longer a worn path in our front yard or the long roads of my neighborhoods, but it is wherever my I am. I understand now that running doesn't have to occur after a gun sounds, but instead the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning or even when my alarm sounds. If my daily focus is Christ as my prize I will be less likely of being led by worldly feeling again and I won't miss my season, each day will be my season. I won't have to look back and be saddened by a wrong turn, I can look back and smile knowing full well, I'm running the race, I'm on the right track and though I may miss a hurdle, fall flat on my face and trip over my own feet, Christ is always right there and I will run like I am made to do. ~ B

    • Candacejo

      Such a beautiful analogy as always!! You draw me in with your words…hoping and praying you can run that marathon one of these days but also thankful you know what the real prize and race truly is. ♥

      • ~ B ~

        Thank you N. I am very hopeful this will be an achievement. I just need to quit selling myself short in the advancement of age. :) ~ B

    • Kelly_Smith

      Great analogy!

      • ~ B ~

        Kelly, you were on my heart the other day. Hope life is going smoothly with you and the little people in your world. ~ B

        • Kelly_Smith

          So much better! The prayers of the saints in my life are affecting change in my marriage, my kids, and my heart. Thank you for your kind thoughts!

          • ~ B ~

            Yay! I am so glad to hear it. It is amazing how quickly things can turn around when we enlist prayers. Love to you! ~ B

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Oh man B – you hit me with your words (as always!) I have to say, that while I was not born to run (only got into it about 4.5 years ago) – I feel so connected with God while out on long runs. I have grown closer to Him….very meditative and restorative. I have found that God brought running to my life as a way to help "sort things out", provide stress relief and put our family mindset in a different direction (we now LOOK for 5Ks to run together)….I am encouraging you to pick a race – maybe a half to start with (less time commitment for training) – or go for the full and dig in and go!
      On Saturday, my miles ticked by with scripture floating in my head, every lyric to pop songs somehow being turned into praise songs (now THAT was a new experience for me!) and just plain JOY…..
      I will be starting to train for a full in June here shortly (my second)…….scared, but excited…..if you want a cyber training buddy :)

      • Amy J

        I appreciate your story, Heather. I ran, once upon a time, and loved it. I remember so well the meditative, restorative aspect of it. My knees don't allow it now, so I'm hoping to discover another form of exercise that provides me that same peace of mind. :)

        • MNmomma (heather)

          How about paddle boarding, kayaking, walking, biking???? Thinking of you this morning and praying that you find your perfect match exercise :)

      • ~ B ~

        Oh, do I understand the feeling you mention. Jogging always brought this to me too. I am really hopeful that I can run at some point soon. There is a huge marathon here every May…..perhaps this is one to start with. As I said to Nanette above, I need to move out of the "I'm not sure I can" mode and make it happen. Perhaps a cyber training buddy is a great start. Mentor on Heather. I am in need! ~ B

        • MNmomma (heather)

          May sounds just about perfect…..and now is the right time to start slow and steady – getting your feet wet, gradually building up some weekly miles. I have loved Hal Higdon's beginner marathon training app. I think it was 9.99 in the app store or something, but it helped me stay accountable and focused on my training regimen. You would be a bit out before the "official" start time of training, but it does anticipate that you have some base running under your belt…..

          truly, if you are wanting to go for this – I'm here and will be your accountability partner (and cheerleader!!!!)

          • ~ B ~

            I am going to check out that app. I need something to help me here. I'm clueless and at 44 feeling so unfit. You want to know something funny. God decided to drive this point home to me just last night. I tend to over think my ability to accomplish this; will I have the time, am I able, will I make the time, what if I fail entirely….. so as I was praying to it yesterday, I was not confident I would pull it off. We host our church community group and last night one the girls raised an idea for "community" support to the group and as a show of support for something she is going through the group collectively to join the cause. What was it she asked us to sign up for? It just happened to be a 5k in December. As I sat there listening, I chuckled inside…. "I hear you, God. Touché." So now, I will prepare for 3 miles within a couple of quick months, which could hopefully propel me into a great place for the Flying Pig. You know you're not far from Cincy and I sort of, kind of know a guy who runs a hotel here….I could hook you up. ;) ~ B

    • Amy J

      Oh, how I relate, B. Thank you so much for your honest reflection.

      I love the idea that each day could be my season. I look forward to running ahead, with a daily focus on Christ.

      • ~ B ~

        Each day is a season for sure. Looking forward to running for Christ with each daily step, be it walk or run. :) ~ B

    • A PEACH IN ITALY

      Absolutely love this! Thank you for sharing your stories!

    • tina

      Ah,-B, I come last….story of my life..lol….but there is a prize for me here…this is so lovely, and what a great analogy….I don't run, and have never had a passion for it, but I was on the track with you here in this life story, and you know what, I reckon we run together ,here at SRT, as we journey together in Gods Word…a prize in itself…
      See you on track…
      Blessings dear heart…Sending some hugs and love to the family…xxx

  • carlybenson

    Missy, I identify so much with your comment that you are "still running, but not always in a way to get the prize", sometimes losing sight of what the prize is. I feel like this too- that I am keeping going in this path I've chosen- following Jesus- and that I am making progress, but I don't always have the complete focus on him that I should have. I want to finish the race but I don't necessarily have the desire to win. This challenges me to press forward, to fix my eyes on Jesus, and not to settle for second best but to keep pursuing him and all he has for me.

  • Here in England, we have dog tracks, where some serious dog racing goes on…I have never been….The idea is that these whipits, a lean and long legged dog, are put in stalls with blinkers on, when the gong sounding bell goes and the trapdoor is opened, in their sight is this mechanical rabbit that they begin to chase, follow with every breathe, with every stride they strive to catch this rabbit, every bit of life they have in them, the One thing that is uppermost and only on their mind is 'lunch' the rabbit,..at all costs, they must catch this prize….which none of them will ever catch because it is mechanical for one, and for two, it has been set to outrun the dogs in the way it is designed….and managed….

    As I read, and was thinking and praying on this great devo, Thank you Missy, I fell asleep, for a moment or two, and the dog track picture came to mind…..trust me I have never been to a dog track, and yet I could clearly see the goings ons in my mind…

    Sometimes, and certainly, even reading this today….there is that thought of never good enough, or that I am not worthy of the prize…I know I have often doubted, what I know in my heart, is God's promise to me..that He will always be with me, or that He will never leave me, nor forsake me…till the end of time, no matter what I do, say, or am…I do not need to give up, or feel inadequate, mine is to run, run this race like my life depended on it…
    With renewed determination, though, today, I want to run the race, looking forward, and arms outstretched, like and these dogs, with only one true goal, and no matter how many times, I have to begin again, falter, or fall, I get another chance, by God's mercy, Grace and love to keep trying, to keep going, ….knowing Jesus, has my back, and covers me through it…

    Mine is to run the race, run like my life depended on it…full stop….

    Bless you Jesus that You have my back and that you have me in your sights and arms…that I do not attempt this on my own, but You are there to guide and direct me…Thank you Lord God , thank you …

    Praying Blessings, Grace and Peace over you as you set foot on the track….God be with you….with love XXXXX

    • Candacejo

      Wonderful word pictures today, Tina. Made me feel sorry for those dogs who never obtain the prize :( But thank you for the thoughts today.We don't do this on our own! He is always with us and is waiting at the end of the race. ♥

    • Kelly_Smith

      Sometimes, the Christian life feels like that dog track. It seems heaven is so far away, just far enough to never attain. It can be discouraging. I slow my pace, content to stand in the dirt and let the rabbit run. I get my eyes fixed on the temporal and immediately lose sight of the eternal. Lord, keep my eyes fixed on the eternal today!

    • ~ B ~

      That is the amazing thing, we attain the prize … these poor run pups run without ever attaining it. We run at times as if we will get nowhere, but the prize is ours! Awesome! ~ B

    • MNmomma (heather)

      What an illustration of running hard toward the goal! Thank you for this image! So thankful He is always with us…..

      Blessings to you my dear!

    • Amy J

      Love the idea of running the race – looking forward, arms outstretched – towards that one true goal. Thank you, Tina.

    • Carolyn

      Excellent illustration! Makes me think, too, that like the dogs chasing a mechanical rabbit, I sometims run all out after things that are just temporal with no eternal value at all. I need to be sure that my eyes are fixed on Christ, the one real thi Get!

  • I have to admit, sometimes in this race called life, I get distracted. Most of the time it’s doubt. Doubting that I’m good enough to win the race. I get caught up in the minor details and find myself slowing down and wanting to start all over. But as I was reading and meditating on this devotion, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He has and will equip me (2 Timothy 3:17) to do whatever He calls me to do.

  • Karen Wood

    Gosh! I love how every day the reading encourages me in some aspect of my life! Thank you so much for being obedient to the Holy Spirit prompting encouraging thousands of people daily, truly wonderful.

    So grateful for you guys, love that God placed His vision in your hearts to share His word every day.

    • shereadstruth

      Karen, it's such a joy to have you in our community! Praying for you today, friend!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Michelle of LA CA

    "the insurmountable joy of knowing Him will always be greater than our pain and suffering, greater than our struggle and heartache."
    "And He Himself promises to hold us, especially when we lose our strength."
    Your writing was right on time for me . I received a call today . I have a serious doctor's appt with a specialist at a Cancer Center this Wed .
    It's my first appt and I don't know what to expect . And these 2 sentences spoke volume to me .
    Thank you very much .

    • MissM.R.

      Praying for you today Michelle.
      Lord Jesus,
      You know Michelle intimately… and she is a unique creation dearly loved by You. I ask you to surround her with Your Presence and fill her with Your Peace and that she would know that Your Power is greater than anything she has ever known. Lord we know that ALL healing comes from you and I ask that you would touch Michelle with your healing Almighty hand. Then grant the doctors and nurses uncommon knowledge and understanding of Michelle's condition. Help them to be caring compassionate and communicate clearly and effectively.
      Be with Michelle in a mighty way… remind her she is not alone.
      In your Name Jesus,
      Amen

      • BarbaraH

        Beautiful prayer, MissM.R. I'm praying it for Michelle, and also for my friend's granddaughter, Fearne, who is gravely ill in hospital. She doesn't know the Lord yet, except through her grandmother. Father, come close to both young ladies and bring them healing, in Jesus' name.

    • Lynne

      I will be praying for you Michelle.

    • Kim

      I will continue to pray for you Michelle. That our Father's presence wrap around you and fill your heart. That He fill your vision and be your strength and courage. He is with you. xo

    • Brittany

      Praying for you Michelle.

    • Andrea H

      Praying for you Michelle.

    • Angela

      Praying for you, Michelle.

    • Macy

      Praying for you! I have experienced the reality of cancer and I can promise you He is still good and shows Himself to be faithful in the mess of it all. Seek Him and know peace!

    • Kathy

      Father, surround Michelle with your love and comfort.

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