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Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Christmas Carol, The amazing Race and you

From the book of Genesis we know that we are made in the image of God.  Because of this 'imprint' that we have we see the redemptive story all around us- movies, books and TV shows to name a few.  One such movie is A Christmas Carol- I love all the different renditions. Why is that movie so popular? It is a picture of me and you.  I once was lost but now am found!

I've recently been watching one of Andrew's favorite TV shows and to me it is a picture- veiled and through a mirror dimly-of our Christian life.

The show is called The Amazing Race.  11 teams of two, race around the world in competition with the other teams.  The Teams travel to and within multiple countries in a variety of transportation modes.  Clues are provided in each leg that lead the teams to their next destination or direct them to perform a task.  These challenges are related in some manner to the country wherein they are located.  Contestants strive to arrive first at the end of each leg to win prizes but also the team that arrives last has the possibility of being eliminated..

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

I Corinthians 9:24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

We are in an Amazing Race!!  What is our goal?  To love the Lord thy God with all my heart, soul and mind and for me to love you as much as I love me!  The Catechism's first question is What is man's chief end?  Man's chief end is to Glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  One day we will see Jesus!  One day we will BE with Jesus!!  What a prize we have set before us!

Just like in the TV show as we travel through life we encounter Challenges, Road blocks, and Detours.

The teams we enjoy the most are those that take the time to realize that they are traveling in a place or doing an activity that they never would have done before and may never do it again.  A book that encourages us to do this in our lives is Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts . Her premise is to be thankful for the things that are right here right now.  She wants us to be very present with our gratitude. Life is hard but in the thankfulness of the moment I reset my eyes to the prize that is set before me and that helps me endure/ succeed/continue on with the tasks that are set before me.

I recently saw this on a blog/web site I follow.  Christy Jordan is The Southern Plate.  I feel like I know her.  I enjoy all that she writes because she is so encouraging.  This past summer as she was on her family vacation in of all places- Arkansas, she was thrown off a horse and broke both her legs.  Let me make sure you read that right- Broke BOTH her legs.  Oh my!!!  I wondered if she would still be her encouraging self during all of this.  I was not disappointed.  One day she wrote about all those things that we do for our children that we really shouldn't but it is just easier, well, she had to say to her children that mama can't help you today because I've got two broken legs!!!  Also at the beginning of school when the school is begging for volunteers she had to tell them that she couldn't help because she had two broken legs!!  She was able to find humor and thankfulness in a very hard situation.

The other characteristic that we enjoy seeing on the TV show is when the teams encourage their teammates.  They tell them that they can do it!  Keep your eyes on the prize!!

The apostle Paul gives us encouragement for keeping our eyes on the prize-

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

II Cor 4:17  For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison   

Do you think that what you undergo is more than slight momentary affliction?  Listen from II Corinthians 11 what slight momentary affliction Paul went through- 5 times of 40 lashes less 1, 3 times beaten by rods, once stoned, 3 times shipwrecked, a night and day adrift at sea, frequent journeys in danger from rivers, robbers, his own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers, in toil and hardship through many sleepless nights, in hunger and in thirst often without food, in cold and exposure.  And apart from other things there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.  I would say that he knows a little about affliction!

How can we see this on our amazing race?  When we come along side of each other as we go through the challenges and tasks of life.

My friend, Linda, broke her hip a few months before her youngest child, a daughter, got married.  I took a meal to her and found her in the midst of flurry of activity as she sat in a chair and directed, as others did tasks that she physically couldn't do.  Her friends came along side her so that she could finish the challenge that was set before her and not get bogged down.  I was so encouraged by them.

My friend, Faith, delivered a son at 20 weeks.  His name was Alex.  I was on the phone with Faith as she was in the hospital getting ready for the delivery.  I was helping her get her other two children situated.  As we were nearing the end of our conversation, I was at a loss.  I could tell my friend that I loved her and that I was praying for her but I couldn't relate to the exact feelings she was feeling.  Before we hung up someone came into her room, it was a another friend from church, Renee.  I heard such relief in Faith's voice because Renee could offer the comfort I couldn't.  Renee has lost several children and could offer words and hugs that ministered greatly to Faith.  How that ministered to me also!!

Life is hard.  We are faced with tasks, challenges, road blocks and detours that can be overwhelming.  Failed marriages, wayward children, death of a loved one, loss of a friendship, car wreck and just the general busyness of life.

So today on your Amazing Race

1- Look around for those you can cheer on to completion, those you can encourage
2- Be thankful for your challenges and in them name things that you are thankful for
3- Realize that this is 'slight momentary affliction' and we are being prepared for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison!

Your task at hand is not the end, Seeing Jesus is!!!


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