Monday, March 31, 2008

43 starters :: Monday E-Devotion

43 drivers started the race, but only one of them was the winner.  Does that mean that 42 of them lost?  You have to answer that for yourself.  Yet I have some thoughts for you as the race traffic is still clearing here in beautiful and rainy Martinsville, Virginia.
 
Hebrews 12:1 (nlt) --- Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
 
90,000 people are said to show up in Martinsville on race weekend.  Not sure about the numbers, but I am sure that each one wants their driver to win.  It is sweet competition.  Fans wear their driver's number with pride, put it on their car or tent, on their clothes or even spelled out in tattoos and the like.  This can be a strange world.  The fans are committed and watching on.  Kind of like that great cloud of witnesses.  What do you think?
 
They love a good race, and so do I.  Close finishes.  Amazing happenings and wrecks.  Doesn't help much when you see the enemy (or the driver you don't like leading) out in front for too many laps (as I watched the 88 car driven by Dale Jr). 
 
Are the 42 drivers who didn't win losers?  I don't think so.  Some people say they are.  Not because of who they are but because of how they finished, behind the 11 car piloted by Denny Hamlin (good win, dude).  Yet I think all of them are winners.  It takes drive to keep on and to even get in the race.
 
If in life we have an attitude or think that only one person could win or only a few people could win, I would be so depressed (and many people are every day).  God tells us what winners do.  Think about it:
 
Winners get in the race - 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (nlt) --- Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
 
Winners stay in the race - 1 Thessalonians 5:6 (nlt) --- So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.
 
Winners know that God is the only real official in the race --- Hebrews 11:6 (nlt) --- And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
 
Winners enjoy each and every part of the race - John 10:10 (nlt) --- The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
 
Last, winners finish the race well - 2 Timothy 4:7 (nlt) --- I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
 
Whether you win or come in dead last in whatever race you enter, remember that life is all about God.  He has called us to enjoy life, to live it to the fullest and to know and crave His purpose each day.  That means we have to get in the race (know and love God), stay in the race (even when it is tough), glorify God (even when that is not the most popular thing to do), enjoy life and finish well.
 
1 John 4:4 (nlt) --- But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

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