Saturday, February 22, 2014


A long time ago I began to pray for endurance.  Why?

I am a runner by nature... believe it or not in my not so distant past (okay you may not want to believe that part) I actually had a track scholarship to Marshall University.  So I identify all to well with the training and work ethic needed to compete at that level.  You can't get very far if you don't train, train, and.... yep you guessed it, train some more.

Racing is only fun if you can compete with the crowd around you.... however, the training process to achieve that goal is grueling and less than desirable!  I learned quickly that without those long days of pushing myself hard, past the point of where I thought I could go.... I would never reach my goal.

If you are familiar with training you know that it isn't pleasant, it hurts, and it often feels like punishment.  So how do you convince yourself to do it day after day?  Well, you must overcome your first and most difficult obstacle.... Your Mind!!!    Believing in your ability to achieve your goal will determine whether you reach your goal.

Not only does your body need to be conditioned but more importantly your mind does as well.  I use to have a saying with my personal training clients (I told you running was a large part of my past), "Mind over matter... if you don't mind, it won't matter!" Imagine getting to hear that first thing in the morning from a peppy little trainer running beside you!   

What does all of this have to do with praying for endurance?

en·dur·ance ~ 
    1.  the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.

One day while I was praying with a friend I prayed for endurance, something I did regularly in my private prayer time.  When we finished she looked confused and questioned me, "Why did you pray for endurance?"  She said that she had never thought about praying for endurance and wondered what prompted me to do so.  

I told her that I see my life in comparison to running a race.... this life is like a marathon for me (which is a big deal when your a sprinter by nature).  I was great with the quick short distances but it's those long ones that have always taken a toll on me. If you have ever experienced long distance runs you know that there is moment when you hit a proverbial wall... or should I say it HITS YOU!!  

It's the point where you want to give up and sercome to the pain that has been slowly taking over your body. Endurance gives you the strength to push through and reach the goal set before you, however, you can't obtain it without hard work.

So how do you train your mind for your race and gain the confidence to believe in the ability to reach your finish line.... by growing stronger spiritually.  If we want endurance in our journeys we must pursue it with persistence.  Spending time daily with God allows Him to fortify us with the ability to keep running when everything in us says, "I can't take anymore!"  

I will hit many "walls" in my life and unfortunately my little, "Mind of matter matter" phrase won't be enough to get me to the other side of my struggles.  So I will continue to request the gift of endurance from the only one that can provide it for me.

I have been on some very long journeys lately, but God's provision of endurance has kept me 
in the race.  My eyes are fixed on the goal before me and I will persevere until I cross the finish line.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
 In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don’t you? So run in a way that will get you the prize.  All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

So I do not run like someone who doesn't run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air. No, I train my body and bring it under control. Then after I have preached to others, I myself will not break the rules and fail to win the prize.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Rumor has it....

There's a rumor that has been passed along for years, it's been circulating for so long it's origin is unclear.  And although it can't be found in the Bible it is quoted frequently along side of scripture......

"God never gives you more than you can handle."

Okay let's be honest most of us are not only guilty of saying it at least once in our lives but also resting in it's false security. Only recently has it come to my attention (through a powerful message on faith) that this wonderful feel good thought is nothing more than a MYTH.  But hold on and hear me out because there is hope....

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ~ We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

Although, it is well intended to use this sediment to comfort someone going through a difficult phase in their life, it is absolutely false and misleading.  The Bible is full of people who had far more than they could handle (checkout Hebrew 11 for a nice recap).  These men and women not only survived their trials but thrived and all of them shared one common thread....they all had unshakable, never wavering, undeniable.... FAITH!  Faith not in themselves, or their own abilities but in their Creator... the one that can really handle the circumstances we face.   But first things first.... we need to just start at the basics, we must commit ourselves to the giver of Life so that we may receive His immeasurable source of strength.

Hebrews 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Faith! It's the key that unlocks the door to our greatest resource which will enable God's strength to penetrate our lives.  God not only wants to be with us in ALL of the circumstances, but he wants to carry us through our darkest ones... baring the load and comforting our souls.   Our God's shoulders are bigger and stronger...

II Corinthians 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Pastor Marc Sundstorm teaches us in his message "By Faith" that: "You can always endure a little more than you think you can, but you will never have more than you and God can’t handle together.  There is nothing we can’t endure through faith but we must look to the future by fixing our eyes on Jesus, because what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal."  He goes on to remind us that, "When things are good we rely on ourselves but when things are hard we rely on God."

Trials are not meant to destroy us! In fact it is quite the opposite, these times are opportunities for us to strengthen our faith and prove to the world that we live what we believe . Our experiences equip us to help others and point them back to the Father.

James 1:12 "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."

So it's time to put our faith into action and debunk the rumor.  You will never again hear me utter the words...

"God will never give you more than you can handle."

Instead I will share the truth...  

God will never give you more than HE can handle.

The Lord is My Strength Psalm 28:6-8 "Blessed be the LORD, Because He has heard the voice of my supplication. The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him. The LORD is their strength, And He is a saving defense to His anointed.…"

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