"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." --Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
Happy Thanksgiving, Family. I am thankful for you and that we can share in Christ's love this Season. I am also thankful that as we "run this race of perseverance," that it is possible to glorify our Father in Heaven as we cast aside all burdens that hinder us. Not that we can cast them aside on our own accord, but as we look at Jesus in faith, we can cast all things that hinder us to the side, and as we continue to look at Him (Jesus Christ, our Messiah) in trust, we can endure this race one day at a time.
Chip Ingram, a Pastor and Founder of Living on the Edge Ministries shared how a soldier was a Prisoner of War for many years. Most of his buddies had died, and he was one of the few to survive. Curious about how this soldier survived, while others died as prisoners, someone asked him, "How were you able to survive, and why were most of the others unable to survive?" The soldier shared with them that most of the prisoners who didn't make it in the POW Camp were optimistic, meaning they would think or say that "we are going to be freed by Christmas or such and such a time," but when that specific time came, and they were beaten and mistreated, they began to give up and lose hope.
After sharing this about his fellow Prisoners of War, he shared that "I never allowed myself to have that false sense of hope. I just told myself that I need to try and get through this moment by moment and day by day."
When I think about this story, I think about the sense of false hope we can put our trust in, maybe it's money, lust, pride, education, greed. It could be sports, family, friends, politics, your job, or where you're from. Some of these things are not necessarily bad until we put them in front of Jesus or look to them or ourselves as the “solution.”
If we truly want to run this race with endurance and glorify our Heavenly Father, then we will look to Jesus in faith even if we are getting by each trial "moment by moment and day by day."
My dear brothers and sisters at SCCAC, if you are hoping in anything other than Jesus, then I urge you to stop and do not allow yourselves to put hope in anything else other than Jesus. It is a comforting thought to know that we can look to Him and through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we can run this race, we can endure. Keep your eyes on Jesus step by step and day by day.
1 Timothy 1:12-17
彼得后书 1:3-8 神的神能已将一切关乎生命和虔敬的事赐给我们，皆因我们认识那用自己荣耀和美德召我们的主。
至于那刻意毁谤你们的，我劝弟兄姐妹也不用担心和气馁， 因为主说：“他们在这些事上见你们不与他们同奔那放荡无度的路，就以为怪，毁谤你们。他们必在那将要审判活人和死人的主面前交账。” （彼前4:4-5）