Summary: My greatest cheerleader of all over the years, my mother who while dying from Leukemia would call and ask how she could pray for me. Who I held in my arms and while I sang Jesus name above all names she took her final breath. She to is cheering me on.
I enjoy listening to stories about people who will not give up; ...... stories of those who stay the course .... even though ..... the "going ....gets tough".
They are a source of great inspiration to all.
Remember the man who came to Jesus and said, ...."I will follow you wherever you go"?
Jesus responds, "Before you make that kind of commitment; ..... you need to realize that foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, ...... but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
"In other words, if you decide to follow me, ..... there will be difficult and discouraging times.
But after you except that ..... then put your hands to the plow," and "don't look back."
When people begin their Christian walk, .....and then later quit when the..... "going gets tough", ...... they can become an object of ridicule to some; ..... and a source of discouragement to others.
That "Is" the reason Hebrews 12:1-2 is so important.
Listen as I read it again, BIBLE "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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." END
In this passage the Christian life is not compared to a wind sprint, ...... but to a marathon.
In a wind sprint you run as fast as you can for a short distance, .... and speed .... is the critical factor.
But in a marathon, ..... stamina.... endurance is the critical factor.
Paul proclaimed, "I have kept the faith. I have finished the race. Therefore there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. And not for me only..."
Finishing the race ....... Finishing the race is critically important for all of us who would call themselves followers of the Christ.
We are Inspired, ...... Inspired by those saints, .....those believers ..... that have gone on before us.
And praise God ....... we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,.....
That we can be inspired by, those who have finished the race, ...... those that have gone on before.
Notice that chapter 12 begins with the word ....... "Therefore."
That connects it with the previous chapter.
And in chapter 11 of Hebrews the writer gives an extended list of those people ..... who have been found faithful.
For instance, in vs. 7, the writer mentions Noah. Remember Noah?
He spent 120 years of his life building an ark ........ 120 years!
Now I must confess that patience is probably not one of my finer virtues.
Did Lee just say Amen? (I can almost hear Lee saying ..... Amen!)
And every once in a while, ......when something I am concerned about seems to be moving too slowly, ..... I will become anxious, and complain: ....."Why is this taking so long?"
Then I can almost feel Noah whispering in my ear, "Son,", "how long do you say you have been waiting?
The list in Hebrews 11 goes on. There is Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samson, David.
There is a great cloud of witnesses .... who fave finished the race.
You can almost hear their voices.... "Don't give up! Don't lose heart.
Now when I get discouraged, I think not only of the great saints of the Scriptures, ...... but also the men and women of God who have had an impact on my life .....who have inspired me......who also have finished this race of life.
I cannot help but remember those friends and family that have gone on before:
My great grandmother Parmly who sold bibles door to door on the streets of Cleveland Ohio.
Her Faith .. her life is cheering me on.
My father in law, a fellow Gideon ....... the memory of passing out hundreds of bibles together over the years ..... sweeps through my very soul.
How he led others to our Lord .... Even as he laid suffering with liver cancer in the veterans hospital in Cleveland.
His Faith is cheering me on!
And one of my greatest cheerleaders who has finished the race, was my mother ..... who while dying from Leukemia would call me ...... and ask how (Slow) she could pray for me.
God gave me the honor at the end....to hold her in my arms ..... "and while" singing to her one of her favorite Christians songs.....Jesus name above all names ..... she took her final breath.
Her Faith... her life ... is cheering me on. (Pause)
Beloved, ...... it is not easy out there on the marathon race..... we call Life.