Pressing On

Pressing-OnLeeAdianez Rodriguez is a 12-year-old girl from New York, and her actions in a recent race are the epitome of “pressing on and going the extra mile.”  LeeAdianez was registered for a 5K race, but ended up running a half marathon.  About halfway through the course, she realized she was running with the wrong group. Instead of quitting, she decided to run the 10 extra miles and finish the race.

When I read this story, I wondered why this was the first time LeeAdianez had competed at this level:

  • Had her parents denied her permission?
  • Was it because her coach told her she was unprepared?
  • Did she doubt her ability?

A person can limit himself by doubting his ability and sometimes we limit God because of a lack of faith.  A little mind-shift in your cognitive approach to life is a step in the right direction, and it will help if you will:

 Recognize that doubting is normal:

  • There were times in the life of Abraham when this man of incredible faith doubted.  In each of these instances, he was focused more on his personal strength and ability than he was on the powerful promises of God.
  • When in doubt, zoom out.  Make God your point of focus:  “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you (Deuteronomy 31:6).”

Recognize the value of good friends and good principles:

  • Instead of doubting your faith, try doubting your doubts.
  • Assess your recent resources for news and information. Have you surrounded yourself with doubters and skeptics or people of faith?  “In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend (Proverbs 27:17).”
  • Are you propping yourself up with false reasoning or trusting God?  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil ( Proverbs 3:5-7).”

Recognize that absolute certainty is an unreasonable expectation:

  • You will never have full and complete knowledge about everything. The quest to know more is the fuel that energizes honest research.
  • Just because you cannot know everything there is to know about God, doesn’t mean that you should limit yourself in seeking to know more about Him.

Recognize that not understanding is different than not believing.

  • While you may limit yourself because you don’t believe in your potential, don’t limit God by trying to constrain Him with a finite mind of rigid boundaries.
  • When the Israelites left Egypt, they thought the trip to the Promised Land was going to be an easy sprint; but, their doubt turned it into a 40 year marathon.

Doubt is to perseverance what krypton is to Superman.  Like LeeAdianez Rodriguez, you can press on when you recognize the correct message and listen to right voice—the voice of faith.

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Putting Your Right Foot Forward

Converse-Chuck-Taylor-All-Star-II_fy9As I mentioned earlier this week, today is my birthday.  I, like others born in 1953, think it was a year of great significance.

To give you a sampling of life in 1953, here are 12 events that happened in the first three months:

  • January 1: Country singer Hank Williams Sr. died while on the way to a concert in Canton, Ohio.
  • January 7: President Truman announced in his State of the Union address that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.
  • January 17: GM introduced the first American sports car, the two-seater Corvette at the annual NYC Motorama Show at the Waldorf-Astoria.
  • January 20: Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated as president, and coverage of the event was viewed on 21 million televisions.
  • February 5: Peter Pan, by Walt Disney opened at Roxy Theater in NYC.
  • February 9: The Adventures of Superman TV series premiered in syndication.
  • February 17: Baseball star and pilot Ted Williams was uninjured when his plane was shot down in Korea.
  • February 27: F-84 Thunderjets raided North Korean base on Yalu River.
  • March 5: Russian Premier Joseph Stalin died at age 73.
  • March 10: North Korean gunners at Wonsan fired on the USS Missouri, the ship responds by firing 998 rounds at the enemy position. On March 25, the USS Missouri fired on targets at Kojo, North Korea, and this was the last time her guns would be fired until the Persian Gulf War of 1992.
  • March 26: President Eisenhower offers monetary assistance to France to support their involvement in Vietnam.
  • March 26: Dr. Jonas Salk of the University of Pittsburgh announced that a vaccine against polio had been successfully tested.

As I was roaming through the annals of 1953 I found several other historic events, but the one that took place on the Ray Anthony show is interesting: The Bunny Hop was introduced to the American public.

If you’re going to put your right foot forward, and you plan to stick your left foot out, let me suggest you do it within the context of Psalm 119:

I have kept my feet from every evil path to follow Your word. I have not turned from Your judgments, for You Yourself have instructed me. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. I have solemnly sworn to keep Your righteous judgments.             ~Psalm 119:101-106 (HCSB)

Vertigo

Hey boys and girls, who can leap tall buildings in a single bound; is stronger than a locomotive; and, is faster than a speeding bullet?  That’s right, it’s Superman.

When I was just a kid, I watched superman every time I got a chance.  I think some of the opening words are still appropriate for today:  faster than a speeding bullet.  There are times that life seems to speed by at a dizzying rate of speed.  This fast-paced living can blur our perspective on life and leave us with mental and spiritual vertigo.

Spiritual vertigo can afflict all of us.  It even diminished the wisdom of Solomon for a part of his life.  Solomon began his reign as a man focused on the principles of God, but he digressed into a Hedonistic lifestyle that eventually morphed into fatalism (Eccl. 3:18-21).

The wise old king had failed to follow his own advice.  In Proverbs 3 he advises his readers to not lean on their own understanding, but to acknowledge God and to embrace His principles.

Solomon had become so dizzy with the world’s delights, his only focus was the horizontal dimension of life.  He had forgotten that his real joy and satisfaction had come from his vertical relationship with God.

Here is a thought to keep you thinking.  If you realize your life is just a merry-go-round existence, it’s time to slow things down and get your feet back on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.