Sunday, November 16, 2014

Following The Experts

Amongst the many things I have learned in life (and continue to learn) is that it helps to follow the examples of successful people.  You know, those people who seem to be extraordinarily gifted in dealing with the rigors of living and overcoming in a remarkable way.

For example, I recently purchased a book about George Muller, a wonderful man of faith who operated orphanages in England in the 1800's.  I have heard in a sermon how Mr. Muller had some incredible prayers answered in times of challenging circumstances.  Now I'm compelled to read for myself.  How did he do it?  What was his secret?  Seeing that life continues to pummel me with challenges, perhaps it is an opportune time to learn from one of the masters. 

Hebrews 12:1-2 says,  "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." 

Obviously, I need to focus on Jesus in dealing with trials and tribulations.  But, in like manner, there is a vast army of witnesses who have gone before, cheering on believers and showing them how to survive adversity based on their experiences.  The "cloud of witnesses" mentioned in Hebrews is an Olympic term, a stadium full of overcomers propelling me forward in the race of life.

I still have got a lot to learn.  But I'm extremely grateful for those who have successfully gone on before. One day, because of their knowledge, I'll also assume my seat in the stands as I cheer on others in the race.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prepare Ye The Way

I enjoy running on Deerfoot Parkway, a somewhat busy road which is close to my house. Although the basic physics of running involves perpetual pounding on the pavement (amazing how much stress the ankles can endure), the run is not too difficult as long as I run on the road and am mindful of the approaching traffic. 

However, when a car approaches, I must veer to the shoulder of the road, causing the run to be not quite as pleasant.  The shoulder is the typical gravel noticed along most roads.  I can run on it when necessary but frequently I land on a sharp piece of rock, causing brief discomfort.  I also have to dodge some of the debris which has been thrown along the road.

Yet, if possible, I try to run on the road, the smoothest and least obstructed path.

Year ago, I understand how this applied to kings and other royalty.  If a king was going to visit a region, every effort was attempted to clear the road, to remove all debris, to allow the king to enter the area unimpeded.

In like manner, Isaiah 40:3 proclaims that we are to "...clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God."  These words were later echoed by John the Baptist is announcing the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry.

Sometimes in life we have to deal with the rocks and debris in life in order for God to work.  Once the rocks are removed, the journey, although tiring like a long run, can be a little bit easier.  As John the Baptist proclaimed, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord."