Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14
Spectator Sport

Hebrews 11:32-12:13

New International Version (NIV)
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[a] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
12 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[b]
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[c] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
vs 12 Tells us that we are being watched! There are many witnesses .... those who are watching us run our race.... all the way to the end.
I watched an Ironman-Triathlon recently, and as a "witness" of that amazing race, I can tell you, you see a lot of things as these highly trained and focused athletes make their way through a course of swimming, biking over 120 miles, then running a full marathon.
It didn't surprise me to see some have to give up. They had struggled hard and just could go no further.
One participant did surprise me though. In watching him, he had been progressing well through the course, but suddenly, I saw him just walking around talking to people.
I wasn't sure what was happening until an announcer came on and explained that this man had a race to run the next week and wanted to save his strength. Wise in the worldly sense, but I felt let down.
The most wonderful joy was seeing those road weary runners come across that finish line. All were greeted by a wildly cheering crowd(of witnesses!) Some of them came running in and were crying tears of relief as they fell into the arms of waiting staff and family.
A few could barely get it together enough to walk across that finish line... but they did... and collapsed. Some were crying. Some were joyous. Some were very somber, completely worn out.
But each one of them was cheered on and cared for gently as they finished their race!
I found myself cheering at my computer screen for each one of them!
That is apparently what is happening to us as we run our earthly race. There IS a great cloud of witnesses. I believe people here on earth and possibly those who have gone on to our eternal home are watching us.
Let us throw off everything that keeps us from doing well and run a race worthy of our prize!
They are waiting and are cheering you on.......even today! Run well, my friend!


  1. Hebrews 11:37 Some early manuscripts stoning; they were put to the test;
  2. Hebrews 12:6 Prov. 3:11,12 (see Septuagint)
  3. Hebrews 12:13 Prov. 4:26 14

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