4:7 AGAIN

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV)

Today I continue my series of running devotions for My TEA CUPP for Athletes & Runners Book & Journal. I pray these will be a blessing to you and you will be encouraged to PRESS ON!

Has God put a dream and passion in your heart? Is there something you really feel called to do or achieve that can bring Him glory? I had a dream like that. When I was 18, God gave me the dream to run a marathon, but then life happened and I forgot that dream for a time. But God didn’t forget, He let me live out the dream over 34 years later!

I ran my first marathon with God’s help in Bozeman, Montana last fall. My goal was to run it in 4 hours.  After 8 miles my legs were hurting, at 18 miles I was ready to stop, but I pressed on. At 22 miles some fellow hollered that I could break 4 hours if I kept going, so I kept going, but crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 7 minutes. 

I was so thankful to Jesus to be done, thankful to be close to 4 hours, yet a bit disappointed to not have made my goal.  But later, when sharing a meal with my family, I asked my college son Kevin to look up the reference for “I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith.”  He found it in his smartphone BIBLE.  The verse comes from 2 Timothy 4:7, 4:7 just like my time, 4 hours and 7 minutes. It was then I knew that God had His hand in the entire race, I was in His will.  

My times are in Your hand… Psalm 31:15 (NKJV)

A week after my marathon, I visited my daughter in Wisconsin and heard the joyful news that she was expecting again. After two miscarriages, this was a miracle from God. We prayed for my daughter and her baby all winter and made plans to visit as her due date of March 31st approached. We arrived on March 22, ready to help in any way we could. March 31 came and went with no baby. A week later, we were still waiting for Baby Robin to arrive.

In the wee hours of April 7th, my daughter went into labor. Around breakfast time, she and her husband headed to the hospital. I thought this baby would surely be here by lunchtime. With big sister Kennedy off to her appointment with her Nana, I headed out for a run. As I was running, this verse from Second Timothy came into my head. I realized that the date was April 7, 4/7. I also realized what the verse said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” And as I was running I screamed out to God, “No! My daughter’s race is not over! Help her deliver this baby! Bring them both home healthy and strong!”

Dinnertime arrived and there was still no baby. Baby Robin was just too big at 10 pounds, 15 ounces. The doctors decided to do a C-section and finally Baby Robin was born. My daughter finished the race of delivering her baby. Praise God!

I’ve often thought that running is much easier than delivering a baby. If I wanted to, I could stop running at any time (though I rarely do that, but it’s nice to know I have that option). But when you go into labor to deliver a baby, there is no stopping or turning back. This baby is on the way!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Praise Jesus for babies! Praise Jesus for being our strength for running races and delivering babies! Praise Jesus for His Word, as in 2 Timothy 4:7, that encourages us to finish the race, keeping our faith in Him. Keep fighting the good fight, dear runners. Read your Bible, say your prayers, and run your workouts. Keep the faith!

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV)

Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:16 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

The Starting Line

Today marks the beginning of a series of running devotions for My TEA CUPP for Athletes & Runners Book & Journal. As our country continues to pull out of the coronavirus quarantines, walking and running are some of the sports we can always enjoy. I pray these will be a blessing to you and you will be encouraged to PRESS ON!

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Where does every race begin? At the starting line! Where are you right now in your race? Are you still standing at the starting line?

Our pastor had a great sermon about this last spring. He challenged us not to just stand on the line, but to run to Jesus.

How many of us have said, “Yes” to Jesus, but then stayed on the line? We haven’t changed, we still live as the rest of the world lives. What happened? That “yes” was the starting gun! We need to run forward into Jesus’ waiting arms and follow the call He has for our lives!

Our pastor gave the example of Peter who was out sailing in his boat with the other disciples. One morning after Jesus’ death and resurrection and after fishing all night, they neared shore and saw a Man standing there. When John said “It is the Lord!” Peter immediately jumped in the sea and swam to Jesus. He did not hesitate. He did not stand on the line. Peter flew as fast as he could to Jesus (John 21).

That is what we are to do, too. And like Peter, who denied Jesus three times, we come in our guilt and shame, but that is okay. For Jesus loves us and forgives us and welcomes us with open arms.

I love the verse from John 21:4, “Jesus stood on the shore.” Jesus is standing there waiting for all of us. When we cross from this world into eternity, Jesus will be waiting on the shore to greet us. And each day until that day, Jesus is standing on the shore with open arms, ready to help us through whatever trial we are facing.

The Runner’s TEA CUPP: Read John 21 for the story of Peter today. Don’t just stand on the starting line, run to Jesus with all your might! Discipline yourself in Bible reading and prayer, the same way you discipline yourself to do your workouts each day.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14-15 (NKJV)

Thank you to Pastor Kyle Zigweid for his inspiring sermon at Big Timber Evangelical Church on April 19, 2020.

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

Sports in the Bible

And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)

This summer was to be the summer of the 2020 Olympics. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Olympics were rescheduled for 2021. I imagine some athletes were grateful for another year to practice or to heal from an injury, while others had prepared for a peak performance this August.

Sports give us an outlet to funnel our energy, a way to keep our bodies healthy for serving Jesus, and a venue to live out our faith. Our sad country has been without sports this spring because of the pandemic. Yet now it is plagued again by riots and racism, perhaps in part from being quarantined for months. Let’s bring back sports as a positive place for competition and good health, allowing people to root for their teams, rather than people groups. Let us cheer on all Races as they run the races!

In honor of the Olympics that might have been, and in preparation for next year’s competitions, I offer a round of athletic devotions this summer. This kicks off My TEA CUPP for Athletes & Runners Book & Journal, coming next year to a bookstore near you! It is amazing to see how many sports are mentioned in the Bible…

Running

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

Swimming

And He will spread out His hands in their midst
As a swimmer reaches out to swim,
And He will bring down their pride
Together with the trickery of their hands.
Isaiah 25:11 (NKJV)

Wrestling

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Play Ball!

He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball
Into a large country…
Isaiah 22:18 (NKJV)

Boxing

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  1 Corinthians 9:26 (NKJV)

Fighting

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)

Archery

Then I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target. 1 Samuel 20:20 (NKJV)

Walking

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Ladies, we don’t have to be Olympic athletes. But even the Proverbs 31 woman was called to strengthen her arms. After your quiet time each morning, why not make a point to get outside and exercise, taking a Bible verse with you to memorize as you go. It will cheer you up to be out under the big blue sky talking to our Lord.

She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
Proverbs 31:17 (NKJV)

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Isaiah 40:29 (NKJV)

Extra Note: To you dear ones who have been praying for my granddaughter…we have another miracle! This past weekend, Kennedy started walking again, after not walking since her chemo began in February! This grandma can’t stop crying tears of joy and thanksgiving. We are walking and leaping and praising God! (Acts 3:8)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

My Testimony

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24 (NIV)

 

Dear TEA Friends,

This month I share with you video clips from an interview my pastor did with me last year.  Today I share my testimony of how God saved me through His Son Jesus. To view more of my interview please see my Hello from Jennifer Grace post. If you’d like to read the entire story, please visit My Running Story.  Or, if you’d like to read it in my book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, please click here.  Or, if you’d like me to come speak for your next ladies’ gathering or retreat, please contact me here.

Thank you for visiting My TEA CUPP Prayers and praying for my ministry to invite ladies everywhere to have TEA each day with Jesus, the King of kings.

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)

Scripture from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

Video Credits:   Sam Fossum and Pastor Bryan Baker, 2018

My Sauna Prayers

But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings…
Malachi 4:2 (NKJV)

In January I joined a gym for the first time in my life.  It was not my idea.  I don’t like exercising indoors.  I like looking up at the big blue sky and smiling at Jesus as I run.  Treadmills are not my friends.  They don’t shine on me like God does with His sunshine.  And the numbers creep forward so slowly, except when I’m doing intervals, then the walking minutes seem much faster than the running minutes! I found the elliptical machine to be more kind than the treadmill.

But I am thankful our little town has a gym, what a blessing to so many people who need to get exercise in winter and year-round for various reasons.  There is something inspiring about the gym. Seeing others energetically exercising encourages me to press on, just as when we meet with believers at church every Sunday we are encouraged to press on in our faith. At the fitness center, people are there as part of a diabetes program, walking for their health, lifting weights to ward off osteoporosis, or training for their next Ironman.  I joined the gym for the sauna.

My doctor told me in December that I would need surgery because of benign tumors.  My oldest son did some research and convinced me to give Jesus and natural remedies a try first.  I asked many counselors (Proverbs 15:22): Friends with similar ailments, a naturopathic doctor, essential oil references, and so on, and decided to do it all with much prayer! One of the treatments is to sweat out the toxins that our bodies hold onto in a sauna.

One morning while perspiring on the top bench of this wooden room, I was praying for Jesus to heal me, to sweat out the icky stuff from me, and to shrink the tumors.  I thought how much God’s Word is like a sauna.  When we climb into it and read of His holiness and our sinfulness, we sweat out our sins.  He purifies us in the crucible of His Word!

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

And so I prayed, Dear Jesus, please sweat out these toxins from my body, and heal me.  And please forgive me, too, sweat out the toxins from my heart, all my sins and pride and selfishness and wrong words and…wash me clean with Your precious blood and fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Just as regular exercise is necessary to keep our bodies in shape, regular time in God’s Word is essential to keep our hearts pure.  Dear friend, please schedule time daily with Jesus, sharing a CUPP of TEA and reading His Word, using Bible verses to pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer.  You might have to set your alarm extra early, but even more than the gym, it is worth it!

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

…To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 1:5-6 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

 

Running with Jesus

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 (NKJV)

This one is for you, the lady in whose heart God has put a dream…

On September 9, 2018, with God’s gracious help, I completed half of a goal I’ve had since I was 18 years old, to run a marathon. Over the summer, I signed up, trained, and ran the Bozeman Half Marathon in Bozeman, Montana.  I couldn’t have done it without the help of Jesus, my family cheering, and friends praying.  It was a long road!

When I was 18, it was no trouble for me to go out for a training run of 12 miles.  Our college cross country coach often gave us workouts that included a long run on Sunday afternoons.  And that was the easy day!  My friend Laura wanted me to run a marathon with her, but I hesitated because I was training for 10Ks.  But my 10K training came to a screeching halt in the fall of my sophomore year when my coaches and teammates died in a plane crash while traveling home from a victorious national meet.

I could barely run three miles after that disaster.  The grief made my heart and legs so heavy.  Slowly I started running again, but I also developed an eating disorder until Jesus saved me, so I was never in the such good shape again. Then came the blessing of marriage and children, and praying for more children, and not running so I could get pregnant, and before I knew it I was 52 and still hadn’t run that marathon I’d always wanted to do. So, this year, with God’s help, I set out to accomplish half the task, hoping to do the full marathon next year.  I looked up a free workout at coolrunning.com.

Each training morning, I’d get up super early to have my quiet time with Jesus before heading out on a run.  Then I’d take Jesus with me as I kept praying and singing songs in my head to Him.  When I had tight muscles in July I told friends at church and they must have prayed, because I got better and kept running.  When smoke filled the August skies, I kept running, even though it was probably bad for my health. I’m so thankful that I can still run in my second half-century of life!  As the day of the race drew nearer my stomach started acting up.  I tried to be careful about what I was eating, but it was still a mess the day before the race.

But when the day of the race came, my muscles didn’t hurt and my tummy behaved itself and God gave me the strength to run it!  I planned it so that each mile I sang a different song or Bible verse in my head that followed My TEA CUPP Prayers. I’ve also done this as I’ve driven to doctor appointments and other events. It helps the miles go by and encourages me as I run. Here are the songs I “played” in my head:

Mile 1: T – Psalm 100:4 I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart
Mile 2: T – Give thanks with a grateful heart
Mile 3: E – Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord
Mile 4: E – Psalm 63:3 Thy lovingkindness is better than life
Mile 5: A – Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God
Mile 6: A – I’m forgiven, because You were forsaken
Mile 7: C – Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so
Mile 8: C – Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
Mile 9: U – Hebrews 12:1-2  If then we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..
Mile 10: U – Amazing Grace, my chains are gone
Mile 11: P – I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God
Mile 12: P – I believe in God the Father, I believe in Jesus Christ
Mile 13: Pet – The Lord’s Prayer and The Joy of the Lord is my strength

The day of the race came.  I didn’t sleep very well the night before.  I got up at 4 a.m. and had a banana and peanut butter and Gatorade for my quiet time with Jesus.  Then I stretched and packed up to leave home at 5:45 a.m., taking another banana and Gatorade for the road.  My husband and our three sons came to cheer me on.  We arrived in Bozeman at 6:45 a.m. and found a parking spot near Main Street. We walked to the designated shuttle area and found several school buses already full of runners.  I was hoping for a restroom, but there were none in sight.  I hugged my family good-bye and hopped on a bus, sitting in the front seat next to a lady in purple, my favorite color.

It turned out the lady was from North Carolina, 65 years old, and had just run a half marathon the week before in Jackson, Wyoming. God bless sweet Sarah Anne from North Carolina!  When we arrived at the starting-line, there were two dozen porta-potties awaiting us.  Whew, that was a blessing! There I met other runners older than me who were running a half marathon in every state. They call themselves 50-staters. And I just wanted to finish one race! Woah, talk about keeping me humble!

News came that the full marathon that was to begin at 7 a.m. had been delayed 10 minutes, so they were delaying our 8 a.m. start as well.  The runners tried to calm their jitters by stretching and chatting in the starting-line crowd.  Finally, the gun went off and people began running.  I took off, too, joining the throng.

For some mysterious reason, in all my planning and packing, I had forgotten my wrist watch to time myself.  My goal was to run 10-minute miles.  But now I had no watch to keep track of my pace.  So I just ran.  Occasionally, God would tell me to pass some runners.  In the past, I’ve always let the runners ahead of me stay ahead of me.  But this race I had dedicated to The Morning Center, a ministry that helps women and babies in Memphis, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia. Very dear friends had sponsored me by the mile in support of The Morning Center. On the back of my t-shirt I had written, “Running for Moms and Babies and JESUS.”  I thought perhaps God wanted others to read my shirt. He gave me the strength to pass them, so I did.  At one point, a gal in light pink passed me and thanked me for my shirt.  That was pretty cool.

The course was so fantastic, that I don’t think I ever want to run anywhere else. The 13.1 mile route began in the foothills south of Bozeman, passing ranches and beautiful neighborhoods, until we reached Willson Ave. and then Main Street.  Though there were some uphill climbs, it was mostly downhill in elevation, making for a delightful run.  When I grew weary, I remembered what my friend Beth said about God pushing me and I asked Him to keep pushing. When we turned onto the final few blocks on Main Street, my legs were so heavy, but I pressed on.  When I saw my time as I crossed the finish line, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  For I ran it in under two hours, 1 hour and 57 minutes, faster than I ever dreamed, because I didn’t have my watch and I listened when the Lord told me to pass people. Tears filled my eyes as I thanked Jesus and hugged my family. 34 years after God first put the dream in my heart, I finished half a marathon.  I’m still thanking and praising Jesus for helping me run!

Stay tuned until next year to see if I can do the full marathon!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Did God put a dream in your heart years ago that you would still like to see completed?  My friend, it is never too late.  Pray to Jesus and ask for His help.  Take the first step. Then the second step.  And before you know it, you will have run a marathon!

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Pebble Pocks in My Palms

When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble. Proverbs 4:12

Why was my nose in the dirt?  Lying face down on the gravel road with pebble marks in my hands and knees, I wondered, “What happened?” Just a split second before I was running and praying for my neighbors.  How had my feet slipped?  My shocked body just wanted to lie in the dust, but my brain told me to get up. So, I pulled my bruised flesh off the rocky ground and hobbled home.

Having a good cry on the sofa was a welcome idea, but then I remembered my busy schedule and this was my only chance to go running.  So, with band-aid help from my dear husband and youngest son, I was soon out the door and running again, this time on the smooth highway, managing to squeeze in five miles before breakfast.

Still, a week after my running fall, I could feel the pebble pocks in my palms and see the bruises on my legs, a reminder of God picking me up. I know it could have been so much worse, as friends http://barefootpuppets.com/priligy-dapoxetine/ have been through broken arms, fingers, legs, ankles, and concussions this year.  But God let me feel it in my hands to remind me of his Son Who also has marks in His hands.  His marks proclaim how He died for the sins of all the world.

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” John 20:27 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Jesus died for you, my friend.  He has nail holes in His hands to remind us of His sacrificial death on the cross.  All who believe in Jesus are saved and will live forever with Him in heaven.  Today, let Jesus pick you up from wherever you have fallen. Believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord
In the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

A Runner’s Tea Cupp

runners2O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

What do runners drink? Usually we think of ice cold water, Gatorade and sports drinks.  Those all refresh me after a long run down the highway.  But what do I like to drink even before a morning run?  I enjoy a TEA CUPP with the Champion of champions, Jesus.

Tea is certainly coming into vogue as the new sports beverage, but the brand I want to share with you is brewed with Living Water, straight from God’s Word. Here’s how it works: Before you do your stretches and head out the door, sit down with your Bible and a cup of tea.  Read a selection, letting the Lord speak first. Then start praying, using Bible verses as conversation starters.

For example, to give God Thanks for your health or recent victory or other blessings in your life, recite 1 Corinthians 15:57 and tell Him for what you are thankful.  Even if you’ve never had a victory, Jesus gives us all the victory over sin and death, because He conquered those when He died and rose again.  Then continue your prayers with Psalm 20:5 to Exalt the Lord and tell Him how great He is. Follow this with Hebrews 12:1-2, asking Jesus to help you Admit and lay aside every sin.

Now you’ve finished your TEA and are ready for the CUPP.  I’ve listed more suggested verses below for talking to Jesus about your Call, Understanding your story, claiming God’s Promises, and pouring out your heart with Petitions for others. As you finish your prayers and tie your shoes, you’ll find the conversation continues as you and Jesus head out for a run together.

 T for Thanks: 

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)

E for Exalt:

 We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
Psalm 20:5 (NKJV)

A for Admit:

let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus...Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

C for Call:

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Matthew 5:41 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24 (NIV)

P is for Promises:

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions:

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Psalm 25:4 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Sip this Runner’s TEA CUPP today, before heading out on your path.  Use it as a conversation starter as you talk to the Lord. When you read your Bible, underline more verses you’d like to pray tomorrow.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.

The Runner’s Stance

Runner's Stance2let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith  Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Way back in junior high, my P.E. coaches were Ms. Newby and Mrs. Knutson. They led us in many exercises and drills to prepare us for track season. Most memorable to me, out of all their wisdom, is the runner’s stance.

The runner needs to look relaxed while running around the track, even at full speed or while exhausted. Arms are to be at greater than 90 degree angles, shoulders down, and hands open loosely. Ms. Newby described it as holding a tea cup! She told us to lightly pinch our thumbs and first fingers together and poke out our pinky fingers, just as if we were having tea with the queen. By holding our hands just so, we didn’t clench our fists and were, therefore, more relaxed.

As I went running one day recently, the Lord reminded me of that junior high tea cup. I wondered how the runner’s stance compares with the Christian’s stance. As the runner leans forward, pressing on to the finish line, the Christian looks up to Jesus, pressing on to eternal life (Philippians 3:13-14).  While the runner wears out her shoes in the race, the Christian wears out his knees in prayer.  Yet both raise their arms in victory to the Lord.

There are all kinds of stances for prayer, but my favorite is curled up in the corner of our sofa. There, wrapped in a blanket and hugging a mug of hot water, I share my TEA CUPP time with Jesus.  First I read His Word, the Bible, letting Him speak to me.  I underline special verses as I read.  Then I choose a favorite verse to pray back to Jesus, beginning my conversation with the Lord.  From thanks to petitions, I pour out my heart to Him. Instead of having tea with the queen, I’m sharing TEA with the King of kings.Runner's Stance

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Dear friend and athlete, I invite you to hold the TEA CUPP.  Along with “holding a tea cup” while running, meet each day with Jesus for a CUPP of TEA.  Let His Word encourage you, giving you all you need for today.

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:16 (NKJV)

 

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

The Final Whistle

soccer

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:52

Tweet. Tweet. Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. The referee’s whistle signals the end of the soccer game. For the losing team who was hoping to score one more goal, it is the gong of defeat. Their time is up. The game is over.  The players trudge dejectedly from the field, kicking clods of dirt from the sod.

For the winning team, the “short-short-long” blast is victory music. They jubilantly dance off the field, cheering and high-fiving as they go, making plans for celebrating with blizzards at Dairy Queen.

You can hear these whoops and hollers, over and over at today’s soccer complexes. Most have multiple playing fields with a central restroom and concession area.  Stretching my legs between my middle son’s games, I circumnavigated the fields. As I walked, I heard the “tweet, tweet, tweeeeeeeeeeet” repeated again and again, determining the fate of yet more soccer teams and players.

With whistles in my ears and the blue sky above, my thoughts turned to Jesus, His final trumpet call, and whose team will win. In the twinkling of an eye, Jesus is coming.  His trumpet will signal the end of this life. Those who have chosen Jesus will be the victors, those who have rejected Jesus will go down in defeat.

God’s Word tells us that we who believe in Jesus will have everlasting life, but those who don’t believe will receive God’s wrath.  This is one game where we will not get a second chance, no penalty kicks, no yellow cards, no re-matches, no Dairy Queen.  But for those who love Jesus, victory is assured. Thanks be to God!

Today’s TEA CUPP: My friend, today, at this very moment, is the time to choose Jesus.  Be on His winning team!  We want you on our side when that final whistle sounds. Please pray with me…Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner.  Even when I try to do the right thing, I mess up, and many times I just choose to do wrong. I know that You died for my sins and the sins of all the world.  I ask You to please be my Savior.  Wash away my sins.  Make me a new person.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me walk with You each day. Bring people into my life to teach me more about You.  I want to be on Your winning team.  I put my life in Your hands. Thank You, dearest Jesus. Amen.

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. John 3:36

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

 

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.