Recently, I was saddened to receive from my mom an obituary for a high school classmate who was one year ahead of me. We shared the same first name, ran on the same track and cross country team, and both lived in the north part of town. She had the sweetest smile and was so kind to me, the slower underclassman. Her obituary told of running for a small college in Iowa after high school and setting many records there. Then she went on to serve in the political arena. I wept because there was no mention of church or faith in Jesus Christ. That could have been my story (except for the running records).
We attended high school in a budding midwestern college town called Ames, Iowa. Long run days led us into the countryside where we were surrounded by cornstalks, while easy workout days took us by the local ice cream shop. At every every pep rally and home game, we proudly sang the school fight song, “Students of Ames Senior High, proud of our school are we, cheering the orange and the black, on to a victory (go-fight-win!), comrades in work and in play, loyal and true are we, doing our best for our high school, Ames High aims high! Ames High aims high! Ames High aims high!
After high school, I walked-on as a cross country runner at Iowa State University where I was the slowest one on the team. Often, as I cried at the end of the line as we ran our 1000 meter repeats, I wished I had gone to a small college where I might have been on the varsity squad. But if I had not been at Iowa State University in 1985, when I lost my beloved cross country team and coaches in a plane crash as they flew home from a second place finish at nationals, I may never have come to a saving faith in Jesus. It was that ISU tragedy that made me run away from God for two years, before the prayers of dear friends brought me back to the feet of my Savior (who washed away all my sins and messes).
It hasn’t been an easy road since the day I gave my life to Jesus, but it is a blessed path and the only highway I want to follow. His straight path leads me to the narrow gate at heaven’s door. He has been beside me each day to encourage me, above me to watch over me, and within me to give me His peace. As I wept for my dear old running friend, I thought of my other classmates who might not have found Jesus after high school, and I long to tell them, there is still time to turn to Him. He is patiently waiting for all His children to come to Him before He returns to this earth. And the signs of the times are pointing to His imminent arrival, with wars and rumors of wars, good being called evil and evil being called good, and a lawlessness the likes of which America has never seen. Jesus is coming soon and I want you to be ready.
Dear one, I invite you TODAY to be one of Jesus’ comrades in work and in play, in service and in prayer. I invite you to live up to our fight song motto of loyalty and truth, for Jesus is our greatest example of this, loyal in giving His life for us on the cross to pay for our sins, loyal in rising again as the first-fruit from the grave, claiming victory over death so that all who believe in His name will have eternal life with Him. And He promises that you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).
Dear classmates, keep aiming high. God tells us in His Word, Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:2-4). And so I follow His path, and I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Please, aim high with me!
And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved… Joel 2:32 (NKJV)
Today’s TEA CUPP: I implore you to keep aiming high by putting your faith in Jesus Christ, He is the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). Jesus came for the Jews first and also for the Gentiles (everyone else!). If you’ve been putting it off, please don’t delay any longer, for none of us knows when we will have our last day on earth. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15 (NKJV)
If you haven’t prayed the sinner’s prayer, please pray with me right now…Dear Jesus, I want to be in your family. I want to be Your child and be washed clean from all the bad things I’ve done in my life, all the times I didn’t listen to You, all the times I went my own way. Please scrub away all my selfishness and pride and_______ and everything else I’ve done that is not of You. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and be with me each day. Help me walk on Your straight and narrow path. I believe You are my Savior who died for my sins. I believe You rose again and are preparing a place for me in heaven. I believe You are the only Way, the only Lord, the only God. Please help me live as Your child from this moment forward. Thank you for loving me and dying for me and letting me be in Your family. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 (NKJV)
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 (NKJV)
…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
Thank you for reading my devotion. If you liked today’s message, you may enjoy reading what I’ve been doing since high school, and my Dear Loved One and Get on the Ark posts. I also encourage you to explore my blog, My TEA CUPP Prayers. My mission is to invite ladies everywhere to TEA with the King of kings, bringing them and all their families into the kingdom of God. I’m still aiming high!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982