Pastor's Pen
by Buzz Dahlen
Well how are you doing on your New Yearís resolutions?  I have to say that I am doing pretty good.  Although, if you remember, I didnít make all that many, and the resolutions that I did make were not all that physically demanding.   But for most, itís about this time of the year, 3 weeks or so, that the resolutions begin to fad away.  I must say that I have been very impressed with those who have resolved to run more.  Itís been cold and still I see folks running through town.  Back and forth, up and down no matter how cold it gets they are out there keeping their promise to themselves.  I know I couldnít do it.  I hate running.  There is just too much time to think about how much it hurts.  Thatís why I like officiating, although some might argue whether or not I actually run up and down the court, I donít have to think about the running when my mind is on the game.  Anyway, here, here to all of you who have chosen to run more this year.  My hatís off to youÖ
I have had some friends, over the years, who have motivated themselves to run by signing up for a race.  They figure it they are preparing for a race they will stick with it.  Most pay their entry fee in advance so that they have something to lose if they do not complete their goal. And there is an added incentive, if they work hard enough their time will be better or they might even have a chance to win their particular age division.  This extra incentive makes them work all the harder. Life is like that.  We are all in a race and I am not referring to the human race or the rat race.  We are all in a race, running toward the finish line.  Paul refers to it in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.   1 Cor. 9:24-27
Paul gives us an incentive to live our lives as if we were in a race to win the crown..  Now in actuality, all who have been born again have received their crown already.  We are children of the King.  But having already received the prize, the crown, might cause someone to slack off in their training.  So, Paul encourages us to work hard as if we still had the crown to win.  We are not winning it away from anyone else; we receive the crown for finishing the race.
What motivates you to live a better life?  If you are not looking forward to the finish line you may we living life aimlessly.  God wants us to have a goal, something to look forward to, to keep us running.  If we donít we will be discouraged.
Maybe today you donít feel like running the race any longer.  My encouragement is to look at Jesus, who finished the race himself, so that you might have the chance to run in the race yourself.  He paid your entrance fee and stands at the starting line encouraging you to get started, Heís there along the way providing the beverages to refresh you and He waits there at the finish line to hand you your crown.  Donít give upÖ
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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 sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:3-4  Have a great run today!!!

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