We all know our dads fill an extremly important role in our lives. It is a proven fact that family life just isn’t the same without a father. The decline of the family in many homes in the world today is for the most part a result of a man who just isn’t around or is not a being a good man. Whats even worse is that some people don’t even know what a real father should be. Whole generations can be crippled because of this. The father figure is without a doubt a huge part of our lives.
Now if our fathers mean so much to us, how much more should our Heavenly Father mean to us. I think sometimes Christians don’t really KNOW who their Heavenly Fathers is. We know God as the righteous judge, the creator of heaven and earth, an incredible and powerful King and all those are true, but do we ever think of him as our father who we can come to, just to talk to, anytime, any place. A father is someone who cares, listens, gives advice, helps, teaches, comforts, and loves. All the the things we need to be secure. Sad to say we don’t always get that from our earthly fathers. Know this though, your Father in Heaven always gives you these things and he NEVER changes. He doesn’t love you on some days and other days feel like giving up on you. He is CONSTANT. He is a God of great love of mercy. Remember the story of the lost son? The son wanted to go out into the world and do his own thing. The father let him go and gave him the money that belonged to him. The son wasted all that was given him on “wild living.” When trouble came, he began to be in want, he came to his senses and became ashamed and condemed. He decided to return to his fathers house. Now this is important, the Bible says when he was still a LONG WAYS OFF, his father saw him. This must mean his father was LOOKING for his return wanting him to come home. The father didn’t wait for his son to come to him, no he ran to his son! The son confessed his sins and declared himself unworthy to be called his son anymore. The father however didn’t even pay attention to what the boy had to say about his failures, but instead told his servants to prepare a party because his son had returned. He treated his son with honor and respect as if he never had left or made a mistake. He said, “For my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” The same is true of our Father in Heaven, who loves us. We are His kids; all in the family of God. Don’t think of God as a judge who’s ready to “hit you over the head” when we make a mistake. Think of Him as a loving Father who’s ready to bring you back into fellowship with him; ready to show you kindness and mercy. And remember there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus(Romans 8:1).
Weights – they can be light; they can be heavy; they can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. No I’m not talking about weights you workout with. I’m talking about weights in our everyday lives. They can be a hinderance – something that distracts us, holds us back, or keeps us down. Not all weights are sin either. Sometimes weights can simply be something that consumes our time and keeps us from the Lord or our church. I don’t think I have to name specific things that can take away from our time with the Lord. If we are honest with ourselves, we all know what these things can be.
So why does it matter if we have weights in our life? Well, as Christians we are all in a race. The race of life! We are not racing against each other, no, we are racing for ourselves! We are racing for Jesus who is there when we start, with us while we run, and there for the finish! That is comforting news! However, to run a race pleasing to the Lord, we can’t have anything weighing us down or holding us back. We have to set aside those things whether sins or distractions that hold us back. We need to run as fast and as free as we can, with patience! Hebrews 12:1 says, “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.”
Not only is Jesus cheering us on as we run, believers like you and me who have gone on before us to Heaven are cheering us on too! So let us run our race as unto the Lord. Let’s chase after the things of God and be the best athlete for the Kingdom of God we can be!
By: Steven Overbaugh
It is a serious commitment to be a follower of Jesus – “to take up our cross.” In other words to be “all in.” This can be a very touchy topic, I know, yet a VERY IMPORTANT one. We say we want God’s best in our lives. We are grateful He has saved us, redeemed us and forgiven us. We are thankful for His blessings promised to us in His Word. All those things are great! However what about OUR part? What does God ask of ME? How can I better serve the Kingdom of God. I would imagine if we all made an honest inspection of our lives, we would find there is so much more we can do. It’s more than just going to church every week, paying our tithes, serving in the local church, etc. It a LIFESTYLE. There are 6 other days during the week that we can serve God too! Commitment is a strong word. It’s a decision and it does take effort on our part. It’s not always easy. We won’t always FEEL like serving God in our flesh. Your flesh is not the real you though. Remember the Bible says we are to present our bodies a LIVING sacrifice.(Romans 12:1) And sometimes a LIVING sacrifice wants to jump off the altar of sacrifice! We have to decide to commit ourselves to God. And I can tell you from personal experience, He will not disappoint. His blessings and favor always follow His true followers. God is not interested in controlling our lives anyways. He wants us to choose to love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) God was ALL IN when He sent His Son Jesus to die for you and me. Jesus was ALL IN when he chose to give His life. So I believe we should be ALL IN in our lives as well. I want to encourage everyone today to just tell the Lord “I surender all!” “Lord, I’m all in.”
By: Steven Overbaugh