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Hebrews 12:1-2 “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.”

1 Peter 5:7 “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

Focus: The joyful reality of being on God’s Team, as we run the Christian race.

God loves to give us encouragement moment-by-moment, as we journey through life.  In the first verse for today, He uses the example of a race to give us some insight, as to how we can live each day successfully.   God informs us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  A witness is someone who has personal knowledge of an occurrence, and afterward relates what was seen and heard.  We are told that the angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to us.  (Hebrews 1:13-14)  The angels minister to us as ‘witnesses’ by sharing a knowledge of God with us.  The hymn writer caught a vision of this and says, “Angels help us to adore Him, you behold Him Face to face.”

Since we are ‘running a race’, the angels are also our ‘Cheer leaders’, cheering us onward to victory.  God continues to instruct us by saying that we should lay aside every weight.  He does not want us burdened and heavy laden, because these things will greatly hinder our spiritual, mental, and physical progress.  God wants us to lay aside the weight of anger, anxiety, fear, impatience, doubt, complaining, and all the other sins that affect us.  He has made provision for us to deal with these things; He bids us to cast all of our cares on Him. 

God further encourages us to stay on course, by looking to Jesus who is our perfect example.  When Jesus lived on earth as a Man, He always followed the guidelines, which were set out for Him by His Father.  He never took a ‘short cut’, He never chose His own ‘route’.  He always obeyed His Father, and did whatever He was directed to do on any given day.  Jesus was delighted to please God; even in His conversation.  He only said what His Father taught Him to say.   (John 8:28)  He knew that His Father loved Him dearly, and this precious knowledge gave Him the Power to endure all things, so that He would not give in, to the temptation to stray from the path of Righteousness.

We have been given this same precious knowledge, which will also give us Power.  God has told us that He Loves us with an everlasting Love.  (Jeremiah 31:3)  He also said that nothing can separate us from His Love.  (Romans 8:38-39)  When we meditate on God’s Love for us, it motivates us to please Him, and it strengthens our Faith.  We experience joy, as we obey His commands, knowing that whatever He tells us to do, it is for our good.  By God’s Grace, let us determine to stay on course, and endure to the end, so that we will one day be able to sit in Heaven before the Throne of God.

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The decisions that we make daily are pivotal to who we are and who we will become. Consequently, our lifestyles enable us to mature or ripen into the position of righteousness or unrighteousness.

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