Reaching the Finish Line

The road is long and narrow. The sun beats down as a lone runner crests the hill and enters the wide curve. The road stretches out before him.  A white chalk line reaches across the road in front me as I stand at the finish line watching. The race has been long and difficult for him but the finish line is in sight.

“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.” 1Cor. 9:24

The world offers so many things that can distract us from the long race ahead. Our journey with Christ is as a marathon race. We must persevere, train, stay focused, and persistently reach out for the prize at the end of our journey. If we stumble along the road Christ is there to pick us up. He is there cheering us on and giving us the strength to take yet another step down the long, narrow, and winding road. I think His angels are standing with us encouraging us, “You can make it. Don’t give up!”

“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 before us.” Heb. 12:1

My husband was a runner. He ran several marathons, as well as shorter races, and we had the T-shirts to prove it! His training varied depending on the length of the race he would be entering. A marathon is 26.2 miles long. It’s grueling and the preparation seemed to never end. At times he would take a day off from the training. But he never gave up.

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Don’t we feel that way at times? Don’t we get tired of all the preparation? We go to church, we pray, we reach out to others, testify, spout all the “right” things and then sit back and at times wonder if its all worth it. “Is God even hearing my prayers?” The worldly influences begin caving in all around us and like any runner we are tempted to give in, relax, take the easy road, “just this once.”

As I watch the lone runner coming closer I can see there is no sweat. His running shorts are not the ragged and worn shorts he considered his “lucky shorts” and have seen many miles. His “muscle shirt” is fresh and completely dry. His tennis shoes have no scuff marks or dangling shoe strings from pounding the pavement. They’re brand new. His hair, as in other races, isn’t plastered to his head as though he’s run through the shower. He looks fresh. He looks more alive than I’ve ever seen him before!

His focus is intense as his legs stretch out just a little bit farther as he approaches the solid white chalk line. He’s looking straight ahead as his arms reach high above his head in a sign of victory. His right foot raises high above the finish line. He’s right in front of me. He suddenly turns his head and looks straight into my eyes and says, “I made it, Sue-Sue. I crossed the finish line.”

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2Tim. 4:7

As his foot falls toward the other side of the chalk line the vision disappears. I suddenly feel the doctors hand gentle on my shoulder and he’s telling me my husband is gone.

~~~~~

This is a true story. The Lord blessed me with being able to see my husband finish the race he began many years before. It’s something I will never forget for it is encouragement to me to continue to put one spiritual foot in front of the other and to keep my eyes on the finish line.

I hope this has been an encouragement to you to not lose focus. Enjoy the video.

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Blessings to you.

 

 

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Why God Might Not Be Concerned About Our Doctrinal Differences

Jim has certainly raised some interesting questions here.

Not For Itching Ears

blog-oh-my-god“Maybe it doesn’t matter to Him?”

I asked, as my friend looked on in utter disbelief for what had just been said. We had been discussing the state of the church in its four major divisions: Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant. (For the sake of brevity, I have lumped all us Protestants into one category. I don’t have time to list us all!)

“Of course THE Church matters to God”, he replied, “He died to give it birth!

I can’t argue with that!

What perplexes me though, is that there are so many different types of churches. Clearly a lack of unity within THE church has eluded us. Catholics believe in purgatory, the other three divisions of the church, don’t. That is a pretty significant difference. We can’t all agree on how many books are actually in God’s Holy Word! That also seems significant. Some of the churches teach that how…

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Meet Travis

Say hi to Retired Staff Sargent Travis Mills, formerly of the 82nd Airborne, US Army.   As you can see, Travis has undergone a few structural modifications, most visibly in the leg department. Likewise, his left arm is more machine than flesh, and though his right arm appears to be around my waist, it really isn’t. Like the rest of his limbs, it’s been missing in action for some time. I met Travis a few weeks ago in DC at The Science and Engineering Festival, and spent a half hour talking, mostly about Dirty Jobs. He wanted to tell me how much he and his buddies appreciated that show while on active duty. He wanted to know what it was like to work in so many “difficult and dangerous situations.”  Can you imagine? How exactly does one answer a question like that from a guy like this? On the day we met, I was a little stressed out. I had just moderated a panel on the main stage, and I was rushing to the other end of the Convention Center to meet with a bunch of CEO’s to discuss mikeroweWORKS. I was late, and there were three-hundred and fifty thousand people between me and where I needed to go, all of whom wanted to say hello and take a photo. My security team was cutting a swath through the crowd, and I was trying very hard not to look like a complete douche. Then one of the event organizers ran over and grabbed my arm. “Hey Mike, there’s a guy backstage who really wants to say hello.” “That’s nice,” I said. “Tell him to get out here and do it.” I was walking fast, head down, determined to maintain forward momentum. If you stop in a situation like that, you never get started again.  “Well,” said the guy, “it would be easier if you came to him. It’ll just take a second.” “Why? His legs broken?” “Uhh...not exactly. But he’s just around the corner. I think he was in the war.” I told the security guys to sit tight, and followed the guy down a long hallway, looking at my watch as we fast-walked into the backstage area. Then we ducked behind a blue curtain, and Travis Mills stood up to greet me. Actually, he kind of unfolded himself from a chair, and came toward me with a very wide smile. He then extended a prosthetic arm and offered a plastic hand, which I automatically shook. “Mike Rowe! What an honor! I’m Travis Mills, and I’m very, very pleased to meet you.” I’ve seen a lot of things over the years, and I’ve gotten good at pretending there’s nothing unusual when there clearly is. But I was completely unprepared for this. “Ahh...shit,” I said. “What happened?” “IED. Afghanistan.”  “Damn. I’m sorry.”  “No big deal. It’s been two years now. I’m good. Tell me something though - are you gonna do anymore Dirty Jobs?” “Uhh...what?” “Dirty Jobs, man! When are we gonna see some new ones?” “Well Travis, that show was cancelled. I’m working on something new though that I think will be just as good. Maybe better.” “Hey, that’s great! I got new legs and you got a new show! Tell me all about it!” That’s how the conversation started. My show. My foundation. My book. Etc. But I eventually steered it back to him, and learned that Travis is one of only five quadruple amputees to survive that level of injury in the recent wars.  He has a motto: Never Give Up - Never Quit. He has a Foundation. He’s featured in a new documentary. He also has a wife and a kid, and a deeply personal commitment to help other wounded Vets cope with their injuries. But when I asked why I hadn’t seen him in any of the typical commercials and PSA’s for wounded veterans, his answer was stunning. He said he didn’t consider himself to be wounded.  “I’m not a victim, Mike. And I refuse to be portrayed that way. Case closed.”  Fact is, Travis is missing more than a few original parts; he’s missing all traces of self-pity. And that’s presents a challenge for mortals like me. Because it’s a hell of a thing to feel put out because a crowd of fans are making me late for an important meeting, and then listen to a guy with no arms or legs tell me how lucky he is, and how much he appreciates all my hard work.  That’s called a gut-check, and I could use one from time to time. Especially on Memorial Day, when the biggest decisions I face are what to grill and which type of frosty beverage to enjoy. This year, as I resolve these and other important issues, I’ll think of Travis Mills. A guy who went out on a limb for me, in every way possible.  Thanks Travis.  And Happy Memorial Day to you all. Mike PS. His story is incredible. Check it out, if you have the time. http://www.travismills.org/about/ #memorialday

This was on my Face Book and I wanted to share it. What an incredible testimony! Regardless of how you feel about our military this is a testimony of amazing courage and strength. May God continue to bless America and our military men and women.

~~~~~

Say hi to Retired Staff Sargent Travis Mills, formerly of the 82nd Airborne, US Army.

As you can see, Travis has undergone a few structural modifications, most visibly in the leg department. Likewise, his left arm is more machine than flesh, and though his right arm appears to be around my waist, it really isn’t. Like the rest of his limbs, it’s been missing in action for some time.

I met Travis a few weeks ago in DC at The Science and Engineering Festival, and spent a half hour talking, mostly about Dirty Jobs. He wanted to tell me how much he and his buddies appreciated that show while on active duty. He wanted to know what it was like to work in so many “difficult and dangerous situations.”

Can you imagine? How exactly does one answer a question like that from a guy like this?

On the day we met, I was a little stressed out. I had just moderated a panel on the main stage, and I was rushing to the other end of the Convention Center to meet with a bunch of CEO’s to discuss mikeroweWORKS. I was late, and there were three-hundred and fifty thousand people between me and where I needed to go, all of whom wanted to say hello and take a photo. My security team was cutting a swath through the crowd, and I was trying very hard not to look like a complete douche. Then one of the event organizers ran over and grabbed my arm.

“Hey Mike, there’s a guy backstage who really wants to say hello.”

“That’s nice,” I said. “Tell him to get out here and do it.” I was walking fast, head down, determined to maintain forward momentum. If you stop in a situation like that, you never get started again.

“Well,” said the guy, “it would be easier if you came to him. It’ll just take a second.”

“Why? His legs broken?”

“Uhh…not exactly. But he’s just around the corner. I think he was in the war.”

I told the security guys to sit tight, and followed the guy down a long hallway, looking at my watch as we fast-walked into the backstage area. Then we ducked behind a blue curtain, and Travis Mills stood up to greet me. Actually, he kind of unfolded himself from a chair, and came toward me with a very wide smile. He then extended a prosthetic arm and offered a plastic hand, which I automatically shook.

“Mike Rowe! What an honor! I’m Travis Mills, and I’m very, very pleased to meet you.”

I’ve seen a lot of things over the years, and I’ve gotten good at pretending there’s nothing unusual when there clearly is. But I was completely unprepared for this.

“Ahh…crap,” I said. “What happened?”

“IED. Afghanistan.”

“Damn. I’m sorry.”

“No big deal. It’s been two years now. I’m good. Tell me something though – are you gonna do anymore Dirty Jobs?”

“Uhh…what?”

“Dirty Jobs, man! When are we gonna see some new ones?”

“Well Travis, that show was cancelled. I’m working on something new though that I think will be just as good. Maybe better.”

“Hey, that’s great! I got new legs and you got a new show! Tell me all about it!”

That’s how the conversation started. My show. My foundation. My book. Etc. But I eventually steered it back to him, and learned that Travis is one of only five quadruple amputees to survive that level of injury in the recent wars. He has a motto: Never Give Up – Never Quit. He has a Foundation. He’s featured in a new documentary. He also has a wife and a kid, and a deeply personal commitment to help other wounded Vets cope with their injuries. But when I asked why I hadn’t seen him in any of the typical commercials and PSA’s for wounded veterans, his answer was stunning. He said he didn’t consider himself to be wounded.

“I’m not a victim, Mike. And I refuse to be portrayed that way. Case closed.”

Fact is, Travis is missing more than a few original parts; he’s missing all traces of self-pity. And that’s presents a challenge for mortals like me. Because it’s a hell of a thing to feel put out because a crowd of fans are making me late for an important meeting, and then listen to a guy with no arms or legs tell me how lucky he is, and how much he appreciates all my hard work.

That’s called a gut-check, and I could use one from time to time. Especially on Memorial Day, when the biggest decisions I face are what to grill and which type of frosty beverage to enjoy. This year, as I resolve these and other important issues, I’ll think of Travis Mills. A guy who went out on a limb for me, in every way possible.

Thanks Travis.
And Happy Memorial Day to you all.

Mike

PS. His story is incredible. Check it out, if you have the time.
http://www.travismills.org/about/

 

http://www.elahministries.com

Blessings to you.

These Shocking Photos Show The Scars You Can’t Normally See. And They’re Horrifying.

I have reblogged this with the prayer that people will become aware that words can cut deeper than a knife and hopefully will not turn away when they read and view the pictures. Instead they will become a part of the solution to stop the abuse.

Kindness Blog

Words have meaning, and they possess the power to change the world.  They can inspire us to do amazing things, or to commit the most  horrible acts.  It’s up to everyone to understand they are responsible for wielding that awesome power.  Because words cut the deepest, and yet leave no marks, they can truly be the most devastating form of abuse.

PhotographerRichard Johnson, who has himself suffered from the worst kind of verbal abuse, created a series of photos to illustrate their incredibly harmful effect.  These images, created for theWeapon of Choice Project, are important because they remind us that the terms we throw out in moments of anger or frustration can be just as damaging as physical abuse.

CAUTION!: The photos below feature victims and strong terms of emotional, sexual and verbal abuse.

Weapon of Choice

We presented each participant in the Weapon of Choice project with a list of hurtful words, and…

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Wishing I was the wind

Remember back in 1956 the song “The Wayward Wind?” I loved that song! Okay, so some of you weren’t even born at that time and I’m aging myself. But that’s okay.

 

I remember sitting on the school bus, alone on the leather seat, looking out the window, and feeling totally alone. The words of the song would play through my mind and oh how I wished I could be that wind. How I wished I could just blow across the land and not have to encounter the abuse at home. As the wind, I could go wherever I wanted. I could be strong, so strong I could blow over houses or gently tilt a flower low to the ground. As the wind I would have the power to move mountains or ripple a stream.

I wasn’t living next to railroad tracts, as depicted in the song. I wasn’t grieving the loss of a lost lover. I was grieving a lost childhood. I was grieving the lack of love from a dysfunctional family. “Raise a child in the ways it is to go” wasn’t even thought about. I was being taught all the wrong things about who I was and who I would be. I was taught guilt, shame, anger, frustration, and filled with emptiness. I was taught what I was worth – nothing!

Sadly many people’s perception of their self worth derives from many different circumstances, people, society, families, jobs, how many friends we have/don’t have, etc. For me, actions speak louder than words. Don’t tell me you love me while choking me or punching me. Someone’s actions can relay a message of worth. We all know “that look” from Mom, Dad, husband, or wife.

If we claim our worth by how much money we have/ don’t have, our position at work/ executive or janitor, our weight/ to fat or to skinny, race, beautiful or ugly, harsh words or negative actions, or status in life we are being deceived. Magazines and T.V. commercials all have a message that we’re not good enough.

I remember when I confronted my Dad about the years of abuse, I’ll never forget his words. “You were my tool.” I don’t think anything he could have ever said that could have hurt more. You see he was a diesel mechanic. He had hundreds of tools. All shapes, all sizes. All had a specific purpose. They were placed in a big bright red tool box, inanimate objects that he used and put aside until needed the next time. Their only value was deemed in what they could be used for.
images[2]

“You were my tool.” Little did I know that perceived self worth was established way back in the early years of my childhood. In my case it was, “Your good for only one thing.”

It was when I became a child of God that I learned God saw me worth more than a ten dollar screw driver or a fifteen dollar pair of pliers. He saw me as more than a vessel for sex or a punching bag. I was so valuable, “more than silver or gold,” that He adopted me as His daughter! His Son died on the cross that I might have life more abundant, forgiveness of my sins, and that I could spend eternity with Him.

My Dad saw me as a tool, to be used and thrown to the side until needed at another time. God saw me as a precious child who needed a Father. imagesCA7OM3L4

I was received and valued by Christ “…with the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1Peter 1:19

Our worth does not come from others, positions, status, or world worth. Our worth is based upon what God created. If He didn’t think we were worth creating He would not have created us! He would not have come to earth as a man, Jesus, to save us from an eternity in hell. He would not seek us out as a lost sheep and carry us back into the fold to love and protect us.

If you had been the only human being on the face of the earth He still would have gone to the cross for you. That’s how valuable you are to Him!

Don’t sell yourself short of how valuable you are. Your alcoholic mother, drug buddies, abusive father, parent that abandoned you did not determine your worth! God and God alone is the only one who determines our value. God see’s you valuable enough to die for you and adopt you as His child. “For you are all sons (daughters) of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:26

~~~~~

“And because you are sons, (daughters) God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Gal. 4:6-7

 * note: I added (daughters) so no-one feels left out.

http://www.elahministries.com

Blessings to you.