Monday 14th November 2022


The time has come for our Olympic Games!  We are lined up on the running track, ready for the starter’s gun to sound.  The stadium is packed full of thousands upon thousands of people, all completely engrossed in the outcome of our great race!  Who are they?  Who are they supporting? 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Those great faithful men and women of old – the heroes we read about in chapter 11 – are now with the Lord; they are our spectators and are cheering us on with constant encouragement, since they understand what it is like to be ‘in the race’.  But take your eyes off the crowd as you run, and fix them on the finishing line, the goal of your faith: that means Jesus himself.  You are running hard to get to him quicker!  He has completed the race, shown us how it can be done, and yet has returned to us by his Spirit to train us in the best way to run it.  (11:2). 

So don’t give up!  Endure the knocks of life as part of God’s Fatherly discipline.  Obviously, it is not pleasant – or it wouldn’t be discipline, would it! – but if you continue to do what you should (rather than what you want), then you will later thank him for the heavenly benefits.  Human fathers disciplined us because they knew that we needed it.  They understood that we had to learn obedience, truthfulness, and respect for our elders and for authority – so they were ready to inflict pain upon is in the short term in order that we would grow those vital character traits.  They tried their hardest and they did their best for us – out of a heart of love.

Our Heavenly Father is the one who invented ‘fatherhood’.  He understands so much more about the process and its goals.  He is certainly not afraid to discipline and punish us if that is what will be best for us.  He alone can see the full riches that we will gain and the benefits of true obedience.  He alone knows are beginning and our end, our weaknesses and our strengths, and our hopes and desires.  He is already preparing a home for us in a perfected Heaven on the renewed Earth, in the company of the Lord himself and all our redeemed brothers and sisters.  We are part of the ‘Church of the Firstborn’, perhaps also known as the ‘Church of the Twice-Born’!

Now we encounter the fifth great warning of Hebrews: 12:25-29.  We can expect our lives and our world, along with the heavens, to be shaken violently (Haggai 2:6) so that the less secure things fall away.  Only what has been built by God – his Kingdom – will endure.  That Kingdom is our inheritance too.  Let’s not put our trust or energies into things that are temporary and ‘of’ this world, since they will not last! 

Knowing all this, all that remains now is to be thankful and to worship the Lord God who has done all this for us.  Let’s be sure that our worship is reverent and respectful since our God is not to be messed with!

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