Throw Off

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When I was in high school, my favorite sport was track and field. I’d run sprints, hurdles and relay races. And when doing so, I would wear clothing that was light, ventilated and aerodynamic. I wanted every advantage. I didn’t want anything to hinder, or impede, my race. It also helped to know that I had a crowd of supporters cheering me on, inspiring me to run the best race that I could. Hebrews explains that our spiritual race is similar; that we have a race to run where the prize isn’t a metal, but something much more eternal. It says in chapter 12, verse 1:  

“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.”

Notice that the author doesn’t say that we should lay aside everything that hinders, he says that we are to throw them off. This suggests that we should violently shed anything, any sin, that hinders us or entangles us. As the verse suggests, there have been many who have gone before us; a great cloud of witnesses, those who have lived and many who have died for Jesus. Let us be like them. Let us focus on our race; the race that has been marked out for us. And let us run with perseverance, not giving up and not slowing down. I encourage you to run your race with a goal to win. Throw off any sin that hinders and run with perseverance every day until you reach the finish line.


Hebrews reminds us that we are all running a spiritual race. How is your race? We all perform best when we run without hinderances. When training, many athletes wear weight vests, wrist weights or even masks that hinder their breathing. But when the race is on, they throw off all that hinders and run to win. We should do the same, spiritually speaking. I encourage you to remember why you are here and where you are going. This is not your home, but how you run your race will determine how you will spend eternity. Will it be in heaven, will it be in hell, or will you run just hard enough to barely make it through the “pearly gates”? I encourage you to run with perseverance. I encourage you to run to win.

Without Faith


I want to share a verse that you probably already know by heart. In my opinion, it is one of the most impactful verses in the Bible. It is required reading for any new believer, and a good reminder for even the most mature believer. It is from Hebrews chapter 11, verse 6, which says:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

It takes faith to believe that God exists. It takes faith to believe in the Bible. And it takes faith to believe that there will be eternal rewards for those who earnestly seek God. This is Christianity 101. The very first step is to believe, or have faith, because without faith it is impossible to please God. Impossible. How do we increase our faith? Well, Romans 10:17 reminds us that: “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The more we read the Bible, the more our faith will grow. So, my question to you is, how is your faith? Does it falter? Does it change depending on your circumstance or what other people tell you about God? Faith is the foundation of every believer. Everything is built upon it. The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. If we don’t believe in him and what he did for us, then the door to heaven is closed to us. So I encourage you to read the Bible daily to increase your faith. Build on the foundation that is the very cornerstone of being a believer in Christ.


“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Do you have faith today? Do you believe that God exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him? If you do, then are you earnestly seeking him? Are you praying continually? Are you thinking on heavenly things continually? Are you reading your Bible daily? And are you taking up your cross daily and following him? Our walk with God, and our faith in him, needs to be a daily relationship. Just like we need food for our body, we need food for our soul. And if we miss a meal, we should know it. We’ll become weak, disoriented, and uncomfortable. So I encourage you today to take your walk seriously and to earnestly seek the one you claim to believe in.

Word of God

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I believe there are three major things that we can proactively do to cultivate our relationship with God. These are things that we should do often, and they are things that if we do them the way God wants us to do them, no one but us and God will even know they are occurring. The things I’m referring to are prayer, Bible reading and fasting. Each one is important, and I would argue that most Christians don’t practice them enough. Let’s take Bible reading as an example. How can we learn about the character of God, his commands, Jesus’ life, and how we are to live without becoming intimately aware of what the Bible says? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 describes the Bible like this:

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

And Hebrews 4:12 says this about the Bible:

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

I encourage you, if you’re not reading the Bible on a regular basis, to begin doing so. Carve out time each day to read a couple of chapters. Don’t like to read? Invest in the spoken Bible as an app on your smartphone or as a CD collection. Is the Bible a little over your head? Invest in a study Bible, or get a devotional series that will walk you through principles of the Bible. Any way you engage the Bible, the Lord can use that time to teach, rebuke, correct and train you, as it says in Second Timothy. It is also the best way we can grow in our faith because the Bible teaches us that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. In all honesty, I can think of no better way to get to know God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit apart from reading the word of God.


I can’t express how important it is for every believer to become familiar with what the Bible says directly from the Bible itself. If we do, not only can we learn how to live, but we can teach others to do the same. The Bible is the purest written directive to us from the God of all creation. Jesus used the words of the Bible to battle Satan in the desert, and if we know what the Bible says, we can as well because as Hebrews reminds us; the word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword. I’ve read the Bible several times, and even still, each time I read it, God reveals something new to me. The more I read it, the deeper I understand him. And I’m sure any believer reading the word can testify to the same. If you’re new to the Bible, I would encourage you to begin with the New Testament. And if you already know your Bible pretty well, I would challenge you to become a scholar.

Spur One Another


The bible encourages believers to encourage one another. In one instance, it describes brotherly fellowship and encouragement as if it were iron sharpening iron. Hebrews 10:24 tells us that we should spur on another on. It says:

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."

In light of this verse, I'd like to encourage you toward love and good deeds. Over the years, I've thought a lot about the idea of love. Do I really love my neighbor? Do I really love those in the church? What is love anyway? Is it a deep positive feeling for someone, or is it an act? I believe that love is something that first starts in the heart, but can also manifest itself in actions. Sometimes we have to will ourselves to love others. Jesus tells us that we are to love our enemies. I think that takes a level of will. It also says that people will know we are Christians by how we love one another. I encourage you to show love this week. To who you ask? Everyone. And good deeds is one way to show love. If God lays someone on your heart, don't hesitate to give them a kind word, lend them a helping hand, or bless them in some way. God explains that love is a key character make-up of every true follower of Christ, so I encourage you to show love and do good deeds.


Hebrews tells us that we should consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Therefore, I encourage you to do just that. Store up treasures in heaven by doing the work of the Lord here on earth. And one command from our Lord is to love one another. Send a card to someone, perform a random act of kindness, be a blessing to someone. In short, consider how you can show love and how you can do good deeds.

Jesus Understands


One of the many things I love about our God is that he understands us. Not just because he created us, but because he sent his son to be one of us. And when Jesus was here, he learned what it meant to be truly human, because he was tempted, felt pain, and experienced the struggles of the flesh just like we do, but he did it without sinning. Even still, his understanding of what we go through helps in his desire to be a merciful and faithful high priest. It says in Hebrews 2:17-18:

"For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."

To me, that is an incredible truth, because it didn’t have to be that way. God makes all of the rules, but he chose to have his son experience what we experience here on earth. In doing that, we know that he understands what we are going through, because he experienced trials of humanity himself. So, whatever you’re dealing with right now, Jesus knows what you’re going through. Not just because he is all knowing, but because he lived life on this earth as a human and can empathize with the human condition. And in that empathy, comes a mercy that may have been presented to us differently if he hadn’t. Praise God for that!


The bible tells us that Jesus was made human, like us, in every way. He knows what it is like to be human in a fallen world, to be tempted by fleshly things and to feel sorrow and pain. He can empathize with us, and the bible says that this was done so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God. We really shouldn’t take that truth for granted, because it didn’t have to be that way. We are his lowly creation, yet he decided to become like us so that he can experience what it is like to be human. That is a God who truly loves us. And this experiment in humanity culminated in the salvation of those who believe and put their trust in him through his death and resurrection on the cross. I’ve been a Christian for several decades now, and I never want to take for granted these truths, because I always know in the back of my mind, that God could’ve decided to play things out differently. But because of his great love for us, he chose to become like us.