RACING TO WIN: Encouraging


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The last 18 months have been discouraging.  While we were hoping for an end to the pandemic, the new delta strain continues to spread rapidly.  While our economy is surging forward, we cannot find people to fill the needed jobs to be productive.  While we had hoped for greater unity for our nation and even our community, we seem to be as divided as ever.  “Discouraged” means that we have a loss of courage or motivation to confront the challenges ahead of us.  We need to be “encouraged” which is finding the courage we need to confront our challenges. Our sermon this week is entitled, Encouraging.  We turn to Hebrews 11:35-12:3 to find the encouragement that God wants to share with all of us.  It is being filled with a courage that gives us strength in the worst of times to overcome difficulty.  God wants to encourage our lives so that we can be a light in the darkness, and a voice of hope even in the clamor of despair.  A vital faith enabled the ancient believers to be witnesses to the exceptional power of God.  How is this possible for us?  The power of God is still at work in and through us today.   These verses share with us God’s dynamic force in our lives that can give us the courage to run our race with exceptional joy and enduring hope!  It is our prayer that you will be filled with this courage as you read Hebrews 11:35-12:3: 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 12:1 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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)