Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Holy Holy Holy"1 (Lyrics)
It was 74 years ago last September 6th that I won a race. It was at a church picnic. All the members of the church were recent immigrants from the Netherlands, and there was a great number of children, so those in charge decided that it would be a good idea to have games for them. I was put in with the 12-to-15-year age group. I was shy and not very competitive, but I was more or less forced to take part. We all had to take off our shoes and put them in a big heap some 30 feet (ten metres) away. Some of the adults mixed them all up so that it would be hard to find our own shoes. The idea was that we were to run over, find our shoes, put them on, and run back to the starting point. Some of the parents urged on their children, giving them advice as to what to do and how to win.
When the word was given, the group of kids charged for the pile of shoes. The more fanatic ones dived in with reckless abandon. I was wearing a pair of running shoes that were well worn, not too clean, and easy to recognize. When I got to the pile of shoes, one of mine was lying outside the area where the others were madly searching. While I put it on, the other shoe came flying out, so I put it on, walked back to where we started, and I won. My reward was a chocolate bar.
Paul considered himself to be in a kind of race as well, not a foot race as I was in, but the marathon task of spreading the gospel. He travelled to many places and met all kinds of people: ordinary, well-educated, and royalty, too. He endured many difficult experiences — shipwreck, house arrest, stoning, and jail — but he never gave up, and expected a reward. He told Timothy: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness". (2 Timothy 4:7-8a NKJV)
He also told Timothy that he should always be ready to preach the word in season and out of season — in other words, all the time! "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NKJV)
It seems like this prophecy is being fulfilled at the present time. For those of us who are involved in spreading the gospel, each of us in our own way, we, too, must fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish the race, and then, we, too, will receive our reward.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we do admit that there are times when we are burdened down with the cares of the world. We pray for strength to finish the race to Your glory. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Very good prayer for these times. Thank you.
Great and encouraging devotional! Always glad to read your messages!
Thank you, Joel. It’s so interesting to see how stories from our young lives can prompt spiritual messages.
Thank you, Joel, for your continued devotionals, so good to have to start the day. Do hope you are keeping well. Blessings.
Thank you for your interesting devotional, and so true about winning the race.
Thanks for your remembering about that race so many years ago, and you are still in the race getting close to 90. Praise the Lord for your devotions. Blessings.
Many thanks for the good advice, Joel. I will remember it in the challenging times and also, I think I will use that shoe activity with our youth group, sounds like fun!
Funny how some things stick in our minds Joel. This memory has served you well today. Thanks for a good word.
Joel – my prayers continue that you and your family may be restored in health to carry on this vital work God has given you.
Thanks for your faithfulness.
Thank you, Joel, for another of your interesting and great advice devotionals. Yes, seeking our Lord and giving Him well deserved reverence gives us much strength and security to go forward each day. His love and care is unending. Blessings for these special writings you continue to do.
I have appreciated you gift of storytelling all the way for many years. Your gift to keep the Light of Christ is most unique that comes across as inviting.
Make the Almighty God continue to use your gifts, blessings.
Good morning, Joel,
Your devotional brought back good memories of church picnics from my childhood.
We do need to pray to continue to put in the effort to stay in the race as you remind us. May the Holy Spirit continue to encourage us. Blessings.
Good morning Joel,
Thank you for the great devotional today!
Keep up the great devotionals – Your writing makes me feel like I am watching you run the race experiencing your experiences through your words!
Take care and be safe!
This reminded me of picnics we had when I was young. There would be various kinds of games and races for all ages. One I remember was to see who could kick their shoe the farthest.
I can’t remember whether I won any or not. There were prizes for those who won.
Take care and keep writing.
Really enjoyed your run the race devotional. As a child I recall doing this event at a picnic although not winning but fun.
At this stage of my life, yes, some 70 years later, I struggled with health issues but have persevered and am feeling better and am able to carry on in the race. For this I am grateful.
Thank you for the reminders of our past and how we can move forward now in Jesus’ name.
Great message Joel. You were wise beyond your years at a young age.
I find every time I get down or receive bad news (as I did this morning), the Daily Devotional seems to jump off the page at me.
Lately my wife and I are having serious health issues. The phone rang this morning. Not usually good calls at that hour. My son got hurt at work.
At times I get exhausted and overwhelmed when issues start to pile up. Fortunately I get over my pity party quickly and re-join ‘the race’.
Blessings dear friend and thanks for your devotionals.
Thank you for the beautiful hymn – part of my life since childhood. The reward for Faith in the Lord begins now – love, peace, hope.