Pain Train

God Gold of the Day

Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.”

-Kobe Bryant 

‘Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. ‘

Hebrews 12:3 

As you can see from the title today, we are spending some time this week riding the “pain train.” If you haven’t gotten on board yet, don’t worry there are plenty of seats left before it leaves the station. We had talked some about how pain is a good thing in Tuesday’s God Gold but I just couldn’t help but continue speaking on this subject because God has really laid it on my heart in challenges personally and what I hope will be challenges for you!

As you can see, I added a quote in today from one of the all-time great basketball players to ever play the game; Kobe Bryant. If you haven’t already heard, Kobe and one of his four daughters passed earlier this week so it’s a tough time for basketball fans and people all across the globe. I do ask that you would keep his family in your prayers in this time and moving forward because they have lost their father and one of their daughter in this tragic accident. Please take some time to pray for the Bryant family and another reason that led me to adding in one of his quotes is just the impact Kobe had on my life. He was one of the all time great basketball players but he was more than that. He was dedicated to bringing out the best in others on and off the court, and one of those guys that so many lessons can be taken from his life in how he handled himself, how he worked with extreme dedication on his craft to be the best he could be and how he went about his business in general.

One thing he mentions here is how pain doesn’t tell you to stop but it comes as a little voice in your head, bringing with it resistance of all sorts telling you to give up and give in. I know this voice all too well and as we discussed the other day, when we run this race God has set before us, we are going to experience pain, trials, obstacles and many moments of suffering! So when we get to actually running the race, and we feel, see and realize how hard this race really is, everything in us yells for us to give up, to simply stop. So we know pain is coming, what do we do when it arrives at our doorstep?

That is a question I have struggled with my whole life like most of us has. We are living in a world and culture that tells us pain is bad, and we should do everything we can to avoid pain and suffering at all costs. In result of that worldly thinking, that is why we have become “comfy Christians.” Instead of embracing pain like Jesus did as he endured the cross, embracing the pain for our salvation, we would rather waste our lives away sitting comfortably in church pews, doing just enough where we will still feel good about ourselves but not enough to get near any sort of pain. It hurts that I’ve lived this way and it hurts to think so many followers of Christ embrace pain in this same scared mindset everyday.

But our comfy, pain-free living in no way matches up with the truth of how this life with Christ is supposed to be; our main goal in this life of following Christ is undergoing a process daily of being transformed more into His image, and following Him in this ministry He has left for us, learning from His example and the ultimate goal is to live lives of impact for God’s Kingdom bringing salvation to the lives God places around us.

So as we see here in verse 3 of Hebrews 12, the writer places this verse here to remind us of the pain and suffering Christ went through because when we run this race God has set before us, we are going to face pain and suffering. So let’s hop off the comfy train that leads us to sitting on the sidelines of this race and wasting our lives chasing our comfort over God’s eternal glory. And let’s step onto the pain train, the train that Christ Himself traveled on. You see what’s hard about embracing the pain and hopping on the pain train is when we feel the pain and suffering that comes in this race, our mind and body says give up!! We begin hearing our mind saying, “just give up, this isn’t worth it and this isn’t working.”

But when we THINK about what Christ has went through we see the truth that puts all those lies to rest. To become more and more like Christ, we are going to have to face a much smaller dose of what Jesus faced, pain. It’s necessary in this race if we are going to run it in the way God has called us to, why? Because the truth is, as much as everything in this world and everything in our head tells us to avoid the pain, the pain is what moves us forward in this race. The pain Christ endured resulted in salvation for me and you, and Jesus has called us to endure the pain with Him, and guess what? This same pain produces the same result, SALVATION!!! As Kobe said, that little voice in our head tries everything to hold us back from embracing pain because it knows if we continue, we will CHANGE!!! Change may be uncomfortable and not fun at times but that’s what this Christian life is all about, leaving ourselves and our old ways behind and being transformed more into the image of Christ! This is the kind of change that saves us from our old sinful selves, this is the kind of change that overflows from our lives into others, where God uses the pain for His Kingdom’s gain as others are saved also when they see the truth being lived out before them!

This is why verse 3 is so crucial as we run the race God has set before us, when we feel like giving up we can look to Jesus’ example and see that;

  1. We are going to face pain and struggles in this Christian life
  2. When we experience pain, we know we are on the right train following the example of Christ.
  3. Pain is worth it, because it produces change, salvation in our lives and others

When it feels like this isn’t working and this isn’t worth it, remember the truth that verse 3 brings to us, of what Jesus went through as He experienced pain and suffering all for the result of salvation!!! Remember this so YOU WON’T GROW WEARY AND GIVE UP!!!!

 

Pain is a Good Thing

God Gold of the day

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-3‬ ‭

 

Have you ever started a New Year Resolution or set some kind of goal in your life to improve something or get rid of something that doesn’t need to be there, you do all this planning and prepping to get ready! You get a gym membership, maybe even hire a personal trainer, get the best meal plans and protein shakes, whatever your goal is these examples may differ but this is the part of the process that’s easy. I like to call it the “hype” stage. It’s where everything is exciting and super hype with all you are planning to do but then when it comes down to the action, to actually doing the workouts every single day. To actually go through the grind, hard work, sweat and tears that come with creating new healthy habits or getting rid of old unhealthy ones. It’s hard!!!

I have done this so many times, I go through the hype stage, I talk a big game but when it comes down to the actual work, I realize the pain and suffering I will have to go through, then it’s not long and the hype has worn off. Now it’s real and now it’s really hard to keep moving forward and attacking these goals. This is all in the context of running the race better for the mission Jesus Christ has set us on, so I’m not here to give self-help talks on setting goals and “being a better you.” Just didn’t want to get that mixed up, because all I’m here for, the only reason I send these messages is to encourage you to be stronger in your faith, to come closer to God in your personal relationship with Him and to run this race in the best possible way! I am using workout, healthy eating examples to show some of the things God may be calling you to do, to pick up new habits that help you run this race even better for His Kingdom. Whatever God has placed in your race, I’m here to help encourage you from my experience.

What do we do when we get in the race, and we realize the pain and suffering we will have to endure and move forward through?

This is the main question for you today to think on and I pray these answers will be some that can be applied to your life and the race God has set before you!

I love this word here in verse 3, which is the verse I’ve highlighted for today because that’s where we’ll be hitting on most! The word “think.” In other versions it says “remember” or “consider.” This verse is here following two verses that are jam packed with instructions and a game plan on how to run this race God has set before us. Why would we need to “think” or spend time “considering,” what Jesus has endured, or even bigger than that, what Jesus has done. Verse three is like that P.S. verse at the end of a letter, where people have said all the important stuff and then at the end they remember something they feel is just as important and must include. So the writer of Hebrews leaves this third verse here that doesn’t seem nearly as important as the first two that give us all the meat about the race, how to run it and all that jazz. So why is the third verse important?

If you have ever tried to make a change in your life, especially looking at the changes that take place in this race of throwing off sin and weight, like old habits and addictions, or picking up new habits that are good and help you run better. With change, usually what follows is a whole lot of PAIN!!! I know that sounds super exciting but just wait you’ll see! Change is hard, it takes work, it takes physical movement forward in this race towards the prize Jesus has set before us. That’s why we don’t believe in the “fast food” or “ten-minute abs” mindset in this race because change personally and living in a way that brings Godly change in their hearts and lives, it simply takes time. It takes a daily grind and it involves running with endurance because this race isn’t a quick fix, it’s a marathon that takes place each day. And if you haven’t experienced this yet, with all the distractions and uncomfortable feelings that come with running this race and the change that has to take place personally, it stinkin HURTS MAN!!!!

But that’s why we have verse 3, because verse 3 is there for us so when we realize, “wow, this is really hard,” and when all the fluff of hype starts fading away and no longer motivates you, verse 3 is there to remind us of the truth of why we are doing what we are doing and why we are feeling what we are feeling. Verse 3 says to think about, literally spend time out of your day and “consider” all that Jesus has done and went through. When we run this race we look to Jesus as our ultimate example and guide. Heck, we even have Scriptures that show us point blank what Jesus would do and what Jesus did. Here it gives us a specific example by saying; “Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”

It’s specific in saying to think about the “hostility he endured from sinful people.” Think of all Jesus went through, He was mocked, questioned, beaten, hated, and even KILLED from the very people he was dying on the cross to save!!!!

Think about that for a moment…..let it sink in! Okay, so for Jesus to go through all of that to save you and me, that’s enough in itself to stop writing because what more do we need to see about why we run this race and all the reason we should give our lives in return for the life that was given up so we could have life.

We’re in this race, things are getting hard and we are questioning everything, “why should I keep going? What do you do when it doesn’t feel like all the pain and sweat is working? What do we do when we feel like it’s not worth it?

We come back to this thought of Jesus enduring all this pain and suffering from sinful people, so we see that this pain and suffering we feel from running the race that has been set before us, attacking this ministry Jesus has left to us, it’s not some wild, out of the norm thing that is happening, it’s supposed to be this way! If you are experiencing pain and suffering in this race, that is a GOOD thing!!! That means when we feel attacked and feel like giving up, we can rejoice knowing that this is exactly what Jesus went through and it’s exactly what we’ll face in the race we run! If you’re facing pain and struggle in your life, that doesn’t mean the time spent devoted and dedicated to running this race in the best possible way isn’t working, that means IT IS WORKING!!! When we find ourselves facing glimpses of the pain and suffering Jesus went through, we can use that as encouragement, what strengthens our faith to know we are running the right way when it hurts, to know that it is worth it to not grow weary or give up because the result of the pain just like the result of Jesus’ pain, is for our own salvation but also the salvation of lives around us!!!

You’re in a Race and You’re Not Alone

God Gold of the Day

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. ‘

Hebrews 12:1-3

‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, ‘

Acts 1:8-11

 

Long Distance Relationships

God Gold of the day

 

‘May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, ‘

Romans 15:5

Hope everyone is getting over that Christmas hangover alright! Today, I’m excited as we start what feels like a new season as the new year approaches to share with you some encouraging truth for your daily dose of God Gold!

This verse really stuck out to me today as I watched God show just how valuable and important this truth is. So often we can find ourselves getting caught up in “MY” life and care solely about ourselves, what we have going on and what we have to do. I say that because I too so often fall into that category, but thank God for being who He is and teaching us to live in His ways, although we may get caught in that trap at times, by His grace we don’t have to live that way!

After some experiences today, I saw first hand how crucial it can be to live in harmony with others in the ways God lives in harmony with us. First, with endurance. Having endurance when dealing with others is HUGE!!! God doesn’t say be fast or move quickly here, He speaks of how He loves us being the way we should live with and love others. When we love others and serve them with endurance, we aren’t just saying a nice word here or there to get it over with so we can feel better about ourselves and not guilty because we fulfilled our Christian duty. Having endurance with others is not just loving them when it’s convenient, or when they have done something where you feel like they have done something to earn your love. Loving with endurance is loving despite what we want or see on the surface, living to treat others as God treats us involves a deeper kind of love and service to others. It involves loving others and serving them even when they treat you poorly, even when they don’t love and serve you in that way, or even when you don’t feel like it. How we live with one another isn’t just a one-time good deed, it involves endurance, which takes time. Endurance is seen in those who run for distance like marathon runners. It takes a special kind of mindset for those runners to have going in before they can ever finish their race. It’s an understanding that things aren’t always going to be perfect, it may be raining, there may be obstacles to get by, or your body may be injured or not feeling good. Despite all of those things, there must be an understanding going in to your day that how I treat others, how I encourage them and serve them, to live in this way before them it will take a great deal of patience, sticking with them, hearing them out even if it doesn’t advance your personal agenda. That’s the problem we face when living a “me” life, it’s all about me and only me.

To really run with endurance and encouragement to others, me has no place. It’s first replacing me with Him. How would God handle this person? Serve them? Treat them? First take your eyes off you and place them on God as He gives us examples daily on who He is and how He works His love into our lives. Think for a second on all the bad you do daily, all the times you know exactly what way to go, that God would want you to go, but you decide to go another way. Think of all the decisions you make and things you do that revolve around pleasing you and not pleasing God, which is rejecting Him. Just think of all those things in your life then think about how God deals with you, despite all the many ways we fall short, God continues to love us, continues to faithfully answer our prayers in times of need, bring His blessings to our lives, provide and protect us constantly. Think about how good God continues to be to you day in and day out with the big truth being that YOU DON’T DESERVE IT!

That hit home with me today, and yeah it hurt a little bit but God’s truth will do that to you! What’s even better is God’s truth when we hold Him as lead of our lives, He opens our eyes to what matters most, what we should be doing and how He wants us to live. His truth changes us and I pray in some way this truth will move you from “ME” and move you to Him so you can handle the relationships with others He’s placed all around you in a way that not only changes your life, but even better changes others lives. I watched time and time again today when God got me out of the way and helped me to live in His ways in how I treated others, things changed. I didn’t care as much about me but I constantly thought about how I could add value to someone’s life, how can I serve them or encourage them in a way that may change their life? I can’t take any credit because that was all God’s doing, thankfully He gives us a front row seat to watch Him work!

When God began to move me out of the way, He moved me to speak less and listen more, to speak positive words of encouragement over others even when they weren’t or even when I didn’t feel like it. Then I realized how awesome the feeling was to watch those words and moments of attentiveness to them and their needs, having endurance to stay by their side and encouragement to move them forward in their life, the overwhelming joy it is to watch people be moved by it!!! That’s what it’s all about, that’s why God calls us to live and love others in His ways, because His ways change other’s lives, even if we barely see it or don’t see it at all, it doesn’t matter what the results are in front of you keep running the race for those relationships!!! The results aren’t in what we see but in what we believe and have confidence in what God’s words of love will do in someone’s life.

So I want to challenge you today in what God has challenged me with;

How are you loving and serving others? With a quick hit and run? Or with endurance, staying by their side through thick and thin like God does with us?

What do you spend the majority of your time? You and how to please you? Or God and how to please Him by being other’s focused and living to serve them?

How are you speaking to others? Taking the time to intentionally listen to others and find out how they are doing? Is there any way you can serve them that will add value to their lives?

How are you speaking to others? With words about self, negativity, or words of positive encouragement?

Do you see and handle others like God sees and handles you? We may not deserve it but God loves us constantly anyway, they may not deserve it but do you love them anyways?

WE ARE FILLED

I honestly feel like I could keep this song on repeat at all times! It’s so refreshing to hear that God is all that we need to fill us up! There are so many distractions in this world that will try to feed us so many lies that are not true! Close your eyes, listen, and enjoy this GOLD.

God is the only light that will shine through no matter your circumstances! GOD IS THE ONLY ONE who fills our hearts with everlasting joy. He is the only one faithful to His children. He is the only one who can keep every promise He makes.

We see in scripture God making promises over and over to His people. He never breaks any promise He makes. He provides for every need in our lives. He was faithful to Daniel when he shut the mouths of lions. He was faithful to Moses when he calmed the river just enough to have him float to safety into the arms of Pharaoh’s daughter. God knew Moses would then grow up to lead God’s people out of slavery. God planned to use Moses as an instrument of His faithfulness!

Psalm 119:90 says, “Your faithfulness endures to all generations, you have established the earth and it stands fast.”

He may not answer every prayer the way we ask him to, but he will always provide for your needs in His way and in His time.

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The Lord’s loving kindness will never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every mornings GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS!”

Come to Him with your hurts and needs and REST in the fact that He is a faithful God. Never changing as the seasons do. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! REST in the faithfulness of your God this week!