by Emily Elizabeth Stone
A FATHER’S RUNNING LEGACY
Y FATHER IS A RUNNER. After watching him run for many years, here are five lessons I have learned.
1. It is never too late to start.
My dad did not start running until he was in his 40s. Since then he has run in many marathons. My dad did not let his late start keep him from living out his identity as a runner.
Some individuals feel it is too late to become a runner in the spiritual arena. It seems too much time has passed and too much has happened in life to start follow- ing Christ now. But it is never too late to start running. The Enemy would like for us to think so, because he knows that if we never start we will never make it to the finish line.
2. Keep moving, even if you’re slow.
When my dad first started running, he was very slow; however, he did not let his slow pace discourage him. Did people notice how slow he was? Did they wonder if there was any point to him running at all? My dad did not focus on what others might be thinking. He focused on his goal: reap the health ben- efits of being a runner.
Sometimes we are “slow” in our jour- ney with Christ. It may take us a while to grasp certain truths. We may repeat the same mistakes before we realize we need to change our habits. What is important is that we keep focusing on our goal— glorifying God as followers of Christ and reaping His everlasting benefits.
3. We all fall down.
None of us is perfect. We are going to trip and fall, which is both painful and embarrassing. Usually when we fall, oth- ers are watching.
My dad has fallen while running. And he has fallen down in life, too. But my dad is a true runner because he gets back up. Proverbs 24:16 says, “A righteous man falls seven times, and rises again” (NASB).
24 EVANGEL • JUNE 2010
4. Strength of character comes with practice habits.
Runners rarely start out fast and strong. And a person will not become a strong runner by running only once a month. It takes ongoing practice to become a runner. As Christians, the Enemy would like for us to focus on how weak, clumsy, and slow we are, for then he can keep us from consistently running our race.
5. You are getting somewhere . . . don’t stop!
When I was in high school, my tennis coach required us to do a lot of running for our physical conditioning. I had bronchial asthma, so the runs were hard for me. I remember complaining one day, “Coach, I work hard every day, and running still hurts! Why am I not getting better at this?” I will never forget her response: “Emily, your times are getting better. However, as you push yourself and get faster, you still endure the same amount of difficulty. I would be concerned if the runs were not difficult for you!”
As we continue in our race “for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14), we get stronger, but our journey does not nec- essarily get easier. God is conditioning our hearts for Him.
A Note to Fathers
Dads, we are watching you. If you haven’t started your race, start now. We will follow you in courage.
If you are slow, keep going. We will realize our pace should not be a reason for discouragement or shame. If you fall, get back up. We will learn to get back up too.
Run consistently, even if you are slow and clumsy. We will discover the power of perseverance.
Whatever you do, don’t quit. We need your example.
Emily Elizabeth Stone and her husband, Jonathan, serve as pastors of discipleship and evangelism at the Westmore Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee.
THE KEYS TO ETERNAL LIFE
CHRIST PAID for our salvation with His death on the cross, but for us to accept this gift is as simple as using these keys to unlock the door:
Acknowledge you have sinned
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).* “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Believe in Jesus
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who- ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Confess and renounce your sin
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
*Scriptures are from the New International Version.
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28
| Page 29
| Page 30
| Page 31
| Page 32
| Page 33