Friday 2-22-13 Consistency

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Consistently Amazing…

I’m rejoicing to hear of SNOW falling in the mountains as I write! I recently changed my computer background photo to one I took earlier this season on top of Dandy Pass on a beautiful sunny day in a world encrusted with snow and frost, and have been hoping for just one more glimpse of this beauty from my sled this season before Spring replaces the White with Green.

With the new snow comes a new plan for one last snow race this year, Bachelor Butte Dog Derby in Bend, OR. Once again I’m faced with the reality that my team has not had any consistent training during the last two months, but I’m hoping to go run in our fresh snow next week to see what we’ve still got left in our tanks. I’m hoping to run a 30 mile race (over two days), but will drop down to the 10 mile class if my team shows signs of not being strong enough (mentally or physically) to run the longer miles.

Dwelling on the reality of my poor training the last part of the season reminded me of another spiritual truth. Racing without sufficient, consistent training is like trying to grow and please the Lord without daily, constantly looking to Him for all things. I am in need of Consistent Time with the Lord in communion, prayer, study and meditation, not to mention walking with Him where He leads, just as my dog team is in need of consistent training on the trails to run their best. Without this consistency, we will be weak, distracted, tired and prone to injury.

My spiritual training program is as sadly lacking as our physical one these days. I have been so busy with racing and traveling and then trying to catch up and recuperate from the fatigue that comes with it all, that my time with the Lord is short and inconsistent. I am being disobedient as well as robbing myself of the TIME needed for Him to change my thoughts and mold my heart and teach and inspire me to be more like Him, by His strength. I am leaving myself shallow and weak and prone to sin and despair. I have known I often sin in this way for a long, long time, but continue to test the Lord’s patience by falling again and again in the same way. I don’t know how He continues to forgive me, but I praise Him that He does.

William Mason’s Spiritual Treasury for the Children Of God (1803) was again used by the Lord to open my eyes to His truths this morning. The Scripture highlighted was:

Luke 13:23-24- 23 And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, Strive to enter by the narrow door [force yourselves through it], for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.

Mason went on to refer to another verse:

1 Corinthians 9:24-26- Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air (KJV)

Training my team requires striving for improvement and not settling for where we are right now. It’s the difference between just getting by (or barely finishing the race) and striving for mastery, striving to be the best that we can be. If we miss out on this type of training, we may need to drop down to a shorter class in a race… not really a big deal… BUT if I miss out on this striving in my spiritual life, cutting corners in communion or study or obedience, I am leaving myself open to all sorts of sin and trials, and worst of all will certainly displease my Lord.

1 John 2:3-6, 28- By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked….28 Now, little children, abide in Him…

The “narrow door” in Luke 13 reminds me that salvation is really much more than just knowing the truth (as Scripture states even the demons did), but it’s LOVING THE TRUTH above all else, and then LIVING IT OUT, not in order to earn anything from the Lord, but because He has already given His ALL, His Only Son, for all the sins of all His sheep. We are not to look back and rely on who we were years ago, what we loved, what we did, what we believed at some time in our past, but instead are to look NOW at who we are, what we love, what we do and what we believe. Just like my dogs’ muscle tone, endurance and even obedience slips away without training, we should never expect our spiritual health or strength to continue on without attention. It’s not just having an experience of training once upon a time that prepares us for the race trail ahead, it’s the continuous, consistent striving after the goal day by day, and the continual provision of our Lord that enables us to complete the race. Salvation IS a one-time gift that will NEVER be taken back, but our growth in Christ requires more than one “dose of grace”. We have a daily need of grace, like Israel needed manna to live in the wilderness:

Exodus 16:4- Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day…”

They couldn’t gather a week’s worth of this manna and expect it to be healthy to eat; they had to gather what they needed for nourishment every single day. The Lord designed it to melt in the heat and it “bred worms, became foul, and stank” if left until the next morning. It was not to last beyond one day. Israel was to consistently seek their provisions from the Lord on a daily basis, as we are to do spiritually today.

Matthew 6:11- Give us this day our daily bread.

The Lord provides us with strength and encouragement to serve Him every single day. It’s CONTINUOUS… it’s CONSISTENT… it’s RELIABLE… and it moves us “On By Grace”!

Ephesians 2:10- For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

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