Running the Race by Catherine Hershberger

 “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

(2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)

Photo courtesy of Bill Brine

May 1, 2021 is the scheduled date of the next Kentucky Derby. My husband and I usually watch this famous horse race. A couple of years ago as I was watching, it occurred to me that an awful lot of time and money is spent on getting these animals ready to race. It costs over $51,000 to enter the race. According to a 2014 survey, the yearly average maintenance on a racing horse is about $45,000 a year. The cost of purchasing a race horse is between the low six to low seven figures in dollars. That’s a lot of money to spend on a two minute race, where only one horse will be the winner. 

In many ways this cycle is sad, because the thrill of winning and the resulting fortune only lasts a while. The high from the win can quickly become a low, especially if you lose the next race. The flowers on the winner’s wreath fade. The prize money gets spent, and eventually the horses are put out to pasture, old and has been.

Human athletes suffer the same cycles, too. They strive to become the best, and, if they are lucky, they may achieve that status for a while. But, like the winning race horse, the thrill of the win and their abilities eventually fade. And they are left with memories, medals and trophies, and bodies that can no longer do what they did in their youth.

Even those of us who are not athletes will see the same fate befall us and the successes we achieved. Time is not kind to us. The excitement from our achievements fades over time. Our earthly bodies wear out, whether we are athletes or not. Heaven knows I can attest to that, as I’m sure many of you can, too.

I’m glad that, unlike the horses that run their races and then decline, when my race on earth is done I will be claiming a prize that never fades.  God’s Word assures me, and you, of this in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (ESV)

I believe an eternal prize that never fades beats a temporary one any day. Jesus paid our entry fee. He made all the sacrifices necessary to ensure we all can win. All we need do is give the Lord our love, devotion, and obedience. How hard is it to love a Father who loved us before we were even born? Running the race He set before us is, in my opinion, something worth striving toward.

What about you? Are you running the race of good faith?

 Running the Race (© Catherine Hershberger 5/14/18)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

Mmm, Mmm, Good! By Barb Wit

‘For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)

 Picture courtesy of Pixabay

As you’re walking through the mall, the aroma of fresh bread baking hits you right in the nose. You find yourself following the aroma and you just can’t stop. It smells soooo good. And you wind up in front of a bakery. The aroma is strong and so irresistible. So, you buy a donut. You munch on your donut as you walk along, savoring the aroma and now the taste. Mmm, mmm, good!

And so it is with Christ. We who are in Christ give off an aroma. An aroma of Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in us and His aroma drifts around us. Others notice you are a little different. Sometimes they will make a comment to you about how different you seem to be. You can’t see it. You just are who you are and do what you do. You smile. You open doors. You hold elevators. You buy someone’s lunch. You are polite and kind. And people notice. They are drawn to you as you are drawn to the bakery. The aroma is irresistible. And you are given the opportunity to share Jesus.

So, go ahead and let the aroma of Christ surround you, and spread His love everywhere you go. Teach others how to taste the scriptures, the word of God, so they can also say,“Mmm, mmm, Good!”

And now we pray…

Father, we thank You for the aroma You surround us with. Allow us to spread Your love everywhere we go. Help us to know what to say and what to do. We thank You for all You have done for us and given us

In Jesus’ name we pray.AMEN!

Mmm, Mmm, Good! (© Barb Witt 8/5/2019)

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

Whiter Than Snow by Catherine Hershberger

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:7 ESV)

When I lookout my breakfast nook window after a snow I see a snow-covered hillside garden. (pictured above) The scene always puts an old hymn into my mind—“Whiter Than Snow” (circa 1872). As I admire the snowy beauty, glad that I don’t have to get out in it, I find myself  humming the tune and marveling at its words.

If you aren’t familiar with the song, whose lyrics were written by James L. Nicholson, you can hear it on YouTube. Online,  I found six verses to this hymn, but my favorites verses are 1 and 6, and, of course, the chorus. These two verses, in my opinion, sum up a Christian’s assurance of heaven—our confession of faith in the Lord, our baptism, and God’s response to our surrender.

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul;

Break down every idol, cast out every foe—Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

The blessing by faith, I receive from above; Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love;

My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know, The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

The song’s inspiration was most likely Psalms 51:7: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (ESV)

As much as I love the beauty of a fresh snowfall, its glory will diminish as time goes by. Children will roll snowmen in the front yards, exposing the brown grass and mud beneath the snowflakes. Cars will splatter gray mush onto the pure white edges of the road. And eventually the sun will come out and melt away winter’s glory. The picture perfect moments that have drifted from the sky aren’t permanent. 

But when God washes us and makes us whiter than snow, that purity won’t fade as long as we are His.  In the book of Revelation, Jesus said, “..and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of Life.(Revelation 3:4-5 ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I take great comfort in knowing that my walk with the Lord has made my soul whiter than snow.

So, the next time a winter storm comes your way, remember this old hymn and celebrate the storm’s beauty—even if you have to shovel ten inches of snow. Because as the song says, The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow. Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love. And that’s something to celebrate.

Whiter Than Snow (© Catherine Hershberger 2/17/2020)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.