Several years ago, I read an article written in an “Our Daily Bread” devotion. In the 2016 Rio Olympics 500-meter race, American Abbey D’Agostino collided with New Zealander Nikki Hamblin and both fell. Abbey bounced up but stopped to help Nikki. Once they started running again, Abbey began to limp. Obviously, she was injured in the collision and the fall. This time, Nikki stopped and encouraged her athletic opponent to finish the race. When Abbey eventually stumbled across the finish line, Nikki was waiting there to embrace her.
Reading this article about the act of mutual encouragement, kindness, and goodness from both athletes guided my mind and heart to the cross of Jesus and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26). We all need to love each other to get where God wants us to go!
The Bible claims, “all scripture is given by inspiration of God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished until all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). I believe all biblical scripture is true! I believe: Balaam’s donkey talked; the parting of the Red Sea; a raven feeding a man; a shepherd boy with a sling won the battle against a giant, well-armed with a sword; a virgin giving birth; a little boy’s lunch feeding 5000 men; a disciple of Jesus walking on water; and that my crucified Savior Christ Jesus is risen from the dead, ascended to the Father, and is coming soon. I believe Jesus is the Christ whose name is called, “Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Does Jesus care about you? In the gospel of Luke (15:1-7), Jesus demonstrates his love for and the importance of everyone in the parable of the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the safety of the ninety and nine in the wilderness and goes after the lost sheep. He does not give up until he finds the lost sheep. The shepherd rejoices and carries the sheep home on his shoulders. So excited, he calls friends and neighbors saying to them, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” Jesus cares about you!
I believe Jesus is the Lord and Shepherd that walks with us “through the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4). Jesus is the only one who can walk with us through death’s valley and bring us safely home. Sin and death are defeated through the cross and empty tomb of Jesus.
Lost? What does it mean? Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” We must believe and have faith that God‘s son (Isaiah 9:6) was crucified and raised from the tomb for each of us who will accept his blood sacrifice for the remission of our sins.
Are you ready to meet God? Christ Jesus, who became the “lamb” on the cross for us, is the only way, the only truth, and the only life for entrance into heaven (John 14:6). Surrender this brief life and begin a new life in God’s kingdom which is abundant and eternal! Let’s finish the race together!
The writer is the pastor at New Life Church.