I am not much of a runner; however, I have been blessed over the past few years to watch my daughter run for Cross Country. She loves running Cross Country. Running the race, is not simply about being the winner—as there can only be one—but also about beating a personal record or P.R., as the experienced runners know it to be called. My daughter was always about beating her P.R., but recently she has been held back. The thing she loved most about running, that time alone to clear her mind and reconnect, was not happening because she couldn’t focus.
My daughter’s friend wanted to move up and join the high school practices due to transportation issues. The friend is a bit slower and loves to talk more than my daughter (I didn’t think that was possible). The practices no longer were about body conditioning, preparing for the season. The runs were no longer a time of peace and enjoyment. My daughter found herself being held back, running at a slower pace. With her friend’s gift of gab, they also were missing some instructions for some of the practice runs. This caused them to get lost a few times, run shorter or longer courses, and my daughter unnecessary stress. My daughter and I had a long talk about boundaries and goals.
Friends are great. Relationships are important. In life, we have a choice who we invest our lives in. We also have a choice of who we surround ourselves with and we have a choice of priorities. Jesus should have first place in our lives. The Bible tells us to love God and love others, to go and make disciples, to serve—we have choices to make to see these things through. Paul wrote that we should give everything our best as if for the Lord. All is for His glory. When we allow ourselves to be held back, for our focus to drift, if we surround ourselves with people who will constantly keep us from being where God wants us, we are not properly aligned. Today, reflect on God’s will for your life. Consider your relationships. Look at the boundaries you have in your life so that you are able to pursuit the goals God placed before you. Above all, make sure you connect with Him today—in His Word and in prayer.
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” – Colossians 3:17 [NLT]
On the way to work today, I got to see some crazy driving decisions face some immediate consequences. I was traveling my usual route, following a car moving in the direction of my office. Behind me, was a fella I will call Mr. Impatient. I am not sure if the person was a male or female, because the car traveled by so fast. What I do know is the driver decided to enter into the turning lane in a no-passing zone, and passed by myself and the car in front of me. It was clear to me the person wanted to get somewhere quickly. It was also clear to me that the local police officer just pulled out of the convenience store parking lot and noted right away that someone wasn’t following the laws of the road. The cheeky driver knew that he was spotted and he pulled over beside a car lot, with the police officer pulling up behind him.
It all happened so fast, but it surely left an impression. I found it interesting how the reckless driver so easily pulled over when the cop only began his pursuit, without even turning on his lights. It reminded me of our relationship with God, and how easily we wander off. God blessed us with His Word, which helps us to know how to travel the narrow path. He also gave us His Spirit to help convict us when we are traveling in the wrong way. We are the reckless drivers often. Sometimes we are quick to pull over and repent; sometimes we continue traveling despite the conviction.
Today, take some time to read His Word so the Spirit can help bring it to mind when it is most needed. Draw closer to God as you take in His Word and chew upon it. Ask the Spirit to reveal any areas in your life that should cause you to pull over so God can help you to get back on course. The choice is always there. We can travel the road we want at the speed we want; however, the narrow path that leads to life is the best road to travel. On that road, we follow the road signs God has provided, which may mean traveling at a pace slower than we would prefer.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 [NLT]
Since my kids went to the Creation Fest, I had some time freed up to allow me to do things I do not so often get the opportunity. I gladly accepted a dinner invitation from my aunt. When we were relaxing and having conversation, she asked me who is Mark Best.” I responded, “I don’t know, who is he?” I thought she was telling me a joke. Then she pointed to my hand.
On my hand was a typical scrawling of some passage I wanted to look back to when I had the time to sit down with my Bible in hand. I had the normal lunch date with God earlier in the day but there was a passage that I wanted to reflect upon more. The passage was from Mark and at a first glance I could see why she thought it said “Mark Best.”
I’m sharing this with you because I want you to grasp the importance of understanding God’s Word and remembering God’s Word. When there is a verse you want to remember, to really remember, write it down. Keep a journal. Take notes in your Bible. Keep it close till it’s written on your heart. When you have a question, write the passage or verse down. Seek guidance to understand better. Approach your pastor. Pull out a commentary. Read the passage in another translation. Today, make it a Mark Best day.
“How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
I won’t forget a word of it.”
-Psalm 119:9-16 [MSG]