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Running Towards The Cross

February 18, 2010

Romans 8:35,37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (English Standard Version)

I decided today that I would attempt to run for an hour.  My usual approach is 30 minutes, but inspired by a friend, I set my sights on an hour. The first 30 went fine, then I hit the 40 minute wall; Owch, one BIG owch.  I slowed down and pushed on, just kept going.  Then something quite incredible happened.. at about 45 minutes my body fell into an almost mechanical rhythm, I found my groove. I then turned the corner for the last leg home and my eyes became fixed on the mountains which had a light wispy mist across them. ‘Lead Me to the Cross’, by Hillsong United came on my player. And suddenly I was in perfect rhythm, free of pain, my breath even, my eyes fixed on God’s magnificent creation, my thoughts, led by the song were consumed with praise and peace.  I stopped at my house after an hour though I could have kept going!

In this amazing Romans reading Paul states that much will come between me and God: distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword – all designed to make me give up, to turn from my path toward heaven.  But I must never give up, through the trials, the challenges, the difficulties I must push on.  Like my run, my faith walk becomes easier when I fix my eyes on God, when I completely realise that I can conquer all that comes before me through Jesus who loves me.  I am not alone, as I face the trials of life, I am not alone.

On that last part of the run, I had to stop once at a road, my rhythm, my gaze toward the mountains and my thoughts of God,  briefly interrupted, and for a few moments as I started to run again, I found it a struggle, but soon got back into the groove.  I know I need to be reading the Word of God every day, and not just a brief glance, but dwelling and reflecting.  I know I need to pray and to face my sin each and every day.  And after a time this becomes a rhythm, it becomes natural. But recently I paused, took a few days off from reading the scriptures, and I found starting up again quite hard.  The ideal I know is to just keep going, knowing that it will become easier.  And I achieve this through focusing on God, through having a heart that wants only to serve and glorify Him, being quick to seek forgiveness and admit fault, and yearning to be in His presence.

Lord I praise you for this run, and for this amazing reading – all glory to you Lord.  Amen!

God bless,

Mark

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is:  Job Chapters 13-14

To access the complete plan for the year click here.



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50 Comments
  1. Mamoleboge Lulu Segolela permalink

    As I read your daily reflections,I am surprised at how your walk and your words are a reflection on my life, it’s scary sometimes, but I must say it has really made me self-aware (if there is such a word). I am more conscious of my walk in/with Christ. I needed to read this today. I had a bit of a interruption today, but after this reading, I let it go! Thank you for being my twin soul (I don’t know how else to explain it)

  2. Jacques Joubert permalink

    Amen Mark, so true in the day to day “running” of life, it sometimes just takes something small to take the focus off, but the important thing is to get that attention back on Jesus and keep it there. So true.

    Blessings to you and your family here from sunny South Africa!!!

  3. AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME…. THANK-YOU FOR SHARING !!!!

  4. Keep our eyes on the Prize,,The nail scared Hands of Jesus

  5. Lupe meza permalink

    Mark,thank you for sharing this. As a runner for over 12 years and a born again believer for 30, I do the same thing when I am running. Listening to the Christian music and encouraging myself as I quote scriptures gives me the desire to continue. As I prepare for next week’s half marathon in New Orleans, I will have my ipod and will be listening to encouraging music but even at times when the batteries have died, I quote the scriptures over and over. Phil 4:13. bUT YES in our walk we do the same thing, we make a choice to daily prepare ourselves for the day by reading the scriptures, devotional, and journaling. Truly we are blessed. Thank you for a very encouraging devotional. Blessings to you as you continue in the journey….

  6. Mary permalink

    i noticed that you mention being aware and forgivness of sins daily…do you believe we sin every day? ..i believe i can live without sinning…but yes if i do Chirst is always there to forgive…it is my choice not to sin and i strive for that daily? ..when i know i have sinned it is important that i ask for forgiveness right away as not to let it grow deep and begin to harden my soul…thank you for your thoughts daily…it is a great inspiration to me and i gladly share them with my friends…God bless and keep up the running…mary

    • Kathy permalink

      Mary, I tend to agree with you. We can have victory over sin when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to be in Satan’s control, but we are “more than conquerors through Christ Jesus!” However, IF we sin we have an advocate with the Father.

  7. John permalink

    Thank you for this post today. I too am a runner and I love the way you put this into perspective. I too have been away form Gods word and it is at times hard to restart that obedience to follow Gods word and plan for our lives. Thank you for all that you do and this daily boost that gets me going.

  8. Tina Camara permalink

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! Thank you for helping me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus!

  9. Great Job, I love when God uses songs to help us with everyday trails

  10. Reba Becker permalink

    Mark, your posts are so greatly encouraging to me! Your thoughts are so much like my own. My journey in seeking God has been an amazing one. God gave me a wake up call that I could not deny. He led me to a church that is so wonderful! And He gave me the guidance to a Precepts Bible study course when I had my mind made up to take a different one! I’m so thankful I took His advise! Staying in the Word & meditating on it is a must. Coming to the realization that He does not set any limitations on us, we do that to ourselves! God is so awsome! And with the power of Jesus & His great love, how can we fail! Knowing there will be struggles, we must keep running ahead! And I do love Hillsong too! I listen to it daily on my ipod. Seek Him, seek Him! God Bless you Mark…. Reba

  11. Marilyn permalink

    Bro. Mark,

    I enjoyed this verse and how you identified with it, while being on your run. We have to push on as it comes to reading the Bible, as you said even a day or two, makes it seem harder to get our pace back.. ty for this and Praise the Lord.

    God bless you and your family and God watch over you all as you travel
    back home,

    Marilyn

  12. Emily permalink

    Awesome…once again – thanks for sharing.

  13. Kim permalink

    The rhythm of life with Christ is so necessary…it’s what keeps us going! Have just learned about your website…and just subscribed to your devotionals. Thank you so much for your service to our Lord.

  14. cynthia permalink

    Thanks!!!
    I needed this today!!

  15. Tina Lee permalink

    Thanks for sharing. Fits right into where I am today. Jesus is bringing me out of a life long struggle w/ myself & the way He has made me. I am finally able to walk confidence & w/ my head up. Jesus bless you today & every day as you continue to seek Him. :)):((:

  16. Mbala Fabrice permalink

    I lack words to express my profound gratitude for this inspirational food for my soul.The path maybe full of ambush,thistles,and thorns but the end thereof is life in abundance.Though many shun it…no one can get to the Father except through it.I pray to be no matter how huge the storm might be…i shallnot sink but live

  17. Mirriam permalink

    That was awesome. Thanks mark and be blessed till ur baskets overflow with the many blessings of Christ Jesus.

  18. thank you for sharing i lvo those messages

  19. love those messages

  20. The Cross represents Salvation and Healing!

  21. Joanie permalink

    Thank you for your encouraging words. As a mother of 5 children which 3 of them are 5 and under it is so hard to find any quality time with the Lord. In fact there are many days I get so discourage in try to have any relationship with the Lord.

  22. Darren permalink

    This was excellent and as always God spoke to me through you, he is definitely an on time God. I needed that because right now I’m going through an legal situation and sometime it can deter me from what the Lord has already spoken to me so I find myself felling discouraged at times but when I think of the goodness and what he has done in my life so far up to this point I just thank him and continue to believe he is with me no matter what!

  23. Renee permalink

    absolutly beautiful and touching

  24. Betsy permalink

    God Bless You! You have a terrific heart for God and are certainly blessing Him by sharing your thoughts with so many people.

    Have you ever heard of “The Way International?” It’s a Biblical research, teaching and fellowship ministry that teaches people HOW to read and understand the Bible. I’ve been involved for 34 years and can tell you the Word of God (and understanding how to apply it) has changed me life. If you would like more information the web site is http://www.theway.org.

    The Way has home-based fellowships in over 33 countries worldwide. There are classes (Foundational, Intermediate and Advanced as well as others) that teach the hows and whys of understanding the Bible, God’s Word.

    Just thought I would pass on this information because I think you would be very blessed by looking into it.

    Keep up the great work you’re doing for our beloved Heavenly Father!
    Your sister in Christ, Betsy

    • Kathy permalink

      The Way International is a cult, deviating from Biblical truth. There is plenty of information about its’ founder, its’ history and beliefs on the internet or in your local library.

  25. Cameil permalink

    Hi, Thanks for sharing, it was very inspiring. As I face life’s struggles everyday I sometimes want to give up. But I know that God has more in store for me and I know he loves me unconditionally every single. So for this I fight to win, because the race is not for the swift, but for the strong and who can endure until the end. So I ask God for endurance and grace to keep me goingevery single day. Continue inspiring God’s people and I look forward to see more of God’s word from you to me.

    God Bless you!

  26. ms.promiss permalink

    Thanks for doing this its great and realy helps me get deeper into my word…

  27. Egbuna permalink

    May God bless everyone who is connected with this ministry in any way, in jesus name, i would like to know where i can download free christian rock songs, I really need help cos all the site I know have worldly music. thank you and God bless.

  28. Leanne permalink

    I sincerely believe that a person’s faith in God is stronger when they believe without seeing. When we feel defeated Jesus is always thereHe comforts us and carries us when we just can’t walk! Talk to HIM all day, everyday. He is an awsome friend who will never leave you! His Glory will shine!

  29. Lisa Fekete permalink

    Thank you for encouraging us all to continue to seek God and study His word! I am inspired to continue to live for Christ! Keep up the good work!

  30. Jo Heatley permalink

    Hi mark

    Thank you for words of encouragement and inspiration. Thank you Lord for the cross. Keeping God our focus does help us to persevere in our walk with Him.
    When I have not walked closely to Him taken my eyes off of him it does seem harder to enter His presence when I next try.
    I thank God that nothing can separate us from His love and that He keeps our feet from slipping. His grace is truly amazing.

    While I have been typing this I can feel the Holy Spirit prompting me I believe to look at 1john5 v3-5.
    For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
    For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith.
    Who is he that overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the son of God?
    What particularly jumps out at me are the words His commandments are not burdensome. I guess if we keep our focus on Him we are more able to walk in the Spirit and then can truly live a life that worships Him in Spirit and in truth.
    Lord thank you for the gift of faith i pray for an increase of that faith and i thank you that the victory is ours. In Jesus name x x

  31. Ricky Linton permalink

    This is my first time reading your post, I just want to say than you. It has given me inspiration of not giving up, when things go wrong. There is nothing like reading God’s word to get instructions. May God bless you and yours.

  32. Ned permalink

    February 18, 2010: SINNING: A close friend of mine is in his last days of an ailment that will take his life most any hour. He is very connected to God, has been for probably 65+ years and is considered a ‘saint and a strong witness’ in our church.

    He says that recently God has challenged him to reflect upon his sin in these last days…perhaps an unusual challenge for this man.

    However, he started with the following scripture from Luke 10:25-27, quoting Jesus as a basis for his reflection on his sin:

    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

    He answered: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

    His response to that scripture and to God’s challenge is that he has much sin in his life with just those two Commandments as a starter.

    Wow, if he can testify to that, how will I, and you, be measured against that standard if he can confess his own transgressions within that perameter?

    Humbling!

  33. marty permalink

    Dear Rev. Mark, thank-you for your words they always come at the right time. Please don’t ever stop.

  34. jorge eduardo rodriguez permalink

    God bless you

  35. Lydia Reyes permalink

    Praise God for all the good he is doing in our lives. I recall reading when Jesus came walking in the water, Peter ask him to let him walk to him and Jesus told him to come.I guess that as Peter was walking towards him he had his eyes on Jesus but then he got fearful and he started to go under. Then peter look at Jesus and ask him to save him and Jesus took his hand and saved him. That is exactly what happens to us when we take our focus away from our Lord. Our God is always there to grab us from anything that can harm us if we would only have faith. I’m sure that all of us here have had a sinking moment in our lives, but Jesus is just waiting for us to look his way and keep us from drowning in the sea of Sin. Run the good Race.

  36. I find by reading and studying the Lords word everyday, gets me through the worst of days—what goes in flows out as well…thanks be to God!! Thank you Mark I look forward to reading your words everyday, they have become very inspirational to me!!

  37. Sister Pam OP permalink

    This is a great verse! How many times to people, including myself, get all bent out of shape when small things go wrong. Yet, here, Paul is telling us that nothing, no matter how great it is, can separate us from the love of God. What more do we need?

  38. Sis Evanjaleen Jones permalink

    Wow!!!!! Todays reflection is truly awsome and right on time!!! I’m just so amazed on how God deals with one person on something and it turns out to be a blessing for another.I was always told the our situations and trials are not for us but for someone else who need ministering to or encouragement.I really being feeling like I’m right on the edge of giving up,not that I want to but I’ve just come to a place I my walk with God where most days I don’t know where i going or if I’m going any where at all (spiritually). If i can use your term, I just feel like ly rhythm has just stopped and unlike you I haven’t been able to get it started and flowing again But this word on today has given me hope and ecouragement to continue until it is flowing again..Thanks and God bless
    BTW..If anyone has any suggestions please HELP!!! I really love the Lord and desire my rhythm back!

  39. Suraj permalink

    Thanks for Sharing this!!

  40. Michele permalink

    Awesome reflection Mark!! Thanks again, Michele

  41. pam permalink

    This has been very encouraging! Thank you for sharing and for being faithful to share this experience 🙂 God bless you

  42. ON, MY ROAD MARK I REALIZE I MUST NEVER GIVE UP OR LOOK BACK. IF I FALL KEEP MY EYES ON GOD, GET UP BRUSH OFF THE DUST AND KEEP GOING.AND REMEMBER I’M RUNNING THE RACE TOO SEE JESUS. NOTTHING CAN COME BETWEEN MY WALK WITH THE LORD. I HAVE CAME TO FAR TO TURN AROUND NOW. A-MEN BLESSING ON YOU REV. MARK..

  43. Pam Dye permalink

    I Am
    by JP
    I am the sun and moon.
    I am the air and sea.
    I am the glory of God,
    and the decadence of Satan.
    I am the power of the universe,
    and the fragility of life.
    I am the flesh that gives form,
    and the thought that gives substance.
    I am the beauty of love eternal,
    and the filth of hatred everlasting.
    I am the divinity of birth,
    and the repugnance of death.
    I am the embodiment of pleasure,
    and the exquisiteness of pain.
    I am all that has been,
    and all that will ever be.
    I am deity
    I am humanity
    I am

  44. i am in the midst of such a spiritual journey that i have to be ever vigilant and watchful of the things that would sway me back to a previous life,ever mindful of my sinful nature and praying for forgiveness for when i do err.
    i am ever thankful for His grace and His eternal mercies and for Him leading me to your site which has been an inspiration to me.

    god’s blessings

  45. Connie permalink

    What a lovely reminder of how wonderful God’s forgiveness is. I moved into the country from a town so that I can look out of my windows at the lovely trees and peacefulness of the countryside that God has blessed. I thank God for the blessings of nature as I run to Him for guidance.

  46. Connie permalink

    JP God has blessed you the gift of writing. What a great way to express who God is.

  47. Garrett Stewart permalink

    Honestly, this verse is one that came hard for me to learn what Paul was writing about. There has been so many close calls, stupid pitfalls, self-inflicted problems, and other things come my way. One thing that remains – MY FAITH. God is always there for us, it is just a mater of if we tap into it or not. I am 25 and I had almost 13 years of rebellion after being 12 or so and preached 1 semon and goin to countless missionary projects and other things to serve the LORD, but after that 13 year rebellion…and many close calls…I AM CERTIAN THAT DEATH CANNOT KEEP ME FROM CHRIST. I AM HIS FOREVER. I just pray that more Christians can see this and believe this and live this. In Gods name I thank you for your service!! Love ya!

    • Pam Dye permalink

      Amen Garrett! You have always been His…and deliverance came after the 13 yr rollercoaster. God’s plan for your life is in the making….The adversity has caused you to come back and be used for His glory to help others as you tell your testimony.

      The Battle
      My mind is a raging fire, I’m convicted in my heart
      I long to be a Christian Lord, but know not where to start
      I hear my Savior knocking, He’s standing at the door
      And all the earthly worldly things aren’t important anymore!

      I make the great decision, I fall down on my knees
      And ask my Lord to save me, enter my heart I plead
      And I know that at that moment, my sin is cast away
      I’m now a newborn child, a tender Christian babe!

      The news spreads fast, and soon I learn, the enemy has heard
      His plan is to attack, before I know the Word
      For with the Word I have in me the Holy Spirit’s power
      He knows he must attack at once, he cannot wait an hour!

      He gathers together all his demons and sets his battle plans
      He must destroy this new child’s faith, it must blow as drifting sands
      The planning takes just minutes, they empty all the files
      And then his army moves, armed with many trials!

      The attack is fast and furious, and for a while I stumble
      But in the end, I am quite sure, it is Satan who will bumble
      I’m hit with many problems, they’re coming by the score
      And as my faith begins to slip, I fall down to the floor!

      Satan now is laughing, he jumps around in glee
      And then the smile fades from his face, as I struggle to one knee
      He stares unto the battlefield, his face is filled with terror
      With all the files they had on me, could he have made an error?

      I’m beaten, battered, on one knee, as my lips begin to move
      Satan is screaming at the top of his lungs, “What’s he trying to prove?”
      He sends out queries to the demons, “What is that he’s saying?”
      The answer comes like a shot in the night, “Oh Lucifer, he’s praying!”

      My strength ebbs back, and as I struggle, I gain the other knee
      And when the demons see this, they turn from me and flee
      Satan screams, “Stand and fight, he’s only just a man!”
      The answer comes loud and clear, “A man in the Savior’s hand!”

      The battle now is over, my faith as strong as steel
      And in my heart, I know full well, the Lord Jesus is for real
      For as I lay on the ground that day, something gently lifted me
      Without that gentle lifting, I’d never have gained my knees!

      The moral of this poem, is really very clear
      Just call on the name of Jesus, when you’re facing fear
      For when you call on Jesus, Satan hasn’t got a chance
      The power that he thinks he has is fictional romance!

      Jay L. Zumbrum

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