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Bp Bena October 2017

Pressing On Toward the Goal

by Bishop Dave Bena

As most of you know, Bishop Julian is a marathoner. He will run another marathon the weekend of November 4-5 in New York City. Having run with him, I can tell you that he is a gazelle!! And he remains a gazelle for 26.2 miles!!! Incredible. When I was younger, I ran three marathons. But I was never a gazelle; I was a "finisher." No matter how exhausted, I was determined to finish the race.

These thoughts remind me of Paul's words in Philippians 3:13-14: Brothers (and Sisters), I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it ("to attain to the resurrection from the dead"). But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.

SO, as the old pastor said, "Life is a marathon and not a sprint." The good bible reading we have done makes us realize that we can marathon all day long in an attempt to win salvation, and we'll never finish. Because Salvation comes only through the atoning death of Jesus. Whether we are gazelles or plotters, we won't finish the race toward being saved by just doing good works and refraining from sin.

It is only after we repent and turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior that the gift of salvation is realized. That's not a marathon; that's a gift!

So what's the marathon? The marathon is how we, the saved, live our lives in thanksgiving to God. I've been on this marathon since I received Jesus in 1968. It's been at times a hard marathon, sometimes an easy one, running toward the prize of eternal life, with the Holy Spirit pushing me on, a strong wind at my back, experiencing sanctification with each passing year.

In a running marathon, especially if it's in hot weather, the water stations are like oases in a dry, parched desert. As we walk through a desert, we long to see an oasis! SO when running a marathon, we long to see a water station. I take the glass of water handed to me, take a short sip, and pour the rest over my head - AH, refreshment.

That, my brothers and sisters, is what the Holy Spirit does to us as we marathon through life as Christians. No matter how tired, frustrated, or hurt we are, we know that the Holy Spirit will refresh us and sustain us as we "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus."

And pray for a successful marathon for our bishop in early November.

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