Welcome to 2024, a new year that holds hope for each of us. Hope in the events yet to come has the potential to make the lives we live better. Hope in the people we meet will add to our lives. Hope that we can make a difference in the lives of those we meet. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As we look back and reflect on the opportunities we have had in the past to influence others lives, I am reminded of times when I had that opportunity. One year, a few weeks before Christmas, I was asked to be part of a prayer vigil for the families affected by the Sandy Hook Tragedy. The families asked those who were lifting up their loved ones to commit to change things. They asked us to commit to doing something that would honor the memory of those lost.
We each can do something; we can give hope to others. It is not difficult or challenging. Think about it, look around, is there someone you know that could use a kind word? Someone who needs a word of encouragement or prayer? Someone who could use a meal or warm coat?
There are many opportunities each day for us to change the circumstances of others’ lives. We just need to want to. We can get so caught up in our own lives we forget that there is always someone in need of encouragement.
Philippians 2:1-4; Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
One of the simplest but most effective ways to encourage others is by our presence. We can go to people, walk alongside them, hold them up and help them as they face uncertain days ahead. The fact that we are not alone in our difficulties provides the strength and courage to persevere.
A few days ago, we each put a blank calendar on the wall. By now there may be a few events on it. I am sure the race chasers out there have put their racing schedule on it. Many race teams have started to sort out what events they are going to compete in. Let me suggest something for your calendar.
I think we should put on each of our calendars the days and times when we will intentionally go and support and encourage others. Schedule times we will put our lives aside and go in Jesus’ name for the sake of others. That is exactly what Christ did, He came.
Philippians 2:6-8; (Jesus) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Lynda and I traveled to Haiti many times and each time we went we were reminded of how blessed we are. There are places in Haiti that are poorer and dirtier than you can imagine but there is a hope in the hearts of the people that tomorrow will be a better day. We go to serve, to show our love for Christ by demonstrating our love for them. These are not easy trips, but a life changing experience.
Today we cannot travel to Haiti, it is too dangerous. We have friends there who face life threatening situations in their daily lives. Please pray for them. Pray for us as we long to return and encourage them.
Until we have walked in the footsteps of others we cannot begin to know what challenges they face. From the outside looking in is not the position we need to be in. We need to join them, alongside them, walking with them, encouraging them, and holding them up.
Our presence will speak volumes to those we intentionally seek to provide hope. Our presence can be enough to provide encouragement for them. Our presence lets them know their hope was not in vain.
I remember the phrase; “Who’s with me?” We ask it when we are facing a challenge bigger than one individual can handle. I wonder when the last time we used that phrase was? When was the last time we intentionally embarked on a task greater than ourselves, greater than our own individual abilities?
It reminds me of many a racing story and how the adventures begin. No one wants to be alone in their adventures, they want to share it with others.
I can picture the scene as the story was being told to me. We were sitting around the pits, rehashing the nights racing. Then someone says; “Hey they are racing at Monadnock tomorrow night, we should go. Who’s in?” Everyone looks at each other, heads nod, drinks are finished and in unison; “Let’s go!” Never mind that none of them had ever been there and no one was really sure where it was, but that didn’t stop them. They set off on their adventure, together.
As we look ahead to the new year and make our plans I encourage you to include opportunities to reach out and touch others’ lives. Be intentional in your desire to provide hope. Ask God and He will provide direction and guidance.
Who will we give hope to in 2024?
Who will we intentionally go to and walk alongside?
Whose life will be different because we took the time to go?
Philippians 2:5; In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
As we look forward, in our Winter Bible Study we will be looking at Romans 12; Dedicated Service, Living for God. We will explore the adjustments it will take for each of us to serve our Lord in a way that honors Him.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.