Good morning to you all and I hope all of you are well.

Ever notice in life that the first step is often the most difficult one and that if you break through that initial phase of resistance that you can actually do it?

Yesterday I was reminded once again of this principle. Let me share with you what happened!

On Thursday I went for a run with one of the people in our house. He’s a good runner and besides jogging every now and then my own link with running is more related to running out of chocolate than actually doing any sport.

So after running nearly 8 km on Thursday I was both quite proud of myself and quite tired. On Friday my legs were reminding me constantly of their dissatisfaction with aches and pains that made me feel as if I’d suddenly turned 90.

So when I messaged my running companion and said “that was fun, let’s do it again” part or me was thinking “again as in next year” so when he messaged me yesterday to go for another run my poor legs began to cry NOOOO!!!!!!

That said, I’ve never been one to take too much notice of my body and so I prayed. “Jesus, what do you want me to do?”.

An inner voice whispered very clearly “give it a go”.

So I got ready and at 2pm we met outside and set off.

Within 30 seconds my right leg began to cramp so bad that I thought I was going to get sick. Again, common sense was telling me to go home, after all I had given it a go, I could justify it before God….or could I?

I prayed again “Ok, Jesus, help me”.

The traffic lights were red and we had to stop, I stretched my leg a bit and prayed, the pain seemed to leave and I began to run again unsure how long it would last.

About 8 km later I got my answer. The pain never returned and I found the run this time to be quite easy and enjoyable and am genuinely looking forward to going again.

As I reflected on it afterwards I felt Jesus reminding me of how important it is to persevere.

It would have been so easy for me to give up and go home and while going for a run is only a small thing, the same principle applies to bigger things in life.

From new jobs to new marriages to new ministries, when we start something new and exciting, we will inevitably be faced with challenges.

This is even more true if we are committed Christians because Jesus is always challenging us.

Just like a runner’s muscles strengthen and adapt over time to greater and greater physical challenges through the pain, rest and recovery process, so too do our ‘spiritual muscles’ grow as the Lord stretches us.

He puts people and situations in front of us that are challenging and will cause parts of our inner selves to grumble and complain.

“It’s too much”

“I’m too weak”

“I can’t go on”

And along comes Satan, the master of lies, deceit and discouragement to offer you a false consolation and to convince you that by giving up you are actually pleasing God.

The evil spirit is very subtle and yet very insistent at the start because this is the time that you are at your weakest.

He must strike you with full force at this stage of the process because if he doesn’t it will be harder later once your confidence has grown.

Satan is an opportunist and he knows only too well how our human psychology works and how as human beings we often limit ourselves.

God on the other hand is a loving father who knows that we have inner strengths and inner resources to do and achieve far more than we think.

We must dig deep into the reservoir of our minds and spirit until we connect through faith with His Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gives us strength and determination that we didn’t even know we had and fills us with such love and determination that even though our bodies and mind be in pain, the spirit in us takes over and overpowers them.

And so today being Sunday and the day of the resurrection, let it truly be a day of resurrection for us and may we truly live in the power of the resurrected Jesus that is already in us through our baptism.

May His power burn through all the negative voices and the pangs of the flesh and may we be people of love, of hope and of power.

More importantly, if you have just begun something new, hang in there and don’t give in. Everything worthwhile is always hard and it’s through the battles that we grow in strength, in faith and in trust in Jesus our friend and our saviour.

So yes Jesus, WE ARE RUNNING!!

Enjoy the song,

Blessings

Michael