Devotion for February 21, 2023

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders …” (Hebrews 12:1)

Hindered is an interesting word that I don’t think I use very much, but I know that I daily experience the effects of being “hindered.” Just to clarify the definition of this word, I looked it up: “obstructed or delayed in the progress of something.”

What are some of the influences or factors in my life that hinder or prevent my progress? It might be fear of what someone might think of me, or fear of failure. It also could be how I am feeling at any given moment.

The bigger question is how do I “throw off” everything that hinders me from doing what God wants me to do? Do I refuse to acknowledge anything that would push me backwards instead of forwards? Do I toss each hindering thought into a proverbial garbage can and then take it out to the curb to be picked up by the garbage truck? (I wish it was that simple!!)

When someone gets ready to run a race, they clear their mind of negative thoughts. They focus on positive statements. A lot of self-talk happens as they stretch, run in place and walk around. I watched some recent sports events where they showed footage of the next participant, and it was interesting to see how they prepared to perform right before the event. They had to focus, and “throw off” any other thoughts, like what they would have for dinner that night, or what a parent might have said to them last week that still bothered them.

I think hindering has to do with the mind of the runner, whatever keeps him or her from doing their best in a race. Each day, as I run this race, I think I need to “throw away” those thoughts that come to my mind that have no relevance or are not helpful to me. Anything that would “stop me in my tracks” or obstruct moving ahead with God. Join me in “sorting the trash”!

Throughout the Day: What is keeping you from running the race today? Don’t dwell on negative self-talk which often “pops up” as an unwelcome guest in our minds. Choose to focus on what’s true and good. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Prayer

Lord, help me to focus my thoughts on You each and every day! Be my guide and shield, and let me thoughts be on Your love, Your gifts, and Your grace! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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Pastor Bailey
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