Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kill the Marsmallows

Forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal…Philippians 3: 13-14

John and I went to view the new movie Secretariat last evening. I have been a Secretariat fan for most of my life. He was born a month after I met John and funny thing is John decades later preached one of my favorite sermons using Big Red as the sermon illustration.

Secretariat's victories in the movie and in life were stunning. Having been hurt coming out of the gate his first race, he let the field of horses go first after that, then would come from behind and soundly beat them. That is until the third and longest leg of the Triple Crown where he came out first and charged to a 31 furlong victory unheard of and unmatched since.

There are many wonderful reasons to spend ten dollars to see this movie and go away happy. It is full of many 'The Little Engine that Could' moments.

One that struck me was the moment where the trainer, who has been carrying around in his pocket the newspaper clippings of his prior losses with other horses, burns them BEFORE the big race. Not after the victory, he burns them in anticipation of it. These past losses had been holding him back and tormenting him for years. My thought was strike the match and get in the gate. Run to the finish and don't look back.

There are no jockeys I know of who put their saddles on backwards to better see where they have been. We shouldn't either. Neither should we be like Lot's wife who just had to have one last, stolen, backward glance at her burning ex-home.

One moment Mrs. Lot is on her way out of a bad situation with her family beside her and Divine protection surrounding her. The next minute she is frozen forever in time as the best example of someone who had to have a disobedient last look.

It is easy to look upon her lifeless, salty memorial and think, "Stupid woman." But how many of us could take our place beside her? God is trying to burn our past sins and stupidities to the ground and we are running for the marshmallows to roast over the ashes instead of running for the gate.

Deborah Smith Douglas prayed a prayer once as she was commenting on a devotion by C.S. Lewis, "Dear Lord, thank you for offering us freedom from the burning cities of our past. Thank you for calling us to press on toward the prize of our eternal life with you."

Maybe it is time to put the saddle on facing forward, toss the marshmallows under the hooves and ride for the finish line past those burning cities.

The opening scripture in the Amplified version reminds us ours is an upward direction. Let's agree to take it. We just might have the ride of our lives!

Philippians 3:13,14 (Amplified) I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

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