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Finishing strong in the midst of troublesome circumstances is one of the major challenges we face in life.sub-buzz-4649-1470497808-1

Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima was no exception. In the recent Rio Olympics, he was chosen to ignite the cauldron during the opening ceremonies. De Lima, a distance runner, is best known for taking home bronze medal instead of gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics because he was pushed to the sidelines by a protester. (video here)

He was leading late in the run but his dream of getting gold was crushed because Cornellius Horan grabbed him and knocked him into the crowd.

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As a result, De Lima lost several seconds from his time causing him to finish 3rd instead of 1st. But De Lima remained positive, buoyant and unfazed. He crossed the finish line with a joyful attitude and a cheery smile. He had a choice to stay in the ground when he was pushed to the sidelines. Yet, he did not allow that set back to keep him on the ground.

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The author of Hebrews put it this way:

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

We can run the race with endurance because of these 3 reasons:

1. Jesus is the founder of our faith.

He started our faith. And what He starts, He will complete.

2. Jesus is the Perfecter of our faith.

He has the ability to strengthen and perfect our faith in the middle of the raise.

3. Jesus is our finish line.

It’s not the rewards we will receive in heaven that will keep us going. Jesus is the Finish Line. He is the goal. He is our prize.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the strength to endure the race, grace to keep going and joy to stay in the race in the midst of challenges. Thank You that this race is going to be all worth it for You called me to run it and I will stay in it because You are my finish line. Help me to consider it all joy when I face difficulties of various kinds because I know that the testing will produce perseverance so that at the end, I will finish and lacking no good thing. I commit to You all that I do. May my life be as worship unto you.
IN JESUS’ NAME. AMEN.

—–

PHOTO CREDIT:
Koji Sasahara / AP
Diether Endlicher / AP
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Helen Vela was allowed to go through what she went through, I believe, because her life became an encouragement and an inspiration, that though you go through what went through, your life can still be a blessing to many and ultimately bring glory to your Maker.

I am thankful for the opportunity to share my mom’s life story through GMA 7’s Tunay Na Buhay.

Here’s an excerpt of her episode.

 

Have you ever tripped or bumped your head because you were walking forward but looking at someone or something behind you?

I have. Many times. And those were painful.

Bruise. Bukol. Bumps.

That’s how many of us end up in life when we walk forward looking backwards.

As the year comes to a close and a new one draws near, here’s a thought I’d like to leave with you.

“One thing I do: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

Paul’s one thing is a two-fold thing.

FORGET THE PAST.

This would include both the good and the bad part of your past.

The good? Yup, this includes the achievements, successes, accomplishments.

Imagine a basketball player talking about a buzzer beater shot he made to win the game
2 years ago but is currently playing in the finals game.
It’s great to remember the past, but living in the past is silly.
Reliving the past will not help you win the present.
There are new battles to face and new victories to be won.

Sometimes, the good that you accomplished in the past becomes the hindrance to the best that God has in store for your future.

The bad? Indeed.
I realize that it’s hard to forget certain things. Especially, the painful ones.
False accusations. Broken relationships. Sexual abuse. Business failure. Marriage separation.
However, Paul’s exhortation to forget the past implies to not get stuck.
Don’t get stuck in the past.

You’ve seen people live life playing the victim card.
It’s always someone else’s fault.
“The reason I am who I am today and the reason I am where I am today is because of this other person’s fault.”

Remember, It is difficult to drive forward if you are constantly looking through the rear view mirror.

LOOK FORWARD.

Heather Dorniden ran the NCAA Big Ten 600m race for University of Minnesota in 2008. Her coach would often tell her, ‘Sometimes you don’t know if you have a next year or even a tomorrow, so just go out there and run it the best that you can.’”

It was the final heat and when the trigger was pulled, she was doing well, until her feet got tangled up with another’s and tripped.
She had a choice at the moment.
She could’ve stayed on the ground and pulled out the victim card.
“It’s not my fault. That girl tripped me! I am losing the race because of her!”

She didn’t allow her self to get sucked into that.
She brushed the dirt off of her and picked herself up.
She started running again, kept looking forward and miracle of all miracles, ended up winning the race.

You have no control over what happens to you
but you have control over how you respond to what happens to you.

Forget the past. Look forward to what lies ahead.

Remember, with God, the best is always yet to come.

Happy New Year!