Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Faith on the Frontstretch: A guidebook for the race of life

Photo courtesy of
Rebecca Kivak
“...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” 
   ~ Hebrews 12:1b

Like every other sport, stock car racing has rules. NASCAR, as the sanctioning body, makes the regulations that govern the sport. Each year, race teams are responsible for reading the updated NASCAR rule book.

Knowing the acceptable parameters helps drivers and crew members know what to do. There are guidelines for every aspect of the sport, from specifications for building the car to how many crew members go over the wall. Abiding by the rules helps ensure the safety of everyone at the track. Ignoring one of NASCAR’s rules can result in a failed inspection, a suspension, or even bodily injury.

Knowing what’s in the Bible works in a similar way. It helps me understand what kind of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. It is a guidebook for life, explaining ways to live a decent, honorable life.

Most of us know lying and stealing are wrong. But what about something common, like gossiping – that’s no big deal, right? Before I knew the Bible better, I didn’t realize there were over 140 verses pertaining to gossip. When I read them, it became clear that God not only dislikes gossip, but considers it evil (Romans 1:28-31.) Wow.

I’ve heard people say they don’t read the Bible because it’s just full of rules. They say God is just a big ol’ killjoy who wants to control our every move and keep us from having any fun. But you know what? He isn’t like that.

Here’s an analogy. Let’s pretend I gave you a copy of my book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go. What would you think about that? Choose an answer:

a) Hey, a book as a gift, that’s cool.

b) A book of racing stories? I can relate to that!

c) Oh great, she’s trying to control the way I think and live.

I’m hoping you picked “a” and/or “b.”

Friends, God already did the book-as-a-gift thing. He used some men to write a book full of stories and prose we can relate to. Then He gave it to all of us.

Like romances? The love stories of Esther and Ruth are must-reads. If you prefer tales of soldiers and war strategy, check out the battle of Jericho or Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites (Joshua chapter 6 and Judges chapter 7.) Enjoy music or poetry? Read the psalms, where David wrote many passages that were set to music.

The Bible is a precious gift, full of wisdom for living a blessed life. Some of it is set-in-stone, such as the Ten Commandments. But overall, the book contains guidelines set up by a caring Father to protect us from doing stuff that can harm us - just like a loving parent keeps a child from running between parked cars or playing with steak knives. God uses the Bible to give us loving guidance about good and honorable ways to live our lives.

Remember, God is a gentleman, not a dictator. He gave free will to each of us. Just like a race team can choose to either follow or violate NASCAR rules, we have freedom of choice. Each person decides whether to accept God’s love ... or not.

The NASCAR rule book is a black and white list of “dos and don’ts” for a sport.

But the Bible is a love letter, from God to you. Will you choose to open it and soak in His tender affection for you?

The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.    ~ Psalm 19:8  (New Living Translation)
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Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 or more to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go. See you on the frontstretch!

Beth Bence Reinke is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans, available in paperback or eBook. “Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth also writes “Gibbs Garage,” Sprint Cup race recaps for Joe Gibbs Racing teams. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke.

4 comments :

Sure appreciate you popping in to read, Anne. Blessings to you! ";o)

I needed this today Beth! Need to get my nose in that love letter. :)

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