A Crown Pursued

photo-1460396380617-a1fdc2ffa5c4[2]Although I live near a race track in Florida, I have never been to one. But the Belmont race of the 2015 Triple Crown in New York intrigued me. Possibly for three reasons, because it’s the coveted trophy, the American Pharoah was trained in Florida, and the misspelling of his name.

His name “American Pharoah” was verified to be legally entered, though misspelled, The origin of the name is significant to the owner Ahmed Zayat because of his Egyptian-American background.

American Pharoah was transported from Kentucky to train at McKathan Brothers near Citra, Florida. There his jockey had to learn the horse’s responses to him and he to the horse. He had to know when to restrain him and when to give him free reign, each responding with confidence to the other. In a sense, learning to trust each other.

Trust is built as we involve our lives more in Christ Jesus and confidence between himself and his followers when he assures us that “I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10: 14b).

Although the jockey did not realize it, he and American Pharoah race for God’s pleasure and delight as they were created to do. And God takes this same delight in us,  His runners. The jockey and his horse have a course and we have a course. Hebrews says, Let us run “the race marked out for us” (12:1c). We have already been registered in the race by God and assigned our course of “running.”

When we think of American Pharoah running the track, we are reminded of Genesis 1:25c, “And God said that it was good.” Yet God says “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him.” Psalm 147:10-11a.

The Apostle Paul shouts out, “We are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). It could be paraphrased, We are winning a most glorious victory or We win the supreme victory. His love encourages us to persevere in our race.

Encouraging us all to complete our race reminds us that not just one, but all, run Christ’s race and can be winners. In fact, we can be triple crown winners.

So how are we doing in our triple crown pursuit today? Are we running, filled with the persistent and energizing life of our Savior?

Chasing Outlaws

Averell horseThe Bible is my favorite book today.  It is filled with exciting stories of God’s protection and rescue in times of peril. However, when a child on the farm, I treasured my Big Little Books more than anything.

My first one, 4 5/8 inches wide by 4 ½ inches high, and 1 ½ inches thick, featured the Lone Ranger. The story was on the right side and pictures were on the left. And an added feature was a thumbnail sketch in the upper corner of each right hand page. When we held the book tight and flipped the pages fast enough, Lone Ranger ties up an outlaw and takes him to the sheriff just like a movie.

The cover of the Big Little Book was coming loose from the spine with a few pages torn a little, but the Lone Ranger and Tonto still chased the outlaws and rode through those pages with smoking guns, and “Hi Yo, Silver, the Lone Ranger rides again” echoed from page to page. The Big Little Books always had the hero win over the outlaws.

My little brother Dick couldn’t read so he looked at the pictures as I read aloud. As I did, Dick cheered the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver onto run faster so the masked man could jump on a bank robber’s back, pull him off his horse, tie him up, and take him to jail.

The Bible, full of drama and adventure, as in God hurling Satan out of heaven, lets me chase truth that puts evil thoughts on the run like the Lone Ranger did with the outlaws.

My goal, as I keep reading God’s Word, is that I’ll arrive where the psalmist did, “Your statues are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart” (119:111).

Read with me until we become such lovers of His words that His Book becomes the joy of our hearts and we keep chasing Satan’s outlaws.