Dear Friends,

I just wanted to take a minute to share something that God put on my heart the other day, an encouragement from Hebrews 12:1-3:

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

It’s one of my favorite passages. We could spend days on these few lines, but today I just wanted to share a small insight about the first line. Who is this “cloud of witnesses”? We need only to look back one chapter to Hebrews 11, which contains a long list of Old Testament saints who were noted for their exceptional lives: Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses to name a few. Those were individuals who endured suffering and great hardship, yet persevered to become the great pillars of faith that we read about today.

There is a sense of community and courage that we as Christian can glean when we study the lives of those who have gone before us. We get the benefit of reading how each of their stories are living proof of God’s faithfulness as we all follow our ultimate example, Christ Himself. Like a relay race from generation to generation, there is a sense of the torch being passed to us.

And then it occurred to me on a personal level. I indeed have a torch in my hand, so to speak. It was passed to me by my father, who went to heaven exactly one year ago today. You know, life is a funny thing. It feels so long in the midst of it, yet so very short when it ends, doesn’t it?  Looking back, it almost feels like he was a shining star that shot through our lives to point the way, and then he was gone.

I watched my dad persevere through financial hardship, trials of faith, illness, and grief, and not once did he waver in his trust in God or the joy of his salvation. Not only that, but I am more than humbled that God somehow saw it fitting that I would carry on my dad’s passion for studying and writing bible studies.  Why this is the case both blesses and baffles me.

So I ask you today what I ask myself: What are going we to do with the torch, the light that we have? How then shall we run this race?

My “Baba”, he ran the race, kept the faith, and finished strong.

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