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Our Personal Best

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Read Philippians 3:10-14

View the Nov-Dec, 2014 Issue

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

- John 15:5 (NIV)

I enjoy watching track and field events. Especially exciting for me are the races: the tension of waiting for the starting gun, the sight of each runner straining toward the finish line. It is satisfying to cheer for the winners as they stand to receive their awards. We also cheer for the athletes who record a personal best time, even if they did not win. We celebrate with them as they realize they have done better than ever before.

Similarly, in our Christian discipleship, we can aspire to serve God more fully each day. As we live in fellowship with our Lord, we can strive to make each day our personal best for him. After all, Jesus speaks of our living in him, becoming branches of his vine, drawing nourishment from him and producing lasting fruit. We can bring all our energies to bear as we run toward the goal of becoming truly one with Jesus.

The Author

Bill Willis (New South Wales, Australia)

Thought for the Day

Today I will give my personal best for God.


Gracious God, help us this day to do our very best for you. Amen.

Prayer focusCompetitive runners


Comment by Tommie of Dayton, TN

Thank you to everyone for the prayers for Twinkle--and me. Michael, when she was diagnosed, I investigated all the treatments and the prescription diet was the only option that fit our situation.
Twinkle is eating a tiny bit more. She's still very weak but she manages to get on her chair (and my lap when I'm sitting down). She has an aversion to being picked up so I avoid doing that. I feel that her having to get where she wants to go by herself will help to keep her active.
Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good morning God and UR family. I awoke this morning challenged with thoughts and concerns and I praised God for this devotion and my UR family although I don't know what to do, He does. I will rely on Him who gives me life, praying deeply for the day that it will be revealed to me, His will and that if I have caused any harm that I will be forgiven. A special thanks to Teri for your prayers. Great comfort was provided. Be blessed and loved today. I love you.
Posted November 27, 2011 at 05:58AM CST
Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good Evening God and UR family, what a day, my thoughts were not His, my ways were not His and thank God that He had mercy on my soul. I was rewarded with the most amazing gifts of love. Even the constant down pouring of rain did not dampen my spirit today. It is amazing when God allows you to connect. My heart and soul are just strengthened by His amazing grace. The out pouring of love was only matched by the rain we endured today. As I pray for a parting of the clouds to see the beautiful blue behind them, I rest in the knowledge that tomorrow will be another amazing day. I pray that you will meet just where I am. If not then, I am certain it will bring challenges but I accept them as long as I know You are with me. Together we are always better than apart. Lord thank you for bringing us all these wonderful stories of trials and faith. Lord may we respond to each of them and see Christ's creation, perfect, radiant, amazing in each of these people who you bring into our lives. I know that I am loved and pray that I give everything I have been given to those who you allow me to love on. I love you and that much I know is true. Thank you for a family such as we have here.
Posted November 27, 2011 at 09:32PM CST

Posted November 27, 2014 at 08:33AM CST
Comment by Sarah of Berwyn, IL

Good morning, everyone! Thank you, Bill, for your devotional this morning. I am not at all an athletic person, but in the “race” I am running for the Lord, I am striving to do my best for Him. One thing I want more than anything else is to be able to hear the Lord say when I stand before Him, “well done, good and faithful servant”.
JK - I am praying for your one friend, who had a mass discovered on or near her lung. I pray that all will go well when she has the bronchoscopy, and that she will receive good news back. I am also praying for the arthritis pain she is suffering with in her hip. I pray that the Lord will bring her complete healing. I am praying for your nephew, who is going through a very difficult divorce. I pray that the Lord will uphold him during this time, and will meet all of his needs, especially financial and emotional. I am also praying for your brother-in-law, who is dealing with health issues, and has been diagnosed as diabetic. I pray that his medication will be properly adjusted, and that the Lord will bring him healing.
PEGGY of York, PA - I am lifting you in prayer, that the Lord will uphold and bless you as you struggle with ALS. I pray that He will bring you healing, and a relief of your symptoms, and fill you with His peace, love and joy. I am also praying that the Lord will give wisdom to medical doctors and researchers, and that a cure for this disease will be found. * GOLDIE - I am continuing to pray for you and your family. I pray that Miguel will get back a good report from his blood tests, and that the treatments he has will be effective. I pray the Lord brings both him and you complete healing, and that a cure for the chick-v virus will be found.
CHRIS of Myerstown, PA - I am praising the Lord with you that your daughter no longer needs to be on medication anymore. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless her, lift any lingering depression, and give her good success on her job. * MICHAEL of Lindendale, TX - I am continuing to hold baby Violet up in prayer. I praise the Lord that her 3rd surgery went well, and pray that He will bring her complete healing. I pray that Violet’s intravenous feedings will go well, and that soon they will not be necessary due to the Lord’s healing touch on her. I pray that the Lord will also give her parents strength, and uphold them during this trial. I am also praying for your associate, Mary, whose mother died earlier this week. I pray that the Lord will give his strength, comfort and peace to her and her family at this time.
BARB of Crown Point, IN - I am praying for you and your family as you continue to grieve the awful death of your nephew, David. I pray that the Lord will continue to uphold each of you, and give you His peace and love. I pray that all will be resolved enough for you to hold his funeral, and that the murderer will come to justice. I pray, especially, that he may repent of his crimes and come to know Jesus as his Savior. * STEVE of Knoxville - I am praying for your youngest son and his fiance, that the Lord will give them traveling mercies as they drive home from North Carolina. I pray that the Lord sends His angels ahead of them on the road and keeps them safe, especially from slick roads and bad weather.
WILLIS of Jackson, TN - I am lifting up you and your family, that the Lord will continue to give you comfort, peace and His love during this time as you grieve the passing of your brother, Lester. I am also praying for your friend, Carol, who is in ICU. I pray that the Lord will bring her complete healing, and that her doctors will know the best how to treat her. I am also praying for your wife’s son, Mark, whose wife has walked out on him. I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring about a reconciliation between them both, and restore their marriage. I am also praying for a restoration of the marriage of your wife’s other son, Ty and his wife Carrie, as he is being unfaithful to her. I pray that the Lord will bring Ty under conviction, and that he will come to the Lord for salvation.
CHERIE of Inverness, FL - I am praying for you and your husband, Ron, that the Lord will meet all of your needs. I especially pray that He will continue His healing of Ron. I am also praying that everything will work out well for Ron’s son and grandsons to visit over the upcoming holidays. * TOMMIE of Dayton, TN - Thank you for providing the prayers of Adam each day. They are such a blessing. I am continuing to pray for your cat, Twinkle, that the Lord will bring her healing. I am glad to hear that she is eating a bit more, and pray that she will continue to do that, and regain strength. I am also praying that the Lord will bring you complete healing, and strength for each day.
Have a blessed day, everyone!

Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:14PM CST
Comment by merry of Poteau, OK

"Today I will give my personal best to the Lord."…Amen!
Bill…good morning in Australia! Welcome to the UR Chapel. Thank you for your encouraging devotional, "Our Personal Best."
I'm not very athletic…but enjoy watching Figure Skating and the Olympics Games. I admire their courage to do their best.
I try to give my personal best in the Lord's race. Each day is a new challenge in my faith walk.
And I don't always give my personal best.
UR FAMILY …good morning. Praying for you to enjoy your personal best in your faith walk with the Lord today. I'm using my kindle this morning, while everyone is a sleep.
Tommie..…good morning. I pray that you and Twinkle have a blessed day. My cat, Babe didn't like to be picked up but like to lay in my lap. I lost Babe in 2010 and still miss him. Charlie, our white, Maltese terrier is keeping me busy.
Sarah…good morning. I hope you enjoyed thanksgiving with your family. We had a quite day and enjoyed a thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.
Thank you for your prayers. And remembering us. You're running a blessed race for the Lord.
"Father, give us the encourage and the strength to do our best for you…" amen

Posted November 28, 2014 at 04:24AM CST
Comment by Kathy of Reading, PA

Good Morning UR family, Bill, thank you for your devotional this morning. Sarah, Your opening comments gave me Goosebumps! I am striving more each day to better myself for the Lord. It took me a long time to realize what was finally important. Sarah, I pray you had a good day yesterday. Tommie, I am thankful that Twinkle is eating. I am praying for her. JK, I pray you had safe travels and for your friend. May God heal her. Barb, I am praying for you and your family with the loss of your nephew. I pray for peace and comfort. Michael, I continue to pray for baby Violet. I pray for healing for her. Cheri, I pray for you and your husband. Josie, I am praying for you and your family. Willis, I am continuing to pray for you and your family with the loss of your brother. I pray for peace and comfort. I pray for all who are struggling with day to day needs. I think of the homeless more during this time of the year. I also pray for the homeless animals that don't make it to the shelters. My day with Corey was fun. We didn't talk that much but he did give me a hug and told me that he loved me when I left. Praise God!! I pray everyone has a safe day today. Many blessings to all.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 04:29AM CST
Comment by merry of Poteau, OK

UR Family… please know that I may not list you by name, I'm reading your comments and prayer requests and praying for you.
Blessings to you in your personal best for the Lord today.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 04:32AM CST
Comment by Sheila of Bryantsville, KY

Bill Willis (New South Wales, Australia), thank you for the devotional and scriptures for today. One thing that struck me was your comment about cheering the winner, but also cheering those who had reached a personal best...and I wondered, do we as Christ Followers, cheer each other on when one of us wins over some struggle, be it physical, financial, emotional or spiritual? Do we cheer each other on when one of us has reached a personal best in something? But, far too many times, we share our struggles, because sometimes they are just to heavy to carry alone, and we should share them, but we hesitate to share our victories because we don't want to appear boastful...but are we boasting about ourselves and our own personal achievement or are we boasting about what God has accomplished in us? And shouldn't we share what God has accomplished in/for us? Praises to Him for so very much in our lives....but cheers to us for our giving up and allowing Him to...I'm sure The Hosts of Heaven cheer each time one of us has 'reached a goal'. Why shouldn't we cheer too?
Why is it we will go to sporting events and cheer but we won't 'cheer' in 'church'? Just askin'...
We are such a blessed people to have Paul as an example of what being a Christ Follower is like.
We are such a blessed people to have friends and family who cheer us on when we have reached a goal in any area of our life.
We are such a blessed people to cheer each other on as we each 'press on toward the goal' in Christ.
Cyber hugs and warm mugs to all who enter our Cyber Chapel. YOU are loved with a love so way beyond anything we can comprehend in our human minds or hearts...but we can keep trying to, and keep loving God, with all our heart, mind and soul, and keep loving our neighbor/fellow human, as we love ourselves...and if you suspect you don't know how to love yourself the way God wants you to...ask Him to teach you....believe me... HE WILL. Nothing pleases Him more than someone coming to Him and asking Him to teach us His LOVE, His TRUTH.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 04:34AM CST
Comment by merry of Poteau, OK

Kathy…good morning. I'm happy to read of your day with your son, Corey. PTL!!
You are making good progress in restoring your relationship. Keep up the good work!
And I can see the progress in your personal best for the Lord.
Enjoy your day.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 04:43AM CST
Comment by Don of Ozark, MO

Good morning my friends. Bill Willis, welcome to the UR family. We thank you for your devotional contribution. We also hope to hear from you on a regular basis, so feel free to submit your comments to us, we welcome them. I try to do my best in everything that I do, but sometimes my best effort is not enough to please others around me. I pray to God that my best efforts achieve what He wants me to achieve and that I do not fall short in my efforts. Tommie, I pray that your cat experiences a complete recovery from her illness and that you have many more years together. Your submission of Adam's prayers has been inspirational unto me and I pray that you continue to do so. I hope that everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving day yesterday in spite of the weather. May we all remember that every day is a day to give thanks to our Lord for what He has done, is doing, and will do for us in our lives. Sarah, thank you again for your contribution to all of us. I pray that the Lord will continue to help you in your life. I also pray for all of those who have requested prayer for them as they face so many problems each day. May we all be blessed today and do our best to aid and comfort those around us, all over our world. Praise the Lord!!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:22AM CST
Comment by Dan of Summerfield, NC

Bill, thank you for this devotion, and for your illustration; as a competitive runner at one time, the butterflies can be intense before a race. Unfortunately, at the time in my life when I had the greatest potential as a runner, I had no relationship with God nor with my parents. For me, the verse that hits the hardest is: 'Without me, you can do nothing!' Later in my life, when running was not my competitive sport (tennis was), the importance of having someone cheering for me was so huge. I realize now, it was not as much their excitement regarding a win (the impact I could have on the team), but their belief in me as a person and a player. As someone who had hungered for it my whole life, it as an affirmation of personal value.
Now, when my physical activity is only at a gym, and my life is in Christ, the affirmation I feel from God, and the sense of joy and personal value I feel during victories in my life, I attribute entirely to Christ. These are frequent and amazing, and I am humbled knowing (REALLY knowing), without Him I can do nothing. Praise God!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:26AM CST
Comment by Goldie

Good morning UR family and friends. Bill thanks for your devotion as I read I realize two things as it says in Philippians I must let go of the past and if I am a branch on God's vine I can do nothing without Him. When I read and paused because the song Oh What A Beautiful morning from the musical Oklahoma came into my mind, and you all know the story of twisted human relationships same as the struggles today, but the difference in that to you and me we believe that God directs our lives we are a branch on the greatest Vine and we can do nothing without Him, I cannot proceed even with helping Karlene for opposing voices are in her head, so pray about it for my kindnesses over the years have gotton me into difficulties because outsiders misconstrue my intentions, even when God showed me what to do in the 25 schools that I supervised , and the impact reverberated around the education circles here in Jamaica, my motive was misconstrued, when our P.M. wife asked to read her research papers for her first degree in Early Childhood Education, because of politics it became a big beating stick, and those here who knows about hypothyroidism knows what stress can do to you , even when you are treated much less when you are struggling and not treated . Today is the last I hope to mention my illness, but do not hold me to that promise, I am going with Jesus' help to put the pass behind me and just focus on what He wants me to do . So once more thanks Bill and thanks for all your all your prayers and concern. Sarah lots of persons with illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and Kidney problems have died from the chick -v but we are not getting that statistic but God is there for us all. ' Heal me oh Lord, and I will be healed, Save me oh Lord and I will be saved, Jeremiah 17: 14. It is indeed a beautiful morning I can hear the birds making their dawn call.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdsamOhnraY . Have a great day full of God's blessings and guidance , sisters and brothers in Christ.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:26AM CST
Comment by JK

Good morning. "Black Friday". Not my thing. I think of Good Friday as more of a black Friday myself, but "Sunday's coming"! Praying all had enjoyable Thanksgiving "doings" regardless of how or where. Bill thank you for sharing the message today. Personal Bests! I share your enthusiasm for sports. Personally ours is swimming, but it is very similar to track in the start, finish, relay, time aspects. I enjoy that anticipation as a spectator. As an athlete I did not enjoy that part at all and so I do not compete even though many of those I "train" with do and do triathlons and other "crazy" versions of competition. Haha. Stay safe one and all. Thank you for the prayers for my friend and my nephew. Blessings!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:29AM CST
Comment by Dan of Summerfield, NC

Cathy, a friend of mine from church, has been suffering immensely with her hip, literally for years. She received a hip transplant Tuesday; I'm sending up a praise to God that she has finally made it this far, but ask for your prayers as she goes through the intense and very painful rehab process. Prayers also for her husband George and their three sons, as they support her through the recovery.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:31AM CST
Comment by Tim of Columb, TN

Thanks for this devotional. I am a Cross Country and Track coach at the high school where I teach. Having also competed in high school in these sports I certainly can appreciate the devotional.
As Cross Country coach, I emphasize personal records. Even if a runner doesn't place high in a meet, a personal record is a victory. It means that I'm doing something right with the coaching and that the runner is working hard.
We all have the ultimate coach in Jesus Christ - may be work hard to achieve those spiritual personal bests!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:31AM CST
Comment by julie of Delray Beach, FL

Good morning ur family. Bill thank u for the devotional. Givingy best to the Lord and to others is what I try to do daily.
Praying for all on the list spoken or not.
Have a great Day and travel mercies for those on the road today.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:36AM CST
Comment by Kay of Ashland, KY

Good morning! I pray for each of you this day. Reading your stories and sharing your requests just touches my heart and I feel like I want to pray for each of you this day. I know that you're praying for me. It has brought me comfort and joy to know that I am in so many peoples prayers this day. Please continue to pray that God heals my body totally and that we are blessed financially. I don't know any of you but I do feel your prayers and I thank each of you so much. I appreciate that you take your time from your day to say a prayer for me. Thank you so much! May God truly bless you all!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:39AM CST
Comment by Craig of Katy, TX

Good Morning UR Family, I pray that you all had a wonderful day. My brother Bruce and I rode our motorcycles on the country roads near Lockhart Texas yesterday. The weather was wonderful and God's handiwork displayed beautiful autumn colors. Thank you Bill for bringing our devotion this morning & challenging us to improve a little each day by besting our best. As I recall my apparent failings from yesterday & contemplate making improvements today, I am comforted by knowing that my Lord is cheering me on & desiring my personal best. I prayerfully read the comments most every day even when I don't post a comment. May God wrap his mighty arms around each of us today as He provides comfort, love, healing & encouragement according to our needs & faith.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:43AM CST
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

Good morning all from a stuffed Edd. Praise the Lord!!! Bill, thanks for the scripture and your devotional that reminds us all that we need to run the good race for the Lord everyday. We need to do no less then what Jesus did for us and that is give our live for Him by helping Him build His Kingdom by bring others to Him for saving. Praying all the UR Family has a blessed day filled with God's Love and healing mercies. God is Love!!! Edd of Ocala, FL.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 06:08AM CST
Comment by Jimmie of Chester, VA

Good morning, everyone. Please join me in thanking God for this new day. Happy Friday! Thank you for your devotional, Bill. My goal is to get closer to God every day. Happy birthday and anniversary to all celebrants for November 28, 2014. "Jesus is your friend forever."

Posted November 28, 2014 at 06:20AM CST
Comment by Joe

Good devotional and insight, Bill, thank you. 'we can aspire to serve God more fully each day' is even easier when our role model is Jesus Christ. To have someone say they see Christ in us is as good a compliment as we can have. May we all strive for that with the Lord's help.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 06:59AM CST
Comment by chris of Myerstown, PA

Good morning, Bill and UR family. Thanks for your devotion today on service. Trying to do our best for the Lord, sounds good, but are you serving God or trying to feel better about yourself? Are we in competition with other Christians for God's attention?
 In sports the athletes get the glory, not so much the school or the sponsor. Maybe doing our best to love those around us as ourselves, would be a better goal. I might have read your intentions wrong Bill, but when we focus on our personal best, who are we focused on, God or ourselves? Without the Lord we can do nothing, or without love our best can accomplish little or nothing for the Kingdom of God.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:02AM CST
Comment by Terry of Dublin, OH

Thanks Bill for reminding us that we have a single purpose while here on earth and that is to fulfill the plan has laid out for each us and by doing so we receive his gift of eternal life. By doing so we will produce the fruit as mentioned in the above scripture lesson. The plans God has embedded in each of us are as different as snowflakes but they all have one thing in common; spreading his presence throughout the world. So, yes I agree our challenge in accomplishing this task is difficult and each day brings new challenges. We must remember that God has also equipped us with the skills and talents to overcome anything we may face or preventing us reaching his intended goal task. The sport analogy is a good one and can be used to reflect concept in many ways. Golf, the sport I know enjoy the most is a very good as well. Each course is a little different and presents new challenges or opportunities. The weather conditions may vary each day from clam to windy, high or low temperatures and sunny or overcast, all of which impact the challenge of the day. So each day and course we play are slightly different but our goal is the same to achieve the best score we can based on our abilities (which God gave us) and the various difficulties as presented.
So, I pray for added strength and focus for all who may be either struggling with God’s goal and or the challenges/opportunities they may be facing this day. I also pray God’s continued support and presence for all who request prayers this day and for the many prayer givers.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:13AM CST
Comment by monte of laughlintown, PA

I still want to lurk, but I cannot help but respond today. Sheila’s comment was powerful and on target in many ways. She asked, “Do we cheer each other on when one of us has reached a personal best in something?.. And shouldn't we share what God has accomplished in/for us?.. Why is it we will go to sporting events and cheer but we won't 'cheer' in 'church'? Just askin'...”
I suggest an answer that I find in the scripture lesson from Paul, “3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,
3:11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Why is it that Paul and we want to die like Jesus to achieve resurrection? I thought that Jesus death on the cross and resurrection was on our behalf and opened the door to eternity by faith. Paul is on target with his call later on in this passage to be on our way to ‘perfection’, but somehow we get so caught up in trying to re-carry the Cross that we do not cheer on each other’s (and our own) personal bests.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:15AM CST
Comment by Steve of Knoxville, TN

Good morning everyone. What a truly beautiful day the Lord has provided. Bill, thank you for today's devotional concerning discipleship, our walk with God and striving to do our very best for Him.
Prayers offered for all prayer requests and praise reports. Zane and Laura made it home safely yesterday afternoon. We had a great Thanksgiving.
Everyone have a blessed and safe day.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:19AM CST
Comment by Raynard of newark, DE

Good Morning U.R.Family.Thank you Bill for your devotional. Back in grade school Many Moons ago I ran track and field every year for the Annual Field Day.Now the only running that I do besides work is after the dogs when its time for their baths or meds.. Yesterday's dinner out and the one given to us by our downstairs neighbor'will not make me run out and sign up for a gym membership or "put out a amber alert for Jenny Graig" I digress.I have to get a emergency repair done to my van today after hitting a pothole Wednesday.might be the motor mount bolts. one was missing already and I put it off for awhile.Prayers going out to each and every spoken and unspoken request. Be blessed and encouraged everyone and have a good day..

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:20AM CST
Comment by Linda of West Point, VA

Good morning to all and I pray each had a wonderful day of thanks, good food and fellowship yesterday. Bill, thank you for the devotion this morning and I pray each day to leave the past behind and look forward to the joy of blessings afresh each day. Kay, of Ashland, KY, welcome to the UR Family of God, and I will add you to my prayer list that God will work in your life healing your body and financial needs. Craig of Katy, TX, welcome to the UR Family and thank you for your prayers for each one here. My prayers for all needs brought today and for those that will come throughout the day; "ASK"

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:23AM CST
Comment by Marsha of Brownwood, TX

Good morning URF!
God has blessed us with a bright shiny new day! Hallelujah!
Thank you Bill for your devotional today! Truly without Jesus I can do nothing!
One of my favorite morning songs is "Oh what a beautiful morning" from "Oklahoma!", but I change the last phrase of the refrain:
Oh what a beautiful morning!
Oh what a beautiful day!
I've got a wonderful feeling, everything's going God's way.
Oh what a beautiful day!
Yes I do sing every morning. 😄
Thank you for your prayers!
I am praying for you.
I never shop on this day, but I am working at a store today. Pray for people who are working today!
Have a blessed day!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:27AM CST
Comment by James of Fayetteville, GA

Thank you Bill for this morning's devotional. Today is the day that The Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Gladness and joy come in the morning, because we have a opportunity to redo what we messed up yesterday for The Lord. Thank God for His plan of salvation which allows for confession of our wrong doings and repentance. Also, we have the assurance that Jesus is always with, through the Holy Spirit, the Helper He promised at His ascension to the Father. I praise God that the race is not given to the swift, but to the one who endures to the end. This means that I will get to end of this life and attain eternal life. I will attain God's will for my life.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:36AM CST
Comment by Jo of Pensacola, FL

This is a first post for me. Although I begin my day "in The Upper Room", I have not had the courage to comment. Today's devotion hit me hard. As an an amateur runner, I have run tons of races from 5k to marathon. On those runs I strive for a personal record; some runs are better than others, but I push on. In all things I strive to be the person God intends me to be. I often (daily) fall short. I pray for a "personal record" with God. And I pray for all of you here today.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:45AM CST
Comment by cherie of Inverness, FL

Thank you Bill from Australia!! I want to CHEER ON!!! my brothers and sisters in Christ to live a life that is loving and true. I agree with Monte and Shelia that I would love to hear more encouraging cheers!

I am praying for all prayer requests in the family and welcome yours. We have a mighty prayer circle here. I know because we have been surely blessed by it this year. Yesterday was a nice Thanksgiving and I am so full. Raynard, I will need a gym soon. I did take a walk before cooking and they made me feel better. HA!

It is going to be a little cool here and I love that. Lots of sunshine though. They don't call it the Sunshine State for nothing. I will rejoice everyday with Jesus as my Savior!!! I want to always improve on my personal best.

Sarah, I keep you and yours in my prayers each day and hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving.
Everyone have a beautiful "personal best" day. Love and Light

Posted November 28, 2014 at 07:53AM CST
Comment by Jackie of San Antonio, TX

Good morning all. Bill thanks for this inspiring devotional. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we / I could keep this mind set 24 hrs a day. I feel I fall short more times than I can count.

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Blessing to all today.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 08:27AM CST
Comment by Laura

Bill - thank you for the inspirational, encouraging devotional!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 08:38AM CST
Comment by Elias of La Palma, CA

Bill Willis: Thank you for your devotional today. Three things came to mind as I read the scripture for today, and your comments. First, it seems to me that Paul struggled a lot between living by GRACE and Living by the LAW. On the one hand, Paul accepted the fact that he could do nothing to win his Salvation because Jesus had paid the price on the cross. And, on the other hand, Paul felt like he had to do something in order to "win the prize".
Well, the prize has already been won by those of us who Believe in Christ. Anything we do after this, when it is out of Love, adds to God's Kingdom, and WE receive our reward from these acts of Love from our GIVING. In other words, Giving Of Ourselves Without Requiring In Return To Those Around Us has its own 'built in' reward.
Secondly, Jesus instructed us to GIVE and to PRAY secretly. Our personal best is better achieved when it remains PERSONAL, and not to be advertised. Now, I understand about competitions, and other events where we compete, but the 'playing field' is never LEVEL due to many factors. For example, an athlete may not be feeling his or her best at the time of the competition, and therefore, it is not a true measure of their ability.
Finally, Christianity is about FOCUSING on the other person and not ourselves, and isn't that what Jesus did most of the time when He was here on earth?

Posted November 28, 2014 at 08:54AM CST
Comment by chris of Myerstown, PA

Sarah, thank you for your prayers, praises and kind words, not only towards me but all those who comment here. Have a great day and God bless you!
 Monte, in response to the question of why Paul said, "3:11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. " I believe he was referring to spiritual resurrection. Remember Jesus telling us, let the dead bury the dead? The physical body does not need to die if regeneration is attained. Jesus, I believe had attained regeneration, the transfiguration was the demonstration, but Jesus died for our sakes, to show us resurrection to life is not only possible, but God's plan for us. Most of us, maybe all of us will die a physical death, but because of the resurrection to life, you will live again to attain regeneration of the body.
 I'll be the first to admit I'm speculating and I could be wrong, but everything in life is a growing process, so why would God change His methods and upon our death instantly make us like Jesus? No learning or growing, all you have to do is accept Christ and die. You have eternity to grow up and learn, that's a long time.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 09:04AM CST
Comment by chris of Myerstown, PA

Elias, I like your post today. You captured a little more elegant or tactfully, what I was trying to say to Bill. Thank you for today and the well wishes the day before. God bless you brother!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 09:11AM CST
Comment by Mike of Seattle, WA

Bill thanks for your devotional. I remember with fondness my year in Australia -1994"- where I HAD A job at St.George's hospital in Kogarah. We lived in the beautiful beach community of Cronulla. My boys- teenagers- were not very taken with the need to wear school uniforms, but they adapted well.
The idea of a personal best in the spiritual realm while not implying explicit competition, does seem very Wesleyan who called us to -"be going on to perfection." It also calls us to reflect ,and undertake a time of personal examination at the end of the day-" did I help put a rainbow in someone's cloud," in the words of Maya Angelou

Posted November 28, 2014 at 09:11AM CST
Comment by Lily of Palmyra, NJ

G'morning everyone! Thank you Bill for today's word. Paul writes: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. My prayers for my UR family and their families are to press on towards the prize of our heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. I hope y'all had a peaceful & joyful Thanksgiving as I did, I am truely blessed. It was somewhat bittersweet, while spending time with my husbands family & unable to spend time with my own children because of a strained relationship with my daughter Evelyn and my son David is in prison. pls pray for our restoration. God Bless! :)

Posted November 28, 2014 at 09:15AM CST
Comment by kim of locust grove, OK

Father God , thank you for a fantastic day yesterday with family and friends. Thank you for running the race with us, every step of the way, even through the valleys. Help us always to do our best for you. We pray today for Cathy and he family as she recovers from her surgery. I continue to pray for Trixie, Paula and daughter Jennifer as they call with health issues. I ask you to be with me as I try to understand my mother and her dementia and as she tries to understand my cancer. Yesterday was the first time I've seem her since I started on my journey , and it was strained. Give me more patience with her. It hurts me to see her so old. Be with our country during this most holy time of year. It is sad that it has also become the most commercial time of the year. Give us new hearts that our pleasing to you. Be Thou our vision. IJN . Amen .

Posted November 28, 2014 at 09:17AM CST
Comment by Donna of San Marcos, TX

Good morning dear UR family! Bill, thank you for our devotional today. Jo, I remember when I "took the plunge" and posted for the first time. Welcome! I am thankful for this chapel everyday and all of you who welcomed me and pray for me. In God's Kingdom there is ALWAYS room for one more. Yesterday, we had a Thanksgiving breakfast because my kids needed to be at in-laws houses. However, I was blessed with a healed foot that allowed me to be in the backyard with my grandsons and at the perfect moment was able to praise God out loud for them to hear how much I loved HIM. I believe that a grandmother's words are very important for grandchildren. Just look what they did for Timothy! So, I pray that all of you who join this chapel whether posting or not, find comfort and healing and joy today as you strive for your personal best.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 09:19AM CST
Comment by Bob of Elgin, IL

Elias and Mike of Seattle I think are expressing the broad aspects of our journey with Christ -- and each other. Most of you are probably too young to remember the 'Class Meetings' of Methodists. Small groups of Christ followers would meet weekly and question, challenge, and support each other as we 'moved on to perfection' (as John Wesley put it). I can also testify to the reality -- and even necessity -- of living my Christian life very privately. (Praying in 'your closet.') It seems to me it is biblical to do both: live your Christian life without calling attention to yourself, and meeting together -- and publicly testifying to your walk with Christ. It's neat that we can share all aspects of our faith journey here. And here on the UR chapel it is BOTH public AND private (personal). Blessings to all.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 10:24AM CST
Comment by Pam of TUALATIN, OR

Bill, thank you for today's message. I'm no athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but am amazed at the endurance of cross-country runners. After a blessed Thanksgiving day, I reflected on how much our lives resemble tightrope walking (sorry, Sarah) with others on the rope with us. It takes continuous balancing to stay on course: the winds shift, the terrain around us can pose varied risks, the movements of others can shake our stance, and we must persevere. At table yesterday, we counted our blessings, but none of us was without struggle. Pre-schoolers learning the ropes of life, teens searching for/pressing the boundaries, folks facing health challenges, workers enduring new strains (physical or financial), family members missing from the group, and marriages entering uncharted territory as they face all these transitions. And yet we count our blessings! Our God provides such an abundance of the things that truly matter: faith, hope, and love.

Asking prayers for the family and friends of a vital young woman who went on the Emmaus walk here three weeks ago. M'liss was so blessed by growing even closer to Christ, and left us suddenly on Wednesday to be with Him. The angels are celebrating, but we're missing her presence. Lord, be with all those who enter the holiday season alone or without a dear loved one. Let us see You in others today and feel Your steadying hand on our tightrope!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 12:01PM CST
Comment by Don of Ozark, MO

Good evening to all. I was on this page just before 5 30 this mornin trhing to encourage others in their troubles. I sincerely hope that I helped to brighten the day for all of you. I decided to go into town about 9am and got into my car, only to discover that someone had tried to steal it, while I was asleep. They were not successful in stealing the car but they did tear out the ignition lock. What they did with the lock, I will probaby never know. I will try to get the lock replaced on Monday, if possible, and I hope that my auto insurer will pay for it. I called the county sheriff's office to report the crime and they did send a deputy to investigate. As a result, I will have a police report for my insurers to read, as soon as they contact me. I contacted my insurer earlier today, but have yet to hear from them. Otherwise, today has been a nice day for me as the temperatures have warmd up by about 20 degrees F. I ask for your prayers that I may get the repair done quickly and at very litle expense as I have to be at work on Monday. May God bless all of you today and always. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Praise the Lord!!

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:48PM CST
Comment by Don of Ozark, MO

I apologize for my lack of proofreading before I posted this evening.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 05:51PM CST
Comment by Roger of Huntsville, AL

Thanks for the devotion. I pray that God hears our prayers and brings peace, healing and His presence to all. Everyone have a blessed evening.

Posted November 28, 2014 at 08:44PM CST
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