Kathleen Hardaway

Category - message

And the Winner Is?

Americans spent over 25 billion dollars on professional sports last year. Massive amounts of time, money, and energy is spent on athletic events. People enthusiastically go and cheer, clap, and watch their coveted team try to WIN!

While others sit at home spending countless hours in front of their flat screen TV’s waiting to see who will win, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and The Voice. Millions take the time to vote and give their opinion on who they believe the winner should be. Countless people wait in anticipation to hear the words… “And the winner is?”

The Olympics continue to be loved by most and it too brings millions of viewers glued the tube to see which country and athlete stays on top! It often can be within a fraction of a second that stands between the winner and loser.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Is winning the only thing?

When the athlete, recording artist, Hollywood star stays on top, often people love them. The minute they begin to sink in their careers there can be an instant slump in sales and the fans can turn on them in and instant.

While on top, the winners have the world by the tail as they say, but there’s a problem, it’s fleeting and often never last.

Oh, I highly admire what our Olympians have to do in order to be the best in their field. The sacrifices they make are unbelievable. They have one focus, one goal, one ambition, the Gold medal.

What’s your one ambition? Think about it. What’s the one thing you would die for, the one thing that makes you eager to get out of bed every day?

Did you know you’re in a race?

God’s Word says,  “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

Oh my friend be sure you’re in the race. God’s race. Run, as He directs you and help make a difference for the Kingdom of God.

Do You Feel God’s Pleasure

Chariots of Fire is one of my favorite movies with many quotes that I absolutely love. You probably have heard the famous quote by Eric Liddle, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”

I could write volumes about this wonderful quote but let’s think about this popular quote for  just a moment.

​As Christians it’s important that we operate in the talents and gifts God gives us. And when you do, you should feel God’s pleasure. There’s nothing else like it!​ But what if you don’t feel God’s pleasure?

Life can be tough, and there will certainly be days you may not feel like getting out of bed, much less experience God’s pleasure.

​As you’re growing in the Lord and doing what He has called you to do, there’s nothing else like it. Possibly you’re not operating in your spiritual gifts or could it be…you don’t know the Lord at all?​

Do you remember Harold M. Abrahams? He was another runner in the movie, Chariots of Fire. There’s a scene in the movie where Harold is talking to another runner, Aubrey. He says to him, “You, Aubrey, are my most complete man. You’re brave, compassionate, kind: a content man. That is your secret, contentment; I am 24 and I’ve never known it. I’m forever in pursuit and I don’t even know what I am chasing.”​

I think about the millions of people in our world who are doing the same thing.

Forever in pursuit and not knowing what they’re chasing. People are desperately trying to fill the void, the empty vacuum in their lives. All the fame, money, beauty, power, family and friends can’t fill it.​

I enjoy watching Barbara Walters interview the many Hollywood stars. They seem to have it all, but often if you watch them long enough many  say in so many words, I’m still looking for more.​

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing that will ever give us true joy and lasting contentment. I like how the Amplified Bible explains, I Timothy 1:6-7 says,​ And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain. For we brought nothing into the world and obviously we cannot take anything out of the world.​

“Get busy living or get busy dying!”  This quote from The Shawshank Redemption is certainly an interesting quote. I don’t want to tell someone to get busy dying, but the fact remains we’re all going to die.

How can you get busy living…by pursuing godliness. If that’s your life’s ambition, you will have complete contentment—the contentment that Harold Abrahams was so desperately looking for.

Facing Winter with a Smile

When was the last time you laughed at winter? One of the last things I did in preparation for winter was to plant pansies. I’ll never forget the day I purchased the flowers. I asked the gardener, “How well do they live in the winter?” She replied with a grin, “Oh, they laugh at winter!”

Now that’s a line I’ll never forget – “They laugh at winter!” As if the pansies could talk and say, “Are you kidding…we love the winter; below freezing doesn’t bother us. Bring it on!”

Many have already had snow and the cold weather has blasted across the country with vigor. And I wonder, what is in store for us this winter? Being from the South, it’s hard to imagine living with sub-zero tempts. But no matter how cold it gets can you, “laugh at winter?”

Winter is by far my least favorite season. And if I’m not careful I can let myself get depressed. I love being outside in the warmer weather. I enjoy daylight savings time, not driving home in the dark after work. I go home to an empty house, not one with a husband or children. Well, there’s my cat, Bunker. He does a great job welcoming me home, but of course he’s only a cat. And the communication continues to be one sided.

The television seems to provide some sense of not being alone, but it can become a huge time waster. The winter months can often make you feel lonelier than ever. We’re living in a day when one of the greatest epidemics in our society is not cancer, obesity, alcohol, or drugs, but loneliness. Yes, all these issues plague our country, and these are often ways people channel their pain due to loneliness.

During these cold, dark, dreary days you need your spiritual armor on more than ever. When was the last time you laughed at winter?

How do you face winter with a smile?

  1. Remember, winter does not last forever. It’s only for a season. 
    Seasons come and seasons go. Thank God! But some last longer than others. Are you in a trial? Has life taken its toll and it’s almost more than you can bear? Keep rolling your hurts over on the Lord. He tells us to “Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7). Also, never forget that He will never give you more than you can bear (I Corinthians 10:13). Take each day knowing that spring is on the way and He is always with you!
  2. Look for ways to help others.
    Often when you dwell on your own problems you can cause continued frustration and heartbreak and before you know it, you’re more depressed than ever. Look for ways to help others. You may need to write someone a note of encouragement. Go help in a soup kitchen. You may find many have far more problems than you do.
  3. Get involved in a small group Bible study.
    If there is not a Bible study group in your own church, you may want to start your own. Be sure you’re in Bible study. This is foundational to your spiritual growth. Meditating and studying His Word gives you the power to press on during these challenging months.
  4. Join a health club.
    If you’re financially able to join a health club, you may want to consider this. Exercise is vital to your health and well- being. I always feel better after I exercise. It’s certainly better than putting on ten to twenty pounds during the winter months. Gaining weight is a battle for so many especially during the winter. If finances are an issue, go walk the mall. I do this on occasion and thoroughly enjoy it.
  5. Pray, pray, pray.
    Being cooped up inside has few advantages, but one drawback of spring and summer is that it’s far easier to play, than to pray. You may play tennis, golf, swim, boat, fish, run or walk, all which can be good things, but they can rob you from your quiet time with the Lord. Cultivate your prayer life. Nothing can be better for you, and for those you’re praying for.

Embrace the winter! Laugh at it knowing that the God of the universe designed the seasons for a reason. Keep on praising Him for His goodness, His mercy, His love, His compassion, His forgiveness, and His comfort! Stay warm, my friend, and keep smiling.