Pastor’s Blog January 2016

Hebs. 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
In 2012 Margaret and I ran the Edinburgh Marathon. I know looking at me now that seems unlikely but I really did. Running a marathon is about perseverance. It takes a long time to run 26.2 miles. The thing is this I didn’t just roll out of bed on the day of the race and run it. I spent 5 months preparing for it, gradually building up the distance, going out in all weather, indeed I ran the equivalent of 10 half marathons plus in 10 consecutive weeks. Even so the day of the run was testing and there were a lot of moments when I wanted to give up but somehow I ran the race, not quickly but I did finish.
As we begin 2016 I want to ask, what are you doing to improve your spiritual fitness? Life is going to challenge us in the next year and will we have the spiritual resources to cope? Following Jesus requires us to intentionally develop our spiritual fitness, it means that we will have to think about the spiritual exercise that we are going to commit ourselves too.
Preparing for a marathon involved not only running but also required me to think about when and what I was going to eat and how I was would stay hydrated through the run. In the same way as Jesus’ disciples, we have a race to run in 2016, we do not know what this will involve for us, but we can prepare for what is to come.
So let me ask you, what is your plan for reading the bible this year? If you don’t have a plan the likelihood is that you will not do much and we need to be feeding on God’s word if we are to persevere in running the race set for us. What time are you making for prayer? Spending time with God to worship, to confess and to intercede for yourself and others is a vital discipline, it doesn’t need to be a huge amount of time (15-20 minutes is a good target) but it should be regular, as close to daily as possible. The third area is the support of others, I was spurred on to run the marathon by Margaret, and we need others to support us, for this to happen it is good to be regularly part of the worshiping community on a Sunday morning and helpful to be part of a small group in the week. In these contexts we can spur each other on to live faithfully and to persevere in whatever this New Year has for us.

Phil Dixon