One of my own personal highlights from this year has been watching the Queen’s baton relay as it has made its way around the world, and then through many places in Scotland, on the way to its final journey to the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony that takes place today (Wednesday).
As it has been proudly carried by young and old, men and women, boys and girls, the baton has been a symbol of the events that are about to take place in our nation.
So many different countries will be represented and huge numbers of athletes will compete to the highest standard they can achieve.
Many years of training will have gone into their events, and even all the officials, coaches and volunteers have given their all during the preparation for this special event.
I hope and pray this will be a time when we can celebrate the successes of all our athletes and be as encouraged and excited as we were at London 2012, when the whole country seemed to be swept up in a time of pride and excitement.
St Paul spoke about a race he ran, saying “ I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself.”
This is the kind of race we all need to keep striving to win.
Life can be a daily challenge, whether it is financial, emotional, physical or spiritual.
Many of you will be having a testing time at the moment, others will be having a wonderful time.
Some of us will be finding their health a big concern, others will be feeling better than they have for a while.
Either way, we have a friend who will walk (or run) with us on that journey, he is called Jesus, and he journeys with us to ensure we have a guide and support whatever race we are running.
Any athlete will tell you there are times when they feel they cannot keep going. The race is too long, too difficult or too much to cope with.
If life feels like that for you, then take a moment to pray and to read God’s word. The Bible is full of advice, help and inspiration that will see you through whatever today might bring.
None of us are perfect; we make mistakes and can hurt others through our words and actions.
But Jesus is the one who can help you through that. Receiving his forgiveness is a very special gift that those who follow his teaching can receive.
As you watch the Commonwealth Games for the next few weeks, support the participants and know that, as you cheer for them, Jesus Christ is cheering for you, and will encourage you every step of the way.