A Rabbitt on the Swim Team…

A Rabbit on the Swim Team

Once upon a time, the animals decided they should do something meaningful, so they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The rabbit started at the top of his class in running but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much make-up work in swimming.

The duck was excellent in swimming; in fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was so slow in running, he had to drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his web feet to be badly worn, so that he was only average in swimming. But average was quite acceptable, so nobody worried about that – except the duck.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He developed “charlie horses” from overexertion, and so only got a C in climbing and a D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was severely disciplined for being a non-conformist. In climbing classes, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there….

Each creature has its own set of capabilities in which it will naturally excel – unless it is expected or forced to fill a mold that doesn’t fit.

Each ‘born again’ believer this morning has a special task that our Savior has outlined just for each of us to do. Our purpose in life as Biblical Christians is to lift up Jesus name and never our own. Note, I said Biblical Christians because our worlds’ definition of a Christian is different than the Biblical one. Our world says if you have the name of Jesus in the religion you affiliate with than you are a Christian. Even if your religion adds works along with Jesus as your way to restoring the broken relationship with God that our sins broke.  Scripture proclaims that a real CHRISTian is one who is totally dependent on Jesus as the only way to restoring that broken relationship. No work, circumcision, baptism or church affiliation can be added to Jesus sacrifice for our sins.

Gal 2:16 & 21 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. …I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

And He has equipped us as CHRISTians to serve Him. We do not have to depend on our natural talents or level of education achieved to do so. I love it because it means I can serve my Savior. WOW, it cannot get any better than that. When Jesus left this world after having died for the sins of mankind He gave His Church the Holy Spirit, so we were not left to our own strengths which can never accomplish His will. And He gave us each at least one Spiritual Gift so that we each can serve Him while on this earth. The Spiritual Gift is not dependent on my natural abilities or level of education achieved from our world’s universities. Listen to some great verses telling us so.

I Cor 12:1 “Now about Spiritual Gifts I do not want you to be ignorant.’

 Romans 12:6a “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: “

 One of our fleshly tendencies is to focus on what others are doing and think we cannot serve Jesus unless we can do what they are doing. Or should I say unless they are doing as much as we are doing.

 John 21:21, 22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

The “Rest of the Story” as Paul Harvey used to say is;

Now let’s get going for Jesus by understanding His purpose and His empowerment for our lives!!! The above verses and comments on using our Spiritual Gifts only touch on them. They teach us how to understand them and recognize that Jesus’ desire for me is to use them. If you want additional info on this important topic drop me a line and I will send you some.

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Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats…

Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Reaching the masses by Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats…

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most short-sighted can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, some Churches have gradually toned down their testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then they have complacency in their borders. Now they have adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? “Go you into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” That is clear enough. So it would have been if he had added, “and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.” No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to him . . . .

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his
apostles. What was the attitude of the Church to the world? “Ye are the salt,” not the sugar candy — something the world will spit out, not swallow . . . . I do not hear [Jesus] say, “Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it.

Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!” Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them. In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of the gospel of amusement . . . .

Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to affect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the Church met them half-way, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard, to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt that it sets men on fire.

by C.H. Spurgeon

Be careful not to allow you and your family fall into this trap. Seek out God’s truths and understand that He loves us and sacrificed His only Son for us. In turn He desires our eternal fellowship if we will but place our faith in Him. The Bride of Christ, the Church, was not designed as an entertainment center. It was designed to equip believers to go into the world and make disciples!

 Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Are you standing on Holy Ground…

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh
to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Are you Standing on Holy Ground?

Your attitude reflects your respect, reverence and fear of our God. Or the lack of it. How or what is you view of God this morning?

The most powerless position for you is lying flat on your face. It makes you weak, vulnerable and unable to do anything about the situation. But it is also, in the strange ways of God, the most powerful position on earth. In the following example and in our lives it can reflect our attitude. Joshua gives us an example of that.

Joshua (Joshua 5:13) is up against maybe the most intimidating, potentially fearful situation of his life. To date he has bravely led God’s people into Canaan, only to be confronted with the massive walled city of Jericho, looming before God’s people as a seemingly impossible obstacle between them and the land that God has promised. As their commanding general, Joshua has gone to scout out his Mission Impossible.

Scripture tells us: “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ ‘Neither,’ he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence (There it is. That’s that position of total powerlessness.) and (he) asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.”

Many Bible scholars believe that this Commander of the Lord’s forces is actually the Son of God making one of several pre-Bethlehem appearances in Old Testament times. No angel would have accepted worship, and Joshua calls him “my Lord.” Rightfully if it is Jesus, Joshua falls on the ground, face down. Joshua was very competent, very successful, very skilled; a man and a leader of an army who had never surrendered to anybody. But this day he surrenders, and that is going to be the secret of winning. From this moment of total surrender of his will and life, of total powerlessness before the Lord comes God’s unusual plan for conquering Jericho. But before there could be the conquest of Jericho, there had to be the conquest of Joshua.

And before there can be the conquest of the Jericho that looms before you right now in your life, there must be the conquest of you. God allows things into our life that will bring us to the end of ourselves where all your experience, and your talent, your wisdom, your connections, and your persuasion are useless in getting an answer. At that point you will turn to someone and hopefully it is not to self or worldly wisdom but to God. God has brought you to this moment of total helplessness, not so you would give up, but so you would give over the controls to Him totally, unconditionally. There is no condition God can do more with than our admission of powerlessness. Now you’re out of the way finally, and now you can see what Almighty God can do!

Where do you turn when you are standing facing the walls of a Jericho in your life that you can’t possibly conquer? That is the perfect time for your unconditional surrender to your Lord. Admit your powerlessness. Often it is the breaking of a man or woman that is the making of a man. And believe it or not on your knees or on your face is actually a great place to be;

Listen to what God told Paul when he asked to have a thorn in his flesh removed by God;

 2 Cor. 12:7-9 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

God’s will for your Life…

II Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ…”

 God’s will for your Life….

A new Christian was walking with a more mature friend in a garden one
day and feeling a bit insecure about God’s will for his life, he inquired what
he should do.  His friend walked up to a rosebush, handed him a rosebud,
and told him to open it without tearing off any petals.

The new Christian looked in disbelief at his friend and tried to figure out
what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the
WILL OF GOD for his life But because of his high respect for his friend
proceeded to TRY to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact…It
wasn’t long before he realized how impossible it was to do so.

Noticing the younger Christian’s inability to unfold the rosebud while
keeping it intact, his friend began to recite the following poem…

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of GOD’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.

The secret of unfolding flowers
is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so sweetly,
when in my hands they fade and die.

If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of GOD’s design,
Then how can I think I have wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?

So I’ll trust in Him for His leading
each moment of every day.
I will look to him for His guidance
each step of the pilgrim way.

The pathway that lies before me,
only my Heavenly Father knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments, just as He unfolds the rose.

How strong is your faith this morning????????? I know mine is being
developed daily by my Savior, Jesus. Good thing, for by myself I would
fail miserably.

II Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our
Lord Jesus Christ to Him be the glory both now and forever, amen.”

The Road to Success…

Hebrews 12:2a “Looking unto Jesus…”

The Road to Success

The road to success is not Straight.
There is a curve called Failure.

A loop called Confusion,
Speed bumps called Friends,

Red lights called Enemies,
Caution lights called Family,

You will have flats along the way,

But, if you have a spare called Determination,
An engine called Perseverance,
Insurance called Faith,
A driver called Jesus,
You will make it to a place called Success!

In spite of our unworthiness

Romans 3:10 “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the Author and finisher of our faith who for the
joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set
down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Ecc 12:13, 14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

A Person may go to Heaven without…

A Person may go to Heaven without……

  • Without health,
  • Without wealth;
  • Without fame,
  • Without a great name;
  • Without learning,
  • Without earnings;
  • Without culture,
  • Without beauty;
  • Without friends and without ten thousand other things—–
  • But he can NEVER go to Heaven without Christ.

Sadly many Churches teach that salvation is through a series of works and by affiliation with their church or they teach you get there by Jesus plus works. Don’t you find it interesting that there are no denominations noted in scripture? But in God’s word to us the Bible it is crystal clear what is the way to heaven and anything added to Jesus alone being the only way is not the Gospel of the one and only true God.

The first question this morning for you is, do you know what the church you are attending teaches about how to get to heaven?

Here is what Jesus teaches;

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, except a man be born again he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

Titus 3:4,5 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, NOT BY WORKS of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

Eph 2:8,9 “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone would boast.”

 

Yes, it is a very narrow view and our world will see you as …….but if it is God’s truth then it can never be wrong and will never change! Don’t be found to be like…..

 

Mat 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘In ever knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

 

John 6:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he hath sent.”

Finishing the Spiritual Race…

II Tim 4:6-8 ” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I
have kept the faith…”

Finishing the Spiritual Race…

The year is 1968 and the Mexico City Olympics – a few thousand
spectators were in the stadium as the last of the marathon runners were
carried off in exhaustion to the first-aid stations. More than an hour
earlier an Ethiopian runner had been the first to cross the finish line
in this grueling 26-mile event. As the remaining spectators prepared to
leave, they were stopped by the sound of sirens going off and policemen
blowing whistles. There, entering the stadium came a lone figure
wearing the colors of Tanzania – his name was John Akhwari. He was the
last man to finish the marathon.

His leg was bloodied and bandaged, and he grimaced with each
step. He had severely injured his knee in a fall, but painfully, he
hobbled around the 400-meter track. The spectators who were still there
were moved to get to their feet and applauded as if he were the winner.
After he crossed the finish line in excruciating pain, he was asked why
he hadn’t quit when he had no chance of winning a medal. His answer:
“My country did not send me 7,000 miles away to start the race. They
sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.”

How do you feel about your purpose in life?

Is it to perform God’s will and finish the race He designed for you?

Will you be able to say, “I finished the race”?

Run with everything you’ve got, not halfheartedly. Remember, He gave
everything He had in His race to rescue you – and even though He was
beaten and bloody, Jesus didn’t quit.

Run the whole race… – He’ll be waiting to embrace you as you cross
that finish line for Him.

II Tim 4:6-8 ” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I
have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on
that day, and not to me only but also to all those who loved His
appearing.”