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.”

Advertisements

The Risk Takers Creed…

James 2:17 “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, it is dead.”

The Risk Takers Creed…

  • To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
  • To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
  • To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
  • To expose feeling is to risk exposing your true self.
  • To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd, is to risk their loss.
  • To love is to risk not being loved in return.
  • To live is to risk dying.
  • To hope is to risk despair.
  • To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. He or she may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he/she simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love… live.

Chained by his or her attitudes, he or she is a slave, He or she forfeited freedom, and only a person who risks is free!!!

So how about taking a risk today?

Romans 12:1-2 ” I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Choose you this Day…

Joshua 24:15a “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day
whom you will serve; …”

Choose you this Day! 

Questions and comments, we hear daily from others and sometimes from within.

How can I achieve a higher salary?
How do I increase my 401K?

How can I get that perfect body?
Can I achieve the status of being a millionaire?

Why is this happening to me? I deserve more…
How do I get that really fancy new car?
Why can’t I have a new 4,000 sq. ft home in the secluded woods on 30 acres next to my own lake?
When should I sell and when should I buy?
Is life really all about possessions and self?
So what are my goals in life for me and for my family?

Choose you this day as to whom you will serve…! God does remind us what items have eternal significance.

Mat 6:19-21,24 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in & steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in & steal. FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO. NO ONE CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

How about some questions pleasing to God?

What must I do to be saved?
How can I help someone who is struggling today?
How can I help someone to see Jesus today?

Lord, thank you for this difficulty I am going through for you to teach me that trials bring spiritual growth!
Lord, what would You have me to do for your glory?????

Our example for setting life priorities is Jesus.

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.”

Having nice things in and of itself is not wrong. Letting things or money be your controlling focus can only cause heartache in the long run and is out of line with God’s will for our lives. Letting God’s priorities be your focus provides peace and contentment that our world cannot understand.

Phil 4:6, 7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

So, where are your priorities this morning?

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Just put your community in place of the Amorites. It’s real and applies to you and me!

The choice on whom and what I will serve is up to me. So…………….

Mat 6:33, 34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Have a great day in service of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus!!!

Fortunately, God made me this way…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to
them that love God, to them who are the called according
to his purpose.

Fortunately, God made me this way…

All things in the life of ‘born again’ believers who are called to serve Jesus truly work together!

Gladys Aylward as a child thought she was not good enough.
During the 1920s, she had heard about the great spiritual need of China,
and she sensed God’s strong call on her life to go there. But she was
only a small chambermaid.

When she applied to China Inland Mission in London, they rejected her
because she wasn’t educated enough and was probably too old to learn the
language. Gladys Aylward through much prayer decided otherwise and made
it to China.

She made such a difference there that a number of books have been
written about her life. Hollywood even based a major movie on her life,
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness with an Academy Award-winning actress
portraying her.

In her later years, as she told her story to audiences in many
places, they were surprised to hear the commanding speech coming from
this very tiny lady who had to stand on a box to be seen over the
pulpit. She told them: “As I was growing up, I had two great sorrows.

First, as my friends kept getting taller, I stopped growing.
Secondly, as my friends grew beautiful blonde curly hair, mine was
straight black. Then I went to China. As I looked over the people to
whom Jehovah God had sent me, I said to myself, ‘These people have hair
as black and straight as mine … and they stopped growing when I did.’
I bowed my head and I said, ‘Lord God, you know what you were doing!”
Yes, He does.

Much to her surprise, and much to everyone’s surprise, little
Gladys Aylward had been equipped by God with everything she needed to
carry out His plan for her life. And so, have we if Jesus is our Savior.
We know that because of Ephesians 2:10, “We are God’s workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance
for us to do.”

Do you ever find yourself thinking that you don’t have what
others have? And thinking that because you do not have what others have
you cannot serve Jesus? You need to stop this line of thinking
immediately! All that is needed for carrying out God’s mission is you
and a willing heart. He will provide the rest. Do not ask, “Who am I,
Lord”, but ask “What would you have me to do, Lord”?

Philip. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Service starts with obedience and not skill! In fact, our
inability could be our greatest asset. It causes us to lean not upon our
own understanding and skills but to rely on His grace and sufficiency.

2 Cor. 12:9 “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.”

Understanding God’d Will for your life…

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

Understanding God’s Will for your life

Do you know the difference between God’s perfect will and His permissive will. If you are like me the answer is, well kind of. The big question is, which one do you desire to have fulfilled in your life. Inside of us is that daily struggle between the flesh and the Spirit. The flesh thinks it knows what is best for my life and my emotions typically agree with my flesh. That is a huge caution to me when it comes to identifying just what is God’s will for my life. God reminds me that His ways and thoughts are much higher than mine are and can be very different. That tells me that my logic and feelings are very inadequate for making decisions.

What God knows is best and what He desires for each of His children lines up with His perfect will. When I ask for my will to be done based on how I feel or what I perceive is best for me that drives me to pray for that result and that result only. And to feel that God has not answered my prayer if the answer is not yes. God loves us so much He may allow an answer to prayer that is not in His perfect will. That is called God’s permissive will. The big problem is that when we are out of line with God’s will the end result is always without exception bad for us. Even if it lines up with my desires.

The story of Balaam and Balak is a great example. Balak the King had a problem. He saw how God was blessing His people that He had just taken out of Egypt. That meant doom for many groups of people who were populating the promised land. Balak was scared. He was the King of one of those groups. He heard that Balaam was a man of God and God answered his prayers. So he sent a group to Balaam the Prophet to ask him to come with them and to curse the nation of Israel. Balaam went to God and God told him to not go with them and to not curse Israel. Pretty straight forward. But like us Balaam allowed some things to blind him of God’s will.

When Balak heard the news he sent a 2nd group now including many persons of higher positions to influence Balaam. Balaam went back to God with the same request. In Chapter 22 and 23 of Numbers we read the account. Take special note that God told Balaam he could go along with them which reflects His permissive will. He gave Balaam what he desired but it did not line up with His perfect will which was to not go. That one shakes me because it challenges me on how many times I have multiple requests for the same prayer request. Am I also trying to change God’s will from His perfect will to His permissive will? Listen to the danger is doing so.

It notes in Numbers 22 that God was angry. And we have the same God today that answered Balaam. Balak offered Balaam a great sum of money to do so. That’s where the flesh took off running. Balaam saw a great material blessing at his waiting. The Spirit nudged Balaam with the realization that to do so was out of line with God’s will. And so the struggle was on. Just what would he pray for. God’s perfect will and loose the material rewards and maybe even his life or would he ask God for His will to be done? Balaam by not accepting God’s perfect will almost lost his life. If you read about the next events it was only by God’s grace that Balaam lived. That story of his life shakes me. How many times do I not listen to God and only want to accept what I feel is best for me. And those requests may be leading to disaster!

We do have the perfect example of this struggle given to us by Jesus. The human side of Jesus did not want to go through the torture of the cross. Jesus being the only person to ever walk the earth and never sin also was the only person to walk this earth who never requested anything other than…..

Mat 26:42 “Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” ‘

How to get Real Strength…

Psalm 46:1a “God is our refuge and strength…”

Philip. 4:13 “I can do all things…”

How to get Real Strength…

Physically strong men and women work out every day to keep their bodies in shape… persons who desire spiritual strength kneel in prayer often…

Physically strong men and women are not afraid of anything… but those who are spiritually strong understand that the trying of our faith develops spiritual maturity and they show courage in the midst of fears…

Physically strong men and women don’t let anyone get the best of them… but those with
spiritual strength seek Gods glorification instead of their own and give the best of themselves to everyone…

Physically strong men and women make mistakes and attempt to avoid the same in the future… but men and women with spiritual strength realize life’s trials are God’s blessings and capitalize on them…

Physically strong men and women walk sure footedly… but men and woman with spiritual strength know that they were created by God, designed to glorify and commune with God and that they therefore should walk by God’s strength and not their own…

Physically strong men and women wear the look of confidence on their faces… but men and women with spiritual strength wear humility and grace on their faces…

Physically strong men and women have faith that they are strong enough for the journey… but men and woman with spiritual strength have faith that it is in the journey and life that seeks God’s kingdom above personal priorities that makes them strong …

The secret for the Spiritually Strong…

Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

Kids and Humor for your Day…

Proverbs 15:13 “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. “

Kids and Humor for your day….

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say ‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’

Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

Mat 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

+++++

A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore, where a seagull lay dead in the sand.

“Daddy, what happened to him?” the son asked.

“He died and went to Heaven,” the dad replied.

The boy thought a moment and then said,

“Did God throw him back down?”

+++++

After the church service a little boy told the pastor, “When I grow up, I’m going to give you some money.”

“Well, thank you,” the pastor replied, “but why?”

“Because my daddy says you’re one of the poorest preachers we’ve ever had.”

James 1:19 “Therefore my beloved brethren, let everyone be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

+++++

A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said,

“Would you like to say the blessing?”

“I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied.

“Just say what you hear Mommy say, “The wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said,

“Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?

+++++

At Sunday school they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings.

Little Johnny, a child in the kindergarten class, seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying as though he were ill, and said. “Johnny what is the matter?”

Little Johnny responded, “I have a pain in my side. I think I’m going to have a wife. ”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Sunday school teacher was carefully explaining the story of Elijah the Prophet and the false prophets of Baal. She explained how Elijah built the altar, put wood upon it, cut the steer in pieces and laid it upon the altar. And then Elijah commanded the people of God to fill four barrels of water and pour it over the altar. He had them do this four times.

“Now, said the teacher, “can anyone in the class tell me why the Lord would have Elijah pour water over the steer on the altar?”

A little girl in the back of the room raised her hand with great enthusiasm. “To make the gravy,”   came her enthusiastic reply.

Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. “