Finish The Race!

It is quite obvious that anyone who runs in a race does so to finish the race. One will never win without finishing. Don't be disappointed in losing if you didn't finish the race. You must finish to win. A youth minister preached years back that "A champion is one who never quits!" In other words, you will never become a champion if you drop out or give up. This particular truth I have never forgotten.

Sometimes winning is finishing. For example when running a marathon most people are pleased just to finish. To them it is an extreme victory. Our walk with Jesus is very similar. We are all in the race to run and to win. But the way we win is to finish. The winners are those who don't quit; those who don't give up. The winners are the ones who finish, and finish strong. When it is over they will have crossed the finish line to receive THE prize.

Your enemy the devil knows that you are in a race. You are in a race to reach the finish line. To finish strong is to fulfill your destiny in Christ. The enemy's greatest ploy is to get you to quit before you cross the finish line, and thus leave your destiny unfulfilled. He does not want to see you in the winners circle, or wearing the victor's crown.

Now please listen to this. God never said the race would be a picnic. He never said it would be a breeze. As a matter of fact, Paul not only refers to this walk as a race but he also refers to it as a fight. He commands Timothy his son in the Lord to "fight the good fight". (1 Timothy 1:18) He tells him again in 1 Timothy 6:12 to "Fight the good fight of faith." Then in 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul says, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith..." This walk is a race and it is a fight. We must run to the finish line and fight to the finish!

It is inevitable as Christians (who are still human) that we will stumble and fall at times during the race. We will get knocked down sometimes in the fight. We will struggle with attitudes and temptations we know are outright wrong. When we do fall what do we do? Do we quit? Will God kick us out of the race? Are we disqualified?

First of all, know that stumbling, falling, and outright sinning will not disqualify you and me from the race. This is contrary to popular opinion. Many folks give up because they assume God is mad at them (for manifesting some humanity) and has disqualified them from the race. On the contrary. God says, "Get up my child! Get back in the race! Continue the fight!" When you and I stumble God is cheering us on to get back up and continue more than anyone else. Your biggest Cheerleader is God! 

Remember: It is the grace of God that gets you into the Kingdom and my friend, it is His grace that keeps you there. By the very same token, it is God's grace that gets us into the race, and it is His grace that keeps us qualified to continue on even when we fall! Please understand that.

Keep running. Keep fighting. Keep moving forward. Don't quit! Don't look back at what you did. Look ahead to the finish line. Know who you will see? Jesus! He has already won the race and won the fight for you! He is cheering you on! All you have to do to join Him is finish...but finish strong!


370133: Finish the Race Cap Finish the Race Cap
By Swanson, Inc.

Race car theme baseball style cap with checkered pattern, embroidered graphicsFinish the Race; hook and loop back closure is embroidered with Scripture referenceII Tim. 4:7







29545EB: Eric Liddell: Finish the Race - eBook Eric Liddell: Finish the Race - eBook
By John Keddie / CF4K

Learn about the amazing life of Eric Liddell, the "Flying Scot", with this Trailblazers biography. Written for children 8-14, kids will learn about Liddell's early years as a missionary's child in China, his Olympic running years, and finally his final years in a Prisoner of War camp in China.

Christmas Day, The Next Victim Of Commercial Greed

Christmas day is next! No I don't mean the next holiday. I mean Christmas Day will be the next holiday to fall to the greed of commercialism. (I didn't say the Christmas season, I said Christmas Day.)

To make one more dollar, stores will begin to remain open...yes even on Christmas Day. Like Thanksgiving Day, the priority of the "bottom line" will rise far above the true meaning of the day, and Christmas Day will become the ultimate feeding frenzy for compulsive shoppers and money-hungry corporate executives. Even now, commemorating the birth of Jesus, Savior of the world has a far lower priority than celebrating the giving and getting of the perfect Christmas gift.

Back to Thanksgiving Day, I remember a time when the day was a real family holiday. Businesses were closed. Families would get together simply to be together. Some would even acknowledge their complete and utter dependence on God by offering thanks to Him for who He is and what He has done. I commend those of you who still do.

As one who worked in retail for a national chain of stores I dreaded Thanksgiving Day. In order to survive the day after Thanksgiving, better known as Black Friday I would have to shorten my Thanksgiving considerably. That same chain as well as many others began opening on Thanksgiving evening and remain open until the end of Black Friday. By the way, I am no longer with this particular chain of stores. Christmas Day is next. There will no longer be any "last minute shopping". You can always shop. Why wait till the last minute when you can do all of your shopping on Christmas Day!

I hereby, right now issue you this challenge. Take back your Thanksgiving Day! Make the giving of thanks to Jesus its only priority. Protect Christmas Day! Don't give it up to commercialism and the thrill of fighting for a few dollars off! It's up to you! It is the consumer that sets the pace. The retailer simply tosses out the morsel. If you gobble up the morsel, the retailer throws more. If you don't, the retailer goes back to the drawing board. The bottom line is that they respond to you!

Don't let commercialism destroy your Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day! Make your home a place of refuge. Return to their true meanings. Be different. Be a light to those who need the light. Jesus said you are a lamp high on the lamp stand for all to see His love. He also said you are a city set high upon a hill, again for all to see His love. What better time to raise Him up than right here at Thanksgiving and through the entire Christmas holiday season.


567909: The Purpose of Christmas The Purpose of Christmas
By Rick Warren

Relevancy or Anointing?

I am a firm advocate of "relevancy" when it comes to church and ministry. In order for our ministry to be the most effective, there must be a keen sense of relevancy to those we desire to target. Relevancy is a crucial tool in hitting the target we set.

However, relevancy can never replace the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. In so many cases God's precious and powerful Spirit is relegated to the position of a hopeful bi-product of relevancy. What I mean is, if our methods are the newest, latest, and of course what other successful churches are doing...then...that must be what God is doing. That must be the Spirit, right?

Relevancy is often mistaken for the presence and power of God's Spirit. "If it's working for them, it must be God. So let us do it." The problem with this is God may want to do something totally different at your church or ministry! And to know what this is, church leadership must be the first ones to get before God and seek Him earnestly! Don't observe the fruit of another's prayers and assume that's exactly what God has in store for you! Seek Him. Hear from Him.

The effort to get the "unchurched" into the local house of God is a noble one. But being relevant to them without the presence of the Spirit doesn't mean they will stay, let alone their lives changed. There may be a good show, with the best of talent...even professional. But again, people will never be changed in the absence of the Holy Spirit. When folks are genuinely touched by God's Spirit, and genuinely changed...they will come back. They will also bring others. The relevancy of the Holy Spirit cannot be manufactured or duplicated. He simply must be there!

My Post is not to criticize churches and ministries who are cutting-edge in their methods. You must be relevant. Our methods can be up-to-date in order to connect with people. But our methods and procedures, cutting-edge or not, must be born of the Holy Spirit. And He must be there. No one can be more relevant that the Holy Spirit. He knows everything about us. He knows our hearts. We need to get that! Without His presence there really is no relevancy. We need His presence - not in name alone - but in presence and power! Relevancy without the presence of the Spirit will eventually turn to stale religious tradition. 

If your church is "trying something new" every year or so, the truth is the church leadership is not praying and needs to. Changing to something new is not bad. But when the Spirit brings about the change, lives are changed. That's the fruit of Holy Spirit relevancy!

In my humble opinion relevancy is far less important that His presence. It's a lot easier too! Therefore God's Spirit is more than enough.


LIFE'S ULTIMATE PRIVILEGE


This book unlocks a glorious new perspective-- and God glorifying perspective that can give life full meaning and enlarge one's narrow universe a per-spective that will surely strengthen and sustain the human spirit for real fruitfulness even amid adversity.

Keyword..."Different"

Throughout this post I will use the word "different" a many times. Please understand, I don't mean "better than" when I use the word. As a matter of fact dictionary.com gives these definitions for the word "different": not alike in character or quality; differing; dissimilar; not identical; separate or distinct. To be different is not "to be better than", just different. But different is what any follower of Christ is.

First of all, the Bible says we become new. That's different. We're taken out of darkness into His light. There it is again...different. We're born again...different. We're forgiven. BIG DIFFERENT! We're still in this world...but no longer are we "of" this world. Different. We are ambassadors for Jesus in the midst of this world. Different. We are to love our enemies and love people who hate us...different. I could ride this pony for a long, long time. But as you can see, the keyword is "different".

If you are a serious and genuine follower of Jesus your standards are...let me say it again...different. You are not any better than a "non-Christian"...but you are different. Your desire now is to please God. And your conscience is infused with the uncanny ability to feel the heart of God. This makes you different. Your standards are different.

The way you act is different. The way you talk is different. The way you think is different. Does that make you better than anyone? Absolutely not. But you are different, and your standards are different. To be a Jesus follower and not be different is to not really be a Jesus follower.

The world is actually craving a generation that will live by different standards...the standards of God. How can people be drawn to the same standards? But God's standards are different. God's standards are the highest standards. To live by God's standards will make one distinctly different. So...as a follower of Jesus Christ let me ask you...are your standards different?


885536: How People Change How People Change
By Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp / New Growth Press

A changed heart is the bright promise of the gospel. When the Bible talks about the gift of a new heart, it doesn't mean a heart that is immediately perfected, but a heart that is capable of being changed. Jesus' work on the cross targets our hearts---our core desires and motivations---and when our hearts change, our behavior changes. It's amazing to watch people who once seemed stuck in a pattern of words, choices, and behaviors start living in a new way as Christ changes their hearts.