Training for the Most Important Race!

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24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! – 1 Cor. 9:24-27
 

If we enter the race, we should run the race expecting to win.  What would be the point in running if we didn’t try to win?  If we are going to be a true competitor, we must train faithfully every day. If we do that to run an earthly race and win a temporary reward, shouldn’t we be much more serious about our Spiritual race?  We must run our Spiritual race as if our lives depended on winning it because they do. If we are faithful in that race, we will get a crown that lasts forever. Every day is a battle and we must fight the battle with sincerity and purpose. We must bring our flesh under submission and follow after the Holy Spirit.  We must strive for holiness so that we are not disqualified and fail to win the prize.  

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.—Phil. 3:13​-14 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-23-2018

“The Steps of a Righteous Man…..”

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24 Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you. – 1 Cor. 7:24 NLT
 
God calls us right where we are. He will never ask us to do something He has not prepared us to do. If we know nothing about missionary work and have not been trained to do it, we won’t be leaving for the mission field the day after we are saved (at least, not with God’s blessing). Except to tell others that you are saved, you probably shouldn’t be preaching or teaching until you have become grounded in the Scriptures. Jesus had forty days in the desert and withstood great temptations before He started His work here on earth. If Jesus needed some training, we can rest assured that all of us do as well. We can also look at Paul’s experience for an example. After his conversion on the Damascus road, God sent him to the desert of Arabia for three years to be trained by the Holy Spirit. God paid a high price for each of us and He is not going to waste our time. He will send us when He knows we are ready to go, not when we think we are. So until He calls and/or sends, we should just stay where we are doing what we are doing and rest in the knowledge that our salvation and calling were not by accident or coincidence, but for a higher purpose.

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.—Ephesians 2:10 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-19-2018

Reigning Training

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24 Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest. – John 18:24 NLT

 

With His first answer to the high priest, Jesus receives a slap in the face from one of the temple officials. Thus begins the mockery that is called a trial. This type of questioning and cruel treatment would continue through the night. When the  Annas finished questioning Jesus, he bound Him and sent Him to Caiaphas the high priest.  Jesus never claimed to be anyone but who He was. He never wavered or changed His story. He understood and accepted the reason He was being mistreated. He is our example of how we should respond when we are mistreated for His name’s sake. No matter how we suffer, if we are called to suffer, Jesus has already been there and worse. He will be there to carry us through. We should remember what Paul wrote to Timothy:

11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.–2 Timothy 1:11,12 (NIV)

We too are appointed as heralds and teachers of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:​
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

–2 Timothy 2:11,12 (NIV)
We must be ready to die for Him now, if we expect to reign with Him in heaven.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-01-2017

Spiritual Milk

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Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment ​ — 1 Peter 2:2 NLT


Just as we needed our milk as physical babies, we need pure milk as spiritual babies. We need to become well grounded in the basics of Christianity so that we can stand against temptations to go back into the lifestyle that we lived as sinners. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus and we need to learn a new language and a new way of walking. Faith comes by hearing, so we need to hear the Word everyday. Just as our children learn to read by reading out loud to us, we need to practice reading a few verses out loud every day. Tell God every day that you love Him and want to be obedient to Him. Just as hungry babies cry out for their nourishment, there are times in our lives when we need to cry out to God for guidance from His Word. As we study, meditate, and grow, we will be able to take our place as building blocks in God’s body, the Church. We are his holy priests and should daily offer ourselves as living sacrifices that please God.


12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him–Romans 12:1 (NLT)

Once we have made progress on “the milk” of the Word, we can move on to solid food.


14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.–Hebrews 5:14 (NLT)


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 06-18-2017

Fully Equipped Warriors

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11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. — Ephesians 4:11 NLT

Christ has given 5 gifts to the church, these are known as the 5-fold ministry. They are not given to the leaders so they can do all the work. They are given to the church leaders so that they can equip the laypeople (that’s us) to do the witnessing, visiting, and serving. They build up God’s church by training and encouraging us. Learning to do these things is how we grow to maturity in Christ. When we are new Christians, we can be easily misled by those who are in authority, but as we learn, we should be able to “stand against the wiles of the devil”. One of his tricks is to use Christians to mislead others. Choose carefully those to whom you listen. There are sheep in wolves clothing trying to deceive the elect. Always cross check every message and lesson with the Bible. Don’t be swayed by charisma, charm or emotions. “Be rooted and grounded” and stand firm. As we mature, we become more like Jesus. Follow His example, speak the truth in love and lead others to Jesus.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-17-2017

Today Is The Day!

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 2 For God says,  “At just the right time, I heard you.

    On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

— 2 Corinthians 6:2

Why God chooses to use ordinary people to spread His Word is one of the mysteries of Christianity.  Throughout the Bible, we find God choosing shepherds and other common folk to deliver His message to the people.  He takes those people and puts them through His training program and makes great leaders of them.  Moses was born to an Israelite woman, raised in an Egyptian culture as a prince but had to become nothing before God could use Him.  He learned to trust God in the wilderness. Joseph spent years in prison being trained for his position as the second most powerful man in the world.  David was the youngest in the family of Jesse.  He was not even allowed to go to war with his brothers.  God used the years that David spent as a shepherd for His training.  Each of these men and many more spent time in God’s training program preparing for the “one day” when they would lead Israel back to God’s protection again. For that “day of salvation”.  He raised up women as well, there is Deborah, Esther, Ruth and Mary.  Each just common ordinary folk until God touched them and prepared them for that “one day of salvation”.  Which one of us ordinary folk has God chosen to be the next messenger of salvation?  Which of us is in training at this very moment to lead our nation back to God to experience that “day of salvation”?  Are you that person and is today that day?  Every Christian is that person and today is the day.

Post 09-14-2016

Charge!

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39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.
— Acts 2:39 NLT
 
 
The disciples had been through basic training and spent three years with Jesus.  They had peen patient, prayerful and persecuted and they had persevered through it all.  True, they had their moments of doubts and disappointments and had at one point run away and left Jesus all alone to face his killers.  But when the time was right, Jesus had brought them all back together and given them their final instructions before His departure. The first instruction was to “wait in Jerusalem”.  The basic training was over and they were about to go on their first missions without Him as their leader.  Up to now, the provisions and power had come through Jesus but He was no longer physically with them.  Now, the time had come for them to tap into the source of power through another person, the Holy Spirit.  A person just as much as Jesus, in fact, the same person but not in human form.  Jesus was God in visible human form.  The Holy Spirit is the new heart-sized version, just as powerful and able to be everywhere at once. 
The disciples now had the power and God would give them the provisions. The fight was on, the Commander had given the order– “Charge!” and the power started a great movement that is still alive today.  We are the “far away” mentioned in this verse.  It is up to us to be the hands and feet as the Holy Spirit carries on the battle.
Post 06-12-2016