Are You Running a Good Race?

God moves mountains to create the opportunity of His choosing. It is up to us to be ready to move ourselves.

Denis Waitley, the motivational speaker said, “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”

Our Christian lives can benefit from adopting this statement! As Christians we can do what we have always done or we can accept the responsibility to do more for God!

If your life is not what you think God wants it to be don’t try to figure out what you can do to please Him! Ask Him, Lord, what would you have me do with my life!
How can you use me to make your kingdom better!

And don’t think about why you can’t …I don’t have money or time! Let God work it out! If you are in God’s will, He will work out all the little hindrances!

Now we need to realize going in that being on God’s path doesn’t mean our life will be free from pain and sickness. But it will be great for God!

Did you ever stop to wonder why Jesus told His disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the Lake? He knew there would be a storm and he sent them that way any way!

Luke 8:22-25 22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. 23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

Could it be Jesus was teaching them to depend on Him?

Could it be that He is trying to teach us that same lesson!

A lady once told Dwight L Moody that she only went to God for the Big things in life she didn’t bother Him with the small things. And Rev Moody said to her “All things are small to God!”

God wants us to depend on Him no matter what the circumstances.

Do any of you out there have a GPS in your car? A Global Positioning Satellite receiver? My brother has one. They are pretty cool. You tell it where you want to go and it gives you the directions. A voice speaks to you and tells you at the stop sign make a left. But you know if you go straight it doesn’t tell you NO NO NO go back, sirens don’t go off, the car engine doesn’t lock up. It simply reroutes the directions.

So it is with God’s plan for our life! He gives us freewill! He doesn’t reach out and grab us and say no go this way He lets us go our way and then reroutes what our path should be! But it will never be as good as what we could have had!

Now theoretically the GPS gives you the best directions from point A to Point B. Now you have a new set of directions. They will still get you there, but not by the same path.

When we are traveling most of the time we just want to get from Point A to point B as quickly as possible. It doesn’t matter what is in between!

But in life it is about the path!

We learn at an early age to set goals! You start 1st grade and you finish…you feel an accomplishment! You graduate High School or College, you get that job you have been wanting! You’ve reached a goal!

But our goals for our Christian life are very different

Paul called life a race! But it wasn’t a race to see how fast he could get through it, it was a race to see how much he could accomplish for God before Jesus came back or Paul’s life on earth ended!

Acts 20:24 24…I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

1 Corinthians 9:23-24 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

And in Philippians 3:14 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Ask yourself “Am I working for God with that kind of fervor and excitement!” Am I telling everyone what is waiting for me at the end of my life! Am I trying to persuade everyone that Jesus is the only way!

1 Corinthians 9:25 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Are you in training?

When the Church at Galatia was being inundated by false prophets telling them something different than what Paul had said

Paul told them in Galatians 5:7 7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?

Ever think about it that way? You are going along just fine and then something cuts in front of you and you are off the path very quickly!

Just like the GPS directions the line is not straight! It curves and twists, but God has our best path laid out before us!

So how do we find this? You find it through prayer! The Bible says pray w/o ceasing! When you get up in the morning open your prayer! As you go through your day talk to God…He is always there! Make Him your best friend! At night when you go to bed…close your prayer thanking God for what he has done for you!

Prayer causes God’s perfect will to be accomplished here upon the earth.

Prayer is simply talking to God. It is Communication with God;

A failure to communicate with God leads to a lack of understanding of God.

A failure to pray to God leads to a lack of understanding of God.

Prayer is intended to bring results. God NEVER designed prayer to NOT GET RESULTS.

James 5:13 13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.

There will be difficulties as you follow your path, but the answer to defeat a hardship, a test, or a trial in life is prayer.

Prayer equips us with the necessary wisdom, strength, and power needed to overcome the affliction, the hardship, the test, or temptation so that we can travel the path God has for us!

Matthew 26:36-39 - 36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Jesus was in a hardship, He was in a test, He was being tempted not to do the will of God or obey God’s word. Jesus was being tempted not to complete his assignment here upon the earth. Tempted to not follow the path that God had laid out for Him!

But, prayer equipped Jesus with the strength and the power necessary to endure the cross. Prayer equipped Jesus with the strength and the power necessary to complete His assignment. Prayer equipped Jesus with the strength and the power necessary to follow the path God had laid out for Him!

And, so likewise, prayer will equip us with the necessary strength, power, wisdom, and insight needed to complete our assignment in life. Prayer will equip us with the necessary strength, power, wisdom, and insight needed to follow the path that God has laid out before us!

Prayer is essential to knowing and fulfilling your purpose in life.

Remember, too, that prayer is designed to get results!

When Paul was in prison he told the Philippians

Philippians in 1:12-14 12Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.

He is in prison!

13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

Paul was chained to a guard 24/7!

14Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Philippians 1:18b-19 18b …I will continue to rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
What are you willing to do for God?

James 1:2-5 - 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The brook would lose its song if we removed the rocks.....anonymous

5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

What is the answer to a lack of wisdom? Prayer – asking God. Prayer, connects me to receiving from Him.

Jesus said in John 14:12-14 - 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

This is results in prayer!

And, when you pray, you ought to expect results. Never pray just to be praying, but pray expecting something to happen, expecting something to change, expecting answers to your questions, expecting the wisdom of God to be released on your behalf.

And then, just as you listen to the voice on that GPS telling you which way to turn…Listen for God’s direction, be quiet and listen for that still small voice!

If I type in where I want to go on my GPS and then turn it off…I get no direction!

If I call someone on the phone, ask them a question and hang up I never get to know what they think!
So it is with God! Cut out the noise, find some quiet time, and listen for God’s direction!

Follow the path that God has for you, run the race with all perseverance so when your life is over and you meet Jesus He can say, “well done my good and faithful servant!”

Be able to say, like Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:7 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Make this Scripture from Hebrews your own!

Hebrews 12:1-2 1 …let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…

If you don’t know this Jesus I have been talking about this morning let me introduce Him to you! Ask Him right now to enter your heart! And when we sing in a few moments come down front and let me pray with you or see me later and we will pray!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your Son! Forgive us of our sins! Help us to run a race that would make you proud! Help us learn to be better pray-ers! Teach us how to listen for your voice and guide us along the path that you have laid out for us! Make us ever aware of your presence. In Jesus name Amen.

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Sue Austin, Internet Consultant