Running to Win

No self-respecting athlete ever enters a competition just to say he was just there. I am not an Olympic athlete, not even close, but I know by the hours and years, the self-discipline of training, the restricting your diet to eat what will enable you to perform the best possible on the day of the race. One enters the race to win it.

It doesn’t matter what dirunning-and-lifting-1scipline you train for, be it a 100 meter sprint or the marathon, or something in between, the goal is to win the prize at the end of the day. The great tragedy is when a runner is eliminated by an error that was totally in his control to be able to change. Many Canadians will remember the year (1988) when Ben Johnson apparently won the Gold Medal in the 100 meter race. Tragically, it was discovered later that Ben was disqualified by something that was totally under his control to deny. No one forced him to take a drug stimulant to race faster, he had total freedom to take it or to say no to the temptation. The choice was his to make. Today, he lives with the consequences of his decision.

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Leading with Grace

 

Leading with grace is rare today. I have noticed that whenever there is a rebellion from within the ranks that it usually comes from those who don’t think the leader is doing it right. There is a questioning of the leaders right to lead that often accompanies this type of situation. We have an illustration of this type of attitude in Old Testament Israel after they leave Egypt and take steps to enter the land that God promised them. Instead of staying the course and humbly following the leadership of Moses, upon whom God had many times given His sign of approval, these people took it upon themselves to steal the leadership from Moses.

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Trudging Through

It happens every year to me. I am in year 6 of reading through the Bible and every year I am privileged to read through the Old Testament book of Leviticus. At times, to be honest,  I wonder, like I did the other morning, why do I have to read this stuff?  Anyone else want to make the same confession? At times, Moses does get very monotonous and repetitive as the Law of God for Old Testament saints is codified. Is there anything for us who live on the other side of the cross of Jesus Christ?

We are introduced to the laws of burnt offerings, the laws of the Sabbath, the laws of how to deal with leprosy, etc.  As we read through this material one thought stands out and is repeated,

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The Great Deception

 

design-1One of the great questions that people often struggle with is that of identity.  It is one of the three that people frequently ask: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

How important is the question of identity? The lack of finding significance, is one of the huge causes for the suicide rate that is growing by the day.  People are dissatisfied with the answers that are coming from the great halls of learning, answers from society itself and those that come from the religion of humanism.

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Planning to Win

“No one will ever know…”

“Who says you can’t…”

“You work hard, you deserve this…”

If you are like me, these thoughts go around in my head many, many times during the day.  These are the moments when a giant named “Temptation” comes and secretly whispers in my ear. 

How do we handle that giant when he comes to lure us away? One thing we can guarantee, he is coming.  He is out to deceive you into thinking that it is okay. After all, you are human and everyone does it. 

I am reading in these first days of the year through the book of Genesis.  We are introduced to Abraham and God’s promise to him and his sons to give them land and descendants to live in that land. As we witness the faithfulness of God in bringing that to pass, we are introduced to the character of these people. We learn who God blesses and how His presence goes with those who walk in humble obedience to His revelation. Through the grammatical device of repetition, we are taught that God’s presence goes with those who walk in integrity. 

We come to Genesis 39, and we read the phrase, “The Lord was with him…” I don’t know about you but I need His presence every single day! I need Him in my marriage, in my work, in my relationships with others, and especially I need Him in my intimate self talk/walk where nobody else is looking. Joseph knew he was such a man, too! In the face of daily temptation to do what seemed to be the natural thing to do, Joseph responded, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

Full stop! Think about what we just read! Here is a red blooded young man in the prime of his life miles and miles away from home, what would preventing him from sowing his wild oats with the boss’s wife? Only one thing…His relationship with God! When push came to shove, his relationship with God was way more important to him than a few fleeting seconds of pleasure.

When temptation comes knocking at your door what will prevent you from following it? By the way, it is not a matter of “if” it comes but “when!”  What do you value more than the fulfillment of sin’s desire?  Sin will come knocking so we must be ready to give the proper response.  If you and prepare our hearts with verses like Proverbs 2:7, “…he (the Lord) is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” Or, Proverbs 10:9, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his way crooked will be found out.” 

May the Lord help us to live in His victory and in His presence today.  He is our victory over sin’s deceptive voice. 

One More Time

nothing-new

It is about to happen, again! Every year it happens, time passes by and it seems that the same themes dominate our conversations and our lives. The same problems, the same habits cling to us like the proverbial barnacle on a rock. We can’t seem to break free.

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  How do we break the monotonous cycle that dominate us every year?

2017 can be a complete bust or a period of time in which we live in rapt expectation of what is going to happen next.  Continue reading

The Humility of Christmas

 

christmas-2-728We have some strange phrases in English that are often posted on bumper stickers or websites like: “The one with the most toys at the end wins.” “The survival of the fittest.” Or, how about this one: “My opinions are awesome”.  What these all have in common is that people tend to think that he, or she, is always right, always to strongest and always finishes on top. We train our children to stand up for themselves and not take any “guff” from anyone.

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