Keep On Running…

“You were running well; who (or what) hindered you that you no longer obey the truth” (Galatians 5:7).

The interference here is that someone who had been zealously following the Lord – running the Christian race – is now side-lined, no longer running. It is a well-known fact that there are more starters than finishers in life. Jesus said, “Many are called but few are chosen.”

Determine that you are going to stay in the race. Make up your mind that you are going to cross the finish line and receive the reward that comes to those who endure to the end. There are many hindrances along the pathway of Life. There are enemies which work diligently to take you out of the running. There are rough stretches in the road. There are long dry seasons when it seems that heaven is silent. There are periods when you battle boredom, discouragement, and frustration.

That’s why you must run with resolve. God’s word can sustain and strengthen you. God’s promises are sure. You are not running alone. Victory comes to all who endure by faith. There is a reward for the righteous believer who presses toward the goal.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

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Persevering in Faith…

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

Joseph never stopped believing God. He didn’t know how to quit. He was sustained by the Word and by a God-given vision.

Detours didn’t stop him. The road from the pasture to the palace was a long one. It was a perilous journey but by faith Joseph finished his course. At the end of the road, Joseph was able to look back and say, “God led me every step of the way. Even when the direction didn’t make sense to me, God was in control. His goodness sustained me.”

Disappointments didn’t stop him. Have you ever been disappointed in someone? Have you ever been disappointed over the way someone treated you? Joseph’s brothers threw him in a pit and then later sold him into slavery. Joseph’s disappointment could have plunged him into discouragement and eventually despair, but faith sustained him. He got better not bitter.

Delays didn’t stop him. When the chief butler forgot to tell Pharaoh about his supernatural ability to interpret visions and dreams, Joseph served another two years in prison. That setback didn’t rob him of faith. He grew stronger. Delays are difficult. Maybe you are discouraged today because you have waited a long time for a promise to be fulfilled, for a need to be met. Perhaps you have been walking through the “valley of the shadow of debt.” It’s easy to get discouraged in that valley, but don’t do it. Listen to Joseph. He has something to say to you.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

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These Things

“What shall we then say to these things?” (Romans 8:31)
What things? “…tribulation, distress, persecution, lack, peril, etc…” (Romans 8:35).

“If God be for us, who can be against us? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:31b and 37).

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

Paul had an immovable, unshakable, faith. Pressure and struggle didn’t stop him because he knew that the moment we get anything from the Lord worth contending for, the powers of darkness will attack and endeavor to steal it from us. At those moments, we need to stand strong in grace and faith and say with Paul “none of these things move me.” When spiritual enemies engage us at the threshold of spiritual progress, let us welcome the battle and proclaim blessing and victory. Power is developed by resistance. It takes friction to produce electricity. Tribulation can be the pathway to triumph. Success comes to those who persevere under pressure.

The low road of Christianity is the negative way of doubt and fear. The high road is the positive path of faith and courage. The Christian who, in the midst of struggle and trial, keeps his head, holds on to his faith, and stays his course through the storm, is destined to win. Faith will transform the raging sea which threatens to overcome into a friend which carries the believer forward to greater blessing. The winds of adversity which once hindered spiritual progress, will be transformed into the winds of victory which carry the believer to new heights of faith. Some Christians lower the lifeboats and jump ship at the slightest hint of a storm. Others panic and act as if a small storm were a hurricane. This “making a mountain out of a molehill” mentality will always lead to frustration, weakness and defeat. It is the Christian who traverses the troubled sea with grace and faith in his heart and God’s word in his mouth who triumphs. He will be stronger and better for having made the journey.

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors….”

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Hope

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).

Hope is a feeling that what is wanted will someday happen. It is desire accompanied by expectation. Despair is the opposite of hope. We are all tempted to despair from time to time, but God’s word offers us hope.

Hope is what enables us to wait patiently for the fulfillment of God’s promises.

“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:25).
(Romans 4:17-21; Psalm 27:13-14; Psalm 119:114, 147)

Hope enables us to praise God while we wait. “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”
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The Only Way to Win

It takes a little courage
And a little self-control,
And some grim determination,
If you want to reach your goal.
It takes a deal of striving
And a firm and stern-set chin,
No matter what the battle,
If you really want to win.

There’s no easy path to glory,
There’s no rosy road to fame.
Life, however we may view it
Is no simple parlour game;
But its prizes call for fighting,
For endurance and for grit;
For a rugged disposition
And a don’t-know-when-to-quit.

You must take a blow or give one,
You must risk and you must lose,
And expect that in the struggle
You will suffer from the bruise.
But you must not wince or falter
If a fight you once begin;
Be a man and face the battle
That’s the only way to win.

Thought for the Week

“Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.”
Verse for the Week

“Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

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Fill My Cup Lord

“If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37).

Don’t be satisfied with a drop here and there — drink deep of the water of life. Be a Christian who bubbles over with life. “But the water that I shall give him shall be in him a fountain of water springing into everlasting life” (John 4:14). “He that believeth on me…out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).

You can be filled. God wants to fill your cup. But don’t be satisfied with a little. When you get filled pray for greater capacity, so that you may have more.

Some Christians have awful small cups; and some of them are only half full; and others just have a few drops in the bottom.

A little cup of water won’t satisfy a thirsty soul. Pray for greater capacity. Go find a bigger cup. And then don’t be satisfied til you can say, “My cup runneth over.”

“For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Isaiah 44:3).

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When You Get to the End of Yourself

When you get to the end of yourself you step out — not into darkness and the void — but into the strong arms of God.

When we cannot understand, we can trust. When we cannot see, we can walk by faith.

Life goes on and we go on — sustained by the presence of God.

So I go on, not knowing —
I would not, if I might —
I would rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I would rather walk with Him by faith
Than walk alone by sight.

— Mary Brainard
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Reduced to be Enlarged

“And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds” (Acts 7:22).

“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent…, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue'” (Exodus 4:10).

What happened to Moses between the palace and pasture? He experienced a process of reduction. The big, self-confident general had become small in his own sight. The man once “mighty in words” now said to God, “I am slow of speech.”

Moses had lost his aggression, his ambition, his confidence, his drive to succeed, his strength. By human standards he was a real mess. But he was right where God wanted him.

The dealings and discipline of God had prepared Moses for a great risk by bringing him to the end of his own strength. Moses would no longer be self-confident; he would depend on God alone. He would no longer operate in his own strength; he would move in God’s supernatural power. He would no longer be arrogant and impulsive; he would be humble and patient.

Modern faith theology doesn’t like to visit the little Moses we see in Exodus 3 and 4. It prefers the Mighty Moses we read about in the “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11. But the truth is, before Moses could be Israel’s deliverer he had to endure 40 years as a humble shepherd. Before he could become great in God’s sight he had to become small in his own sight.

God reduced him that He might enlarge him. No one knows the name of the great Pharaoh of the Exodus, but the whole world knows the name of the “little” shepherd who waited forty years in the desert for a visit from God.

“But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12). http://ryansutton.org http://thegracecenter.org