'I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in Me!' declares the Lord.
- God is going to come through for you.
- Because you have trusted Him, He will save you.
- Your situation is not beyond His redeeming power.
- So relax, He will make a way and save you.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for Your saving power in my life. I will continue to trust You no matter what I may be facing. Amen
Many of the world's greatest dramas are not on a stage or a screen, but they are played out in that quadrennial spectacle we call the Olympics. One year Britain's representative in the 400-meter race, Derek Redmond, went down in the back stretch with a torn right hamstring. As the medical attendants approached, Redmond fought to his feet and set out hopping, desperately trying to finish the race. He knew he wouldn't win, he was just trying to finish.
When he reached the final stretch, a man came out of the stands, pushed past a security guard, and ran to Redmond and hugged him. That man was Jim Redmond, Derek's father, and he said to him, "Son, you don't have to do this." Gritting his teeth and with tears in his eyes, his son said, "Yes, I do."
His father's reply, "Well, then, we're going to finish this together." Derek's head was sometimes buried in his father's shoulder, but they stayed in his lane to the end. When they crossed the finish line, the crowd stood to its feet, cheered, and wept as those two men finished the race.
Moses says to Israel in Deuteronomy 1:29-31 , "Then I said to you, 'Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.'"
Maybe today you are tired, banged up, or stressed out, and like that 400-meter runner in the Olympics, you are staggering right now. You're having a hard time finishing your race. You started well, and you have been running hard, but you're about to go down. Maybe you have been hit by discouragement, illness, family trouble, a lack of support, or a lack of help. Maybe you've run into obstacles or pain and you are hurting, and there is still more of the race ahead of you. God wants to give you the good news that someone has left the stands to help you. He is coming to the track to help you finish the rest of the way.
It's your Heavenly Father.
God left the stands to come to the cross, and there He rescued us from the sin wounds that would have kept us from reaching heaven. He knows we can't make it alone. He is an all-powerful Father who offers to carry us, but we have to let Him. If we are too proud to collapse in His arms and surrender to His control, then our power is limited, and we're not going to make it. If we will totally release control to Him and, in the words of Scripture, humble ourselves, we will have all His power. Even little children know where the power is when they sing, "...they are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me."
Each of us experience days when we just don't have any more to give. Maybe you're there now. It's those moments in the race that can take you deeper into the love and power of Jesus than you have ever been before. Your Father is not a spectator in the stands today. His arm is around you right now, where you are. Listen to His voice saying, "We're going to finish this together!"
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Last Sunday our pastor told an interesting story and, had it not been serious, it would have been funny. He told about a fellow in a support group who for months on end kept praying about a personal problem but never did anything about it. Week after week he would pray with seemingly great conviction, "Oh God, clean the cobwebs out of my life... clean the cobwebs out of my life!"
Finally, in utter frustration the leader of the group broke into the man's prayer and prayed rather boisterously, "Oh God, KILL THE SPIDER!"
I can identify with this leader in that I, too, know of people who have been confessing the same sin and/or problem for years, asking God for deliverance but never doing anything about it.
If we are struggling with a besetting sin or bad habit, what can we do about it? Certainly pray and ask God for deliverance - but also pray that he will show us the root cause of our problem because, more often than not, our repetitive failures are the fruit of a deeper root. God not only wants to deliver us from habitual sins but also free us from the deeper root cause.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have already done for me what I couldn't do for myself in that you gave your Son, Jesus, to die for and free me from a life of sin and failure. Please help me to see the root cause of my besetting sin or problem [name it] and help me to find the help I need to overcome. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
In Phoenix, Arizona, a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was dying of terminal leukaemia.
Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up & fulfil all his dreams.
Now that was no longer possible. The leukaemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dream to come true.
She took her son's hand and asked, "Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up?
Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?"
Mommy, "I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up."
Mom smiled back and said, "Let's see if we can make your wish come true."
Later that day she went to her local fire department in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix.
She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her 6 year old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.
Fireman Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day.
He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy -- one-with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots.
They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast."
Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.
Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station.
He was in heaven.
There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, the paramedic's van, and even the fire chief's car.
He was also videotaped for the local news program.
Having his dream come true, with all the Love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.
One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital.
Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.
The chief replied, "We can do better than that.
We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favour? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system, that there is not a fire?
It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time.
And will you open the window to his room?
About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window - 16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room.
With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they LOVED him.
With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said, "Chief, am I really a fireman now?"
"Billy, you are, and the Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand," the chief said.
With those words, Billy smiled and said, "I know, He's been holding my hand all day, and the angels have been singing.."
He closed his eyes one last time.
One day a wise teacher was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him. “You have no right teaching others, he shouted.” You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake.”
The man was not upset by these insults. Instead he asked the young man “Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?”
The man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, “It would belong to me, because I bought the gift.”
The teacher smiled and said, “That is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger. If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are then the only one who becomes unhappy, not me. All you have done is hurt yourself.”
“If you want to stop hurting yourself, you must get rid of your anger and become loving instead.
When you hate others, you yourself become unhappy. But when you love others, everyone is happy.”
The young man listened closely to these wise words. “You are right, “he said.
“Please teach me the path of love. I wish to become your follower.”
“Of course. I teach anyone who truly wants to learn. Come with me.”
The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.
Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.
Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.
"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.
"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
Remember next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
I phoned a friend of mine who had been suffering a little for some time, and nearly fell off my chair when I heard his excitement. He told me how the Lord had blessed him with work and how his trucks were running to and fro the whole day long. He thanked God for that, and also could not stop telling me about his new girlfriend. He had moved in with her just the previous day. What’s that? Yes, they are so happy together. Why should they keep two households running? It’s much less expensive to combine the two.
We trick ourselves. We are so used to “everyone does it”, that we no longer see the sin in our actions. With some nice trickery and some gymnastic thinking I ask God on the one hand to help me, but on the other hand I’m living in sin. How do we make that work? It seems to me it’s time to go back to the rock. Yes, it’s time to go and sit on a rock and make sure that we are not blinded by the wrong things that happen just like that in our lives. Without us realising it, sin slips back into our lives. We become so used to it that it doesn’t even bother us that wrong has become right.
Let’s be clear with one another: God doesn’t like it. This is the reason why He sent Jesus to earth – to knock sin down. Yes, to give His life so that we can and will get rid of the sin in our lives to stand clean before God: 4 … for sin is a major disruption of God's order.
I am sure Jesus is very hurt when He sees us befriending sin and living close to sin. I know it is probably not theologically correct to say that Jesus is crucified over and over again as we continue doing the wrong things. But aren’t we then denying His life-saving work on the cross? Aren’t we undoing His death on the cross by continuing to do wrong? God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not like seeing us doing this. While we are playing around with sin, what is the Holy Spirit who lives in us supposed to do? Look the other way? What are we doing? And minutes later we are praising His name for everything He gives us?
Maybe you don’t want to continue reading now, because this simply sounds too much. But sometimes we just have to face the music. This isn’t a scolding session. No, in a way we are simply being reminded of the very simple message: 4 All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God's order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. This is a very simple message: if you break God’s rules, you choose to deny God’s will and then you are doing wrong. Finish and klaar.
What now? 6No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. The biggest tip here is to look closely at Jesus so that we can have an intimate relationship with Him. Only when we have an intimate relationship with Jesus, we will start realising when we are doing wrong. Then we’ll feel uncomfortable when we do wrong. Then we’ll feel bad when we know that we’re busy with things that Jesus doesn’t like at all.
Friends, please see this message as a stop sign, a chance to get away from the race of life, to go and sit on a rock and look at God’s rules again, comparing them to you own life. The Spirit will help you and show you where you are getting too close to the wrong thing. With everything in you build an intimate relationship with God. Make time to spend time with God.
Where are you getting too close to sin?
Scripture: 1 John 3:4-10