After the Israelites pulled off an upset victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel built an altar and named it Ebenezer, signifying that the Lord had helped them up to that point. The altar was a way of saying to the people, “The God who did it before can do it again.”
We all need Ebenezers. Reminders that the God who got us here will get us there. That the God who did this will do that. An Ebenezer is a way of recognizing and celebrating the success God has given us along the way in pursuing our dream.
You’ve got to celebrate those milestones by building altars. Then you’ve got to surround yourself with those life symbols so you don’t forget what God wants you to remember.
I don’t believe that our greatest shortcoming is not feeling bad enough about what we’ve done wrong. I think our greatest shortcoming is not feeling good enough about what God has done right. When we under-celebrate, we fall short of the glory of God.
Taken from the book – Chase the Lion – Mark Batterson
I am always on the lookout for a good writing pen. (Though most of my writing is done on a keyboard.) And when I say a “good” pen, I am not necessarily speaking of an expensive one. When I am with my peers, I always look to see what pen they are using. You never know when a better pen comes along and I might need to change.
Several years my son bought a nice pen/pencil set as a Christmas gift. I really liked it but I put away in my desk, fearing to use it “every day”. I was afraid that I might lose them; which is a good possibility for me. Though it is safe while in my desk, I never get the enjoyment of using it. Often when a family member dies, the family will go through the belongings that were left behind. Many times they will find a gift that has never been opened or an heirloom that was handed down but the rest of the family was totally unaware of it.
1 Peter 4:10 is an interesting verse: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another; as good stewards of God’s varied grace..” Two obvious observations: Every Christ-follower has been given at least one gift and secondly the gift was given to us to use; not hide.
In the parable of the talents, the servant that was judged, was the one who hid his talent. He was not judged for doing bad things but for doing nothing. Fear is not an adequate excuse for an unopened gift. There is no tragedy like the tragedy of the unopened gift. Some will go to their grave and never unwrap their gift.
When America was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went before Congress to ask them to declare war. In his speech, he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself!” That may make a great political speech and it might stir people’s patriotism but unfortunately it is not true. There are a lot of things to fear in life but we should not allow our fears to control us.
My son has no fear of snakes, NONE. He has handled rattlesnakes, cooperheads and water moccasins; no problem. But spiders are a totally different matter. If he walks into a spider web, he almost has a heart attack!
When Jesus sent out the 12 disciples, he gave them detailed instructions. In Matthew 10, he let them know they would face rejection, persecution, and and possibly death. In light of this he encouaged them not to fear. “Do not be afraid of them who kill the body. They are not able to kill the soul.” Jesus made it very clear; there is only one person we need to fear. “But fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” God is the only we need to fear.
What is the worse man can do? Kill us? If they do kill us, we will be immediately with Lord!
People love racing. The urge to be faster than everyone else is ingrained in us. Whether it is in a race car, on foot or involving animals, nothing quenches our competitive thirst like a good race. Here is some race that you might not be familiar with.
* Hamster racing. The United Kingdom is quite fond on betting on hamsters racing miniature vehicles in a 30-foot straight line.
* Pig racing. Four trained pigs race around a circle track, knowing there is a delicious (for them) prize at the end.
* Mud racing is an adventure race where contestants hurl themselves through mud pits, waist-high mud rivers, obstacles on a challenging cross country race.
The Apostle Paul repeatedly referred to the Christian life a race but he carefully explained the differences from secular racing.
1. In secular racing, the winner wins a crown made from plants that only lasts momentarily. However, the Christian’s crown is the eternal life that never withers or dies. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
2. Only the person who crosses the finish line first wins the prize. But every Christian that crosses the finish line receives the prize. Matthew 24:13, James 1:12
The most important thing in your life is to realize that because God has created you and given you life, you ARE entered into this race called life. I know that you did not choose to be entered into this race but it is your responsibility to finish the race. Do not be afraid, God has provided everything you need to reach the goal.
Failure to finish means to be eternally lost.