One of my fondest childhood memories was an underground spring that is located in the woods of western Pennsylvania. We (and everyone from miles around) would go there from time to time and fill containers with the cool, clear water. Even on the hottest day, the water was always cold and I have never known this spring to ever run dry.
I went back this week to revisit “my” spring and it was still flowing, still cold and still refreshing.(See attached picture.) I feel sorry for those who grew up in the city and never experienced drinking from “God’s Spring!
The only water that tastes better is from the spring that produces eternal life. It is always flowing and always refreshing and gives eternal life. You may never go to Pennsylvania and drink from that spring but make sure you drink from the well of salvation.
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
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.
Confession: I love electronic gadgets; especially my phone! The GPS is a tremendous help (most of the time.) When I type my destination into my phone, the first question that come on the screen is this: “Directions from current location?” In other words, “Do you want to start where you are?”
Of course I want to start from here. Sometimes I am not sure where “here” is! As soon a I tell the GPS yes, it begins calculating my route – not from where I started before I lost my way, not from the direction I should be headed but from right where I am now!
The most common reason people give for not following Jesus is that they want to get their lives together first. They want to start their journey from somewhere else than where they currently are.
Jesus reaches out to with grace and love and invites you to follow Him, right where you are. Start following Him right where you are and He wants you to start now!
Trust His directions!
This year, I will be 70 years old. I don’t feel it, well, at least, most of the time. But as I get further into the last chapter(s) of my life, a thought keeps popping into my head. Has my life really mattered? Will anyone remember 100 years from now that I walked this earth for X number of years? Or did I just occupy space?
I probably will not leave this earth insanely rich or write a best-selling novel. It is highly unlikely that I will discover a cure for cancer. Very few will reach the level of being a legendary sports figure. While there has been many men and women who have achieved greatness, none have impacted humanity and history like Jesus Christ. His life has not only transformed individuals but it has also changed entire nations!
I know that no person can ever reach the level of influence that Jesus did but as a Christ-follower, my goal in life is to pattern my life after Him. I John 2.6 While on earth, He invested His life into the lives of His twelve disciples and they inturn invested their lives into others. The only way for your life to count, is to spiritually reproduce your life into the lives of others!
While attending Bible college, one of the requirements of the Pastoral Ministries class was to go door-to-door and take a community survey concerning people’s religious beliefs. One of the survey questions was “Is there more than one way to God?” The vast majority said with strong conviction that there are a multitude of ways to God.
If you were to say that Jesus Christ was the only way to God, people would classify you as racist, narrow-minded or self righteous. Several years ago, Oprah Winfrey said, “One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to believe that there is only one way to God, There are many different paths leading to God.” In our very politically correct world that we now live in this legend is very acceptable. People will say, “When you boil all the religions down they are all saying basically the same thing.” “All religions teach the same thing, treat your brother with respect,”
But what does the Bible have to say about this urban legend? What did Jesus say about Himself? People don’t debate that He ever existed. People don’t debate His great teachings, but what people reject is Jesus exclusive claim to be the only way to God. Jesus said, “I am way, truth, life. No one comes to God BUT BY ME.” This is pretty clear. He is saying there is only ONE way to God and that is through HIM. John 14:6
This is not the only time Jesus said this. He said this often and this is what eventually caused Him to be put to death. Deciding on the answer to this urban legend or issue is one of the most important things a person will ever do in their entire life. This is very, very important and needs to be resolved by each person individually at some point in their lives. Our eternal destination hinges on how we answer this.
Recently my wife and I finally found time to go through my clothes closet and sorted out clothes I no longer wore. It was really enlightening. My wife, who has a much better memory than me, pointed out shirts that I have had for over 10 years! (Is that a record?) Needless to say, I have a lot more room in my closet.There are now more than 30,000 self-storage facilities in our country with a billion square feet to store their stuff. We now spend $12 billion a year to someone to store our stuff! I know it is hard to give our stuff away. Have you ever watched the TV program Hoarders?
It is about people who accumulate so much stuff that it is ruining their health and relationship with their family. There are even therapists that specialize in treaty people with this problem.
Jesus said, Stuff is not treasure. Stuff is temporary; treasure is eternal.
Stuff cannot belong to me. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;…The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty…remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.
Stuff cannot last. When you play Monopoly it doesn’t matter if you win. At the end of the game, everything goes back in the box.
“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.” – Randy Alcorn
Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. [Psalm 142:4]
Personally, I think this maybe one of saddest verses in Scripture. I guess to some degree we have all felt like that at some point in our lives. But let’s look at this verse from a different perspective. How much do WE care about others? If you are a Christ-follower, you know of someone that does not possess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This means that they have not experienced eternal life. The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life. 1 John 5:12
The church in America has lost its passion for the “lost.” I am not trying to put you on a guilt trip but rather to help us regain a compassion for people without Christ. Throughout the Gospels, we read the Jesus had compassion for people and we are to have the same attitude as Christ. “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” 2 Phil.2:4-5
The Apostle Paul had this kind of burden for the nation of Israel. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race.” [Romans 9:2-3]
My prayer for the church is that God would rekindle our love and compassion for the lost.