Reflections

Are You Winning The Race?

Did you ever watch the Amazing Race show on television? It’s a race that takes its contestants, running helter-skelter, to various parts of the world, with intriguing clues to follow and innovative tasks to be performed.

It is amazing to watch the contestants in this race, eager and striving to follow the rules of the game. At times, it all seems like fun, yet at other times the race seems strenuous. Tempers flare, and anxious moments abound. Eventually, in the midst of it all, some people win.

As I watched the show some evenings ago, it reminded me of life in general and how we all seem to be in a race of some kind with everybody running and nobody really winning.

I find that though we sometimes seem to be on the mountain tops, yet that sense of victory can be short-lived; before long, we seem to be at a standstill, not feeling like winners at all.

Though we all have our goals in the natural realm, and we all want to be counted as winners, yet in the race that followers of Christ run, from a spiritual point of view, everyone is a winner. There is no competition, no contestants, and swiftness and skills do not count.

Our only skills for running well, and winning too, are persistence in prayer, walking by faith in God, and not by sight. These are the hallmarks of a winner in the race of life. And everyone can be a winner.

Consider the wise words of King Solomon: “...the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong...” This helps us better understand the spiritual race of life. Consider, also, that the apostle Paul, viewed the prize of the spiritual race as “the high calling of God.”

It is true that the most important prize we could ever strive for is a closer walk with God.

As we contemplate our goals and plans for the future, hoping to achieve them and be counted as winners, it would be wise to also give thought to winning the “prize” of gaining a closer walk with God by deepening our knowledge of Him and having Him direct our paths.

I counselled a young couple recently who are in thousands of dollars of debt. Their financial situation is causing much tension between them and they are both running to and fro with extra jobs, trying to make ends meet. I encouraged them to sit with pen and paper and examine each purchase that caused the debt to see if it was really necessary.

The result was that many items they bought were not really needed but it was a matter of not making themselves seem less among their friends.

They began to see that keeping up with family, friends and others, and stretching themselves to acquire things is a race of some kind, and there is a sense of one-upmanship behind it. They now see that where there is a keeping up with the Joneses, there is no peace of mind but a race that involves many hours of extra work and keeping up with the demands of the bank.

And at this time of year, when resolutions and goals are still fresh in our thoughts, it is timely to meditate on the wise words of King Solomon given below.

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong...” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

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Looking Ahead Into 2010

Last evening, on Larry King Live, Larry King interviewed two celebrity stars, back to back. Those stars were Dolly Parton, popular singer and songwriter, and Tyler Perry, the man who characterizes Madea in “Madea’s Big Happy Family” and other productions on the life of Madea, a middle-aged black woman, in movies and plays.

The questions that Larry King asked Dolly and Tyler were basically the same: what do you think of Obama, our president? What do you think of the recession? He also asked about their successes in their careers and how they managed to bring them about.

It was heartening to listen to the two-way conversations in both cases, but what was remarkable is that both Dolly and Tyler spoke of having faith in God and maintaining positive thoughts and attitudes. They both encouraged people to keep on keeping on and not be frightened of the recession. It was refreshing to hear such faith-filled statements coming out of Hollywood personalities.

Sometimes, we get hung up on the idea that resolutions are only for the beginning of a new year but truthfully, resolutions for better living can be made at any time of year.Today is only the third day of 2010 and it is still early enough for making resolutions about our lives for this new year.

We are making an offer to you FREE of charge—that you order our audio CD titled “Resolutions: What Value” offer #1023-1024. Just send us your name and address and $2.95 for shipping and handling and we will rush that CD out to you. In this CD you will learn some principles about the making and value of resolutions, much like what Dolly and Tyler talked about.

Just go to our Home Page, click on the Revealing Word Series and follow through. May God richly bless you as you listen.

A happy and prosperous New Year to all.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as they soul prospereth” (3 John 2).

 

The Christmas Story

The Sunday school children did a small skit at our church this morning, complete with angels, shepherds, manger, a trough covered with hay, the baby Jesus, and the usual images of the Christmas story. And though we all knew what to expect, yet it was intriguing to watch.

I visited another church this afternoon and there was also a skit about the Christmas story, this time, a little more sophisticated, but the story is the same. It was wonderful and it set me thinking...

Though we are all familiar with the images of Christmas story, viewing them never fails to bring in the Spirit of Christmas in a greater way to our awareness. What would it be if we were in a place where there were no pictures of Christmas and no re-enactment of the birth of Christ at this time of year? Though we know the story, we would have a sense of shallowness about Christmas. We might even forget the day and what it stands for. We would feel empty indeed.

And as I think about our Christmas activities, I realize it is God himself who is reminding us through others like ourselves of His greatest gift to mankind: His Son.

There’s something appealing about the Christmas story. It never goes stale. Though we know the story, a Christmas skit or play is interesting to watch or be a part of. This reminds me of an Old Covenant text that says we are to “lay up the Lord’s words in our hearts and souls and teach them to our children when we are in our houses or walking in the way, when we lie down and when we rise up, and write them upon our doorposts and on our gates.”

In other words, we are to tell our children and their children about the wondrous works of the Lord, over and over again, so that these stories are indelibly etched in our minds and the minds of our children.

My wish for you and yours is Life, Light and Love during this Christmas season, the coming New Year, and beyond...

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

 

New Beginnings

I just came in from a New Year’s Eve service that ended at midnight. The church was packed to capacity and we ushered in 2010 with much merriment and dancing in the Lord, complete with Auld Lang Syne.

I was very impressed with the pastor’s message for the evening, which highlighted Christianity as being supernatural. One of his Bible texts was Psalm 78:19-20, which says “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?...He smote the rock that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people?” Can you see here a picture of speculation and doubt?

The beginning of a new year is always a time for reflecting on the past year, sifting the good experiences from the not-so-good ones and anticipating God’s best in the months to come.Now is just the right time for us to review the events that happened in our lives in 2009 and use this information constructively to plan the future.

As we look back, maybe we see progress in some areas of our lives, maybe failure in others, but failure or rather “seeming failure” does not mean that we are to give up trying for the fulfillment of our desires as long as they are constructive to ourselves, our environment and to the Kingdom of God.

Let us not be like the Israelites of old who lived with a speculating and doubtful attitude, but be ever grateful that we serve a God with whom nothing is impossible and has promised us abundant living.

At this ministry, God has been good to us in many ways during the past year. He has blessed us with strength, courage, perseverance, new vision and this new website. We look forward to continued favour with Him and we trust, too, that He will favour you and yours with His best. May this year be your year of Jubilee.

May the Lord richly bless you with His peace, love and prosperity, this New Year and always.

“...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

 

The Glory That Shone Around

A few evenings ago I drove along a street in a residential area of Toronto, and was captivated by the blaze of Christmas lights on homes in that neighbourhood. Most of these homes were decorated on the outside with hundreds of Christmas lights in the popular icicle design, in various colours.

As I admired the brightness and colours of the lights, they caught my imagination and reminded me of “the glory of the Lord that shone round about the shepherds” as written in the Scriptures. That awesome sight impressed me to the extent that I meditated on “the glory of the Lord” and wondered what it was like. Was the glory like a brilliant sunrise or sunset? Bright, flashing lights? Or was it a steady, quiet glow, filling the atmosphere?

And what was the immediate reaction of the shepherds as they beheld that wondrous sight?

The Scriptures say that “the shepherds were sore afraid.” However, I wondered in what way did they show their fear? Did they bow their heads to the ground? Did they cover their faces with their hands? What did they think?

The glory of the Lord is the very essence of God’s nature, made manifest in a visible way on the night of the birth of Christ; it is the Light of Christ. And it is clear that the Spirit of God chose to manifest His presence in this manner as the angels. made their wondrous announcement to the shepherds. However, this manifestation is not only something to be seen, but also can be felt or sensed in our devotional times and as we keep in tune with the Spirit of the God.

As I think of the glory that shone around the shepherds on that awesome night, I can only reflect in my heart that it is the same glory or light that manifested in Christ at the time of His transfiguration before His disciples, and also at the time of His resurrection.

And though that glory might not be seen today, yet we know that same glory brings healing, renewal of spirit, discernment, guidance and direction. It breaks yokes of bondage, brings deliverance to captives, heals the brokenhearted, and sets at liberty them that are bruised. The glory guides us right, helping us to live in a way that pleases God, and gives revelation knowledge, too. Oh, the glory of His presence!

It is my sincere wish that each of you will be touched by the glory of God in some form of manifestation during this Christmas season.

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid” (Luke 2:9, KJV).