What Prize Are We Seeking?

What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel. For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (I Corinthians 9:18,19;24,25 NKJV)

Sometimes people find themselves competing for something when they don’t understand what the prize is. There are people seeking greatness and recognition, but not wiling to do great things. There are people seeking the starring role (in everything they do), yet they have no clue as what the role encompasses. And many others seek positions of authority when they have no respect for authority and then wonder why, they are not respected as an authority in any aspect.

Before anyone seeks the end reward, they should know what prize they are seeking–how much they will have to give of themselves in order to be considered–prizeworthy.

Paul understood this dilemma well. He knew his conversion from religion to relationship was worth the prize–a crown given by God at the end of his journey. He also knew the journey would not easy. In fact, while he was in religion, he was a person who had been given authority to persecute Christians–as an authority for the Pharisees. He was free to travel and do all the evil he wanted to do–in the name of religion. Now, as a convert–in relationship with God–he found himself a servant of the Most High, willing to sacrifice himself by preaching the Gospel so that all might have an opportunity to know Truth, knowing the risks involved. He understood what the prize was and how he would obtain and he was determined to accomplish his goal.

Are we as determined to accomplish our goals? Do we even understand what the prize is when we find ourselves competing (sometimes against ourselves)? Do we understand the rules of the competition before we begin or are we just concerned about winning recognition from others?

In the church and outside of the church, we have people who want to be in the spotlight, the star of the show, but they have no clue what it means to “earn” the position. People (men and women) claim God has called them into ministry and they want everyone to know–they have a word from The Lord, but when they open their mouths, those who know The Word, recognize the person speaking has not read The Word with understanding. And when these same people finish making a fool of themselves, expecting a standing ovation for their performance, they are disappointed when people sit on them and think there must be something wrong with the people.

At the same time, we have others who seek leadership roles without understanding and when they fall on their faces at every turn, refusing to seek guidance or scorn it when offered, they get angry because others are recognized for “doing good works” and not just talking about doing things.

If we do not have a servant’s heart–a heart to please others–the prize we seek will always be just out of reach. In the pulpit–the prize should be a soul won or encouraged if all are saved. Outside the church, the prize should be to make a difference in the lives of others, not in seeking greatness. God knows our heart and He knows who has a servant’s heart and who is simply seeking recognition of people, rather than in pleasing Him.

Pleasing God means doing all things decently and in order–according to His Word. Of course, if we don’t know His Word, it would be difficult to do things His way and achieve His results. With His results, we earn His prize–eternal life. In the world, if our goal is to stand in the spotlight–for all the world to see–we get the world’s prize–temporary acknowledgement and when the spotlight falls upon others, we are soon forgotten.

Now think about it–will the prize sought be permanent or temporary? Eternal or temporal? From God or from people? I’m seeking the prize that only God holds–the crown of life and my goal–to promote the Gospel so as many who hear or read what I say, will be saved.

Our Great and Awesome God!

“Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.” (Deuteronomy 7:21 NIV).

How great is our God?

How awesome is He?

He who delivers His own

From the hands of those who hate.

He who is a strong tower of love,

He who never belittles or berates,

Those who hear, obey, and love Him.

How great is our God?

Great enough to defeat those who oppose,

How awesome is our God?

Awesome enough to bless those who uphold,

His commandments–Love Him, Love All.

He sees through generations and knows what we’ll do,

He hears every word and knows every thought

Before we think it or utter a word, He has already designed

The master plan and knows which paths we’ll take,

And when we’ll hearken to His voice, turning around,

Back to Him, seeking His face from dawn to dusk,

Knowing His wisdom is all we’ll need for our nation

To be blessed, not cursed, powerful, not powerless,

Grateful for His love, not mocking or bitter

Waiting for His Return, living according to His Word,

Not reliant upon man’s fickleness or godlessness.

How Great is our God?

How Awesome is He?

Great enough to move mountains into the sea,

Awesome enough to want to world to see,

Just how much He loves you and me!

Our God is Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!

There’s no need to fear what others do,

We just live and love, for Our Awesome God is here!

Great is He!

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:3-5 NIV)

For those who have heard the disdain in the voices (or the printed words) of those who don’t understand God, take heart! No matter how many times or how many ways, the unbelieving attempt to undermine our faith, we know–Our God is great!

If having a broken heart from a broken relationship or the loss of loved ones led to our deaths (naturally), the world’s population would be at a deficit–for all who are compassionate. When we feel as though our hearts are shattered, He comes in like a flood, washing away all the hurt and pain, and overwhelming us with His love (if we allow Him to do it). Sometimes, people are so hurt behind the death of a loved one, especially a child or parent, they feel they simply cannot go on. But we can continue to move forward, appreciating life and the time we have on earth to do great things–in memory of those we have lost.

When we incur injuries that need to be bound to contain blood lost, the tighter the binding–bandage, wraps, whatever it takes, the greater the likelihood, we stem the flow of blood until we can get medical attention. God does the same thing for our emotional wounds that others cannot see. He binds them tightly, stemming the flow of anguish and bitterness until His love seals the wound and makes us whole again. 

Since we know He cares enough about the stars to know their number and names, how much more can we expect Him to care about us? He knows our thoughts before we think them, He knows our desires before we speak them, the very hairs on our head are numbered by Him, and He cares about everything that will keep our focus off Him. His love is amazing and His mercy endures beyond our individual lifespans from generation to generation.

When He delights in us–there are no limits to what we can do when we do all to glorify Him. He is our Father and like any loving parent, He only wants what is best for us. And since that is the case, sometimes, He has to deny our requests that will distract us or harm us. So, when we don’t always get what we want, we must remember–He knows best, and He will always provide our needs.

Great is He who loves us beyond measure!

Wait For It!

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13,14 NIV)

How many times have we heard the phrase–wait for it? Usually, the phrase has more to do with some spectacular event about to unfold and because it was spectacular, we’re never disappointed. And we won’t be disappointed as we wait to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living–this side of heaven.

How will we see the goodness of The Lord? When every born-again believer truly walks in their calling–whatever that might be and do the greater works that Jesus said we would do–the entire world will see the goodness of The Lord in everything we do!

Are we not created in His image? Are we not His children? Are we not able to do all He has put on our hearts to do, to His glory? When we become living epistles, read of men, others will see The Lord in us because we won’t be able to hide the light of His love under a bush, but we shall shine brightly, as a beacon, drawing all the lost to The Lord by the love we show them.

Showing others love does not mean we compromise The Word of God by condoning sin in any matter. We must encourage people to live according to The Word, not in opposition to The Word.

Within the next few weeks, I am re-distributing a book on Amazon that will sound an alarm in the hearts of many and be a wake-up call to the Body of Christ. Some will hate the book (and probably me), some will love it, and some will be wary of the intent. The intent of the book, quite simply is to remind all of God’s Word, what He has said about sin, and our what our response should be to those who propose to promote sin rather than godliness. And we can do this–showing love–not displeasing God in order to win people to us.

Our ability to win souls should never be about winning someone to be in our cheering section, or church, but encouraging them to repent, be forgiven, and develop a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Are you ready? Okay, just wait for it and wait for The Lord to see His goodness–through us–to overwhelm the land!

The Measure of Greatness!

“To which of the trees in Eden will you then be likened in glory and greatness? Yet you shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depths of the earth; you shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude,’ says the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 31:18 NKJV)

When people seek greatness of their volition, they usually don’t care about the lives they destroy in their quest. And when they foolishly believe that their greatness is a result of either who they are or what they accomplish, they shall be brought down for all the world to see.

When God’s will for greatness is fulfilled in a person, everyone around them benefits. If people do great things for the benefit of others (not themselves), then God will raise them up for the world to see and if they are truly humble before God, their greatness will be beyond measure for it will never stop.

There are people who have been called great based on our understanding of greatness, but they were they great in God’s sight? Only He can determine the measure of their greatness which probably has less to do with our definition of greatness. But there are some things we can measure based upon His Word.

Are we seeking to promote peace within and without our immediate boundaries?

Are we promoting unconditional love for all regardless of ethnicity or gender?

Are we promoting obedience to God’s Word or are we promoting political correctness that defies God’s Word?

Greatness, our greatness, will not be measured by God by our standards, but by His and if we don’t measure up to His standards, what then have we truly accomplished?

I’d rather have His elevation for doing things His way--no matter how long it may take–for all eternity, than to have all of mankind applaud my efforts in keeping them pleased, for an instant! Only what we do for Christ will last!

He Has Made Us Great!

“O LORD, you have made our nation great;
yes, you have made us great.
You have extended our borders,
and we give you the glory!” (Isaiah 26:15 NLT)

In the midst of all the chaos reigning in the land, we who know how awesome our God is, have to stand firm in the knowledge of His Word and His Power!

No matter what things look like, we need to say, “You have made us great and we give You the glory!”

No matter what others do, contrary to His Word, our constant affirmation has to be, “You have made us great and we give You the glory!”

No matter how foolish and ungodly other nations act, our stance is, “You have made us great and we give You the glory!”

We cannot control or change people–only people who see the need for change can change what they do, but we can intercede on behalf of people, acknowledging God’s goodness and maintaining our position, “You have made us great and we give You the glory!”

If we are tired of the violence–we need to take a stand against it and give God all the glory due Him!

If we are tired of political agendas that oppose God’s Word--we need to take a stand against it and God all the glory due Him!

If we are tired of disease robbing us of our loved ones–we need to take a stand against all the enemy would use to destroy our faith in our God and give Our God the praise and glory due Him!

He has made us peacemakers, not peace-breakers!

He has made us the head, not the tail!

He has healed our bodies of all sickness and disease with the stripes He received on the cross!

He has poured His love into us so we may have love to shed abroad to others who do not know Him!

He has made us victorious in the midst of the enemy trying to make us accept victimization!

He has set a table for us–providing all we need–in the face of the enemy who would have us think, our hope is gone.

Our faith–without doubting for a moment–is in Him–the One who created all things and without whom, nothing was ever created!

He has made us great and we will give Him the glory due Him!

Hallelujah to our God–and an Awesome God is He!

How Great Is Our God!

“O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep” (Psalm 92:5).

Sometimes, we just need to concentrate on thanking Him for being an awesome God!

How great is our God? If a list was created, the world would not be able to contain it. If everything He has done was the result of someone’s bucket list–it would not be a speck in the bottom in the bucket.

His works–are beyond mere human comprehension. His thoughts–while certainly not our thoughts–are deeper than all the seas and oceans combined. While we “think” we have comprehended, even a microcosmic perspective of the world in which we live, we have not even begun to understand His greatness or the vastness of the universe He has created.

When we think we have reached a conclusion about His Word, He opens our minds and hearts and takes us deeper–into understanding His intent–for His Word so we can rid ourselves of our own limited perspectives. That is–He can, when we reach the understanding that no matter how much we think we know–there is so much more to know.

The only living person who has ever been privileged to know all that He knows is sitting at His right hand. We are not Him, and the sooner we realize that God has not revealed “the totality” of His Word to any of us, the greater the likelihood we’ll understand we need one another.

This does not mean that God is not revealing Himself to us–He knows that if one person or even a handful had deep insight to Him–even greater chaos would reign because of pride. And so, we are humbled with the knowledge that no one–no not one human being on earth–has been given exclusive insight into His Word or His Character. What He reveals–He reveals for all to know–one measure at a time, so we can absorb what He wants us to know.

Nothing is too difficult for Him–not healing all disease and sickness, not creating wealth for all who obey, not giving wisdom to all who will ask, not preparing the way to promote the Gospel for all who will seek Him, not loving the unlovable because He is Love! Nothing to difficult for Him and because He is our awesome–we are blessed recipients of all He has to give!

How great is our God? With all we do know–we still don’t know it all, but we can imagine! Our God is so great and awesome that we’ll just have to keep on living (until the end) to know just how great He is!

Call Upon The Lord!

“I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (Psalm 18:3).

Is there anyone like our God?

Is there anyone else who can reach out to us from the heavens and touch our hearts and lives?

Is there anyone else who can provide us with all we need?

Is there anyone else who can save us from ourselves?

Is there anyone else who can save us from our enemies?

Is there anyone else who can keep our feet on the paths He has established to secure our future?

Is there anyone else who can alert us to dangers–seen and unseen–and provide a way of escape?

Is there anyone else who is willing to give up their seat in glory and come down to earth to save mankind?

Is there anyone else who loves us in spite of our shortcomings and forgives us when we confess our sins?

Is there anyone else we can call upon 24/7, 365 days of the year and know He will hear us?

Is there anyone else who will give us chance after chance after chance to get living right for Him?

Is there anyone–like our God in all the earth?

There is none like The Lord, Our God in all the earth; nobody greater, nobody wiser, nobody better than Him!

And when we face challenges that are too great for us to handle alone, call upon The Lord–and He will be right there!

Know Your Calling

Before we were born, God knew us and had a plan for our lives, a special calling–a role for us to play. “Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you.”

We have all been “called” to do something great. However, greatness is relative–dependent upon what it is we have been called to do. For some-the greatness lies within our ability to love others, for others–greatness lies with our determination to be obedient, and yet with others–greatness lies within us the ability to lead and develop great leaders.

Look within yourself–deeply. Know that you have been called to greatness, regardless of how small or how big the act. Greatness is not measured by the act, but by the participant’s willingness to get the job done.

We are all called to do great things, but not all of us are called to do the same things. Know your calling and see the greatness arise within and without.