fear

~Jesus Is Working It Out- Hallelujah~ Congrats Wifey

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Everything about me is a contradiction, and so is everything about everybody else. We are made out of oppositions; we live between two poles. There’s a philistine and an aesthete (a person who has or affects to have a special appreciation of art and beauty) in all of us, and a murderer and a saint. You don’t reconcile the poles. You just recognize them.

Orson Welles

Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.

Carl Sandburg

Almost without exception, people and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Though we should know better, we continue to manufacture worries and nurse fears. Yet anxiety is nothing more than wasting today’s time and resources to clutter up tomorrow’s possibilities with yesterday’s struggles. In spite of that, it remains for some a continual preoccupation. This post will  takes a straight look at this energy-draining reality. By seeing it at work in another’s life, we may gain sufficient perspective to get through the tough stuff of anxiety. Stands the reason of my joy about my wife success thus far. She has suffered anxiety of life in wanting to complete school, she has suffered turmoil due to wanting to feel the sensationalism of operating as a substance abuse counselor and Psychology clinician within her own company “Second Chance Alliance”. She experiences anxiety from going to class under adverse challenges all the while wanting to cross the finish line of graduation. I am so proud of her holding her position in Christ as a mom and wife and grandmother that is a full time student trying to breakthrough the stigma’s of a unforgiving society and create change for her family and others.

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I am Innocent until proven guilty…                  Maymie Chandler-Pratt Bio                                 7/9/2015 2:46:23 PM

Hello Instructor Dougherty,

My name is Maymie Chandler-Pratt and I am 53 years young. I currently reside in Southern California where it never rains, it is always sunny, and the crime rate is high and our court systems are overrun with all types of cases, mostly drug cases. I have been married for many years to the same man, my husband Aaron who is an ex Navy Seal with many issues stemming from his 13 years of service and nine campaigns and 7 months as a POW in Libya and has been diagnosed with PTSD and Schizo-affective Disorder. I too was in the Army and even though I saw no war, because of my husband’s issues I too have been diagnosed with PTSD and Schizo-affective disorder by association, Together we share a total of 10 children, 2 are deceased, two are in prison; our daughter Parris for life with no possibility of ever getting out and our son Lee who was sentenced to 15 years with an L. The other 6 are working, and attending college. Our youngest son is 19 and 6′ 6″ tall.

I started attending Argosy in 2011 and in January 2016 I will graduate with my BA in psychology with and emphasis on Substance Abuse Counseling. I chose this career because of my 20 plus years of being addicted to crack cocaine and my own stint in prison for 7 years due to my addictive behaviors. After being released from prison I was placed in a 1453 state mandated drug program where I met up with my counselor who had also been in prison with me. While there she told me that I too should become a substance abuse counselor. My belief after witnessing the healing power of “My higher power” in which I choose to call God, I was convinced that if I could do it then I could help others like me to do it too.

I feel that with my extensive criminal background, I have a lot of experience with the criminal court systems, but I am no expert and I want to be even more enlightened now as a professional as I was as a criminal. I look forward to working with you over the next five weeks.

See you on the boards…May Pratt

Five months until this temptation to sin by having anxiety will be a hurdle we both are excited to jump..Thanks to all who have been apart of this journey.

Several years ago the National Anxiety Center in Maplewood, New Jersey, released the “Top Ten Anxieties for the 1990s.” The list included AIDS, drug abuse, nuclear waste, famine, and the federal deficit. Since then, in the light of September 11, 2001, the center has revised its list to put “global terrorism” as the leading source of anxiety. Today, we could add the worries of a full-scale war, the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea or China, the risk of losing a good job, and maybe the disquieting thoughts of growing old alone and unwanted.

We all have different lists, but our deep, relentless worries carry a similar effect. They make us uneasy. They steal smiles from our faces. They cast dark shadows on our futures by spotlighting our shameful pasts. They pickpocket our peace and kidnap our joy.

What is anxiety?

Throughout my more than 40 years of christian ministry, whenever I’ve taught or spoken on the topic of anxiety, I’ve always highlighted the relevant counsel of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians. Type the words worry or anxiety into the search engine of my heart, and Philippians 4 quickly flashes on my mind:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:4-7).

Reading this passage, we immediately discover a four-word command that could be rendered, literally, “Stop worrying about anything!” The word translated “anxious” comes from the Greek verb merimnao, meaning “to be divided or distracted.” In Latin the same word is translated anxius, which carries the added nuance of choking or strangling. The word also appears in German as wurgen, from which we derive our English word worry. The tough stuff of anxiety threatens to strangle the life out of us, leaving us asphyxiated by fear and gasping for hope.

Jesus used similar terms when He referred to worry in His parable of the sower inMark 4. The Master Illustrator painted a picture in the minds of His listeners of a farmer sowing seed in four types of soil. In that parable He mentions a seed being sown among thorns. While doing so He underscores both the real nature and the destructive power of anxiety. Jesus said, “Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop” (v. 7; emphasis added). Later, when the disciples asked Jesus about the meaning of the parable, He interpreted His own words. Regarding the seed sown among thorns, He explained, “These are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (vv. 18-19).

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WORK IT OUT “JESUS”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

According to the gospel accounts, here are the miracles Jesus performed. Though this is an incomplete list according to John 21:25

: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

~Let Your Works Represent Your Faith~

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For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:26, NKJV).

He was a successful doctor and an elder in a high-profile church of several hundred members. He was a major giver to the church’s big projects, and his generosity encouraged others to be more sacrificial. The doctor was also a great preacher. When the pastor was gone he spoke, and everyone looked forward to his messages, which were theologically deep, heartfelt, and spiritual.

Then one day the truth came out. The doctor’s absence at church the previous Sabbath had not been because he was on vacation, as many had thought. No, he was found dead in his beachfront condo from an overdose of recreational narcotics.

Worse was the shocking revelation that in his bedroom were dozens of pornographic videos and magazines. The church was devastated, especially the young people, who had looked up to him as a role model. Though we must leave all judgment in God’s hands, the doctor’s actions certainly call into question the reality of his faith.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (James 2:14, NKJV). How do we understand this verse in the context of salvation by faith alone? Read James 2:15-17; compare Rom. 3:27-28;Eph. 2:8-9.

 

The point? Though we are saved by faith, we cannot separate faith and works in the life of a Christian, a crucial but often misunderstood truth expounded upon in the book of James.

Faith without works. James gives a vivid illustration of this kind of phony faith (James 2:15-16). As we have already seen, obedience in the book of James is relational. So, how do we relate to a brother or sister in the church who is in need? Words are not enough. We cannot simply say, Go in peace. God will provide, when God has provided us the means to help that brother or sister.

Of course, needs can be endless, and we cannot meet them all. But there is a principle called the power of one. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, and we can help others one person at a time. In fact, that is how Jesus usually worked. In Mark 5:22-34 a man whose daughter was dying appealed to Him for help. On the way, a woman approached from behind and touched Jesus’ garment. After the healing, Jesus could have gone on and the woman would have left rejoicing. But Jesus knew that she needed more than physical healing. So, He stopped and took the time so that she could learn to be a witness for Jesus, to share as well as to receive. Then He said the same words we have in James 2:16, NIV: Go in peace (Mark 5:34, NIV). But, unlike the words in James, in this case they actually meant something!

When we recognize a need but do nothing about it, we have missed an opportunity of exercising faith. By doing so, our faith gets a little weaker and a little deader. This is because faith without works dies. James describes it even more starkly: faith is dead already. If it were alive the works would be there. If they are not, what good is it? At the end of verse 14, James asks a question about this kind of workless and worthless faith. It comes across far more strongly in Greek than it does in most translations: That faith cannot save him, can it? The answer James expects us to give is clearly No.

How can we learn to better express our faith through our works while protecting ourselves from the deception that our works save us?

Faceing Our Fears

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fears

Judges 6:11-23

The Message (MSG)

11-12 One day the angel of God came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, whose son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress, out of sight of the Midianites. The angel of God appeared to him and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!”

13 Gideon replied, “With me, my master? If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracle-wonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us, ‘Didn’t God deliver us from Egypt?’ The fact is, God has nothing to do with us—he has turned us over to Midian.”

14 But God faced him directly: “Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?”

15 Gideon said to him, “Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.”

16 God said to him, “I’ll be with you. Believe me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.”

17-18 Gideon said, “If you’re serious about this, do me a favor: Give me a sign to back up what you’re telling me. Don’t leave until I come back and bring you my gift.”

He said, “I’ll wait till you get back.”

19 Gideon went and prepared a young goat and a huge amount of unraised bread (he used over half a bushel of flour!). He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot and took them back under the shade of the oak tree for a sacred meal.

20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unraised bread, place them on that rock, and pour the broth on them.” Gideon did it.

21-22 The angel of God stretched out the tip of the stick he was holding and touched the meat and the bread. Fire broke out of the rock and burned up the meat and bread while the angel of God slipped away out of sight. And Gideon knew it was the angel of God!

Gideon said, “Oh no! Master, God! I have seen the angel of God face-to-face!”

23 But God reassured him, “Easy now. Don’t panic. You won’t die.”

A mother asked her five-year-old son to go to the pantry to get her a can of tomato soup. But he refused and protested, “Its dark in there.” Mom assured Johnny, “It’s okay. Don’t be afraid. Jesus is in there.” So Johnny opened the door slowly and seeing that it was dark, shouted, “Jesus, can you hand me a can of tomato soup?”

This humorous story of Johnny’s fear reminds me of Gideon. The Lord appeared to Gideon, calling him a “mighty man of valor” and then telling him to deliver Israel out of Midian’s hand. But Gideon’s fearful reply was, “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house”. Even after the Lord told Gideon that with His help he would defeat the Midianites, he still afraid.

Then Gideon asked the Lord for signs to confirm God’s will and empowerment. So, why did the Lord address fearful Gideon as a “mighty man of valor”? Because of who Gideon would one day become with the Lord’s help. We too may doubt our own abilities and potential. But let us never doubt what God can do with us when we trust and obey Him. Gideon’s God is the same God who will help us accomplish all that He asks us to do.

The Lord provides the strength we need to Follow and obey His will; So we don’t need to be afraid that what He asks we can’t fulfill. We can face any fear when we know the Lord is with us…

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Face Your Fears

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The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart

Sewer pipe miracle baby leaves China hospital; No charges for mother

Local media reports on Wednesday said the mother had become pregnant after a one-night stand. Unable to afford an abortion and with her partner unwilling to acknowledge it was his child, the mother took to hiding the pregnancy by wearing baggy clothes and tying strips of cloth around her stomach.

The woman who alerted authorities to the sounds of a baby stuck in a sewer pipe has admitted that she is the mother. Police are treating the case as an attempted homicide.

She then secretly gave birth to the boy in a fourth-floor public bathroom of the building where she lived, only to reportedly have the baby slip from her hands after delivery. The boy dropped into the open, squat-style toilet and slid down into the narrow 4-inch in diameter sewer pipe.

Not wanting her child, but unwilling to leave him to die in the drain, she reportedly notified a neighbor of sounds coming from the pipes, who then called police to investigate.

Firefighters were then called to gently cut the child free from the pipe using pliers and handsaws.

The mother has been subjected to near universal condemnation on Chinese social media.

The Associated Press reported that the mother had told police that she had initially refused to step forward because she had been frightened about the incident, but eventually had a change of heart and told officials she was in fact the mother.

No matter where we live or where we are from, sin is prevalent and will try to destroy us any way we allow it too. Praise God for His presence in that situation and not Buddha, but The Living God.

Ezekiel 18:1-4, “The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Israel loved to make excuses for their idolatry. They lived according to their own desires and forgot the God of Heaven, Jehovah, for days without number. Every time they would fall away, God would have to bring judgment upon them to return them to His laws.

Like we of today, the Children of Israel looked for someone else to blame for their own sin. In their search for self-justification they came up with a really cute and logical proverb that went like this: “The fathers may eat the sour grapes but the children’s teeth will be set on edge.” This meant that whatever the fathers of each successive generation did may not affect them but it would surely affect their children and grandchildren. This was Israel’s way of blaming their forefathers and even God, for the sin that they committed and the judgments they had to face. In using this proverb they absolved themselves from the penalty for their own sin and place it upon the head of their ancestors.

Just listen to any psychologist or psychiatrist and they will attempt to persuade you that criminals commit crimes largely as a result of their past environment. The blame for sin is never placed squarely on the shoulders of those who commit acts of violence or other crimes. It is always the fault of someone or something else. Perhaps it was your father, mother, aunt, uncle or some other adult who wronged you as a child and destroyed your self esteem. Perhaps it’s the peer pressure from school friends or co-workers that caused you to fall. After all, the man who loses his job as a postal worker because he was lazy and had a bad attitude, is somewhat justified in walking in and killing his former co-workers because it wasn’t his fault that he was fired, it’s their fault for being better employees than he was. I know that sounds warped but that’s the prevalent thinking of our day. The criminal has rights while the victim is looked upon as just a coincidence in the act of the crime and shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a psychiatrist, Samuel Yochelson, sharing the conventional wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to prove their point. They began a 17-year study involving thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in the District of Columbia. To their astonishment, they discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to environment, poverty, or oppression. Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put it, wrong moral choices. In their 1977 work The Criminal Personality, they concluded that the answer to crime is a “conversion of the wrong-doer to a more responsible lifestyle.” In 1987, Harvard professors James Q. Wilson and Richard J.Herrnstein came to similar conclusions in their book Crime andHuman Nature. They determined that the cause of crime is a lack of proper moral training among young people during the morally formative years, particularly ages one to six.

Christians don’t act much different than those who are worldly when it comes to facing up to their sin. We love to play the blame game too. I hear people say things like, “My former Pastor didn’t teach me right”; “The church that used to attend didn’t have a good training program or Bible study class”; I was never taught that doing or saying things like that were wrong”; and I have heard other things come from the lips of Christians as well because we don’t want to admit that we have sinned and that it is us who are at fault and in need of repentance.

It’s not my fault the church isn’t growing; it’s the preacher’s fault. It’s not my fault that the rumor was spread so quickly; they shouldn’t have assumed that I would keep a secret that important in the first place. It’s not my fault that we lost a family in our church; if they had been closer to Jesus they wouldn’t have left because I said or did what I did. It isn’t my fault that they had so many skeletons in their closet that they were ashamed of.

John Killinger tells about the manager of a minor league baseball team who was so disgusted with his center fielder’s performance that he ordered him to the dugout and assumed the position himself. The first ball that came into center field took a bad hop and hit the manager in the mouth. The next one was a high fly ball, which he lost in the glare of the sun–until it bounced off his forehead. The third was a hard line drive that he charged with outstretched arms; unfortunately, it flew between is hands and smacked his eye. Furious, he ran back to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the uniform, and shouted. ’You idiot! You’ve got center field so messed up that even I can’t do a thing with it!

Folks we can lay the blame wherever we want, but God spoke plainly to Ezekiel that “the soul that sins will be one who dies and not those who lived in the past. They will answer for their own sin and so will you. We cannot lay the blame for what we do at the feet of another person. James 1:14-15 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” It isn’t the fault of anyone else when we sin. It’s our own fault. Until we realize that fact, there can be no forgiveness of sin and when we face the Great White Throne Judgment we will have no excuse.

We can’t blame the church, the preacher or the Sunday School teacher or Sabbath School Administrator for not being good enough because we are commanded by God to study and make ourselves knowledgeable in the Word of God. We can’t blame the priest, mom and dad, or anyone else for not teaching us right, for the Word of God says that we are to work out our own salvation with fear of our Holy God and remembering that our eternal soul’s destiny hangs in the balance.

Especially now, in these New Testament times, we have no excuse for sin and we cannot lay the blame for our “sour grapes” on anyone else. We have the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, and the Blood of Jesus Christ to wash us, cleanse us and teach us to walk uprightly before God.

Listen to the words of God to the Prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:29-34, “In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

God has taken away our excuses for sin. He has taken away our excuses for not living a holy, sanctified life. God has removed the skin of our reason for not obeying his voice and revealed the lie that is stuffed inside. We stand on our own now and we cannot blame another for the sin we commit.

God has given us everything we need to be saved. He has provided a way out of our death penalty if we will only confess that we are wrong in the first place and face up to our own guilt.

We will all live or die based upon what we do with the gospel and death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking What about each of you? Has life dealt you a handful of sour grapes? Do you feel that life has been unfair? Don’t think that you are alone. All of us have felt that way from time to time.

It would be great if we could only release ourselves from the guilt of sin by placing the blame on someone or something else, but we can’t. Each of us must face up the fact that its “My Fault”. I am the one who chose to sin. No one made me do it. The Devil didn’t make me do it either. He may have brought the temptation to me, but it was my own desire and my own decision to yield to that temptation.

Only when we face up to our own “sour grapes” and confess that we are the ones at fault and no one else, can we find true repentance and forgiveness for sin.

“What Are You Afraid Of” ?

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perseverancePermanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacle s, discouragement s, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.

Thomas Carlyle

Philippians 3:12-4:1

I’m sure many of us here, at one time or another have watched the Olympics on Television. Some of us know who Katrina La-maydion is, but for those who may not know, she is one of Canada’s Gold Medal winners so far in the of year 2002 winter Olympics. Katrina won the gold medel, in the 500 Meter speed skating.

Just allow me to recall that race for a moment, maybe some of you can remember watching it. All these ladies who have been training vigorously for this very moment, were finally standing at the starting line, two skaters at a time trying to beat the clock and get the fastest time. You could see the look of determination on their faces, as they set their focus on the finish line just 500 meters away. I can remember the look on Katrina’s face, as she bent down into starting position, waiting for the signal to go. Her eyes were focused ahead, her muscles were all tensed, ready to press forward.

This evening I want to talk about “Gold Medal Living”, and through out this message we will be looking at 5 ESSENTIALS FOR GOLD MEDAL LIVING.

As we have briefly looked at these speed skaters in the Olympics, we realize and we can appreciate that when they reach the Olympics, they don’t just reach the finals, and are satisfied to stop there. They aren’t satisfied to finish there, they want to go on to better things.

The first essential to Gold Medal Living is Dissatisfaction.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
(Phil 3:12)

A Christian should never be satisfied with were he or she is at the present time, as Christians we should always be striving to be better, to be Holier, to win the race. Paul says that it is his goal to know Christ and to be like Christ. We should not let anything take our eyes of Christ, off our goal, we should never be content to stay where we are in our Spiritual walk, we need to strive to be better, no matter how far we are, there is always room for improvement. Therefore, dissatisfaction is an essential for Gold Medal Living. (Dissatisfaction that is in the sense of wanting to be all that Christ wants us to be.) Just as it is with athletes such as Katrina La-maydion, she was not satisfied with just being in the race, she was not satisfied to stay at the level where she was, she pressed on toward her goal. We as Christians ought to have that type of dissatisfaction, wanting to press on toward our goal, and just as Katrina La-maydion was rewarded at the end of her race, we too as Christians will be greatly rewarded in heaven. If these athletes can work so hard, for earthly rewards, how much more should we as Christians work, toward our heavenly reward.

There is a quote that says, “A ship in a harbour is safe but that is not what ships were built for.” We can apply that to our lives as Christians.

The second essential to Gold Medal Living is,
Devotion.

Again as we look at the life of an athlete, we can clearly see that they have to be devoted to their training. They have to be devoted, to remain in top condition, to be able to press on toward their goal. These athletes have to be very devoted to what they have set out to accomplish, that is, to be the best that they can be.

With such single mindedness of an athlete in training, we must lay aside everything harmful, and forsake anything that may distract us from becoming effective Christians. We need to be devoted to what we are doing. This type of devotion demands love. Matthew 22:37 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”.

So far we have looked at two essentials for Gold Medal Living. Dissatisfaction and Devotion, the next essential for Gold Medal Living is,
Direction.

When an athlete is at the starting line, all of her energy, and focus is in the direction that leads to the end of the track. When an athlete is running down the track, she don’t look back. If she turned to look back it would hinder her, it would cause her to slow down, and maybe even cause her to cross over in the way of another skater, and maybe even cause her to go of course.

The second part of Phil chapter 3 verse 13 says, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

You can’t score if you don’t know where the goal is!.

When we talk about forgetting what is behind and putting our focus on what lies ahead of us. The story of Lot and his wife comes to mind (Found in Genesis 19:26), God told them to run away from Sodom & not to look back, but what happened to lots wife when she looked back, she turned into a pillar of salt. Lots wife was looking back clinging to the past, she was unwilling to turn completely away, she wanted to look back to what she was leaving. Are we like Lots wife this morning, are we looking back longingly at sin while trying to more forward with God? We can’t make any progress with God as long as we are holding on to pieces of our old way of life.

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said it this way, “No one can serve two masters.” When we make a decision to follow Christ, When we turn our lives around from a life of sin to a life of dedication to Christ, we need to look in the right direction. We need to maintain a focus which is set on the goal which lies ahead, on the goal which we have set out to follow and achieve, and that goal is to live a holy life, that goal is to live a life that would make us more like Jesus, that goal is to receive the reward of eternal life in heaven with our Lord and master. And to achieve that goal, as we can see, direction is an essential.

So far we have seen three essentials for Gold Medal Living, the first was Dissatisfaction, the second was devotion, and the third was direction.

The fourth essential for Gold Medal Living that I want to talk about is, “Determination.”

In the text we see that the first part of verse 14 says, “I Press On… (3:14a) To press on takes determination, there are obstacles in our way sometimes, but this verse say’s “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

(1 Timothy 4:7-8) says “…Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has promise for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

As I have talked about Katrina La-maydion, the Canadian Olympic Champion, I am sure we can all appreciate and understand the determination that it takes for such athletes to train themselves to be in such physical condition, they train themselves to be ready for the race, they are determined to try their very best, they give it their 100%.

Maybe you’ve seen a Speed Skater set to begin a race. Have you every noticed the look on their faces. As they are ready to skate the most important race of their lives, they have a look of determination on their faces, they have made it this far and there is no turning back, they are determined to give it their best shot. There is a chorus that we sometimes sing, and it fits right in with what we are talking about this morning, “I am determined to hold on to the end, Jesus is with me, on him I can depend. I know I have salvation, I feel it in my soul, I am determined to hold on to the end.” Oh as Christians may that be our pray and determination this morning, and for those out side of Christ It is our prayer that, that will be your determination as will before to long.

You know most of us have done things in our past, which we are ashamed of, and we live in between what we have been and what we want to be. However, because our hope is in Christ, we can let go of past guilt, and move on with determination to what God will help us become, then we can forget about the past, and move on to a life of faith and obedience, we need to look forward to a more fuller and more meaningful life because of our hope in Christ, and don’t forget, “your to near the crown too lay down the cross, Don’t give up the race you run will soon be o’er. Your too near the crown to lay down the cross, just hold on it won’t be long and you’ll be home.”

In the Olympics only one person can be called the winner of the race, but as Christians there can be many winners, and all Christians may receive a reward. Furthermore the rewards of the Olympics will eventually fade away, but the crown Christ gives will never fade. The important thing is that we reach the goal that Christ as set for us. No matter how successful we may be in the eyes of man, we cannot be rewarded unless we “take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of us.”

So far we have seen four essentials for Gold medal living, dissatisfaction, devotion, direction, and determination.

There is a planned extermination for the children of God. The only way to prevent becoming a fatality is to live as a Gold metalist. The fifth and final essential for gold Medal Living is Discipline.

In our text, Phil 3:16 it says, “..let us live up to what we have already attained.” It is not enough to run hard and win the race; the runner must also obey the rules. I remember watching a race one time, and one of the runners were disqualified for breaking the rules, he caused two false starts by beginning to run before he was suppose to. He was not disciplined enough, to go by the rules, therefore, he could not go on. 2 Timothy 2:5 tells us that, “If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.” The issue is not what the athlete thinks, or what the spectators think, but it’s what the judge says. The Bible tells us in Roman 14:10-12. “…We will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written; “‘as surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God’” The Greek word used here in this text for “Judgment Seat” is Bema, the very same word used to describe the place where the Olympic Judges give out their rewards. If we have disciplined ourselves to obey the rules, to remain a Christian, we shall receive a reward.

Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to “Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

In a few moments we are going to sing the chorus, “your to near the crown too lay down the cross.” But before we do, I want each one of us to examine our lives. And ask our selves this question, “where am I in the race? Maybe there are some here this morning and you are at the starting line, or maybe you have already started the race, or maybe there are some here this morning and you are still in the stands watching. You no where you are, God knows where you are.

As you examine your life, and your place in the race as a Christian, the alter is open, maybe you want to pray for strength, that God will give you these five essentials for Gold Medal Living. Come this morning as we sing the chorus. “Your to near the crown too lay down the cross.

Father open our eyes

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Elisha fire

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.
G.K. Chesterton

I believe I am closer to my breakthrough than my natural situation depicts. I feel with confidence God is moving things around and stirring me up to make move towards His purpose for my life that will propel me into His blessings of restoration. If I could see what God was doing I would faint because of His love being physically manifested in a vividly spiritual optical way.

2 Kings 6:17

New International Version (NIV)

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

This is the prayer I pray right now for all of God’s children. The sin life associated with us as a nation and corporately is of dier straights. “Lord, open our eyes so we may see.” We are surrounded, just as the prophet Elisha was, by God’s “horses and chariots of fire”, waiting to transport us to places of glorious victory.

Once our eyes are opened by God, we will see all the events of our lives, whether great or small, joyful or sad, as a chariot for our souls. Everything that comes to us becomes a chariot the moment we treat it as such. On the other hand, even the smallest trial may become an object crushing everything in its path into misery and despair if we allow it.

The difference then becomes a choice we make. It all depends not on the events themselves but on how we view them. If we simply lie down, allowing them to roll over and crush us, they become an uncontrollable car of destruction. Yet if we climb into them, as riding in a car of victory, they become the chariots of God to triumphantly take us onward and upward.

There is not much the Lord can do with a crushed soul. That is why the Adversary attempts to push God’s people toward despair and hopelessness over their condition or the condition of the church. It has often been said that a discouraged army enters a battle with the certainty of defeat. I recently heard a missionary say she had returned home sick and disheartened because her spirit had lost its courage, which led to the consequence of an unhealthy body. My mother a devout “Woman of God” had her battle with cancer, then I was leaving her to battle her sickness alone because I had a full paid scholarship for Syracuse, but I had to serve my military commentment first. I left her at the ripe age of 17 years old and I never got home to see her again alive. My mom died from depression at and I feel a defeated grieving spirit at the ripe age of 41.
I am grieving in some ways myself, because of my desire to walk as Jesus walked, to love as He loved, to treat my trials as If I really have faith while in this land of the living. I get so depressed sometimes when I cannot even buy a roll of toilet paper due to my employment status at current, but my physical abilities I am learning have nothing at all to do with my spiritual abilities. I feel as we get to understand these attacks of the “Enemy” on our spirit and how to resist them. We should not forget all the ways God has delivered us. I find so much solice in studying and writing to you, that I forget sometime that He is my help and has gotten me through another un-promised day. Satan tries to dislodge us from our proper positioning, he seeks then to “wear out the saints of the most High” through a prolonged siege, until we finally, out of sheer weakness, surrender all hope of victory.

I know we are perplexed on all sides, but there is no height, no length, no depth, no weight that can seperate us from our God. Pray for all the lost and rest in His promises until your change comes.