The purpose that God has for you is permanent and it's preordained. It's up to you to find out what it is. He'll lead you in it.
But you find out what it is. Jesus said, you follow me. I have a race for you to run. Running a permanent race.
Here's Ann. Focus on Jesus. Focus on His purpose for your life. And His purpose is to bring honor and glory and praise and blessing to God. To enjoy Him.
Entering into this personal, permanent love relationship with Him. And you pursue that purpose and it's a permanent purpose. It's a permanent race. It's not a sprint. It's a marathon. This is a race for the rest of your life. This is not a purpose just for a weekend or for a month or for a year or for this stage in your life. This is a life long purpose that you live out every day for the rest of your life.
And you're to run your race with perseverance. And I would ask you what you need to build in your life when you go home to see to it that you run with perseverance. What are the things you need to build into your life? You need to build in daily Bible reading. Daily prayer time. I think you need to keep a prayer list. I think you need to have a prayer partner. And I think it would be wonderful if that prayer partner were your spouse.
But if that's not quite suitable and you want somebody of your gender, somebody that you can confide other things into, then maybe there will be somebody at church or somebody, another friend or somebody who will just be a prayer partner. Would you just check on me and see how I'm doing and see if I'm still running my race with perseverance because I really, with all my heart, want to keep this commitment. And I want to know God. And I want to pursue his blessings in my life.
And I want to live for his glory. And would you just come alongside? You know these marathon runners and they run 26 however many miles. And some of the runners who get so weak and begin to falter, they have somebody that comes up alongside and say, we're here. And they pass some water. They give them encouragement. They put them on to help them keep running the race. A prayer partner can be that for you.
Somebody who comes alongside and just helps you. I think you need to get into a church that loves Jesus and teaches his word like they believe it. And if you're not in a church like that, I don't care if you were born and raised in that church and married and baptized and had family members buried.
Leave it. Don't stay in a church that doesn't believe God's word and doesn't have a heart for the gospel and doesn't acknowledge people or love them. Get lost in going to hell anyway. And get into a church that's on the same page with you.
Actually, on the same page that we're all on. Presenting the Bible. Presenting the Christ of the Bible.
Having a heart to win the lost. Disciple people in their faith. You need a Christian fellowship to belong to. So what will you build into your life to see to it that you persevere in this purpose of living to the glory of God and getting to know him? Maybe you need to join a Bible study to hold yourself accountable in the scriptures.
Maybe you can start a Bible study like I did in my city. I started it so I could be in it and be held accountable. It's a permanent purpose. His purpose for your life is preordained. It's the race marked out for you. He doesn't expect you to run my race. He doesn't expect you to run somebody else's race. He has a race marked out for you. The overarching purpose is to bring glory and blessing and honor.
To his name. And to know him and his fullness. But underneath that there is a preordained race just for you. Ephesians chapter 2 says that we are God's workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do. He has a preordained race just for you. Keep your focus. If you can just not misunderstand this.
This is my focus. My father is a legend in his own day. Preached all over the world. Had fabulous meetings that's have to have been revival for that city at that time. Stadiums packed. Overflowing. Written best selling books.
The Cove is just one of his many ministries that's bearing huge fruit. My mother in her day she was an artist. She's so well read. Such a great conversationist that when they go to those White House dinners my mother was always seated at the President's table because she kept the conversation going.
And full of wit and humor. And my sisters have ministries. My brothers head up fabulous organizations. And I go home and I feel about this big. And I begin comparing myself to everybody else. And you know what God says to me? And I'm not expecting you to run their race. I have a race marked out for you.
Keep your focus on the race I've given you. In John chapter 21. After the resurrection when Jesus had asked Peter three times do you love me? And three times Peter had said he did. And then Jesus said Peter I want you to follow me. I want you to get up and come down. And they walked down the beach and the little sea birds were calling.
The waves were lapping at the shore and the sand was crunching underneath their sandals. And Jesus looked at Peter and he said Peter when you were a young man you went where you wanted and you dressed yourself. And when you're an old man somebody's going to stretch out your hands and lead you to a place you don't want to go. And the next verse said that Jesus was telling Peter about the death that he would die and bring glory to God. And you know how Peter died?
Tradition tells us that he was crucified upside down because of his relationship with Jesus. And Peter turns around. He's so much like us. And he sees John following. And he looks at the Lord and he says Lord does John have a cross? Is he going to have to take up his cross and follow you? And Jesus looked at Peter and in my paraphrase he says Peter John is none of your business.
You follow me. And when we stand before God's we're not going to give an account of how we ran somebody else's race or how somebody else ran their race or didn't run their race. We're going to give an account to him for how we ran our race. It's a preordained race.
What is yours? There is a preordained race for you. You're not the exception. And it doesn't have to be a big thing. The Bible says don't despise the day of small beginnings.
It could be just a small thing. Maybe you go to your office and you pack your lunch not just with a sandwich for yourself but a sandwich for your co-worker. And you take it and you just pray God bring to my attention somebody that needs to have a sandwich with me and God brings that person your attention and you go out and you sit outside in the courtyard and you have your lunch together with this person and say listen let me tell you where I just was and let me tell you what God's done in my life and let me tell you that Jesus is enough for me. And just share simply from your own experience who Jesus is and what he means to you. Maybe it would turn out into a little lunchtime Bible study. Maybe that person would want to do something more tomorrow. Maybe he'd say you know I've got a friend in the other office and this person's been asking some questions.
Do you think you could talk to him? The key thing is when God brings people to me like that usually they're not people that are over my head. You know we're so afraid we're going to have a Buddhist or a Muslim who's going to ask us questions that we can't possibly answer. But God seems to match where we are with who he brings to us.
Have you ever noticed that? And certainly he can challenge us and certainly there are times when we feel like we're stretched and that's good for us. But you just pray say God I don't want to embarrass you.
He doesn't want to be embarrassed either by the way. I get too far in over my head but bring me somebody to share my lunch with that needs a word of encouragement. Somebody I can pray with. Somebody I can share the scriptures with and maybe it would be a noontime Bible study at your office. Moses. You remember when he was going back to Egypt and he didn't know how to serve the Lord and the Lord said Moses what's in your hand? And it was a shepherd's staff. And God said Moses throw it on the ground and it became a snake and God said pick it up and it became a staff.
So it was in Moses' hand to demonstrate his power to the king of Egypt and to force the king to let God's people go. And I believe God would say what's in your hand? What's just in your hand? And my friend looked in her hand and she had a tennis racket. And she's a wonderful tennis player and belonged to a racket club and so she went to a racket club and she knew there were women at the racket club that never darkened the door of a church or a formal Bible study and she just asked if they would like to read the Bible together. And there were 12 to 15 of those women who said yes. And they brought their little confirmation Bibles. Little white ones that have zippers that had never been opened before. And they were so excited.
They were just waiting for somebody curious and wondering and waiting for somebody to say I want to share with you what God's word says. Have another friend who had four children at the same time. She has quadruplets. And she said when they were little they were like magnets in her yard.
They attracted every child in the neighborhood and she was always shooing the children away. Get out of my flowers. Get out of my yard. Get out of my kitchen.
Get out of my refrigerator. And then one day the Lord said that's what you have in your hands. That's the ministry I've given you. And so instead of shooing them away she started inviting them to come in. Taught them Bible stories. She had a little backyard Bible club. She said you know the amazing thing? Not one parent asked her what she was doing with their children. To get rid of their kids. It was what was in her hands.
And some of those children she led to Christ. What's in your hands? Maybe you have an elderly parent who has Alzheimer's or something and you go out of duty every week to visit them. They don't know you're there. They don't remember that you're there.
But you're doing it. Maybe that's what's in your hand. And there's some other elderly person at that rest home. Somebody else who never gets a visitor who's lonely but who's mind isn't gone and who needs the hope of heaven shared with them. Maybe it's somebody in prison. Somebody here have a child or a loved one in prison.
And it's a tragedy. And I grieve with you for the waste and the destruction in that person's life. But maybe that's what God has put in your hand. And when you go visit your loved one would he open your heart to others who are there? Is it possible that you could start a Bible study in your local jail?
In your prison? Use your holy imagination. Ask God to bring to your mind. Open your eyes.
The fields are white under harvest and the laborers are few because they're still waiting for the lightning to strike them or handwriting on the wall and they're not looking at what God's placed in their hands. Look at what he's put in your hands. And that may lead you to an understanding of what your preordained race is. And the purpose that God has for you is permanent and it's preordained. It's up to you to find out what it is. He'll lead you in it. But you find out what it is. Jesus said, you follow me.
I have a race for you to run. So would you fix your eyes on Jesus? His purpose for your life and his person.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. And in verse 2, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. And I don't want to make this superficial at all but I see him in his life as being faith anchored in the word of God. And you would say, how can the living word of God be anchored in the written word of God?
And yet he was. And when he was tempted of the devil in the wilderness and when he was hanging on the cross and all through his life when he was combating the Pharisees and the Sadducees and teaching his disciples again and again and again you find him quoting the scripture. He had made time to read and to study and apply and he lived by it and his faith was anchored in the word of God. And we find him living a faith anchored life. We find him living a purpose driven life who for the joy that was set before him scorned the shame of the cross.
Do you know what the joy was? We know he was purpose driven. His overarching purpose from John 17 was to glorify his father and he was living his life to the glory of his father by obeying his will and fulfilling all that his father had from bringing him glory and blessing and honor. But his specific purpose, the race he had to run was to bring salvation and redemption for you and me. To be the lamb of God who would give his life on the cross as the perfect sacrifice. To make atonement for your sin and my sin. That we might be forgiven. That we might be brought into a right eternal relationship with his father. And the joy that was set before him.
Listen to this. He scorned the shame of the cross and the agony and the horror for the joy. And make no mistake about it, you are his joy. You are why he went to the cross.
You and winning you and drawing you to himself in a personal permanent love relationship and taking you with him to live forever in his heavenly home. You are the whole reason he came. You're the joy that was set before him. You're the purpose that drove him to leave heaven's throne. Put off his glory robes. Put on that simple linen garment of human flesh. Flesh of a servant becoming obedient even to death on the cross.
You're the joy. He was faith anchored in God's word and he was purpose driven. And he was glory bound.
Did you see? For not only the joy set before him, he endured the cross. He scorned the shame and he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. And he had left his glory as the son of God and he came to earth and had the glory of son of man.
And he went back. He wanted his glory robes back and God gave him all the glory as son of God and son of man. And all the glory of God is vested in his son.
He's the exact one. He's the radiance of the glory of God. He was glory bound. And fix your eyes on Jesus. If Jesus was faith anchored in God's word and purpose driven to bring God glory and fulfill his preordained race. And if he was glory bound for heaven, why would you think your life would be any less?
Why would you think you're for something different? Focus on Jesus. On his purpose, his person, his perseverance. Verse 3. Consider him who endured such oppression from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Think about it. Jesus hanging on the cross being taunted and mocked and tempted to come down could have come down. He could have released himself. He could have told them all to go to hell and it wouldn't have been a curse.
It wouldn't have been a judgment. But Jesus stayed on the cross. Think of his perseverance. And he was tempted to the nth degree. And you know temptation gets stronger the more you resist it.
You do know that. And however many times you resist something and finally you give in because you feel so proud of yourself for resisting three times will you give in and allow yourself to have it on the fourth time. And Jesus never gave in. And that temptation got stronger and stronger and stronger. Think of his perseverance and think of what he would have missed had he come down from the cross. Think what you and I would have lost if he had quit.
So fix your eyes on Jesus. Are you tempted to quit? You're tempted to give up. Your struggle against sin in your own life. I get so sick of sin in my life I want to quit.
Failure in one area of my life again and again and again to the point I'm ashamed to come back. Tell God about it and of course he knows anyway. And you just get so tired of the struggle against sin. Don't quit. Don't give up. You're serving the Lord and nobody appreciates you.
Nobody says thank you and nobody's life seems to be changing. You have yet to see the fruit to come from what you're doing. Don't quit. Fix your eyes on Jesus, on his perseverance. And we know if we don't grow weary and well doing we're going to reap.
We hope that right? We know that because our faith is anchored in the Word of God that says if we don't grow weary and well doing we're going to reap if we faint not. And you're going to see the harvest and you're going to see the glory. Don't quit. Run your race with perseverance. Fix your eyes on Jesus, on his purpose and his person and his own perseverance.
And hang in there. He's gone before you. He understands. If you don't have a prayer partner, somebody to come alongside let me tell you something. Hebrews 7 25 says that Jesus ever lives to make intercession for you. He's your prayer partner.
The person of the dear Holy Spirit who is Jesus inside of you, who's come alongside you, who's come inside of you to encourage you, to enable you, to empower you, to persevere. Fix your eyes on Jesus. And what are your eyes fixed?
And I believe you can keep your fix. Your focus on Jesus. If every day you set your compass in the morning, you spend time with the Lord in prayer, in Bible reading, and during the day it's just automatic. Your thoughts come back to what you've read. Your thoughts come back to his presence. You're fixing your focus on Jesus.
Would you do that? Focus on Jesus. Would you know him? Would you refocus your life on Jesus?
The person of Jesus who is in himself alone enough to know God. And then would you readjust your attitudes? And readjust your attitude towards your problems. Let me ask you, what problems are you facing? You have problems in your marriage? You have problems in your business? You have problems in your health? You have problems with your children? You have problems with your neighbors? You have problems in some other relationship? Problems in your finances? I don't know what the problems are, but I'm going to get in your face and challenge you to be objective about the problems.
And this is what the writer of the Hebrews is saying. Could it be that the problems in your life are of your own making? Are these problems the consequences of wrong choices you've made? Or sin in your life? And you're having problems in your health because you have totally not eaten right? And you don't exercise? You have problems in your marriage because you have such a nagging tongue?
Such a critical spirit? You're lorded over your spouse? You have problems with your neighbor because you've never reached out to them?
And you're always correcting them for coming onto your lawn or doing something you didn't like and all the loud music, whatever? You have problems at your place of work because you haven't been honest? You're having problems in your finances because you haven't kept your budget? Having problems in your health because you haven't maintained it by just the basic things of nutrition and having problems in your family because of jealousy and your own heart? Resentment? Be honest.
Can you do that? Look at the problems in your life and be objective about them. And it could be that the problems you're facing are some of your own making. They're the consequences of your sin and listen to me. God allows you and me to go through consequences. He's not going to punish us for our sin.
Please get that message loud and clear. The consequences of sin are not punishment. Punishment is the cross. And God punished Jesus for your sin. And he will never punish you for your sin. But God will allow you and me to go through the consequences of our sin because he uses that to discipline us and to train us.
So be objective and when you're being disciplined by God and you're going through consequences of your own sin, he says in verse 5, and you've forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as a son and says, my son, don't make light of the Lord's discipline by saying that's not what it is. Or saying this isn't the consequences. This is somebody else's fault and you and I live in a culture of victims. We're always blaming somebody else.
Stop it. And don't lose heart when he rebukes you. Don't say it's punishment. It's not punishment. He punished Jesus for you. This isn't punishment. This is his discipline in your life.
Be objective. And I'm not sure that word is so encouraging but Romans 8.28 is encouraging. All things work together for good to those who are called according to God's purpose and who love him. And that means all things. Even the consequences of your sin. Even the consequences of your wrong choices. And God uses all those things. If you would bring them to him and get in line with his purpose and submit to his will in your life, he takes all of those things and uses them for your own good and your own good.
You do understand. It's not your own health and your own wealth and your own comfort and your own convenience and your own prosperity and whatever you want. But your ultimate good is to conform you to the image of Jesus. To make you like Christ. And therefore when you're in God's will all things, even the consequences of your sin work together for the end of conforming you to the image of his son.
Now here's Anne with this final word. Do you know what that purpose is? What is the work God has preordained for you? What race is he laid out for you?
Don't miss it because you don't make the effort to discover what it is. Start looking. Start in your own hand. What's in your hand? Moses looked in his hand and found a staff and God used that to demonstrate his power. David looked in his hand and he had a slingshot.
He used that to demonstrate God's power. In your hand do you have small children? Do you have a computer keyboard?
Do you have a stethoscope? What's in your hand? What can God use in your life to demonstrate his power? Live a purpose driven life. Jesus did. He kept his focus on the joy of abundant blessing as he endured the cross, scorning it shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. He was glory bound. So fix your eyes on Jesus.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-23 18:00:47 / 2022-12-23 18:09:37 / 9