A. Life is a challenge.Proposition: It takes effort to maintain a right relationship with Christ.
B. It is so challenging that it requires a great deal of discipline and determination.
I. MOVING AHEAD, vs. 12-14
A. Keep your mind on your goal.II. STAYING AHEAD, vs. 15-17
B. Keep your mind off the past.
C. Keep your mind off the difficulties.
D. Keep your mind off yourself.
A. Don't grow weary.III. LOOKING AHEAD, vs. 18-21
B. Don't give up.
C. Don't be complacent.
A. There are only two choices.Conclusion: The rewards are great for those who are willing to pay the price.
B. One choice is to live as an "enemy of Christ"1. Their desireC. The better choice is to live as a "citizen of Heaven"
2. Their destiny1. Their hope
2. Their help
In a single day, Guthrie, Oklahoma, became a city
of 10,000. That was the time when Indian territories were first opened
to settlement. Can you imagine a city growing so large so fast?
Think of the problems. We sometimes expect too much too soon.
When that fails, we become defeated, complacent, or indifferent, and we
stop expecting any improvement. Somewhere there is a balance between
expecting too much too soon and having no expectations at all.
A minister said he received an announcement of a
new magazine that would make him more efficient in his work. They
sent him four identical letters in the same mail! They wanted to
help him be efficient but had overlooked a gross inefficiency of their
own. We want to help others, and we want to develop ourselves.
Islanders on Andros Island in the Bahamas believe in a spirit called Chickcharnee. Some say they have seen him in the forested interiors of the island. They say that if you see him, you must not laugh. If you do, he will turn your head around backward. That has already happened to some people. All they can see is the past. They are either weeping over past failures or glorying over past achievements, but it is all in the past. They have their heads turned around backward.
On the Hawaiian island of Maui is a church with a
most unusual story. A storm struck the island and deposited enough
coral to build a stone church. When it was finished, another storm
came up and washed the leftover coral back to sea. They call it the
miracle church! We can expect no such convenient miracles to take
the place of our own effort and service.
God sends no churches from the skies;
Out of men's hearts they must arise.
Along the Danube River, on top of a prominent hill,
is the famous Weissenkirk, with 365 steps leading up to it from the valley
below. So there may be many steps to reaching our spiritual goals,
whether they are personal goals or collective goals for our congregation.
We must not get discouraged. We must take one step at a time.
They once bragged that all roads led to Rome. It was not true, of course, It is never true that all roads lead to the same destination. In life, we must choose our roads carefully and inquire as to their destination. When we come to a crossroads, we must assume that those two roads certainly do not lead to the same place. We must look for the signposts and make our choices wisely.