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Finishing Strong

June 26th, 2018

Anyone can start. Only the determined finish.

”I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Finishing Strong.”

Life is a marathon, not a sprint – a competitive race, not a casual run. The Bible says, “Those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain [the prize].” 1 Corinthians 9:24 NKJ. Finish strong. There will be the Father’s acknowledgment,  “well done,” and a crown of righteousness awaiting you.

Life is best lived when you are moving forward, neither slow nor still. In every season of life, it is important to remember that you are never too young or old to tackle a new challenge. Aging is inevitable. Old is optional. Old is more about a diminishing vision than the number of your years. Solomon warned, “Where there is no vision the people cast off restraints.” Proverbs 29:18. Keep your vision clear, your purpose consistent, and your eyes fixed on God. Whatever your age or circumstance, choose to finish strong.

Caleb was a contemporary of Joshua. Read Numbers 13:26-33 / Joshua 14:6-14. Caleb’s path was straight ahead with faith and spiritual vigor. He served with a Godly momentum, continuing strong in his confidence of the Lord who had the character and power to keep His Word, whatever the passing of time or size of the challenge.

Because the passage of time did not change God, Caleb would not let his age change his faith nor lessen his endeavors. “As the Lord promised . . here I am today, eighty-five years old! . . I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.” Read Joshua 14:10-12 NIV. That is how you finish strong. Caleb chose to live, not accommodating the obstacle before him but by the God who was inside him.

As was the faith of those Old Testament examples, the Apostle Paul kept his eyes focused straight ahead, “One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NIV. Keep your eyes on the goal. Finish strong.

Live in a manner that dedicates to a Godly focus, commits to a worthwhile purpose, and contributes to the well-being of others. At any age, young or old, everyone has something to contribute that can be beneficial to others. To Timothy, his young protégé, Paul assessed his own journey with anticipation, “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJ. Paul finished strong. What a Godly example for Timothy, the young minister. Anyone can start. Only the determined finish.

Live life every day moving forward in faith and obedience. Going somewhere. Accomplishing something. Making a difference. Building on successes. Benefiting from failures. Excelling today. Building for tomorrows.

Foolishly and frequently unrecognized, some people squander their years, energies, and their life on careers, hobbies, or recreation to the unintended and unrecognized neglect of their soul, as well as things important to their joy and accomplishment – such as family, friendships, and serving the Lord by serving others.

The Apostle Paul’s heart was committed to life in its fullness. His clarity of purpose and priority was fixed. “My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News.” Acts 20:24 NLT. Along the way, his goal was to live every day until his last day with a growing and Godly momentum – to finish his assignment and fulfill his ministry. Is that the way you live for God today, and will you purpose to do so every day?

Paul summarized his life, “The time of my departure has come. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to me on that day – and to all who love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJ. No time wasted. No effort spared.

I want to live that way. I don’t want to finish in a rocking chair. I want to finish with a flourish, full of faith, fully engaged in life, with steadfast purpose and clear-eyed focus. I don’t want to stand before Jesus with need for apology or regret. I may not set a world record as the fastest or best, but I want to be accelerating when I cross the finish line. How you live every day has everything to do with finishing strong.

My prayer for you today is to give life your best, in His strength, until He comes.

Christian Communications 2018

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Disappointments and Doorways

June 23rd, 2016

Disappointment can be a doorway to your greatest opportunity.

 “Moses my servant is dead. Now arise and go over this Jordan.” Joshua 1:1 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about disappointments and doorways.”

Difficulties and disappointments will come. When they do it is difficult to stop staring at the past, to resist the present reality, and not to feel stuck where you are. It is difficult but it is not impossible. Optimism is the best cure. There really is no other good option to moving past the past. In the purposes of God, your focus is forward and optimism is your attitude.

Moses died, 120 years old and, “his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated.” Note Deuteronomy 34. The page of history is turned and a new and grander chapter begun. In God, every ending births a new and greater beginning. Moses is dead; promises remain and victories await. Joshua 1:1-11 NKJV.

You have to deal with present reality to embrace future possibilities. Moses’ death must have been Joshua’s biggest disappointment. He personally and Israel nationally lost a bold and brilliant leader; the only leader they had known. “Moses my servant is dead; now arise.” Moses is dead. Joshua must carry on. Israel stands at a pivotal national moment – on the brink of its destiny and the fullness of God’s promises.

Your biggest disappointment can be a doorway to your greatest opportunity. It was for Joshua and Israel. “Moses my servant is dead; now arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them.” Joshua 1:2 NIV. Several million people were waiting to know from Joshua what was next. They couldn’t go back where they were; they couldn’t stay where they are; they had to press onward. The realities were these. Before them was an uncrossable Jordan at flood tide. Across Jordan was Jericho, the most fortified city guarding the entry to Canaan. Beyond Jericho were scores of other fortified cities, war-hardened armies, and men of such stature as to be seen as giants. They had been here before and a generation died because of their unbelief. Numbers 13:31-33 and 32:9-12 NKJV.

We know the story and the dangers faced and victories achieved. Let’s consider the process and apply it to your situation. God always rests the future on His promises in the past. God reminds Joshua of the renewed promises. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Joshua 1:3-4 NKJV. God assures Joshua of His continuing presence. “As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. I will never fail you nor forsake you. Be strong and of a good courage.” Joshua 1:5-7 NKJV. Three times God called Joshua to strength and courage. The issue is settled. “If God is for us, who can be against us?“ Romans 8:31 NIV.

God prepared Joshua to lead Israel with confidence; He will do the same for you in your difficult and uncertain moments. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV. The best is yet to come. This passage provides three things that are essential, not optional. (1) Speak the Word of God faithfully. (2) Dwell on God’s Word continually. (3) Live according to God’s Word consistently. “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9 NKJV. Jesus promised, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew28:20 NIV.

Today, I pray for you that you refuse to settle for anything less than God’s highest and best.

Christian Communications 2016 and  Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 2

February 3rd, 2016

“Stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV.

With God, there is more than you can see from where you are.

My comments today continue about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

Obstacles are natural events the devil uses to restrict you to the past or impose limits today. Every obstacle also presents opportunities. Opportunities are Godly provision that encourages you into a better and greater future, just over the horizon from where you now are. You fail to progress in your faith if you only see the obstacles but not the opportunities.

The Bible records two similar yet distinct miracles. Moses and Israel’s miracle at the Red Sea was to redeem Israel’s history. Joshua and Israel’s miracle at the Jordan River was to release Israel’s destiny. Allowing God to deal with your history allows entrance into your destiny. There never could have been a miracle at the Jordan if there had not been a miracle at the Red Sea. As with Israel, God sovereignly deals with your past as prelude to entering your blessed future, a place, “with flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.” Deuteronomy 6:10-11 NIV.

But first, Israel faced two insurmountable, natural barriers – the impassable, swollen Jordan River at the worst possible time of year and the formidable, menacing city of Jericho – a sentinel guarding the Jericho valley and entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:10 NKJV. As you read, notice God’s two purposes for the miracle He would provide. (1) assurance of His abiding presence among them, and (2) His guarantee of unfailing victory until every enemy was vanquished before them. If God could dry up the waters of Jordan, He could collapse the walls of Jericho. From what God has done you learn what God can and will do.

The priests, bearing the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders, were to step into the surging flood waters first and, “stand still in Jordan.” (Joshua 3:8 KJV). It required obedience to step into those surging waters and even greater faith to continue to stand there. Read Joshua 3:13-17 KJV. As promised, the miracle began when the priests stepped into the water, but not where the priests stepped into the water.

Miraculously, the waters stopped many miles upstream beyond where the priests stood and could not yet see. As the rushing waters receded, the priests, “stood firm in the middle of the Jordan on dry ground while all Israel completed the crossing on dry ground.” There will be times when your miracle is still upstream and unseen. With God, there is always more than you can see from where you are. In such times, “In prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV. “And having done all to stand, stand therefore . .” Read Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to stand strong in the truth of God’s Word at all times.

To be continued . . Part 3

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If you did not already watch the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

Christian Communications 2016

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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 1

January 29th, 2016

“This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV.

The impossible is what God does best.

My comments today are about “obstacles and opportunities.”

I have observed that life presents both obstacles and opportunities. It is unrealistic to presume you will have either without the other. Every opportunity presents an obstacle; every obstacle presents an opportunity. The bigger the opportunity, the greater the obstacles. The greater the obstacle, the bigger the opportunities will be.

You learn a lot about your own character when you experience obstacles. And in every obstacle, God offers an opportunity to learn about His character as well. “This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us be happy. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV. Any day is a good day when you are offered the opportunity to walk and live in His victory.

Take a few minutes to read Joshua 1:1-10 and Joshua 3:1-17 NIV. Joshua and Israel faced serious obstacles; an uncrossable Jordan and an invulnerable Jericho were both impediments to entering Canaan, the land of God’s promise and plenty. Why would the armies in Jericho neither offer opposition to Israel crossing Jordan nor demonstrate any active resistance as they marched around Jericho seven days? I suggest, with such flooded dimensions and depth of the Jordan, they must have assumed it unimaginably impossible for two million people to navigate such a crossing, just as they believed the capture of their city to be impossible. The impossible is what God does best.

Under the cover of darkness, Joshua sent two men went into Jericho to assess the situation ahead. What they heard was that Jericho was more afraid of them than they were of Jericho. Fear creates battles that God has already fought and won. A Canaanite woman in Jericho said, “I know the Lord has given you the land . . all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea when you came out of Egypt . . our hearts melted . . no courage remained in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God is God in Heaven and in earth.” Read Joshua 2:9-11 NIV. Imagine! Canaan’s current and continuing fear began more than forty years earlier, when God drowned the Egyptian army and divided the Red Sea for Moses to lead newly liberated people across on dry land.

Upon return to Joshua, their report was with assurance and certainty, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.” Joshua 2:24 NIV. But first they still had to cross the treacherous currents of a flooding Jordan. God always makes a way where there seems to be no way. With divine authority, Jesus said, “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NKJV. But be prepared, God’s way will be what you least expect and never imagined. God said, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV.

Maybe you face an obstacle, feeling uncertain of the path forward. Sometimes the past feels difficult to overcome; sometimes the future seems unsure and concerning. “This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us be happy. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV. Let me remind you that the God Who makes a way where there seems to be no way knows where you are and what you need, and He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV. Today can be your day of victory. Celebrate!

Today, I pray for you that you will believe God for the impossible.

To be continued . .

I spoke last weekend at the Cathedral of Faith in San Jose, CA. They have posted the video of the teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760

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An Inviolable Law

October 1st, 2014

“Help carry one another’s burdens . . you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NLT.

Changing the focus from yourself to others can change your life.

My thoughts and comments today are about “an inviolable law.”

The posted speed limit is not a suggestion for drivers; it’s a protection. The Federal income tax is not a recommended contribution; it’s a requirement. Gravity is not an optional reality; it is a law of nature, just as aerodynamics governs flight. You ignore those to your own loss and harm. Similarly, there are inviolable laws in the Kingdom of God.

The Ten Commandments are not ten suggestions; God established the Law, inviolable and eternal. When God said, “the tithe belonged to the Lord,” He did not request your benevolence; it’s a law that releases the inviolable principle of sowing and reaping. Malachi 3:8-12/2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NIV. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” John 13:34. He was not requesting your best effort; love is the law of life and relationships within the Kingdom of God. Your obedience to the Laws of God is where God releases His blessings.

We live on a few acres of Texas Mesquite, with three dogs, cows, horses, and miniature donkeys – all within perimeter fences and plenty of room. Within the safety of those fences, they have freedom to enjoy and explore. On our property they are safe, fed, and protected. Beyond those fences, they could be harmed or become a hazard to others. Only bad things will happen to them outside those fences.

Freedom to do whatever you choose is not all that your heart tells you it would be. Liberty without law becomes license, not liberty. Galatians 5:13-14 NLT. God’s laws mark boundaries that are safe and beneficial. His law is not to confine and limit you; His law is to train and direct your will. God’s law protects you from straying beyond the bounds of what would be best for you and others. Paul instructed young Timothy, “We know these laws are good when they are used as God intended.” 1 Timothy 1:8 NLT.

As Joshua prepared to enter Canaan, the land of promise and plenty, God directed him to the Law and its promised blessings, “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left that you may prosper wherever you go. This book of the Law . . you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success . . for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” See Joshua 1:7-9.

“Help carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NLT. That is much more than the nice thing to do; it is the right thing to do. Love, practical and observable, obeys, “the law of Christ.” If you want life to be blessed and rich with fulfillment and happiness, watch for chances to serve others, sharing their troubles and cares even when you have problems of your own.

When you lift others’ burdens, making their way a little lighter, God will lift yours. Changing the focus from yourself to others can change your life. “And God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.” Job 42:10. My friend, Harold, said it this way, “What you make happen for others; God will make happen for you.” I have found that true in my life. From your generosity and kindness toward others, you enjoy the greater benefit. “The law of Christ” is an inviolable law. Obey it and you will succeed and prosper. “Oh, how I love Your Law.” See Psalm 119:97-106 NIV.

Today, my prayer for you is that you learn to love God’s Law and respect all laws.

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