Today, the last day of 2017, is a dreary and cold Sunday in North Texas. Unable to go to church
due to sickness, we started the morning by watching Dr. David Jeremiah. Next was Dr. Charles Stanley and we finished the morning with Dr. Robert Jeffress. The following is a compilation of thoughts God gave me after listening to these great men of God.
How do you live your life? Are you in it to win it or are you hoping to just get by? I think we all should be trying to make the most of our life, not just every now and then but one day at a time.
God calls each of us to live the life HE called us to live. Many people try to be someone they think is a great example to follow—you know like Billy Graham or Warren Buffett. May not be your examples but you get the gist. I think we are all called to be (me-myself-I) what God has designed us to be, not a clone of anyone else. Yes God created us in HIS image but HE gifted us to be individuals to be used for good works. For those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior-we are given the power of the Holy Spirit to be and do all HE sets before us.
Question. What was your life goal growing up? Question. How much time did you spend trying to accomplish that goal? Not a surprise to some but maybe to others, mine was to be a professional football player. After all, for starters I was usually one of the smallest in my class in both hight and weight. I played football from the early grades as often as I could. I even learned to play football against myself. Every time I could I played football. Even in those personal games I was in it to win it. You would have to have been there to see how it works.
God blessed me and I was able to play football in Jr. Hi, High School, College and even played on a Simi pro team one year. I played in pick up games in the park on week ends. I played in city leagues and on church teams. Here is the point. I put all of my energy and effort into that life goal—until May 19,1968. That day my life changed and so did my life goal. This coming May it will 50 years since I surrendered my life to full time service to Christ. But on that day, I was in it to win it.
I need to tell you, there have been times when I have failed miserably. In fact far too many occasions. But I have learned that God doesn’t call for perfection — He perfects the called!
When we sin, we are to confess it, and ask for HIS forgiveness. God’s grace is available for us to get back up- get cleaned up and then get back into the pursuit of HIs will for our life. I am still in it to win it. It is through HIS might and power not ours. Remember Philippians 4:13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me, I am ready for anything and equal to anything through him, who infuses inner strength into me, that is I am self sufficient in Christ Sufficiency. (Amplfied) Praise God, I know that HE will complete the work HE began in me back in 1968.
How do I know that? God told me and I believe HIM. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) I learned that there are many people in the bible that God used to do great things. In fact there is one that I want to talk about. You may have already heard his name—CALEB. I want us to learn how to duplicate his in it to win it attitude. If we can do that we will be forever blessed and those around us will be blessed as well.
You may remember Caleb was Joshua’s partner along with 10 other men in an assignment Moses gave them. They were to spy out the promised land for Israel to see what was there. Joshua and Caleb came back with the report that with God’s help Israel could take the land. However, the other 10 said that was not possible and talked the people out of going where God had told them to go. Their lack of faith we just talked about over the next 40 years cost them and everyone over 20 years of age their life.
But what happened to them after those 40 years? Glad you ask. This is the focus of the story we need to understand and then apply it to our life. Caleb is now 85 years old BUT he is still in it to win it. He comes to Joshua and ask for his portion of land God had assigned to his people. In Joshua 14:8-9 we find the KEY to Caleb’s success which is also the key to your success and mine as well. Here are the words that are the KEY to success—“I wholly followed the Lord my God”. Remember he is 85 years old. Many of us on this mailing list are not “spring Chickens” any more. However, we can still wholly follow the Lord!
We find in scripture 3 insights about Caleb that shows us he was in it to win it.
- Caleb loved life, he didn’t dread it—10-11—And now, behold, Jehovah has kept me alive, as He said, these forty five years since Jehovah spoke this word to Moses, when Israel went in the wilderness. And now, behold, today I am a son of eighty five years 11-yet I am as strong today as in the day Moses sent me. As my strength was then, so is my strength now for war, both to go out and to come in. Notice the words, Jehovah kept me alive.
Caleb had been in the midst of folks dying for 40 years. His friends and family were surely a part of that. What do you think sustains you every day of your life? How often do you thank HIM for it?
- Caleb understood life, he did’t doubt it—7—But my brothers who went up with me caused the heart of the people to melt, yet I fully followed after Jehovah my God. Even though his friends failed to trust God, Caleb didn’t follow suit. He knew other people could make mistakes and follow the crowd but that didn’t mean he had to do the same. Caleb was a positive man. Forty years earlier he believed God was in charge and he still believes that now.
Are you as positive about God today as you were at 40? Hopefully these past 30-40 years have left you with a more positive attitude about Gods abilities in your life. Don’t let age decrease your belief in Gods power. Listen to the words in verses 13-14—And Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance 14-Therefore, Hebron has belonged to Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, for an inheritance to this day, because he fully followed after Jehovah the God of Israel. There is one more scripture that reveals Caleb’s positive attitude. In verse 12—So give me that mountain that the LORD promised me that day. You were there. You heard the other spies talk about that part of the hill country and the large, walled towns where the Anakim live. But the LORD will help me take their land, just as he promised.
God has used that scripture in my life many times. Back in the 70’s I was in my second church and one Sunday a young lady (we were all young then) named Sandy sang a song based on that scripture. Google it. It is a great song. I Want That Mountain
The chorus is great;
I want that mountain- I want that mountain
where the milk and honey flow-where the grapes of Eshcol grow,
I want that mountain, I want that mountain, that mountain that the Lord has given to me.
The Lord led her to sing that song to bolster my faith over and over again. That was over 40 years ago. Here is a side note on verse 13. Joshua gave Hebron to Caleb. What do WE know about HEBRON? It was a special place to God. You need to know, if you don’t already, the devil builds his strongest walls around Gods special places. It was the burial ground for some of Gods great saints. But Caleb was devoting special energy to Gods special place. Do you ever concentrate your energy on Gods special places? First, Your body. Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever given your life to God for HIM to use as HE sees fit? Second, Your church. The Church should be a special place where God is magnified and supported by you. Third, Israel. This is God’s chosen land, His chosen people. Remember God promised to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.
Now back toHEBRON. it was a land occupied with Giants. Folks when you are in it to win it,
its always good to start with the toughest assignment first. Remember; greater is he that is within you than he that is in the world! When you defeat the toughest your ready for anything.
- Caleb defined life, he did’t distort it. 13-Joshua prayed that God would help Caleb, then he gave Hebron to Caleb and his descendants 14-And Hebron still belongs to Caleb’s descendants, because he was faithful to the LORD God of Israel.15-and the land had rest from war.
Caleb knew exactly what he wanted—he wanted exactly what God wanted him to have.
Is there anything else that made Caleb so successful in his in it to win it mentality?
Yes there is one more thing. we cannot overlook this.
Num.14:24—but my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. Caleb was not like the 10 other Israelites who went into the promised land with him. He had a different spirit within him. Folks, every person who has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior does not have the same spirit in them that the people of the world have in them. Christians are filled wth the presence of a HOLY GOD. They FULLY follow the leadership of the HOLY SPIRIT IN THEM.
Did you get the message from Caleb? HE WAS IN IT TO WIN IT. ARE YOU?
Friends, this is not just for 2018 but for every day of every year you live until Jesus comes back to take His children home, and I personally don’t think that will be much longer.