We kick off our study of faith talking about our ability or lack there of to
following directions. Let me ask you, how good are you at following
directions? One of the most interesting things about human nature is that we
are always looking for a shortcut. We want to get to the destination as fast
as we can. How are we traveling through life? Are we willing to take
direction or are we fixed on getting somewhere regardless of who we run
over? Greetings on the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If you know the back way into Talladega , you might be a redneck.
Forgive my use of Mr. Foxworthy’s line but it rings true for our thoughts
today. Have you ever noticed we tend to look for the back way or the easy
way? We look for the way around the crowd. When we are going to some place
new we seek out others that have been there to determine the shortest route,
the quickest way. Sometimes in life shortcuts are not really all that short
and they lead us to places we never should go in the first place.
Jesus didn’t avoid the crowds, in fact he welcomed them. What do
you think would have happened if Jesus took the back road, the short cut to
the cross! How many miracles would have gone undone? How many lives would
have missed their encounter with Him? Sometimes the shortcut prevents us
from being blessed by God.
What is the best way to become a championship racer? I suggest it
is to learn the ropes and gain experience. I have an issue with those that
think they can bypass all this with a little green. Not only do we fail to
gain valuable experience, the quality of the racing suffers. On the job
training is necessary but not at the higher levels of the sport.
I don’t think we understand what we miss when we try to bypass the
learning experience. I had a professor in Seminary that put it this way; we
should have graduation first. Then those who are here for the piece of paper
can leave and the ones that want to learn can stay and learn.
I think there is a difference between racers that want to learn and
understand and those who have their sights on getting to the next level as
fast as they can. They view the current surroundings as just a pit stop on
that road not a place to learn and develop. Too many times we rush our kids
into life and fail to let them develop the proper discipline and experience.
I think we fail them and the life that God has for us suffers.
On some level we all think we understand more than we really do. We
think we can handle more than we can. When we realize that there are no
shortcuts we start to look at life differently. We start to focus on the
journey and not the destination. We need to realize that we don’t know
everything before we can be teachable. When we become teachable then we
really start to live.
The first Characteristic of Faith is obedience. We must be willing
to follow directions. How good are we at letting someone else lead us? I
remember a friend of mine who wasn’t willing to admit he needed direction.
He would say, “As long as I have a full tank of gas I am not lost.”
Obedience is a funny thing; before we are willing to follow
directions we first must have to admit we don’t know the way. We will not
let someone lead us if we think we can get there without help. There are no
shortcuts. We all need help getting there, wherever that is, some of us just
realize it before others.
Having faith means we admit we don’t know the way. That is one of
the most difficult things for us to do, especially men. Men don’t ask for
direction or turn around. Well guess what, to follow God and have faith we
need to stop, ask directions and turn around.
Let’s take a look at what James has to say on the subject.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak
and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous
life that God desires.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and
humbly accept the word planted in you,
which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the
word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the
word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a
mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what
he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that
gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard,
but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
James makes it clear that listening to, knowing God’s word, is not
enough we have to do what it says. Let me ask you, do you know right from
wrong? Of course you do. We know what is right and what is wrong, we just
choose to do what we want instead of what is right.
James uses an interesting illustration, the man in the mirror. What
do you look like? What do other people see? Do others see the right image or
do they see something different? James is telling us that we can’t claim to
be something we are not. When we claim to have faith but we do not follow
God’s direction we have a problem. We do not receive the blessing of God.
James says, “If we continue to follow God’s direction we will be blessed.”
Let me sum it up, if we put our trust and faith in God we will
follow His directions. Our life will reflect His image. We will continue to
live this way and experience God’s blessings. Faith is obedient. I ask you
this week to work on your ability to take direction. Turn to God and ask him
to guide you in the way that is right and follow Him. His promise is one of
abundant life. Choose to live that life through obedience to Him.
FROM THE ROAD
HEAVY HEARTS - With
the passing of track official Jay Merryfield this past week, Chaplain Bobby
Somers shared his thoughts.
The 2013 season has arrived and many tracks throughout New England
recently posted their schedules. This year Lee USA Speedway will be opening
with heavy hearts. Since Vinetta and I have been with the track we have been
blessed to sit and chat with many drivers, families, fans and officials. One
of whom was Jay Merryfield. When we first met Jay we felt he was friend
everyone would like to have.
In the three years Vinetta and I have been at Lee I don’t recall
ever missing a time we didn’t chat about anything and everything with Jay.
What brought us even closer was Vinetta’s medical expertise. As Jay shared
with us about his cancer and his desire to make sure he was getting the
right treatment because he wanted to make the most of the time he had left.
Vinetta and I were able to listen and guide. We are glad that He got every
minute out of it.
Jay drove the push truck for Lee, being there for any open wheel
competition. He was probably the lap leader there for he turned many laps in
that truck. Now the victory lap has been taken, the checkered flag shown to
Jay. He rests in peace, no more pain or suffering. He never once complained
at the track, he was always smiling and doing just what he was called to do.
A funny story I would like to share with the racing community. We
had just arrived at the track and Vinetta and I were walking down the track
into the infield. As always there was Jay behind the wheel of his push
truck, lights flashing. He drove by us on turn four yelling out the window
“I need to talk with you guys”. We waited in the infield he pulled up
alongside of us. He told us he signed up on Christian Mingle and they needed
a Church he was affiliated with. He said without hesitation I wrote in
“Racing with Jesus Ministries ”.
I know for many that the smile, the joy, the friendship we all had
with Jay will never be forgotten. Whoever drives the push truck for the 2013
season we will always remember the famous words Jay always said “gotta a
minute”. They will echo around the track as that truck continues to turn
To all the drivers and teams, even though a person may wear an
official shirt and may cause some differences, there is a remarkable person
behind that shirt, get to know them for more than being just an “official”.
Proverbs 27:17; As iron
sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another.
For anyone that new Jay Merryfield arrangements will be made at a
later date (May/June) and posted on Lee USA website.
ZACHARIAS FAMILY - As we remember those who have made such
an impression on our lives, please keep the Zacharias family in your
thoughts and prayers. Late last week the Matriarch of the family went home
to the Lord. I was encouraged to hear about how the family came together
through the holiday season and rallied around their mom. They shared old
stories, memories and a very special time together. I am sure it was a
wonderful blessing for her and them.
QUICK TRIP TO RIVERHEAD - As we say goodbye we say hello.
Last Sunday I had the privilege of dedicating Jordyn Marie DeFriest to the
Lord for her parents Kyle DeFriest and Christina Grodski. We had a wonderful
celebration of this new life, the joy she has brought into the lives of many
and making a commitment that we are going to raise her in the way of the
Lord. Congratulations to both families.
Of course no trip to Riverhead could be taken without some talk of
racing. The main topic of discussion was Daytona. I can share with you that
the #18 of Ken Heagy has plans to go. There are some others that are on the
fence. Either way I am sure the modified community from LI will be well
represented at the Beach!
Until next time, be a witness for our Lord with the ministry decals
and apparel. See them at the Show Your Faith Apparel Store at
http://www.rwjm.com/store. Send us your prayer and counseling needs no matter
what part of our racing family you are in, or give us a call. Remember that
God loves you, we love you and
Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing. GOD BLESS.
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Please remember, we can only do what we do because of your prayerful
Numbers 6:24-26 "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord
make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face
toward you and give you peace."
May God always Bless you, everyday in everyway. Rev. Don
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