Relationships

As I was driving the other day, I saw a number on the back window of a car. It wasn’t just a number, it was a racecar number, an identity. From the colors and style, you knew who it belonged to. It also indicated something else, a relationship. We desire to have a connection with others, we have been talking about it for a few weeks, but how do we identify who we have a relationship with? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Racing is a world built on relationships, it begins with family, friends and then grows to tracks, sponsors, touring series and sanctioning bodies. The racing community lives and dies based on these relationships. It is in the best interest of all to maintain these relationships. Yes, sponsors change, car owners change, team members change, but the best results happen when this is done without burning any bridges.

That is not to say we all see things through rose colored glasses. We can disagree, see things differently, make different choices, but still maintain good relations. That is something that benefits the racing community, and for the most part our differences do not separate us.

The success of a driver is built on the relationships they make and maintain. Carl Edwards, in his climb to the top, sought out every opportunity to make the right connections and build relationships that would open doors for his driving future. He had a business card made up that proclaimed his willingness to drive anything, anywhere, at any time hoping for the right opportunity to move his career forward. He was able to do that and achieved success at the top of the racing world.

The Camping World SRX Series has opened the door for some local drivers to compete against some of the most recognized champions in racing. The local drivers have taken that opportunity to open some eyes to the level of talent at some of the short tracks around this country. The opportunity to build relationships beyond the local track now exists, the door has been opened.

Our ability to build and maintain those relationships can open the doors for future opportunities. The flip side is true also, if we do not honor those relationships, we limit our future. We limit our exposure. We limit ourselves.

I have been talking about a guy named Peter over the last few weeks. Peter was the fisherman that Christ met along the shore one day and invited him to follow along. Peter witnessed the miraculous power that Christ possessed and decided to leave his business, his livelihood and follow Christ.

The journey wasn’t without its hills and valleys, there were a few bumps in the road. That is consistent with any relationship we have. Some days are diamonds and some days are stones. Given that, we need to figure out how to get through the rough spots. How do we persevere through the difficulties to maintain the right relationship with Christ?

We can’t. It is not within our ability to live in a way that always honors God. We have this part of us that desires to please ourselves, a selfishness that leads us into all kinds of difficulties. From the beginning of creation God gave us the option to choose and most times we choose the way that seems best to us. Peter was no different.

Peter walked alongside Christ for three years, he witnessed the miraculous healings, the feeding of thousands with just a few fish, the transformation of lives, yet he still was unable to choose to honor God in all his choices. In fact, he denied even knowing Christ.

When we are challenged in life with choices that preserve relationships or sever them, we sometimes make the wrong choice. Our ability to choose the right path is obscured but feelings of pride, selfishness, ego and the like.

Matthew 26:69-75; NLT; Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

That wasn’t the end of the story; Christ came to forgive, save what was lost. He restored Peter’s relationship with Him. We read about it in John’s Gospel, chapter 21. Peter, after receiving the grace of forgiveness went on to boldly follow Christ. Christ restores our relationship with Him. His grace is sufficient. We can decide whether to receive it or not. Peter chose to receive it and live his life differently. He decided to honor God with his life.

Peter said… Acts 2:14b, 21 …“Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this.” 21… everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

His transformation didn’t go unnoticed, when the religious leaders of Jerusalem heard his words, they were amazed.

Acts 4:13; NLT; The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

I wonder if it will be said of us; “these people have been with Jesus”? Jesus has the transforming power of grace that can cover even the most egregious sin, denying Him. He desires to have a relationship with each of us. Not one that will bind us and burden us, but one that will free us, fulfil and satisfy us. He reveals it for us to see and choose.

I would encourage you to accept His offer of grace, and build a relationship with Him. He will not disappoint you. There are blessings that come with living life that honors God.

Acts 3:4-8; NLT; Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

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