Tag Archives: Racing with Jesus Ministries

Journey of Faith

By Rev Don Rivers

We took a little break from our journey of faith and I wanted to review where we’ve been. What gets us moving down the road? What is it that prompts us to start the journey? What do we need to encourage us to follow? Let’s take a look at our journey. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I have often thought about the effort it takes to get from the garage to the track. Where does the motivation come from to embark on a racing adventure? Some can see the potential in a pile of metal tubing. Others can see an old car and imagine the future racecar hidden inside. Do you remember the junkyard days? The journey began with a trip out to the yard. Let’s see what we can find and make into a racecar. Today the journey may begin searching the internet to see what’s available. No matter, the journey begins with a spark, a thought, a desire to see what you can do.

Hebrews 12 :1, NLT; Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

We begin the journey to join those who have already gone before us. Maybe to match their efforts or exceed what they were able to accomplish. Very few times do we start a journey on a road no one has traveled. We follow in the footsteps of those who have come before. It is important to acknowledge, remember where we come from and those who came before us.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. Sometimes the greatest thing we can do is honor the journey of someone who came before us. As we are inspired by their journey we might ask; what has God placed me here for? Whose lives have we been placed here to touch? And so, our journey begins.

Our goal in life as a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. To do that requires faith. Not in our abilities or understanding, but in God’s sovereignty. Sometimes we question if God is still in control. Sometimes we wonder if He has things figured out. Will God do it or does he need my help? We even have the thought that we need to lead God. We need to show Him where we think He should be working.

There are some things God tolerates that we do. There are some things God allows us to do. But there are things that only God makes happen. God’s Sovereign Will, will be done. As followers we need to remember that, we need to understand two important things about God;

God is Sovereign, God has absolute control over His creation and determines the outcome of all things according to His wise, just and righteous purposes.

God is Good, God not only controls everything but he reveals his character in the outcome of His plan, it accomplishes good and is beneficial for us.

Whether we believe it or not! When we fail to acknowledge God’s sovereignty we become, as James described, tossed about.

James 1:5-8; NLT: 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

When it does not seem likely. When it does not seem possible. When it does not make sense to us. Then it has to be God! Remember our goal in life is to be a follower of Jesus Christ. To do that requires faith, not in our abilities or understanding, but in God’s Sovereignty.

What enables us to persevere? What is it that gives us hope? What is it that gives us peace?

Faith; We receive them as we walk by faith.

… let us strip off every weight that slows us down …

We need to take a look at our lives and ask; What keeps us from serving God; Job, Home, Racing, Family or maybe Debt, Pride, Fear or Greed?

… the sin that so easily trips us up…

Most of us think we are good people. We try to do what’s right in God’s eyes. We try to treat others as God would but this is where we get tripped up. Have we ever been unkind, unloving, lacked faith, abrasive, out of control, impatient, anxious or worried, prideful or arrogant? There it is, the sin that so easily trips us up. The things that keep us from experiencing the full blessing of God.

When we place our faith in God through Jesus, he enables us to walk in faith. When we walk in faith, we persevere through all the hindrances and entanglements with our focus on Jesus.

How can we maintain our faith in God when things are not going the way we think they should?

Isaiah 43 1b-3b; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

  2 When you pass through the waters,

    I will be with you;

  and when you pass through the rivers,

    they will not sweep over you.

  When you walk through the fire,

    you will not be burned;

    the flames will not set you ablaze.

  3 For I am the LORD, your God,

    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

God is with us! Facing hardship, persecution and difficulties is part of the journey, but we should never forget that we cannot be separated from the love of God through Jesus Christ! The source of the fire may be cruel or malicious intentions on the part of others, but ultimately God is the one who is controlling the temperature and allowing us to pass through it. First, remember God knows the way that we take. God is not unaware of our difficulty; God is not insensitive to the pain we are feeling. He knows. He is intimately acquainted with our situation and our condition.

And if the all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God is allowing one of his children to pass through affliction, we can rest assured that there is a purpose behind it. We may not see it yet. We may not even agree with it. But rest assured that when God has tried us, we will come out as refined, purified gold, reflecting His image.

We can rest in the wonderful assurance that God is next to us on our journey and on his throne in heaven. He knows the way we are taking, and is in control over every detail of our journey until it is complete and we join Him in glory. 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.

THE ROAD

As you may know the first part of the racing season starts in the South. In February, Daytona comes to life and lives up to its billing as the World Center of Speed. All around the central Florida area racetracks come to life with drivers, teams, and fans from across the country. That requires a little roadwork, time to hit the road. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The last of the nomads make their way around the country pursuing their need for speed. Their pursuits require a bit of roadwork, life on the road. The road begins in late January for some but the traditional start of the racing season is Speedweeks. Sometimes it is not difficult to leave the frozen Northeast and travel south for some warmth and racing. Sometimes the road is a lonely one. No matter, we serve the racing community and where they gather is where we need to be.

Road trips come in all shapes and sizes, they can be adventures, exploring new horizons. They can be familiar roads that have been traveled many times. They can be constantly changing, moving us to find new ways to get to the destination. Sometimes they contain detours and roadblocks. The truth is there are no shortcuts, you have to log the miles no matter which way you go. It’s like a race, you need to run all the laps to cross the finish line. Life is similar in that you must run the race in a way as to win. No shortcuts, no bypasses, no detours.

Paul tells us how he ran his race;

Acts 20:24; However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

1 Corinthians 9:24-26; Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

2 Timothy 4:7-8; I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Paul also knows what it means to stray off course;

Galatians 5:7; You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?

Have you ever been cutoff?  Tried to follow the right way but ended up in a place that you shouldn’t be? We follow the crowd. I hear the excuse, everyone’s doing it. Do you remember your mom saying, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you follow them?” Yeah, probably. We tend to follow the crowd. We justify everything by what others do. We don’t want to stand out from the crowd. If we blend in and follow along, we will be alright. No, you must run in such a way as to win, not just get by. Following the crowd does not lead us to life.

Sometimes we think if we just stay where we are, we will be alright. Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right road you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Life is a road race, left turns, right turns and balance is important. We can’t just sit there; we’ll get run over. And don’t follow the crowd, they may be just as lost as you. So, how do we find the right direction?

John 14:5-6; Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Follow Jesus and he will lead you to life. He will lead you to the truth. He will guide us along the right path. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives us a way to identify those who are on the right road. It’s not the crowd. It is only those who follow Him.

Matthew 7:13-20; “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

Wide is the road and many are the people on it. We all know that it is a difficult choice to stand out from the crowd. Jesus lets us know that when we choose to stand out for the right reasons, we will produce a good byproduct. Jesus tells us to look at the results of a person’s life.

When we travel the road of life what do we leave behind? Do we produce good things? Are people better off for knowing us? We need to realize that the roadwork isn’t just for us, but it should also benefit those whose paths we cross. Our presence should make a difference, no matter if it is a passing touch or someone whose life we are a part of.

Are we called to make the journey for someone else’s benefit? When people’s lives are in turmoil do they search us out for guidance, direction, healing, grace and mercy? Look at how people responded to Jesus. People flocked to Him. They sought Him out because they knew that Jesus cared for them. They knew that through Jesus they could find the things that were missing in their lives.

When we are on the right road people will seek us out. They will come to us for guidance direction, grace and mercy. How good are we at giving directions? Turn around and look, is anyone following us? I would encourage us to look at the road we are on. Are we running a race that will win the prize? If we turn to Jesus, He will guide us to the right road.

Our trip south involved many encounters, some were hurting at the loss of a loved one, friend, coworker. Some were celebrating a victory. Some were caught up in disagreements over things that from the outside seem insignificant. Some were just happy to be there. Some indicated that there is an exciting future ahead, God has more journeys for us to take! We are happy to be there and put in the effort to meet you where you are and help you along the road.

Where will our next road take us, only God knows and I’m okay with that. We will continue to seek Him with all our heart, soul and strength. He will guide us along the right path for His glory. I encourage you to join Him and see what roadwork He has for you. 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.

Faith Overcomes Adversity

By Rev Don Rivers

We have begun our journey of faith; we’ve discussed how to ask for and follow directions. Everything is moving along until. There it is, a bump in the road, adversity. There are no smooth roads on the way to paradise, but with God by our side we can persevere through adversity. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our next topic on our journey of faith involves the bump in the road. Where do we turn when things don’t go according to our plans? Wait, that might be the problem right there, our plan. The hurdles and obstacles we face may exist because we are following the wrong plan.

I am reminded of a farmer sitting on his porch as a car came up the drive. The driver asked if he could help him find his destination. The farmer proceeded to provide directions to the lost driver. After an hour or so the car reappeared in the driveway. A little frustrated the driver gets out of the car and approaches the farmer, “Why am I back where I started?” The farmer explained, “I wanted to see if you could follow directions before I wasted my time giving you directions to your destination.”

Has someone ever come to you and asked advice about how to set up their racecar. You take your time, ask some questions, figure out what they need to do and provide the answer. Only to stop by their pits a little later in the day to see how they were doing and you find out they ignored your answer. You feel like you wasted your time and are reluctant to do it again.

We are all guilty of seeking guidance and direction only to consider it, not to follow it. We become our own worst enemy and self-create adversity in our lives. Life has enough difficulty without creating more. As I counsel many who come to me with a list of difficulties and adversity that I determine is self-created, put down the shovel! We have the ability to dig a hole we can see no way out of and lose faith.

Sometimes adversity is not created by us. The obstacles we face are a result of the choices others make that affect us. We have to understand that no decision is made in a vacuum. That means that the choices we make and the choices others make have consequences beyond our intent. All decisions have consequences that extend beyond us and usually what we can see or comprehend; “had I know that would happen I would not have done that.”

In this journey we will face adversity, self-created or at the hands of others, it is something we have to learn how to deal with. It isn’t fair, it isn’t right, it isn’t our fault; it doesn’t matter, adversity will find us. Our ability to move beyond it goes a long way at whether we will see the hand of God and His blessing.

Isaiah 43:1b-3b; NLT; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

  When you pass through the waters,

    I will be with you;

  and when you pass through the rivers,

    they will not sweep over you.

  When you walk through the fire,

    you will not be burned;

    the flames will not set you ablaze.

  For I am the LORD, your God,

    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Isaiah provides the greatest tool we can use to overcome adversity; God is with us! We do not walk alone; He is by our side. Sometimes He even carries us through. God knows the way we take, no matter if it is the way He directed us or not. He is acquainted with the pain and suffering we endure.

Romans 8:13; NLT; What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Romans 8:38-39; NLT; And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we want to have the faith to overcome adversity there is only one well to draw from, God. He knows the past, present and future. He knows our every step. For us to be where we need to be, get through what we need to get through and enjoy the blessings we have to put our trust and faith in Him.

In Genesis 37-50 we read the story of Joseph. He endured some adversity in his journey; kidnapped by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown in to prison, received a promise to get him out only to be forgotten, finally the opportunity came for his release and he was redeemed, put in a place of authority and used his power to provide for his brothers and their families in the time of famine. Yes, the same brothers who were envious and jealous of him, threatened to kill him and sold him onto slavery. Joseph endured adversity because God was at his side. And he explained to his brothers;

Genesis; 50:19-21; NLT; But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

Facing hardship, persecution and difficulties is part of the journey, but we should never forget that we cannot be separated from the love of God through Jesus Christ! The source of the fire may be cruel or malicious intentions on the part of others, but ultimately God is the one who is controlling the temperature and allowing us to pass through it.

And if the all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God is allowing one of his children to pass through affliction, we can rest assured that there is a purpose behind it. We may not see it yet. We may not even agree with it. But rest assured that when God has tried us, we will come out as refined, purified gold, reflecting His image.

We can rest in the wonderful assurance that God is next to us in our trial and still on his throne in heaven. He knows the way we are taking, and He is in control over every detail of our difficulty. He will never leave us or forsake us. Overcoming adversity requires putting our trust and faith in God.

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.