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From The Pastor's Desk

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12

A Christian should always be ready and actually be looking forward to a challenge. Challenges in the life of a believer are what sharpens our spiritual senses, and causes the child of God to use and appreciate his or her God-given battle equipment. Challenges also build our God confidence and amplifies the paradoxical providence of the Christian life such as bringing life out of death, strength out of weakness, and good out of bad.

We are saved to fight the good fight! "Bring It On" is an expression used to express confidence in meeting a challenge. Jesus lived a "bring it on" life of ministry while on earth. Whether He was meeting the challenge of feeding five thousand people with two small fishes and five loaves, or confronting a sinner, the captain of our salvation brought it all the way to Calvary and beyond! So, if we are going to follow Jesus (and we surely are), we must see every challenge as an opportunity to watch God work and fill every hole in our life with His glory and grace. Let's raise a "bring it on" banner so that our lights will shine and our efforts for godliness will glorify our Father in heaven.

If we don't use them, our spiritual muscles will become weak, even useless. For example, if I put my arm in a sling and keep it there without using it for a long period of time, it would become smaller and weaker. God designed the amazing human body with two types of muscles; voluntary and involuntary. The heart is an involuntary muscle. I had nothing to do with starting my heart beat. The bicep is a voluntary muscle. I have a lot to do with the condition and strength of my bicep. Our new birth is an involuntary action which God makes upon our heart when we are born again. We have nothing to do with it happening. On the other hand, the faith which results from that new birth can be strengthened or weakened depending upon how we exercise it. How about joining God's "Bring It On" spiritual health club?

"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

I think Christians should have a "Bring It On" mentality. After all, the verse says, "fight the good fight." Often though, Christians are pansies when it comes to challenges and confrontations. We like comfort and we don't like rocking the boat too much. However, running from the good fight of faith will prove us to be cowards and may lead to our denying the very God that saved us. It happened to the apostle Peter and it can happen to Randy Waters, and it can happen to you too!

When I was a student in high school, I remember when a fellow athlete and I had a disagreement about something while practicing basketball. Our coach called us both into the locker room, had us each put boxing gloves on, closed the door and said "Bring It On" fellows. Now, I don't remember who won that fight, but the person I fought became a closer friend than before the encounter. I'd classify that fight as a good fight," because the results were peace, and an increase in love for one another, and strengthening of character. Likewise, a faith fight is a good fight because faith is worth fighting for because faith pleases God.

Dare to be definite with God and allow God to be definite with us. Dare to lay hold of His promises, and to wait in faith until the answer comes. God's word tells us that greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. And to really know that for sure we must "Bring It On!" It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God! "Bring It On" means we want anything that will make us more like the Lord Jesus Christ. The hallmark of Christianity is action, not words. We comprehend God more fully in what He has done rather than in what men say about Him. When a Christian wants to show God's glory, he does not quote from one of Jesus' sermons, he points to the cross and says, "Bring It On!"

Life is full of challenges. Are you willing to face them? Or, would you rather sweep them under the rug. It's "Bring It On" or slough it off. I think I'm writing to a "Bring It On" bunch of believers, people who would rather face it than fake it. Then let's put on the gloves of grace and gratitude and get ready for a good fight.

Round One! - Live By Faith

Do you know why Job had such faith? Faith like Job's cannot be shaken because it is the result of having been shaken. Victor Frankl said, "A weak faith is weakened by predicaments and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them." The fact that we have a "Bring It On" attitude is indicative of a strong faith. And, the Lord makes His points in our lives by keeping us in utter dependence upon Him by making us live by faith. There can be none of self in your "Bring It On" corner, but must be all of Christ instead. You know sometimes in the battle of life, loving is more of a struggle than fighting. The victory comes by loving our enemies, even though its hard to do, and by quietly letting God do the rest.

Living by faith means living by prayer. No wonder God tells us to "pray without ceasing." Prayer is like breathing. It's vital to our life in Christ. We inhale God's mercy, grace and forgiveness and exhale agape love, praise, and thanksgiving. When the circumstances and consequences of life bring it on, we can give it to God.

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 1 Peter 5:7

Note the following prose capturing the Christian's plight in the fight of life:
          "Begone unbelief, my Savior is near
           and for my relief will surely appear.
           By prayer let me wrestle, and He will perform
           With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm."

The movie "War Room" is about a real life struggle between a husband and wife in marriage. In that movie, the discouraged, ready to "throw in the towel" wife encountered a "Bring It On" prayer warrior who told her "you donít know what prayer is for until you realize that life is war!" When the woman heard that and believed that, she quit running and started fighting the good fight of faith.

Round Two - Learn By Failure.

Sometimes our "Bring It On" ends up like biting off more than we can chew; at least that's the way it seems. At the time of our successes we may feel that nothing else matters; while a moment of realized disaster makes you feel that there is no hope for anything. But neither feeling is realistic, because neither success nor failure are actually what they are felt to be. For some strange reason, we never seem to see God in failure, only in success. Now this is odd for a people who have the cross as the center of our faith. If we didn't fail sometimes we would not know the meaning of success. If we never experienced heart break and rejection, we would not know the glory of Godís grace.

If there ever was a "Bring It On" apostle, it was Peter. Yet, Peter failed because he denied the Lord Jesus. Peter thought he could do it on his on, but when a little maid brought it on, Peter did not want it. Jesus, though, loves to work with failures like Peter and you and me. Peter learned that the most important fact of life was that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. God revealed that to him and that overrode his failure and Jesus called him blessed and used his name and his faithfulness to symbolize His church building.

"And I say also unto thee, that thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18

And the apostle learned a valuable lesson through failure.

While Peter may have been too confident in himself, we sometimes neglect life challenges because we feel we will fail, that we will let God down. I've heard tell of people refusing to join a church or be baptized because they think if they do they will mess up and disappoint God. Now it is true that we can and do mess up and that always displeases God. Isn't that what the cross is for: to redeem us, to change us, and bring a rebellious, disobedient sinful people to God? We should not let what's wrong with us keep us from showing what is right with God. A hunter knows that a "gun-shy" dog is not worth much. A grace "shy" Christian is not worth much either!

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men." Matthew 5:13

Real Christian influence will be strongest when in the midst of apparent failure, "Bring It On" is the salt shaker for the table of life.

Round Three - Lean On The Father

"Bring It On" is like saying "Lord, whatever you want, thatís what I want too." Sometimes Christians want to be too fancy. The thing about God is that we have to be careful what we ask Him for because we might get it. Be assured though, when He sends it, it won't be fancy. It will be basic and with no frills. Once I went on a hunt with some guys in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. We rode horses, and I remember trying to pretend I was a real cowboy, reining my horse just like the hunting guides who lived and worked in the mountains every day. That worked until the trail led over a steep mountain ledge that was only about two feet wide. Thatís when I dropped the reins and grabbed the saddle horn with both hands. I was still willing to "Bring It On" but my prerequisite had changed. It really didn't matter anymore who I impressed. I just wanted to make it to the other side of the mountain, and that horse (without my input) was the only one who could get me there.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." Zechariah 4:6

Have you ever noticed the swirling eddy along the riverbank? It looks like the river is running the wrong way, but if you follow it, you will see the water eventually gets back to the channel and continues its flow to the sea. If we place what we have, however small and inadequate, in His hands, God will bless and meet our every need. The "Bring It On" difficulties are not intended to discourage us, but to prove us to see whether we will really depend on and trust God to do the impossible, to rely on the natural.

Christians have to be more than others and do more than others. Wild berries growing in the woods are not expected to yield what cultivated ones are. We should really be ready to pick a good fight for God. David saw a giant and said, "Is there not a cause?" David told Goliath to "Bring It On," all the time leaning on God for victory. David had a slingshot, we have a sword, the sword of God's word! All of life is a fight of faith. The Apostle Paul said, "I finished my course, I have kept the faith, I have fought a good fight." Every believer should want to say that at the end of his or her days on earth. So, the next time you face a challenge, don't freak out, don't fake it, "Bring It On."

Brother Randy

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