Weekly Uplift - Don't Quit, You Are A Finisher
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Don't Quit, You Are A Finisher

 

pastor michael

 

 

 

 

By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London 

 

 

 

 

 

Foundation Scripture: Luke 18:1-8 

Sunday 19th June 2016

 

 

As we celebrate fathers all over the world today, I would like to encourage and admonish fathers with today’s message, as we round up this series on prayer. Today’s message is titled ‘Don’t Quit, You are A Finisher’. 

 

We go further down in the book of Luke to read today’s foundation scripture. Here is Luke 18:1-8, which reads: ‘One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (NLT).

 

Jesus narrated this story to reveal to us God’s disposition towards our prayers – He is favourably inclined to granting our requests. If an unrighteous judge deemed it necessary to listen and grant the widow’s plea, then our righteous God definitely desires to answer our prayers. It is upon this premise that we can approach our loving God, who will not decline our petition.

 

The first verse of this chapter reinforced my understanding of prayer, especially as we celebrate Father’s Day today. ‘One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up'. The NKJV put it this way: ‘Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.’ In other words, this could be rephrased as a direct call to men: ‘You are not a quitter, you are a finisher!’.

 

As men, we have been designated to finish our race and to pass on the baton to the next generation. You can’t afford to lose heart, or give in to the circumstances of life. Irrespective of what may have come your way, you’ve been designed for accomplishment and fashioned for success. 

 

Here are seven insights that we can derive from this verse, which I would like to admonish all fathers with:

 

(1) It is a call to spiritual awakening: This is a call to a deeper walk with God. It is a call to hunger and thirst for Him – the longing to serve, embrace the purpose of God and dedicate our lives to Him. Here is a call to restore fathers and men in general to the frontline. Over the years, men have taken a backseat at home, in the church and in the community. It’s time to reverse this trend and develop a thriving, vibrant relationship with God. As men, our roles as leaders must include interceding for our families, our communities and the future of our nation. God spoke about Abraham in Genesis 18:19, saying: ‘For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

 

(2) It is a call to take your place: As men, our places in the home, in God’s house, as his sons, in society and in the nation as a whole must be rightly occupied. We’ve been created to shine God’s light to the world around us. Matthew 5:16 alludes to this, when Jesus said: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’.

We read the same admonition in Isaiah 60:1; ‘Arise, shine for your light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you’. When God was questioning Adam in Genesis 3:9, asking him ‘Where are you?’, it was to find out his positional orientation. As far as God saw it, Adam had left his place of assignment and responsibility thereby allowing the enemy to deceive and displace the arrangement that God had to put in place initially. 

Gideon, described by God as a mighty man of valour had moved away from his primary call of duty and was hiding in the winepress, away from the war that he was supposed to be leading against the Midianites. Our visibility as fathers cannot be overemphasized. We cannot afford to be hiding away. It is time to take our place.

 

(3) It is a call to establish priority: Matthew 6:33 put it this way: ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’. God ought to be our priority. As purpose driven men, our vision gives us direction in life. Prayer ought to be our priority, as it connects us with God. As God’s vision becomes our vision and focus, it becomes easier to make an impact for God.

 

(4) It is a call to take action: The statement ‘men always ought to pray’ is a call to be on guard. It is a call to be on the alert. A call to fight for the destiny of your future and of your home.  1 Peter 5:8 reads: ‘Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour’ (NLT). Here is 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, which reads: ‘Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love’ (NIV).

 

(5) It is a call to take responsibility: the word ‘ought’ in our foundation scripture denotes responsibility. The responsibility for the destiny of our families ought to be embraced wholeheartedly. 1 Chronicles 15:22 speaks of Kenaniah, the Levite, who was placed in charge of leading the singing in the tabernacle. As a gifted singer, this responsibility became his, because he developed a skill for singing. In the same way, our responsibilities were given to us by God, in accordance to the grace that He has blessed us with and in proportion to our abilities. In other words, we can be rest assured that God will not give us responsibilities beyond our strength and abilities. 

 

(6) It is a call not to lose courage: As fathers, we must never lose sight of the victory that God has assured us. Despite the challenges that face us, we’ve been called to hold on to God’s promises, even in the face of adversity. We must remain tenacious, even when there is no physical evidence as proof to keep on holding on to. Psalm 33:20 reads: ‘We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield’. See also Micah 7:7 and Romans 4:18-19 (NLT).

 

(7) It is a call to stay the course and finish the race: You are on a course, on assignment. You are configured by God to finish well. So stay strong, keep heading towards the finish line and set your mind towards completing your course regardless of what you see around. Stay undistracted. Don’t quit, you are a finisher!

        

               

 

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As we continue the on-going series ‘Experiencing the Power of Multiplication’ today, here is a brief summary of the message: ‘Empowering the Next Generation’ from a fortnight ago. We agreed that God is generational in His thinking and deals with us from that standpoint. All God gives to us is meant to be passed on to upcoming generation. Our lives are a channel, a means by which God reaches out to our young ones.

God’s word, the bible is full of accounts of people who lived, thinking of the young and the unborn. Abraham in Genesis 17 aptly fits this description, with God reminding him of this truth. Bearing this in mind, Abraham was able to prepare adequately for Isaac’s future as we discovered from these seven points, namely: (1) He dedication Isaac to God, by circumcision (2) He celebrated Isaac (3) The bond woman and her child were sent away (4) He taught Isaac to obey God (5) He set the stage for Isaac’s future (6) He empowered Isaac (7) He sent away the children of His concubines.

Today as we examine this message, titled ‘Make Your Life Count for a Divine Purpose’, it is the crux of this series. Let me start by reminding us that it is vital that life flows from us to the next generation, and I intend to encourage us in this message to embrace a purpose beyond our personal life’s goals and aspirations. Within the timeframe that we have been given by God, it is important that we use it wisely and intentionally, serving His purpose on earth.

I have often wondered if coming to church, and engaging in the various forms of spiritual exercises – giving, praying, studying the scriptures and so forth, and having our needs met are an end in themselves? All these are good but they are simply a means to an end – and not an end in themselves. We’ve been created for a purpose bigger than the meeting of our needs. We experience healing, empowerment, and blessings for a purpose beyond us. Hence, life ought not to end with us. Ephesians 1:1 reads, ‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus’. Being chosen is not an end, but the choices made after the calling of God is more important. Unfortunately, the present day church has made the means, an end and disregarded the real end. Our personal victories, blessings and successes are meant to encourage us towards that end.

The essence of our faith is wrapped up in the first statement made by God to mankind in Genesis, and the last words of Jesus to his disciples before His ascension. Here they are, Genesis 1:28 reads thus: Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Matthew 28:18-19 reads: ‘And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. Here is the reason why God has created us to live on earth; to make disciples of all nations. Our desires for comfort and pleasures are delightful, but they must not impede us from fulfilling God’s mandate for our lives.