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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1331

The Race Marked Out

April 8, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: See, the purpose of God, in what He does in our lives, is very much an expression of His nature! And His nature is not selfish, is it? It’s the very opposite of how we think and how we as human beings live and think.

God is all about others. It’s all about what He can do. It’s all about love and sacrifice and my life counting to help somebody else. And he talks here about looking to Jesus. I mean, what better example do we have of someone who…everything about His life was giving. I mean, here He was, He was the Lord of Heaven…every angel, every devil knew exactly who He was and His place in the grand scheme.

But because of your need and because of mine, He was willing to walk a path. God marked out a path for our Lord Jesus, didn’t He? See, He’s not asking us to something He didn’t do. God marked out a path and it was not a pleasant path. He didn’t come down here and live in a palace, and be worshiped for who He was. He came down here and was rejected by man. “…A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (KJV).

Everywhere He went, in spite of the glorious things that God was able to do through Him, the overall, the broad reaction was one of rejection, to the point where they crucified Him. They submitted, they put Him to the most cruel, sadistic death that they could think about—the most humiliating, the most painful, everything. But He did it, didn’t He? He said, I didn’t come down here to do my will, but the will of the Father who sent me.

And you know, as I said, this passage pictures a dependence, doesn’t it? It doesn’t picture me doing this in my own energy and my own strength. This is always where, my God, I can’t do this. But by Your promise, and because of Your purpose, I’m depending on You, this moment. I can’t do it any more than a vine can survive and produce something without the branch. I’ve got to have this constant relationship where Your life is flowing into me to make me able to take that next step. Even though there’s opposition against it, I can do this, because You’re with me, because You’ve given me what it takes to do it.

Do you think Jesus was any different? Didn’t He say, by Myself I can do nothing. Do you see that place of humility that He came down to, where He experienced everything that you and I will ever experience? And He did it with an absolute, utter dependence on the Father. He was as dependent on His Father as we are upon Him.

( congregational amens ).

But oh, what a path He blazed! But do you think that for one moment that there was a resentment on His part, or a…why do I have to do this? Why do they have it so good and I don’t? There wasn’t a bit of that. There was a sense, I am right smack in the center of God’s will. Even what I’m experiencing, even the rejection, even what Judas did, even what was done on the cross, He came to the end and He was so in tune with what His father wanted and what this was accomplishing. This wasn’t just about Him being exalted and saying, look at Me! Look at what I did! He didn’t do it for Himself, He did it for us!

( congregational amens ).

He did it for you and for me. But what was the attitude? What was the spirit in which He did that? It says it right here, doesn’t it? “…Who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NIV).

I believe with all my heart, God wants to bring us to a greater sense…I have a unique path, I have a place in God’s Kingdom that He has assigned me. I’m experiencing things that perhaps in a different way, even though there are general principals involved of endurance and faith and all of that, but I’m being shaped by something that is very individual, very particular.

But my place is not to look at somebody else and say, why are they this way and why am I not? It’s to say, thank You Lord. I’m Yours. You make the call. You order my steps. You mark the race out for me and just give me the strength to take the next step. But Lord, help me to do it with a deeper sense than just, I’m getting through this.

( gasping ).

But with joy! Because I realize I’m not just shaped to survive, I’m shaped to thrive. I’m shaped to be useful! I’m shaped to be a blessing and a positive part of the Kingdom of God! It’s Jesus who is up there! He’s not in a body right now, except mine and yours! He wants to live and continue His work, right now!

That’s what your path and mine, as incomprehensible as it may seem sometimes, because some of us, we go through a path of pain. We go through a path of loss. We go through a path of…why did I go through that? What in the world was that about? Oh, God! I grew up in a family where I experienced such heartache and such pain and such…all those terrible things. What was that about, Lord? Couldn’t You have done it a different way? God is shaping you to be you! It’s different! You’re not somebody else!

How many times have we used the example of Brother Thomas? You know, he had grown up in a broken home, just the bare facts. Bounced from pillar to post. Never belonging…grew up sort of scrapping his way through life, pretty good at fighting, hanging out with the guys. And then spending time in a TB sanitarium, almost dying in that accident, spent time in prison, not a lot, but anyway, he had a term in prison at one time.

And I don’t think he would mind saying that, because you know what, there are prisoners who are gonna hear just what I’m saying right now. They need to know! Your life is not over. There is a God who can reach down to exactly where you’re at! Look what He did in Brother Thomas!

But do you think that any of that was incidental or without purpose? Do you not see the hand of God shaping him and bringing him to a place where when God made Himself real, man, it set him on fire! Because he’d been in places of hurt and shame and every…he’d experienced so much of the bottom side of life—the ugly side of life, that he could stand there and say, God, reached down and He saved me! And if He can do that, look what He can do for you!

And nobody can look at him and say, well, you don’t understand, because he did understand. He knew exactly where people were at. God raised him up for that purpose! He equipped him for that!

And what about way on into his ministry when God was still working, still shaping, and all of a sudden, one day Philip drowned. There are a few of you who were here then. And he was able to come into the next service and preach. And God gave him the grace. It was a crushing blow! But yet on the way to the hospital, he said, “Lord, I thank You, even for this. You’re still a good God.” What a lesson! And God, having sometimes to do deep things in our lives that we would…oh, we would go another way. But God shapes our path!

( congregational amens ).

God shapes our path! What about David saying, You’re my shepherd. It’s not just about the wonderful green pastures and the still water. Sometimes it’s the valley of the shadow of death! My path leads in places like that! And didn’t it in David’s life? Man, he went through hell getting to the throne! But God was shaping him to be someone who could learn how to trust, someone who could learn how to surrender in the direst circumstances.

When there’s no hope, there’s nothing you can look to except, God, You got me here. I’m in Your hands. But nothing is too hard for You, Lord. Just help me to do what’s right. I’m depending on You for the strength this moment to do exactly what is right.

( congregational amens ).

There’s a God who wants to do that in every life! Do you understand how important you are? Your relationships, in your home, parents, the power of your influence on the next generation. Do you realize how much Jesus wants to live through you?

I don’t mean being religious, now. We can be ourselves. But I mean, they’re looking at you. You’re bringing them to church and they’re saying, okay, why are we doing this? And they’re looking at you to see why. It’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?

( congregational response ).

For all of us. And I certainly don’t hold myself up as any great example. I just pray that God will…you know, God’s a great redeemer. But, I’ll tell you, we’re called to something more than just being here and just muddling through as individuals. There’s a reason for everything God brings you and me through. It’s to put to death, it’s to shape, it’s to bring forth that attitude of trust and surrender.

Do you wonder why many of us go through the things that we go through? How many times is it so that we can have a testimony, and say, I’ve been there. I know what God can do if you’ll just let go and let Him have His way.

( congregational amens ).

And be willing to walk the path that He sets out. And say, I am going to put one foot in front of another. I know I can’t do it. But see, He’s promised. He’s the Author of my faith. I didn’t come up with faith. He gave it to me! But He’s not just the Author, He is the Finisher, the Perfecter, the One who is going to continually feed me with what I need.

And it’s not like…you know, one of our problems is we’ll look down the road and say, oh my God, I could never do that! Well, no, not right now. You don’t need the faith to do that, now. I need the faith to do this. There’s something right in front of me, just standing today, just praising God in a present circumstance.

That’s all I’ve got to deal with, because I have a relationship with somebody who’s with me. And every moment I have the right to go to Him and expect that He is going to give me what I need to take that step and to do what is set before me. And as I do, I’m gonna get stronger, I’m going to grow, I’m gonna become what He wants me to be.

But again, in all of that, the context is not…I’m not just doing this for me. God is shaping me to be a vessel through whom He can share His life with others. I have the power to make a difference in somebody’s life.

( congregational response ).

I mean, you look at what He did in the life of somebody like Joni Eareckson Tada. We’ve used her as an example so many times. I’ve met her. And you see this beautiful, 17-year-old, I think 17-year-old girl who dives into the water one day, and comes out a quadriplegic…goes through long periods of just anger and bitterness and questioning and wondering why and all these things…how, what’s the purpose of this? Oh, God!

And runs to healing meetings and comes away disappointed. God, what’s going on? I don’t understand. And comes to a place of surrender, gradually just lets it go and lets God just have His way.

And you’ve got somebody who can go anywhere in the world today and what can they say? She has a testimony that is global, and a heart for people that have been in places like she’s been, and she can say, I’ve been there! And they say, I know! I see! How in the world can somebody like you serve God? How can you sing the songs of Zion? How can you have a joy in your heart? And she says, because of Jesus! This is not all there is! I would rather have Him and be in this wheelchair than to be anywhere else without Him!

( congregational amens ).

What a testimony! Do you see God’s purpose? God is reaching people who are in every kind of condition…every kind of background! He can reach to the lowest of the low! But how does He do it? Does He set somebody up with a nice, very polished version of the Gospel? Or does He have somebody who’s been there, down in the dirt and seen God work, and knows what it’s like? Isn’t that what Jesus did? Was He not made like his brothers in every way?

( congregational response ).

So that He is able to be that faithful High Priest, Someone who’s been there, who’s felt every temptation, every pressure that you and I have felt, to a greater degree than you and I ever will!
And so that’s why we can look to Him. That’s why we can say, I know this is the right way to go! Lord, you’ve already been down this road!

And I see that you not only did it, but you did it with a joy, because you saw past the pain and past the temporary thing that you’ve got to go through when all of this is happening. You didn’t get bogged down. You didn’t get bogged down in self-pity, in questioning and bitterness at circumstances and people. You saw past all of that and said, God, You are the one who’s marking out the race for Me! And by Your grace, I will run that race because I know who You are, and I know You love Me, and I know it’s for a reason.

And I want to live My life according to Your heart and not Mine. I want to be a blessing to others. I want people to be able to look at me and say, I see Jesus in that person and I want what they have!

You see, this is simple stuff and its stuff we know. It’s a lot easier said than done, isn’t it? But I’ll tell you, there’s a God who will help us if we will come to Him. And I thank God that it’s not just like He’s sitting in Heaven somewhere and saying, okay, go for it. You look over in chapter 13, verse 5, keep yourselves, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Man, it’s not just that He is an example to follow, but He’s with us in it. Oh, the power that He acquired going to Heaven. He’s able to be everywhere by the presence of the Spirit. He is so full of the life of God that it flows out to every one of us. It inhabits us. It changes us. It’s with us. We’re able to do what we’re able to do because of His grace and His mercy.

I don’t know. I praise God! You could go on and on with examples, I guess, of how God has worked to bring people to Himself. I mean, you think of some we know in prison, some that will never get out. But there they are serving God as missionaries to people that would never perhaps hear except to see them and say, how can you be like you are? You’ll never get out! Aren’t you angry? Aren’t you…you know? And then they see that there’s a joy, there’s a purpose, there’s something beyond, where God is real, right there in that place!

There’s no place, there’s no pit so deep that God doesn’t go! You look what He took Corrie ten Boom through…all the suffering and the pain, and having to overcome her…and gain the ability to forgive and all of that. And yet, in her old age God took her around the world with a testimony that has just transformed lives wherever she’s gone. I mean, we look at these big cases and that’s why I say, I don’t want us to get so…I don’t want us to listen to that and dismiss that as ‘they’re special and I’m just ordinary.’ You are not ordinary!

( congregational amens ).

You may not have this sphere of influence that somebody like that does. But, you have one.

( congregational amens ).

And I believe Jesus Christ—I know Jesus Christ wants to live in our world. And He does it through us. May God grant us the faith and the grace to do what this says, with perseverance drawing our strength from Him, to put one foot in front of another and say, God, my race is not like theirs—my race is not like theirs. You’re leading me down an individual path to shape me for a particular place in Your Kingdom. I accept it.

I humble myself under Your mighty hand, so I know You can lift me up when it’s the time. But I give myself to You, Lord. You direct my steps. Let my heart me be fixed in serving You. You direct the steps and as You do, I will rejoice in You even when it’s through tears. I know You can give me the faith to rejoice and to say, thank You, Lord for doing what You’re doing in my life.

You know, I thought about what Paul said at the end of his journey. And he’s writing to Timothy at the end in chapter 4, verse 6. He says, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…” same language, “…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…” Yay, Paul!

( clapping hands ).

What does he say next? “…And not only to me…” Think about this. Don’t just blow it off and say, oh yeah. “…Not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” That’s takes in every single believer.

( congregational amens ).

Every single believer. All God asks is that we trust Him, look to Him, walk with Him, endure with Him, rejoice with Him and allow Him to live in us. That’s really what it comes down to. And I’ll tell you, there’s a God who will shape us individually, who will shape us for a purpose and will give us the provision that we need every single step of the way. And He is the One who has guaranteed the end results. Praise God!

We have every thing in world to rejoice about today! And I just pray that God will burn these simple truths, because I haven’t said anything that we don’t know, we haven’t heard. But somehow, it’s just been strong in my spirit. Maybe it’s for me but I doubt it…that’s it’s just for me. Do you think there’s anybody else here that maybe this truth is for?

( congregational amens ).

Are you going through a tough time right now? Are you going through things where questions are kind of predominating and you’re being negative and why, and why this, and why that, and why am I not like them?

Because you’re not them. You’re you. God loves you! God has a purpose for you! He has a provision for you, a plan. He’s got a race that’s marked out. You concentrate on that and concentrate on other people and their needs. And I’ll tell you, there’s a God that’s gonna give you a joyful, useful life that will bring honor and will bring glory to His Name. And to Him be all the glory! Praise God!