Monday, January 2, 2017





            I’ve always enjoyed stock car racing!  Since the times when my father took me, as a small boy,
to the “races” in New Lebanon, New York, to modern-day NASCAR, racing was then and is now, a thrill to me.  I love the roar of the engines, the gaudy paint jobs, the bumper to bumper driving and the speed.  It amazes me that these drivers are able to control their cars and maneuver around each other, at nearly 200 miles per hour, without crashing more than they do.  Faced with the same set of circumstances, most of us wouldn’t make it a quarter mile.  As I was considering this, it gave me some material for this month’s article.
            The world approaches 2017 with a renewed sense of optimism, a feeling of nagging fear, a determination to do better and a hope that mankind will be able to solve long standing international problems in a peaceful way.  It’s a lot like stock car racing.
            When the cars are on the starting grid before the race begins, everyone from the pit crew to the driver is full of confidence the team will be victorious.  Everything has been checked and rechecked to make sure that the optimum level of performance can be maintained for the entire race.  Nothing is left to chance.  There is enough fuel on hand to go the distance.  Tires are piled high in the pit area and
aired up to the exact pressure for the track conditions that day.  Wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers, and every other tool imaginable are within easy reach.  Hearts pound in anticipation as the command is given: “Gentlemen, start your engines!”  And, before you know it, forty-three of the finest examples of man’s ingenuity and design skill are roaring around the track at speeds that take your breath away.  But, it is a long way from the green flag to the checkered flag!  Lots of blown tires, broken valves, spinouts and crashes wait just around the next corner.  It’s pretty much the same way with life.
            We can plan, with the utmost care, a bright and prosperous future, but only God is able to see and control what lies ahead.  The leaders of this world make a grave error when they do not consult the almighty God of the universe as they plan for the coming year.  If only they would read and study the Bible, they might be better able to understand God’s desire that…“none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  (II Peter 3:9)  Even now, as the “race of life” winds down to its inevitable
conclusion, God is still calling people unto Himself and Christ is, at this very moment, preparing dwelling places for His own.
            Mankind’s best plans will still result in crashes far short of the finish line.  God’s plans, on the other hand, are perfect and eternal.  In God’s view of things the race is already won and those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, are already sitting in the Winner’s Circle.  The heavenly host is cheering and the angel choir is singing, Hallelujah!
            I truly believe that 2017 is a crucial year within God’s plan for the ages.  We Christians must be ready to express, at any time, what the world seems quite willing to reject: “Jesus is coming again.”  Be ready!  Soon we will be able to say, with the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (II Timothy 4:7-8)
            You may think that the world is spinning out of control just like a racecar, which has lost its grip on the track.  More importantly, you may feel out of control in your life.  It’s a terrible feeling not to know what to do next, but there is a way to have confidence that the next turn will not spell disaster for you.  Give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He knows exactly what’s around the next corner and is able to steer you clear of any obstacle you may face.  Let Him take the wheel and you’ll win the race of life.

                                                                                                                        PASTOR  ROD

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