Walking With God, Part 2
April 25, 2020
For many high school students the annual school cross-country race is a less than inspiring occasion. English sports journalist Ian Stafford— admitting he has never had a fondness for running for the sake of running— tells of similar experiences in his school cross-country runs. In fact, one year Stafford and a group of friends tried to set the record for the slowest time for the school cross-country. However, in his final year of school he decided he would see how well he could do. He hatched a plan to start the race as fast as he could—at least he could say he had led the race for a part of it—and see what would happen. As the race progressed, Stafford was unable to keep up the pace but it took some time for any of the other competitors to catch up with him. He was eventually caught but was surprised to finish a creditable eighth.
Some years later Stafford—still not a fan of running—was persuaded by a friend to enter the Lambeth Half Marathon in south London. Since he was not a regular runner, on the entry form he had to guess at his time for the distance. Upon arriving at the start of the race, he discovered that his estimated time put him among the fastest entrants and so he was assigned a starting place right at the front of the 3,000 entrants.
On seeing this situation and realizing he had no hope of seriously competing at that level, Stafford decided to adopt the tactics from his school running “success.” At the starter’s gun, he took off as fast as he could. Only this time, the serious runners around him were keeping pace with him and he soon dropped back through the field, eventually finishing about 300th.
Some months later Stafford was amused to pick up a copy of a new book, Fitness: Training Tips for Distance Runners. “In one of the most blatant cases of fraud I can think of,” Stafford writes, the cover photo was of the Lambeth Half Marathon, showing him leading the runners away from the start line.
As any runner will attest, the beginning of a race does not tell the full story. One of the joys of sports is the uncertainty in a race or a game. Until it is finished or the time runs out, there is always room for an upset, a comeback, a last-minute play or some other turnaround. A good start is important, but the focus must be maintained until the race is run or the game is won.
Memory Text: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 15, Baptism: “By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 19, 20.
Read Matthew 5:8.
Moses asked God, “Please, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18, NKJV). God told Moses that He would have all His goodness pass before Moses. But Moses could not see His face and live. God covered Moses until He had passed by, and then He removed His hand and Moses could see God’s back—but not His face. Do you know why? It is because of sin. Sin cannot exist in the presence of God, and all of humanity is sinful. (See Exodus 33:18-23.)
If you had the chance to see God face to face and see all His glory, but it meant your death, would you? We can know God, without seeing His face, through prayer, Bible study, and walking with Him each day. And one day, when Jesus comes again, we will see Him face to face.
Read Acts 16:30-33; Romans 6:1-6.
You will make many important decisions in your life, but the most important one of all is choosing to be a child of God. Baptism shows your family, your church, your community, and the world that you have decided to follow Jesus—to be part of His family. Baptism is symbolic of being buried in death (to our sins) and being raised to new life (a new person) in Jesus.
Jesus is waiting for your decision. Will you accept Him as your Savior today and walk with Him as a child of God? If you have made the decision to follow Jesus, talk to your Sabbath School teacher, leader, pastor, and your parents and make arrangements to take baptismal classes and be baptized.
I have decided to follow Jesus and be baptized. Signed:
In the table below are two Bible verses mixed together. Can you separate the blocks into the correct Bible verses? Both verses are from the New King James Version. (Hint: find the verses by using every other block to form the individual verses.)
|“And now||“For||why are||as||you||many||waiting?|
|and wash||baptized||away||into||your sins,||Christ||calling|
|have||on the||put||name||on||of the||Christ”|
Read 2 Peter 3:18.
Learning about the people whose stories are recorded in the Bible is an amazing thing to do. We need to continually stop to remind ourselves that these were real people. They had hopes and dreams. They were sometimes tired, afraid, and sad. But, most important, they chose to follow God and become better friends with Him.
The stories in the Bible challenge us and let us know how we should live our lives. We see how the men and women of Bible times lived either faithful lives, like Abraham, or unfaithful lives, like Cain. Can you think of others who were faithful to God and set good examples for us to live by? How about Noah? Joseph? Daniel? Ruth? Jesus? Peter? Paul? Dorcas? John? In reading the Bible we see how God interacts with men and women, not only in Bible times, but today. We learn how much He loved them and how much He loves us! God calls us to repentance and faithfulness. He asks us to be examples to those around us—to help others come to know His love, goodness, mercy, and grace.
So, the stories of God’s faithful men and women are not just stories to be learned for a Bible quiz or exam. They are real-time examples of what a relationship with God can look like. These people are all different, and at different times in our lives we might be better able to understand parts of their stories. The God in the Bible is the same God who wants to walk with us and have a forever relationship with us.
Look up the texts listed below. Write the positive characteristic(s) found in each of these verses that talks about a person’s relationship with God. (Hint: sometimes there are more than one.)
Genesis 5:24 (Ex.: Enoch walked with God.)
Deuteronomy 10:12, 13
Daniel 6:4, 5
Hebrews 11:13, 14
1 John 1:1-3
Read Deuteronomy 10:12, 13.
Review the memory text.
The Bible regularly uses the idea of running a race as a picture of living life as a Christian. We are urged to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV). Paul often uses this picture in describing Christianity in general and his own experience: “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me” (Acts 20:24, NIV).
Paul writes with certainty of his motivation in this race: “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” (1 Corinthians 9:25, NIV). For Paul, the manner of our running and even the ultimate result is a matter of choice—“Run in such a way as to get the prize,” he writes (verse 24, NIV). We choose the play; God ensures the result. Those who put their trust in God, “will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV).
Read 1 John 1:1-3.
Make a list of all the different ways you can learn about God. For example, Bible study, God’s providential workings, the influence of the Holy Spirit, life circumstances, talking with other people, and spending time in nature.
Over the next week, try to do each thing on your list and record what you learn about God. Decide if certain activities help you connect with God more than others and plan to do those things more regularly for the next month. Keep writing down the things you learn, and you will begin to see that you are getting to know God more. By spending quality time with God, you are developing a deeper relationship with Him that will last through all eternity.