Today is January 16, 2019

Verse of the Day — 1 Corinthians 9:24

. . . those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize . . . run in such way that you may win.


The Bible teaches that you should “run” for Christ.


A Christ-centered life is compared to an athlete who competes for a prize—much like trying to win a gold medal in today’s Olympics. You must:

  • Be prepared.

    but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. —1 Corinthians 9:27

  • Have self-control.

    Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. —1 Corinthians 9:25

  • Lay aside obvious sin.

    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us —Hebrews 12:1

  • Have endurance.

    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us —Hebrews 12:1

  • Suffer hardship and hostility.

    Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. —2 Timothy 2:3

    For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. —Hebrews 12:3

  • Play according to God’s rules.

    Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. —2 Timothy 2:5

  • Be diligent to the end.

    And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end —Hebrews 6:11.

  • Keep your eyes on Jesus and eternity.

    fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:2

More importantly, we have to allow the Holy Spirit to live through us, as our human efforts are in vain.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; . . . —Galatians 2:20

And when we’ve finished the race, we have the possibility of hearing these eternally wonderful words:

. . . well done, good and faithful servant. —Matthew 25:21


Dear Compass:

I am confused about free-will and God being all-knowing. I have a hard time understanding how they work together. Are there different paths in life laid out for us that differ depending on if we are living by our choices versus living by God’s plan for us? And if God already knows who is going to come to him, how does free-will play into it at all? Please explain this for me because of all of the things I do get, this I can’t seem to grasp!


You’re in good company! BOTH free will and predestination are taught in the Bible; therefore, they are both true. In our finite brains, it seems logical to us that it has to be one or the other. But God’s infinite ways are way beyond our comprehension, and we will not understand everything in this life.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
—Isaiah 55:8

The Holy Spirit, living in us, does give us some understanding (For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. —1 Corinthians 2:10) but not for everything.

For us to understand everything, we would have to be on a par with God, which, of course, we’re not, as we live in a sinful container.

We think it’s best to have a healthy balance between the two teachings. God is in control, even as He allows us to sin. But always know that we’re still responsible for our actions.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. —Galatians 6:7



Dear Compass,

Our church believes that tithes (10%) should go to your home church first, and anything you want to give beyond that can go anywhere you choose. The 10% tithing issue was addressed in a previous GML, but is there support for requiring tithes to go to your church first? As long as it goes to the work of God, does it really matter where?


The purpose of giving is to recognize that all increase comes from the Lord, not from our own efforts. The purpose of giving to your church is to support elder-sanctioned expenses. One obvious example is pastoral salaries.

. . . the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. —1 Corinthians 9:14

But the key is your prayerful discussion with the Lord BEFORE you give.

Let each one (give) just as he has purposed in his heart; —2 Corinthians 9:7

If the Lord leads you to give some to your church and some to another cause, that’s between you and the Lord—not you and your church.


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