Spiritual Growth

Running to Win – A Word by Darren Canning


1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain the prize.  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.”

Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

I know some men and women of God that work hard for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am always amazed by the faithfulness in their lives.  I truly love the men and women of God that are focused on daily accomplishing something for Christ.  They have laid down their lives, they only see Christ in their gaze; and as a result they have become strength for many others.

Our focus needs to be on our walk in Christ.  We must continuously be transformed by his presence.  It is his presence inside of us that is the prize.   What I want to obtain more than anything else, is the upward call of God in Christ.  I want to be saturated by his presence daily.  I want to be free from this world and to be a lover of his presence.

I often wrestle with the 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, which says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass and clanging cymbal.  and though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains but have no love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

We can walk in many of the gifts of the Holy Spirit without loving anyone.  I am challenged by this all of the time.  The more that I do, the more I realize that perhaps the love inside of me is not perfect – and yet to be perfect in Christ is my greatest desire.  I don’t want to face the wrath of God with a handful of miracles and prophecies to throw his way and to be told that I never loved anyone.

Truthfully, there are still days that I find myself wrestling with the lack of love in my heart towards the world around me.  I find myself disliking the sinners and the saints.  They rub me the wrong way and I feel the battle of each moment.  My wife has heard one too many a story of my wrestlings with those that I struggle against. Yet in my heart, my zeal is to love more perfectly.


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I am in this race.  I do move mountains.  I do have faith and I do prophesy and see miracles every day; but my goal is Jesus Christ.   I want to make it to the heavenly Jerusalem to spend eternity outside of the confines of my current human condition. I know I am being renewed in the here and now, and perhaps I will be renewed in this life to the point of perfection, but my hope is still in heaven.  Many want to stay in this world, but I am longing to be clothed in eternity with Christ.  I have a long way to go and I keep running the race.  I keep struggling.  I keep asking the Lord to guide me into all truth.  I keep asking for revelation.   I keep walking as the gift that God has made me to be to the body.  I am still not perfected, and yet I seek perfection.

Others seem to walk the path more efficiently, or more lovingly.  Others have more revelation.  Others have greater voices.  Others are winning thousands to Christ.  Others are more giving and more generous.  Yes, there are those that seem to be winning this race against me, but I continue to run.  I will continue to preach, love and serve in the body of Christ.  I will forget everything that was done yesterday and keep moving forward.

I don’t want my success from my last season to be the success of my next.  I want to launch into deeper revelation and understandings of God.  I want to travel by the Holy Spirit, and see great and mighty things I never knew.  I want to fellowship with angels.    I want to see the great cloud of witnesses.  I want Jesus to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be alright.  I want to face my persecutions and trials admirably.  I want to be counted worthy of the cost that Christ has paid, and yet none of this could I even hope to do, without his grace burning inside of me.

I will fight to follow.  I will fight to overcome.  I will fight for every revelation, and I will overcome.  This is my statement of destiny, and I pray that you too will come to understand what I am trying to say.  The grave will not hold you and neither will any hatred, fear or poverty.  You have overcome all things, and I declare that Jesus will recognize this in your life when he comes to judge the living and the dead.

Darren Canning

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by Jo Ellen Stevens

Hello Spirit Fuel Readers. I wanted tell you a story about something that happened to me a few years ago in a Summer not unlike many Summers that My husband and I had for many years of learning God’s provision. This particular Summer it had been very hot and humid and truly it seemed like one of the leanest Summers that we had in a long time.


We were Pastoring a small church at the time and we both had been working at the school for many years and each Summer we had no jobs and had to trust God for the provision for how we were going to live through that few month period. This summer was no different. At the end of the year I would always start getting this feeling of almost panic wondering how we were going to make it that Summer. This particular Summer when that panic hit me, God said “ I want you to take the money that you have in your purse and send it to a particular ministry. I was like “but God that is all that I have and it may have to last….”


Being Obedient, I went on-line and sent the money that He told me to. A few weeks later, I was outside in what seemed like the hottest day of the year. There was not a breeze to be felt, when suddenly, this little cool breeze came across me and I said out loud.,“THANK YOU GOD FOR THAT BREEZE!” He spoke to me that day as I said that and said. “I AM GOING TO REFRESH YOU ON A BREEZE DAUGHTER.” I thought, “what could this mean? I got up from there and went into the house that day and no sooner did I get in there until the phone rang. It was a member of our church and the woman on the other end said “my husband and I want to buy you a new car! We were looking at a couple of them and saw a particular one and it was called a “PLYMOUTH BREEZE!” That night we went to get the BRAND NEW RED BREEZE and we drove around and around that town in it, feeling like millionaires. The Lord at one point told me to look at the new car next to me and said, “see that car” and I said, “yes Lord!” he said, “the blessing of the Lord it makes rich and he adds no sorrow with it!” I said, “What do you mean Lord?” He said. Well, you have a new beautiful car and so do they but, they have a payment book and you do not!"  

You see, what it’s all about is obedience! Obedience and thanking God for the small things like the little breeze that came over me that day and obedience even in the small things. I didn’t think my small offering that day would do anything, but in my obedience we reaped a great harvest and refreshing!” Not only that, God let me know that year that he saw and he heard my plight! This is why when God says sow a seed, he has bigger plans for it than you can imagine or think. My friends, obedience is key! I want to encourage you, that if you are reading this and feel led to sow a seed into this ministry, that God is faithful to refresh you and show himself strong in your time of need! Not only that, He always gives back, pressed down, shaken together and running over!” He wants to show you His faithfulness in your life and wants you to know that you know that it came from Him!

Arise Shine! Jo Ellen Stevens

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