Thursday, January 31, 2013


…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14
 (Some of the information is adapted from Halftime by Bob Buford)

What needs to happen at halftime to be a winner in life?
We Must Recognize Our Position -  forgetting what lies behind
Leaders and losers of the first half need to make adjustments to win the game. The dangers for Halftime Leaders is to not regard themselves as having laid hold of the prize yet.

Pride that leads to complacency
How can you be so far ahead by so many points and still lose the game? The loss of focus will lead to distraction from our purpose and ultimate defeat. God is not so concerned with where you have been or what you have done as He is where you ARE and what you are DOING.

Overestimation that leads to underachievement
Anyone who strives for excellence must have a willingness to confess their shortcomings and admit that there is room for improvement. It is hard to move forward when you feel like you have already arrived.
The Discouragement that leads to Defeat is that Satan has a way of bringing up our past mistakes and sins. He tries to condemn us with the mistakes of the past until we see ourselves as failures. Paul would not allow his past to prevent him from fulfilling his purpose nor should we allow our past to keep us from our future. Your trophies are a part of your history, not a guarantee.

Don’t project past defeat into future failure
The poisonous, negative emotions of defeat must be dealt with before future victory can be achieved.  Paul’s attitude seemed to be to acknowledge that the past was real. It happened. Mistakes were made, and I am sorry. I have repented and forsaken my sin. It is over. I am covered by the blood of Jesus. I am forgiven and new.

  • Don’t live in the past, but learn from it.
  • All of us have setbacks. We fail. There comes a time when we must move on with your life.
  • A part of your strategy in going forward must include pulling the curtains on your past. 
We Must Acknowledge our Weaknesses
Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days. Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand. Proverbs 19:20-21.

Today could be the day that you move beyond blame and excuses and realize that you are responsible for your happiness and the way you live your life.  It was not the calls of the referees that cost you the first half.  Accepting responsibility places the power to make things different in your hands.  As a result, you may be challenged to change ... to do certain things differently than you’ve always done them.
Acknowledging our weakness positions us to receive instruction

Scripture to Claim:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, 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-- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 
2 Timothy 4:7-8  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It is Super Bowl Week so how about some HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; Philippians 3:12-13

(Some of the information is adapted from Halftime by Bob Buford)
One of the marks of success in a football team is the ability to change their game plan as needed at half time. Great teams make good halftime adjustments; they may perform poorly in the first half but come out a new team in the second. I believe that life is that same way. The minutes of the second quarter wind down and you realize that you cannot play this way for the entire game.

Something has to change.
In the locker room, the coaches look at what went wrong, what went right, and then adjust their game plan so to put them in the best possible position to play a winning second half.

  • Gary Patterson, coach of the TCU Horned Frogs, is renowned for his halftime adjustments.  Second half comebacks are standard fare for the Horned Frogs because of his ability to make the proper adjustments to win.
In life, most of us start out with a pretty basic game plan:
  1. Get an education.
  2. Find a companion for life.
  3. Land a good position in a company.
  4. Be further ahead each year.
Suddenly, you may find yourself sensing a loss of fulfillment or emptiness with the routine or course of your life.  Something is pressing you to change. It may be that there is a crisis in your life that destroys everything you thought was going to be the rest of your life. Loss of job, divorce, death of a spouse or a child, serious illness or other crises may force you into the locker room.  It’s halftime.

How will you play the second half?
Too many people live their lives this way: by the time they figure out what life is all about, it’s over. This does not have to be your story. Just because your life will be different (or needs to be different) does not mean its over. I believe that the rest of your life can be the best of your life. Regardless of your season or your status, you can begin today with the benefit of past experience and the power of purpose.

Unlike football we don’t know at what point we’re at our halftime. Age has no relevance to our halftime since we don’t know how long our lives will be. Many of the men and women in the Bible who were used by God were called to their greatest work after they had already been through half of their life or more.  Moses was 80 when God chose him and took him out of the desert!
I do not know where you are in the game. If you are in your twenties, you have probably just received the opening kickoff and have an exciting half ahead of you.

For most, the real understanding of the game, the rules and the objectives are just beginning to come into focus at halftime. We often do not hear Christ’s direction to an abundant life in the first half because we are too busy executing our own plan to listen to His. During the first half of your life, if you are like me, you probably did not have time to think about how you would spend the rest of your life. You probably rushed through college, fell in love, married, embarked on a career, climbed upward, and acquired many things to help make the journey comfortable.

In the Scriptures, Jesus preached that he had come so that his followers might have abundant life, life to the fullest. The Jesus I had come to know and love was leading me to the paths of a large life, not a small or narrow one.  He was asking me to say a loud "Yes!" to a life packed with significance.
If the first half was a quest for success, the second half is a journey to significance

I have come to the conclusion that the second half of our lives should be the best half; it can be, in fact, a personal renaissance. You played a hard-fought first half. You may have even been winning. But sooner or later you begin to wonder, “Is this it?  Is this all there is?”  The game is won or lost in the second half, not the first.

You cannot stay where you are and go with God.  You cannot continue to do things your way and accomplish God's purposes in His ways."  Henry Blackaby

Scripture to Claim:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot… Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When You don’t Hear Anything

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:13-14

There are those moments in life when silence is golden.  Then there are those moments in life when silence is deafening, when silence is maddening, when silence is excruciating.  Those moments come when we are seeking God earnestly with all our heart and get nothing in return.  Your heart is right, your prayers are right on and you are on your knees pleading for His guidance, but still you do not feel the presence of God, you do not sense His direction and you do not even feel like He cares about you.
Don’t despair or give up on God.  He is there, even when it feels like he isn’t. He loves you and knows what is best, especially when you don’t.  If He doesn’t answer you as quickly as you think He should, maybe He has a reason.  Maybe He is working on something or someone.  His time is not our time and when the silence is deafening, listen harder.  It is coming eventually.  Be sure you are listening to the right voice. 

We all have friends who love us so much they want to fix our lives for us.  Their answer may not be the answer God has for you.  It may be Biblical.  It may be good, solid, sound Christian advice but still not be what God wants you to do in a particular situation.  You have to discern.  You have to keep seeking and keep your focus on God and what He leads you to do.  Study the Bible, pray and listen.

He Speaks
You will hear God speaking to you in that still, small voice that prompts you in your spirit. But, how do you know it is God who is speaking to you? God has given us some direction as to how we can determine His voice from any others we may hear which may come from well meaning friends who love us.  These confirmations will strengthen our faith and enable us to hear God more clearly as we grow in our faith.

How do you know God is speaking to you? - The Tests
The first test is the confirmation of God's written Word - the Bible.
Everything that God says will agree with His written Word. He will never tell you to sin or go against a teaching in His Word. This simple test can clarify many "messages." We must, however, be careful not to read the written Word with any preconceived ideas of what it is saying.

The second test is the confirmation of godly counsel. God has placed people in our lives to help us to hear His voice. These people may include pastors, teachers, parents, and godly friends. In most cases, they will confirm the voice of God to you and help you to see His plan. This is not to say that you should rely on them solely. These people are human and can have their own feelings and fears distort their objectivity. However, they can be a very valuable source of confirmation when you are uncertain of God's voice.

The third test is the confirmation through circumstances. Christians can carefully study their situation for indications of God's will. Some Christians have called this the Gideon method or "putting out the fleece." When God told Gideon that he was to lead Israel into battle against their enemies, Gideon put a fleece out on the ground in order to receive a sign that God was really speaking to him. If you feel led to use this test, come to God with a humble attitude and not a spirit of testing Him. Pray for God to reveal His will and carefully watch the circumstances that relate to that decision.

Wait expectantly with great anticipation.  He will be faithful.  The answer is coming. Be ready to accept the answer he gives you. Be open to His guidance.  Accept His love and perfect will for your life.

Scripture to Claim:
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Monday, January 28, 2013

I’ve Come Unplugged

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
During the course of going about my day this week, I found myself standing at the desk of our friend James Plowman.  Open in front of him was his Macbook Pro laptop.  During our conversation, I looked down at his computer.  There, about an inch and a half from the back left of his laptop, was the power cord.  It was ever-so close to where it was supposed to be plugged in, but it was not connected to the laptop.  He had become unplugged. The scene struck a chord in my mind:

“I couldn’t happen to notice, Brother James…” I commented in mock preacher voice, “that you are no longer plugged in to your power source.”  To which James replied in similar style: “Why yes.  I see.” 
I said: “You will be able to continue in such a state for a while…but not forever.  For when you are disconnected from the power, you will not grow stronger.  You will grow weaker.  You will eventually be unable to work the way you desire to work.” 

James got a wide grin on his face.  He had just caught on to the double meaning of my words. “This is true.  I had better get reconnected, and soon!”

I’ve come unplugged before.  Have you?  In case you missed the meaning I was humorously sharing with Mr. Plowman, I’m speaking of coming unplugged from my source of strength:  Almighty God.  I think maybe everyone feels like they’ve come unplugged from time to time.  A warning comes from John 15:5 which reads: “…apart from Me, you can do nothing.”  I do not want to remain unplugged.

Unplugged…meaning what?
Being unplugged can manifest in varied ways.  It may mean that a person has gotten out of the habit of attending Bible Study or Sunday worship.

It might mean that through one reason or another, an individual isn’t connecting with the community of Christian friends that encourage them and/or hold them accountable.

Being unplugged could mean that due to the busy-ness of life, devotion time, scripture reading and personal prayer have been pushed to the back burner of daily living.

Perhaps there are other examples we could point at.  Suffice it to say, we don’t want to remain unplugged when we come to the realization that we need to reconnect with our Lord.

So how do we fix it?  How do we plug back in? 
The angel of the Lord spoke to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:5 with the following advice: “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first…” Today, let’s let that mean: Start praying…again.  Start reading the Bible…again.  Rejoin the fellowship and attendance of the local church fellowship…again.  The distance of a thousand mile journey begins with a single step right?  Then, take a step toward plugging back in!

Thinking about that Macbook Pro James Plowman had on his desk, the tip of the power supply plug is magnetized.  If it were moved just a little bit closer to the computer then the magnetism would take over and close the gap.  It would practically plug itself in!  We are much the same way. James 4:8 says: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Likewise, Revelation 3:20 reads: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.”

Let’s get plugged in…again.  Okay?  Okay.
Almighty God, Our hearts are prone to wander; and this world has many distractions, many voices, calling for our loyalty, service, and attention. This day, we can hear you calling us to plug back in.  We may be able to coast along for quite a while, but ultimately, the faith we had yesterday is not where you want us to be tomorrow.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit, set our faith ablaze again.  Plug us back into you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Submitted By Kerry Patton

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