Friday, January 30, 2015


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; 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 3:12-14

What needs to happen at halftime to be a winner in life?
This Sunday is the Super Bowl.  In the game of football, half time is a time to reflect, regroup, and make a new game plan.  Maybe you have some failures in your past and you are wrapped up in that failure thinking you cannot recover.  That is exactly what Satan wants you to think.  God can take the brokenness of our lives and make it something beautiful.  He can use our failures for His glory. It is time to start new.  Make a game changing plan right now.

·     We Must Recognize Our Position. 
Leaders and losers of the first half need to make adjustments to win the game. 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. All of us have setbacks. We fail. There comes a time when we must move on with life. A part of strategy in going forward must include pulling the curtains on the past.  The poisonous, negative emotions of defeat must be dealt with before future victory can be achieved.

·     We Must Acknowledge our Weaknesses.
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

·     We Must Listen to the Coach.
Sometimes a proud athlete, child or disciple must be broken before they will listen to instruction. Getting the attention of a player often requires failure on the part of the player.
In the halftime locker room the players who are losing are more attentive to instruction.
You can’t do the same thing and get a different result.  There has to be some changes made.  Listen to the Lord.

·     We Must Discover our Strength.
Fear resides in knowing that we stand in our power and are not capable of handling the task we are facing. Faith consists in understanding that God's promise of victory cannot be denied for it is based in His power and ability, not my own.  All of the things we were so sure of in the first half mean so little in the second half. When God gives the direction, then He also gives the power and provision. Victory is not dependent on me, but God!

For the second half of life to be better than the first, you must make the choice to step outside of the safety of living on auto-pilot. God’s promise still requires our participation to be realized. There is no victory without battle. 

Scripture to Claim:
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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It’s not too late!!!

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; 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 3:12-14

It is January 29th.  The first month of the New Year is almost over.  New Year’s resolutions have been made and broken, maybe over and over again by this time.  No matter what your past failures are or how many broken resolutions you may have under the belt, the good news is that you can still be transformed by God! Regardless of your season or your status, you can begin today with the benefit of past experience and the power of purpose.

This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday.  Any good coach knows that half time is the time to re-group, re-assess the situation and make a new game plan.

Right now is the beginning of the rest of your life and you can make it the best part of your life.  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. Apostle Paul was 40

If you will recall, God put Paul into a halftime experience on the road to Damascus at around age 40. He was building quite a reputation and had a set course when he was seized by Christ.  He was winning from the perspectives of those around him.  But Christ explained to him that he was losing.  Paul viewed his life from past to present. It was a kind of halftime assessment of his life. He realized that he had accomplished much but the prize remained before him. In this halftime assessment, Paul decided to forget the negatives of the past and press for the future in Christ Jesus.  At the close of his life, Paul was able to say, 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 

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.  You may be nearing the end of the half. You are in your mid-thirties to early forties, and something has been telling you that you cannot keep playing as you have been.  Some of you may even be in the second half, but never really thought of it that way.  Like a good lineman, you just kept charging ahead. This message may lead you to call time-out, head for the sidelines, and take stock, for it is never too late to change your game plan.
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. 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. It is not too late for a game changer; a transformation in your life.

"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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Object Lessons - One Small Acorn

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.  Hebrews 13:7

Working in a church office puts you in the position of being a sanctuary or safe haven for anyone who may walk in off the street needing assistance ranging from counseling to financial matters.  One day an elderly gentleman walked in looking very lost.  He held a fistful of small acorns.  When I asked him how we could help him, he handed me those acorns and said he was looking for his home.  He claimed it used to be right where he was looking, in the neighborhood of the church, but he couldn’t find it. 

It turned out that he actually did grow up in that neighborhood but his childhood home no longer stood where it used to be.  It was long gone.  The man was disoriented and confused and had somehow managed to get to our church from Granbury.  His daughter was very relieved when we contacted her. 

I kept those small acorns that man handed me that day.  I took them home and I put them up.  I imagine that maybe he picked them up out of a yard that he thought was the yard he played in as a child.  It really tugged at my heart and how it was a symbol for him to hold on to something long gone.  He was searching, looking, and longing and any little object that connected him was important.

What Connects You?
What is it that you hold in your hand?  What is in your grasp? What are you clinging to and looking for?  Have you gotten away from that important place in your life?  Have you wandered so far and forgotten your way back, groping and looking for landmarks along the way?  Thankfully when we wander away from Jesus, He is still there by our side.  We wander but He does not.  He waits and when we finally realize how lost we are and feel the desperate loneliness of one who has strayed away from God, He welcomes us back.  When we seek Him and search for the path back, He leads us and provides all the clues we need to find Him.  He doesn’t play games and He doesn’t make it hard.  As long as we choose and desire Him, He is readily available.  He will not leave us or forsake us, He promises. Don’t let go of Him and lose your way.  Don’t turn away even for a little while because Satan would love for you to take your eyes off of Him and stray into his trap.

Also, don’t let go of the things that keep you close to Him – the fellowship of a church, Bible verses, people, etc.  Hold these in the grasp of your hand as a reminder of your faith, the faith you have been taught perhaps from childhood.  Sometimes we need symbols to remind us because in the harshness of life, we can forget or get distracted.  

Scripture to Claim:
Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will saveIsaiah 46:4 ESV

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Object Lessons - The Kitchen Table

That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children,  That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments… Psalms 78:6-7 

When I look at my kitchen table I am reminded of many memories.  I guess we have had that table about 12 years or so.  We have spent many moments together at that table, homeschooling, eating, visiting, doing crafts, and we are not finished with it yet. 

Of course when it was brand new, I tried to make sure no one wrote on it, scratched it, or nicked it, but with four kids, it didn’t take long for it to get its first scratch.  That first scratch was soon followed by paint, marker, pen marks, fork scratching, and the list goes on.  Now those marks are precious reminders to me of how life used to be.  They serve as reminders of sweet days, when at the time I might have been ready to pull my hair out.  They are reminders of days gone by that make us remember to be grateful for the moments we have because we realize how fast they are passing. 
We also have eaten many holiday meals around that table.  Sometimes we had extended family join us and sometimes it was just our family, enjoying a special meal on a special day together.  I remember one Thanksgiving in particular.  It was just us.  The kids were having fun, playing in the woods together.  It was cold and dreary and while they were at the woods playing, big soft snowflakes began to fall.  They had so much fun.  Then they came home to gather around the table for a warm holiday meal. 

This table is also a place where many words of wisdom have been imparted.  Here their father, while eating a meal together, shared advice with his children who soaked up every word he said.  With the busyness of life, sometimes the moments we got to spend together all in one place were few and far between.  Just having dad at the table brought a whole new dynamic to the meal, and everyone hung on his words.  In Deuteronomy God tells us to teach our children about Him and His love.  He instructs us as parents to talk about this with our children as we sit at home.  The kitchen table is the perfect place to talk about the goodness of God. 

The scratched up imperfect table is beautiful to me.  It has character and personality that makes it different from any other table in the world.  It holds the scars of our family, good and bad, and I love it all.  I used to want to refinish it and cover up all the blemishes, but now I know I will never change it.  I want my children to come back someday with their own children and gather around that table, scratches and all.  I want them to look at it and remember the conversations, laughter, and the warmth shared there.  It is a symbol of togetherness, unity, and love. 

As you look at your kitchen table, remember what a symbol it is.  Remember all the history it holds and all that has transpired there.  Let it be a treasure to you instead of an eyesore.  The value of an object is not always in the beauty, but in the meaning it holds for us.  Our lives can be thought of in much the same way.  We are scarred and imperfect.  We have blemishes and dents, but God still treasures us.  He sees the value beneath the finish.  Thank Him for accepting you, nicks and all.

Scripture to Claim:
Love GOD, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got! Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.  Deuteronomy 6:5-7 MSG

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