Friday, February 3, 2017

Listen to the Lord

'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.' Jeremiah 29:11
This week is the Super Bowl.  Millions of us will be watching the game this coming Sunday.  How does being an athlete on a winning team compare to being a Christian? Believe it or not, there are some similarities!
We Must Listen to the Coach (Some of the information is adapted from Halftime by Bob Buford)
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. Same principle applies to us in our lives. Listen to the Lord.
The Disciples in the Upper Room-
There were 11 men huddled together after being knocked down by the opposition so hard they feared for their lives.
They sat in an upper room and wept over their situation. 
They were defeated and hopeless.
This halftime lasted for over 3 days.
It was into this room the Coach came and everything was changed.
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 is cannot be denied for it is based in His power and ability, not my own.  With a new vision and a new understanding of the game these men left that room and changed the world.
What they had learned in the first half did not make any real sense until the second half. Isn't that true for all of us?  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.
We Must Press for the Prize
There is no victory without battle.  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.
You may feel at first that you are losing control of your life. To which I say: Good for you. It's possible to make some mistakes in the first half and still have time to recover, but it's harder to do that in the second half.
In the second half you should, at long last, know what you have to work with and know the playing field.  You have experienced enough victory to know how hard the game is most of the time and enough pain and disappointment that, while losing a few rounds is certainly no fun, loss is survivable and sometimes uncovers the best that is in you.
Now get out there and play!
Scripture to claim:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.  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 9:24-25

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