Life is a Football Game

Are you going through a tough stretch? Does it seem life is one trial after another? Do you frequently hear yourself saying “What now?”

The truth of the matter is that it is “Always something”. As Rick Warren said once “We’re either going through a trial, just getting out of a trial, or getting ready to go into a trial.”

So why are we so upset and distraught when life pitches us one foul ball after another? Or we keep getting intercepted in our goals? Because life is a game.

Think about it. We all have goals right? Some of us want a new job, others want to be married, to be thinner, or to achieve some status or position at work. Just like football, we use strategies to reach our goals.

But sometimes our strategies fail. Just like in football. We get intercepted, distracted, miss the catch or worse, drop the ball! The good news is that in life, just as in football, there’s always another season, another chance to get in the game, make the play and score that touchdown.

So, when life starts to distract you and keep you on the sidelines, don’t despair. Remember who is the Head Coach and who is rooting for you on the sidelines and from the box seats. My life verse for this year is Romans 8:31, “For if God is for us, who can stand against us?” Today, I encourage you if you are down and out, to get back in the game. There’s still time to make that play and score that goal!

Until next time, keep looking up!

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Open the Windows

They say there are two types of people in the world – givers and takers. Which are you? I am a giver. I love to give and sometimes to a fault, if that is even possible. I give money, gifts, cards, make phone calls, extend invitations, cook, and volunteer. Not trying to boast or brag, but to show you that giving comes in many forms.

It’s a new year and time to make up my goals and budget. What am I going to spend my time, money, and energies on? How and where we spend our time and money says volumes about our values.

Anyway, my point in all this is that it is a new year. The world is hurting and many are in need. Let’s all be vessels of God’s love and show it by giving in whatever way we can. “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. We are to give out of the overflow of love in our hearts. I know how much joy it brings me when I am able to give. God challenges us to test him. He promises that if we give He will open up the windows of heaven and pour out tremendous blessing on us (Malachi 3:10).

If you don’t enjoy giving, could it be that perhaps you haven’t received God’s great love for you into your heart? Today I encourage you to receive the most precious gift of all – knowing how MUCH God LOVES YOU and he ALWAYS WILL and then pour out that love on others. Watch and see how God keeps his promise.

Until next time, remember God loves you and keep looking up!

Time to Turn

This past friday was the celebration of the Ephiphany on Jan. 6th. Since I have been in a quandary about how to deal with some difficult issues, I prayed, “Lord,I need an epiphany.” Lo and behold I check my email and what do I see in but the devotional I wrote months ago for my church’s ministry. It ‘just happened’ to be published that very morning. Having heard from several friends that the message was timely for them, I thought I’d share it with you all as well. May 2012 be a time to turn for all of us.

KEY VERSE: “Repent of your sins and turn to God” (Matthew 3:3, NLT)

CENTRAL TRUTH: If we want to see the kingdom of heaven, we must turn from our sinful ways.

The message of John the Baptist is as relevant today as it was in Jesus’ time. John warned that the Messiah was coming and people had better get right with God. The same is true for the world today as evidenced by all the natural disasters, financial collapses and moral deterioration of society. We never know when Jesus is going to return.

The religious leaders at that time believed that because they were descendents of Abraham they were righteous in the eyes of God. I know I am guilty of the same kind of legalistic thinking. If I do this and this, or if I am part of this or that group, I can please God and earn my way into Heaven. Yet, this thinking is contrary to what the Bible teaches. We are only righteous in God’s eyes because of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not because of our good works or any group we may belong to.

One example is my need to keep doing. Like Martha, I get anxious about doing so many things, yet Jesus’ answer to Martha was to be like her sister who sat at His feet. I constantly need to remind myself to slow down and not do so much. How stubborn I can be at times!

Like the people who came to hear John, I still need to repent but it is only through God’s grace that I can change my ways and obey God more. Jesus models the importance of obeying God (v15).’It should be done for we must carry out all that God requires.’ He had no sin to repent of and no need to be baptized, but He demonstrated His obedience to the Father by doing so. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It signifies to the world that we are now living for God instead of for ourselves and that we are turning from our old lifestyles to living by God’s guidelines.

God already loves me so I can relax and allow Him to change me at His pace instead of my own!

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:

1. Do you believe you are accepted and loved by God? Why or why not?

2. What habits or negative attitudes might be holding you back from enjoying a life of freedom?

3.Have you obeyed God by being baptized?

4. Realize God loves you more than you could ever imagine and turn to Him out of gratitude, not fear.

Make It Count

2012 is here with its promises and it’s pressures. Which will you focus on?

Are you going to let the daily grind consume you? Allow distractions and demands to keep you from doing what you really want to do in life? Is your focus on making a buck or making a difference? As Tom Brokaw puts it “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot harder to make a difference.”

My challenge to you and to myself is to make this year count! Don’t let another year roll by without doing something that really matters to you, something that will make a difference in your life and perhaps the lives of others.

What is your dream, your vision, your heart’s desire? Whatever it is, go after it. Pursue it. You have the strength, the wisdom, and the courage to go out there and conquer the world! Proverbs 29:18 says “My people perish for lack of vision” and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil 4:13).

So what are you waiting for? First, pray about it. Ask the Lord to give you revelation. He will reveal His will to you. He will help you make a plan, put action steps to it, and then it’s up to you to step out in faith and get to work. He’s behind you all the way and so am I!

I’m excited to see what God is going to do in and through His people this year, so send me a note and let me know what great thing God is up to in your life. Happy 2012 and let’s all MAKE IT COUNT!