When Progress Stops

"Often times the only difference between winning and losing is momentum."  John Maxwell. 

"When you have momentum it is wonderful.  When you don't - it's awful."  Russ Jones 

If there is anything I know about change is this.  It can be fickle.  The change that was bringing you what you wanted can suddenly take away everything you have.  You look up at God and say, "Really?"  I understand.  But think about David for a moment.  

Sometimes progress is discouraged.   In 1 Sam 17:28 we read how Davids older brother Eliab really gave his little brother an earful for asking questions.  What if David had listened to his brother and went home.  History would have turned out differently.  Don't get discouraged.  Fight it with all you have. 

Sometimes it will just stop dead in it's tracks.  In 1 Sam 17:38 David puts on King Sauls armor.  It didn't fit.  While it was a good plan, it was the wrong plan.  What if David had said, "Oh well, I tried."  Then turned around and went home.  Just because progress has stopped doesn't mean that God has.  

So get yourself some momentum.  1 Samuel 17:40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.  David knew what to do.  Get a smooth rock, put it in his sling and start whirling that thing around his head.  Get all the momentum he could get out of it and let it fly.  

Just because progress stops it doesn't mean that life is over.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I need some momentum in my life today.  AMEN 

When Progress Gets Tough

Change is an ugly word to some people.  Change is tough, challenging and sometimes complicated.  But it doesn't have to be ugly.

Choose what you want to change, or change will make a choice for you.

The one thing that will never change is - change.

But how do you change?  Wait!

Isaiah 40:31 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.

That's right - wait.  I use to work for a pastor that always said,  "Make a decision.  Right or wrong it doesn't matter.  Doing nothing isn't an option."  I agreed with him to a point.  But he was always making the wrong decisions because he wouldn't wait.  This eventually ruined him.  One too many wrong decisions.  Patience is tough - but it is also a reward.

When you set a goal to achieve it is going to require change.  It can be challenging, but if done right, it will also be very, very rewarding.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to embrace the changes You bring into my life today.  AMEN

When The Sun Rises

Each new day starts with a fresh dose of daylight to brighten our eyes and warm our skin.  Then we will walk out our door.  It is the attitude we start with that will carry us through our day.  If you start the day with disdain, it will be a horrible day - I guarantee it.  But if you walk out the door with hopeful anticipation, it will be much better.

Hebrews 3:13 says  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Understand that this world doesn't want you to get any joy out of your day or any day for that matter. This world, which is full of sin and disobedience against God, is determined to destroy you and everything around you.  That includes your hope for this day.  

The writer of Hebrews tells us how to counter this nonsense.  Exhort or encourage each other.  If you want encouragement, help someone.  Smile at everyone.  Greet people with a cheerful hello.  Ask if you can help someone today.   Just give what you want, and God will return everything to you with more to spare. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to help others day.  AMEN  

When Life Goes Crazy Part 4

Matthew 15:21-28   21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”And her daughter was healed instantly.
It would appear that Jesus is just rude in this passage.  He isn't, but He is testing her faith.
- To rephrase a famous business axiom.  "Be stubborn on faith but flexible on the journey."  Faith is established.  It isn't wishy washy or ever changing.  God never changes, therefore, the faith He gives us will never change.  But our journey of faith, well that can be fascinating.

In Moody Church, located in Chicago, Illinois, there is a church room named after Scottish evangelist
John Harper.  Harper, who was on a journey to The Moody Church,  drowned when the Titanic sank in April 1912. 

Harper’s reputation as an evangelist was so well known that he was invited to speak at The Moody Church in 1910. And so it was that John Harper, his sister, and his six-year-old daughter (his wife had died) found themselves on the great ship, the Titanic. Survivors later reported that as Titanic began to sink, Harper admonished people to be prepared to die. He made sure his sister and daughter were in a lifeboat even as he continued to share the Gospel with whoever would listen. And when he found himself in the icy water with a life jacket, floating near another man, Harper asked, “Are you saved?”

“No, I’m not saved!” the desperate man replied.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!” Harper shouted.

One report says Harper, knowing he could not survive long in the icy water, took off his life jacket and threw it to another person with the words, “You need this more than I do!” Moments later, Harper disappeared beneath the water. Four years later, when there was a reunion of the survivors of the Titanic, the man to whom Harper had witnessed told the story of his rescue and gave a testimony of his conversion recorded in a tract, I was John Harper’s Last Convert.

Harper was anticipating great revival meetings in Chicago where many would give their lives to Christ.  His journey changed and his last great altar call was as the Titanic sank.  His faith never changed, just the details of his journey. 

The mother didn't know what to expect from Jesus.  But she believed that He could meet her need.  The details didn't matter to her if Jesus was rude or polite.  It didn't matter if He did it there or went in person.  Her faith was stubborn.  How's yours? 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I don't know what life holds for me today, but I want to be ready to serve You.  AMEN!  

When Life Goes Crazy Part 3

banging head on computer photo banginheadcomputer.gif Wouldn't you know it.  The moment that I start writing about life going crazy, my life goes crazy.  Yesterday I had to keep telling myself.

"Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all time.  Wait until the ride comes to a full and complete stop."

It was midnight last night before I realized that I didn't blog yesterday.  In what was one of the rarest days ever, I didn't even turn my computer on.  I knew my life had gone crazy.

Jer 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Time management is a misnomer.  You can have great strategies to manage your time, and I suggest that you use them.  But time management is nothing more than self-management.  So in the spirit of transparency, I didn't manage myself very well yesterday.

Why is this important?  God has a plan.  But it is my responsibility to be a good steward of that plan. If I don't manage my time well I'm not a good steward of the plan He has given me to follow.

So today, I have used the word NO so many times people are starting to wonder if I will ever say YES again.  I will, as soon as I tell myself NO enough.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I know you have a plan for me.  Help me to say NO to the things that will try to derail me from that plan.  AMEN  

When Life Goes Crazy Part 2

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Life has its ups and downs.  We all know that.  There are seasons of plenty, and there are seasons of pain.  Expecting life to be perfect and wonderful all the time simply isn't being realistic.  Life isn't going to be fair.

So what do you do when it all goes sideways?  Can you even get back on track?  What do you do?

Many years ago I met a man who had recently suffered a heart attack.  He drove a gasoline truck on a major interstate in a metropolitan area.  That alone would cause me to have a heart attack.  One day, while driving the truck, he suffered a heart attack.  Fortunately, he was able to pull the truck to the side of the road and call for help.  What was so odd to me about this story was his age.  He was only in his 20's.  His brother brought him to my office because he needed help.  He was going to lose his job, and he didn't know how he was going to make it.

I assured him that God knew what was happening and that he was going to rebound from this setback.  But my curiosity got the best of me, and I inquired as to why he had a heart attack at such a young age.  He told me that his doctors said it was his diet, specifically his breakfast.  "What do you have for breakfast?"  I asked.  This was his typical breakfast.  A loaf of bread toasted and buttered.  A dozen eggs scrambled.  A pound of bacon fried and a pot of black coffee.   Yup, that will do it.

Many things can cause our life to go crazy.  Some things are within our control, like what you eat for breakfast.  Sometimes they are not, like a car accident or terminal illness.  Either way, John 16:33 will help you.  Jesus promises that we will have peace, even in the midst of life's trials, if we have a relationship with Him.

Unite with Jesus 

He knew your future and made provision for it.   You cannot surprise Him with life's unexpected events.  He was aware that of what was going to happen and prepared to meet your need.  The question you have to ask yourself is this.  Are you in a place where you can receive what He can provide.  I know people who rant and rail at Christ because He didn't do this or that.  The fact of the matter is, He did provide for their need, they were not in a place to receive.

PRAY: Dear Jesus, help me to be where I am supposed to be today.  AMEN