Encouragement in Athletics
If you ever play with a young child, they normally have a toy that serves as a favorite. If you try to take it away, one of the first things the child says is “Mine!” Substitute the toy and you may be able to escape a meltdown, but if you take the toy from them without a substitute, you’ll probably encounter a crying fit.
Last night, I lost an hour of time. I know it’s not a toy…NO I didn’t cry, as far as you know… but when someone takes my time away, it bothers me. Time is a precious commodity. I value what I do with my time. Like many of you, I live off a schedule and when it gets disrupted, it can cause pain.
- You can take an item back to Walmart without a receipt and get an exchange or a refund (not sure they want me sharing that).
- You can complain at a restaurant and often get your money back.
- You can get a lot of things back, but you can’t get time back without the supernatural God intervening.
Glenn Hargett, the husband of one of our teachers at MCA, was recently in a coma for 2 weeks. He had no idea that “time” was taken away. During that time however, his wife Beth used the time to be a prayer Warrior!
So what? Seize the moment! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve embraced the moments more knowing that my life is truly a vapor. We know not the time when our “time” on earth will be taken away, but we do know that He who controls time is not limited by it. Seize the moment!
I had heard that sound before. On Saturday, a friend and I were traveling home in HIS truck with HIS boat and his tire blew out. We had already had to leave the lake early due to a trolling motor problem and now this!!! I was NOT happy.
We pulled over at a rental house on New Town road where Jeremiah lives with his girlfriend and her 3 children. He helped us with our tire until we discovered the “leaf-spring” on the trailer had broken, meaning we needed a tow-truck.
As we waited, (2 hours) I asked Jeremiah, “What’s up with the tats?” (tattoos for you folks who don’t speak the lingo). He was “ink-mastered-up” with them and began to share about each one. He brushed over the cross but came back to it when I asked, “Do you go to church”? He then served as a fountain of hope, grace, and forgiveness. He was baptized 3 months ago and is being used to help those who live lives with addictions. He’s looking forward to getting married very soon. He even went inside to show me a book he had been reading about becoming a Christian. It was marked-up, highlighted, dog-eared like he had been reading with intensity. (I would tell you more but this is supposed to be a short Sunday devotion.)
When my buddy called the tow truck, he was on speaker. I recognized the voice on the other line! It was the same guy who came and towed my boat last year when I had trailer trouble. I knew it was him because of his “high” tone and he stuttered. When the driver, Mike, got out of the truck, I asked him if he remembered me. We reminisced quickly, hooked up the boat, then Mike asked me, “you..you..you.. you want to ride with me?” I jumped in the roll-back tow truck.
Traveling to my buddy’s house, we struck up the conversation of God’s goodness. It’s easy for me because I feel so blessed with a wife, kids, people I work with, the job of proclaiming God’s goodness, etc. He then began to share that he just buried his 3-week-old boy last Monday. He and his wife have a 6, 4, and 2-year-old. The loss of his baby boy was sad. I cried but didn’t let him see me. I prayed in his truck as he drove (with his eyes opened) of course.
I’m a fixer. I like to fix things. You got a problem, I’ll tell you a solution or I’ll fix it! You want advice or an opinion, I’ll give it. I’m not proud of that, as it can seem arrogant…God keeps working on me. On Saturday, I became a listener. We were delayed for nearly 2 hours with Jeremiah and I rode with Mike for about 20 minutes. I became a listener. Sometimes listening is all we need to do to be an encouragement to others.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, (James 1:19). Someone will need you to listen this week. Embrace the opportunity!
Billy Graham was asked a few years ago, “What would you have done differently”? He responded, “I would have prayed and meditated more”. He also said he would have traveled less and spoke less but “he would spend more time in prayer if he did it all over.” You can see the minute and a half video at… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F4a74-vhFg
Praying people move God to do things He wouldn’t normally do…keep reading!
- God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham’s relatives were there. He asked God that if 50 were righteous, would the Lord still destroy the cities. The Lord said no. Abraham talked the Lord down to 10 people and God still said no. (Genesis 18:25). Sodom was not spared, but Abraham’s persistent prayer caused God to postpone His destruction as Lot and his family departed.
- In Jonah chapter 3, the people were told that God was going to destroy Nineveh. The people repented, fasted and prayed. The King called for prayer and fasting asking the people to seek the Lord as maybe God would spare the city. The Lord stopped short of destroying Nineveh.
- In Deuteronomy 9: 12-21…God was going to destroy Israel as Israel had made a golden calf and worshipped it. Moses intervened through prayer for 40 days and nights, keeping back God’s fury and wrath.
Prayerlessness excludes God from your affairs as you shut Him out of a relationship.
Prayerlessness weakens your Spirit as it starves for communion with His Spirit.
Prayerlessness gives Satan ground to root in.
Jesus, God’s Son, is committed to your prayer. “Whatever you ask in my name, that I will do (John 14: 13,14).
Go ahead, pray.
A few days ago, I left my office and walked toward the JWAC (old gym). My path joined with a middle school girl with whom I spoke.
I asked her what she was doing during the upcoming spring season. She responded, “I might play soccer for my church league…uh…I’m not sure.” That comment prompted me to say, “Why don’t you play this spring for our middle school soccer team?” She’s a tall, athletic girl, always shares a smile and is easy to talk to…a positive leader…someone you would want on your team.
“Don’t you have to try-out?” she said. “Yes,” I replied.
“I don’t know…” she said.
“So, you don’t want to try-out because you might get cut?” I asked.
Sheepishly, she responded, “Well… no one wants to get cut.”
I was fuming inside. I wanted to shake her, thump her, fuss at her…however the Lord gave me these words because I wasn’t prepared to respond like this. “So…you’re afraid, you’ll get cut? I’m not the coach, but I think you’ll make the team. Don’t let the fear of getting cut keep you from receiving a blessing. You might miss out on something God has for you, but if your failure wins, you lose”.
The next day, I stopped by the lunchroom and asked her, “Do you remember what I told you yesterday?” She smiled and said, “Don’t let your fear rob you of a blessing”. Surprisingly she remembered!!! I happily responded, “That’s right.”
Maybe that conversation was meant for she and I…or maybe that conversation was so that I would write about this to YOU! Do you have a fear keeping you from a blessing? Are you holding back from a commitment, a new challenge? Fear cripples, causing us to move tentatively in a land where God’s promises are ever present.
Isaiah 43:1- “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine” says the Lord.
I’ll let you know next week if she tries out.
I believe everyone’s a leader.
I took liberties with Michael Hyatt’s secular article titled, 12 Ways to Know You’re a Leader to intentionally provide a biblical look at leadership.
Ask yourself…” Do most of these apply to me?”
Last week we shared the first six…here’s the last six. Do you remember which one stood out to you the most? Which one below is your greatest asset? Which is your most challenging? Are you going to prayerfully pursue God’s call to lead?
- You refuse to blame others for your circumstances and take responsibility for finding solutions. Joseph lived a life of horrible circumstances but always sought to be obedient and made the most of his work in Potiphar’s house as well as Pharaoh’s house. He told his brothers that sold him into slavery, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good,” (Gen. 50:20).
- You foster unity by bringing people together and encouraging dialogue. Joash brought the chief priests, the Levites and the workers all together to repair and rebuild the temple (2nd Chronicles 24).
- You’re quick to say, “I messed up. Here’s what I’m doing to fix the problem I created.” After David’s affair with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, David said, “…I have sinned against the Lord…”(2nd Samuel 12:13). He went on to be the greatest king of Israel and was noted as a man after God’s own heart.
- You value relationships more than tasks. Martha was cleaning and preparing as it appeared there was so much work to be done, however Mary was not concerned at that time with the tasks. Jesus told Martha, “…Mary has chosen the good portion and it shall not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42).
- You walk your walk…not perfectly but consistently and intentionally. Paul initially persecuted Christians but emerged as the great church planter writing “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1st Tim. 1:15).
- You’re a learner. You read, listen to podcasts, attend conferences and ask questions. Your hunger to learn will indicate your future. Feed the hunger. “The disciples came to Him and asked…” many times (Matt. 13:10, 17:10, Luke 8:9, Mark 9:11…).
You have the opportunity to influence in a positive and powerful way!
Building a community of leaders together!!