Finish Well at the Well

Finish Well at the Well:

This season, I have relaxed to watch a little football. Dallas and OU. What a mix. This is not my norm. Usually, I watch finals and bowl games but nothing in the season. The last two OU games are football at the finest. The favored team gets behind and pulls the game out in the last two minutes. Whew… That is like the old days of Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys.

In the last quarter, the announcers kept commenting how the OU offense had been on the field so long they might lose strength. They forgot the courageous Baylor defense had been on the field all that time also with no rest. Eventually, I believe the conditioning and sheer force of will to win in OU prevailed. It was a monumental struggle. It is a game for the history books and a quarter to be watched over and over. It speaks to us. No one lost that game, the clock just ran out.

And it is an analogy we all need. This morning I pray for those who are in the last minutes of a down and out situation. You have been favored before. You have seen success. It has all worked for you and now it seems to all be crashing. Or you have never seen the success you wish and here you are against the wall again.

Questions rake your mind and heart.

Where is the God of my prior success?

Why is this happening to me?

Is there any reason to persist?

Why not just give in and lose the game?

Haven’t I done enough in life?

I encourage you to finish well. Finish well. Dig into the well of reserved strength. A life of prayer and persistence has given you a resource of the Holy Spirit that will get you through this.

Jeremiah pointed out that we abandon the source of our strength too quickly and look for other solutions. The Lord is the source of our strength and our portion forever.

When I was a child visiting my dad’s relatives, my two aunts Willy and Helen lived out on a remote farm. The well water was not good. The neighbor down the road, George, had sweet well water. He would hitch a mule to a sled and bring large bottles of this sweet water to them. I remember the hot Summer riding that sled down the dirt road to his house and dipping into the water fresh at the well. It was cold and sweet and refreshing. Even today over 50 years later, I can smell the heat and the dirt and the mule and the sweet water and hear him, “Heeyah”, to the mule.

That is like the Lord’s fountain of life. When you are pressed to the max and turn to His well, you will never forget. You will go back. Go back to the well.

“For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭36:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/psa.36.9.nkjv

““For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/jer.2.13.nkjv

Uncompromising High Spirits

Get a reason to run and a purpose to plan. The Lord choses to bless those that make known His name with no compromise. Jettison lax approach to heavenly living. Steel yourself and do what you know is right.
Psalm 5:11-12…let those who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous

Need A Quiet Moment, Friend?

Isaiah 8:18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me.
As a businessman and community leader, I spend countless hours seeking audience with people. It is a tough and thankless task.
Jesus presents us to His Father as a gift. He makes it easy to get into the very throneroom of God. Through tremendous sacrifice, He opened a path for us into the presence of the holiest God. Then He takes us by the hand and walks us up to the Creator of All and presents us.
There is nothing we can do to earn that presentation. It is a gift to us received in Him.
That simple knowledge comforts me. The ability to quiet myself and know I don’t have to earn anything consoles me. I can rest in His acceptance and favor.
Friend, there is rest for you. There is favor for you.
Father, accept my friend alongside Your Son, Jesus. What a joy to know You will receive us. The Master of All opens His inner office to allow us entrance and audience. That is huge. Thanks, Father.

Snow in the Shadows

Snow gets in the shadows.

Ecclesiastes 4:11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

In Oklahoma and Texas, snow is a sometimes and someyears thing.  Not often.  But often enough.  It can linger for a few hours or a few days and in rare occasions for a few weeks.  Ice lingers longer.

The shadows keep the snow longer.  The sun doesn’t reach there.

Normal winter temperatures daily climb into the 40’s and 50’s and many times 60’s and 70’s.  Snow doesn’t last long in that warmth.    Except in the shadows.

In the shadows, the warmth needs to linger a little longer.

Relationships are like that.  Some cold spots tend to linger.  Each relationship finds bad spots and good spots. The daily good warmth takes longer to remove the memory and the touchiness.  Sometimes it is an icy block that takes weeks of warmth to remove.

You can speed up the process when the snow is in your shadow by moving whatever is blocking the sun and giving yourself adequate good time.  We can’t change the weather outside, but we can change the weather conditions of a relationship through investment in good moments.

You can speed up the process when you deposited snow into the shadow of a loved one by investing in warm moments with them.  Leave it to linger at risk of damage that may not heal.

Think of a few easy moments of warmth you can bring to a relationship.  The odd coincidence of snow in the shadows of a relationship is that neither of you may realize that it lingers.  You look to the front yard and clean streets and are grateful.  It is easy to leave the shadows alone, but lingering snow and ice comes up at the most inappropriate moments.

Do some good.  Do some gentle.  Do some soft.

The beauty of having the warm moments is you don’t have to talk about the snow, it just goes away. 

Meet Jesus : Faith Seeker

Meet Jesus : Faith Seeker

Matthew 8:5: And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,6: And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

 7: And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

8: The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9: For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

10: When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

11: And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12: But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

13: And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour

Faith is honored by God.  Faith based in understanding of authority, moves God quickly.  In our journey in this life, it serves us well to remember how Jesus honors faith in authority.  Remember, His authority was so evident the people marveled.   Authority is important to Jesus.  He looks for those that understand and invoke His authority through faith.

ACT!  Do you have a situation requiring authority?  Invite Jesus into it.

PRAY!  Father, I place myself under the authority of the name of Jesus.  Even as the centurion placed his servant under Jesus’ authority, so do I place me and my household.  Cover the property entrusted to me.  Cover my family’s health.  Cover the thoughts of my mind.

 

Meet Jesus : Fruit Inspector,,, GSJ14

Each of us has a flavor of which comes out

Matthew 7:16: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 Daily Produce

Ever thought about what it is you produce daily?  Each of us has a flavor to what comes out.  A friend of mine has a perfume she has worn for years.  It is her trademark, her flavor.  Whenever she is around, you know she has been there.  Some years ago I worked with an individual that flavored the room.  Upon entering the workplace the entire atmosphere would become sour.  Each of us has a flavor of what comes out.  Another friend is vivacious and sparks excitement in whatever he does.  By our fruit are we known.

Pain Carry

For years, Greg had carried pains from his early years.  Memories haunted him.  At times he would accuse people of actions and motivations they never had.  It was an unwelcome memory bursting out into distrust and accusation.  It just wouldn’t shake.  Now he was looking for forgiveness.  He wanted to be free. He wanted to free himself from the flavor of the fruit of the past.  So many times he had been betrayed.  It had built a rage inside that needed to go away.  It created a distance from others that needed healed.  Greg was ready to change the flavor of his relationships and life.  Maybe he could start with Jake.  Maybe he could go back and start over.

ACT!  Inspect your flavor.  Are you goofy grape or excited orange?  Are you passionate purple or negative needles? What is your flavor?  Is it what Jesus wants your flavor to be?

PRAY!  Father, help us flavor the day with Jesus.  Grant us grace to give out Your sweet incense.  Enable us to let others know that You have been in the place.  Cause our fruit to come from the true vine, Jesus.  Let only fruit from His life veins come out from us.  Let our flavor be the scent of Your presence that men and women would come to You.

This devotion is #14 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

Meet Jesus: Straight Up ..GSJ14

Matthew 7:13: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

 Straight Up: Approach life straight up.  “Go straight ahead.”  “Go straight and narrow.”  These are all phrases that communicate little variance from an accepted path or norm or rule or guideline.  Straight up today might mean a person is real.  You get what you see.  They live what they say.  They say what they think.  Straight up might mean, “the best”, “what I want”, or “the exact focus of what I have been thinking.”

In any measure, straight living is valuable. Jesus is straight up.  He and His life are not boring or meaningless.  Life in Him is focused; results oriented, and evokes determined action that leads to a specific point.  The point?  Glorifying God.

Introspection: It had been a long time since Greg had felt comfortable with an old friend that represented his old life.  He wanted to forget what he was like before Christ.  Now, he felt an inner voice prompting him to face realities.  This was not time to ignore his prior life.  Sure, he had become a new man in Christ.  Old things were passed away.

 The people from that old life had not passed away.  They were still alive. They still had memories.  Greg still had memories.  It was time to be straight up with himself and them.  It was time in his personal thoughts and prayers to repent at a deeper level.  It was time to root out some leanings in his life that had not passed away.  They were still hanging on.  It was time to be straight up with himself and God.

ACT!  Be straight up today.  Don’t be evasive when questioned about your faith or prayer life.

PRAY!  Father, give me courage to be straight up.  Help me to do what You want me to do and live it all the time.  Help me to be a person of prayer and faithfulness to You and Your word in private and in public.  Help me help someone closer to Jesus today.

This devotion is #14 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.