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

Seasons of Change Psalm 30 #4

Change is best handled with singing.  Singing is best handled with praise.

This series is more musings than exposition.  I hope you walk along with it and think about changes in your life.  Mine is under massive movement right now.  All good.  All God.  But massive.  And massive change induces massive stress.

Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord,
    all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
    and give him thanks!

It is easy to dwell on the hard and the negative and the distractions.  I’ve drafted an announcement five different ways concerning expanded directions in my life.  They are not new directions, but expansion and revelation of what has been going on under the view of people.  People see what they want to see.  They focus on what is in life for them.  That causes us to miss important streams of change as they happen and they seem sudden, when they are not sudden at all, but progressive.  That announcement on first three drafts took too much time on the problems needing addressing instead of the solutions on the table.  So I took all the problem words out and just went for the solution.  People will create problems where they don’t exist, no need to give them more than they can handle.

The shift in focus in my contemplation and prayer opened insight on how to address certain goals.  I had come to point of giving up on them.  That is not what God is doing and that is not what I am doing.  The negativity and weight of the issues had bore me down.  Looking up and throwing out the destructive and doubt allowed me to see clear paths.

There is a practice of positive psychology that assists.  Biblical directives tell us what to do, but sometimes they don’t give the simple practical tool.  As humans, we are called upon to use our mental and emotional and social senses to come up with practical application to Biblical imperatives.  The practice of What Went Well Why is one of the most powerful applications of being sober minded and thankful and submitting yourself to God’s action in your life.  So I do it frequently.  It just means considering three things every day that went well (What Went Well) and identifying the Why?  Why did it go well?

What went well in your life today?  

Contemplating change impacts brings up both negative and positive and neutral outcomes.  Really they are all neutral.  It is all about how you view them and how you process them.  Right now, I am undergoing massive change of my own choosing and then from the responses of others to my choices and to God’s wonderful intervention and then the old enemy of my soul’s distractions.  All of this interacts and impacts.  I can choose to dwell on the stuff that goes away from the goal and is disturbing or I can dwell on what went well and why.

What went well is different than gratitude.  I am looking for what moved in the right direction.

  1. Friends are calling and wanting immediate time with me.  They know I am not going to be coming to this town weekly anymore.  So they are panicking and looking for prayer and breakthrough. We take time on the phone. There is no way I can handle this many deferred emergencies.  This could be seen as negative like, “Good grief, I’ve been available for six years and they chose now to work on changes?  Wuzzup with that?”  This could be seen as positive, “Well, I am impressed that they broke through fear barriers and took the first step to a more positive life.  Wish it was earlier so I would have more time to work with them, but hey progress is progress.”  What went well?  People are taking steps  Why?  They are afraid they are going to lose access to someone they trust.
  2. Social media and phone calls are lit up with spreading the news I am leaving.  Negative interpretation: “Gossip is a pain.  The story will be mishandled and turn into negatives.”  Positive interpretation: “Saves me stamps. Glad people like what we have been doing enough to make it time for conversation. ” What went well:  The sequence of events made sure the right people were informed in right order before the gossip blew out.  Good information is given and we have a solid plan to continue serving though in a different way.  Why?  Many months of prayer and attempts at building a solid local team before the sequence of events forced the timing of leaving.

These are just a few examples of working on identifying what went well in a major life change.  This next one is important.  Really important.  Too often, when working with Christians, we over-spiritual the why.  We say things like, “Well, God made it go well.”  That may be true and you need to find the ones that it is true and be accurate with your praise.  Don’t be flippant.  Drill it down.  How did God make it go well.  Here is one

3. A meeting with fellow ministers was emotional and supportive.  We are making plans for a Thanksgiving celebration, which will be my last weekly trip to Gainesville.  Why?  We have been in prayer and Godly fellowship with each other.  He has knit our hearts with concern and support for each other and the congregations we support in the area.  God has certainly done good things among us.  The county prayer event was powerful and we stayed in prayer for six hours as a group that day.  God enabled us to maintain fellowship.

Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord,
    all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
    and give him thanks!

Now, number 3 is an item of praise.  Identifying the goodness of God in our lives today.  All three of the items identified something that went well and why and number 3 identified God’s hand.

Get to singing.  I don’t know any songs that go with number 3.  Maybe Good, Good, Father is appropriate.  Maybe 10,0000 reasons.  But the next time I hear a good praise song identifying God’s goodness, I will be thinking about number 3 and thanking Him.

 

 

 

 

Walking Together

Christ is the cure for loneliness. He connects us. He finds a place for us. That is the work of a church.
There is no reason to walk alone.

In discussion with a group of ministers, each decried working alone at their tasks.  That is odd.  Rarely do I work alone.  Of course, I write alone.  Yet, even in that I have people submit ideas and do research.  Even if I don’t use it, the conversation is good and contributes.

None of us should walk alone.  This morning I am reading responses from legislators across the United States to a quick blurb.  We pray together.  We walk together.  Never alone.  That is just not right.

Ephesians 4:16 NKJV from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love

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