Target

The word of the Lord for the moment is: Target

“Among Benjamin’s elite troops, 700 were left-handed, and each of them could sling a rock and hit a target within a hairsbreadth without missing.”

Judges 20:16 NLT

Consider a fighting force with 700 hyper accurate, trained, focused soldiers on target.  Now, consider that they are only 10% of the soldiers as left handed are only 10% of the population.  A fighting force of 7000 spot on soldiers good at what they do because they are targeted and trained.  What can you do if you are on target?

““For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.”

Isaiah 50:7 NKJV

The aspect of being set on a task, a skill, a direction and not being easily swayed is called targeted.  Jesus was like that.  He set His face like a flint toward Jerusalem and the cross of sacrifice that we all might be accepted.  Paul was like that.  He set his target on the Gentiles whether it meant prison or persecution.  Moses was like that.  He set his target on the land on the other side of the Jordan and pursued through pain and problems for 40 years to see it done.  David was like that.  Determined to build a temple, he insured the finances and plans were ready for his son, Solomon, to carry through.  Get a target.

“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do. ” —Norman Vincent Peale

A goal is a target.  A worthy goal is worth honing a skill, stepping away from distractions, sacrificing to become excellent not just good, and developing the value out of the pursuit.  Good is the worst enemy of great.  Yet, it does not take great to be great.  A good goal with a good pursuit with a good energy with a good skill produces a great result.  Every piece does not need to be great, but the focus and the targeted character through persistence produces great. The word is target.

Countless calls for prayer and counsel come to me for jobs.  When I ask what type of job, the answer is usually in terms of money, prestige, or anything that pays well.  That is a useless pursuit and a useless prayer.  Why spend a major portion of life with no goal in mind? 

My career has taken many twists, but the goal has always been the same.  My career target is to support my family and have enough to be generous to help others.  My target has been to do that in a way that develops others and gives value back to a company for which I work.  And throughout my career in management, I have done that. 

My life target is to worship the Lord with all my heart and all my soul and all my might and be a faithful disciple.  And throughout my life in Christ, I have done that.  Every time I am discontent, I find someone has added to my goals and disguised the target for their own benefit so that I sway off target.

In my latter years, my sight on the target sharpens and others want to use my skill but not assist the call and character of the Lord in my life.  It is not that they are wrong or selfish as much as they do not wish to support the target the Lord has given me.

Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.  Abraham Lincoln

When Lincoln spoke those words, I believe he looked to his target and found others had distracted him to a different path.  It is time to get back to the path the Lord sent you to walk.  Walk with good partners.  But, If they veer to the right or the left too long and keep you off the Lord’s path, you must get back on target.  They might have good intentions and a good path, but is it your path in the Lord and the Lord’s intentions?

Lifelong Dads. Forever families. Kids Need ‘em.  Delivering Solid Life Foundations. Developing Healthy and Safe Relationships. Distinguishing Generations of Greatness.

There it is in a short, sweet nutshell.  If it builds that, then that is what I do.  If one more family moves in that direction, my target will be achieved.  I hear my Father say, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into your Master’s joy.” Every day that I work on the target that affirmation of my Father is mine.  If I am doing something that isn’t working to achieve that target, then I need to part with it as soon as I see that it goes wrong.  Good counsel, Abe.

What is your target?  Can you state it in simple format? 

These last weeks have been wonderful.  For months, I have labored to cut away distractions to get down to the essentials my Father wants for me.  I’ve allowed too many good-hearted voices to distract.  Constant pain and problems lessen my grasp on the target.  My throws seem a little off.  My strength is tested.  That is the time to begin cutting away and honing skill to get to the target.  With the slowing of the economy there has been a slowing of voices distracting.   Target.

The target seems more in view than at any time.  My obstinate pursuit takes me into hours of prayer a day.  I’ve thrown out four large trash bags from my office this week and carted out boxes of books no longer needed.  The target is tightly in view.  I called my marketing group and told them to cancel distractions.  I called support groups that have similar targets and made new agreements that fit.  All of this happens as the world spins off target, the economy crashes, disease explodes, and people weep.  Target.

Target is a verb. It means get focused and pointed toward the goal.

Target is a noun. It means the item to which you are pointed.

Are you targeted? That is where God wants you. Some are targeted early in life like Solomon. He was targeted to wisdom as a young man. Some take decades like Moses, who only understood the target being the nation free beyond the Jordan after 80 years of processing. Some get the fine points of the target like Elijah, spending a life as a prophet, to become targeted to train other prophets not just be one in his last years. Elijah was mostly a loner until the Lord targeted him in his last years. Paul was a murderer until the Lord targeted him at the peak of his life to be a disciple maker. Are you really targeted? Maybe you are just now getting to be targeted. Maybe all the years you have had bring you to a sharpened focus. Target.

Jesus’ core ministry on earth was less than four years.  In those years, He built a team, died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit.  Thirty years were taken to get ready for the Target.  He is still working on the Target, the Church, 2000 years later.  Targeted. Immovable. Unshakeable. Targeted.

The Lord wants us targeted. 

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

James 1:5-8 NKJV

There is no value in having a good target. There is value in having a God target. My mind goes to a friend, who has built a solid business producing significant profit. The profit is buried back in the business to build capital. He smiles and claims no profit and gives no honor through tithe or offering to the Lord. Why? Well there is no profit. Bigger and bigger barns are built that one day will have achieved nothing of value. The Lord will call for his life and the barns will be given to others. It is a good thing. It is not a God thing.

Another friend takes of his meager earnings and gives back to God.  He will never amass millions of dollars, but he stacks memorials in heaven that will stand for eternity in changed lives.  One lives the letter of the law and profits himself.  The other lives the life and spirit of the law and profits all.  Get a good target that is also a God target.

In the end there are no moving vans in the grave yard. But there is great treasure laid up in heaven. Targeted.

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.

 

 

 

 

Ministry of Intercession Day 31

Andrew Murray’s classic on Intercession can be found online at

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29296/29296-h/29296-h.htm

To spur you to pray, we are going to post the day by day helps from the end of the book .  Enjoy.  Pray along.

what to pray.— for the Spirit of Christ in His People

“I am the Vine, ye are the branches.”John xv. 5.

“That ye should do as I have done to you.”John xiii. 15.

As branches we are to be so like the Vine, so entirely identified with it, that all may see that we have the same nature, and life, and spirit. When we pray for the Spirit, let us not only think of a Spirit of power, but the very disposition and temper of Christ Jesus. Ask and expect nothing less: for yourself, and all God’s children, cry for it.

how to pray.— Striving in Prayer

“That ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.”Rom. xv. 30.

“I would ye knew what great conflict I have for you.”Col. ii. 1.

All the powers of evil seek to hinder us in prayer. Prayer is a conflict with opposing forces. It needs the whole heart and all our strength. May God give us grace to strive in prayer till we prevail.

Ministry of Intercession Day 30

Andrew Murray’s classic on Intercession can be found online at

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29296/29296-h/29296-h.htm

To spur you to pray, we are going to post the day by day helps from the end of the book .  Enjoy.  Pray along.

what to pray.— for the Holy Spirit with the Word of God

“Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.”—1 Thess. i. 5.

“Those who preached unto you the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent forth from heaven.”—1 Pet. i. 12.

What numbers of Bibles are being circulated. What numbers of sermons on the Bible are being preached. What numbers of Bibles are being read in home and school. How little blessing when it comes “in word” only; what Divine blessing and power when it comes “in the Holy Ghost,” when it is preached “with the Holy Ghost sent forth from heaven.” Pray for Bible circulation, and preaching and teaching and reading, that it may all be in the Holy Ghost, with much prayer. Pray for the power of the Spirit with the word in your own neighbourhood, wherever it is being read or heard. Let every mention of “The Word of God” waken intercession.

how to pray.— Watching and Praying

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; withal praying for us also, that God may open for us a door for the word.”Col. iv. 2, 3.

Do you not see how all depends upon God and prayer? As long as He lives and loves, and hears and works, as long as there are souls with hearts closed to the word, as long as there is work to be done in carrying the word—Pray without ceasing. Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving. These words are for every Christian.

Ministry of Intercession Day 29

Andrew Murray’s classic on Intercession can be found online at

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29296/29296-h/29296-h.htm

To spur you to pray, we are going to post the day by day helps from the end of the book .  Enjoy.  Pray along.

what to pray.— for The Spirit of Intercession

“I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.”John xv. 16.

“Hitherto ye have asked nothing in My name. In that day ye shall ask in My name.”John xvi. 24, 26.

Has not our school of intercession taught us how little we have prayed in the name of Jesus? He promised His disciples: In that day, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, ye shall ask in My name. Are there not tens of thousands with us mourning the lack of the power of intercession? Let our intercession to-day be for them and all God’s children, that Christ may teach us that the Holy Spirit is in us; and what it is to live in His fulness, and to yield ourselves to His intercession work within us. The Church and the world need nothing so much as a mighty Spirit of Intercession to bring down the power of God on earth. Pray for the descent from heaven of the Spirit of Intercession for a great prayer revival.

how to pray.— Abiding in Christ

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done to you.”John xv. 7.

Our acceptance with God, our access to Him, is all in Christ. As we consciously abide in Him we have the liberty, not a liberty to our old nature or our self-will, but the Divine liberty from all self-will, to ask what we will, in the power of the new nature, and it shall be done. Let us keep this place, and believe even now that our intercession is heard, and that the Spirit of Supplication will be given all around us.

Ministry of Intercession Day 28

Andrew Murray’s classic on Intercession can be found online at

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29296/29296-h/29296-h.htm

To spur you to pray, we are going to post the day by day helps from the end of the book .  Enjoy.  Pray along.

what to pray.— that all God’s People May Know the Holy Spirit

“The Spirit of truth, whom the world knoweth not; but ye know Him; for He abideth with you, and shall be in you.”John xiv. 17.

“Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost?”—1 Cor. vi. 19.

The Holy Spirit is the power of God for the salvation of men. He only works as He dwells in the Church. He is given to enable believers to live wholly as God would have them live, in the full experience and witness of Him who saves completely. Pray God that every one of His people may know the Holy Spirit!—That He, in all His fulness, is given to them! that they cannot expect to live as their Father would have, without having Him in His fulness, without being filled with Him! Pray that all God’s people, even away in churches gathered out of heathendom, may learn to say: I believe in the Holy Ghost.

how to pray.— Laboring Fervently in Prayer

“Epaphras, who is one of you, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”Col. iv. 12.

To a healthy man labour is a delight; in what interests him he labours fervently. The believer who is in full health, whose heart is filled with God’s Spirit, labours fervently in prayer. For what? That his brethren may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God; that they may know what God wills for them, how He calls them to live, and be led and walk by the Holy Ghost. Labour fervently in prayer that all God’s children may know this, as possible, as divinely sure.

Ministry of Intercession Day 27

Andrew Murray’s classic on Intercession can be found online at

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29296/29296-h/29296-h.htm

To spur you to pray, we are going to post the day by day helps from the end of the book .  Enjoy.  Pray along.

what to pray.— for God’s People Accepting Their Calling

“I will bless thee; and be thou a blessing: in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”Gen. xii. 2, 3.

“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us. That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.”Ps. lxvii. 1, 2.

Abraham was only blessed that he might be a blessing to all the earth. Israel prays for blessing, that God may be known among all nations. Every believer, just as much as Abraham, is only blessed that he may carry God’s blessing to the world.

Cry to God that His people may know this, that every believer is only to live for the interests of God and His kingdom. If this truth were preached and believed and practised, what a revolution it would bring in our mission work. What a host of willing intercessors we should have. Plead with God to work it by the Holy Spirit.

how to pray.— as One Who Has Accepted for Himself What He Has Asked for Others

“Peter said, What I have, I give unto thee…. The Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning…. God gave them the like gift, as He gave unto us.”Acts iii. 6, xi. 15, 17.

As you pray for this great blessing on God’s people, the Holy Spirit taking entire possession of them for God’s service, yield yourself to God, and claim the gift anew in faith. Let each thought of feebleness or shortcoming only make you the more urgent in prayer for others; as the blessing comes to them, you too will be helped. With every prayer for conversions or mission work, pray that God’s people may know how wholly they belong to Him.

Ministry of Intercession Day 26

Andrew Murray’s classic on Intercession can be found online at

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29296/29296-h/29296-h.htm

To spur you to pray, we are going to post the day by day helps from the end of the book .  Enjoy.  Pray along.

what to pray.—For the Holy Spirit on Young Converts

“Peter and John prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost; for as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.”Acts viii. 15, 16.

“Now He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”—2 Cor. i. 21, 22.

How many new converts who remain feeble; how many who fall into sin; how many who backslide entirely. If we pray for the Church, its growth in holiness and devotion to God’s service, pray specially for the young converts. How many stand alone, surrounded by temptation; how many have no teaching on the Spirit in them, and the power of God to establish them; how many in heathen lands, surrounded by Satan’s power. If you pray for the power of the Spirit in the Church, pray specially that every young convert may know that he may claim and receive the fulness of the Spirit.

how to pray.— without Ceasing

“As for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.”—1 Sam. xii. 23.

It is sin against the Lord to cease praying for others. When once we begin to see how absolutely indispensable intercession is, just as much a duty as loving God or believing in Christ, and how we are called and bound to it as believers, we shall feel that to cease intercession is grievous sin. Let us ask for grace to take up our place as priests with joy, and give our life to bring down the blessing of heaven.

Ministry of Intercession Day 25

Andrew Murray’s classic on Intercession can be found online at

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29296/29296-h/29296-h.htm

To spur you to pray, we are going to post the day by day helps from the end of the book .  Enjoy.  Pray along.

what to pray.— for More Conversions

“He is able to save completely, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession.”Heb.vii. 25.

“We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word…. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied exceedingly.”Acts vi. 4, 7.

Christ’s power to save, and save completely, depends on His unceasing intercession. The apostles withdrawing themselves from other work to give themselves continually to prayer was followed by the number of the disciples multiplying exceedingly. As we, in our day, give ourselves to intercession, we shall have more and mightier conversions. Let us plead for this. Christ is exalted to give repentance. The Church exists with the Divine purpose and promise of having conversions. Let us not be ashamed to confess our sin and feebleness, and cry to God for more conversions in Christian and heathen lands, of those too whom you know and love. Plead for the salvation of sinners.

how to pray.— in Deep Humility

“Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs…. O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”Matt. xv. 27, 28.

You feel unworthy and unable to pray aright. To accept this heartily, and to be content still to come and be blest in your unworthiness, is true humility. It proves its integrity by not seeking for anything, but simply trusting His grace. And so it is the very strength of a great faith, and gets a full answer. “Yet the dogs”—let that be your plea as you persevere for someone possibly possessed of the devil. Let not your littleness hinder you for a moment.