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

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

First Bible

firstbibletitledIn this apartment complex, there is little of faith.  Most of the kids tell us their fathers are in prison.  Many of the others live in a single parent home.  Few have a full house with mom and dad.

Here sits L.  As she received her first bible, she sat down immediately and began to read.  The impact brought me to tears.  Living in a community where churches mark every corner, she had never read the stories of the Lord for herself.  Her excitement was immediate and active.

The stocking is full of wonderful fruits and nuts and a candy cane.  Yet, they mean nothing compared to her joy in receiving the words of God.

L is touching the words of the Lord not just on the page, but in the flesh with those that come to her and teach weekly.  She reads the bible on their face and in their hands and expressed from their hearts.

Thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful opportunity to share You with others.  I weep at the priviledge to serve.

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 – Reality Based .. GSJ15

The mirror of His love reveals the truth of our pretense and provides opportunity to change.

Matthew 7:21: Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

“It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.” Jacques Cousteau

Outside In: All of us have acquaintances that appear on the outside with one manner, yet inside are quite different. All of us have masks of pretense in some area ourselves. Jesus is interested in reality. Show, pretense, and explosive displays of seeming wonder are meaningless to Him. It is an inside job that is important to Him. When we connect with Him, we connect with reality. The mirror of His love reveals the truth of our pretense and provides opportunity to change. He looks for the change.

Quizzical Stick: Sally looked quizzically at Jake. All morning in Sunday School class he had appeared to be okay. He even knew the scripture which they were studying and the parable of the seed and the sower. Yet, she knew he was not in any Christian fellowship. They had talked about it. Who was this person? What was his real background? She thought she knew him. Now, she was not quite so sure.

Jake laughed on the inside. “If they only knew?” he thought to himself. It had been years since he had studied any scripture or allowed anyone to teach him. Even his wife was surprised at his knowledge of the scriptures. In college, when Greg had separated from his friends, Jake had been driven to find out why. All through the rest of his college years, he attended a small group at a local church. He had even made some commitments of his life to live for Christ. That was a long time ago. The group had blown up over petty arguments. He wasn’t impressed with the reality of this faith after that episode. He wasn’t ready to step into these waters again. Was Jesus really real?

Act! Strip off one mask. Where is pretense ruling in your life? Dig for the truth and let Jesus build His reality into you in that area.

Pray! Ouch! Father, I admit I have areas of pretense. Before You and You alone can they be revealed in an atmosphere of healing. Never are You interested in destruction. Never are You interested in my downfall. You are always on my side to become more like Jesus. Help me to undo the pretenses of my life. In all areas, I want You to be able to say, “Yes, I know that one. Let him enter in with my son, Jesus, into the everlasting kingdom of life.”

This devotion is #15 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

Want the book, Meet Jesus In The Market?   Fill out the information below and I’ll contact you.

Meet Jesus: Positive Answers ..GSJ12

When we come to Him and His Father, there is never rejection.

Matthew 7:7: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10: Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

NO?: Ever feared you would get a no from someone?  Fear of rejection is a strong influencer on us.  Psychologists and communications trainers will quickly tell you that people fear to speak in public, to a group.

Rejection is not something Jesus will do.  When we come to Him and His Father, there is never rejection.  He took our rejection for all time and offers us pure acceptance.  Ask and it will be give to you.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and it shall be opened unto you.  Jesus is an open door.

Quietness: Sally’s quiet way put a new mood on the situation, but not enough to cool it.  The tension between Jake and Greg was enormous.  She surely did not understand it.  It was her dream to see if Greg’s open position at work would be a good fit for Jake.  Now all the opportunities seemed to be frying in the hot grease of dissension.   This hallway was steaming hotter than the parking lot asphalt in summer. Why had she invited Jake to come to church?  How could that have been God’s plan in prayer?  If this was how He answered, “Yes” to prayer, she was confused.  Then Greg spoke peace.

 “Hey, Jake.  I don’t know how I’ve gotten along without you so many years.  We used to be such good friends.  I guess, I just got caught up in life and changes and an hundred other things.  It sure is good to see you again.  Maybe, we can get a cup of coffee and catch up in the next few weeks?”

 Jake immediately relaxed.  It was as if someone had turned on a box fan.  His face relaxed.  His muscles relaxed.  He even smiled.

ACT!  Think of a question from someone on which you have put off the answer.  Get the answer for them quickly and get it to them.  Help them past a little thought of rejection.

PRAY!  Father, I am so blessed to be in You.  You are an encourager, blessor, giver, and always positive influence in my life.  My life in You is pleasant beyond imagination.  Thank You, Father for being a positive answer to life’s tough questions.

 This devotion is #12 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

Meet Jesus: Measured Back …GSJ9

measureRemember that the measuring of love out brings it back.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Measuring Spoon: Spoon size is everything in the kingdom of Jesus. Measure out, measured back. Judging others was not Jesus style. Acceptance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, life, light, and new opportunity were measured out by Him continually. Rarely, did He have to judge and then only to the hardhearted and calloused religious folk. Remember that the measuring of love out brings it back.

Relentful: Jake relented.  It was Sunday morning and he and his family were going to meet Sally and her family at church.  How did he agree to this?  He hated church services.  They were boring and had old organ music from a movie theatre of the 20’s.  This was going to be torture.

 Just as they walked up to the door, Jake’s mouth dropped open.  The man standing at the door shaking hands with people was his old drinking buddy from college.  Greg was just as surprised as Jake, but ecstatic.  He had not seen Jake in years.  Jake had been a wild partier.  Greg had made a committed turnaround to live for Christ in his senior year and separated from all his partying friends in order to stay sober.  This was like old home week and regret formed that he had not had the courage to go and tell old friends about his life found in Christ.  This was great.

This devotion is #9 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT! Get you mercy spoon out. Find someone today who needs an ear and an encouraging word. Give them both.

PRAY! Father, let me have Your mercy and grace and acceptance and forgiveness and graciousness in abundance today. Help me spoon it out to others. Let me dip down deep with a measuring quart cup and bless out to others.

Meet Jesus: Heart For Heaven …GSJ7

treasureJesus’ heart is His Father’s heart. His treasure was the will of His Father.

Matthew 6:19:Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal 20: but lay for yourselves treasures in heaven , where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Treasure House: The treasure of our heart is the treasure of our thought and word and action. Jesus’ heart was always toward heaven. His Father’s house was His continual concern. His Father’s house is still His continual concern. The gathering of men and women together into His body is about filling His Father’s table. Jesus is focused on fulfilling the heart of His Father. Jesus’ heart is His Father’s heart. His treasure was the will of His Father.

Mulled Jake: Jake mulled over his options.  The pain of continuing wrong choices plagued his quiet thoughts.  There just seemed to be no release from the pain of his mistakes.  Just then, the phone beeped.  It was Sally.  She wanted to know if he and his family would like to attend church Sunday morning with her family.  She went on rambling about praying for him all week.  He wasn’t sure he believed she would really do that.  It was a long pause as he thought over how to say no.

This devotion is #7 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT! Does the Father have a specific will for you?  Do you know it?  Do you know His heart for you?  Pursue filling His house.  Invite someone today to join you the next time you are going to a gathering of believers.

PRAY! Precious Father of life and love. I want to fill Your house with others. I want my treasure to fill up Your house. Your house is my heart. My heart is to fill up the table of blessing in Your house that You as Father would have more sons and daughters. Focus me. Help me to see Your specific will for my life and action. Help me to think of You and Your house, Your heaven first above all.