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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Middle

The middle of anything is always the hardest. Think about your life for a moment...

Are you a mom or dad?
Are you a wife or husband?
Are you a Christian?
Are you employed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can relate to this message. Think back to the beginning of each of these endeavors. 

"finding out you're pregnant"
"the honeymoon phase"
"on fire, first found Jesus"
"first few weeks on the job"

Isn't it true....the beginning is exciting, it's new, it's fresh, it's out of your ordinary routine. The end is exciting too. All your hard work pays off. It's the middle where we get frustrated, learn the most, work the hardest, make or break. It's in the middle that satan will whisper to you "you should just give up", "you can't make it", "why do you even try". You have to lean on God who will whisper "you can", "I believe in you", "let me guide you". The middle is where we get lazy, we get comfortable, we get passive and let life change us. Take control of the middle, don't lose sight of the goal. Don't get lazy, keep your spark. We can't be excited about things Monday, Friday, and Saturday....it's the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday that we make the biggest difference.

Dear God,
Help me stay focus and passionate in the middle. The middle is where YOU are refining me. The middle is the main course. I need your help to not get lazy during this time. My flesh needs constant entertainment, newness, and excitement. Holy Spirit show me how to live in the calm times, in the boring times, in the middle. I love you, and I want to live for YOU even when it's not easy. I can't do it without YOU!

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's NOT the thought that counts

Did you catch the title? Doesn't that go against every teaching we've ever had? This morning in my quiet time and study, I came across an interesting concept. So many times we let ourselves off the hook because "our heart was in the right place", "we meant well", or we have the "it was the thought that counts" mindset. 

God revealed to me this morning, that the concept is backwards. Has Jesus ever whispered to you, "Well, I THOUGHT about waking you up this morning, but then I got busy." Wouldn't that be bad?? We have to keep our eyes wide open for God moments. Sometimes, they may be obvious like helping a needy family, spending time with God, praying with our family. Sometimes they may be less obvious like picking up a piece of trash as you walk by it, leaving an unexpected note on your spouse's pillow, surprising your kids at school for lunch. Stop for a moment and think of how much time you spend on things that DON'T MATTER. It is true that in life a percentage of our time will be those things. However, it should not be the focus. Imagine this, in the mornings if it takes you 15 minutes to fix your hair, 15 minutes to put on makeup, and 30 minutes to watch GMA while you drink your coffee. You have already spent an hour on things that will not make an eternal difference. Now, I am not saying go to work without brushing your hair, but my point is to take a look at your life. 

We can't tell our God, our husbands, our kids, our families after we are gone "oh, I meant to get to that ballgame" or "oh I really thought about calling you" or "sorry I couldn't make it, but I was thinking of you guys". Get off the couch, get rid of unnecessary priorities, and get in your life an alignment. It's not the thought that counts, it's your actions that count.

Dear God,
Please help me slow down today and focus on what's important. I can get so caught up in life that I miss opportunities to make a difference. Help me to keep my word and not make idle promises. You are the only one that knows my heart, so my family and friends don't realize that I had good intentions. Intentions don't matter, it's the actions that count. Change me heart, change my mind, and change my schedule.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Life is like Baseball

As one season comes to end, we are stepping into the season of cleats and umpires....yes, that would be baseball season. With the excitement in the air, I'm trying to get the boys back into the "swing" of things. Today as I was thinking about how to help them become better hitters, I couldn't help but make connections with life in general. 

To become a great hitter, you must do several things....all of which can be directly related to our lives as Christians. It is my prayer that this list will do 2 things, help you view your walk in a different light AND help you become a better baseball hitter :)

1. Line your knuckles up - In order to get the proper rotation of your wrist as you swing, you must have the knuckles you knock with lined up. This feels very uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the more natural it becomes. It is amazing to see the power that comes from such a simple change. 
LIFE LESSON - (faithfulness) Keep your life aligned with Jesus Christ. It will be a very difficult first step, until you see the results. It is not natural, so you will have to be consciously aware of the alignment. Before you know it, you will wake up every morning and automatically line up with Him. 

2. Wait for the right pitch - Regardless of ability, if you step into the box blindly swinging away at every pitch you get, you will most likely strike out. You have to be selective. You have to have enough confidence and experience to know which pitches to go for and which ones to let go. You have to be able to make a quick decision, read the pitcher, be ready, and attack. It only takes one pitch!
LIFE LESSON - (self control) Life will throw you all kinds of pitches, some straight down the middle, some in the dirt, some will hit you, some will be over your head. You have to use your alignment/relationship with God to decipher those pitches/decisions. Usually these pitches come in the way of priorities and decisions. Just because something is a "good" thing, doesn't mean it's a "God" thing. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into which pitches to swing at.

3. Get your stance right - If you are off balance, you can't swing with all your might. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, not too close to the plate, keep your head in, and weight on your back foot. All these steps will become automatic with practice. It sounds like alot to remember, but it all flows together seamlessly. 
LIFE LESSON - (love, joy, peace, kindness) Our lives MUST be balanced. It is impossible to fight off the enemy without balance. We have to keep our priorities in line, without overloading our lives with junk. Before we know it, the world, the enemy, our flesh will sneak up on us and get us distracted. We have to remember to use balance to keep us from tilting to extremes. 

4. Believe in your swing - You can do all of the previous, but have no confidence and strike out every time. Babe Ruth struck out more than he got a hit, but he didn't quit believing in himself. You have to understand that striking out comes with the territory. If you choose to hang your head, or throw you bat after a strike out, you have it all backwards. A strike out does not mean you are no good, so don't let it effect your confidence.
LIFE LESSON - (gentleness) We must have a calm spirit within us. When life throws us difficult times, we can't throw our bats and hang our heads. We have to get back in the box, believe in what we know NOT what we are feeling. Know that the next time, we may strike out again, but we will not give up the fight. 

5. Expect a great hit and then run like crazy - We have to expect to get a hit, we can't just HOPE. With confidence, even though we know we won't get a hit every time, we will surely do better. When we do get a hit, we have to run to take full advantage of it. Be prepared to slide and get dirty if it's close.
LIFE LESSON - We are on the winning team, so act like it. Jesus Christ has paid the price. EXPECT great things. Our God doesn't want us to suffer. Although life does deal us those hands sometimes, get up, move on, and EXPECT to be a winner. Get dirty, help people, be a light, and act like a WINNER.

Dear God,
Please help me become a better hitter for YOU. Help me to understand that I can't remember all of these steps each time I step into the box of daily life, but I can depend on YOU to guide my balance, my swing, my confidence, and my selection. Help me to step aside, and let you take control. Help me to hit a homerun for YOU!!