Thursday, October 11, 2007

Philippians 3: 12-21

"12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
Philippians 3: 12- 21

Whenever I read this passage I think of the story below...


Olympian Hits Wrong Target

Matt Emmons had the gold medal in sight. He was one shot away from claiming victory in the 2004 Olympics 50-meter three-position rifle event. He didn't even need a bull's-eye to win. His final shot merely needed to be on target.
Normally, the shot he made would have received a score of 8.1, more than enough for a gold medal. But in what was described as "an extremely rare mistake in elite competition," Emmons fired at the wrong target. Standing in lane two, he fired at the target in lane three. His score for a good shot at the wrong target? Zero. Instead of a medal, Emmons ended up in eighth place.

It doesn't matter how accurate you are if you are aiming at the wrong goal.

Source: (8/22/04)


Could you imagine being that athlete? How horrible would you feel if you thought you had made the shot that would win you the GOLD medal ~ highest honor ~ but it actually left you in eighth place? Knowing you had worked so hard, but your target wasn't the real target? It seemed like the real one ~ looked like it, sounded like it, but it never quite lined crossed that line that said, "nope, not this one." I have a feeling he probably wished with all his might he could go back and do it all over again. I know I would want to hide my face in shame for a very long time ~ or else I'd run from the rifle range, move away, change my name, and pretend I knew nothing about it so I could escape the awful reminder that when it really mattered I failed to do what I knew I could do.

It makes me turn to the verses in Philippians, though...knowing that like that shooter we all are standing before a target, if you will. We're all lined up and wondering if we're going to hit a bullseye with our works...with our efforts...with our yearnings and earnings. The problem is, our rifles are greatly flawed. Everyone has a rifle that is missing the one thing that will allow it to hit the target dead-on. Maybe it's that your sight is slightly off kilter, or the trigger has a stick to it, whatever it is, there is a crucial flaw in each and every one.

However, there is a perfector of rifles available to everyone. He is the one who makes the rifle ~ flaws and all ~ in order to let the shooter understand the need to be teachable in the ways of the rifle range. He's there, in the background, waiting for you to understand...and to look for Him. Because it's when we realize the need for help that we look for it...and when we look for His help we'll find it. It's beautiful when we finally realize it, too. When we see Him and hand over our rifle knowing that He is the only One who could make it shoot straight to the right target...and hit the bullseye...we will never shoot better. When we do, we can stand amazed at the glory of The Shooter ~ the Master Shooter to whom no one can be compared. And knowing we have become His student only makes us want to know Him more, for when we learn from Him, seek Him and learn from Him, our bullets fly straighter and we know that we have already made the ultimate bullseye ~ the one that brings us to Glory. The one that gives not a gold medal, but streets paved in gold.

Have you handed over your rifle today? Have you handed over the rifle that is your life and asked Him to make your paths straight? It won't be easy ~ our nature is to hold onto it and try to do it ourselves. To earn our way to a better rifle. To be a "good guy" and "do good" unto others. It's not enough. It's simply not enough...and yet, what is enough seems to be too easy...just ask Him to take over. And then let Him (that's the hard part).

Sorry, a little long today, but I can't think of anything more worthwhile to spend my words on. John 20:30 & 31...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Isaiah 42:16

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth." Isaiah 42:16

Is God calling you to do something, but you're fighting Him because you don't think you have the skills or ability to do it? Is He relentless in His pursuit of you to this? I have learned two things about this subject:

1) He won't give up on His pursuit of you
2) He will give you His strength to do what He is calling you to do.

I've learned two other things about this, too:

1) Fighting God doesn't work
2) Surrendering to His ability to do through you what needs to be done is the most satisfying and fulfilling place to be.

What's holding you back? I recently watched "Akeelah and the Bee" with my boys...I encourage anyone who longs to do something with what they've been given to watch it there is a quote Akeelah reads in preparation for the series of Spelling Bees she will be entering in order to get to the National Spelling Bee. The quote is from Marianne Williamson, and although I don't subscribe to all of her theology she hits it square on the head with this one. I pray it encourages you to put feet to your gifts and talents and do what God has prepared you for in this life ~ to do all things as to bring glory to Him. I leave you with the quote...have a wonderful, God-centered and eternity-focused life!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the Glory of God that is within us...And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Do you read this verse and grasp what David is saying? It is exactly what each and every person who has ever been formed by God's hand can say, "I am an amazing creation! I was made to be exactly who I am! I am not a mistake ~ my faults are there for a purpose as are my gifts and talents! I am an amazing creation!!" Even better is what we who have cosen to live for the Creator can say, "Lord, YOU created me for a purpose ~ I am a child of THE KING!! You did not create me and once say, 'oops,' You created me in Your image, and I am wonderful because I am one of Your works." Spend some time over the next month being amazed and thankful at what your body CAN do...and remember to thank God for creating you just as you are...and for not leaving you there. :)

For those who may find this difficult to find right now I'll be praying with you that God will open your eyes to the blessings He has brought even in the midst of pain...whether physical pain or the pain of looking in the mirror and not loving who you are. God never gives up on us...don't give up on Him.