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Encouragement 08-13-04


August 13, 2004
Encouragement for Today

A Winning Team
Mary Southerland

Key Verse

"I am the vine, and you are the branches.  If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit.  But without me they can do nothing."  John 15:55 (NCV)


Who says dreams don't come true?  My son grew up with one dream in mind - to play college football.  That dream has come true.  Jered is the starting fullback on his college football team and is on academic and football scholarship.  I, of course, taught him everything he knows!  When college football scouts from all over the country began to recruit Jered, I discovered it was quite a process.  Football scouts keep track of the statistics on high school players, watching certain ones for three and four years.  College coaches show up at high school games to talk with high school coaches and watch their potential players in action.  Letters start filling the mail box along with promotional material for their college football programs.  Then the phone calls begin. 

When the players are high school seniors, the process becomes even more intense.  The college scouts request game film highlights, academic transcripts, detailed applications and teacher recommendations. They meet with the high school players themselves, inviting them to visit the college campus for a weekend.  After months of "courting", the final phase begins. The students narrow down their college choices as the college scouts do the same.  At some point, each one makes a choice and the dance is over.  During the entire process, both the college recruiter and the student athlete have one thing in mind - making the best choice - because both want to be on a winning team.  Life is much the same.

If I were running the world, I would assemble a team of winners, choosing the smartest, brightest, most experienced, most talented, wealthiest and most successful as members of my team.  But there is a God - and, thankfully, I am not Him.  He has written a different plan for the most important invasion of all time.  It is the plan of invading Satan's territory - Earth - and retaking it under the banner of His son, Jesus Christ.  And just look at His choice of recruits for the job - the weak, the poor, the broken and sick, lonely and defeated.  God chose the most ordinary people to accomplish the most extraordinary deeds.  Why would God choose flawed people to do His most important work?  The answer is a very simple and yet profound spiritual principle.  God's power shows up best in broken people. 

Do you want to be used by God?  I have good news.  God wants to use you.  In fact, He will use you because that is His plan and has been all along.  When we pray for the Lord to use us we are asking Him to do something that He already wants to do.  Perhaps our prayer should be, "Lord, make me usable".  Only He can fully prepare us for service.  It is not our ability that the Father is concerned with - it is our availability.  Today, celebrate the truth that God chose you for His team and even now is preparing you for the game of life. 

My prayer for today:

Thank you, Father, for choosing me.  Please prepare me to live each day in service to you.  I give myself to you - I choose you and your game plan for my life.  I love belonging to you, Lord.  I surrender to your will and your ways.  Amen.

Application steps:

Make a list of the gifts God has given you to use in serving Him. 
Thank Him for each one.
Make a plan to serve a member of your family, a neighbor, a stranger - today!
Record the results of that service in your life and the life of the one you served.

Reflection points:

Think back over the last year of your life.  Where have you felt drawn to serve?  What was your response? 

Read Mark 10:45.  Who is our model for service?  What is our motivation to serve God?

Record your answers in a journal.

Power verses:

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others.  Be good servants of God's various gifts of grace.  1 Peter 4:10  (NCV)

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.  Galatians 5:13  (NIV)

No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money. Luke 16:13  (NIV)

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45  (NKJV)

Additional resources:

Ultimate Makeover  by Sharon Jaynes

You Are Special by Mary Southerland


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