Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Don't Give Up

Basketball season is upon us and this year for the first time in ten years, I'm officially coaching. Though I've done it before this team adds a new twist with my daughter on the team. We started the year pretty strong with a 3-1 record, but have lost our last 3 games. Last night I tried to encourage the girls with the fact that our mistakes are correctable and the games have been winnable. I also reminded myself this is junior high, the girls are improving and I need to keep it all in perspective.

We have some competitive girls on the team and they don't like to lose, but I know a streak of loses can be frustrating and mess with your mind. As I thought about this, I knew I wanted to encourage the girls not to give up. I hope the frustration fuels them to work harder and get better instead of leaving them defeated and wanting to quit.

As a coach, I've seen them each succeed and know they have potential for improvement, but they need to believe that for themselves and one another. I want them to know a shooting slump won't last forever and we can learn from our losses. Reflecting on all of this, reminded me sometimes I need a similar pep-talk for something more important than a game, life.

You see, I've been in a bit of a spiritual slump. Instead of missing shots, I've missed some quiet time with the Lord. Rather than turnovers that lead to easy points, I've given into temptation and let Satan win. Mistakes play a part in a loss, but sin leaves us defeated as a believer.

Last week God was bringing this to my attention, convicting my heart and drawing me back to Himself and last night as I thought about what I should say to the team, He spoke to my heart as well.

Friend, I don't know what life has for you right now, but maybe you need a pep-talk too. If so, read on; if not, read on anyway...perhaps God will bring to mind one you can share these words with or maybe after a loss or two of your own, He'll help you recall the Truth you read below.

Let me say this and I pray it seeps deep into your heart - "Don't give up!" If you've sinned and fallen short, remember Romans 3:23 assures we all have, own your sin and press on. God will convict you, and me, as our loving heavenly Father it's what He does. When He does, confess it, call it what it is and turn from it, but don't let Satan condemn you. Believe me, He will try. Especially, when life has you down, but don't you give up. Cling to the truths and promises you know.

God forgives. He loves. He transforms.

Perhaps it's a relationships that has you feeling defeated, again I say, "Don't give up!" God is one who restores and renews. He is working, even when we can't see it or understand it. Keep praying, hoping and pressing on.

Even more importantly than not giving up on your relationship, dream, role or self, "Don't give up on God!" In those moments when life leaves us feeling defeated, and it can, can't it? Remember who God is...

Holy - "The Lord our God is holy."
Psalm 99:9

Sovereign - "Our God is in the heavens, He does all He pleases."
Psalm 115:3

Merciful - "For the Lord your God is a merciful God, He will not abandon or destroy you..." Deuteronomy 4:31

Omniscient - "Great is our Lord and abundant in strength, His understanding is infinite." Psalm 147:5

Omnipresent - "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." Proverbs 15:3

Omnipotent - "I know you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted."
Job 42:2

Friend, that's just the beginning, God is this and so much more. He is worthy of our trust; He can't not be faithful. He deserves our love and obedience. He is a promise keeper...you may question your ability and doubt your call, but never give up on God. And remember, just like I'm not going to give up on my team, He's not going to give up on you. He's called you by name, you are His! If you're in the midst of a losing streak or shooting slump, turn to Him. He knows exactly what you need to get back to your winning ways!!

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