Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 2, 2018

"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5

The favorite scene from my favorite movie, "HOOSIERS" is when the Hickory Huskers' Coach Norman Dale calls a time out with seconds remaining in the Indiana State Championship High School Basketball game against the odds on favorites, the South Bend Central Bears. Coach Dale designs a play using their star player, Jimmy Chitwood, as a decoy and another player taking the final game deciding shot. 

Noticing the downcast looks on the faces of his players the coach asks, "What's the matter?" They let him know they want Jimmy to take the shot. He looks at Jimmy who says confidently, "I'll make it!" Coach Dale quickly draws up a play to get Jimmy the ball.

Coming out of the huddle, the Huskers run the play and get Jimmy the ball at the top of the free throw circle. He rises high and calmly releases the ball which touches nothing but net as the clock expires securing the highly unlikely State Championship victory.

Jimmy Chitwood's skill and confidence made him a contagiously calming influence on his teammates. They trusted him. When he promised to make the shot they knew he would! He kept his promise and no one was surprised.

He is a contemporary example of what the Apostle Paul was and what he challenged the believers at Philippi to become - calmly contagious Christians.

Are you a calmly contagious Christian?

How does that happen?

How does one develop that sort of quiet calm confidence that becomes contagious?

The answer is found in four words, "The Lord is near."

Knowing that God is nearby in every circumstance of life can bring tremendous comfort and calm to your spirit. 

As Paul is writing these inspired words he is sitting in a dark, damp, dingy dungeon chained securely to a Roman guard. And yet he chose an anxiety-free life because he knew the Lord was near. He chose to rejoice rather than despair because he knew the Lord was near.

"But how do I know the Lord is near?" you may ask.

James writes, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

"But how do I draw near to God?"

The entire context of the Scripture in James reveals the answer"

"But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." James 4:6-10

That's how you draw near to God! 

That's how God is able to draw near to you!

To gain His quite, confident, contagious calm you only need to obtain His character by receiving Christ into your heart.

When the game of life seems out of hand and the opponent seems unbeatable and the score isn't in your favor, remember God is near! 

Get Him the ball!

He'll make the shot!