If Jesus Coached Little League

Jesus and Little league

Let me begin this blog by saying I’m a musician, not an athlete; so my view of sports is from the sideline as an encourager. But that doesn’t prevent me from having an opinion on the matter and being that what I’m writing about isn’t really about sports at all, I do consider myself somewhat of an authority. Little league sports is a season of beginnings for both the little ones playing and their parents. It’s a whole new set of emotions for parents who are almost for certain their little Johnny or Jenny have the potential to be a national star. And that’s as it should be. Parents should instill in their children at the earliest of possible ages that they can do or be anything they want… provided God approves.  That’s the part most parents skip. And mainly because many little league activities are held on Wednesday evenings and now Sunday’s when kids should be in church, but that’s another blog.

If Jesus were a little league Coach, this is how I believe He’d go about it. The same manner for which He built the church.

He knew the game

Matthew 4:1-2

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

Jesus was every bit God and every bit man. He experienced and faced temptation the same way we do and yet He overcame sin, so we are without excuse. If Jesus hadn’t experienced that for Himself we’d been given the opportunity to say, “But Lord, You don’t understand.” But He does. And for certain a Coach, even of little league, should have at some point experienced the game.

He knew He was dealing with Amateurs

Matthew 4:18-20

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

They weren’t preachers, they were fishermen, and Christ used that same analogy to convince them that they could play ball… or win souls as the case may be.

The one thing that most children love to do is play ball. Of any kind! And they’re pretty sure they’re the best at it, until somebody tells them they’re not. Now before any die hard athletes go on a rampage here, I understand the concept of winning and losing. You have to have both, not everyone can win every time. But winning and losing was not supposed to be the precept of little league ball. It was to train children to play.

Now let’s put that in a church perspective. I was blessed to begin my Christian walk in a church of really messed up people, (you know… sinners) with a leader who believed that we could be trained to be leaders. We weren’t expected to be perfect, but we were expected to try. When we broke the rules, we weren’t taken out of the game… we were brought to the sideline, instructed of righteousness and told to try again. That’s good teaching.

He knew they needed time

Most little league players don’t come out of the womb with a team jersey. There are the gifted, but most are just average kids, just like the church. A very small percentage of the church become paid servants, most of us are just average joes, or jills as the case may be; but you better believe there wouldn’t be a game if we didn’t show up.

Matthew 5:1-2

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Jesus taught not only the disciples but the multitude as well. Little league sports is a community event. It should be a time of learning and fun for everyone. It’s not the making of professionals, it’s the teaching of a team. Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that the game wasn’t about them, it was about those they served. And teaching kids to have a team spirit is the most valuable lesson you could teach as a coach. Because they’ll always be winners if they learn to treat one another with respect.

Teaching church members that lesson goes a long way too! The team’s attitude is usually a direct reflection of the coach. Bad or good the team is usually a mirror image. Jesus’ first lesson was an attitude check.

Matthew 5:3-9

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

He knew sometimes they’d lose

Matthew 5:10-11

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Jesus understood and taught how to take a loss. No matter what… treat people right.

It’s a free country, but your vote comes with a price

JESUS CHICK SEEK HIS WILL
In these days of electioneering my patience grows thin… I love the fact that we’re a free country with the right to vote and I would not want it any other way. Everyone has right to vote their conscience. But deed… I do wish we were a godly country. I’m shocked at the arrogance of people who believe that God will not have the final say. I have a strong opinion on how I vote, I don’t mind sharing it, I don’t however ram it down someone’s throat and I don’t appreciate it when the liberal media and supporters boast about their sinful agendas, under the name of Christianity, and then call conservatives close minded because they quote bible.
 
Today’s verse of the day on BibleGateway.com gives me reason to rejoice.
 
Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
Proverbs 14:22 KJV
IN ERR
If God calls it sin, it’s err. I’m not one for calling out someone else’s sin without looking in the mirror. I will tell you flatfooted and face to face that I am a sinner saved by grace that needs forgiveness every day, but I will not ever tell you that God justifies my sin. If people aren’t careful we go into protection mode rather than proclamation mode. We want to protect our rights and opinions, which is good, until they’re bad. I’m not going to tell you that the Republicans are right and the Democrats are wrong, but I will tell you which one comes  closer to God’s agenda. I make no apologies to die hard democrats and I’m not lumping all democratic candidates into one category of evil.
If you check the records, I’m a registered democrat. I live in small town America where the bulk of the decision for county politics is made in the primary election. And it’s almost entirely Democrat. Else I’d be Republican. With that said and noted, my vote for a Presidential candidate will not go for Clinton or Sanders.
2 Chronicles 7:14 is on my prayer sheet for America and if you’re a Christian you’re without excuse for taking heed:
If my people, (you’re not your own, neither is your vote) which are called by my name, (The name of Christ in the within the title of Christian) shall humble themselves, (arrogance plays no part in our faith, confidence in God, yes… but not arrogance)  and pray, (earnestly and fervantly asking God His opinion and then listening for the answer) and seek my face,(If we are God’s representatives on earth, which Christians are, then our face is His face, at least what the people on earth see. Does your face look like God? Does your opinions and speech align with Him?) and turn from their wicked ways; (Every one of us has sin; is yours confessed or do you make excuses for it? If you in sincerity want God’s blessing on this Country you cannot support arrogant liberal ideas, God will approve and bless over it. And if you say that it’s not that big of a deal, you probably should look at the history of a few countries who felt the same way.) then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
DEVISE GOOD
I didn’t get to this political opinion without more than a few conversations with God on the “lesser evils” which we sometimes have to vote for.  But when evil and arrogance collide, that’s Satan’s playground and I want no part of it.
When you go to the polls, please remember that you are God’s vote. And He takes it very serious. None of us our perfect, but we have a perfect God to seek advice from, and He’ll appreciate and bless those who support His agenda.
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How to Survive a Marriage

chick marriage

Last evening I sat across the table from a preacher friend at Bearfork Bluegrass. As he waited for his hotdog to cool down we talked about love and life. Eighty three years old and he just lost the love of his life last fall; I’ve met few people in my lifetime who loved their spouse the way he does. Alzheimer’s took her to meet Jesus, but he travels on alone down here, and while he does he’s learning to play banjo! That’s right, 83 and taking beginner banjo lessons, I love this man’s enthusiasm for living and I love his passion for living out the gospel.

I heard it once said that marriage is not so much the Love boat as it is a battleship. That’s a true story. I haven’t had 35 years of wedded bliss, I’ve loved David for 35 years, but he, nor I have always liked the other. I’m just being real. So why did we stay married? Because when I married him I committed my love to him till death do us part; somedays I thought one of us might kill the other and death would happen, but the next day was better and so it’s been our story. Life’s not always easy…

In today’s society marriage is like a car purchase and the commitments about as long. Before they’ve invested any money into the principal payment, they’re cruising the showroom for a new model, and usually one with a higher payment. Mine’s a 1980 model with a lot of miles. The paint job needs touched up and the gasoline in my tank is now a half dozen different vitamins and a few Tylenol each day, that’s what I run on! But I’m blessed.

The preacher reminded me of that last night when he discussed his counseling method for couples desiring his marrying officiation. He told me he required four sessions before he’d agree to conduct the ceremony. One each for the bedroom, living room, dining room and kitchen. That’ll preach! I told him, he said it did. He also began his sessions with the scripture in John 2:1-11

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Three things hold true on why my marriage has survived.

1. Jesus was invited into the Marriage

Although Jesus was a late invitation into mine, He was still invited into my marriage. How much wiser had it have been if He had been an invited guest at the wedding? But having a Christian foundation from my childhood and two parents who lived out the Christian marriage before me, I held onto what I’d been taught until Christ became a guiding factor in my own life. Once Christ was invited in I realized that we are all sinners saved by grace, and grace is what we afford those we love. Praise God it’s been afforded to me many times down through the years.

2. I Celebrate servitude

When Jesus changed the water into wine only the servants knew the truth. Everyone else drank of the result. I love being a wife. I love cooking dinner and doing laundry and sweeping the floor dozens of times a day from muddy work boots and such. (Said no woman ever) But I do love serving my husband, and if that’s the things I need to do to make his life better, then I’ll gladly do it. Thirty five years have taught me to appreciate the things David does. He provides for our family, he works hard and he has a servant’s heart for volunteerism. We both love serving people. It took me a while to learn that an attitude of servitude is what makes a happy home, but it’s truth.

3. I Listen to Jesus

Marriage didn’t come with a manual but it did come with a book, the Bible. As I read and studied the scriptures the very things I needed for the very day I needed it was there. David and I may not have always shared love letters, but Jesus and I did. His word reminds me every day of how much He loves me. Jesus never brought up my past, He only spoke of this day and the future. And that’s how I’ve loved David. I love him today and look forward to the future. I reminisce on the goodness of the past, but I bury the hard bad times like Christ buried my sins. Oh sure, Satan tries to bring them up, but I plant a flower in that ground, say “rest in peace” and move on!

 

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Need to Hear from Heaven? Then Shut the Door

Heaven's door

Our relationship with the Lord is a matter of the heart, so what do we do when we know that, just as the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Not only who can know it, but how can you trust it? I know my heart, it’s a wicked brat. It wants what it wants and it wants it now. So how do you override that fleshly appeal and come to an understanding with what it is that God would have for your life?

John 16:13 discloses that truth when we read Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” ~ But even after the truth is disclosed what’s the next step to see it to fruition?

Is step one done?

If you’re saved, meaning that you’ve accepted Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on the cross as payment for your sin; and you believe that He overcame that death, rose the third day and now makes intercession for you in Heaven, you’ve received the guide. It’s immediate upon salvation. So step one is done!  Now on to step two.

What are you to do for step two?

Listen. Sounds simple enough, but in reality it’s hard to hear with so many noises and distractions in life of which Satan is the loudest. Even as I try to write this morning distractions are in my path continuously, but also permissibly. I left my phone on, I had Facebook up on the computer, and those are just a few. We often don’t hear what God has to say because God is not a shouter. He’s the still small voice. Why should the Creator of life have to vie for our attention? He who wants the best for us and has the power to make it happen shouldn’t have to, but more often than not God Himself is vying with nonsense. Or is He? I think He may just be waiting until you shut it off before He utters a word to the Holy Spirit.

Step three, get on your knees

Where’s your prayer closet? Jesus said in Matthew 6:6~ But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Getting on your knees is a heart matter as well. If you aren’t physically capable of getting on your knees, God knows and understands and in your mind’s eye you can picture yourself there. But if you can get on your knees, it’s a most humbling and needful position for prayer; It helps you to understand just how very much you need God to answer and how very much you desire His mercy. The closet location can be the corner of a couch, a literal closet like in the movie The War Room, or it can be the kitchen table. It’s wherever you and God can converse without interruption.

Are you in need of guidance today?

Shut off the noises before you find your closet. Get “in” your closet, whatever that looks like. Get humble in heart, on your knees, or on your face and let God know that you know Who He is and that you love Him and desire to hear from Him. Tell Him why… and then listen. Perhaps He’ll speak it to your heart, or He may call a scripture to mind, or tell you to get into His word and read. But I promise, He’ll answer. Although I love to pray for people, and I love more to hear the answers that God provides, you don’t need me or anyone else. God desires to hear from you.

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Boldly Go

Hebrews 4-16Nothing will drive you to your knees like heartache, worry and sorrow. And that is where God would have us be, but He’d much rather it be a daily diet of prayer, rather than a conversational last meal as you’re passing through Death Valley. The conversation then is in angst and there is guilt upon guilt because you know you’re not where you need to be with God. You stutter for words, wanting to say just the right thing, failing to understand that your needs were already spoken in Heaven when God watched you suffering and sat waiting for you to come to Him. He reached out but you hid your face because you knew you were unworthy to be in His presence, but He said “Child did you not read where I said come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”  in Hebrews 4:16.

Boldly; meaning with a brave heart and with freedom of speech, not with trepidation, but come to the throne wherein grace is found, prepared to obtain mercy. It’s found no other place than when we come to Him. The world will give you situational and conditional mercy, if it sees fit. But God’s mercy is undeserved yet freely given because we’re His children. This is why God wants daily walks and talks, He’s not a situational God, He’s the God of all times. He knows when you’re headed for trouble. How much sweeter are those times in His presence when we can run into His arms rather than crawl to His feet.

Satan will tell you, “you’re not worthy, God’s not listening, you’ve gone too far this time.”

He’s a liar and a loser and he needs put in his place. But don’t try doing it alone, that’s God’s job. Even Michael the archangel left Satan for God to deal with him in Jude 1:9 when it is said

 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Don’t argue with Satan, especially in times of weakness. He’ll get the better of you. Run into the throne room of God… He’s waiting.

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Zero Tolerance Christianity

zero tolerance1

While I will agree there have been behaviors by self-proclaimed Christians that should not be tolerated, I would not tout them as Christian behaviors. Therein lies the difference and a misconception of the world that all Christians are alike. But in all honesty I don’t think the world cares that we’re not alike, it serves their purpose to collectively lump Christians into a group of extremists trying to take over society. And yet we ignore a real group of extremists who have set their minds to violently take over the world and call them a religion of peace… seriously? “Oh but there’s just a few ‘extremist’ in the bunch that give the religion a bad name,” they say, and then those same “theys” will complain because a Christian organization wrote scripture on a cup and gave away hot chocolate on a college campus. Is this a Sunday morning rant? I sure hope not. It’s not my intent to rant, it’s my intent to give you something to ponder about your own toleration.

We have only ourselves to blame for the intolerance in the world, because we (collectively, as they like to judge us) have been tolerate of their intolerance of us. They say we cannot pray in school, and we say “okay.” They say gay marriage is acceptable in the sight of God, and we say “okay.” They say killing babies is not killing because the baby has yet to be born, but a drunk hits a pregnant woman and kills the child and is charged with murder, and we say that that   hypocritical thinking is “okay.” A Muslim religious ritual can be conducted in a public school and it’s “okay,” but we dare not bring a Bible into a classroom. We have a President who has 10 more months to finish his anti-God agenda  and the liberal’s hiss like a snake at conservatives who dare object.

Is it any wonder we’ve become tolerate of our own sin? We’ve certainly accepted everyone else’s. God is viewed by socialistic society as an angry God of judgement because He doesn’t tolerate what destroys society. Sin destroys us from within. America is proof of it. They have not had to fire the first shot on our soil to have us cowering to their way of belief. That same notion that has been accepted nationally now knocks on the door of every home and most open the door and offer it cake and coffee, followed by cake and ice cream for the kids because we want them to grow up being tolerate of intolerance.

All the while there are sects in the Church who are removing the blood from the gospel because it seems harsh and intolerant and the God of the New Testament doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings because he loves everyone and accepts them as they are, even Muslim. Yeah… that’s how far we’ve come.

For the record, Christians are not all the same. There’s still a few of us left who believe the inspired Word of God as it was written and without apology.  The Old and New Testaments explain that God does not change. Old Testament scripture says in Malachi 3:6

For I am the Lord, I change not

New Testament Scripture says in Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

It’s not God who wavers on His word, it’s man. And before we, who have not changed, get on our high horse and shout to the top of our lungs, “preach that!” Because we’ve stood firm on our foundation… have we also stood firm on our foundation personally?

  • What words crossed our lips (or minds) this week?
  • What attitude did we share with friends, coworkers and family?
  • Did we have God’s stamp of approval on every decision?
  • Did we turn away from ungodly images or thoughts?
  • Did we love others as ourselves?
  • Did we tell someone about Jesus?

At what point does God tolerate sin? On our minimal sins or the world’s maximum sin?

Neither. God has no tolerance for tolerance.

Will we sin, yes, we’re human, 1 John 1:8 says If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

But the difference in Christians should be that it’s never tolerated nor accepted. If every Christian in America would get back to that basic belief-ism and stop allowing the double standards that liberalism has placed our country in II Chronicles 7:14 would come to pass. I’m not ready to give up on America…

  • Search yourself and ask God to shine the light on darkness.
  • Never accept sin as an acceptable standard.
  • Pray that Christian Americans will stand up for God’s word.
  • Never stop talking about Jesus.
  • Pray with purpose

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It’s Only Bread

Bread of Life

Mark 6

Jesus had just left his home town where (vs) He marveled because of their unbelief, He as just a carpenter’s son after all, how could He be so wise and do such marvelous works?  It was from there that He began sending His disciples out two by two, He’d given them power over unclean spirits and instructed them to leave with  nothing  and rely on God for provision, which they did without question. But then one of the many strange stories that have me shaking my head, until I look in the mirror.

The disciples were in the inner circle, they’d seen His miracles, they’d no doubt felt His frustration when the folks from His hometown rejected His message and were offended, they were willing workers in the gospel movement and are our heroes of the faith for many reasons. They were there that day when Jesus had greater than 5,000 people sit down on the lawn and eat to their full from 5 loaves of bread and two fishes, and then took up  the remnants of the meal to the tune of 12 baskets of bread! Glory to God what a service!

Jesus then sent the disciples in a ship to Bethsaida while He went to the mountain to pray. As evening comes the disciples were in the middle of the sea in high winds, and as they fight the storm they notice someone walking on the water, and they cried out in fear. That doesn’t surprise me. They’re human after all and that no doubt was a pretty scary time.  It’s what happens next that bothers me.

Jesus begins to talk to them and says Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” (Vs. 50) He gets into the boat, the storm stops and they’re amazed, but they don’t know its Jesus, and then the scripture says its because  (vs. 52) they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

The mirror flipped on me. How many times have I seen the miracles of God, witnessed them first hand in my life, watched God do the undoable, and then later sit in fear because of circumstances that are beyond my control. How many times have I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart and not recognize that it was the voice of Jesus? Too many…

It was only bread.

I hate the thought that my heart is hardened.  I want to believe that I am tender and pliable for the Holy Spirit to do a work in, but then struggles come and I sit in fear having the many miracles of grace and mercy in the recesses of my mind, ready to draw upon for strength, but it’s only bread. That was yesterday, this is today. Sad and true. My heroes of the faith are just like me. The present storm had taken their mind to place where they failed to recognize the voice of Jesus until they reached the safety of the shore.

God knows I’m human. He knows when I’m in the middle of the storm my attention span is short. He’d like me to be more faithful, but His word reminds me that it’s not the first time His people have let Him down. The question is, what are you going to do when the waves stop, or the dust settles?

Vs. 53-56

And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Get to work! God understands our human nature when the storms rage around us, but when the waves die down and the dust settles it’s time to remember that it wasn’t just bread. It was the Bread of Life making provision for our way and there are countless other people who need to see that God can bring them through too! When the disciples made it through the storm they hit the streets running, and didn’t just give lip service for the miracles of Christ, they brought the people to Him. And as many as touched Him were made whole. How many? As many… numbers are nothing with Jesus. 5,000-5 million… God can!