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Amazing achievements don’t just happen, terrific triumphs don’t just appear, and wonderful wins don’t just come out of thin air. In fact, truth be told, precious plays are priceless and don’t come around every day. Such prized plays made in magical moments by players everywhere are to be valued and treasured, relished and cherished. And such is the case in the first no hitter pitched by the Washington National’s Baseball team.

Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was one out from history Sunday afternoon, and for what must have seemed like an eternity of forever’s, he watched little-used rookie left fielder Steven Souza Jr. — a defensive replacement in the ninth inning — give chase to a line drive that threatened to dash and destroy his destined no-hitter. It was the bottom of the ninth; there were two outs, and a CG (Complete Game) no hitter was on the line. Enter rookie reserve outfielder Steven Souza Jr.

One out from history. That’s where Zimmerman found himself, and where he almost found a place to doubt his date with destiny. The hit by the Marlins Christian Yelich came on a 2-1 count. Zimmermann hurled a 94-mph fast ball on the outside corner and Yelich showed his opposite field power and drove it to deep left-center field. Nationals’ now renowned and previously unknown Steven Souza and center fielder Denard Span took off for the deep drive while the stadium crowd stood silent and breathless. Souza’s angle of pursuit couldn’t have been any better than Spans, but yet he dove at the warning track and went airborne  to make an over-the-shoulder grab to preserve the no-hitter.

One out from destiny, it was quite a way to cap a regular season in which the Nationals finished with the NL’s best record, 96-66. Washington hosts San Francisco or Pittsburgh in Game 1 of a division series Friday. “Just an epic day for an epic season,” said Denard Span, who set a Nationals single-season record with his 184th hit. Zimmermann (14-5) threw 104 pitches, had 10 strikeouts and allowed only two baserunners. After retiring the first 14 batters. “When he caught it,” teammate Dunn said, “it was just like, ‘Really? Did that just happen?'”

Before we overplay the play we want to be careful not to minimize the moment or dampen and downplay the end of a really special game that comes at the end of a really special regular season. And it ain’t over yet, as Nationals Baseball fans hope it doesn’t end until they begin to celebrate a World Series win. Possible? Actually yes. Probable? You can check that box too.  

Just like Jordan Zimmerman, you might be one out from victory, one out from history, one out from destiny. You may have come to realize that there might not be a real Santa Claus, or a real Tooth Fairy, or a real Easter Bunny, but I hope you still conclude that there is still a real reason to believe in miracles.

So what are you destined for? Where are you going and what are you going to do when you get there? Write your own script. Don’t let fate foretell your future. Determine to disappoint your detractors and decide your own destiny. God is still in the miracle business.  If you want help (and trust me, you’ll need it) you can have it, and you can have it today.

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“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  Jim Elliot

Denzel Washington has a new film out called The Equalizer which is strikingly similar to what I believe was his best film, Man on Fire.  In the 2004 film Man on Fire, Denzel plays a former assassin who swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect.  In this film he is “on fire” – burning with a desire to right wrongs and cancel-out, nullify and negate bad and belligerent forces that have come against those he is sent to serve.

Athletically speaking, great athletes who play at the top of their game are said to be “on fire.” They play like they are “possessed;” they seemingly cannot miss, everything they do is on-time and on-target and they win the game for their team.  However, winning at life may not look and feel like we think it should.  Just ask martyred missionary Jim Elliot.

Spiritually speaking, Jim Elliot was a man on fire. Jim and Elisabeth Elliot are two dynamos that should be household names.  I read their story again for the first time and had to fight back tears and fight back jumping up to fight anything and everything that is wicked and wrong and wide of the mark.  Their story is classic.

January 2, 1956, was the day that 29-year-old Jim Elliot had waited for most of his life. Jim was a missionary to Ecuador and died a martyr in 1956.  Jim and the four other missionaries he worked with were murdered by the very Acua Indians they went to evangelized.  In a supernatural turn of events that only God could arrange, Jim’s wife and the wives of the other four martyred missionaries won the Acua Indians to the Lord by their love and longsuffering.  Their story is told in the book, Through Gates of Splendor, The unforgettable true story of these five men who braved Auca lances and were martyred for the sake of the Gospel.  It was written by Elisabeth after her husband’s death.

Jim seemingly was groomed by God and planned to be a missionary all of his life.  The trip was not without controversy, as family and friends alike all tried in vain to dissuade him from his destiny.  He wrote this in his diary on the voyage to Ecuador:

My going to Ecuador is God‘s counsel, and my refusal to be counseled by all who insist I should stay and stir up the believers in the U.S.  And how do I know it is His counsel?  Yea, my heart instruteth me in the night seasons. Oh how good.  For I have known my heart is speaking to me for God.  No visions, no voices, but the counsel of a heart which desires God.

The crazy, scary, creepy crawly part of the story is that Jim KNEW he would not live long, and it’s as if he marched to his death knowingly.  Spiritually speaking, it was strangely surreal and oddly otherworldly.

                “Life is not here, but hid above with Christ in God.”

Jim was a man of destiny; Jim was a man on fire.  He met his “fate” at the hands of the Acua Indians, but because of his love for God and his desire see this native nation won for Christ, he prayed this prayer:

He makes his ministers a flame of fire.  Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame. But flame is transient, often short-lived.  Canst thou bear this my soul – short life?

While not all of us are called to be martyred missionaries, we are called to be a flame of fire and to be saturated with His Spirit for whatever we do, be it football or baseball, hockey or golf, we are called to be our all and to give our all for Him.  .

The Matrix 

If you haven’t seen The Matrix, stop reading.  Stop reading now.  Go rent it, buy it, or break down and borrow it, but for Pete’s sake, watch this film – at least twice for starters – and then come back and continue reading.

If you love David vs. Goliath, the long-shot doesn’t stand a chance, the little runt will die trying, and the underdog defeats the favorite kind of movies, then The Matrix is for you.

The Matrix has it all: good and evil, right and wrong, vanquishers and villains, and saints and sinners.  It has love and hate, war and peace, help and hurt, rejection and retaliation and all of the emotions and sensations of the human spirit.  It has many of the spiritual themes you need to study as well: rebirth and resurrection, restoration and renewal, and resurgence and re-emergence, just to name a few.

If you believe in redemption, recovery and restitution, then you’re a Matrix fan.  How can you not like and love a feel good, the good guys win, the bad guys lose, the prophecy comes to pass story with a storybook ending?  While I know there are many who have trouble swallowing all of the blends in the film, it works for the rest of us.  While Biblical Christianity is mixed with in Hinduism, Gnosticism and a few other “isms,” keep in mind that The Path of Hinduism is really The Way of Christianity.

The Matrix is for all sports fans who love to see the little guy rise and become MVP of the World Series.  It’s a story of “The One” who doesn’t believe in himself, but has others who do the believing for him until he himself comes to faith.  In the film, Thomas Anderson, a.k.a. “Neo” is the prophesied One.  He comes to acknowledge the prophecies about him saving the world, or, in sports speak, winning the big one, are in fact true.

In the coup d’etat of the film, Neo is dead, as he has been killed by enemy agents.  Trinity, an obvious reference to the Godhead, tells Neo that she received a prophecy that she would fall in love with “The One.” Trinity’s kiss of love brings Neo back to life and he goes on to defeat the enemy agents.

The moral of The Matrix is that good will one day conquer evil, right will win out over wrong, and the little guy will someway, somehow defeat the big bad bastions that think they can’t be beat.

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Remember the old saying, “I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out?”  Well, not to be outdone, the NFL, namely the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins, put on a mega mêlée of their own late in their game at “The Link” (Lincoln Financial Field) in Philly.  I wasn’t mad until certain Redskins fans defended the cheap shot that lead to the brawl as being a “good hit.”  It’s a good thing I don’t cuss. “He got me pretty good. I did not see him,” Foles said. “I thought the guy was down so that’s why I wasn’t looking for anyone. The next thing I know I’m just obliterated.”

For those that don’t remember or even know what the old saying about a fight at a hockey game means, know this: hockey is a brutal sport.  Back in the ‘70s when I grew up, fights at an NHL game were normal, even expected common occurrences of just about every game.  In fact, the Philadelphia Flyers were so notorious for fighting their nickname was the “Broad Street Bullies,” and for good reason.  While all of Philly loved our beloved Flyers, we all knew when they crossed the line.  Or at least I hope and think that we should’ve known. Right? Anyway . . .

Remember when fights at school were called “fair ones?”  That means that the fight was between me and you and no knives or guns were allowed and no friends or cousins could jump in and make it a lopsided, unfair fight.  Unfortunately, it appears that those days are long gone.

We tend to defend what we think is right instead of what we ultimately and undoubtedly know is right.  Honestly, I watched the hit by Washington nose tackle Chris Baker on Eagle quarterback Nick Foles, and it wasn’t as bad as I had heard it was, but it was still a cheap shot.  And for all you Redskins (players, not necessarily fans) out there, I can’t wait until Kirk Cousins or even RGIII (whenever or if-ever he’s healthy again) gets hit like that.  I’m sure you’ll be crying foul then.

We must remember that fair is fair; but some just don’t know, or don’t want to know, what fair is. You don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you.  In fact, the Bible puts it like this: “Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).  Or more colloquially put, “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.” We call it The Golden Rule. Anything less is unsportsmanlike conduct, and is the kind of sportsmanship our fathers and coaches taught us not to do.

So if you don’t remember anything else, please remember this:

“The game had 19 penalties, one major brawl, two ejections, at least a couple of hits way after the whistles had blown, all sorts of taunting and a general vibe of meanness and chaos. It was still fun, kind of, but it wasn’t very professional.

After the game, I heard passionate, heartfelt and convincing arguments that Chris Baker deserved to get tossed from the game for plowing into Foles during an interception return that didn’t even exist, since the interception was later reversed on replay. These arguments came mostly from non-Redskins fans. I also heard passionate, heartfelt and convincing arguments that Baker’s ejection and penalty were epic miscarriages of justice, or at least the results of a terrible NFL rule. You could teach an entire graduate seminar on how pre-existing bias influences one’s perception of truth based on that sequence. Or you could just go outside and enjoy the fall weather.”  Dan Steinberg @dcsportsbog.  Amen brother.

I have to remember that I have too many friends that are Redskins fans, and it’s not worth losing them over one game, even if it was a divisional game.  So remember, we have only one fight worth fighting, and that’s the good fight of faith.

Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many.  1 Timothy 6:12, RSV

Goodell

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water!  Whew!  Poor Roger Goodell.  He’s taking a licking, and the poor guy is barely ticking.  Last week, the Commissioner of the National Football League had his hands full.  As if the Ray Rice domestic violence fiasco wasn’t enough, by the end of the same week, another all-star got in trouble and it’s all over the news.  Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was indicted, imprisoned and “impounded” by his team for child abuse.  Oh boy.  In light of all of this at the same time, what’s an NFL Commissioner to do?

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.  Another NFL player, Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals, was indicted for domestic violence.  AND if that wasn’t enough, the Carolina Panthers decided that star defensive end Greg Hardy won’t play any more games for the team until his domestic violence case is resolved.  My, my, my.

The cries for Goodell’s head are getting louder and louder.  If Goodell wasn’t in hot water with the Rice “incident,” he sure is now.

Sometimes, just when you thought things were going to get better, they got worse. As believers, how do we deal with disaster?  How do we deal with adversity and atrocity?  Christians are supposed to be the poster children for how to deal and how to cope and how not only survive, but to thrive amidst turmoil and trauma and stress and strain.  We are the examples and exemplars and samples and specimens for how to overcome.

The best athletes overcome and overtake and overwhelm and overpower every obstacle that comes their way in order to win.  In fact, sometimes it takes trials and tribulations to prompt us to achieve. Speaking of the Jewish people just before they left and while they were yet still slopping slaves in Egypt, the Bible says that “the more that the Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew” (Exodus 1:12).

Because we believe in and trust in and have faith in a higher power, we can rest and relax when the chips are down. When our funds are low and our debts are high, when we want to smile but we have to sigh, that’s when the Christians of 1st Century Rome were, and that’s when Christians of every age are at our best.

Like a ship that’s tossed and driven, battered by an angry sea; when the storms of life are raging, and the fury falls on me; I wonder what I have done, to make this race so hard to run; And I say to my soul, ‘Soul take courage, the Lord will make a way somehow.’

So what do we do when all else fails? What do we do when all is falling apart and nothing is coming together? Call on Jesus!  The disciples found themselves in the middle of a storm, and Jesus lost himself in the hull of the boat and went to sleep.  When things got real bad, they decided it was time to wake up Jesus.  Jesus got up from sleep, rebuked the winds and the waves, and there was a great calm.  How about that for a turnaround!

When it looks real bad, that’s when every child of the King can say, I believe it’s going to end up real good.  What the devil means for our destruction, God can turn around and use as part of our construction. Where sin and shame and chaos and confusion and disaster and destruction and muck and mire and all kinds of mess abound, that’s where grace abounds all the more.

Good can come out of this NFL mess.  It can. President Abraham Lincoln quoted the 19th Psalm in the Gettysburg Address, which is etched on the walls of the Memorial that bears his name: “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).  Correction and guidance come from Heaven and not from hell.  And if we repent and turn around, we will experience turnarounds.  But we have to believe and trust God that it can and that it will.

So don’t get stuck in the mess.  Don’t wallow in the mire.  If you want things to go the right way, and you’re ready and willing to turn to God for help, your litter and clutter and refuse and rubbish can and will be recycled into something that can be of good use for you and for everyone else around you as well.

Kevin Leman

“And above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.”

Isaac Asimov

I haven’t read Kevin Leman’s book, but it sounds like it’s something I would like to check out.  And maybe you too.

Now when it comes to sports, strictly speaking, sometimes your best just isn’t good enough.  Sometimes your forth and one play comes up a tad short; sometimes your field goal attempt sails wide right; sometimes your shot rims out; and sometimes you get beat out after you gave it all you’ve got.  Sometimes you go in with everything only to come out with nothing.  And sometimes we go, to mix in a movie metaphor, a bridge too far.

Grumpy grouches and miserable menaces will always criticize and be critical; this type will always judge and be judgmental, be cruel and crass, brunt and brash, and you will never live up to their standard.  There are those that will always disapprove and disparage, complain and condemn, nit-pick and pick holes in your game and your life. These are the ones that will never be satisfied, and these are the ones you should never even try to satisfy. 

Good Enough

On the other hand, you are good enough for God!  That’s why God wants you to know that He is good enough for you. 

I grew up playing sports and was taught that your best is good enough.  This saying is true to a fault.  In sports it applies until you don’t win the big one. Don Shula, the legendary coach of the Miami Dolphins said this:

What I learned from that loss, and also another loss that I’m going to talk about later, was that when you’re there, it’s not good enough to be there, when you’re there, you better walk away with that ring.

And he’s right. We don’t play just to play. As the former Philadelphia Eagle great Hernan Edwards once said, “You play to win the game! Hello?!”  https://godandsports.net/?s=You+play+to+win+the+game&searchsubmit=Find+%C2%BB

Spiritually speaking, our best is measured against our worst. And more often than not, we are at our worst. The prophet said all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. So, since we will never measure up to God’s standard of holiness and righteousness, we must trust Him to do what we can’t. Our best will never be good enough for Heaven. That’s why God sent His Son and that’s why His Son gave His life.  God’s best is good enough, and we should accept and accede to what Heaven has to offer instead of trying to be good and clean and pure and perfect all on our own.

That being said, it doesn’t mean that we don’t TRY our best, or GIVE our best, or even DO our best. To not try, and give and do our best is heresy. It’s a cop out; it’s a duck and a dodge, and a shun and a shirk from being and doing the right thing.  It’s taking advantage of God’s grace, and to take advantage of God’s grace is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “Cheap Grace.” 

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So do your best, and let God do the rest. That’s what the Gospel is all about.

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Any fight fans out there?  I’m not, but as the saying goes, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Playa Hater is live in Las Vegas for the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight on Saturday night, October 13, 2014 at the MGM Grand. The rapper Ice T wrote these lyrics: “I don’t know why a player wanna hate T.  I didn’t choose the game, the game chose me.”

Don’t hate the player, hate the game is another way of saying “don’t blame me; this is how the system works.” In other words, “society made me do it,” or “the system is flawed and I’ve figured out how to work it,”or “everyone else is cheating too.”

This, of course is a cop out.  To say, don’t dislike someone for their actions, consider instead the situation that causes it, is only half of the story. It’s a twist of Gandhi’s Quote: “Hate the sin and love the sinner.”  

In order to “hate the game,” individual culpability is thrown out the window, and we are somehow to believe it when athletes gone astray say “it’s not my fault that I’m the way that I am.”  Hogwash.

The most popular usage of “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game” (DHTPHTG) is when one employs extra-scrupulous tactics to vanquish an enemy in the fields of:

Business;

Dating;

Politics, and especially Sports.

Hate is the opposite of love, and the best use of hate is for sin and shame, and for the emblems of evil that pervade our society.  Our hate should not be for the institutions of football and baseball and basketball and professional sports in general. Rather, our hate should be, as the Bible implies and as Gandhi implores, for the sin and not for the sinner.

It seems that we have lost our way when we don’t play clean and hard and fair; when we don’t reward the right ones and we reward everyone; and when we excuse those who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.  We need to return to good old fashioned morals and manners, principles and practices, and these need to be employed on and off of the court and the field, and in tonight’s case, the boxing ring.

ray and janay rice

In the long litany of sports disasters, this one is right up there at the top.  Ray Rice is now notorious and nefarious and the video of him brutally punching his then fiancée, now wife, in the face at an Atlantic City Casino elevator will live in infamy.  Talk about a horrible, deplorable disgrace.  The scourge of domestic violence has reared its ugly head in yet another sector of our society, and it appears that there were some that attempted to cover up and pretty up and even dummy up a very gruesome face.

From the top to the bottom, those involved in the Rice “incident” are embroiled and entangled in the middle of a monster of a mess.  The NFL, the prosecutors, and the Baltimore Ravens Organization all are equally culpable. And while no one can pass judgment or throw stones because we all live in glass houses, in this case, broken shards of glass are falling down on a lot of heads even without a single stone being thrown.

Ray Rice and his wife Janay are now the poster children for what domestic violence looks like.  The sad part is that they don’t even know it.  And as we all know, DENIAL is not a river in Egypt.  It’s a terrible thing to have a problem and not know you have it.  Just like the emperor and his new clothes, everyone knew the truth except the one the truth was about.

Our prayer is that Ray and Janay get help.  This is not a condemnation or denunciation of this young couple.  It’s a cold, hard fact that many athletes, both men and women, have “issues” that need to be addressed but are instead swept under the rug in light of their talent. And addressing our issues is not an option; it’s a requirement.  Ray clearly has an issue with reckless and uncontrolled anger.  As for Janay, she is one of 47 million women in America who are victims of “domestic” violence.

Ray and Janay Rice are just like and no different than Esau and Elijah and Moses and Miriam.  These Bible notables had run-ins with rage and fall outs with fury.  Anger is a necessary emotion, but when left unchecked and unbridled, it can lead to this tragedy that is now on trial in the court of public opinion.

So let’s not pass judgment or make fun or even forget about Ray and Janay Rice. Their problems and their plight and their trials and their tribulations are not far from the rest of us.  Because we’re not perfect, everyone struggles with something.  And we all need help with our struggles if we are to conquer the demons that lurk within.  The sad truth is that their faults and their flaws and their failures have been laid bare in a way none of us hope ours will ever be.

We conclude with this note: can good come of this?  While it does not look like it now, we can only hope that some good will come out of this evil event.  And that’s something only God can do.

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I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.   Ecclesiastes 9:11

OK, Ok, Ok! I get it! It’s only Week One; it’s only the first game, and it’s only 1/16 of the pie, for crying out loud, so it’s not time to panic. So for all you Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots fans, don’t get flustered or freak out; don’t get unnerved and unsettled, and certainly don’t get overly disturbed or perturbed. It’s only one game. Whatever’s broken can be fixed; whatever’s busted can’t be trusted, and whatever’s wrong with your team can be made right; right?

So my Eagles were down 17-0 in the first half and it looked as if the season was over before it even really began; yet lo and behold, my Birds scored 34-unanswered points and we won going away: 34-17. Whew! What a comeback. We dodged a bullet there. But the caution is that we didn’t win the Super Bowl; we just won a regular season game and it’s only one win.

On the other hand, the Cowboys got the snot beat out of ‘em; the Redskins looked as bad as we thought they would; the New Orleans Saints lost a thriller to Atlanta in OT; and the mighty New England Patriots lost, or got beat, by the Miami Dolphins! Really?

So the moral of the story is found in the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Remember that one? The rabid rabbit or hare didn’t even want to run the race, because he laughed at the proposition that the slow tortoise could beat him. But beat him he did. So we learn from Aesop that the race is not given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. And the same is true in life.

So pace yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And championships aren’t won in a game. So while I’m glad my Eagles didn’t lose, one loss, and especially an opening day loss, does not a season make. And as we all know, while a good start is a good thing, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

Pace yourself means to slow down, and to take things in steps. So instead of rushing into things, you “pace yourself,” slowing down, and taking things into consideration, acting wisely. Sage advice for us all. Both the verse from Ecclesiasties 9:11 and Aesop’s famed fable of the tortoise and the hare have important implications for our lives, but each has a very different meaning.  Check this out:

Over time, the saying “The Race is not given to the swift, but to those who endure to the end” has been erroneously attributed to the Bible. In reality, the first part of the quote is in the Bible, but the saying in its entirety comes from the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. “The race is not to the swift does appear in Ecclesiastes 9, but the scripture and the saying have very different meanings, although they both provide value to our lives and our marriages

Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare

“The Race is NOT given to the Swift, but to those who Endure to the End”

The Tortoise and the Hare version expresses what most people are expressing when they quote this saying: It isn’t about starting off at a fast pace, but sticking with your goal until the end that matters. Think about this in how it relates to marriage. Sometimes we feel like the “chemistry” –being hot and heavy and all over each other– is what’s most important. While chemistry and romance are always great, the real test of a marriage is being able to hold on and stick together through it all; holding on with the same tenacity through the hot and heavy as we do through the mundane.

 The Bible

The Ecclesiastes version, however, expresses something quite different. To me, it is saying that neither speed, nor strength, nor wisdom or any other attribute exempt you from time or chance. Life, with all of its ups and downs, happens to all of us. In relation to our marriage this means that no matter how strong your marriage, or passionate, or how often you make wise decisions, your marriage will enjoy happy times and face trials and tribulations. That no matter what, we aren’t promised to be spared trouble. Yet if you want to be able to stay together through all of it, just take a lesson from our friend the tortoise.

http://www.makingloveinthemicrowave.com/2012/the-race-is-not-given-to-the-swift-ecclesiastes-vs-tortoise-and-the-hare

So pace yourself. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. When you want to overreact, make a big deal, make a huge fuss and get all wound up over an opening day game or a “one day in your life” event, just remember: it’s only one game, and it’s only one fraction of the whole. If you believe, things will get better.  In this early season, we have 15 more games and three and ½ more months of NFL football to go.

And in life we must learn to do the same. When things look bad or don’t work out or fall all apart, remember that it’s only one day in your life. There’s more to come. And as believers we bet the farm and mortgage our futures on the promises of God. We believe that our best is yet to come, and that God’s tomorrow is better than today. So remember – pace yourself.

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Let your moderation be known unto all men.
Philippians 4:5, KJV

Ok – raise your hand if you’re going to watch every Thursday Night Game this season.  Remember when Monday Night Football was a REALLY Big thing? I mean, if your team was playing on Monday night, you thought you had almost won the Super Bowl. Only the really good teams played on Monday Night.  Then came along Sunday Night Football, and then Thursday Night football games, but ONLY towards the end of the season.

Now, it’s almost like we have football on demand. Maybe some may like a preponderance “red meat sports,” but I recall learning that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  Now, the Monday Night game is still big, but when you’ve got big games on Sunday at 4:05 and Sunday Night games and NOW Thursday Night games  . . . I mean, when is enough football enough?  Throw in college football games on what seems like every night of the week and you’ve got a football junkies nirvana and your wife or girlfriend’s nightmare.

I can’t get excited or incited about Thursday night Football.  Yes tonight is the first game of the season and the defending champion Seattle Seahawks are playing the Green Bay Packers so it should be a good game, but there’s a certain falseness and fakeness about the NFL playing games on a Thursday. I just can’t get all keyed up or all “Kirked Out” over the over-availability of football. Am I making my point?

Even the press is jumping in on the sanity of it all.  The question being asked is “How much football is too much for TV?”  CBS’s Thursday Night Football is being called “An Ambitious Alliance With A Lot At Stake.”  For the TV industry, it’s a no-brainer. The most-watched show on television last season was NBC’s Sunday Night Football, drawing an average 21 million viewers each night.  But will another night of America’s favorite sport drown the football drunks?  We’ll see.

Spiritually speaking, you don’t go to your place of worship every night of the week for meetings and Bible Study and meetings and choir rehearsal and meetings and revivals and meetings and God knows what else just because the doors of the church are open.  At least you shouldn’t. Take it from me: going to church all of the time, night after night during the week (in addition to Sunday worship, mind you) just for the sake of going is not healthy or even Biblical.  There is such a thing as overdoing it.

In this life, God desires us to be moderate and temperate; balanced and unbiased; even keeled, steady and stable.  Without a balanced diet, we would be unhealthy; without a balanced education, we would be unlearned; and without a balanced sports life, we will become like prescription drug junkies – hooked on something that was meant to be good for us, but has now just become something keep us awake or put us to sleep.

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