Husbands, Love Your Wives; Wives, Love Your Husband’s Team

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Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; Ephesians 5:25, KJV

The best thing a husband can do for his wife is to love her the way she needs to be loved.  This is a principle that we as husbands need to understand and apply. And, on the other side of the coin, our wives will get farther and go further with us when they love our favorite team. Above is a great pic of a couple supporting the German “football” team (soccer for us Americans).

The worst thing a husband can do is to put anything or anybody in front of his wife, and that includes his favorite team.  There. I said it.  Wife first, Eagles second  . . . (exhale.)  Surely I jest, but there is truth in jesting. Sometimes we as husbands put “the game” in front of cuddle time, and that, my friends, can be a BIG PROBLEM!  The solution?  Watch the big game together. (Of  course you already thought of that.)

The best thing for a couple to do is to watch sports together. I love my wife and I love that she loves sports – any sports, but particularly my sports teams.  And it’s alright if couples have different favorite teams, because they won’t play each other every week. Right? But when they do play head-to-head, here’s a little tip: when your team wins, go easy, at least after the initial jubilation. 

The worst thing for a couple to do is to be at odds over anything, especially sports. She may hate hockey and he may love lacrosse so there’s not too much room for negotiation there.  So what to? Compromise!  Remember, if you give a little, you’ll get a little; if you give a lot, you’ll get a lot.

The best thing for a wife to do is to be supportive. This may sound old school and old-fashioned and just plain old, but it’s still true nonetheless.  Please keep in mind that being supportive is not dependent upon the husband loving, and loving is not dependent upon the wife being supportive, but when both blend and bind and fuse and fasten and  seal and seam together at the same time, it  sure does help. 

The best thing about this blog is the spiritual connection between God and sports.  Here, the spiritual tie-in is clear. Jesus loves us, and He cares about what we are concerned about. Even sports.  And we, the Church, are the bride of Christ. So it follows that we should “do things” together.  Naturally, we are better together, and watching, playing and participating in sports in any way together can build and bond a long and lasting relationship.

The best thing about being married is that you get to share your life with the one you love. And when your team is in the hunt for a playoff spot and more, that’s a great thing.

Note to Brazil: “It’s Not That Bad, It’s Not That Hard, And It Can Be Fixed”

Cross of Calvary
It’s Not That Bad, It’s Not That Hard, And It Can Be Fixed

It may not seem like it now, but Brazil can get past this horrific, horrendous, hideous and horrible loss. Did I say it was a dreadful and almost unbearable loss? Anyway, the point is that they CAN get past it. The question is “will they?” I say they can get past it because my motto is, “it’s not that bad, it’s not that hard, and it can be fixed.” I offer this motto to the Brazilian soccer team and their rioting fans, as the reports of lawlessness in Brazil in the wake of the 7-1 defeat, I mean drubbing, make it seem like it’s the end of the world as we know it. It’s not.

It may not seem like it now, but your worst loss can become your best victory. Just ask Jesus. Lied on, falsely accused, beat and bludgeoned, lashed and lacerated, punched and pounded, flayed and flogged, Jesus should have been dead long before he even got to the cross. But He endured the cross and despised the shame, and now He sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Talk about a dramatic turnaround!

It may not seem like it now, but what you’re going through is not the end. In spite and despite how bad the loss, it in fact, it can be a new beginning. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection indicated the beginning of a new agreement called the New Covenant; it celebrated the birth of a new organism called the Church, and it demonstrated the dawn of a new order called Kingdom of God. Don’t get me wrong; Jesus’s vicarious death was bad, but for us it was the beginning of something very, very good.

It may not seem like it now, with wars and rumors of wars, with the perilous times and precarious seasons, it just doesn’t seem like things are getting any better. Things are hard, but they don’t have to stay hard. Yes sin abounds, but where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. Remember, the more the Egyptians afflicted the children of Israel, the more they multiplied and grew.

It may not seem like things are getting any better now, and in fact at times it seems like things are going from bad to worse, but that’s the irony and the paradox of God. Sin and suffering can be fixed. Our Everlasting Lord can take evil and turn it around for it good; our Sovereign Savior can take wrong and somehow turn it around so that right conquers in the end; and our all and Only Wise God whom Isaiah called Wonderful can take the dark and speak “let there be light.” And guess what? There was light, and for us there will be light in our life, just like there was light in Goshen.

And so I entreat you to adopt my motto: “It’s not that bad, it’s not that hard, and it can be fixed.” Keep saying it until you believe it, and watch God make the crooked straight and the rough plain in your life.

The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall

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Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

Boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I didn’t watch the match between Brazil and Germany, and I’m glad I didn’t; and I bet there are those that did watch the match that wished they hadn’t. Final score: Germany 7 – Brazil 1. And it wasn’t that close. It was a jaw-dropping meltdown of epic proportions.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Goliath was supposed to crush little David. The New England Patriots were supposed to defeat the New York Football Giants. Twice. The New York Yankees were supposed to defeat their arch rival, the Boston Red Sox, AGAIN, this time in game four of the ALCS because they had a 3-0 lead. And Brazil was supposed to defeat Germany because they were the HOME team, and they had all of the emotion and momentum. Hmmm. Didn’t quite turn out that way, did it?

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Tears turned to sobs, weeping turned to wailing, moans turned to groans, and Germany turned Brazil inside out and up side down in the worst home loss in World Cup history. No two countries have played more World Cup games than Germany (104) and Brazil (102), which is amazing when you consider that Tuesday’s semifinal in Belo Horizonte was just the second time they’ve played each other on soccer’s biggest stage.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Brazil has hardly been overwhelming, tying Mexico 0-0 in group play and then Chile 1-1 in the round of 16 before advancing on penalty kicks. Even in the quarterfinals against Colombia, a 2-0 lead quickly became 2-1, setting up a tortuous final 10 minutes. And Germany has hardly dominated, either, at least not after waxing Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal 4-0 in its opener. The scores since: 2-2 against Ghana, 1-0 against the United States 2-1 against Algeria in overtime and 1-0 against France.

Regardless, it wasn’t supposed to turn out quite this way. These two heavyweights climbed into the ring and the expectation was that the home team would ride on emotion and just outrun and outplay and somehow out-duel the Germans on their way to a win that would wow the world. Not so.

And so the moral of the story is this: humility still wins the day. The quality or condition of being humble, having a modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance or rank, and demonstrating lowliness, meekness and submissiveness is still to be preferred over and above arrogance and insolence, conceit and contempt, derision and disdain. The enemy of winning with dignity is losing with ignominy. But that’s what happened to the Brazilians.

It wasn’t supposed to, but it did. So let’s not let that ever happen to us. Don’t let that ever happen to you. Instead, be humble, be respectful, be modest; be meek and mild not sleek and wild. So let’s learn a lesson from the Brazilians. Pride still goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit still comes right before a fall.

Do It Like The Dutch – Take A Chance And Make The Little Things Count

Netherands Goalie Tim Krul

Ok, so I’m not a big soccer fan. In fact, I’m NOT a soccer fan. But I am a sports fan. And this year and this summer we celebrate the world sport of “Football,” and the World Cup has me all would up.

Even if you’re not a soccer fan, if you love sports like I do, you could be and should be a fan of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. And this summer, this sport is on the world stage. How can you not get all in? Some have gone all out and bought team “T” Shirts and flags and taken “slick” leave from work to watch the games. And in watching these games, in sports in general and in soccer in particular, you have to keep your eye on the little things.

My wife and I are not soccer fans, but we caught the end of the Netherlands/Costa Rica match, and wow, what a win. The Dutch had chance after chance, made shot after shot on goal, but nothing, and I mean nothing, would go in the net. Sounds a lot like life. Sometimes we try, and try and try, and nothing will go in. We give our all, only to come up empty. That’s why we need to do it like the Dutch.

Even if you’re not a soccer fan, you have to be a fan of the underdog. In this match, it was anybody’s guess who would win. It was “Underdog A” vs. “Underdog B.” And underdogs know how to make the little things count. Underdogs don’t give up. Underdogs don’t give in. Underdogs don’t quit, because they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. “When you execute the little things to perfection, then the score and the victory will take care of themselves! The victory will happen. It will happen because each one has done their part. When you do the little things, your collective efforts will come together as a victory.” http://pregamespeeches.com/TakeCareOfTheLittleThings.htm

Underdogs take gambles and chances, risks and ventures, all in hopes of doing any and every little win to gain the advantage. Dutch coach Louis van Gaal’s gambled and took a chance by calling in their substitute goalie to save the day, and save the day he did. Tim Krul did not let his boss down, saving two of the Costa Rican penalties to ensure that his side progressed and the wonderful run of the Central Americans came to an end.

This was an “underdog” of a move: Coach van Gaal decided that the taller, long-armed Krul would be a better bet if it came to a penalty shootout, so he told Krul in advance but mentioned nothing to the starting goalie, Jasper Cillessen, so that he would not be ”disappointed” before the game. But according to sports writer Daniel Storey, the fact remains however, that Krul’s penalty-saving record is less than auspicious – he has kept out just two of 20 penalty kicks faced in his last five years of domestic football for Newcastle United. http://www1.skysports.com/FIFA-World-Cup-2014/news/15241/9373147/world-cup-louis-van-gaals-decision-to-bring-on-tim-krul-against-costa-rica-was-typical-of-the-mans-approach

And so the moral of the story is this: “Blessed are the Underdogs.” It’s all about the team, no one player is more important than any other, and it’s the little things that really count. The moral of the story is that sometimes we need to take a calculated risk; sometimes we need to take an educated guess, because doing the little things can make all the difference in the game and in the world.

What If Our Best Athletes Played Football?

From http://www.writersandhunters.com
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The US Men’s team came up short but they fought hard against a better team. That’s all we can ask for as a country. Maximum effort and no excuses. If we were to be honest here, our squad just isn’t World class yet. Outside of Tim Howard, who the commentators on ESPN said “doesn’t deserve to be on the losing side”, our team isn’t quite on the level as the 8 remaining countries.

Most kids in the US start out playing soccer and for countless reasons end up drifting into more popular sports like American Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Hockey. Other great competitors include Track and Field, Golf, and Tennis.

Until Soccer becomes a more mainstream and lucrative career path here in the US, I’m not sure if our talent pool will be able to match the rest of the World.

I mean, if you looking at our current roster, quite a few players didn’t even grow up stateside. We’re essentially putting Europe’s B squad out onto the field and hoping for miracles to happen. That’s not a sustainable game plan. The US will eventually need to develop better prospects as Baseball Teams do in their Farm Systems.

Our best Athletes in the US aren’t playing soccer. Until we as a country put out best foot forward, we’ll continue to squeeze into the round of 16 and “hope for the best.”

Observations and criticisms aside, I’m proud of what the US Team was able to accomplish this year and I look forward to what’s in store down the road.-DKH

Goalies For God

Rais Mbohli

Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success.
Ps 118:25, New Living Translation

And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew, 21:9-10, RSV

“Hossana!” means “Save we Pray”

How can you not get all wound up over the World Cup? I mean, with Mexico’s loss and France’s win, and the USA in the Round of 16, what’s not to like? At the end of the day, we may long remember the goals that are scored, but we will soon forget the goals that were saved, and we have the goalies to thank for all of it.

Goalies unfortunately don’t get the respect and reverence they rightfully deserve. I mean, for those of us who love scoring, we have to admire and esteem, honor and appreciate the play of the goalies. I mean game in and game out, some of them are turning in some of the most supreme and superlative sessions I’ve ever seen. Just ask Algeria’s goalie, Rais Mbohli.

Goalies are routinely the most animated players on the field, often seen barking orders to the field players who may or may not be actually listening to the lunatic who AGREED to get pelted with 80 mph soccer balls. Algeria’s Rais M’Bolhi kept the Germans out of his net for the first 57 minutes despite a few close calls, and kept the Algerians in the game while keeping the match closer than it could have been by being mobile, hostile, and agile. Algeria eventually fell to Germany, the team that may well be the eventual champion?

As believers, we are to act as goalies, preventing the opposition from scoring on our teams and our troops, our gangs and our groups, and everyone else in between who we care for and care about. We are defenders; we protect and prevent, we shield and we shelter, we safeguard and we are the vanguard – in effect, we work to save. It’s a spiritual concept. Goalies save their teams from losing and from dropping, from being scored upon and from being tallied against. It’s a powerful and sometimes untenable position. But somebody’s gotta’ do it.

God is the ultimate goalie and He is our consummate goaltender. Some may contemptuously counter that they have not been shielded and sheltered from many bad and besetting things. But have you ever asked yourself, what COULD have happened had not the Lord been or our side? The old saints were wont to say that God keeps us from “dangers seen and unseen.” Amen to that.

So be a goalie. Be a goalie for God. Prevent an offense, put an end to an argument, foil a filibuster, scatter an unscrupulous cluster, fend off a frenzy, avert a disaster, save your sister, befriend your brother, rescue a rival, recover a relationship, mend a marriage, and participate in your own resurrection. The life that you save just may well be your very own.

Turning A Loss Into A Win

USA Tie

David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back.
1 Samuel 30:18-20, NIV

Everybody who understands the rules and regs of Word Cup play, please stand up! I mean I was all upset that we, the US Team, didn’t even score, and lost to Germany 1 Nil! All my friends at work, however, were telling me, NO! We move on! Really? Ok, so I’m not up on all of this World Cup stuff, but since when is a loss a win?

Everybody who knows when a loss is a win please stand up. I, for one, am standing. When you love your enemies, when you do good to those who hate you, when you’re genuinely smiling and beaming when others are frowning and steaming, you’ve turned a loss into a win. The US will advance and play, while others, who won, will retreat and have to call it a day.

Everyone who comprehends the need to turn losses into wins and then in fact works to turn losses into wins, win the wonder of Heaven. All of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God. All of Heaven and earth are waiting for the materialization of the children of the Kingdom of God. The entire known and unknown worlds are waiting for those of us who have lost houses and lands and family and friends and jobs and cars and everything else you can lose to regain and recall and recover all. The thought of that sends chills up and down my spine, and the hairs on my arm are standing up.

Everybody who knows what I’m talkin’ about shout YES! Biblical King David knows what I’m talking about. Just ask him. David turned a bad loss into a big win. He lost his wives and family at Ziklag. He lost his possessions while trying to plunder others belongings. He lost the confidence of his men while trying to gain their trust. Yet David turned this loss into a win.

And so that’s what we all need to learn to do. We need to learn and practice and execute how to turn loses into wins. So don’t throw in the towel. Don’t give up the ship. Don’t surrender the fort. A loss is not the end of the world. Advance and move on, and turn your losses into wins.