Wear Heaven’s Helmet!

Antonio-Brown-Helmet

I’m not going to complain about my helmet.  It keeps me from injury, it is issued by the “League” of Heaven, the Holy Trinity – a.k.a., the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and I really can’t do any better. So why is Antonio Brown aggrieved that he can’t wear his own, personal, ten year old helmet?

According to ESPN, “Brown prefers to wear his older helmet, believed to be a 10-year-old Schutt Air Advantage model, which is no longer made by the company and, thus, no longer certified by the National Operating Committee for Standards and Athletic Equipment. He has tried the new certified helmet out and believes it protrudes out and interferes with his vision as he tries to catch the football.” Really?

We need to wear our “League” issued and “League” approved helmets. The Bible speaks of the “Helmet of Salvation.” Without salvation, we are doomed to death and destruction, because sin is real and hell is hot. We need to be saved from our sins and delivered from our debauchery. Without deliverance from bondage and the dismissal of all charges against us, we are all doomed to a devil’s hell. And our only Savior is Jesus. We can’t invent our own “personal” helmets of salvation. That won’t work with the “League.”

The reference to a helmet is an apropos analogy for what we need to protect our heads and our minds from getting rattled and shaken and banged up and beat down. The Greek word for helmet means to “encircle the head.” In other words,  in this spiritual battle we wage everyday, we must employ the weapons of our warfare. And the helmet is the armor we must use to protect our heads, the seat of our intellect and intelligence, at all cost. If our minds are not right, usually we are not right. So we must protect our heads with the equipment God gave us; salvation.

Without the helmet of salvation, we would get our bells rung. This is a football term which refers to when a player undergoes such a huge blow to his head that he can hear a ringing noise between his ears. In life, we suffer anxiety and stress and strain and trauma when we don’t rely on God for everything. Salvation is not just a ticket to Heaven; it’s a permit for abundant life right here and right now. Salvation is our assurance that a healthy and wholesome life can be lived here on earth.

Your life need not be a living hell; it only is because you haven’t put on the helmet of salvation. Don’t take God’s provision for granted. Don’t take your salvation for granted. Put on the helmet of salvation today, and keep it on.

It will save your life.

Kareem Hunt and the National Football League: What’s Up With the NFL? – Fall 2018 Edition

Kareem Hunt
Kareem Hunt is cut by the Kansas CIty Chiefs after a video is released of him shoving and kicking a woman in a February dispute

Mike McCarthy just got fired, Kareem Hunt was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Bears lost to the Giants. Go figure.   

First, who would have thought that the Green Bay Packers would fire their beloved coach MIDSEASON? And who would have guessed that the Chiefs’ darling (now former) running back would be ditched for a February incident in which he shoved and kicked a woman, a video of which just so happened to surface on Friday?  And why didn’t the NFL interview Kareem Hunt or the woman he shoved and kicked when the league investigated the February assault? Incredible. Hunt now says he was “in the wrong”. How genuine of him, months after the incident and months after he misled the team and the NFL about what really happened. It’s yet another black eye for the NFL and yet another domestic violence incident that the NFL failed to handle correctly.  

And in actual games that were actually played on the field, the Giants beat the first place Bears in overtime.  Explain that one, pray tell?

It just goes to show, anything is possible. The good can go bad, and the very bad can actually turn out to be pretty good. Go figure. And to top it all off, my Eagles have a chance to move up in the world if they beat the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.

Failures are not final, and victories are not forever sustainable. So never say never. And don’t count me out. And don’t count your chickens before they hatch. McCarthy was a fixture in Green Bay, and he’s out. Kareem Hunt was the engine that drove the Chiefs, and he’s out, and the Giants have had the worse season imaginable, and they don’t look like they’re out (even though they are), and my Super Bowl Champion Eagles have played under par all season; yet and still, mathematically they’re not  out yet.  I said yet. 

And that’s the NFL, and that’s life. There’s always hope.  Yet things could go south or sideways in a hurry if you don’t do the right thing.    So do the right thing, even when you have a losing record or you don’t seem to have a snowballs chance in you know what to get out of the mess you’re in.  

Because doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.

My Team Almost Made Me Cuss, a.k.a., Can Chip Right The Ship?

Eagles Cowboys

“Swear not at all.”
Matthew 5:34, KJV

Chip Kelly needs to look for another job. Because today, he and Sam Bradford and that awful, offensive “Offensive” Line almost made me cuss. 

That’s right. Cuss. As in use bad, four letter words. And not under my breath either. My team got beat up and beat down, banged and bumped, thumped and trumped by the Cowboys AT HOME. And I nearly used the few bad words I know to vent my anger.

I know all of you sanctimonious saints out there are judging me right now, and all of you hell raising heathens are saying, “almost cuss?” – what’s wrong with a few four letter words every now and then? But we shouldn’t use curse words at all. Not at all. The Bible says to “swear not at all.” And I believe that includes using regular words like cuss words.  Growing up in Philly, I had a saintly aunt who would get frustrated in her kitchen and say, “Oh Fudge!” And as a little boy I would think, “Wow, that’s awfully close to . . .”   

But today, my team, my Philadelphia Eagles, sure did push me to the limit.

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We, and I do mean we, use bad words because it’s “cool” and politically correct to use a bad word or drop an “F” bomb every now and then to show people that we mean business. A lot of coaches use emotional, expressive epithets at half time and in post-game press conferences to show how upset they are, but is it really necessary? “Studies by psychologist Timothy Jay, of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, have found that swearing can provide both emotional release and relief from pain.” Really?

But that’s the way of the world. “People have a sense of catharsis and they feel better after using this kind of language,” Jay told Discovery News. “Most people look at swearing as a bad thing that you shouldn’t do, without asking what the positive aspects of it are.” Positive aspects? Really?

Cursing is a sign of frustration and a lack of faith. While the psychologists may say cursing is natural and good for your health and all of that jazz, when we are dejected and despondent and dismal and disappointed, we as Christians must have a better way of dealing and handling and responding to living than the world does. I mean, if people of faith react to the vagaries and variations and vicissitudes of life the same way that unbelievers do, then what is the point of having faith?

So, for my part, while it’s not lookin’ good for my Eagles, and while it looks like the season is over and it’s only just begun, we shouldn’t respond the same way that everyone else does. Ok, ok, ok, so I was really upset last week after the Falcons loss. But now, honestly, my hope is that Chip Kelly, some way, somehow, can right the ship.

Because if he doesn’t . . . (need I finish the sentence?)

philadelphia-eagles-cartoon

Learn From Your Mistakes: Losing Is A Part Of Living

Philadelphia_Eagles2

OK, so now that I’ve calmed down after fussing and fuming about the Eagles loss to Atlanta on Monday Night Football, I can write objectively. Ok, somewhat objectively. Chip is not a chump. He just had a bad night coaching. Chip has a plan and we hope that the plan includes a balanced running and passing attack. So that’s the word for the day: BALANCE.

Don’t get to high, and don’t sink so low. Ask God to help you maintain balance in everything you do.

This Eagles team is good, and they can be very good. In fact, they have the capacity and the capability of doing very well and going very far this season. But don’t we all say that about our teams at the beginning of every campaign?

This Eagles team can go 12-4. Easy.  I mean, last season we went 10-6, and we were two stupid losses away from — you got it — 12-4.  But with that numbing loss to the Falcons, we only have three more losses to burn.  So let’s learn that losing is a part of living. Let’s learn this lesson and plan to ultimately win even though we may initially or sporadically lose.

So we all have to learn that losing is a part of living. You can’t will ‘em all. And you won’t. We all have to learn the lesson, or lessons. We have to learn to fail; if we don’t, we will have failed to learn.

The Eagles need to learn from their mistakes. The Eagles need to learn that coming from behind is nice, but they need not make a habit of it. And the Eagles need to learn that they aren’t going to win the Super Bowl just because they went 3-1 in the preseason. The real games still must be played and won. 

Yes, if the Eagles just learn from their mistakes in one measly game, they’ll be fine. And so will we all.  

RGIII Says He’s The Best Quarterback in the League. Seriously?

Reblogged From Chris Chase, “For The Win” – http://ftw.usatoday.com/

Jul 30, 2015; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III speaks to media after the morning walkthrough on day one of training camp at the Washington Redskins Bon Secours Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-227802 ORIG FILE ID: 20150730_gav_sb4_003.jpg

“If it’s preseason it must be time for Robert Griffin III to utter meaningless quotes that are ridiculed for his complete lack of self-awareness. And (check your watch), it’s time.

Here was the Redskins quarterback, who should no longer be referred to as “RG3” because nicknames are for people who aren’t in quarterback battles with Kirk Cousins, speaking to Alex Parker of Washington’s ABC affiliate right before the ‘Skins broke camp (via DC Sports Bog):

I don’t feel like I have to come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy. It’s more about going out and affirming that for me, I go out and I play, I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that. Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III kneels on the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard) ORG XMIT: OTK

So. Many. Thoughts. Let’s go in order.

  • If working hard at something every day made you the best in a given field, then Tim Tebow would have four Super Bowl rings, Jon Gruden would call games like John Madden and Chip Kelly would be a member of MENSA.
  • The reason you don’t have to “come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy” is because you play on a team where the owner undermines the head coach and may or may not decree that you are the starter.
  • As for the “best quarterback in the league” comments — I mean, fine. Without self-belief, what are we? When you’re theoretically one of the 32 best people in the world at a given profession, you don’t get there by second-guessing yourself and thinking you’re inferior. Every NFL quarterback should think he’s the best quarterback in the league, even if, in a sober assessment, they’d know they really aren’t. But the problem with Griffin isn’t that he believes this, it’s that he says it out loud after three straight years of babbling nonsense at training camp that only serves as fodder for his likely failures. He doesn’t learn his lessons. If he can’t figure this out, maybe it’s not a surprise he panics and runs every time his first option is covered.
  • And you know what? Maybe it does matter that Griffin thinks he’s the best. He said he’s the best because he works for that every day. Shouldn’t he be working to be the best? But in his head, he already is, so he’s, what, sustaining his greatness? Maybe that’s semantics, but that’s why you don’t say anything during training camp. Be boring. Be Peyton Manning. Nothing good ever came out of tweeting, late nights at clubs or being open with the press in August. Or bucket hats with drawstrings, for that matter.”
  • And so the moral of the story is this: be humble. Meekness and modesty are mannerisms that should be maintained.  It’s just like the Good Book says:

 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.   1 Corinthians 10:12

 

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Who Decides Who Deserves Another Chance?

Ikemefuna Enemkpali

Peter messed up big time. He had a big mouth and a hot head and a little patience and a lot of lip.  He walked on water and skated on thin ice. He was hot and cold and sweet and sour all at the same time. He pressed and pushed his way to the front to confess that Jesus was the Messiah and slunked and skunked his way back to the back to deny him.  He had high, highs and low, lows like the rest of us. And just like the rest of us, he did something he would regret the rest of his life.

But he got another chance.

Ikemefuna “IK” Enemkpali messed up. Enemkapali (pronounced in-em-PAUL-ee) is a New York Jets, err, WAS a New York Jets player who punched his teammate, who just so happened to be the team’s quarterback, in the face, breaking his jaw.  Geno Smith has been a punching bag before, but never quite like this. Now, the Jets quarterback is out 6 to 10 weeks after being “sucker punched” by his teammate, a non-starting backup, IN THE LOCKER ROOM, Tuesday morning. Smith has a broken jaw that will require surgery.

Enempkpali

Jet’s Head Coach Todd Bowles would not disclose what prompted the altercation other than to call it “very childish” and something unrelated to football that “sixth graders could have talked about.” Published reports, citing anonymous sources, indicate that it derived from Smith’s failure to reimburse Enemkpali $600 in airfare and limousine fees after Smith could not attend Enemkpali’s charity event last month in Texas.

“It’s something we don’t tolerate; it’s something we can’t stand,” Bowles said. “And you don’t walk up to another man and punch him in the face.” The episode shocked and deflated the Jets, scrubbing the optimism that has permeated the franchise since a new regime took over in January and revamped the roster after four seasons without a playoff berth.

Enemkpali apologized to the Jets’ organization and their fans in a statement, but was immediately released by the Jets.  Fights do happen in training camp, but they usually happen on the field. And even then fights are not acceptable.

Remember, fighting is not for fun.

And now, Enemkpali has a new team and a new lease on life.  Believe it or not, Enemkpali was signed by former Jets Coach Rex Ryan, who is now with the Buffalo Bills.  Go figure. Just like that, a goon of a guy who acts like a thug and huffs like a hood, a ruffian and a hooligan, gets another chance.  Deserving or not.

And no one should be surprised that IK Enemkpali is the newest member of the Buffalo Bills. Coach Rex Ryan’s first move in the restructuring of the Buffalo roster was signing controversial offensive guard Richie Incognito barely three weeks after he had taken the Buffalo job.

If Ryan was willing to take on a player who had been suspended by the NFL and out of the league for nearly a year and a half due to a bullying incident in Miami, signing one of his former Jets just a day after Enemkpali slugged New York quarterback Geno Smith in the face and broke his jaw seems in line.

Now the law (and Roger Goodell and the NFL) may not see it this way, because Enemkapli’s act of aggression anywhere else would be considered aggravated assault, a punishable offense.  So while he may have a new lease on life, he also may have to lease out his locker as he may not need it for a while.

And so the question is this: does Enemkapli deserve another chance? Do YOU deserve another chance? Not just a second chance, but another chance? And who decides who deserves another chance?   Thank God it’s not you and thank God it’s not me. Thank Heaven that God decides that we all deserve another chance.  

Think about it.  

Just how many “second chances” have you had in your life?

Brady Is Busted

tom-brady

OK. Let’s take a poll. Guilty or not guilty? It’s a simple, straight-forward question. What did Tom Brady know, and when did he know it? Sound familiar? For all of you youngins out there, that’s the famous question asked by Republican Senator Howard Baker about President “Tricky Dick” Nixon during the Watergate hearings.  And it continues to be applicable 50 years later. Here’s what The NFL said about Tom Brady’s involvement in “Deflategate:”

With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge.

Moreover, the report documents your failure to cooperate fully and candidly with the investigation, including by refusing to produce any relevant electronic evidence (emails, texts, etc.), despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information, and by providing testimony that the report concludes was not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.

It’s hard to argue that someone is innocent when they refuse to come clean. It’s hard to believe that someone is blameless when they hide and conceal and fail to disclose facts. It’s hard to conclude that a person is unsullied and unknowing and untouched by unethical conduct when there’s plenty of smoke in the air. And you know what they say; where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

I don’t like Tom Brady. I don’t. And I like him less and dislike him even more now that he’s determined to try and prove his innocence when it’s been proven that he’s at least partially guilty. Come clean. Admit the deed and diminish the damage. If he’s not an accomplice he was at least complicit. Case closed.

Tom Vincent, the NFL’s investigator and Roger Goodell—who got this decision right, as harsh as it is—basically believe that Brady lied and obstructed. They view Brady as someone who thought he was above it all – the law and the League. The NFL viewed Brady’s actions as arrogance. Brady scorned and spurned and disregarded and disrespected not just the rules but the entire sport. Nuff said.

Brady will appeal the suspension, but the suspension should stand. The only thing worse than being wrong is being arrogantly wrong. Yes Brady’s pride is hurt, but humbling himself will help him heal, and heal his public image, if he’s at all concerned about that.