One Team’s Trash Is Another Team’s Treasure

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Rasheed Wesley Sulaimon (born March 9, 1994) is an American college basketball player. He was the primary reserve off the bench for the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team during the 2014–15 season before being dismissed from the team on January 29, 2015. He transferred to Maryland to play his final season for Ralph Turgeon.

Sulaimon is a welcome addition. To Maryland. He came north from down south and has upped his game and put aside the shame and is now one of the top guards on one of the top teams in the land. Sulaimon was dismissed from being a Blue Devil but now he’s been acquired and is inspired and is admired by his friends and fans alike.

He’s a great player who can congregate his teammates and calibrate his classmates as he captivates the fans on the court game after game.  Never mind what happened at Duke. After what we’ve seen so far this season, who cares what Coach K says? There are two sides to every story, and the side we’re seeing isn’t half bad. In fact, it’s all good as Sulaimon and his Terps are 13-1 and No. 4 in the Country. He’s a big reason why Maryland is so good. So good that many are picking Maryland to be in Final Four this year. Because Mr. Sulaimon is as good as it gets. Not welcome at Duke? No problem. Now, he’s more than welcome in College Park.

So let’s learn another lesson: one team’s trash is another team’s treasure. What won’t work in one setting may well be the answer and the antidote and the remedy and the resolution in another. So don’t give up on a guy when he’s put down. It’s so spiritual. Just ask Peter and Paul and Ruth and Rizpah. All of these and some were given a second chance. And the guy or gal that gets a second chance and makes good on it can go from chump to champ in a heartbeat.

The so called “trash” of a guy may become a treasure trove overnight. And he just may be the same guy that sets you up and puts you up and gets you up and over the top, when given another chance.

What’s Your Game Plan?

 athletes praying

Some people are going through life with no goals and no plans; aiming at nothing and hitting it every time.  As soldiers of the Cross, we have a goal. It is the same goal that our Lord Jesus has. It is to bring Joy to the world. In the process, “He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found.”

Some people go through life with no aspirations and no desires; yet they are full of regrets and remorse.  That’s no game plan. Our game plan is to receive and extend the Kingdom of God, and in so doing, shine the light of His love to dispel all darkness.  That is what Jesus came to do.  “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8b).  We are commissioned to do the same; to annihilate and obliterate, to eliminate and eradicate all things opposed to the righteousness of God.

So what’s your game plan?  My wife and I rented a townhouse with the intent of staying there one year, because the neighborhood was not good.  We stayed seven years. Sometimes the best laid plans must be adjusted and amended.  But at the end of the day, you begin with a plan; at the end of the day, the goal is the aim and the aim is the goal.  

So what’s your game plan?  Keep in mind that if you delight yourself in the Lord (aim), He will give you the desires of your heart (goal).  Keep in mind that we are to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (aim). “Our heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that we need . . .  and he will give them to us if we give him first place in our lives and live as He wants us to”  (Matt 6:31-33,TLB).  That’s the goal. That’s the game plan.

So stick to your game plan.  This can’t be emphasized enough.  Don’t deviate or be deterred. Once you know the game plan, it’s imperative that you stick to the game plan. The enemy will try to thwart your plans and intentions.  The enemy will try to use people to discourage you and throw you off track. Don’t let him and don’t let them.

Stick with the game plan. Be determined.  Be dogged. Be determinedly dogged and have dogged determination.  Be resolute, resilient and always resist the devil. Don’t let “some people” derail your plans. Yes, some people aren’t going anywhere, and they’re jealous of where you are going. Don’t let them phase you.

The Apostle Paul had a God given game plan.  Paul was God’s “chosen instrument to carry the name of the Lord before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. And he also was to suffer much for His name” (Acts 9:15-16, NIV).  By contrast, Paul’s enemies had a game pan. “After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan” (Acts 9:23-24). 

We know that the enemy comes “to steal, to kill and to destroy.”  But the plan of the enemy is known and we will outsmart him, outmaneuver him and outplay him. Our Lord Jesus has already conquered the wily devil and this wayward world. Now it’s our turn to defeat our flesh and achieve the goal of being like Him.

So stick to the game plan.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight’ (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).  Along the way, save money, give time, listen more, argue less, and remember that no matter what, “all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans” (Romans 8:28, TLB).

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Step Up 2 ‘Da Plate

Andy Murray has won the 2012 US Open

Ok, it’s time to mix sports metaphors. 

It’s US Open Tennis Tournament time, and Serena Williams is once again the No. 1 female  tennis player in the world.  On the men’s side, Andy Murray, Brittan’s boy wonder ranked No. 3 in the World, is also the defending US Open Champion.  Murray also won the 2013 Wimbeldon Championship becoming the first British man to do so since in 77 years.   Nadal, Federer, Jankovic and Na Li and others are vying for the top spots as well, so we have some great tennis players playing some great players.  The question is, who will step up to the plate this year?  They say that getting there is half the fun.

Spiritually speaking, we all have stiff competition, and no championship is going to be handed to any of us. We will have to fight for it.  Stepping up to the plate means that we must “man up,” quit whining, and do what we need to do in order to win.  Whatever it takes.

Paul encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith”  (1 Timothy 6:12).  The Good News Translation puts it this way: “Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses.” Since the letter is for the whole church, Paul’s exhortation for the man of God to flee sin and pursue holiness in 1 Timothy 6:11–12 is likewise for all believers.  All believers should find comfort in the fact that even Timothy needed to be encouraged to persevere. None of us is so far advanced in our sanctification that we do not need encouragement to press on, and no stumbling saint has fallen so far that he cannot be placed back in the race through a word of exhortation. The church is, among other things, to play the role of cheerleader  as we “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

R.C. Sproul teaches that “everyone who follows Christ makes the “good confession of faith” when he joins a church body, and Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to remember the confession he made before other witnesses is an allusion to the importance of fellow witnesses to encourage us in the faith. All of us have an important part to play in cheering on the discouraged Christians around us, and God will use our encouragement to help others grow to maturity in Christ.”

So step up to the plate.  It’s your turn.  It’s your time.  Your teammates are counting on you.  Your family, your co-workers, and people you don’t ever know need you to step up to the plate. Get in the game; get a hit, get on base, and don’t allow the inning to end on your watch.  Determine to see the ball and then hit the ball (I phrase I borrowed from the film Trouble with the Curve).
Determine not to get called on strikes.   At the plate, keep saying to yourself “I can do this!”

It Ain’t Over

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It Ain’t Over.

Many times when we find ourselves in tight spots we call it quits and throw in the towel at 11:59 – one minute before midnight; one minute too early – and a moment too soon.  But as the old saying goes, “it ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.” A better, more spiritual way of putting it is “it ain”t over till God says it’s over.”  Joseph was in the pit, Daniel was in the Lion’s den, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in the fiery furnace, Peter, Paul and Silas were in jail, and Jesus was nailed to a rugged cross and then buried in a borrowed tomb.

And we all know how the story ends. Joseph made it all the way to the palace; Daniel was named as the No. 3 Man in the empire, the three Hebrew boys made it out of the fire unscathed,  Peter, Paul and Silas were miraculously freed from prison, and Jesus rose from the dead.  It ain’t over until God says it’s over!

Let’s equate this to baseball. Continue reading