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.

Who’s On First, What’s On Second, And I Don’t Know’s On Third: a.k.a. Who’s Number One In Your Heart?

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Who’s No. 1? Ole Miss is ranked number one in the Polls, both AP (Associated Press) and the Coaches.  They have a 9 – 0 record, have impressed everybody who’s watching and have a good test against No. 24 LSU this weekend.  The question is, can they hang on and hang in and hold on to the top spot through the remainder of the season? 

So who’s really No. 1? Florida State is also undefeated, but they have barely eked out a few wins, especially against Notre Dame.  Mississippi is the third remaining undefeated team, and Alabama, Auburn and Oregon all have one loss. Four teams will make the cut for the first ever college playoffs, and so we all will have to wait and see who makes the cut.

The Number One seed, the number one ranking and being number one is like the pole position in auto racing and the first chair in an orchestra; it means you’re the best of the best. And to be the best you have to beat the best, or so says Kobi Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.    And he’s right. The best is better than all of the rest.

“On First” is a euphemism for who’s first in your life and in your heart. “Who’s on First?” is a comedy routine made famous by Abbott and Costello. The premise of the sketch is that Abbott is identifying the players on a baseball team for Costello, but their names and nicknames can be interpreted as non-responsive answers to Costello’s questions. For example, the first baseman is named “Who”; thus, the utterance “Who’s on first” is ambiguous between the question (“Which person is the first baseman?”) and the answer (“The name of the first baseman is ‘Who’”). It’s hilarious. 

So who’s your No. 1? Who is first place in your heart and in your life? God is and must be first. He must be number one, in first place and alone at the top in your life. He is the Only Wise God, the King above all Kings, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and the Almighty God. The Bible says that “the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:3).  

Jesus asked Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others do?” It was a test. Why? Because when we make Him first, He will move Heaven and earth for us.  We love Him, because He first loved us.  We are to love God more than we love anyone and anything else.  Nothing and nobody comes before Him. Everything and anything, everyone and anyone comes a distant second to the One and Only.

God is Numero Uno, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Beside Him there is no other.  So pledge your allegiance and devote your attention and focus your affection on the God of Heaven. There’s none other that can compare with Him.  He truly is on first.

Don’t Beat Yourself

RGIII Vikings Loss 11.6.13

I like RGIII. I do; I really do. He’s athletic, affable, and articulate. He’s the kind of player you can root for, no matter who “your” team is. That being said, I don’t like the Redskins. I don’t.  For one thing, they (the Redskins) expect RGIII to put them on his back and carry them to the Promised Land. Aint gona’ happen.  Why? Because the Redskins keep beating themselves.

The Redskins led Denver by 14 points late in the third quarter and lost. They led San Diego by 10 points in the fourth quarter and needed a goal-line stand to force overtime. And they blew a 13-point lead against Minnesota. Don’t beat yourself.

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder went 17 for 21 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. On the other hand, Griffin was 24 for 37 for 281 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers and the Redskins led 27-14 early in the third quarter. He also ran seven times for 44 yards.  In other words, the Redskins lead the Vikings in nearly every statistical category except one: the final score. The Redskins won the battles but lost the war.  Don’t beat yourself.

And to top it all off, when they were out of time-outs, Griffin ran for 12 yards on fourth-and-1 at his own 49 right after the 2-minute warning. On fourth-and-goal with 32 seconds left, his throw to the corner of the end zone was caught by Santana Moss with only one foot in bounds.  Unbelievable. They snatched defeat right out of the hands of victory. Isn’t that supposed to be the other way around?

So, my message to RGIII and to the rest of us when we find ourselves in similar circumstances is this: don’t beat yourself.

At one point in his life, Peter was beating himself. He was cold-blooded and hot-headed. He’d cut you off and do you in, just for something to do. Peter was the kind of guy who couldn’t win for losin’; he just couldn’t get out of his own way.  Spiritually speaking, he had audacity and tenacity, yet he lacked veracity. When asked if he knew Jesus, he lied.  When asked if he would deny Jesus, he went too far.  He spoke too soon and moved too fast. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he unwisely tried to defend Jesus and in the process cut off a soldier’s ear.  Then, to top it all off, AFTER Jesus rose from the dead, Peter said, “I’m going back to fishing.”  Peter was beating himself.

But thank God for Jesus. Jesus was on Peter’s side.  Jesus reassured Peter, comforted Peter, and gave him another chance.  And Jesus always reassures us, and comforts us when we’re down and gives us another chance.  The world and the devil are forever trying to beat us up and tear us down. Don’t let them. Lean on the everlasting Arms, and encourage yourself in the Lord.  

Hang in there. Be patient; things will work out.  Hang (on) in there. Continue to try even though it’s hard and rough and tough.  Even though life and living can be very difficult at times, you can win when you have Jesus on your side. So don’t beat yourself. 

“Try, Try Again”

Elway and Manning

Peter messed up, not once nor twice. He failed and the failure was not private, but public, for all the world to see. He put his foot in his mouth more times than he’d like to admit (and so have you and I). He was a rough-neck, loud mouth, think second-act first kind of guy who needed to repent more times than he wanted to. 

Consider the dark side of Peter’s resume: he rebuked Jesus, then went on to tell the Lord that he would never allow him to wash his feet; he cut off the ear of a soldier (he wasn’t aiming for his ear); he denied he even knew Jesus, and cussed a soldier out to prove it; then, to top it all off, he went back to fishing even after the resurrection. Through it all, Peter did not quit, but he got back up and tried again.

Jesus corrected Peter time and again.  Jesus also told him to repent more times than the law allowed.  Remember, Peter’s the one who asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his neighbor.  It’s not that he didn’t want to forgive; it’s just that he thought that there should be a limit on forgiveness.  And so do we.  Peter is the poster child for the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

And so was John Elway.  With all of this early season talk of Peyton Manning (the best comeback quarterback ever? We’ll see . . .) and the Broncos being Super Bowl-bound, let’s revisit the first Denver quarterback who persevered and overcame setback after setback and disappointment after disappointment.  John Elway knew the importance of the words “try, try again.” Continue reading