Friday, October 18, 2013

Keeping in Shape

A short devotion given from my non-sports guy view of football – therefore, before taking any of the actual football advice it would be wise to check with a real football-type person. The spiritual advice can and should be applied frequently.

From what I understand about football and being able to play football, you really need to be in good shape. If you’re going to let people knock you on the ground and pile on top of you just because you’ve got a ball in your hand you probably should be a tough guy. I never totally understood why you would put yourself in that position – to get smacked so hard you end up on the ground with a 300 pound guy (or more than one) sitting on your back.

I guess that’s why they spend a lot of time lifting weights and drinking protein shakes. If you’re going head to head with someone you want to be the bigger guy. You also want to be faster and have cooler looking moves so they can’t keep up with you or catch you (which leads to getting crushed under a bunch of 300 pound guys.)

I’ve heard of football players who take ballet. It’s either to learn the fancy footwork or perhaps having your friends make fun of you gets you all riled up where YOU are the one who crushes the other guy and sits on his back.

Jesus didn’t play football - at least not our current American football. But He took care of Himself – even as a child growing up.

Luke 2:52 NAS
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Just as a football player has to work every day to have his body in the best shape possible for the game, a person has to work every day to increase in wisdom and in favor with God and man. Those who take ballet or do other extra things find that they are better because they’ve done things to further their abilities or sharpen their skills. It doesn’t just happen. They work hard.

Proverbs 9:10 NAS
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

If you’re going to be any good at something – football, playing the violin, responding to life with wisdom, finding favor with God, finding favor with others – you have to work at it. You have to practice. If you never practice throwing a pass you can’t expect to win Friday night’s game with a 35 yard pass to the open receiver on the 5 yard line (WOW! That sounded so much like I know what all of that is.)

2 Timothy 2:15 NAS
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

If you never read God’s word you can’t expect to stand against temptation. Fight the easy temptations so you can win against the bigger ones. Work hard! You want to be the bigger guy. Practice.

If you aren’t kind to people when it would be easy to do so, how can you expect yourself to treat them with love when they treat you badly? Work hard! Practice!

How will you give an answer for the hope that is in you? Study. Work hard! Practice.

1 Peter 3:15 NAS
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

If you only show up on a football field on a Sunday you aren’t going to be very good at football. If you only worship God on a Sunday you aren't going to be very good at worship. Practice! (worship during the week) That means spend time in prayer, Bible reading and singing praise and worshipping on your own during the week.

Bottom line: To be in shape physically, mentally and spiritually

Work hard!



Read your Bible.

Share your faith.


Work hard!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How to Be a Saint

This is NOT one of my football devotions. To be a football saint you have to live in New Orleans - or at least play for their team. That is not what this post is referring to.

It was announced yesterday that on April 27th of next year Pope Francis will declare Popes John Paul II and John XXIII to be saints.

Fox news reported these miracles of John Paul II.
Pope John Paul II

"A first miracle was attributed to John Paul in 2011, in which the Vatican said a French nun that was dying of Parkinson’s disease was cured after she and other nuns prayed for the intercession of John Paul.
John Paul’s second miracle was approved by Francis three months ago. A 50-year-old Costa Rican woman said she was cured of a brain aneurysm after a photo of John Paul appeared to talk to her, The Guardian reports." 

They've only found one miracle attributed to John XXIII, but if the Pope wants to make someone a saint he can "bend" the rules if he wants to. Really. Who's going to argue with the Pope?

So I googled "How to become a saint" and found that it can take years and even decades to "become a saint."

If I understand correctly how becoming a saint is supposed to go, you have to be a really good, holy person while you are alive and there has to be a couple of verified miracles that you've done and a Pope has to decide that you should be a saint and I've probably left a lot out of the process, but I think you get the idea.

As much as we can admire these men for the good things they did during their lives (in addition to having their pictures talk to someone to heal a brain aneurism) I have to take issue with our Catholic friend's teaching of how a person becomes a saint.

As you read the teachings of the Apostle Paul you'll see that he applied the term "saints" to all believers in Jesus Christ.

For example:

1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

"Saint" is taken from the Latin word "sanctus" which means "holy" or "set apart." If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you a saint. It doesn't mean you no longer sin. It doesn't mean you are suddenly perfect and can do miracles. Being a saint means Christ has set you apart as His own. It's not a special place in the hierarchy of Christendom.

In Vacation Bible School we explain it with the ABC's of salvation.

A - Admit to God that you are a sinner.
B - Believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again to pay for your sin.
C - Confess that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord.

If you have given your life to Christ and you are following Him day by day you may not do any big miracles, but others will know that you are a Christian - a Saint - because they see Him in you. They will see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

Go live your life as a saint. Don't make people wonder for years or decades whether you are a saint or not.

If you'd like to see more of my postings about saints, click on these links.

When the Saints Go Marching In
Today Is Your Day
Saint Update