The Result of Faith is Always VICTORY!

“What too many athletes fail to mention…. ‘My hard work, conditioning and practicing is what got me here’” – An unmentioned Facebook friend.

To be quite honest, when I first read this quote I was baffled, even angered, if I may. The ignorance to me was astonishing. However, I quickly found myself in a state of remorse, not because the thought disagreed with my perspective or because it ridiculed a professional athlete who was not ashamed to give God glory after a hard fought victory in the second biggest football game of that players’ season. No, I was saddened because in a country and world TEAMWORK and HUMILITY is promoted, someone was annoyed enough by the glorification of Jesus that he would rather have heard Ray Lewis talk about himself and boast about his own work ethic rather than, in humility, give glory to God.

You see, Ray Lewis is not an average athlete by any stretch of the means. He’s one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the sport of football and he is also one of, if not the hardest working athlete in all of sports and Ray Lewis knows this about himself as well. Yet what Ray Lewis also knows is that he did not create himself and he also knows that the Patriots, who lost to the Ravens on Sunday for a chance to play in the Super Bowl, worked just hard, conditioned just as hard and practiced just as hard if not harder than his team. Ray Lewis knows this because it was just a year ago that his team was on the losing side of the same game to the same team, and after that loss Lewis didn’t hang his head, he didn’t say he should have worked harder, because he knows how hard he works on a daily basis. The message he delivered to his team after a heart breaking loss was this “God doesn’t make mistakes…we did what we were supposed to do, we played hard, we fought hard and we played as a team…God is going to bring us back here next year, so it is our responsibility to put in the work.” In a game that the Ravens lost due to a missed field goal, Ray Lewis knew the only reason they lost was because that was the way God drew it up. Not because they were outworked, out coached, out smarted or out conditioned; simply because the Creator and Life giver had a different plan. Lewis knew they had VICTORY whether the score board showed it or not, according to Lewis they did what they were supposed to do, they played like a team in unity and because of it they would be stronger the following year.

Ray Lewis knows how hard it is for a team to make it through the regular football season and knows that no matter how much or how hard a team works, there’s the little things, known as the intangibles, that teams must get to go their way. These aren’t skills, nor are they necessarily things that can be practiced throughout the week. So while 90 percent of athletic competitions are based on preparation and skill, there is 10 percent where faith must be applied. Ask Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith if it was his work ethic and conditioning that provided him the strength to play in a Monday night game earlier this season shortly after he received word that his brother had died. He will tell you it was God and God alone.

Because while we are natural beings who can produce natural strength, endurance and knowledge; we are also spiritual beings. The first chapter of the book of Genesis in verse 26 we read that though we were created out of dirt (Genesis 2:7), life was breathed into us by the Creator, God Almighty. Therefore, life does not exist without the breath God gives us; there is no strength, endurance, knowledge or skill, without the breath of God.

Therefore, I was saddened to hear such a remark that reveals the true state of our country. In a season when the leader of the country promotes hope and equality, we beg for arrogance and self-centeredness. We long to hear others talk about their own work and how decorated they are by their own achievements, on a day when even the president urges the nation to promote others rather than themselves, our world proves to be tainted by sin which produces pride, arrogance and ignorance.
Therefore, when we have the privilege of hearing an athlete humble himself and give glory where glory is due, we should rejoice! For the TRUTH is that without the breath of Life, which comes from the Living God, we are nothing! Literally!

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Why Must They Despise Me?

Psalm 35:11-14 (ESV)

“11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
they ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good;
my soul is bereft.
13But I, when they were sick—
I wore sackcloth;
I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
14I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
I bowed down in mourning.”

We all know how it feels when a loved one is in need. Whether they are sick from a horrible disease or desperately financial support, to name a couple examples. When these situations arise we pray and fast with our whole heart, desperately seeking the Lord to move His hand and turn the situation around. These loved one we agree in prayer with are also people who have teased us or wronged us in some way or another, however we still find it in our heart to intercede in prayer for these people.

However, when someone else wrongs us or talks badly about us we somehow forget that we are children of the Most High God. We forget that the Lord loved us even when we resented everything every word of His. He loved us even when we sentenced His Son to death. We arose against Him and beat His Son to a bloody pulp! He still stands by our side to aid us in our daily lives. So why do we seem to feel that the people who arise against us should be sentenced to death and deserve none of our compassion and mercy.

Would you like to see an example of what our compassion should look like when our “enemies” persecute us? Perhaps you should re-read the passage above, King David, a man after God’s Own Heart, gives a very detailed description of the way he prayed for his enemies. Lamenting, or weeping, as if it were his own brother, sister or loved one. Laying himself down in sackcloth, which was a form of atoning for one’s sin and fasting until his body was greatly ailed.

In order to love as God loves us we must look past our family and friends, even the family and friends that pretend to not be related to us, or the family and friends that only run to you in times of need. We must look to those who greatly despise us, wish for nothing but evil to come upon us and our families and WE MUST PRAY for them. In order to fully experience the wholeness of God’s love we must love others as He has loved us! God Bless.

Pro-Choice?

Deuteronomy 30:15 (ESV)

“15 See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.”

Everyday we are faced with decisions we must make. Some more important than others, but nevertheless they are decisions that impact our daily lives in one way or another. For those with children it could be the school you choose to send your children to or letting them miss because they claim to be sick. The first question question seems to be more important, however they both affect daily living and can hold long term effects.

The Children of Israel were being prepared to go into the land the Lord had promised them, however the Lord needed to make clear that every decision they make has consequences. However, if they first choose to love God with all of their heart, then they will be prosperous in their lives. Because if they first love God, then the rest of the decisions they make will exemplify their love for God and they will make choices based on their live for God.

In our lives we can reach our full potential and be blessed but we must first choose to Love God with ALL we have. When we choose to Love God with all of our hearts then we are faced with tough decisions we will choose that which gives most glory to God. When we are faced with a decision to lash out with harsh words or turn the other cheek and show the forgiveness that was given to us through Jesus, the decision will be simple. When you choose to love God with everything you have, you are also making a decision that will directly affect the decisions of your future. In return you family will be blessed and they will know to also Choose Life! God Bless.