Sadly, I’m rarely shocked by a news story anymore. From scandals to heinous crimes, I guess I’m so used to the bad news that it doesn’t surprise or shock me anymore. So, this week I was blown away when one news story actually did shock me and for a minute left me speechless. After hearing about the story on Sports center I just had to look it up online and read it for myself hoping there was some mistake or misunderstanding. I found the article and it was as it had been reported. A parent of a high school football player filed bullying charges against the head coach of the opposing team because that coach’s team beat their child’s team 91-0. Yes, this really happened recently in Texas.
Before I go any further with this you need to know that the coach of the winning team felt horrible and did everything he could to not score anymore and run the score up. He had his weakest players playing most of the game. He played some in positions that they never play. He did all he could, just short of telling his players not to try or play hard anymore, to avoid what happened. When I coached I never wanted my team destroyed like that and although I wanted to win, I never wanted to beat anyone else like that. There were plenty of times when the team I was coaching did get destroyed. I never filed a bullying charge or complaint. I just encouraged the players to congratulate the winning team and I’d do the same to the winning coach.
The thought of a parent going to such idiotic measures to caudle their child who is in high school really and truly did shock me. This even angered me a bit as I thought this is exactly what’s wrong with the generation we are raising today. Are we raising children today with the unrealistic expectations that they will never lose or be disappointed in this life? I love my kids and want nothing more than to caudle, provide and protect them but that’s not my complete job as their dad. My responsibility as a Christian father is to raise faithful Christian kids who can stand on their own two feet physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our kids need to know that in life sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and that life is full of disappointments. Truth is not everyone gets the job or the promotion or whatever else we compete in life for.
I’m still shocked that the loss of a high school football game could bring bullying charges. In no way was that bullying! It was a simple case of a good team beating a weaker team. I want to prepare my children to succeed in life and the best way I can do that is to prepare them for the failures that will come their way in this life. I can’t help but wonder what message we are sending. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”(Proverbs 22:6)
I love watching my little Ashlynn play basketball. I truly enjoy watching Faith perform with the dance team. There’s no way I’d miss Dylan run in a track meet. Dinner out with Kristy and family movie nights rank a top my list of favorites. I get an unexplainable charge or rush stepping up to the pulpit to preach God’s Word every Sunday. These are just a few things that I’m very enthusiastic about.
I know you have your things that you are enthusiastic about. Is it hunting? It could be your spouse and children. For the grandparents, we know how enthusiastic they are about their grandchildren. Personally, I think it’s great to be enthusiastic about certain things we feel strongly about. I know some people (ok, me) who are enthusiastic about their favorite teams. To be honest I’m enthusiastic about my time on the golf course with my son and my buddies.
Enthusiasm is a good thing and never hurt anyone. In fact, the apostle Paul even encouraged Christians to be enthusiastic about God. “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”(Romans 12:11) How enthusiastic are we about God and His church? Paul is encouraging us to always be enthusiastic when it comes to our relationship with God and serving Him. We are enthusiastic about so many things but are we enthusiastic about God. God loves you and me and we are blessed to meet with His church on Sunday for a family reunion and time of worship to Him. I can’t think of anything that should increase our level of enthusiasm more. I’m a big believer in “A Little Enthusiasm Wouldn’t Hurt Anyone.”
The one conflict that none of us can avoid while in this life is that age old battle between the Spirit and the sinful nature, the flesh. This is not a battle that you out grow as it affects young and old. This battle between the Spirit and the flesh is one that frustrates us since we often lose by yielding to desires of the flesh. The flesh has an incredible appetite for the so-called pleasurable things of this temporary world and the Spirit longs to do the will of God and be pleasing to Him. “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”(Gal.5:17)
So, in the midst of such a raging war between the Spirit and the flesh, what do we do? How do we deal with this daily struggle for the rest of our physical lives? How do we overcome the desires of the flesh? There are many options such as read your Bible, pray, make it a point to gather with the church and surround yourself with godly influences. I think all of these are great options and, if we’re honest, options we all need to implement into our lives.
Still there is one option that I learned from the apostle Paul that I know will help us greatly in our struggle with the flesh. “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”(Rom.13:14) The idea of clothing ourselves with Jesus on a daily basis gets back to the options previously mentioned. If we’ll study the Bible, pray, deny ourselves and meet with God’s people then we are clothing ourselves with Christ. It’s important to note that one initially clothes himself with Christ at baptism. (Gal.3:26-27) Once a baptized Christian, then we cloth ourselves with Christ every day through Bible study, prayer etcetera.
The other point Paul makes in Romans 13:14, that we need to give much attention to, is “do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature”. Do you see that? Don’t think about ways to satisfy your fleshly desires. When the temptation to fulfill that ungodly desire enters your mind, get rid of it, dismiss it, and find another thought to entertain. Just don’t think about how you can satisfy that desire of the flesh. When we allow that thought to linger in our mind it’s then that we’re in danger of gratifying that desire of the flesh and ultimately sinning. If you want to win more times than not in your struggle with the flesh, then don’t even think about how to satisfy the desires of the flesh.
With all the chaos that’s going on in the world today it often seems we’re fighting a battle we can’t win. Will we ever bring all of our military men and women home to their families for good? Will every state eventually legalize same-sex marriage? Will it ever sink in that abortion is murder and not a birth control option? Will pornography continue to grow and spread as a multi-billion dollar enterprise instead of being seen as the family destroyer that it truly is? These are just a few things that might cause us to feel we’re fighting an uphill and unwinnable battle.
As discouraging and frustrating as it appears at times, we just can’t afford to lose sight of where the true victory is found. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”(I Cor.15:56-57) That’s right, no matter the circumstances surrounding us our victory is found in Jesus. It does me good to know that as long as I’m faithful to Him, I’m on the winning team. This world certainly isn’t going in the right direction but the good news is true victory is found in Jesus, not this world. Chuck Ball
I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials that convey the simple but powerful message of encouragement. In fact, I think each commercial ends with the simple phrase, “Encouragement, Pass It On”. I believe with all of my heart that encouragement is the most overlooked need every day. Very few people succeed without a little encouragement from someone. From a child in school to the new employee at the office, everyone needs encouragement. Spouses need encouragement. Christians and even elders need encouragement.
Some people are gifted encouragers. They really try hard to find something positive to bring out and to the attention of others even in the most negative of circumstances. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” “If it is encouraging, let him encourage.”(Rom.12:6, 8) There was a man that was such a strong encourager that he was given a nickname that means “Son of Encouragement”. “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement)”. (Acts 4:36)
No matter if we have the “gift of encouragement” or not, I believe we can all encourage others. You can tell someone they did a good job. You can tell someone they look nice. There are so many ways we can encourage others. I just think we haven’t put the emphasis on encouragement that we should have. Your encouraging words may be the difference in someone remaining faithful to God instead of giving up on their faith. Your encouragement to a couple may be what motivates them to stay together and work through their issues. Encouragement is a powerful thing, so let’s pass it on. Chuck Ball
Ok we went to see “God’s Not Dead” last night (late show) too old for that. Anyway, it was a great movie with a great feel good & motivating message. I just didn’t care for the whole all you have to do is believe in God and you’re saved thing. I loved the movie I just struggled with that false teaching regarding salvation. Folks, I’m not trying to be argumentative or controversial but if we wil…l with an open heart read the Bible we will see that it’s an obedient faith that puts us in contact with the sin cleansing blood of Jesus at baptism. Baptism demonstrates one’s faith in obedience to God & the waters of baptism represent the blood of Jesus that was spilled on the cross. How one can separate baptism & salvation, I will never understand. We are not baptized because we are already saved. We are not baptized to become a member of a denomination. According to the Bible we are baptized “for the forgiveness of our sins” & for salvation & to become a member of Christ’s church.(Acts 2:38, 41,47)(I Peter 3:21) Also, there are not different kinds of baptisms. There is only one baptism. There is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”(Ephesians 4:5) Forgiveness of sins, the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit and the hope of eternal salvation are only found “in Christ”.(Ephesians 1:7,13-14) The only way to get “into Christ” is through the blood of Jesus at baptism. “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”(Galatians 3:27) Again, my intent is not to offend anyone but I will stand for & tell the truth. I do hope this challenges you to study God’s Word for yourself & see what you think. Much love & God Bless!
It’s at this time each year that we truly give thought to all that we’re thankful for. I’ve enjoyed reading many facebook posts from people each day in November detailing what they are thankful for. Most are thankful for God, their spouse, their children, careers and our freedom and our military men and women. I want you to know that I’m thankful for all of those things too. It truly is humbling to think of and list our many blessings. We all have so many things to be thankful for all year long. Each of us could no doubt make a long, long list of all the things we’re thankful for.
What if you had to list only one thing that you are thankful for? What is the one thing of all your many blessings that you would say you are most thankful for. It’s not easy, is it? After all we are such a blessed people with so many things to be thankful for. For me, if I could only list one thing that I’m truly thankful for it would be God’s grace. God’s grace is the one thing I need and rely on every day and the one thing I can never have too much of. I know the mess I’d be and the trouble I’d be in if it were not for God’s grace. I’m most thankful for God’s grace because it is only because of His grace that I have the hope of heaven. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”(Eph.2:8)