“Excitement Of The Game”

By Rhonda Lange

Well it’s that time of year when football is over, basketball is over, and now it’s time for baseball. I’ll be honest with you, I am not a sports fan; but I do know it is exciting to watch. Sometimes, I think, a little to exciting; because something about a sporting event makes us lose our minds. We rush home to watch a game, stay home to watch a game, we will make sure nothing gets in our way to go to the games, we will even schedule other events around a game. And oh my, if our child is the game we really lose it sometimes. We get so caught up in the excitement, we will sometimes act and talk ugly. I read the other day that an official of a game was attacked by a coach, Wow!

It is a fun exciting thing to watch; but what does this really do for the community, state, or even the world? Not much, the game doesn’t affect anything except the team’s chance for a championship –then what? What do our actions affect at this event? It can affect a lot.

What if we were to take all this excitement we have for our sports, or whatever we are excited about (camping, fishing, boating, hunting, shopping, etc); and put it into our love for Jesus and His people? I wonder what that would look like to our families, communities, churches, and even the world? What a difference we could make, if we did this. Now, that would be a game to watch; however, this is no game! This is the time for us to let people see how much we love Jesus – show Him to the world and don’t keep Him to ourselves.

Deut 6:5 says “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength“.

Psalm 119:165 says “Great peace have those who love Your law; and nothing causes them to stumble”.

Matt 5:43-44 says “You have heard that it was said ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”.

John 13:35 says “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”.

(Deut 6:6-8; Psalm 31:23; Matt 15:12-14; Romans 13:10; 1 Corth 13:4-7, 13; and 1 John 4:12, 21)

Let’s show our families, communities, and this world what Jesus’ disciples look like, so when we are at a game, camping, fishing or whatever we usually put before Him; put Him first, remember His commands, and let’s put our Love for Jesus on and love others as He loves us. When we love Him with all our hearts, soul and strength; our words and actions will fall into place. Remember, scripture also tells us, what is in our hearts will come out of our mouths, so lets be sure that is Love and kindness.

*NKJ version used for these scriptures

Learning and Leaning 

The past couple of weeks have been downright exhausting. My Mother had surgery on November 29th, a total knee replacement. It has been a challenge, and I will spare you the details. I kind of giggle to myself as I write this because I’m right in the middle of the details, there are wildly hilarious moments and my sides hurt from laughing so hard and some when I have wanted to scream, cry, and shout. Some moments simply overwhelm us, but they are just moments, and they soon enough will pass.

I’ve learned something this week…

I’ve learned that usually during the most insane moments of our lives, ya know the kind – when everything is on pause for a family member to heal. When you lose your job of eighteen years. When you get the phone call that your loved one has passed on, we know these moments. Where life suddenly changes direction in a split second. It’s these moments that are small in time, but the crescendo in a symphony. They are fast and intense and full of drama and downright exhausting.

These mini moments don’t define us, these moments refine us.

They come out of nowhere like a hundred mile an hour curveball. We think we can just swing at it and hope like heck we nail it, but more often than not we swing and frustratingly, and miserably strikeout.

That has been me for the last two weeks. If you can imagine me ever trying to hit a baseball (insert hysterical laughter here). I thought about that for a second.  I thought about myself watching my children play sports and, wanting them to knock that ball silly and hit a home run. Not necessarily to make me proud, but to show them that they are fantastic!

Then I realized…

The fact that they are standing on home plate, ready and willing to hit that ball, no matter what came from the pitcher, the other team! That was what mattered that they showed up not just for themselves, but for their team.

Some times we need to know that even if we strike out due to frustration, anxiety, grief, and failure. We have a Father in Heaven that is wild about us! Sitting in the heavenly bleachers, cheering furiously, for us to hit that ball out of the park, and if we don’t, He still will be cheering just as loud. Proud as a peacock! That’s what we call it around here! When is the last time you even thought that God, himself is proud of you??? He’s not just cheering you on; He adores every breath you take. There is nothing, that could ever stop that love, that grace.

I’m learning He doesn’t care about how far it goes or how awesome the crowd cheers. He only cares that I show up, that I am present in the moments, and most of all NO MATTER WHAT I DON’T QUIT!

I’m learning when I do strike out, and I don’t have what it takes to hit it out of the park.  He is still cheering but, as any parent does He puts together the perfect game plan for PRACTICE.

What I’m learning is He is putting me in incredibly challenging and chaotic situations and impossible odds to challenge, to strengthen me, to mold me.

I am learning that to do what He wants I need to learn how to play in the batter’s box and as the outfielder. I need to learn how to slide, to run like a deer,  to stay on base, to be aware of the game but, keep my focus on the goal.

I need to learn how to throw the Word of God,  and I need to find out how to catch it by listening and spending time with Him. I have to know the object of the game is endurance; that is making it to home plate.

I need my forehead to be as strong as flint so, I can run with champions. I need to learn teamwork and wait for the teammates and team He drafts me to. I need to learn how to be ready and, how to catch(listen) and how to throw a ball (learn) so, I can get the other team out and us in! So we can win souls for the kingdom of God. I need to learn how to lean into the pressure instead of resisting pressure and allowing the weight to slow me down and allowing it to take me out of the game.

I am learning how to lean; when I lift my eyes and I’m coming off of third base leaning into a steep curve and, then running with all I have. I will see and hear the loudest voice saying “Run! Kim, Run!” “Run! Home!”

No matter what game we are facing, we can find strength in the leaning and not the ability

We are never without leadership even when our team has given up or, the other side has a six-point lead, and we are in the bottom of the ninth; exhausted and beaten up with no hope in sight.

We always have our Father in the stands seeing, knowing, and understanding the odds but whispering ” Just lean in, then mount up with wings like eagles and soar!” with the biggest, widest, smile on His glorious face.

So, when you feel like there is no hope, no team, no coach, don’t worry your Father is in the stands giving you a look to just lean. Trust that! That my friends is the perfect and safest place to be in the whole game.

Don’t be afraid just keep running!

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