Take Me Out to the Ball Game

For the LORD gives wisdom . . . he holds victory in store for the upright. – Proverbs 2:6, 7 NIV

I love baseball!

I often think how guidelines to playing the game translate into wise counsel for living life victoriously. Here, in no particular order and listed as they came to me, is some of the advice I heard my husband give my son during our baseball years:

  1. Keep alert. Be ready for that ball to come to you. Anticipate the next play. The same is true in life. Much comes bouncing, flying straight at you when you least expect it. “Stay alert,” the apostle Peter wrote, “keep a firm grip on the faith” (1 Peter 5:8 The Message).
  • Listen to your coach. Know the signs and heed them. He’s the coach for a reason—he knows more than you about the game and he sees what you, in your position on the field, can’t. He wants you to overcome the opponent and come out on top. In life, “trust in the LORD and do good,” (Psalm 37:3), for in heeding Him “there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11). (Don’t forget Isaiah 55:8–9.)
  • Back up your pitcher. Support your team members. I remember the wife of David’s Little League coach cheering for the team to “talk it up out there.” The coach didn’t want silence on the field—he wanted to hear them encouraging each other. And don’t expect the pitcher to do it all. No matter how well he’s pitching, he needs some run support from the rest of the team if they want to win the game. “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
  • Bad calls are part of the game. There’s nothing you can do about them. Arguing, whining, and letting it affect your attitude the rest of the game won’t help you or the rest of the team. Shrug it off. Life isn’t fair, either. Forget what’s behind you and press on to what’s ahead (Philippians 3:13–14).
  • Rain delays are part of the game, too. Sometimes you find yourself in a waiting period. You can’t stop the rain, but you can use the time to practice patience. (Psalm 37:7, Isaiah 40:31)
  • You win some, and you lose some. Cut your losses, learn from them, and don’t let your wins get to your head. Instead, work on your weaknesses and don’t let pride nullify what strengths you have. (Proverbs 16:18).
  • Training is necessary, painful, and stretches you beyond your limits. But it also builds strength and character. The difficult things you face in life are the training ground God uses shape you into the person He wants you to be. (1 Corinthians 9:24–29)
  • Put on your game face. Attitude can make or break you. Like the renowned catcher Yogi Bera said, “Ninety percent of the game is half-mental.” So it is in life—what you think, what goes through your mind day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute—can be the determining factor in winning or losing, in overcoming or succumbing.  (Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8–9)
  • You can do a lot on two outs. “The game isn’t over until it’s over” (Yogi Bera). Or in the words of the late Winston Churchill: “Never give in—never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” And in the words of St. Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

 Help me, Lord, be to wise enough to heed Your guidelines. Amen.

Read and reflect on Proverbs 2:1–11.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Lessons from the Lepers

 

 

Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his love endures forever. –1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV

Tucked away in the Gospel of Luke is the account of Jesus healing ten lepers—nine verses that we may read, think we got the main idea, and move on.

Much is said about the one who, when he realized he’d been healed, returned to Jesus, threw himself down at His feet, and thanked Him.

But let’s not dismiss the other nine as totally ungrateful. Instead let’s take a closer look at this miracle—and what we can learn from it.

First, all ten lepers were in a difficult, impossible situation.

Today leprosy can be treated, but in biblical times it was a death sentence. It changed your life—you no longer had a life, except as an outcast to be shunned. You were forbidden to be in contact with family and friends. If you sneezed or coughed on someone, you’d transmit the incurable disease to them. So you were avoided at all costs.

Leprosy disfigured you. Its stench was nauseating, disgusting, and repulsive—and so were you. You lived your life as a pariah, shouting “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn others not to get near you.

So you wouldn’t be alone, you joined other lepers and wandered about the countryside, a mere beggar because you could no longer earn your livelihood and support your family. You were dependent on the mercy of others, who would slip you money or food to help you survive. You had no pride left.

Your only hope was a miracle, and the only One who performed miracles was an itinerant rabbi, the controversial Jesus of Nazareth. But, hey, He was your only chance. What could you lose if you tracked Him down and asked?

Do you find yourself in difficult circumstances? Remember, God specializes in the impossible. He wants to help you in your circumstances. They aren’t too difficult for Him. All you have to do is ask—and you don’t even have to track Him down because He’s with you all the time (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20).

Second, when they asked for mercy (translate: miracle), Jesus told them to do something.

No words of healing were spoken. No curing touch given. Just a command to “go, show yourselves to the priests”—the normal procedure the Jew was to follow when his leprosy was gone.

They didn’t question. They didn’t argue. They probably didn’t understand the command—but they obeyed.

“And as they went,” Luke tells us, “they were miraculously healed and made clean” (Luke 17:14 AMP).

Remember, although only one returned to say thank you, all ten obeyed. Sometimes God asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense and that you don’t understand. Obedience is prerequisite to the miracle.

Third, all ten had faith enough to ask and faith enough to obey, even though at the start of their walk to show themselves to the priests, there was no change in their condition. Their faith wasn’t in what they could see, in their appearance, or in anything tangible.

“Faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).

Where are you putting your faith? In what you can see, hear, and experience with your physical senses?

Or in the promises of a God

Take a lesson from the lepers:

Ask. Obey. Believe. Receive. And then rejoice.

How awesome, Father God, that there is more to thank You for than to ask You for! Amen.

Read and meditate on Luke 17:11–19

© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

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