Sports A False Idol?

Football season started back up last night.  And I couldn’t help but wonder if we idolize sports and the athletes?  I didn’t change my routine last night, my wife and I still read our Bible’s but afterwards instead of turning on a cooking show, our normal routine, I tuned in to the NFL Thursday night opener, pitting the Houston Texans against the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. 

I’m also into fantasy football, I know something else that could potentially take my attention from worshipping God.

I prayed that if I’m not to watch football that God would cancel the season and give me a clear answer.  I certainly don’t want anything to take away from my worship.  I don’t plan on missing church or, neglecting Sunday School preparation, or taking away from our nightly Bible reading because of it. 

One could argue that if you allowed it, anything could take time away from your worship time.  Not to toot my own horn, really, but I quit drinking alcohol about a year and a half ago because I felt like it was hindering my walk with Jesus, and I do feel closer to God as a result of my sobriety.  I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a drink or two and still worship God, but for me, I feel like it was the right choice.     

If you look back in the Bible, it talks about false idols a lot.  Now, I don’t worship football, or sports or athletes, but I also don’t want sports to get in the way of my worship time and putting God first.

 Zechariah 13 says “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

And in Zechariah 10:2

“For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

I’m sure I could write an article about the football players kneeling and social injustice and our feelings about that today, September 11, 2020, the 19th anniversary of the insidious attack on the United States.  I served 22 years in the military and I personally don’t like to see kneeling during the National Anthem.  I say stay in the locker room or kneel the entire game if you want, but not while the flag is on the field and the National Anthem is playing and the airplanes are flying over.  They taught us to stand at attention and salute the flag during the Anthem.  It’s certainly not bringing us closer together and uniting us, it is bringing us further apart and dividing us, but I digress.  I won’t charge you for my two cents, at least I got that out of my system, and I won’t bring it up again, whether you agree or disagree.  It’s not my intent to start a debate, certainly not that type of debate with this article.

However, I did listen to an article with Dak Prescott today, where he was praising God for allowing him to be blessed with the skills to play football and I enjoyed that very much. 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/fox-sports-calls-out-skip-bayless-for-insensitive-comments-about-dak-prescott/ar-BB18ULxj?ocid=spartan-ntp-feeds

And the Kansas City Chiefs owner, Clark Hunt, is a devout Christian also and they won the Super Bowl last year, so sports can be a good thing, if we allow it. 

https://www.themix.net/2020/02/clark-hunt-kansas-city-chiefs-owner-christian/#:~:text=Clark%20Hunt%2C%20the%20owner%20of%20the%20Kansas%20City,employees%20to%20develop%20their%20spiritual%20faith%20as%20well.

The point of this article is to not put anything before God, whether it’s football, sports, athletes, alcohol, drugs, our jobs, even our families.  God allows us to have all these things, our careers, our families and our health.

We’ll see if there is a football season or if it is cancelled and I may have just answered my own question with the above links.  It could be all in how we watch or allow ourselves to be entertained, because that is what it is, entertainment.  There are two examples of two Christians associated with football above, God Bless and thanks for taking the time to read my article. 

Too Much God

Can we ever have too much God in our lives? What a dumb question, right! How much time do we give God? Do we make God our number one priority?

Life does keep us busy, but how much time do we spend praying, attending Church, reading our bibles and fellowshipping with others? Do we put anything before God and say I can’t make Church Sunday night because I have a football game, or other sporting event to attend or anything for that matter. Do we skip Wednesday night service, or business meetings? How much time do we give God? Are we putting God first in our lives?

Do we let our job get in the way, or our family? God blessed us with our job and family. Is there something we could do less of to give more time to God? For me it’s fishing. I love to go fishing. I have even gotten up early on Sunday morning to go fishing before Church and I ended up catching a 5.5 lber too, but I praised God for allowing me to catch it and I made it back home in time for Church. Life/Church is definitely is a balancing act. You need to have time for work, family, rest and God, but where does God rank in that? He’s supposed to come first.

We could probably all do better at giving God more time, after all, he is the one that allowed us to have our family’s, jobs, and life for that matter.
I found this on the ole’ internet. I’m only using it as an example. Instead of a 40 hour work week, they are using a 60 hour work week, but you can use it to see how much time you give to God, or if there is more time you could give by getting rid of something else.

“Take a minute and figure up how much time you spend with God in an average week either in private, in Bible study, or gathered with the saints. Now calculate how much discretionary time you have in an average week. A person who works sixty hours a week, sleeps 57 hours a week, and spends 25 hours a week to accomplish chores and other necessary tasks, has 26 hours of discretionary time per week. This person has 26 hours to waste, watch TV, spend on hobbies, etc. How much discretionary time do you have in an average week and what are you doing with it?” (How Much Time Do You Spend With God? BibleStudyGuide.org 2020)

“Now list all the activities which take up your discretionary time. Is any one of your discretionary activities more important than spending time with God? Can one of your discretionary activities save the soul? What do you think – If a person spends only 1% or 2% of their discretionary time with God, what does that say to God? If a person goes on vacation for two weeks every year (224 hours of discretionary time) but only spends 52 hours a year or perhaps 156 hours a year with God, what does that say to God?” (How Much Time Do You Spend With God? BibleStudyGuide.org 2020)

https://biblestudyguide.org/articles/god-spending-time-with-god/god_time-spend-time.htm

How much time do you give God? Can we ever have too much God in our lives? No!

Should We Live In Fear?

Should we live in fear?  With all the uncertainty of staying at home, or going out in public, and opening up the economy.  Should we live in fear?  No, having said that, I am not taking unnecessary risks.  I am following the guidelines, six feet apart, no gatherings of more than 10 people, all that jazz.  Only one person from our family goes and does the shopping, we don’t take the whole family to the store.  I don’t even know if that is allowed? 

I did go to Walmart a few weeks ago to get necessities and I didn’t wear a mask.  I don’t think I had one to wear, now we are wearing one when we go.  I’m saying all this to say that, while we are following our State’s guidelines, we shouldn’t live in fear. 

I have faith that God will take care of us, one way or the other.  Maybe I need to have more faith, but I’m not taking unnecessary risks.  My work has closed the office to the public and only a few people are allowed to work in the office at a time, the rest are tele-working from home. 

I’m not afraid to go out in public. 

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had faith, they didn’t worship the false God. 

13 “Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was won’t to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.” (Bible Gateway King James Version, 2020)

Believers, we certainly shouldn’t live in fear, maybe we just need to have more faith.  

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Dove: Courage is Beautiful Commercial

I was watching “The Voice” the other day and I saw this commercial.  I love this commercial because courage is beautiful. 

Thank you too all the health care workers, endlessly, working countless hours.  I can’t imagine what you are going through, seeing people pass away right before your eyes, but let’s not forget, there are also many success stories that bring a smile to your face and warm your heart, knowing you helped reunite people with their families.  Thank you for relentless dedication.    

This spot captures the vulnerability of this situation.  It also shows a glimmer of hope in the health care workers’ eyes, that this is going to be alright, eventually, and that we are in this together.  The workers also show that they are strong and they are working together to keep us safe, that right now, it’s about them, the health care workers, but soon this will be about getting on with our lives and getting back to some of our families we haven’t seen, and going back to church and worshipping God with our church families. However, the Church is not defined to the four walls of our Church.  Hopefully, you have been reading your Bibles, praying and watching devotionals and Church services on line or enjoying drive-in services.     

Right now it’s about helping one another.  If we learned anything from this it’s that we should help one another all the time, not just when there is a crisis.    

We are truly blessed to have such a great Church family and neighbor to help us when we needed it. We returned from Germany about a month ago and they have certainly been there for us, helping with groceries, a lawn mower battery, the lawn definitely needed our attention when we returned.  They helped with whatever we needed and we are thankful. 

These trying times will bring us closer together and remind us that courage is beautiful.  Thank you Dove for showing us that and for donating to Direct Relief. #UnitedforAmerica      

https://www.directrelief.org/

Praying and Washing My Hands

I’ve been praying a lot lately, and washing my hands.  I’ve been praying that God has mercy on us and wipes out the Corona Virus.  Or, God certainly has the power to wipe us out, but I pray that he doesn’t.  I’ve been praying that we turn back to God and seek his face, that we put him back number one in our lives, that we don’t have false idols.  When I am reading the Bible, I notice that worshipping anyone other than God makes God mad.  I’m praying that we repent from our sins, we’re all sinners, and none of us are perfect.  And, I’m so thankful that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. 

When Michael Jackson died in 2009, that’s all you heard about on the news was how distraught everyone was about losing him.  Kobe Bryant just passed away and I hope we are not worshipping entertainers, athletes, anyone except God.  Sports, has been shut down, School is closed, but then again we’re not allowed to pray at school anymore either.    

I’m praying that the kids can get back to going to the parks and playing, and that they can get back to school soon too.  That we can get back to watching football, and basketball (sports in general).  We just need to be careful not to worship the players and Sports and not to put it before going to Church and worshipping God, and I’m washing my hands.

I’m praying that we can get back to attending Church in person and that I can get back to attending pastoral meetings with my fellow brothers, so we can find the Pastor that God has in store for our Church and I’m washing my hands. 

I’m praying for people that may not have accepted Jesus into their lives or that don’t believe in Jesus.  I pray that they come to know Jesus and accept him as their Savior before it’s too late.  We live in an unpredictable time, we are seeing tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, diseases, hurricanes and more.  We need to be ready to go and meet our maker.

I’m also thanking God, on a daily basis for my countless blessings that I don’t deserve.  I’m truly blessed.  Let’s not forget to thank God, even in these times of despair and uncertainty.        

And, I’m praying that God will forgive me of my sins.  I know I am not perfect, that I am a sinner.  I’m repenting for my sins and washing my hands – Stay Safe and God Bless You. 

Doing What We Want To Do

I was at an event called Fields of Faith Wednesday at Bearcat Stadium in Mena, Arkansas.  Before I go any farther, I want to explain what this is. 

Fields of Faith is a student led event where students invite, pray for, share with and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ.  The venue is an athletic field to provide a neutral rally- point where a community can come together.

And it was awesome seeing young adults come together and worship Jesus.  There was pizza provided by a local pizza place, there was a band.  There were testimonials and guest speakers.  I would certainly call it a success.

But I heard the phrase doing whatever we wanted to do in some testimonials and this applies to us at Church as well, sometimes we hear someone say that they just did whatever they wanted to do when they were younger or before they were saved, referring to going out drinking, getting drunk, passing out, doing drugs, cheating, lying, stealing, basically living Worldly.  Instead of doing whatever we want to, shouldn’t we want to follow Jesus, shouldn’t we want to do the right thing, read our Bibles and worship God.  The more we read the Bible the more we learn how we as Christians need to live our lives. 

I’m not trying to pick on the kids.  It’s just some constructive criticism that applies to all of us even at Church.  And I’m not trying to sound better than anyone either.  I’m a sinner too.  I just want to change the perception that living for Christ is a choice we should want to do as opposed to living a sinful Worldly life.  We can still do what we want to do and live for Jesus Christ and leave the Worldly sinful life behind.  It’s the least we can do for Jesus since he died for our sins and with the grace of God we can all have everlasting life in Heaven, all we have to do is believe in Jesus.

Are you doing whatever you want when you read the Bible, go to Church, pray and worship God or are you doing whatever you want and living a sinful Worldly life?