“Game” Changer

“Game” Changer

Anyone who knows me, knows that since my oldest child was seven we have been on the baseball field almost every weekend from February through July. I am currently reading Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman. Now, you may wonder what that has to do with baseball. Hang on. For all of you sports fans, you know that there is an app called GAMECHANGER. It’s for following your favorite teams. You sign on as either “fan” or “family”. This weekend my youngest son was playing on a pick-up team. When I signed on to GAMECHANGER I signed on as a fan, since this is a team I would not normally be following. Anyone can follow as a “fan”, but you have to be accepted by the administrator of the team to follow as “family”. It occurred to me as I watch on GAMECHANGER that you don’t feel as connected, or rooted, to the team if you are signed on as a “fan” rather than “family”. As I ponder this thought, it also occurred to me that our invitation to follow Christ actually can be equated to a good game of baseball. This is in no way meant to minimize the invitation to follow Christ and any references to “strike out” or “thrown out” are strictly for illustration only. Believe me, my two boys get struck out or thrown out ALL THE TIME.

The games begins. The pitcher throws the ball. You are at the plate. You swing. Do you strike or do you make contact? Invitation to Christ. Do you miss the opportunity or do you take the opportunity? Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. You’re out! Will you give up? Or, will you keep your head in the game, seizing the next opportunity? Your next “at bat”. Will you go back to the dugout just being a fan or will you keep trying to be a part of the family? Thankfully, God never gives up on us. He will keep giving us invitations for every “at bat” and will never take us out of the game and put us at the end of the batting order due to poor performance. The next time you’re up, the ball is thrown and this time you make contact. You run to first base, but not quite fast enough and you get thrown out. You get mad at the pitcher because he was the one who threw you out. You accept the invitation to follow Christ, but at the first play…the first difficulty…the first trial or temptation…you’re out. Not putting quite the effort into it that was needed to stay in the game. To fight the fight of faith. It’s the third time around and you are up again. The ball is thrown and you make contact, making it to first base this time. Once again, God has given you an opportunity to follow Him. You accept and you make it through the first battle. In fact, you have a little hope now. You might just make it to second base. A few more storms of life. Will you make it safely while fully placing confidence in Christ, or will you barely slide in- unsure if you will make it or not? Or, do you get tagged out while running to second base because you didn’t follow your coach’s instructions and you thought you could do it on your own? You didn’t listen to God speak to you and follow His instruction. Let’s say you get tagged out and you go back to the dugout. This time, you learn from your mistake and when you make it to first base again you will listen on your way to second base.

Now, you are safely on second base. You are a little overwhelmed with the game, but you see your coach waiting for you at third base. You are watching his signs. You have been invited to walk on this journey with Christ. You know you made it through the hardest part, which was accepting the invitation and making it through the first few storms that might have discouraged you from pursuing our Father. However, you feel as though you are half-way there. You are beginning to mature a little in Christ. You are still a fan of the the game at this point, but you know that if you can make it to home plate you will be a part of the “run scored” family. It is still a little scarey, but you begin to see signs of your Coach, our Heavenly Father, working in your life. You are beginning to gain confidence in your journey. You steal to third. Ahh. Home plate is in site. You are a more experienced “base runner” by now and you can see the hope of making it home. Making it to our Father’s arms opened wide and waiting. The “family” is cheering you on. They know you have struggled with “running the bases,” but they feel as though you will make it home safely. You are trying to drown out the “fans” so that you can see hear the “family” cheering. You need the encouragement. You are pulling on their faith and confidence in your accomplishment of making it this far. You see, the fans are all yelling different things at you. Each fan has their own idea of what you should be doing. But, you know that your Coach will tell you just how to make it to home plate. Your Coach, meaning God. You are learning to drown out the “fans” and hear God’s word in your daily life. The prize is at home plate. Our Father with arms open. You listen. You surrender your own ideas of how to cross the plate and you turn it over to our Coach. It’s been a struggle, but YOU MADE IT! You scored a run! You are part of the “runs scored” family. You are a part of the Christ-follower family. You are no longer just a fan. You listened. You learned. You watched for God’s instruction in your life. You became a committed Christ-follower. Congratulations! You allowed Christ to be your “Game” Changer.

LOVE

What is LOVE? Wikipedia tells us that love encompasses a variety of different emotional and mental states, ranging from the deepest interpersonal affection to the simplest pleasure. In the modern world, it is an emotion that is turned off and on. Read more

STILL

       We spend so much time being busy that we don’t take a time out to be still and be with God.  God is preparing us for what lies ahead. If we set aside time for Him, we may seemingly accomplish less, but we are actually accomplishing MORE. “More” will be reflected as God’s Light in us to the watching world.  Others are watching Christians and those who call themselves Christians.  As I read Isaiah 64 -65, I read of God’s intense appearance.   An all consuming fire that sets twigs ablaze and causes the water to boil.  His mere appearance has been described to be like a storm or an earthquake.  Such glory cannot be understood.  Our sin and uncleanness makes us unapproachable physically to God- at least for now.  What we consider to be our “righteousness” or “good conduct” is described to be like a filthy rag-unworthy of God….STILL.   Read more

MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS

Life is about mountains and valleys. God shows us illustrations of this in the Bible. The mountains are the high points, the valleys are the obstacles.
The valley is the place that our faith is put to the test.
1 Peter 1:6-7New International Version (NIV) tells us this:
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Read more

TRUSTING IN GOD

It’s important to know that as a believer, you are not left on your own to cope with the problems the world will lay before you. But….you do have to be willing to ask God for help, in accordance with His will. His will…NOT yours and NOT mine. WE frequently don’t understand HIS will. In this life time, we probably never will. We know that Romans 8:28 tell us ” that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. This doesn’t mean that everything that happens to us is good. IF it were, we wouldn’t seek God’s comfort. We would be content with the world’s comfort. After all, by nature, we are earthly with earthly desires.

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GOD BLESS THE BOYS

I remember growing up all I wanted was to find that special someone and have two children.  A boy and a girl.  It’s what most little girls dream of.   Little did I know, that after years of abuse, I would struggle with PTSD and God knew what He was doing when he blessed me with two little boys instead.  Despite years of abuse and my dad’s obsessive jealousy over me, he always assured me that God would fulfill my dreams.  Well, he was right…about that part atleast.   God did indeed fulfill my dreams, just not in the way I had imagined.   Read more

Troubles..though they seem long lasting, they are but momentary in time

It’s difficult not to, but our troubles should not weaken our faith or trust in God. In fact, quite the contrary. We should realize that there is a purpose in our life and our suffering. It is so difficult to see this when we feel like we are drowning in the midst of sufferings. However, our problems and limitations are for a reason: they remind us of Christ’s suffering for us; they cause us to look beyond this brief life and desire God, who is the only ONE that can give us the true peace we yearn for; they prove our faith to others; and, they give God the opportunity to demonstrate His power. Once you begin to grow your faith, you can actually come to see your troubles as opportunities. I AM LIVING PROOF!! My troubles brought me to this blog, and to YOU!!!

STILL HAUNTED. STILL HEALING. STILL LEARNING TO LET IT GO!

Haunted by the past….it’s what victims of child abuse will, to some degree, be for the rest of their lives – regardless of all the years of counseling they may been through.  However, counseling does help and is important.  Our haunting may be in the form of difficulty making decisions because our emotional development was robbed of us during those crucial childhood years.  It may be in the form of trying to please everyone, because you spent your entire childhood trying to please your abuser so that you could keep the peace in the household.  These two actually may even go hand in hand..you can’t make a decision, because there is not one decision that keeps absolutely EVERYONE happy, including yourself.  I have found this.. Read more

Why not THE BOX?

Victims of child abuse learn at a very early age how to tuck away their emotions into a BOX.  Lid taped SHUT!  Safe. Protected.  Hidden from the world.  It’s a coping mechanism that I was quite proud of.  No one would ever know unless I told them.  Why isn’t this a good idea? It’s because the sides of this BOX, where things have been so safely stored,  are merely camouflage.  Camouflage painted the color of GUILT, SHAME, UN-FORGIVENESS, MISTRUST, ANGER,  LOW SELF-ESTEEM, CONTROL.   Read more