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Buffoons

II Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Job 23:12 “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”

My family and I enjoyed an amazing vacation this past summer, that included a cruise through the Caribbean. In the midst of such captivating family time, my son and I were selected to compete against other parent-kid combos to see “How Well Do You Know Your Family” in front of a large group of other cruisers.

The gist of the game is simple. The host would ask a question, and the parent would have to guess how their child would answer; and vice versa. It was all designed to be fun, and it was! Everyone was laughing and the rest of our family was cheering us on. And, we were doing okay.

Eventually I was asked what my son would want with him if he were stranded on a desert island, and it couldn’t be survival or rescue related. I thought he would pick Legos. His answer was a Rubik’s Cube. We were close, but we ultimately failed to get that one right. At the time, though, we didn’t realize how badly we failed.

When we finished the game and got back with our family, our oldest child had one thing to say to us: “You guys are buffoons!” Granted, we didn’t win, but I thought we did well enough to have not reached buffoon status. “Why?” I asked. “Because the answer to the desert island question is obvious,” she said, “A Bible!”

Yes, we were buffoons, and it stings a bit thinking about how right she was (I’m sure you are all probably far more spiritual than me and can’t relate right now). To be technically accurate, the Bible is both survival and rescue related. But, it is far more than that, and my son and I should have both been thinking along those lines. And, it would have been a great testimony to give such an answer in front of the large crowd. Alas, we didn’t, and sometimes as American Christians, we all fall into the same boat (cruise pun intended).

God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. It constantly illuminates what we are to do and where we are to go. God’s Word tells us what is right, what is not right, how to get right, and how to stay right. It guides us into maturity and effectiveness. It should be esteemed far more than even our necessary food, and truly more than even a lavish cruise buffet.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD PROPERLY AND RIGHTFULLY ESTEEM GOD’S WORD IN OUR LIVES. May we avoid being buffoons by maintaining its primacy in our lives.

For Thy Words

Please enjoy the following guest post from Chaplain Scott Foust:

Daniel 10:12 “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”

Luke 11:8 “I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”

One of the first Christian fiction books I ever read, many years ago, was This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti. The novel included parallel stories: one story of good versus evil in Ashton, a small, college town; the other a story of angels battling with demons in the spiritual realm. This fascinating tale raised questions in my mind: Is there really an invisible realm where angels and demons exist? Is there really a battle raging between angels and demons in the spiritual realm? Finally, do prayers of the saints affect the outcome of spiritual battles?

To answer these questions, Christians must look to Scripture! In Daniel 10, we read about Daniel’s encounter with an angelic being. Daniel had prayed and fasted for 21 days, asking for understanding related to his recent vision. Afterward, he received a visit from an angel, who provided the understanding Daniel had sought. Interestingly, the angel indicated he would have arrived sooner, except that he was “withstood” by the “prince of the kingdom of Persia.” In other words, the angel had to do battle with a demon before he could get to Daniel. Incredible, right? Ultimately, after a 21-day entanglement, the angel prevailed. This begs the question: What enabled the angel to overcome the demon? The answer: in part, it was Daniel’s persistent prayers! 

The account in Daniel 10 informs us that (1) yes, there is indeed a spiritual realm where angelic beings exist; (2) yes, there is indeed a battle raging between angels and demons, which is often reflected in our struggles within our earthly realm; and (3) yes, there is indeed a connection between the prayers of the saints and the success of angels (which influences outcomes on earth).

What if Daniel had stopped praying? How often have we missed a breakthrough because we quit praying too soon? Sometimes the answers to our issues may not be as logical as we tend to think. Sometimes, the answers to our issues may have to do with praying until a spiritual breakthrough occurs. Perhaps we should use the account of Daniel 10 as an aid to intensify our prayers here in our land.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO FOLLOW DANIEL’S EXAMPLE, PRAYING PERSISTENTLY UNTIL A BREAKTHROUGH OCCURS. We must employ such prayers for our nation and for our leaders until we see a widespread revival here in twenty-first century America.

Our Best To The Last

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Joshua 1:6-7 “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”

II Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Esther 4:14b “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Captain Robert Scott, British Royal Navy, was a renowned adventurer and explorer. During his 1912 expedition to the south pole, his return trip was fraught with extraordinary hardship, unplanned challenges, and stark tragedy. From his frigid tent, on March 29, 1912, he wrote the following courageous letter to his countrymen before slipping off into eternity:

“We are weak, writing is difficult, but for my own sake I do not regret this journey, which has shown that Englishmen can endure hardships, help one another, and meet death with as great a fortitude as ever in the past. We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last. But if we have been willing to give our lives to this enterprise, which is for the honour of our country, I appeal to our countrymen to see that those who depend on us are properly cared for.

Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale.”

In November of that year, Scott’s letter was discovered, and it and the dead bodies of the exploration party told their courageous tale in a powerful and poignant way.

If this Englishman can serve so faithfully and face challenges so gracefully in service to his country, then so much the more should we do so for our Lord and Saviour. Truly, American Christians have been called to our own journey, in our own challenging circumstances, in a 21st Century society fraught with extraordinary hardship and unplanned challenges.  In doing so, God has called us to be strong and courageous as we follow His path while turning neither to the right nor to the left. He will not leave us, nor fail us, nor forsake us. He has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

As a result, may we endure the hardships, help one another, and serve with great fortitude. In spite of the obstacles we face, may we have no cause for complaint as we bow to the will of Providence, determined to do our best to the last.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO SERVE CHRIST TODAY WITH HARDIHOOD, ENDURANCE, AND COURAGE. Let us do it with our best to the last!

True Grit

II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

II Timothy 4:5-7 “But watch thou in all things, endure affliction, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of the ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

The longest professional baseball game began on Easter Eve, April 18, 1981, and didn’t finish until June 23 of that same year. It lasted 33 innings and over 8 hours, with 32 innings being played throughout a long April night until the league president was reached by telephone at around 4 am and made the official call to postpone the game until the next scheduled meeting between the two teams. The game pitted the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Rochester Red Wings at the Triple-A level.

During the 32nd inning, a Rochester player hit a ball to right field that could have scored a runner from second base and ended the game. As the runner sped around the base path, baseball journalist Dan Barry described the situation and the specifics of the play by right-fielder Sam Bowen in the following way:

“I asked Bowen, did you ever think about not giving it your best throw [to end the game], maybe throwing it over the backstop? And Bowen really got angry with me. He said, ‘this is what I do. I am not going to do anything less than my best.’ Even though this guy is never going to make it back to the major leagues and he knows it, he is not going to let this guy score.”

Pawtucket General Manager Mike Tamburro provided his thoughts as follows:

“Sammy takes it on two hops and makes a throw, a tremendous throw, nails the runner at the plate … You make that play in the top of the ninth, it’s a great play. You make that play in the top of the 32nd, it’s a historic play. To me, it spoke to the true grit of a professional baseball player that, in the top of the 32nd inning at 4 o’clock in the morning – that he would throw out a guy at home plate in those circumstances.”

Sam Bowen’s Red Sox went on to win the game in the following inning (two months later), and it was his play in the previous inning, in spite of the extraordinary challenges of such a game, that gave them the opportunity for victory. His true grit, in spite of fatigue and temptations of resignation, made all the difference.

As Christians in 21st century America, will live in extraordinary circumstances. Sometimes the myriad of challenges can cause us to struggle with resignation and fatigue. But, God needs us to serve with excellence, dedication, and resilience. May we all commit to accepting nothing less than our best. Let our testimony be of true grit. And when challenged about our dedication to excellence for the Lord, may we be able to say – “this is what I do!” – as we seek to maintain an opportunity for wide-spread victory for Him in our land.

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD FACE THE CHALLENGES AROUND US WITH EXCELLENCE AND HEARTY CHRIST-CENTERED SERVICE. God is looking for true grit from us always. After all, a massive victory for Him may be just around the corner or in the next inning.

ADMIN: The quotes above are from the following NPR interview about the longest game: https://www.npr.org/2022/08/30/1120126846/the-story-behind-the-longest-baseball-game-ever

The Game Isn’t Over!

John 21:14-17 “This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son on Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

On New Years Day 1929, the California Golden Bears faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the annual Rose Bowl football game.  Midway through the first half, Roy Riegels picked up a fumble in front of 60,000 fans and ran over 60 yards … the wrong way. It was only because a teammate chased him down that he stopped at the 1-yard line. But his mistake ended up resulting in a safety in a subsequent play and those two points ultimately cost California the game. And as a result, the legend of Roy “Wrong Way” Riegels was born. But that isn’t the end of the story.

Riegels was determined to sit out the rest of the game after his embarrassing and harmful mistake. But Coach Nibs Price charged him with the following: “Roy, get up and go back out there! The game isn’t over!” He did, playing brilliantly in the second half and blocking a punt in the process. And though the Golden Bears ultimately lost the game and the nickname stuck with him, Riegels earned a spot as the team captain during the following year and was also named a first-team All-American. He eventually went on to be a coach himself, an officer in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, and a business executive. In that Rose Bowl game, in his football career, and in life, he did indeed get up and play in a way that acknowledged that his game was not yet over.

We sometimes think that our personal mistakes disqualify us for future usefulness. And, we believe that a nation that is headed in the wrong direction is irredeemable. But, the words of Coach Price should powerfully remind us to “Get up and go back out there! The game isn’t over!”

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO NEVER GIVE UP ON THEMSELVES NOR ON THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! The game isn’t over!

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