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Class Acts and a not so Class Act

This past week there were two great class acts with the New York Yankees.  Mariana "Mo" Rivera, 43 years old, retired.  He is baseball's best closer - and a great Christian.  He lives a Christ-centered life and consistently gave thanks to God for his wins.  In today's paper we read "Rivera broke down and sobbed when he came off the Yankee Stadium mound for the final time to a thunderous ovation.  He then talked about his faith, which teammates say defined him more than his baseball career.  "It's humbling to myself, being able to finish the way the Lord allowed me to finish." 
     James 4:6 reads thus:  "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' "  Andy Pettitte placed that scripture reference on his glove.  Andy Pettitte, who has more post-season victories (19) than any other pitcher, also retired.  His last game he pitched a five-hit complete game - his first complete game since 2006.  And that at 41 years old.  He also freely talked about Christ and who Christ is.
         Both are fine Christians.  Both class-act players.  Both gave their all.
         One not class act is the murder of
Jonathan Denver.  He was a Dodger fan that was stabbed to death last Wednesday night by a (some?) Giant fan(s).  Baseball should be fun, not murder.  Unfortunately the police do not have enough evidence - and the witnesses are not coming forth to tell the truth.

Lord God, forgive us of our sins when we take a man's life and then cover up the crime.  Thank you for the Christian witness of two of your servants, Mo Rivera and Andy Pettitte.  Amen.

The Law - the Scriptures

     At our Worship Committee meeting, we studied Psalm 19.  This passage is so well known that we often read over it, without fully comprehending what we have just read.  In verse 7 we read  "The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul."  Webster defines reviving as "1.   to restore to consciousness or life 2.  to restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state".  So when you are depressed, do you turn to the bottle (alcohol, pills, medications, Coke, etc.) for solace, or do you read the scriptures?  The first may give you temporary relief, but the scriptures will give you permanent relief.  One costs money, one is free.  Both are addicting.  But the former will give you headaches, stomachaches, etc.  The latter will truly satisfy.
    So even if you don't want to read when you are depressed, reading the scriptures will give true satisfaction, and in the words of the Psalmist, will revive the soul.

Slimy Pit, Mud, and Mire

The title of this blog comes from Psalm 40:2:
1  I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
2   He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

    Some background.  We were going to build an addition on our house so that my mother could come and live with us.  Since we were going to build an addition and tie it into the existing house, we were going to replace the roof on the old house as that is leaking.    
     These past three weeks have been a tough time for me as I have had a series of problems.  First, I am going to be laid off at the end of this month.  Second, because I am going to be laid off, I am not able to borrow money to build the addition.  Therefore, my mother can not move down here as planned.  Third, because  the addition has been postponed, the roof that was going to be replaced will not be replaced.  This means that the leak will continue.  Fourth, I don't know how I will be able to make ends meet.
    So this past Sunday, I preached a sermon with four points - W E P T
1.  W  ept - it is okay for Christians to weep and cry.  John 11:35:  Jesus wept.  Just because you are a Christian does not mean that you will have a bed of roses.  Christians can cry.
2.   E  xamine yourself.  Perhaps the Lord is trying to get your attention.  He has whispered, but perhaps you have not paid attention.  Being laid off hurts - and it was a time of reflection and of self-examination.  Ps. 40:12:  "my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.
3.  P  ray:  Ps. 40:11:  "Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD . . .17.  Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.
4.  T  rust in the Lord:  Ps 40:1-2: 
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

"I owe. I owe. It's off to work I go."

[Because I was on vacation for several weeks and then sailed on a British ship for two weeks, I did not write any blogs.  My apologies.  I intended to, but never got around to doing it.]

    "I owe. I owe. It's off to work I go."  Is this our view of labor?  We have to work because we owe money to someone?  If only we were out of debt, then I would not have to work?
     I am in debt and I have to work.  But that is not the main reason I work.  I work because man was created to work.  In Genesis 2:15 we read:  "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."  Before Adam sinned, he was working.  Before Adam sinned, God worked in creating the world.  So I suspect that in heaven we work there as well.
     We should view work as a blessing, not a curse.  We were created to work.  So let us work to our full potential and make our employer proud that he has hired a Christian.