Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Way to sacrifice!!

If you know me, you know I love softball. Now, I am no longer that girl who plays fast pitch softball and can slide into second in a matter of seconds. I find it hard to hit it into the outfield any longer. Now I play in our church league, which is absolutely fun! We have all ages. Some are athletic and some move a little slow. We come with aches and pains, stumbles and falls, but one thing is for sure. We have spirit and boy do we laugh! If we can't laugh at ourselves and at others bloopers we are missing the whole point.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2

I understand being competitive. Our church has won first place many times. It just so happens we haven't held that trophy in a while. It's just awesome to come together in the heat of the night and gather for a hour and forty-five minutes or so to play a game that everyone can relate to in some way.

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

In my younger days I played second base, I pitched, and I too played short stop. You will not find me pitching any longer and you sure will not find me at short stop. This girl can no longer move as she once did. I might play second base every now and then, but this year I have been catching. I love being catcher. You are in constant motion. A motion I happen to be feeling today.

"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8

Now, when I get up to bat, you just never know what will happen. Yes, there are those times I can really smack the ball. I surprise myself at times at just how hard I do hit the ball. But yes, there are those times I miss the ball all together. I would rather strike out than stand and never swing at all. As I swung the bat last night I was out at first base, but I did bring a man in from third. As I came back around my teammates, one said to me, "Great sacrifice, Rob." (Thanks, Brad) I have learned, I might not be able to hit and make it to third any longer, but I can hit and bring one home to add to the score.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10

Now, some might be angry that they got out and throw their hat around. Some might think of it as a loss that they didn't have the chance to round the bases themselves, but that just simply isn't true. In hitting, in running yourself, your able to bring another one home. Your team is excited as the score rises and you can smile knowing everything is possible when you just strive to achieve great things.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

When, Brad, said to me, "Great sacrifice, Rob", it totally brought my attention to the Lord and all He has done for me. Isn't that exactly what He did for us? He sacrificed all. He gave Himself so I could round third and come on home. Through His one sacrifice, the score for the home team continues to rise. The count is going up and one day He will hold the crowned awards that we cast at His feet. It's not about our glory. It's not even about hitting one out of the park. As long as we get up to bat and swing, He is winning every single time. The only loss is, when we stand, not swinging at all.

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each one esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4

He needs us with our glove in hand, our tennis shoes on, and dressed ready to go. He needs us to run out on the field ready for anything. Whether it's a fast pitch or a slow one, we need to stand with confidence. It could be a pop fly or a grounder. Whatever it is, as long as we have our eyes on Him, the Sacrifice, we will forever walk away winners.

"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted for loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also have counted all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." Philippians 3:7-11

Sure, we might miss a few. We might even drop a few. But as long as we are reaching we are still in the game. As Christians when we walk out onto that field it's all about our attitude. God can do great and mighty things with a good attitude. Give Him someone with pride and arrogance? He might have to strike out a few times before he comes to see he is a player for the King of kings and it isn't all about him, but the One who made the greatest sacrifice of all.

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

Whatever field your on today, you can stand with assurance that you have the King of kings standing with you. He is your biggest cheerleader and He is leading the way for you to do great and mighty things for His kingdom. We need to cheer one another on as go about this journey we too are on. A journey that leads to Christ. The more ready we are to stand up at bat, the more runs are scored for the home team and our team happens to have the greatest Coach of all.
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