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A Swing and a Miss

Mark Reynolds struck out 223 times during the 2009 Major League Baseball Season. This record in futility was nearly broken by Adam Dunn, Chris Davis, and Yoan Moncada in the last decade. Perhaps, some of these players requested to be benched late in the season to avoid replacing Reynolds for the most strike outs by a hitter in a season. Over the course of a season, batters can strike out on a caught fouled tip, go down looking or with a swing and a miss.

But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. 17 And their teaching [will devour; it] will eat its way like cancer or spread like gangrene. So it is with Hymenaeus and Philetus, 2 Timothy 2:16-17.

In a letter to a teenage pastor, the apostle Paul uses an analogy that is similar to a swing and a miss. Since baseball wasn’t invented until 1839 by Abner Doubleday, Paul uses an archery expression. According to a Creation Today article, the term sin in the Bible comes from archery. To miss the mark in Greek literally means to sin. Therefore, whenever you fail to do what God wants you to, this miss has eternal consequences.

Who have missed the mark and swerved from the truth by arguing that the resurrection has already taken place. They are undermining the faith of some, 2 Timothy 2:18.

When Christian leaders missed the mark in the first century, Paul wasn’t afraid to call these individuals out. Hymenaeus and Philetus were called out by name for undermining the faith of others. What were these two men guilty of? They did not keep to the Scriptures of truth, but deviated from them by using justification to rationalize their behavior. Since everyone misses the mark and swings and misses, Romans 3:9-12, confess your sins as soon as possible so that healing and reconciliation can begin.

by Jay Mankus

Prayer is the Bow that Sends Children to New Heights

In the context of archery, a bow is an elastic launching device able to shoot long-shafted projectiles.  In the days of the Old Testament, bow and arrows were used for hunting animals to catch your next meal as well as a military regiment, used to defend and protect countries.  When you apply this concept to prayer, praying is a valuable spiritual weapon.  Proactive prayers serve as a hedge of protection around your children and loved ones.  Meanwhile, bowing as you pray sets the tone for God to take your requests seriously, sending your children to new heights.

I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and does not doubt in his heart [in God’s unlimited power], but believes that what he says is going to take place, it will be done for him [in accordance with God’s will], Mark 11:23.

Based upon the passage above, it appears that Jesus’ disciples did not understand the power of prayer.  Perhaps, many of these godly men got use to praying without experiencing or seeing immediate results.  The thought of praying for God’s unlimited power appears to be a foreign concept.  UN the passage above, Jesus adds an important element, prayers should be spoken in accordance with God’s will.  Thus, prayer shouldn’t be like a grocery list, asking God to gimme this or that.  Rather, prayer should be an outpouring of your heart, soul and mind, free from doubt.

For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be given to you, Mark 11:24.

As a parent of two teenagers and one college student, I have reached a point that I no longer have the influence over my children as I once did.  Yet, prayer is always available, especially when you feel helpless, unable to alter, correct or guide the steps teenagers take.  The older I become, the more I cling to the power of prayer.  Inspired by the testimonies of parents whose prayers have transformed their prodigal children, use your daily prayer time as a bow to send your children on to new spiritual heights.

by Jay Mankus

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