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Only One

In the realm of sports, there is only one champion each year. While ties can and do occur in the Olympics with individuals sharing a gold medal, professional sports continue into overtime until a champion is crowned. The longest playoff game in major sports history was a 13-12 World Series Game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros. This October 29th, 2017 game lasted 10-innings, totaling five hours and 17 minutes.

Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears, 2 Samuel 7:22.

As time passes, team secrets may leak out, revealing elements of cheating. Whether this involves stealing signs, the use of banned substances such as steroids or investigations like Spy Gate, champions and championships become tainted. When talent isn’t good enough, the rules are bent, erased or stretched to enhance a team’s chances of winning. In recent history, commissioners of several sports have adjusted the record books to place asterisks next to certain accomplishments. These decisions ultimately leave in doubt who is the best in a sport or who is the only one who didn’t cheat.

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5.

In the spiritual realm, no one compares to the God of the Bible. After an encounter with the prophet Nathan, King David comes to the conclusion that there is no one like God. Meanwhile, the apostle Paul clearly states that there is only one mediator between God and man. Throughout history many have claimed to have a secret connection with God, but the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is one of a kind. Unlike any other religious leader, the founder of Christianity ascended into heaven and remains the only living God. While there will always be doubters, skeptics and those unwilling to believe, Jesus remains the only one, Acts 4:12.

by Jay Mankus

A Feel Good Story, No Matter What the Outcome

If you are sports fan, then you understand the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.  However, some cities tend to be tough luck losers, as if a curse is preventing their team from becoming champions.  The nice thing above the 2016 Major League Baseball World Series is that one of two lovable losers will be victorious.  Over the next 5 days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will break droughts that have lasted a generation or two.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all, 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

On the road to becoming champions, those who finish second are scorned, often labeled as chokers, failures or second losers.  Instead of enjoying the journey like the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League, who is the only team to make it to 4 consecutive Super Bowls, the final score devalue their achievement.  Unfortunately, professional sports is a results driven industry causing feel good stories to be ruined by impatient fans, managers and owners.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.

As I look back at my own athletic career, one of my most memorable moments occurred in the least likely of venues.  This didn’t occur during my brief professional golf career or playing Ultimate Frisbee in college.  Rather, my most gratifying experience came in a competitive men’s softball league.  Similar to the character played by Kevin Costner in For the Love of the Game, I played every out like it was my last game.  Whether you call this playing the game the right way or not, I found contentment no matter what the outcome.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Sound of Defeat

Silence, groans and hushed voices are just a few signs of losing.  Meanwhile, body language slumps, slows down and expresses defeat without a word.  On Sunday evening, around 9:45 pm Eastern Standard Time, the sound of defeat will visit one sideline after the final seconds tick off the clock in Super Bowl XLVIII.  As confetti falls, cameras flash and reporters get their microphones ready to interview the champions, the loser will slip away in obscurity, pondering what might have been.

In the arena of life, the sound of defeat is less subtle.  Sure, there will always be Debbie downers and depressed Davids, yet most will hide their emotions until no one is around or only their family is in view.  However, in sports, the agony of defeat occurs under a microscope, often with life shattering results.  Skip Dillard went to prison because he missed 1 free throw in an NCAA Basketball Tournament Game as a star for the Depaul Blue Demons.  Tonya Harding turned to thuggery in an attempt to win an Olympic Gold medal in figure skating.  Finally, Donavon McNabb, upchucked as the closing moments of the Super Bowl got too big for him, beyond what he could handle.

In biblical times, there was a different sound heard by Joshua and Moses as each had their own suspicion.  From afar, Joshua heard what sounded like the sound of war in Exodus 32:17.  Stepping in like a Jedi Knight, playing a similar role to Yoda, Moses corrects this young rising star, “It’s not the sound of victory, it’s the sound of defeat;” Exodus 32:18.”  Perhaps Moses understood the concept of 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, with 1 winner and multiple losers.  Therefore, instead of resting in a pit of despair, pick your head up out of the gutter and focus on a crown that will last forever so that the sound of defeat doesn’t cripple your soul for a lifetime.

by Jay Mankus

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