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When the Timing is Right

If you watched the 2017 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros, you were not disappointed unless your team lost.  Nonetheless, winning this title in baseball is the pinnacle for major league ball players.  However, for one member of the winning Houston Astros, this wasn’t enough.  Similar to the final scene of the 1999 film For the Love of the Game, sometimes relationships are more important.  Thus, getting down on a knee, Carlos Correa proposed to his girl friend during the postgame festivities.  In his mind, the timing was right.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” – Matthew 16:15

During the first century, Jesus arrived in Caesarea Philippi with his disciples.  Led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus felt it was time to have a serious conversation with his ministry team.  After discussing what others believed about him, Jesus wanted to know, “what about you?”  This question set the stage for Passion Week, Jesus’ final week on earth before his crucifixion.  Following Peter’s confession that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for the events of the future.  This information didn’t sit too well with Peter, who was unable to grasp the fact that Jesus was a heavenly king, not the earthly king of the Jews.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life, Matthew 16:21.

In life, the future is like a blank tapestry waiting to be painted.  Yet, some times you don’t have the materials necessary to start.  On other occasions, you have the tools, but you lack the vision necessary to complete this portrait.  As for me, I was attending a retreat in southern Indiana.  I had recently resigned from my youth ministry position and was unsure of what to do next.  Following a moving presentation, God impressed upon the need to ask my girl friend Leanne to marry me.  The next day, I drove to Chicago, took a twist tie that she gave me as part of a care package and proposed.  When the timing is right, step out in faith while you have the opportunity to act.  By doing this, you fulfill the words of Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

No Intentional Passes

As baseball fans await Sunday, March 30th, Opening Night for MLB as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will meet in Sydney Australia, its time to freshen up on the lingo used in America’s pastime.  Whenever a clutch or power hitter faces a pitcher with runners in scoring position on either second or third base, its not uncommon to intentionally or unintentionally walk this player to face a less dangerous batter.  Great pitchers will try to fool these individuals with throws that look like a good pitch before falling out of the strike zone.  Although they may give up a walk, broadcasters will use the phrase, unintentional / intentional pass.

In life, this term has become too familiar, excusing individuals for their actions, behavior and comments.  Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:12, people have become experts in playing the blame game, passing the buck to someone else more fitting.  To escape punishment, rationalization has become a way of life to avoid consequences, shifting all the responsibility like a dishonest politician.  If this trend continues, no one will accept blame or take the fall, dodging the truth with distortion and lies.

According to Moses in Leviticus 4:22 and 4:27, unintentional sin is a common occurrence.  If someone has not heard, does not know or hasn’t been properly informed about God’s command, this individual is deemed amoral, not knowing right from wrong.  However, once this information has been clarified, no intentional passes should be granted.  Guilty parties should follow the principle set forth by Jesus’ own brother, James 5:16.  Since Jesus has become today’s great high priest, no shedding of blood is necessary anymore, Hebrews 4:15-17.  Thus, when you are convicted of a trespass against one of the Bible’s laws, approach the throne of grace with confidence God will pass over your sin, leading you around the bases of life.

Do you have a story of starting over that you’d like to share with my readers?

by Jay Mankus

 
    
 

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