Depending upon by your occupation, time is often a driving force, setting daily deadlines for the work that needs to get done. As this specific hour approaches, stress builds as a team of individuals scramble to complete projects and tasks. When deadlines are missed, blame is assigned to designate who or what department is at fault. Thus, under these circumstances, time is the enemy.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.
Anyone who works a normal five day week, experiences another aspect of time. When your responsibilities at work overwhelm your soul, time has a way of dragging on, slowing down to the point that one hour feels like 90 minutes. Meanwhile, weekends fly by like a Nascar race. As soon as you sit down to relax for a while, your weekend is gone and over. If you don’t love your job, getting up Monday morning to repeat this vicious cycle will wear you down.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Peter 3:8.
In the song Somewhere Somehow, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith sing about moments in life when time is the enemy. One of my favorite stanzas contain the words “Somewhere far beyond today I will find a way to find you And somehow through the lonely nights I will leave a light in the dark. While the will to love someone on earth may make this a reality, only God will leave a light on in the dark. Thus, when time becomes an enemy, it’s never too late come to Jesus, Romans 10:9-10.
My wife spent several years working for a company which received VIP passes to sporting events. During a four year span, my family and I got infield passes to the Nascar Race at Dover Downs, a.k.a. the Monster Mile. These tickets gave me access to see victory lane, the pit crew area and a meet and greet with a driver, Ryan Newman. Two years later, my wife received Club House passes to Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour event in Washington D.C. During a rain delay, I talked with a caddie who was eating lunch on the patio, waiting for his player to hole a short putt for par on the 18th green. These experiences brought me inside the ropes, getting up close and personal with professional athletes and their inner circle.
When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in [to the city] from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. 27 Following Him was a large crowd of the people, including women who were mourning and wailing for Him. 28 But Jesus, turning toward them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not given birth, and the breasts that have never nursed,’ Luke 23:26-29.
The Bible has several examples of individuals gaining access inside the ropes. The passage above details a man who didn’t volunteer. Rather, Simon became a part of Jesus’ crucifixion story, sent in to carry the cross for Jesus when his strength faltered. Due to Jewish ceremonial rules, crucifixions took place outside the city gates on a hill called Golgotha. The passage above doesn’t detail how long Simon carried Jesus’ cross, but based upon the topography of Jerusalem this likely occurred while going up a steep hill. This is the first and last reference of Simon of Cyrene in the Bible, yet its a subtle way of how the Lord could use individuals who make themselves available to serve God.
I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now He said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!” – John 21:18-19
While Simon of Cyrene was inside the ropes, another Simon, a member of Jesus’ inner circle was hiding. Fearful that they might face the same fate as Jesus, all the disciples except John watched from a distance. Prior to news of Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples were hiding in a room, wondering what they were going to do now that Jesus was dead. According to John 21, Peter went back to his former trade, staying up all night fishing. A man on shore gave Peter insight about where the fish were. Initially skeptical, Peter begrudgingly agrees to follow his advice culminating in a record catch. Immediately following this, Jesus forgives Peter for his public denial. In the passage above, Jesus prophesies about Peter’s death, crucified upside down. As the Holy Spirit provides believers to access inside the ropes, God expects great things to those who follow the same path as Jesus.
America lost one of their greatest sports broadcasters of all time last week. Keith Jackson spent 40 years with ABC television before retiring in 2006. The voice of Jackson allowed him to cross over into a plethora of events from the Wide World of Sports, Major League Baseball, College Football, Monday Night Football, Nascar and the Olympics. In one of his final interviews, Jackson revealed the secret to his longevity: amplify, clarify and don’t intrude.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 1 John 5:3.
The first two words of advice go hand in hand. Amplify refers to developing, elaborating upon and fleshing out what you are watching for the average fan. The latter, clarify, is the act of clearing up any confusion, filtering out what’s really happening so that the televised game can be enjoyed in it’s purest form. At the end of his career, Keith Jackson focused on college football, broadcasting PAC 10 on the west coast where he lived. Catch phrases like Whoa Nellie will be forever tied to Keith’s voice.
And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 1 Thessalonians 4:11.
One of the things I notice today is that modern commentators, journalists and media pundits do the opposite of Jackson. Instead of avoiding intrusion, ideas of fame and fortune have inspired self seeking individuals to become a part of the story rather than just report it. These impure motives are ruining entertainment as celebrities, the elite and hosts now feel like anyone needs to hear their opinions and political beliefs. If these trends advance, ratings will continue to plummet. Perhaps, it’s time to listen to an expert, a legend who lived by 3 simple mottos: amplify, clarify and don’t intrude.
In the context of boxing, split decisions occur when judges view a contest from opposing points of view. Unlike unanimous decisions where there is a clear victor, contestants may sway judges by a great comeback or regaining control of a fight. While modern technology and social media use round by round scorecards today, no one knows what the judges think until the final results are announced at the end of each bout.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand, Matthew 12:25.
Throughout the course of each day, arguments tend to result in split decisions depending upon your worldview. These disagreements can create divisive debates that divide rather than unite. After President Trump’s comments last Friday in Alabama about National Football players kneeling during the national anthem, professional athletes, owners and most of the media created a firestorm. After these attacks went viral, citizens from the heartland, Nascar and veterans chimed in to support their president. A week later, a split decision still exists, with convincing arguments on both sides.
And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges, Matthew 12:27.
During the first century, another controversy began to brew. The Pharisees felt like Jesus was making a power play, introducing a new concept to Judaism. This teaching was heresy in the eyes of religious leaders. Jealous of Jesus’ ability to heal, a rumor spread about Jesus working behind the scenes with the Devil to fool everyone. Using logic, Jesus began to poke holes in their theory, responding with the two passages above. These words remind me of today’s current debate over standing or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. In the end, if America doesn’t come to a point where people agree to disagree, the end will be in sight. Therefore, the next time you attempt to play the role of judge and jury, take a step back and let God be the ultimate judge.
When you hear someone mention the term race, it’s often in reference to Track & Field, Horses or Nascar. Yet, my use is in the context of a personal battle. Currently, I have fluid in my left eye along with a recent collapsed cell wall. The sad thing is that this is my good eye. Following emergency glaucoma surgery in December, a cataract has developed in my right eye to blur my vision. Subsequently, I’m in a race against time to finish the book that I started this Spring. Meanwhile, I still have a collection of screen plays I need to edit and an additional script in my head. God willing I am hoping to complete these projects while I can still see.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him, 1 John 5:14-15.
Seeing and believing are two different aspects of faith. According to the verse above, prayers should be based upon God’s will. However, if what you are asking is foreseeable in the context of God’s will, you should be confident in having this request honored. The only problem with my current dilemma is I’m not sure if it’s in God’s will for me to write full time. As for now, I am trying to maximize my time away from work so that I can make the most of the gift of sight.
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith,” Matthew 21:22.
This second verse on prayer refers to overcoming mountains, persisting despite obstacles blocking your current path. Since last winter, I wake up daily not knowing if my vision will be blurred or clear. I have the faith for the Lord to heal and restore my sight, but a medical miracle has not arrived. The only thing I can do is press on like the persistent widow. This woman of faith did not stop praying until she received the outcome she desired. Perhaps, perfect vision is illogical to hope for in prayer. Yet, I cling to the promises in the Bible waiting for a miracle to occur in connection with God’s will. This is my race against time.
Recently, the media has been quick to jump to conclusions, especially when current events align with liberal talking points. The recent feeding frenzy began following a church shooting during a Bible Study at a Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Sadly, nine dead African Americans are being used as a political pawn to accomplish a specific agenda, ban the Confederate Flag.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of, Luke 6:45.
Since June 17, the night of these murders, anyone who displays, owns or doesn’t condemn this flag has been labeled an accessory to this hate crime. Afraid of negative press, P.G.A. star Bubba Watson decided to paint over the flag on his General Lee, Nascar offered fans attending the July 4th weekend race at Daytona American flags in exchange for Confederate ones and several in the south have removed this symbol from state buildings and court houses. While this act of terror on Christians is an awful tragedy, the human heart is the main culprit not a flag.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9
During debates with religious leaders and discussions with his own twelve disciples, Jesus proclaimed that what comes out of a man or woman makes them unclean. Hearts set on evil are like ticking time bombs ready to explode. Whether killers display a Confederate flag or swastika, acts are conceived by angry hearts according to Jesus, Matthew 5:21-22. There will always be opinions which have some valid points. However, owning the Confederate flag doesn’t make you anti-Christian or anti-black. Rather, those who are raised and taught to embrace bigotry are planting seeds of evil for future actions. May those filled with hatred receive a spiritual heart transplant to insure future attacks will cease.
As a son of an immigrant to this country, I understand the concept of hard work. Although I never saw my dad much as a kid, I knew he was trying to provide a better life for our family. Subsequently, I didn’t become obsessed with fashion or style in my teenage years. Rather, I learned to appreciate what I had despite being jealous at times by peers who flashed their wealth.
However, I haven’t been excluded from certain luxuries in life. Every so often, I have been privileged to be a guest of first class. When the opportunity presents itself, I’ve been blessed by attending the Stanley Cups Finals, Monday Night Football games and double header of a Cleveland Indians in a Luxury Suite. While each experience has special memories, nothing compares to this past weekend’s NASCAR Race at the Monster Mile.
My wife’s company was given Infield Passes for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover Downs. These tickets included a Meet and Greet with Ryan Newman, tour of the garage area and access to the Quick and Loans Hospitality RV all day long. With my kids tagging alone, my family was spoiled, living in first class for a day. This event gives me a new appreciation for NASCAR as well as everything that goes on behind the scenes at a race. Whenever you have a special invite in the future, seize the moment and thank God for the special chances you get to live in first class for a day.