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Football, Respect, and Jesus

Football, Respect, and Jesus

Recently NFL Legend, Jim Brown declared that he would always stand for the National Anthem.  He said that kneeling is disrespectful to the flag and that he always wanted to respect the flag: “I am not going to denigrate my flag…” he went on to say to a reporter while visiting the Football Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.

With football season nearly here, this will be a topic of discussion from all the radio, tv, and media “talking heads” to regular news, the people at your workplace, and the family around your dinner table.

Respect is an emphasized theme in the Bible.  Many passages speak of respecting elders, leaders, and those in authority.  Here are 2 for example:

  • 1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
  • Romans 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Apparently, the Lord desires for us to show respect for “All men.”  This would include those with whom we do not agree with personally or politically.  When Paul wrote this passage and when Peter penned these words, one of the most tyrannical, ungodly, and incredibly cruel leaders ever- was the Roman Emperor.  Just look him up in a history book sometime.  His name was Nero.  If Paul and Peter could show respect to the leaders in their day, we can certainly show respect to our leaders today.  Paul even set a goal to personally give the Gospel to the Emperor.

What about the social injustice?  Some injustice is real.  Some injustice is fabricated.  Some injustice is embellished. And, some things happen because people make foolish personal decisions.  If a person is acting suspiciously, fidgeting, pacing back and forth, or being loud and aggressive, people take note, and suspect something is wrong or about to go wrong.  Where does “injustice” fit into this “respect thing.”

While I am for doing what is right for myself, my family, and for our community – it should be done with a realistic mindset.  Human government, civil disobedience, political movements, and a more informed public will not achieve the goals of the social engineers or even the people who are sincerely trying to make the world a better place.  Why not?  Because we cannot do what only Jesus can do.  Let me explain.

With worthy goals and good intentions, some people are organizing, coordinating on social media, and attempting to influence others to make things “better” or at least their version of what “better” is.  But human ability, intellect, and willpower can only do so much.  The human heart is misguided according to God in Jeremiah 17:9 when He warned us about following the human heart: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Only Jesus can change a heart.  He is the only one who can create lasting and motivationally pure change.  Even when we do the right thing, many times it is not with the right motive.  We simply cannot do the work of God in righting all the wrongs in this world.

During the Millennial Kingdom, Jesus will rule this earth and He will bring about what many people are trying to achieve today: world peace and human harmony.  Observe Isaiah 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

This verse is speaking of the day when King Jesus is directing the world from His Millennial (1000 year) Reign in Jerusalem.  No one would dispute or deny that the peace described in Isaiah 11:6 sounds wonderful.  People want this peace.

Speaking about the Christians who will rule with Christ during the Millennial Kingdom, Jesus says in Revelation 2:27: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.  Jesus will not tolerate any sin.  No social injustice will be allowed. Jesus will ensure that no-one is taken advantage of.  He will insure peace.  He will provide civil, political, and social equality and stability the likes of this world has never seen.  Leaders the world over in governments, think tanks, and college campuses can only dream of the incredible authority by which Jesus will rule.

But we cannot.  We are not capable of achieving something that only God can do.  So, while we wait for the Millennium, it is a good idea to have realistic goals and a right perspective of pointing people to Jesus.  After all – He is their only hope.

Before the Millennium, there are several things that must happen prophetically.  They are:

  • The Rapture. When Christians are taken to Heaven and given new, sinless bodies. Christians are serving the Lord while waiting for the “trumpet to sound!”
  • The Tribulation. When the Lord judges a Jesus rejecting earth. In this 7-year timespan the world will embrace and empower the Antichrist.  He will set up a singular global empire consolidating all economies, militaries, governments, and religions (except Biblical Christianity because all the Christians were raptured).
  • The Battle of Armageddon. Jesus returns to earth and defeats the Antichrist and all the enemies of God.
  • The Touchdown. Jesus lands (bodily) on the Mount of Olives.  The earth quakes and Jesus proceed to walk to Jerusalem and claim the eternal throne of King David.
  • The Millennial Kingdom. Jesus sets up His 1000-year reign.

What many people claim they are working and hoping for will only come about – when Jesus is King. What should we do while we wait for this?  Honor those in authority.  Be thankful for the military.  Understand the value of a nation respecting it’s flag and the lives sacrificed for what that flag stands for – freedom.

And the greatest thing you could do – introduce someone to Jesus.  Give the Gospel.  Help others know how to have their sins forgiven and a home in Heaven.

 

 

 

 

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Mind Games in Relationships

Mind Games in Relationships

“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind…”  Ephesians 4:23

One professional aptly stated that: “At age 20 we think: ‘What does everyone think about me.’  At age 40 we think: ‘It does not matter what other people think about me.’ And at age 60 we finally realize and think: ‘No one has been thinking about me anyway.’”

True.  Most of our thoughts about the perceptions others have of us are self-perceptions.  Most people are actually thinking about themselves and not thinking about you.  Why is it that we can be so consumed with perception and what others are thinking?

Testimony is one reason.  We should have a good testimony that is consistent with the Bible and that is exalting to Jesus.  Testimony does not mean that people are always thinking of us.  When they see us, or talk with us we should be edifying and encouraging.  When the Spirit of God uses your testimony to help another person, they may think of you for a moment, but otherwise, they are not constantly thinking about you.

Most of the time however, the reason we are so “self-conscious” of what others think or may think about us has to do with our personal pride.  Pride can create “Mind Games” than consume our time and damage needed relationships.  This pride takes form in several ways.  Here are two:

  • Do you know someone that needs constant affirmation for the most basic tasks in life? As our children grow, they will ask from time to time “Are you proud of me? I just made the ball go in the basket.  I just painted a watercolor, etc…”  As we get older the need for affirmation should adjust to find value in “who we are” in Christ – not merely what we have done or can do with our actions.  Insecure people seek the “pat on the back” in an obsessive way.  We all need encouragement and should actively encourage others, but insecure people are consumed with peer affirmation to the point that it paralyses any positive progress in their spiritual life and in their family/acquaintance relationships.
  • Like a bull in a china shop, overconfidence is bullish, brash, and bold in detrimental ways.  This self confidence is the opposite of biblical humility.  Its ego is fed by the projection of a certain “image” or perception the confident one wants other people to think about him/her.  This boldness can be dismissive of other people and cause division in relationships.   The ego must be fed at all costs because “I have an image to keep up…”  This confidence can be in position, ability, wealth, or social standing.  Self-righteousness is also a big contributor in a religiously minded person. Sometimes people who are overconfident, trying to impress people, have nothing in their life really worth bragging or boasting about.  Many times, they have shallow victories with no real success; but they want others to think that they are successful.  It’s another form of pride and is also one manifestation of an insecurity.
  • Finding the balance in this pendulum of emotions and thinking is found by centering in on Jesus. We can be emotional and relational extremists in the thinking of our mind if we do not find a Bible balance.

In one long sentence to the Christians in the church at Corinth, Paul writes 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 which declares, “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

Notice that our sufficiency, security, and confidences is in God, not in ourselves. It takes humility to see this in a personal life.

Don’t let mind games swing your emotions and relationships from side to side.  Reject the personal pride that causes faulty and sinful thinking.  Replace pride with humility and a desire to point people to Jesus.  Sharpen your testimony and ensure that your life (evident to others and in your mind) is not self-absorbed.  Let the Word of God and the Spirit of God “renew” your mind each day.  Purpose with God’s help to have accurate, Biblical, and right thoughts about yourself and others.

Other people are generally thinking about themselves.  Stop thinking about yourself too and learn ways to help yourself and others think about Jesus. His Word. And His Father.