Kneeling In The NFL

 

football player on bended knees
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

NFL Protesters

 

The meeting was private. In attendance were a dozen muscular, well known millionaires. Their focus? How to use their fame and status to make a point. From their perspective, the police in America were out of control, shooting innocent, unarmed black men and boys. What can they do with their combined wealth and influence to solve this tragic problem?

Ideas were tossed back and forth until one of the men said, “I will refuse to stand when they play the National Anthem. This will call attention to this messed up situation in our country.”

At first he was alone as he knelt and bowed his head at the next game. The reaction was immediate and varied. Some called it stupid and irresponsible. Some thought it was a good idea. Then, as is always the case, more men joined in and refused to stand for the National Anthem. Now we have their attention, they thought. Now things will change. Did they? Unfortunately, the incidence of black men and boys dying at the hands of the police did not cease or diminish.

And the refusal to stand? The NFL has now decreed there will be no further kneeling football players during the National Anthem. If they plan to kneel, they must stay in the locker room while the anthem is playing. Then they shall come onto the field.

So what have those millionaire athletes accomplished by thumbing their noses at the American tradition of standing during the National Anthem? Well one consequence is they forced the owners to make the recalcitrant kneelers wait it out in the locker room during the National Anthem. After all, who cares about the anthem recognizing our country and its rich history; The country that has allowed these players to become wealthy and famous from doing what they enjoy doing?

My question to these role models is this: If you are actually concerned about increased violence and shooting deaths of black men and boys by police officers, what might you do about finding a solution? You have fame and wealth, people listen to you and you can afford to support a group or study aimed at discovering a solution. Wouldn’t that be more worthwhile than kneeling during the National Anthem?

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Have I Changed?

Condo Kitty_1

Sunday Bible Study

Have I Changed?

January 25, 2015

“Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person” 2 Cor. 5:17

Phillip was introduced to Christ at a small California church when he was about nineteen. He was thrilled to find something worthwhile at last. His life had been mundane, unsettled and filled with a roller coaster of emotions as he looked for some kind of answer; something that made sense. And now he’d found it…Jesus Christ, God’s Son. And now his Savior. What a relief.

But, as it does, life moves on, carrying each of us along the strong current of circumstances, failures, needs, crashing businesses and broken hearts. Phillip had not tended to his newborn faith. He’d not watered with the words of the Bible. He had not learned to pray to dispel the weeds of doubt and uncertainty. In short, Phillip returned to what was convenient in handling the problems of life, what he had learned, even though his methods were faulty and weak. In a few years, Phillip’s faith was a distant memory. Change was no longer a possibility for him, he was alone in this troubled world, setting aside the only hope he had.

Faith in Christ, however, does bring the possibility of change, change that is permanent and eternal. In Phillip’s case, his daily struggles weighed heavily on him as his faith in Christ became more distant. His Bible sat beside his chair, unopened and unread. He was facing life on his own while his only hope lay in the unopened Bible beside his chair. Phillip was not protected, he was vulnerable. The armor of God, provided for every Christian, lay in a heap, collecting dust beside his chair also.

Phillip represents any Christian who has given up the battle to make the best choices in life even though God has prepared everything needed for victory. We are not alone in this fight which means if we are not victorious it is our choice, our fear, our laziness. Victory, however, is just a prayer of repentance away. The Holy Spirit is armed and ready to defend and guide every Christian. God has not abandoned us–we have turned our backs on Him when we refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit and make all our own choices. Don’t forget, when we are weak (totally giving up our own strength), then we are strong (through dependence on Christ).

2 Corinthians 12:10

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Romans 5:1-5

So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Victory takes effort. Willie Davenport, who won the 110-meter high hurdles at the 1968 summer Olympics, came back from a severe injury to compete in the 1976 Olympics.

”It was the semifinals of the A.A.U. outdoor championships in 1975,” he recalled in an interview with Red Smith of The New York Times four years later. ”Taking off for a hurdle, I busted a tendon in my left knee. I had surgery the next day, and two days later I had a blood clot in my right lung. The surgeon wasn’t very optimistic. He told me I would walk with a limp and should forget about running. That was June. By January I was hurdling again, and that summer I won the Olympic bronze.” At 33, Davenport was the oldest competitor, ten years older than his fellow American, who was fourth.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

So stop evaluating Christians by what the world thinks about them or by what they seem to be like on the outside. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, merely as a human being like myself. How differently I feel now! When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!

Isaiah 43:18

But the Lord says,

“Do not cling to events of the past
or dwell on what happened long ago.

Conditioned athletes do not lay around on couches, sipping energy drinks while dreaming of success. The most gifted musicians do not spend their days leading up to a concert walking on the sandy seashore, twisting ringlets in their hair, wistfully hoping they will perform acceptably. Just the opposite is true.

“If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.” Ignacy Jan Paderewski, composer and pianist.

Our lives as Christians require daily practice, daily workouts at the Faith Gym to demonstrate change. Life is an accumulation of daily and hourly events, decisions, actions, thoughts and choices. God has given us everything we need to make the changes…but it does take practice and effort.

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Hebrews 13:5

For he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Endurance!

bob-hayes-running-track

“The word of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Peter 1:25

As an athlete, Bob Hayes stood out for two reasons: his blazing speed and an uncanny ability to catch the football. But Bob had what some coaches considered, a design flaw. He was pigeon-toed and knock-kneed!

Until he entered college, his coaches didn’t concern themselves with these apparent problems because Bob performed above all others on the track and football field. He trained hard. He had endurance as well as natural ability.

When he accepted a scholarship to Florida A&M University, the running coaches decided Bob needed help to correct his physical flaws. The result of their “help?” Bob’s sprint times got worse. Finally the coaches told Bob to ignore their suggestions and run naturally. The results were astounding.

While in college, Hayes was considered the world’s fastest man because of his multiple world records in the 60 yard, 100 yard, 220 yard and Olympic 100-meter dash. Hayes is the only man to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring!

Hayes’ endurance and dedication are well-known and easily seen.

And what of us believers? Are we dedicated to serving the Lord, showing love to the world, taking the position as a servant? Is following Jesus the most important thing in our lives or are we satisfied with a little bit here and there, knowing we will be dancing in heaven some day?

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

1 Cor. 9:24-27 Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.

Phil. 3:10-14 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.

Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.