Don’t Stop!

I have a nephew who plays Little League football. He comes over with my sister from time to time and I help him with little things about the game (how to stand, how to be a good blocker, etc…) Every week, he tells me about how well he did. So, this past week he came and he was really excited! Apparently, it was a tough game. The teams were going back-and-forth, making great plays, but then with 1:22 seconds remaining the other team scored the touchdown and they were up by 2 points with only :22 seconds in the game. Now, if you know the game of football like I do (or at least have an understanding of how little league football works) then you know how hard it is to get kids organized enough to do something even as simple as a kick off return in 22 seconds.

So, imagine, here are these parents on the bleachers talking to one another about how great the game was, and how they really fought hard and stuck it out and did a great job. Simply put, the parents were congratulating one another on their child’s good effort, but also acknowledging they were about to suffer a loss. Parents started packing up their umbrella’s, folding their chairs, gathering their other children together, etc… In their minds, the game was over.

So, my nephew’s team gets the ball, they run a simple play, and as they’re running the ball the buzzer goes off. Instantly, helmets come off. The other team began to cheer because they knew they’d won the game. In their minds, the buzzer signified the end of the game; there was no more moving forward, no continuing, that was the end. The buzzer was the end!

But the runner never stopped!

You see, in the runner’s mind the game wasn’t over; he had taken some hits, but he had not been tackled; he was not out of bounds; he had not dropped the ball; and, most importantly, he was the one who was still in possession of the ball, and it was still his responsibility to fulfill what he began, the special task entrusted to him. To finish!

Friends, some days (let’s be honest…most days) we feel like the odds are against us; like were fighting a battle and it’s down to a 1:22 seconds left in the game, and we’ve given it everything, and then the other team scores. And when we look around, we see others (sometimes, the most influential and important people in our lives) packing up, resigning to what appears to them to be a loss. But never forget, my friends, that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when they were thrown into the fiery furnace, looked at the king and declared what God was going to do, then they immediately followed it with but even if he doesn’t, we will still serve Him. (Dan. 3:16-18)

I often refer to these moments in life as ‘…but God’ moments. It looks like it’s going to be impossible to pay the bills this month…but God. It looks like my spouse and I are never going to be able to communicate well…but God. This addiction is too much…but God. My children are going in every direction, lured away by the desires of the world, and I don’t know what to do…but God. Maybe some of you as you read this are thinking, “Mike, the buzzer is about to sound, what do I do?”

The link below has all of my instructions…enjoy!

Scriptural References to study throughout the week and tidbits to consider:

Is this not the same thing the Christ did for us? (Jn. 19:30; Heb. 12:1-4) More importantly, is this not the same lesson we are encouraged to do by Christ when he says, “take up your cross and follow me?” (Mk. 8:34-38) Or what about the writer of Hebrews, who encourages us to persevere in the long run; against this race of life, to never quit? (Heb. 12:1-4) Or Jesus, when He taught us to “be of good cheer” in the midst of our trials and our sufferings because he has overcome the world? (Jn. 16:33) Or Paul, who, in his letter to the Corinthians, reminded us what the qualities of love are, and that among them is it’s ability to endure? (1 Cor. 13:1-8) Or King David, who sang in Psalm 23 that the Lord, our Shepherd, would give us rest and prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies? (Psalm 23:5) I could go on and on, friends. The Bible is full of encouragement in this area!

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