Why Cheer When You Can Play?

Why cheer when you can play_

My daughter has a choice of being a cheerleader or playing basketball. Her response: “Why cheer when you can play?” Thus began years of watching her play. Sitting in the bleachers with a laminated “Mom’s Guide to Basketball”, I learned to appreciate the game. I saw my daughter grow and mature as she encouraged players one minute and drive down the court for a basket the next. One of my favorite pictures of her is her basketball picture. She looks so athletic as she stands wearing her uniform, hair in a pony tail and basketball in one hand. Then you notice the shoes.  She has lace ruffle socks above those Air Jordan tennis shoes. It symbolized the mixture that is my daughter. Strong and competitive, yet soft and feminine.

The truth is, Jesus made us all a combination.  There will be times when we are  called to play and times when we are called to cheer. To play means that you have to step off the bench, get out on the court, and be ready to pass the ball, or go down the court for a basket. Other times, we are to be on the sidelines, cheering as the players block, and then go for the three point shot. Paul talks of us being surrounded by a ‘great cloud of witnesses,” those that have gone before us, those that have played the game. He talks of encouraging one another, finishing the race strong.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1)

The one that cheers is just as important as the one that plays. Most likely the one cheering the loudest is the one who made sure your were registered to play, dressed for the game, made sure you were practiced up and  focused. That person made sure you had all the necessary things that prepares the player for the “swish” as the ball goes into the basket.  One is not more important than the other. As Christians we are always to be in the game, but there are times when we need to cheer, encourage, support, and assist another to play the game of their life. We are not called to be passive spectators.  It is not a time to watch the game as you watch a game on TV. Watching the game on TV is an easy  click ‘on’ and click ‘off’ with food in between. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good game on TV. But watching on TV does not require an investment on my part. The player cannot hear your words of encouragement, no matter how loud you yell at the TV. Jesus wants us to be servant leaders who come along side, cheer,  and/or if needed be ready to go in and assist. We are called to invest in the game and the players. It means we need to be willing to get out of the comfort zone of passive spectator and move in to the active zone of player or cheerleader.

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve…” (I Peter 5:2, NIV)

The phrase “eager to serve” in the Greek is an adverb which means ” of a ready mind”. It is the only time in the Bible that this particular word is used. To have a ready mind means to be constantly “in the game” whether you are on the court or on the bench. Remember, adverbs describe words.  They tell you to what extinct that we are to perform the action. Whether we are playing or cheering we are to do it wholeheartedly. Jesus wants us to be ready to jump into the game to play or jump off the court to cheer. We are called to be that combination of player and cheerleader, not passive spectator.

Are you willing? Are you ready to play? Are you ready to cheer? Are you ready to do both with a whole heart?

Prayer scriptures

Jesus, I pray that you create within me a shepherds heart. One who actively watches over those around me, one who actively tends to them, protects them, guides and instructs not because I must but because I am willing.  I pray that I continue to have a ‘ready mind’ that eagerly serves those you place in my life. Amen (I Peter 5:2)

 

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Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Egg # 2

We live in a world of contracts. Contracts are easily broken, amended, or rewritten to suit our fancy. God, however, is a God of covenants, not contracts. Covenants are binding. Covenants typically involve three things: The shedding of blood, an exchange of items between the parties, sometimes a change of name which signified a change in the relationship.The first thing God did after Adam and Eve sinned and by eating the fruit was to make a covenant or promise that He would bring a savior:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

The word ‘bruise’ denotes a crushing or completely overwhelming. Jesus would completely crush Satan, Praise God. Bruising of Jesus’ heel is a foreshadowing of Jesus bleeding from His feet when nailed to the cross. There was blood shed and items exchanged. God killed the animals and clothed Adam and Eve. Also names were changed, Adam named the woman God had given him, Eve after Fall (Genesis 3:20). There are other covenants between God and man in the Old Testament, the covenant with Noah, Abraham and Moses. Overall, the Bible describes two main covenants, the Old Covenant, which was based on Moses’ laws and the New Covenant, which is based on Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant

tabernacle Legos
Ok, this pic is for all you moms of boys! Don’t you just love it! Holy of Holies replica from Legos! Too cool.

Under the old covenant the priest went once a year into the Holy of Holies portion of the tabernacle and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The priest did this once a year for atonement of sin. The blood came from a lamb that was spotless, and it was sprinkled seven times. It was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus, who was spotless and bled in seven places for our redemption during the Passover week. The blood cover our sins but it did not pierce our hearts.

The New Covenant    

sacrificial_lamb-300x199

 

God wanted to establish a covenant that would be written on our hearts. It would be everlasting, forgive sins and would establish Him as our God and us as His people (Jeremiah 31:30-33) It would be a cleansing  from the inside out, not the outside in. It would cause change at the very core of our being. This would be a covenant that God would establish. It would be instigated by Him. We could not establish the covenant because of the sin. We could not approach God to establish a covenant. It would be a covenant for both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus would once and for all enter the Holy of Holies as the high priest did in the Old Covenant. However, it would not be with blood of goats or lambs, but His own blood. Christ became the negotiator and mediator of the this entirely new covenant agreement.

He went once for all into the Holy of Holies, not by virtue of the blood of goats and claves (by which to make reconciliation between God and Mn), but His own blood having found and secure a complete redemption ( an everlasting release for us).” ( Hebrews 9:12, Amplified)
How to Access this Covenant

There is only one way. We cannot save ourselves, we are not without blemish. We cannot ‘do good works’ in order to put ourselves in right standing with God. We cannot earn God’s approval and love by doing good, being good, and working hard. The only way to bridge the gap and access a covenant relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. Many times we look for the perfect husband, perfect boyfriend, perfect family, perfect parents, perfect kids, perfect job to define who we are and bring our salvation and peace. The only PERFECT savior is Jesus Christ.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God“- Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[fn] The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19,NIV)

With the Fullness of Time…

christmas!

With the Fullness of Time…….

It is getting close to Christmas. My emails are inundated with sales and promotions. The parties have begun in full force. And under all the hustle and bustle I hear on the radio, “A baby changes everything…” I stop and think. As a mom of 3 blessings from heaven, I know how my life has been forever changed by a baby. For Mary, the mother of Jesus, I can only imagine how she felt. It was because of God’s love for us, that Jesus was even born. Mankind had been looking for the coming Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Redeemer. Mankind was waiting.

But when the fullness  of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. Galatians 4:4

I think of the times I waited. I waited for the delivery of my children. Did you feel that you would be pregnant forever? Then the labor pains start and you know that the end is near. That is when us women reach for our super power, that part of us that makes us determined to deliver this baby no matter what. When the baby is delivered, you rejoice and laugh and cry. This is the culmination of the waiting. Or is it? For a baby changes everything.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. Luke 2:40

The phrase ‘waxed strong’ refers to the growing of our spirit. It means to show yourself brave, to empower, to increase in vigor.The birth of Jesus was the beginning of God’s plan for our redemption, not the end. After the birth comes the maturing, the nurturing. This takes time, patience, and being purposeful. You may not be birthing a baby, but maybe birthing a dream or a goal. The waiting is agonizing. When will it arrive? When is the ‘due season’? When it does, then get ready to roll your sleeves up and press in to God. The dream cannot grow and mature without loving nurture and purposeful attention. That takes time, patience, steadfastness. It takes the Holy Spirit leading you and guiding you. Just like people, dreams were not meant to stay a baby.

A Baby Changes Everything