“Game” of Christ
Are you a player
or are you an “arm-chair” referee? Are you the active player
that looks for every opportunity to get off the bench to
make a play for the team or are you the arm-chair referee
that sits and watches the game, voices his or her opinion of
each play, yet escapes all the pain from the bumps and
bruises as a player? I understand these statements might
have a secular theme but we can associate them with the
Christian life as well.
I’m not much of a
sports fan but I’ve noticed the players that are genuinely
interested in participating in their chosen sport seem to be
always looking for an opportunity to play in the game. They
are constantly practicing their moves, they are always
talking with the team leaders, and they’re never content to
sit idly by waiting for their turn to play.
On the other hand,
the arm-chair referee assumes they know the games plans
inside and out. Once the game begins, they are always
looking for a way to call “foul.” They purposely watch for
moves that could warrant the removal of certain players from
the game. Although they never become actively involved with
the game, they watch the scoreboard and they watch the
your own daily life in Christ. Are you a player or the
arm-chair referee? I consider the arm-chair referee for
Christ to be a potentially dangerous person; not only to the
professing Christian but to themselves. It seems they are
always watching others; simply and quietly waiting for that
one error in judgment on the player’s part, and then the
whistle blows. The gossip begins, fouls are called, and
before you know it, a Christian testimony is ruined. They
assumed their knowledge of the rules was correct when in
actuality they had no idea of the game plan. However, they
feel that they accomplished their goal in keeping the game
fair for both sides. So......the Christian arm-chair referee
returns to center court and begins his or her watch all over
again. They are so busy watching and waiting for others to
foul; they lose sight of their own participation in the
game. They find it safer to remain neutral and never take a
stand for either side. Therefore, they’re never fouled,
they’re never hurt, and they never score!
Okay, say you’re not an arm-chair referee but a player;
think about this. Do you constantly ask the Lord for open
doors of opportunity to stand for Him? Do you prepare for
the activities of each day by reading your Bible, prayer,
and personal communion with Christ? When you see a need, do
you try to meet that need whether it is through prayer or
physical means? Are you willing to fight the opposing team
by standing firm with your Team Leader and following His
rules as set forth in His Word? Do you take the bumps and
bruises of the game and keep going, or do you consider
sitting the next game out because of the pain?
and cuts take a long time to heal, but we can’t drop out of
the game. We must keep pushing on until the final whistle
blows, or for the Christian player, the final trump is
sounded. Then and only then will the game be over and we
will be victorious. The bruises will heal, the hurt will
stop, and we will receive our rewards for remaining faithful
to our post throughout the seasons. So again, I ask; are you
a player or an arm-chair referee in the “game” of Christ?
I Corinthians 15:58
(58) “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast,
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the
The Disappointed and Hurt
disappointment and hurt are two emotions that go hand in
hand. Disappointment always spurs hurt in one’s heart and
hurt tends to spur disappointment, regardless which
transpires first. However, we must be careful that these two
emotions do not encourage the growth of yet another emotion;
bitterness. I speak from experience.
Throughout the past few years, I have experienced many
disappointments as I am sure you have as well. There have
been missed job opportunities, overlooked for promotion,
poor decisions on my children’s part, etc; all of which have
been bad. However, I believe that even worse than the
disappointments have been the hurt inflicted by others
through their actions and cruel words. It is during these
times I must battle harboring ill and bitter feelings toward
others the hardest.
When my son’s first wife left him, she took with her our two
oldest grandchildren and her leaving literally broke my
heart. While actually grieving for them, I found myself
growing bitter; not bitter at her for leaving but bitter at
God for allowing her to leave. Yes, even Christians can grow
bitter at God. I grew increasingly cold and indifferent not
only toward my Heavenly Father but toward others. Jealousy
slowly crept into my life as I watched other grandmothers
enjoy their grandchildren. I asked God how He could allow me
to lose my babies. I honestly believed that it was unfair on
His part as I had been faithful to Him and His service. My
prayer life ground to a halt as I found it easier to make
excuses to miss church services. As I slipped deeper into
depression and self-pity for my loss, the devil developed an
ever growing stronghold in my life, but thank God for the
Scripture found in First John 4:4: “......greater is he that
is in you, than he that is in the world.” Under Holy Spirit
conviction, one day I realized what I had allowed to in my
life and slowly, He helped me to overcome my hurt. I began
to move forward and regain the joy of my salvation. And as
with all trials, He has since used my horrible loss and hurt
to help me help others experiencing the same issues. Do not
misunderstand; the hurt is still there today and very much
real, but God’s grace is sufficient to see me through the
holidays and birthdays without those babies.
Disappointments and hurt within your earthly family is
horrible, but for me, the pain is never as brutal as when it
originates from within your family in Christ. Those wounds
penetrate deeper than anyone could ever imagine and I
believe take the longest to heal.
When we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we enter into
one of the largest families ever known; it is a worldwide
family, but it is a family of humans and as humans, we fail.
We forget how badly our actions and/or words can cut a
person. We forget how these family members examine our daily
lives so we tend to lower our guard. Our Christian brothers
and sisters listen to our daily conversations. They visit
our homes and notice the magazines lying on the coffee
table. They examine our DVD collection for “questionable”
movies. Women notice the condition and cleanliness of our
homes, the behavior of our children, our dress. And we each
forget the damage we can inflict upon another’s character
and Christian testimony if we share what we see or hear with
others. We forget about the level of hurt produced by our
cruel and thoughtless words or worse yet, by completely
ignoring one another. Albert and I have been in ministry
situations where we were asked to participate only to have
our help tossed back in our face. It is not easy to forget
the spiteful remarks or the malicious and untrue rumors.
There are no adjectives adequate to describe the level of
devastation when your Christian family completely abandons
you in your time of need or illness. However, we have a
friend that “sticketh closer than a brother.” He promised us
that He would never leave us or forsake us. He knows how we
feel when we suffer unjustly for His name’s sake; He’s been
We read in First Peter that we should not render evil for
evil and you can believe me when I tell you that it is very
hard not to do just that. Someone hurt us; we want to hurt
them back, but we can’t! We must remember our position in
Christ and not allow the devil to gain control of our
emotions and actions. Once those words escape the lips, once
you’re inflicted the pain and suffering upon another, the
damage is forever done. We must be better; we must do
better, and with God’s help, WE can. We can overcome all our
hurts and disappointments and live the victorious Christian
1 Peter 4:8
(8) And above all things have fervent charity among
yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
1 Peter 2:19-25
(19) For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience
toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
(20) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your
faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well,
and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable
(21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also
suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should
follow his steps:
(22) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
(23) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he
suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him
that judgeth righteously:
Your Candle Power?
I am confident that each of us has
a person in mind that impacted our life tremendously either
as a child or an adult. For me, it was a specific Sunday
school teacher during my pre-teen and teen years.
Unbeknownst to her, she was my mentor and remains so today.
She never once let me down in what I expected from a
Christian lady. Do not misunderstand; she is human and as
capable of failure as each of us and as such, I do not place
her upon a pedestal. However, I do admire and respect her
for her many years of faithful and uncompromising service.
In other words, she has a tremendous candle power for me.
We go to church each Sunday
dressed in our nicest clothes, we carry our Bible, we might
sing in the choir. On any given Sunday, our light could
shine brighter than most. However, when you head out to the
workplace or into the public eye Monday morning, what would
you rate your candle power as being?
It is said that a minister and his
wife live in a glass fish bowl and rightfully so. The Bible
teaches in I Timothy 5:17 “Let the elders that rule well be
counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour
in the word and doctrine.” In actuality, all children of God
should live in a glass fish bowl as we set the example to
the world. If your life is the standard for Christian living
to others, how high a standard are you setting for someone
Age is of no concern when living the Christian life. The
Apostle Paul tells Timothy to “Let no man despise thy youth;
but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in
conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
In other words, we can and should set the example for others
regardless of our age or circumstance.
Because of our human frailties, we are each capable of
failing and we do fail. Therefore, we must look to God for
guidance and wisdom in everything that we do or say.
However, I fear we are unaware of the damage we might
inflict upon others when we do. Personally speaking, I never
realized the influence that I had upon my own daughter until
a few days ago.
I enjoy traditional blue grass
music as well as the “oldie-goldies” of the 50s and 60s.
Much of what we hear today, I would not classify as decent
music for anyone of any age, and do not listen to such. When
my daughter called that evening, she asked what I was doing.
When I told her that I was listening to some the older songs
from some now deceased artists on YouTube, she asked me if I
was wearing pants as well. Though I was in the privacy of my
home, the Holy Spirit used her one innocent question to burn
into my soul as it dawned on me how much she examined my
daily life and activities. The decision not to wear pants is
a personal conviction for me but my unbending stance of that
conviction evidently impacted her life. She obviously
identifies certain types of music with worldly attire and
although she asked the question jokingly, that worldly
appearance immediately came to her mind.
I shudder to think of how others might look at me while
observing my life. How many lives have I impacted and worse,
how many people have I failed through my Christian walk of
life? Titus 2:3-5 teaches us that “The aged women likewise,
that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false
accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love
their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet,
chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own
husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Regardless of our age, it is our responsibility to emit a
candle power in everything that we say or do. Our Christian
testimony, our God given candle power shines through every
facet of our life whether at home, at church, out shopping,
and even on vacation. I challenge each of us to take a
closer look at our own life. We never know who is following
our Christian example.
A Place of Vengeance
We have all visited this place at one time or another in our
lifetime. We’ve all been hurt, we’ve been scorned, and yes,
we have wanted to settle the score. Whether our pain is
innocently inflicted during a miscommunication or a result
of a deliberate act of meanness; an argument with your
spouse, a misunderstanding between friends or a deliberate
act of cruelty, whatever the source, the result is still the
same. Venomous words and hurtful actions exact pain -
physical, mental, and emotional pain - and if we’re honest,
our first reaction is to retaliate. We seem to think that
hurting someone in return will alleviate our own pain.
God’s tells us in His Word not once but many times that
“vengeance is mine.” He will fight our battles for us but we
must trust Him to do so.
Many of us are mothers and when someone hurts our children,
we are willing to fight to the death to protect them. If we
are that protective of our children, how much more
protective is God of His children. Although it appears at
times that He simply steps back and allows others to bombard
us with their verbal attacks and other hurtful ways. People
hurt us and then seem to slide by unscathed by their
actions, but we must remember that God is the score keeper.
We look at others that seem to prosper while they
deliberately take from others or make others feel badly
because they don’t measure up to their standards, and we
wonder why the Lord doesn’t take action against them. It is
His prerogative of when and if to take action against
anyone. It is our duty to remain faithful to Him and stay
the course. God will have the final word in all things!
We mustn’t allow bitterness or jealousy to enter our hearts
because of our hurt, although that is easier said than done.
However, if we do allow bitterness to take root in our
hearts, it will eat at us like a cancer. It will ruin our
testimony; it will make us do things that we can never undo
and utter remarks that can never be retracted. Once the
words escapes the lips and pierce someone’s heart, the
damage is done. We can apologize and may even win their
forgiveness, but we are guilty of inflicting hurt upon
As His children, we must step back and allow God’s will to
be accomplished in all things, regardless of how unfair a
situation appears to be. I’ve seen people die embittered and
alone. For some it was because of the hurt they had endured
at the hands of others; they decided it was better to live
alone and harbor bitterness than to risk being hurt again.
For others, they died alone because of the hurt they had
inflicted; their friends and family had abandoned them.
Either way, it was a very pitiful sight indeed.
As a child of God, it is imperative that we strive to follow
the great commandment as given in John 15:12, “This
is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved
you.” We do not want to be the
recipient of God’s chastisement because of one brief moment
of self-satisfying retaliation. Learn to forgive!
(21) Then came Peter to him,
and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and
I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say
not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times
The Life of Guilt
Eve is the mother of all living as stated in
Genesis 3:20 and was a woman of many firsts. The first and
ultimate helpmeet, created by God’s own hands specifically
for Adam, she became the first mother. However, she holds
the dubious honor of being the first liar during her first
encounter with the serpent. She was the first to sin. Eve
was the first to suffer the pains of childbirth, and Eve was
the first mother to suffer the death of a child.
God placed Adam in the garden with explicit instructions not
to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the
repercussions he would face if he disobeyed. When Adam
partook of the fruit, he did so willingly. He was
accountable for his own actions. However, Eve disobeyed as
well. Therefore, they both sinned; they both suffered
We know the story well as God made them coats of skin as a
covering, typifying Christ’s redeeming blood for our sins.
He then expelled them from the garden forcing Adam to work
the ground. I can only imagine that as Eve worked at her own
duties throughout the day that her mind often wandered back
to the days that she spent in garden paradise, walking in
the cool of the day while communing with God. Memories are
not always a good thing.
Soon blessed with the birth of their two sons Cain and Abel,
I’m sure that as with our own children, Adam and Eve dealt
with sibling rivalry between the two boys. However, this
rivalry abruptly ended when Cain murdered his own brother.
Guilt can be described as a feeling of responsibility or
remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real
or imagined. God had forgiven Eve of her wrong doing in the
garden, but I wonder if Eve ever forgave herself.
I cannot fathom the level of guilt that Eve must have felt
when she heard of Abel’s death. IF she had not sinned, she
and Adam would be in paradise still. IF she had not sinned,
her husband would not be coming in from the fields each
evening, hot, dirty, and hungry from the day’s work. IF she
had not sinned, she would still have both of her sons with
God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins when we ask
His forgiveness. Psalms 103:12 tells us that “as far as the
east is from the west, so far hath he removed our
transgressions from us.” If God has forgotten and forgiven,
we should too. What unnecessary burden of guilt are you
carrying? What memories stir you from sleep during the
still, morning hours? Why don’t you give those memories to
Christ today and allow Him to turn your feelings of guilt
and remorse into blessings. Take your eyes off of your own
past and minister to others that are now living with pains
of regret. Share the good news that there is hope even after
Come unto me, all
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and
learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall
find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my
burden is light.
There Is Hope
(click title above to play)