The glory of Sports vs the Glory of God

This past week and this weekend, for those live for sports, must seem like a gift from heaven.

FOOTBALL

The Finals of World Cup Football 2018 between a classy French team and a never-say-die ( with some class players also ) Croatian team, should be a grand spectacle.

TENNIS

And if you are a tennis fan like the newly married Meghan Markle, and the mother of three Kate Middleton, both Dutchesses and members of the British Royal Family, then watching Serena Williams go for her 22nd.

ATHLETICS

Once again our track stars brought cane and glory to their native land Jamaica.

This time not the already famous!

But this times the younger ones. Brianna Williams at the Under 20 IAAF Finals in Finland. And Ackeem Bloomfield in his first Diamond League meet in Rabat. One won the 100 M, the other the 400 M in record times.

THE GLORY OF GOD

But how does compare with the Glory I read about this morning during my #earlymorningdevotions. When on opening my Classics Devotional Bible, this famous Charles Wesley Hymn ‘ greeted ‘ me:

O FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING

O for a thousand tongues to sing

My dear Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King,

The triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,

Assist me to proclaim

And spread through all the earth abroad

The honors of thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears

And bids our sorrows cease;

‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,

‘Tis life and health and peace.

And so as we enjoy the action packed weekend, spare a thought and a prayer. For the footballers, the tennis stars, the Royal and the ‘ commoner’, the Athletic up and coming stars, those in the news, #KrystalandBeenieman, #MinisterWheatley #PhillipPaulwell.

For everybody needs to know Jesus. And share in his Glory! But some people don’t know Him. So Lord, assist us to proclaim the Glories of my God and King. In the UK. In the USA. In Croatia. In France. And in my ‘ war torn’ country.

For what shall it profit a man, or woman, to win the World Cup or Wimbledon, or Gold Medals, and lose their souls.

Peace

Don’t weep for Brazil! Or Argentina! But thank God that in Christ Jesus there is forgiveness of Sin

Many years ago as a youngster, when life was all about playing football and partying, and I was a Brazilian fan from then, this song by R. Kelly was a popular ‘ tune’.

If I could turn, turn back the hands of time
Then my darlin’ you’d still be mine
If I could turn, turn back the hands of time.

As I watched the game between Brazil and Belgium last night after coming home from work, with the Selecao outfitted in their classic blue, white and yellow, and saw how my team could have scored early, ‘Paulinho what were you thinking’, the words of the song came to mind.
‘ If I could turn back the hands of time…..

But of course time waits on no man. No team! No country! And so, thoughts of ‘what could have been’ are quite irrelevant. And useless! For now Les Bleus, the French team, await the Belgians in the semi-finals and we will soon know, which other two teams will play in the other semis. And then ultimately the two finalists.

Just on form, it is likely that the winner of the World Cup will come from the Brazil side of the draw, as the other teams appear to be weaker. But as they say, the ball is round, so who knows what other surprises await us. Including #FromRussiawithlove! Then the football purists would weep. As many have wept for Germany, Argentina and now Brazil.
Me! I am a fan. Not a fanatic. Life goes on. Belgium is a class team. Always feared them. I would give France the edge though.

However, so in the FIFA World Cup Football 2018, so in life. For although we wish we could, we cannot turn back the hands of time.
Relatives die. Sometimes suddenly. Sometimes after a protracted period of time. Gone forever. Never to return again.

Relationships and marriages are shattered. Mash up! Can’t fix back. Like Humpty Dumpty. And all the ‘ king’s horses and all the king’s men’, counselling and begging and pleading and promising, can’t put Humpty together again. All because of a moment of indiscretion. A moment of madness. A moment of weakness.

Once peaceful and tranquil countries descend into a crime ridden land. Where M16’s and AK47’s and 9’s become household names. Names of the agents of death. Names that come easily to the minds and lips of our children. Names ‘ glorified ‘ in our music. Names which reflect the egregious wickedness of those who first introduced guns into the hands of vulnerable young men. All in pursuit of political power. And now, with all the tears and all the bloodshed, we cannot turn back the hands of time!

ALL HAVE SINNED

Why? All because of the Sin of Adam. Which is how death and sickness and all kinds of evil entered this world. A revelation about which I was reminded this week during my #Earlymorningdevotions But thank God for Jesus, there is forgiveness!

THE WORD OF GOD

” Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all, because all have sinned…….

Therefore, just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all”. Romans 6:22-18 NRSV.

This is what the Bible teaches us. And why the Word of God written in Holy Scriptures is constantly under attack throughout the ages. For ‘ progressive ‘ people of this age ( of the enlightenment) do not only wish to ‘ turn back the hands of time’, but to rewrite, if possible, or ‘ modernise’ the Bible. And leave out the reality of Sin. For the Bible is the only book that reveals that, before a Holy God, we are all sinners. And that this Almighty God, in Christ on Calvary, died to rescue mankind from the wages of sin which is death. And grant us, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the free gift, grace, of a new, transformed and unending life.

A revelation which was challenged by another worldview, and which viewpoint was captured in a report in the Jamaica Observer this week and caused me to post this message on :

FACEBOOK

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/call-made-for-church-to-welcome-homosexuals-sex-workers-and-transgenders_137669?profile=1373

#DaretoCare #JamaicaObserver Good thing God is the same yesterday today and forevermore. And 2000 years ago He died in Christ out of Divine Love. On an old wooden cross. Not just to show that He cared, but rather to rescue the marginalized and the ‘ sufficient ‘ alike. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The authentic Church has always cared and welcomed and sought after the stranger, the widow and the orphans of society. And sex workers….. But not necessarily in the glare of public spotlight, or announced on social media. For no one is too ‘ far gone ‘ in their sins. And no one is too ‘insignificant’ for God’s love and mercy. But all are called, by the authentic Bible believing church, to repentance. Recall that after rescuing the woman caught in adultery from ‘ hypocrites Jesus warned her to ” go ye and sin no more.” A quote often left out of the narrative!

And even if they don’t repent, the authentic church continues to love and forgive and care; for ‘ judgement in mine ‘ says the Lord. But it is not in the place of man to seek to reform God’s church. As God has been renewing the church from its inception ” You have lost your first love”; ” Because you are neither cold nor hot I am about to …..”, but rather to ask for mercy and expect compassion and empathy. And a call to be reconciled to a holy God.

GOD IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVERMORE

Finally although many are hoping for a miracle, that tomorrow they will somehow miraculously awake from a bad dream, and discover that Brazil did in fact make the semi-finals, or that the Bible and its ‘outdated’ approach to Sin has been revised, an edited version of a meditation by Chris Tiegreen brings us back to reality.

CHRIS TIEGEN : THE WONDER OF THE CROSS DEVOTIONAL

HE’S IMMOVABLE

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 8:35

God never changes. That’s bad news for those who want to make up their own rules in life, but in all other respects it’s comforting. When God speaks of His favor towards us, His love, and His promises to the redeemed, we don’t want Him to change. Ever!

The good news is that He assures us He won’t. The love of Christ has already been amply displayed for those will receive it, and there is nothing – that can ever diminish it. We cannot be moved from it – not by trials, adversaries, diseases, disasters, poverty, or even our own stupid mistakes…..
( And certainly not when Brazil loses….my words)

WILL YOUR ANCHOR HOLD

So in times of trouble or trial, when your team, has gone home, joining Argentina, Germany and Portugal, how do you manage?

In times of storms, when a relative, a friend, a community and a nation is in a dark place, or young boys are trapped in a cave with oxygen and food running low, what do you hold on to? Your dreams? Your hopes? Your belief in self and human potential? Or do you pray for a miracle?

Last week as I preached in an inner city community, where on the behalf of my church, and by the grace of God, I serve as a professional, this song touched my soul.
And as I prayed for friends and family in desperate need of a miracle, the words calmed my soul. I pray that the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of this hymn, will bring peace and calm to the souls of those who look to the Lord, ‘ from whence cometh my help’. For mercy!

For the reality is that far too often, it is when disaster strikes that folks who reject the salvation offered freely by God in Christ, come to understand that the ‘ anchor ‘ they thought they had, is rooted in ‘ sinking sand’. Not so the child of God – regardless of the colour and arrangement of the flag of your country.

THE HYMN – FIRST VERSE

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain, will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

Refrain

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.