I received the flyer from my boss. "Softball Challenge," it said. Hmmm... He was looking for folks to participate in a "friendly" game of softball against our parent company. FUN! Well… I play softball I thought to myself. Although it's been years since I've laced up my cleats. It's like riding a bike, right?
I actually love to play softball and have since I was 9 years old. I especially enjoy the camaraderie of team and the dugout ritual encouraging the batter to "swing level and run like the devil" – clap clap.
I can still smell the clay dirt of my hometown field and remember how the cool evening air held the promise of spring. The consistent rhythm of warming up – ground throws to first base then second, shortstop and third. Pop up throws to the pitcher. As a catcher, I was part of every play.
So I composed my reply, "Count me in!" and hit send. It wasn't long before I realized I needed to find my glove and ask my 15 yr. old to play catch with me. I needed to practice!
And so it is with our faith. If we want to grow in our relationship with Christ, we need to develop our "skills" and practice daily. Our adversary is Satan – and he's not interested in a "friendly" game of anything.
To be an effective player requires discipline. Discipline is not always easy, but it benefits the disciplined. The Bible is God's word to us. I have started reading www.BibleGateway.com each morning. Sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 15. Starting my day this way makes me feel stronger and closer to God.
They say a habit is formed by doing something for 21 consecutive days. May I encourage you to start each morning reading a few scriptures? Perhaps start in the book of Proverbs and read the verse that corresponds to that day.
As we discipline ourselves to spend time with Jesus, the more we will love learning about Him. And the stronger our faith becomes. Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." When we study and memorize scripture, we can call on God's promises, especially when we are down in the bottom of the 5th.
When life throws us a curve ball – and we all know it will! – let's be prepared to respond. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
So keep me in prayer – the softball game is tomorrow! I'm looking forward to reliving a bit of my youth and may be calling on memorized scripture myself. As I round the bases, I need to remember, "with God, all things are possible!" Matthew 19:26
Let's all "practice" our faith. Open the Bible. Read it. Share it. Play.
In His service,