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The Lost Champion


 

As one who played tennis for many years and watched championships for decades, I must say I have never seen one like yesterday’s Women’s final at the US Tennis Open.

 In any sport there are rules and regulations. There are contentious moments and days of grandeur but in the end the cliché that “it’s not about winning, but how you play the game,” still holds true.

In the past, players would rant and rave, scream at umpires and throw rackets. Some more than others depending on their temperaments. They displayed themselves in questionable performances or meltdowns of anger and hurt. Often they were cited for violations and sometimes fined as they should be. These outbursts of emotions from top seeded tennis pros would draw crowds filling stadiums to witness such shows of passionate athleticism but it doesn’t excuse their behavior.

Sadly, it has become the victimization of players who get offended by umpire calls and cited for their blistering tirades on the court that screams at the validity of the game. Calling into question are also the umpires who have personal issues with certain players along with whether or not they nitpick rules in different matches. The job is one that comes with recognition but should be scrutinized carefully. Umpires should be fair to all.

Bias of sportscasters of one athlete over all the other players has become as bad as the media in politics.  It only adds to the fury of hate and the loss of the Champion in waiting; and that was definitely the case these last 2 weeks.

 Of course there are discriminating facts between the sexes. It isn’t right, but shouldn’t be given into the debate of one player over another simply because of their accomplishments, fame and fortune. No one is above the rules especially as technology today can reveal exact spots the tennis ball lands and film crews can video tape unauthorized activities of those involved with the players during a match.

Everyone is responsible for how they act on and off the court. In this day and time the authors of entitlement have declared war on others because they believe they deserve to be treated differently and receive that which doesn’t belong to them, no matter what. That goes for players, coaches and umpires alike.

Forget competition as an incentive; the master of greed and offense has taken over.

What started out as an exciting, and anticipated great Championship match ended up being all about victimization that literally stole the greatest moment in a 20 year old girl’s life.

As she stood on the sidelines waiting and watching, her years of hard work and labor were swept under the rug of a diminished culture set on an “it’s all about me” syndrome. Tears streaming down her face should have been tears of joy for becoming the first Japanese woman to ever win a Grand Slam tournament. Instead they were tears overshadowed by shameful disputes that should have been determined peacefully and quickly to the point of being settled off the court in private even if the match needed to be paused.

 

As an American citizen and one who loves the game of tennis Naomi, I apologize that you were exposed to such reprehensible inefficiency.  The USTA needs some strong lessons in court management so that this kind of disorganization never happens again.

I commend and congratulate you, Naomi Osaka for your mature, quiet and graceful conduct in the midst of a tumultuous scene. You truly are the real Champion.

 

 


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A Scrabbling Witness


 

If you read my posts at all you will discover I love words. Give me English and Spelling over Math and Science any day. You would be sorry if you ask me to add or subtract.words

Words are powerful. Jesus is the word in the flesh. My admiration for the “written word” may have arisen out of my love for reading but also because words are descriptive in nature; beholding of meaning and can make or break nations.

God works brilliantly in our depths of despair. Maybe He was tired of my moaning and groaning unable to do anything for myself much less anyone else. He prompted me to look for a “Scrabble” game on my phone. This moment of enlightenment gave me the incentive to search. Hence, the games began.

You would think by now I would know of God’s elusive creativity better than I do. However he is always full of surprises if for no other reason but to send me off on a “Yellow Brick road” discovery.

Then God spoke.

“Even in your so-called useless state, I can still use you. Scrabble will become a witness to my Glory.”

And so it has.

Even as I have played this exciting, word game over and over I question myself,

“Is this a waste of my time?”

During the course of the last few months I have connected with other “word fanatics” from all over the world. India, Texas, the North east and Australia to name a few. Through this game God has opened communication between me and my opponents to share the gospel, encourage and one case give a prophetic word.

There are those who choose to use a “vile vocabulary.”

In those instances it gives me great joy to display words such as “God,” peace, love, sin, grace or joy! Immediately the tone of the game changes even without a dialogue. The game itself becomes the witness.

A farmer plants seeds to grow crops.calm

Scrabble has allowed me to plant seeds of words to create a harvest.

Go figure.

Acts 1:8


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The Backward Justification


The honor code is still around. What many of us may have thought was lost has remained.

A shred of evidence is sometimes all it takes to divulge the bigger picture.

Approaching the enemy from his own stance is a mark of his stupidity.  As he revels in what he believes are “wins” he forgets his perfect opponent.

 While he trounces on the downtrodden, sick or uneducated, he picks one or two who have managed to slide through his slippery cracks of revolting iniquity giving them a worldly podium.  The devil could care less what happens after the fact. As long as his pawn(s) are lined up according to his ruler ship, the King and Queen will have a short reign.

Slyly the snake winds his way through a maze of followers of his chosen one. The crowds fall before him in an almost worshipful atmosphere. Little do any of them know how close to death they really are.

That is his goal; to steal, kill and destroy.  Evil breeds evil giving the fiend more power to work with until he takes over.

Or the crowd suddenly wakes up.

Proverbs 14:22 “Do not those who plot evil, go astray? But those who plan good find love and faithfulness.”

Something isn’t right. It smells fishy.

His “anointed pawn” didn’t understand the plot. As he moved in and out of the other players, he was unaware of the severity of the consequences of his movements. He believed the snake had his back but he had slithered away leaving him to his own fate.

One by one his swarm of fans walk away due to his suffocating betrayals.

The pawn engineers his words in a backward justification of his actions. Wrong!

His admirers have witnessed the truth.

His friends will become his enemies unless he makes one more underhanded promise.

Is it too late? Has he ruined his own reputation to the point of no return?

That depends.

One thing is for sure. When you play with fire, you will get burned.

 

Glass-Chess-Board


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For the Rookies at Heart


At some point in time we are all rookies, novices or the new kid on the block of something. It is a fact of life we all endure. However there are certain areas of apprenticeship WE WOULD ALL LIKE TO GET OVER!

Albert Einstein, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Socrates and Mark Twain to name a few past geniuses made their names in history.  In this lifetime we’ve had Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates. Were they ever rookies? Do they know the meaning of being average? Have they read the Book for Dummies of anything?

The gates of technology opened the door to change the world.  As the 3 nerd giants burst onto the playing field of business, along with them came computers, laptops, Iphones, Ipad, tablets, etc. etc. etc.

These products have served me well. However, my unseasoned, Johnny-come-lately arrival shows up when forced to BUY A NEW LAPTOP!

What are the manufacturers thinking?

Acer Aspire Ultrabook

Acer Aspire Ultrabook

How can they possibly understand the minds of unskilled trainees waddling through the sophisticated products they build?

Who do they think we are? Do they know where they hid the directions to this new laptop?

Any first year student would never know to log into the internet to give them a word- for-word guide or tutorial.

First you have to find the internet.

Second you have to know what to look for once you have logged onto it.

Third you have to search through the 1, 2 or 3 pages of a “Quick Guide” to find anything remotely similar to a website.  I guess they are saving paper which is not a bad thing but for a fledgling beginner DIRECTIONS NEED TO BE PRINTED!

The idea we have gained access to Bill Gates brain simply doesn’t exist. The makers of this Acer Aspire Ultrabook must think we are relatives who have inside information as to how to move “tiles” around, find the “charms” or change the wallpaper.

Confusing also is the switch you can make from the ancient “Desk Top” to the “swiping of the tiles.”  Using the desk top would appear retroactive and out dated so keeping up with the Zuckerburg’s newest robotics or applied science is a must. Heaven forbid we would be viewed as archaic or prehistoric.

Fun items are games, paint, or hulu but who has time for fun? Obviously a 5 year old is already trained to play “Dora’s World Adventure,” “Polar Bowlers” or “Shark Dash.”  How embarrassing.SharkDash

If anything, the incentive to outshine the manufacturers along with the 5 year old experts is sufficient to pursue this very expensive piece of equipment.

Now if I can find where to shut it down I can watch “Downton Abbey” hoping I can figure out what they are talking about.

Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/a-wrong-view-of-god/

http://theteentheme.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/the-age-of-convenience/

Copyright @ 2013 All Rights Reserved


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Kings, Queens and the Jack of All Spades


The game of Rummy at our house is an at risk activity.

deck of cards

deck of cards (Photo credit: Fatty Tuna)

We are compelled to annihilate each other to the point of no return.

The competitive nature reels through our veins as if our lives depended on it.

Having been a marked adversary in college for the game of Spades, Rummy is now a daily battle of wits, intellectual fervor, and at times the hurling of cards across the kitchen table.

The opposite player redeems himself at a certain point of losing, to risk it all. The all out desire to win suddenly becomes a match of wills, seemingly clever tactics of sly or cowardly choices or the acceptance that “there is nothing left to lose here.”

Noticing this obvious change in one’s attitude, the winning opponent is set on the defensive. The losing adversary quickly collects more cards than the manufacturer made filling his hands full of Kings, Queens, Jacks and hopefully all the Aces. The race is on as the two or three players try to remember what cards the losing player acquired.

There have been times when this process has been an ill fated loss for the one holding the most cards ending with a shower of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades all over the floor.

Reminding ourselves when it is all over it is just a game is it is just a game. However, it is never over for the loser. The dream arises of the next official competition and the display of unknown skills to show up bringing shock to their opponent’s system.

Risking it all sets in motion a willingness to do whatever it takes (removing from that the alternative of cheating) to win.

As in cards life often requires risks.

One will do almost anything to find water when the well is dried up.

Another will do almost anything to find food when your cupboard is bare.

Unfortunately, we go about finding food and water in all the wrong places. The disappointment or let down is a circle of events bringing us back to the empty well and cupboard.

Grabbing for any crumbs or the few rain drops over our heads we fail to see the bucket of fresh water sitting beside the dried up well or the basket of fish and bread next to the counter. It was there all along but we would have had to risk it all to receive it.

Many would starve or die of thirst before admitting the truth. The pride of risking it all for the one who risked it all for us simply isn’t politically correct or acceptable in a society of self-sufficient idiots.

Whoever gave us the idea we are perfect and don’t need a Savior should be pushing a barren cart around the grocery store or viewing the mirage of water in the desert as a means of prideful restoration. Who cares if you have no money…you’re starving. Can I please have that cup of water?

All of a sudden risking it all for a morsel of food or a few sips of water overrides the opinions of others, the embarrassment of lack or the dispute of your priorities.

John 4:7-10 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

So what was wrong with it in the first place?

Why are we so resembling of the Israelites? Because we are the Israelites; Complaining, whining, mumbling nomads who would rather have a fashionable, favorable, and noted reputation than eat.

Why would we extend ourselves an eternity with the Creator of the Universe for a few years/decades of mutual admiration from the distrusting society of political correctness?

The enemy has shown us the delicacies of the world. He has blown out of proportion the treasures of a moment of fame or fortune. He has thrown us an empty cupboard or dry well of lies that we fell for, hook, line and sinker.

Having been there and done that more times than I would like to confess, at least now the hook has been removed from my throat. And I say that willingly.

It was my choice to stop following the crowd and follow Jesus even as I stumble and fall repeatedly. He is the Savior of “effort” and gives his grace infinitely.

He helps me up, brushes the dirt off my weary soul and comforts me with his presence.

The keynote is letting go; realizing hitting bottom is often where Jesus is found.  Not because he wasn’t in plain sight, but we refuse to recognize him until our cup has no refill and the waitress has gone home.

No one else can do for us what Jesus did and does.

There are no substitutes, filled glasses or cupboards that will end our famine or thirst.

He did it all; and in one weekend that changed the course of history.

Playing Rummy, it is so easy to risk it all when losing because you have nothing left to lose.

So it should be in life, but we don’t have to hit rock bottom.

Just look up. The cross is no longer underground.

Jesus carried it up a hill and left it there. He doesn’t need it anymore.

But we do if for no other reason but to remind us that he did risk it all for us.

John 7: 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

 http://larrywho.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/quitting-is-not-an-option/

http://identitylovefaith.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/never-go-hungry/

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/wise-advice-from-our-lord/

http://diasolifeontheborder.org/2012/09/05/the-nomadic-life-the-end-of-our-house-hunting-saga/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved

 


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The Monopoly of Persecution


It comes with the territory.

The passion to pursue has to come from somewhere else.

The endurance isn’t a piece of cake.

It isn’t like losing your houses or hotels on Park Avenue or the Boardwalk.

You don’t get to pass go and forget collecting $200.00.

Your treasure won’t be found in the Community Chest.

Persecution is the name of the game. But we weren’t the first to play it.

Out of the muck and mire we are stationed on this board game called life.

Jesus knew it all too well.

The disciples were forced to join in.

Joan of Arc died for it.

Why should we escape the foils of the game? Why should we get immunity from Chance?

We don’t. The slashing of words, the hatred of chit-chat, and the look of gall are part of the game.

Only the game is a dastardly deed for all involved.

Chiseled out of conversation, we all do it. Or have done it at one time or another. I am certainly guilty.

Moses. Was yelled at. Laughed at. Thrown out.

King David. Hid in caves. Chased. Hunted down for kill.

Daniel. Mocked. Betrayed. Thrown into a Lion’s Den.

Mother Mary. Ridiculed. Belittled. Misunderstood. Ignored.

John the Baptist. Lived in the desert. Ate locusts. Was beheaded.

Apostle Paul. Beaten. Starved. Shipwrecked. Imprisoned more than once.

Matthew 10:22 “All men will hate you because of me,
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

And I thought I had a bad day.

Talk about throwing in the towel. Talk about quitting.

Was it all worth the pain, agony and disdain? Was it worth losing everything?

Must have been.

They didn’t give up. They didn’t stop.

The blows, the smacks, the punches didn’t keep them from their goal.

The emotional landslides, double-crossing brouhaha’s and uproars didn’t sway them.

They kept on believing what they were pursuing was the key to life.

They kept on traveling from door to door.

They kept on singing in a rat infested prison dungeon.

Persecution comes in many forms.

Standing for Jesus will get you slapped.

Endorsing his name you will be mocked.

Making the effort to follow him will open doors of ridicule, provocation and mercilessness.

Unfortunately it is almost expected.

Learning the methods of enduring it can be through a process of a daily dose of battering. God never said it would be easy.

Just know as it shows up, it means you must be doing something right.

You must be getting your point across even if you don’t know who they are that are persecuting you; even if you have never met them.

Across the internet lines of defense they will make their comments.

Sending you emails of their intolerant opinions.

Posting messages on social media to juggle your emotions.

Don’t be offended. Don’t be hurt. Don’t be angered.

Pray for them. Bless them. Allow God to work through your forgiveness to reveal his love for them.

Isn’t that what Jesus did on the cross?

Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.”

http://terry1954.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/this-is-what-god-led-me-to-last-night-to-read/

http://godspeaks-i-listen.com/2012/07/24/your-troubles-aint-nothin-really/

http://thefaithbook.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/my-testimony/

http://diasolifeontheborder.org/2012/07/24/gods-reminders-of-his-love/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved


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I Gave my Sledgehammer Away


Do you know what doors are for? Really?

The door is open so the 78 degree weather can come inside today. It is February after all. OH. February is winter.

My back door opened is a reminder of the many doors that open in our lives. Or the ones that shut.

Doors go either way. How we respond to them is the key. Often doors are signs from God 

Use to be when a door shut I would respond with an offensive attitude asking, “why? I want to go through that door!”

Age has taught me along with years of spending time alone with God and his word those doors he shut kept me from getting into more trouble than I was already in.  Now I thank him that he is God! His ways are not mine! (be really thankful for that)

When you ponder the idea of open and shut doors from God isn’t that a clever idea?

He made it so simple yet we search around for other doors only to walk into the one that ends up hitting us in the face.” Oh, I wondered where I got this bruise on my head.”

Going out on a limb here I finally wised up (no jokes please) and started praying for God to shut doors he didn’t want me to force open. Now I am small but have managed over the years to pry open doors shut so tight you couldn’t open them without a sledgehammer.

I have to ask myself now, “what was I thinking?” Pushing, pulling, beating, screaming until I squeezed through it. Once in, it wasn’t door #3 giving away a free car.

What happens when you beat your way through the wrong door? It knocks you down and lands on the broken nose you gave yourself trying to open it in the first place.

You know what happens next? (that is if you are smart) You cry out to God Almighty to remove the door.

What if God leaves you under the door for a while? It sure gets heavy. It hurts. It is painful.

I can’t blame God for this heavy, painful door smashing my face. I did force it open. He tried to stop me. BUT NO! I had to be rebellious or what is the saying? “Curiosity killed the cat?”

Finally after so many doors fell on me I decided maybe God was trying to tell me something!  Ok. I heard that!  You have no room to talk here!

He closes doors for my protection or stops me from getting into the wrong relationship. or the wrong project. or the wrong class.  or listening to the wrong words. or hanging out in the wrong places. or running my big mouth when it should be shut.

Mark 4:24, 25 24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

Closing doors from God’s perspective for us means he may be removing from our lives that which he doesn’t want there like books, movies, entertainment, or even people. Yes, people.

Anything that takes us away from God is removable by him. For our good. And believe me, once you find yourselves under so many of the wrong doors, God looks better than ever!

God isn’t behind door #1. or #2. or #3.  He’s behind the door that is open.


http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/hillbilly-ten-commandment

http://larrywho.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/planning-preparation-survival-part-2/

http://thewayeverlasting.com/2012/02/17/quote-standard/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved