Monday Motivation:The Heart of a Champion

Most of you know that I am a HUGE San Francisco Giants fan.  They play gritty, team baseball, and thanks to the contribution of everyone’s efforts they are the World Series Champions!!  YESSSSS! From losing their star closer in the first week of play, to seeing their probable batting champion suspended for the use of PED’snearly every single commentator and professional analyst counted them out. In spite of it all they believed in themselves, and as a result they achieved the greatest accomplishment in major league baseball for the second time in three years!  As a true-blue supporter I can honestly say that I never doubted them, but sadly I don’t always show such confidence in my own abilities.

Sometimes my circumstances seem too large to overcome.  In other situations I’ve let the negativity of others cause me to cower, or even worse, I put limitations on myself out of fear of failing.  Whether or not you were enthralled with the Giants amazing run, it’s one of many examples that remind me that everything starts with a thought.

 Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…

 Do you know that God made you a champion and a winner?  Do you know you’re triumphant in HIM?!! 🙂

2 Corinthians 2:14 (AMP)                                                                                                                                                                                                         But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere

This week, and always, I pray that we’re reminded of who God says we are, and that we don’t allow any form of discouragement to dash our hopes and dreams.  Have faith, and don’t stop believing…in yourself!!

My Favorite Team

I’m a HUGE San Francisco Giants fan, and have been since the womb, lol. I have some misguided friends who love the Oakland A’s 😉 , and even worse I have friends who don’t even watch baseball! (???) Whether you know me personally or via the world-wide web, I leave little to the imagination when it comes to where I stand. I talk about the team, wear their gear, and I’ve even been known to sport some bright orange nail polish on my toes! It brings me great pleasure to know that my enthusiasm has rubbed off on my basketball-loving husband, and I experience a sense of jubilant pride with every win.   Today was no exception for me as The Giants advanced to the NLCS!  At the end of their victory I shouted with glee, clapped my daughter’s hands, and took to social media to post the wonderful news.   In the midst of all my sharing I realized that as far as sports teams go we all have a tendency to ”represent” to the fullest.  This is great and all, but then I had a thought. Am I as bold when it comes to representing Christ?

I don’t hide my faith by any means, but there have certainly been occasions where I’ve shied away from the topic, instead of sharing my love for God and all He’s done for me.  I’m not talking about those instances where Holy Spirit intervenes and tells me to use wisdom, but there have been missed opportunities.  I’ve missed chances to share my testimony and the indescribable joy that comes with knowing there’s eternal life through Jesus Christ. Funny that I can’t recall a time I’ve ever hesitated to share my solidarity to my favorite team…

Leisure activities are a great deal of fun, but in the big picture what do I gain from my allegiance to certain franchises or celebrities?  Why are we willing to go hoarse at a rally or event, but it seems like a chore for some of us to praise the Lord with the same exuberance?  If someone were to ask you why you cheered for “fill-in-the-blank” I’m sure the reasons would roll right off your tongue. Does the same hold true when you’re asked about Jesus?  Do you know why He’s such an important part of your life? Have you ever denied your close relationship with Him because you’ve feared a negative outcome?  

I’m not posing these questions to badger you, but because they’re worth being asked and answered.  Trust me when I say I’ve done my share of reflecting as well. I like being the person that some of my friends regard as the baseball aficionado, with facts and game summaries to update even the most novice fan.  But do I take my knowledge of Our Almighty Father beyond my circle of comfort?  Do you?

As you go about your days and the athletic seasons change, please be reminded that there is only one constant.  The constant and unconditional love of the One who died for you and I, and was never too ashamed to share His love for us with the world.  Don’t be ashamed shine as you represent Him!!

Matthew 5:15-16 (NKJV)                                                                                                                                                                                                 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

WHO’S TEAM ARE YOU ON?

 

Weekly Image of Life: A Lifetime of Memories

In my premiere post, Diving into Home, I strongly alluded to my love of softball.  I played for a total of 11 years as the starting catcher, and for as long as I can remember I have been a HUGE San Francisco Giants fan.  I grew up admiring players like Kurt Manwaring, Will Clark, Benito Santiago and Barry Bonds, and when the movie The Sandlot was released I envisioned myself as the female lead in its sequel.

Naturally, I was excited to take Alexandra to her first baseball game, and it was a wonderful night!  I don’t know if she will grow up with same love I have for America’s Favorite Pastime, but I do know that this is just the beginning of a lifetime of wonderful family memories.  In the words of my daughter…

This is my Pop Pop.  He’s from New Jersey so I forgive him for being a Mets fan! 😉

Making my entrance, but mommy’s so comfy I’m sleeping right thru it!

Ok, I’m awake!  Let’s see what’s caught my eye…

Flags!!!  I love how they blow in the wind.  So much movement.

I like the view from AT&T Park.  It’s a beautiful night!

Now that guy’s a fan. Giants Nation!!

It’s official.  I’m a Gamer Baby!!!

My family.  Some of the best people I know. 🙂

The Weekly Image Of Life challenge is issued every Wednesday by The Island Traveler at This Man’s Journey.  If you would like to participate and see other entries please visit here!

Anger Management

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are several tell-tale signs that help us identify a person who is angry. It may be expressed with a furrowed brow, clenched teeth, balled up fists, bulging veins, a tightened jaw, streams of tears, harsh words, the silent treatment, or the cold shoulder. Yesterday I had an angry day, and it was evident in my semi-permanent scowl. No one did anything to me, but I was upset with myself. We’d just returned from a terrific vacation, and I guess certain realities set in too quickly. I was tired, out of it, grumpy, and forgetful, and was basically having an off day. Not even the excitement of Alexandra’s first San Francisco Giants game could completely snap me out of my mood, and I struggled to figure out why I was so mad? A number of minor annoyances occured, but it was the realization that I’d left an important item at home that sent me spiraling over the edge. Moments before we were slated to begin our lovely family evening I completely broke down.  I called to my husband and with my body shaking and tears welling in my eyes I proceeded to tell him what a loser I was and how stupid it was of me to forget.  He assured me that everything was fine, but I preferred to beat myself up than accept his comfort.  Only seconds passed (although it felt like longer), and with several deep breaths I wiped my eyes, shrugged my shoulders and finally decided to let it all go.  I wanted to enjoy my night, but the only way to do so was to get rid of the funk and move on.  We went on to have a fantastic time, but deep down I felt like a fool.  I’d let my anger get the best of me, and a certain scripture played on repeat in my mind.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV)

 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

This had me thinking.  What does it mean to be angry without sin? How does God feel about our anger?  Had my lack of self-control given the Enemy a foothold?  In order to answer these questions I had to first gain a clearer understanding.

The Greek word for angry is orgizō and it means “to provoke or to arouse to anger”.  Provoke  means to “stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone”. The Greek word for sin is hamartanō and literally means “to miss the mark”.  While addressing the church at Ephesus, Paul expressed that while anger is a natural human emotion it should never be a hinderance in our walk, causing us or someone else to stumble.  Ouch.  I’d definitely failed that test, and allowed my frustration to reign supreme.

As previously illustrated, anger comes in a variety of forms.  The cause for such revved up emotion may be mistreatment, suffering an injustice, a disagreement with your spouse, being on the receiving end of gossip or harsh words (new post on this issue coming soon), financial troubles, work drama, or simply having a bad day.  There are times that anger is justified, but we shouldn’t use those scenarios as an excuse to behave badly.  I behaved badly because I’d forgotten the Holy Spirit power that dwells in me.

His example is the epitome of how we should handle ourselves when faced with such challenges.  Our flesh wants that immediate reaction, but God wants us to stop, wait, and think before we speak. In Christ we are able to exhibit self-control, pray for our enemies, encourage ourselves as David did, and overcome evil with good.   Being in Christ means we don’t allow circumstances to affect the principles of Godly living, and remaining consistent in our faith walk is a testament to our growth in Him. Feeling anger is not a crime, but it’s imperative that we think twice before expressing it in a detrimental way. Whether you’re prone to outbursts of wrath or holding it in until it bubbles over like a volcanic eruption, anger is an emotion that must be controlled lest it leads to undesired consequences.  Look to the Lord for your answers. 

Some additional verses to contemplate:

Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

Psalm 103:8(NKJV)  The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV)  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

Psalm 4:4-5 (NKJV) Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the Lord.

Proverbs 14:17 (NKJV) A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of wicked intentions is hated.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NKJV) Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.

Do you cope well with anger or let it consume you?  How do you exhibit self-control?

Related Article:

Dealing with Anger…God’s Way by Joyce Meyer