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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winter scene in Lancaster County, PA (Photo by Doris High)
Snowy winter scene in Lancaster County, PA.
Anyone interested in some cross country skiing?
Photo by Doris High

"Lesson From A Football"

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"He will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country" (Isaiah 22:18).

FootballHere in America there's a lot of interest leading up to the Super Bowl, as well as plenty of intrigue regarding properly inflated footballs. I read an article about the Wilson Sporting Goods football factory in Ada, Ohio that's made all the official footballs for the Super Bowl since the first one in 1966. That's a factory tour I'd sure enjoy!

I played football in Junior High and actually made a touchdown, though the play was called back. Truth be told, I heard the whistle blow but ran fifty yards into the end zone anyway (I guess I had built too much momentum or thought I might be the new, young athlete who was the exception to the rule). Later I broke my ankle playing football in an open lot beside my friend, David Simpson's yard, in Belton Missouri. This ended my football career and may just be why my name isn't associated with football. It is associated with the Weber Grill, but unfortunately it has nothing to do with me.

I still like to toss footballs back and forth with friends on occasion. For that matter I enjoy playing catch with about any type of ball. It seems anywhere you go on this terrestrial ball* you will find people enjoying a sport that uses some type of ball, most notably soccer.

In addition to football I have enjoyed sports using baseballs, basketballs, tennis balls and golf balls. In college I played racquetball and handball and when I have the opportunity still enjoy the sport that uses the ping pong ball. Since we married in 1976 Brooksyne took up an interest in some of the same sports, especially tennis, which we played for many years.

Tennis ballI have even used balls as illustrations in sermons, including the tennis ball story, one of my most embarrassing ministry moments (a link to that story is below.)

I wondered if I might find the word, "ball" mentioned in the Bible so I checked it out using the handy concordance and found it referenced only once in the rather obscure verse that is our daily text. I hadn't noticed this verse before preparing today's message although I have surely read it. Most versions use the word "ball" in this text including the venerable KJV (see here).

It is from the book of Isaiah written about seven hundred years before Christ. It is actually alluding to God in an act of judgment. The phrase "
roll you up tightly like a ball" makes me picture another seasonal ball quite available in our parts now, the snowball.

Not only does the text refer to the ball but also the act of throwing, "
throw you into a large country". Apparently people have been playing some type of ball for a long time as the Scriptures use illustrations that would have connected with the initial readers!

OK, so I should get to some exposition here. Most don't like passages dealing with judgment but the Scriptures have a lot of them. Today's verse "large country" likely refers to the impending Assyrian conquest. Sometimes God's promised judgment seems quite distant as we understand time but God always keeps His promises as mentioned in Proverbs 30:5, "God keeps every promise He makes".

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 is a section that provides warnings from Israel's history. Verse 11 states, "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come."

Today let us resolve to learn from the failures of past generations such as those in the age of Isaiah and seek to
faithfully serve the Lord all our days.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the record of Scripture that not only encourages, guides, and instructs us, but also provides examples of those who choose to follow or disobey Your commands. The consequence of their actions further instructs us about Your promise of judgment. We also see Your provision of Jesus who mercifully saves us from the awful mess we make of our lives when we forsake Your commands. Though technology has advanced exponentially with each passing generation we find that human behavior remains the same as that from the time of Adam and Eve. We are great sinners and You provide a great Saviour for which we are thankful. In living for Christ we are able to heed the warnings written in Scripture and experience the peace and blessing that comes in walking faithfully with You, our Father and our God. We love You and thank You for Jesus in whose name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* Do you recognize the hymn that uses the phrase "on this terrestrial ball"? See below for answer!

Did you know there is actually a song using a football analogy with a "spiritual" meaning? I recall when Joyce Reed from our congregation in New England told me about a song she recalled singing as a youth in the fifties called "DROP KICK ME JESUS"  Video

I recall another humorous memory Joyce shared. She was sitting with some youth during a testimony service in church and an older lady shared a report concerning an x-ray taken to determine if she had a brain tumor. The youth chuckled at the wording, "They took an x-ray of my head and didn't find anything."

The time I used a tennis ball as a sermon illustration

Super bowl footballs being made in Ada, Ohio  Slide show  Video

A collection of winter photos by Doris High. (Doris must take millions of photos with her sharp photographic eye!)

* The phrase "terrestrial ball" is found in the great hymn ... "All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name"  Video   Paul Baloche

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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