Be Encouraged

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans 15:4

If you actually look at what’s going on in the world, it’s hard to feel encouraged. Given the standards of the United States of America and what it costs to live here, we’re in turmoil. We have a crisis going on. And in so many other places in the world, things are a lot worse. At least here in the US you can go to a drinking fountain and get fresh water, and just drink. If you needed to, you could probably go into some restaurant bathroom and take toilet water in a cup and drink it. It would still be good. It would take care of you. It wouldn’t give you a disease.

There are real issues with poverty in America. I definitely see that, and I want to help. I don’t forget that I was born here for a reason. But at the same time, I see a lot of suffering everywhere. So sometimes, it’s hard for me to feel encouraged. It’s so discouraging to realize that there are so many people in the world that can’t even get good drinking water.

be-encouraged

It’s not like the scriptures aren’t encouraging. The Bible is full of encouragement! I’m also encouraged by who I am, a child of God. I’m encouraged in my family. My family is healthy, my sons are awesome and they are going to be great, and God has taken care of us. I don’t have a hard time sleeping at night, wondering who is going to pay the bills. I don’t have that issue. I’m encouraged by my readers and your comments, too. I’m encouraged in many ways.

But I am not self-absorbed. I also have a heart for the people.

Christians are lovers of humanity. That’s who we are supposed to be. We’re supposed to help one another. We’re even supposed to love our enemies, even though it’s really hard to love them when you see what they are doing to people around the world. So how do we help and love one another, even our enemies, and how do we do it well? How do we do it without judgment or condemnation?

Sometimes I think, “God, that’s impossible for me. For You it’s possible, but for me it’s not.” And yet He tells me, “Jeremy, with Me all things are possible. If you have Me in your life, the answer is yes. You can do it. For those who are not believers in Me, or who are not led by my Spirit, love for the enemy is not possible. But for you? It’s possible. You are to show that it is possible. You are to show that your joy does not come from what you can see, but from what you cannot see.”

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

Be encouraged. People everywhere in the faith are going through these same things, but we know that God is at work. When you start looking at the world through scripture, through the eyes of Jesus, you will feel the joy of what you cannot see. And you will be encouraged.

See you Thursday.

Travis Ishikawa’s Faith

My teammate Travis Ishikawa testified at Giants Fellowship Day last August.

It’s so powerful! He testifies to staying in the Word, even when the outlook isn’t very clear.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35

Stay strong and hope, because God has a plan. With Him, all things are possible!

See you Thursday.

Ryan Vogelsong’s Faith

My teammate Ryan Vogelsong testified at Giants Fellowship Day last month.

Check it out. His honesty is so uplifting. He reminds us that even when we feel lost, God is preparing a path for us.

The Bible, man. It tells us what we need to know.

See you Thursday.

Show and Tell

When Jesus came down, He said, “You know what? I’m God! I can tell people how to live.” But He knew He needed to do more than that. He knew that when it comes to human beings, it’s not enough to tell us how to live. We need to be shown.

The first time God told us how to live, the result was chaos. That was Old Testament. He gave the people the Ten Commandments, and those commandments said, “This is how you’re supposed to live.” The law said, “These things are sins,” and God included instructions for giving offerings to atone for sin. And what happened? God ended up saying, “Man! You guys give offerings on these days for these sins, and then once you give that offering, you go out and do the same thing again! And I know why you do that. It’s because later, all you’re going to do is give another offering, and you’ll be fine.” Continue reading

Salt and Light

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. Matthew 5:13-16

You might wonder why I think it’s so important for Christians to lead the cause of abolition. Some might think that we should just wait for Jesus to come again. Continue reading

Justice

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:16-21

I finished my recruiting talk for the Free2Play team by telling the players and their wives a little bit about the different scenarios. “We need to join together,” I said. Continue reading

Consciousness Raising Part 2

A big part of recruiting players and their wives to the Free2Play team involved giving them some awareness about the situation. When Dave Batstone and I visited Bible studies for players during spring training, I shared some of my ideas about why slavery is a Jesus situation. I explained that Jesus would not support human trafficking. And since Jesus wouldn’t support it, neither should we.

Then I told them about slave labor. They were really amazed. “Wow,” they said, “slavery is in the things we buy!” And I said “Yeah, it’s in the things you buy.” But I also explained how slave labor is a really tough thing to fight, because it’s so hard to detect. For example, every one of us has a cell phone. Continue reading