THE Complete Game

The Complete Game

  • July 26-Judgement

    July 26: Judgment

    Scripture Lesson: Matthew 7:1-5

    On this date in 2011, a 19-inning, six-hour-and-thirty-nine minute game between the Pirates and the Braves at Turner Field ended in a 4-3 Atlanta victory when home plate umpire Jerry Meals ruled that Pirate catcher Michael McKenry had missed the tag as Julio Lugo lunged toward home. Replays, however, clearly showed McKenry tagging Lugo out three feet in front of home plate.

    Jesus’ words today for us are from the Sermon on the Mount, and they are a warning against judging others. Often, we are guilty of seeing others’ faults while we fail to see our own. We will point out someone’s shortcomings while ignoring our own flaws. Jesus calls that kind of behavior hypocritical. We must examine ourselves first, cleaning up our own lives and their faults before we move on to the lives of others. Jesus wants us to take a good hard look at ourselves. Instead of focusing on the specks we might see in other’s eyes, we need to see the planks that poke from our own eyes and clean up our own lives.

    1. When have we been guilty of looking for specks in others eyes?

    2. Why is it so hard to see our own faults?

    3. May we all ask God today to help us see the planks in our lives.

    Sometimes, even the best umpires miss a call. Let’s strive to make the right call when it comes to the faults in our lives.

  • July 25-Home

    July 25: Home

    Scripture Lesson: Proverbs 3:33

    On this date in 1995, in the top of the fourth inning, Dante Bichette put the Rockies ahead of the Phillies by 6-4 with a three-run homer off Jim Deshaies. It was Bichette’s 18th home run of the year, but his first on the road.

    The writer of Proverbs had something to say about home. The house of the wicked will be cursed by God, he said, but God will bless the home of the righteous. It is vital for us to have homes that reflect the values of God. In today’s society, the world needs to see what a home looks like where God is followed and loved. God will bless us when our homes are places of praise and love for God. Our homes should reflect how we feel about God, and they will do just that. If God is important to us, people will be able to see that He is important.

    1. According to the writer of Proverbs, do you live in a blessed home? Why or why not?

    2. Why is it important for the world to see us living righteous lives?

    3. Thank God for your home and for all He does for you.

    God blesses us in our homes so we can be a blessing to others. Let’s use our homes to be a blessing by our living for God.

  • July 24-Praise

    July 24: Praise

    Scripture Lesson: Psalm 150:1-6

    On this date in 1951, at spacious Forbes Field, Giants outfielder Willie Mays made an incredible catch. Rocky Nelson of the Pirates had sent a 457 blast to center field. Unable to reach across his body with his glove, Mays stuck out his bare hand and grabbed the ball on the dead run to make the incredible final out of the inning. Branch Rickey, then Pirates’ General Manager, sent a note to the 20-year-old rookie while he was still in the dugout during the game. The note said: “That was the finest catch I have ever seen and the finest catch I ever expect to see.” This was high praise indeed for Willie Mays.

    Today we are blessed to read a wonderful psalm of praise. The Psalmist felt so overwhelmed by God’s greatness that he had to burst out in praise. We too can praise God for His acts of power and His greatness! The psalmist wanted to strike up the band in praise to God! (Could this have been the first praise band?) In verse 6, the psalmist said that all who breathe should praise God! Indeed, the psalm begins and ends with the words, “Praise the Lord.” If we will take a moment to stop our busy lives and think of all God has done for us, we might do the very same thing, bursting out in praise and adoration to our Heavenly Father!

    1. What is a praise you have been given you won’t forget?

    2. Why did the praise come?

    3. When is the last time we burst forth into praising God?

    God is worthy of our praise, why not take a few moments to praise Him for what he has done and who He is!

  • July 23-Unusual

    July 23: Unusual

    Scripture Lesson: 1 Kings 6:1-7

    On this date in 1975, at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, Frank Taveras was picked off first base in an unusual play. After getting a big lead, trying to get a good jump on a sacrifice bunt, the Pirate shortstop was picked off when the catcher threw the ball to first base. The surprising thing is that Phillies right fielder Jay Johnstone covered first base to complete the 2-9 play.

    Today’s Scripture lesson relates another unusual event. Elisha and some of the prophets were going down by the Jordan River to cut some trees. As one of them was chopping away, the head of his ax flew off the handle and into the river, sinking to the bottom. The workman was horrified because he had borrowed the ax, and iron tools were quite valuable back then. Elisha asked where the ax-head had gone into the river. He then cut a stick and threw it into the river at that spot. The iron ax-head floated to the surface, the text says, and the man was able to retrieve it. He must have felt extremely relieved and grateful.

    1. Describe a time when God came through for you when you needed Him the most.

    2. How did it make you feel?

    3. Why is it important to be ready to help someone in need?

    God cares for us by being there for us when we need Him. He often sends people to help us when we need the help. We should always be ready to be used by God to help others even in unusual circumstances.

  • July 22-Being a Father

    July 22: Being a Father

    Scripture Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

    On this date in 1966, the Mets’ left fielder was congratulated on being a new dad when the Dodger Stadium scoreboard relayed the message: “Congratulations Ron Swoboda. Your new son is being born tomorrow morning.” Cecilia Swoboda gave birth to Chipper, the couples’ first child, at 1:05 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. So, while Swoboda was playing at 10:05 p.m. on the West Coast, it was already early morning of the next day on the East Coast, where his son was being born.

    In his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, Paul said he was treating them just as a father treats his children. Paul encouraged, comforted, and urged them to live lives worthy of God who calls us to heaven. All of his actions toward the Thessalonians came from his love for them. One of the greatest gifts a man can be given is to be a father. With that great blessing comes a great responsibility to not only love his children like God loves us, but also to live a Christ-like example of encouraging, comforting, and urging his children to live lives worthy of God.

    1. If you are a father today, have you lived up to what a Godly father should do? Why or why not?

    2. If you are a son or daughter, have you followed your father’s direction and received his love? Why or why not?

    3. Why is it important to love our children like our Heavenly Father loves us and for us as children to love our fathers like God loves us?

    Loving your children means wanting the very best for them. That is how our Heavenly Father loves each of us!

  • July 21-A Good Day

    July 21: A Good Day

    Scripture Lesson: Genesis 1:31

    On this date in 1946, Lew Fick set a professional baseball record when he collected nine straight hits in a single game. The outfielder for the Little Rock Travelers saw his streak finally end when grounded out in the 19th inning of the team’s opener against Memphis. Fick went on to get three more hits in the nightcap, finishing the doubleheader 12 for 13.

    Our Scripture lesson from Genesis speaks of God’s finishing touches on creation. God had created the universe and everything in it. As the story is told, in the preceding five days, God created the world, the sun moon and stars, as well as the land, the seas, and all plants and animals. On the sixth day, God created the jewel of His creation: humankind. God entrusted the care of all creation to the people He had made. When God saw what He had done and all He had made, it was very good.

    1. Look around you where you are right now and marvel at God’s creation. (I wrote these words while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, so it was pretty easy for me to do today.)

    2. What does it mean to you that when God created humankind, it was judged “very good”?

    3. Why were we created?

    God had a pretty good series of days creating the world and everything in it. We can have some pretty good days by serving and living for the Creator.

  • July 20-Getting Caught

    July 20: Getting Caught

    Scripture Lesson: Jeremiah 5:20-31

    On this date in 1944, St. Louis Browns pitcher Nels Potter was banned from play for 10 days, becoming the first pitcher ever to be suspended for throwing a spitball. The spitball, “shine ball,” and “emery ball” were outlawed by the Major League’s Joint Committee in 1920. Surprisingly, though, 17 pitchers currently using the doctored pitches were allowed to continue to throw them until they retired.

    The prophet Jeremiah was instructed to tell the people of Israel that God knew what they were doing. They had turned away from God and chosen to do wrong, worshiping other gods. They should have known better than to think they could fool God. Jeremiah made it clear that God knew all along, and that the people who had stubborn and rebellious hearts were about to pay the consequences for neglecting God’s way. The Lord was going to punish them for their sinful ways.

    1. While growing up, did you ever think you had pulled one over on your parents, only to discover that they knew what you had done? How did that feel?

    2. Will our sins catch up to us? How?

    3. What does Jeremiah say that our sins deprive us of in life?

    Our sins will always find us out. We can never fool God. The consequence of our sin is to be separated from God and all the good He wants to do for us.

  • July 19-Finish

    July 19: Finish

    Scripture Lesson: Acts 20:22-24

    On this date in 1924, Cardinals pitcher Hi Bell went the distance in both games of a double-header, beating the Braves 6-1 and 2-1. The 27-year-old right-hander from Kentucky would be the last National League pitcher to win two complete game victories in one day.

    In our Scripture lesson today, Paul describes a meeting with elders from the church in Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem. It was not an easy conversation, because Paul told them he was sure that hardships and prison were in store for him. All Paul wanted to do was to finish the task God had called him to complete. He wanted to testify to the Gospel of God’s grace. Paul was not concerned for his safety or what lay ahead. Even though the elders from Ephesus were greatly concerned, all he wanted to do was finish what God had for him to do. Paul has indeed given us a great example to follow. We need to be about doing what God wants us to do, no matter what!

    1. How do we find out what God wants us to do for Him?

    2. What do you think God has called you to do?

    3. Why was it so important for Paul to finish, and why should it be important to us to finish what God wants us to do for Him?

    God will always be there for us as we serve Him. May each of us keep on serving and doing His will for our lives.

  • July 18-Power

    July 18: Power

    Scripture Lesson: Revelation 4:9-11

    On this date in 2001, a game between the Diamondbacks and the Padres was halted at the end of the second inning. In a scene reminiscent of “The Natural,” a transformer caught fire, causing a whole section of spotlights in center field to explode. The game had to be suspended until the next day.

    In today’s text, John attempts to describe the worship of God in heaven. The God who created the universe and everything in it is indeed worthy of glory, honor, and power. The Almighty God is worshipped in praise and adoration. Can you just imagine what that scene would look like in heaven? Today we also are called to give God all praise, honor, and glory. The best way we can do that is to live lives that reflect Him and His values. We need to remember that everything in our world was created by God. From the ocean waves to the starry night sky, God’s almighty power created it all! God really loves us to create all of this for us, and allow us to take care of it for Him!

    1. As you read this scene of praise, how does it make you feel?

    2. Think about what God has done of you in creation.

    3. Take a moment right now to praise Him.

    God is indeed worthy of all praise, honor, glory, and power. Let’s give Him what He deserves from us each day!

  • July 17-Saves

    July 17: Saves

    Scripture Lesson: Titus 3:3-8

    On this date in 1978, Doc Medich, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers, saved the life of a 61- year-old fan who had a heart attack before a game in Baltimore. Medich, who was a medical student, administered heart massage until help arrived. That was one great save!

    Paul’s letter to Titus reminds us of another great save, the greatest save of all. Paul writes about God’s kindness and love for us. It was not because of anything we had done, but by the grace of God made it possible for us to be saved. God has given to each of us the ability to become heirs in heaven of eternal life. When there was no way for sinful man to be reunited with a sinless God, Jesus came in and saved the day, redeeming each of us by dying on Calvary’s cross. Paul reminded Titus of this in order to emphasize that we must be careful to devote ourselves to doing good. We can never repay God for what He did for us in sending Jesus to this world. However, each of us can live lives of doing good for God’s Kingdom.

    1. What does it mean to you that God saved us?

    2. Why can we never earn salvation?

    3. Describe ways to live your life doing good.

    The quick thinking and actions of Doc Medich saved a life. The love and grace of God saved humanity for all who believe.

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