THE Complete Game

The Complete Game

  • April 30-One Mistake Can Hurt

    April 30: One Mistake Can Hurt

     

    Scripture Lesson: Ecclesiastes 9:17-18

     

    On this date in 1967, the Tigers were victims of a no-hitter pitched by Orioles Steve Barber and Stu Miller. Despite having no hits, the Tigers managed to win the game, 2-1. An error by Baltimore shortstop Mark Belanger allowed the winning run to score in the top of the 9th.

     

    The writer of Ecclesiastes teaches us some great lessons today: (1) the quiet words of the wise are to be listened to more that the loud words of a ruler of fools, (2) wisdom is better than weapons of war, and (3) one sinner can destroy much good. When we sin, we can hurt more than ourselves. The consequences of our sin can affect and even sometimes destroy those around us. It is so important to live our lives without sin, and when we do make a mistake, to repent and ask forgiveness. Our sin can hurt more than us.

    1. How can our sin affect others?

    2. Why is it important to live as sin free as we can?

    3. What does our sin have the potential to destroy?

    Let’s heed the words of the writer today and remember that our sin can destroy much good.

     

     

     

  • April 29-Never Done Before or Since

    April 29: Never Done Before or Since

     

    Scripture Lesson: John 1:10-14

     

    On this date in 2002, Brian Sprout – a Division 3 All-American – became the first and only player in the recorded history of baseball to hit for the home-run cycle in order. The St. Olaf College slugger hit a solo shot, a two-run homer, a three-run homer, and a grand slam in four consecutive at bats during a 39-4 rout of Augsburg College. Never done before or since!

     

    Today we find in John’s Gospel something else that has never been done before or since. The Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us. From the beginning of time, the Word was with God and was the agent of creation. Jesus left the glories of His heavenly Home as God’s Son to come to this world in the form of a man. Jesus came to this world for only one purpose – to pay the price for our sins and mistakes by dying on the cross.

    1. What does it mean to you that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”?

    2. What did Jesus give up to come to this world?

    3. Thank Him for loving us that much!

    Jesus gave up the glories of heaven for us, to come to this world, to suffer, and die for our sins. He paid the price for us, a price we could not pay.

     

  • April 28-Hands

    April 28: Hands

     

    Scripture Lesson: Psalm 37:23-24

     

    On this date in 1978, Padres rookie Ozzie Smith made the best defensive play in Major League Baseball history, as voted on by the MLB Network. From his shortstop position, Smith ranged up the middle to field a grounder off the bat of the Braves’ Jeff Burroughs. The ball took a bad hop just as Smith dived for the ball, going behind his head. Smith reached back with his bare hand and snagged the ball, then popped to his feet to throw out Burroughs at first. Smith made the Hall of Fame largely due to his great hands and defense.

     

    The words of the Psalmist today should indeed inspire us. If God delights in the way we live, He will make our steps sure. Even if we stumble in life and start to fall God holds us up with His hand. Talk about a great defensive play: God upholding us with His hand. What a great picture for us to see in our minds, God holding us and helping us through life!

    1. How do we make God delight in our ways?

    2. What does it mean to you that our steps will be firm?

    3. How can God keep us from falling in life?

    What a blessing for us today to know that God is leading us through life with His loving hand!

     

  • April 27-Leader

    April 27: Leader

     

    Scripture Lesson: Micah 2:12-13

     

    On this date in 1983, while pitching for the Houston Astros, Nolan Ryan broke Walter Johnson’s 56-year-old record by striking out Montreal Expo pinch hitter Brad Mills. The 8th inning strikeout came on a 1-2 curveball, giving Nolan 3,509 career strikeouts.

     

    The prophet Micah challenged people to follow God’s leadership as they moved forward. What a great picture for our lives today. We can move forward in our lives when the Lord is our leader. We must remember that the Lord has to be in charge of showing us His way in life. Too many times we think we know what is best and we, by our actions, want to show God where we should lead Him. It is important to know that the all-time leader in our lives must be God!

    1. Why should God lead our lives?

    2. How do we let Him do that?

    3. Where is God leading your life today?

    Nolan Ryan is the all-time strikeout leader in Major League Baseball history. May God be our all-time leader in life living!

     

     

     

  • April 26-Seeing

    April 26: Seeing

     

    Scripture Lesson: Isaiah 9:2

     

    On this date in 1931 at Washington’s Griffith Stadium, a walk to Lyn Lary was followed by a smashing Lou Gehrig home run. The ball cleared the fence, but bounced back into the hands of CF Harry Rice. On the bases, Lary thought the ball had been caught for the third out, so he returned to the dugout without crossing home plate. Gehrig, running with his head down, didn’t notice and was called out for passing a runner ahead of him. The Yankees went on to lose the game by 2 runs. The mistake also cost Gehrig the home run crown in 1931, when he tied with Ruth at 46, as well as 2 RBI’s to add to his American League record total of 184 for the season.

     

    Today’s Scripture lesson from Isaiah introduces a coming Messiah, a promise that Christians believe was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The light that everyone would be able to see is the light of the coming Messiah. For generations, the people of Israel had been waiting and watching for the Messiah to come. Sadly, just as Lary and Gehrig did not see as they should have, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did not see Him as the Messiah. They had Him put to death. They did not see who He was. Sometimes we are just as guilty of not seeing and living by the light of Jesus.

    1. What does it mean to live by His light?

    2. Why do we sometimes not want to see Jesus or better yet have Jesus see us?

    3. How has the light of Jesus led your life?

    May we open our eyes and see all Jesus wants us to see as we serve Him.

     

  • April 25-Saves and Rescues

    April 25: Saves and Rescues

     

    Scripture Lesson: Daniel 6:1-24

     

    On this date in 1976, one of the greatest saves in baseball history occurred, but not on the mound. Cubs outfielder Rick Monday rescued an American flag that was about to be set on fire by two trespassers in the outfield at Dodger Stadium. One month later, in a gesture of patriotic thanks, Dodger executive Al Campanis presented the same flag to Monday.

     

    Today’s Scripture lesson describes one of the greatest saves in biblical history. The story of Daniel and the lions’ den is one of heroic faith that is able to stand against the most powerful man in the world, and of a loving God who took care of Daniel in the face of almost certain death. As you read these verses today, take note of the great faith of Daniel and the watchful care of God. God’s faith in us and our faith in Him enables us to stand up against whatever the world can hurl at us.

    1. How was Daniel’s faith lived out?

    2. How can we live out our faith to mirror Daniel?

    3. How can we stand up for God in the baseball culture?

    It is reassuring to know that God is there for us when we are there for Him!

     

     

  • April 24-Excellence

    April 24: Excellence

     

    Scripture Lesson: 1 Corinthians 14:12

     

    Today is the birthday of Omar Vizquel. Continuing in the fine tradition of Venezuelan shortstops, Vizquel has had a 23-year career, split between the Mariners, Indians, Giants, and White Sox. A pure wizard in the field, Vizquel has 11 Gold Gloves, including nine in a row from 1993-2001. When one thinks of excellence in fielding for the shortstop position over the last 20 years, Omar Vizquel has to be at or near the top of any list.

     

    Our Scripture lesson today deals with a time of strife in the Corinthian Church. The Church was having issues with people speaking in tongues. Our verse today is the summary verse. Paul wanted the people to excel in gifts that build up the church. We need to excel in using our gifts and talents for Christ. Many of you who are using these devotions either play or coach the game at some level. You know what it means to excel in baseball. Just as you have to put in the time required while working hard to get better in baseball, we have to put the same effort into excelling in our faith. God expects us to excel in helping build up the church and those who believe in Him. It takes effort and determination to excel in our faith!

    1. What does it take to excel in our faith?

    2. How much effort do we put in getting better for God?

    3. Why is it important to excel in our faith?

    Let’s attack getting better in our faith with the same passion as we attack getting better in the game. Doesn’t God deserve that kind of effort from us?

     

     

     


  • April 23-Pray

    April 23: Pray

     

    Scripture Lesson: 1 Kings 18:41-46

     

    Today is the birthday of one of the greatest lefthanders in baseball history, Warren Spahn. In his 21-year career, most of which was spent with the Milwaukee Braves, Spahn won 363 games, struck out 2,583 batters, and had a career ERA of 3.09. Along with Braves pitcher Johnny Sain, the two hurlers created one of the best one-two punches in all of baseball history. They were so good together that a saying came about: “Spahn and Sain, then pray for rain.”

     

    Prayer is the theme of today’s Scripture lesson. For three years, after Elijah the prophet prayed it would not rain, a drought had prevailed during the reign of evil King Ahab and his queen Jezebel. The prophets of Baal had just been defeated on Mt. Carmel, and many people of Israel had turned back to God. Elijah sent word to the king, telling him to get ready because rain was going to come. Elijah prayed, and once again the awesome power of God was shown, for it rained.

    1. How confident are you in your prayers?

    2. Have you ever prayed for something to happen and it did not happen? How did you feel after that?

    3. How often do you pray outside of blessing the food at a meal?

    Prayer is conversation with God. He always wants time with us, and wants the very best for our lives. Being confident in our prayer life is trusting in God enough to know that he knows what is best for us and He is going to do just that!

     

  • April 22-Strange Things

    April 22: Strange Things

     

    Scripture Lesson: Acts 17:22-34

     

    On this date in 1959, the Chicago White Sox scored 11 runs with only one hit in the 7th inning of a 20-6 rout of the Kansas City A’s. Johnny Callison had the hit – a single. During the inning, Chicago received 10 walks, including five with the bases loaded. They also benefitted from three Kansas City errors and one hit batsman. I would say that was a strange inning!

     

    In our Scripture lesson today, Paul takes a different approach to sharing the Gospel. We find him in Athens, the center of philosophy in the ancient world. Some had heard him preach about Jesus and were curious to learn more. Paul used a strange way to talk to them about the Gospel; not his traditional way of preaching. Notice that Paul adapted his style in order to reach his audience. The message did not change, but the way the message was presented did change. It would have been strange for a believer to hear this way of presenting the Gospel. Notice the results: men and women believed in Jesus!

    1. How can we use baseball to reach people for Christ?

    2. How can we reach people in the baseball community for Christ?

    3. Why is it important to reach people where they are for Christ?

    It may seem strange to change how we present the Gospel to others. We never change the message, but reach out to people where they are – not where we are – in life.

     


  • April 21-Comeback

    April 21: Comeback

     

    Scripture Lesson: John 20:10-18

     

    On this date in 1991, baseball witnessed the greatest extra inning comeback in Major League Baseball history. The Pirates scored 6 runs in the bottom of the 11th inning to erase a five-run Cubs lead from the top of the 11th, built largely on a grand slam home run from Andre Dawson. The Pirates had rallied from a 7-2 deficit to tie the game with 4 in the bottom of the 8th and one in the bottom of the 9th. The final Score of the record-setting extra-inning comeback was Pirates 13, Cubs 12.

     

    Our Scripture lesson today is the greatest comeback in the history of the world. Jesus Christ came back from the dead when God raised Him on Easter Sunday. His resurrection remains the greatest comeback in all history. Jesus came back from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden outside the empty tomb. When Jesus appeared to her, Mary went to the disciples and told them that Jesus was alive! Without the death and resurrection of Jesus there would be no forgiveness of sins and no way for a sinful humanity to spend eternity with a sinless God. Jesus paid the price for our sins and, praise God, He lives today!

    1. What does the death and resurrection of Jesus mean to you?

    2. Why is the resurrection the world’s greatest comeback?

    3. How can we show those around us that Jesus is alive today?

    Why not live today and every day with Resurrection Sunday in our hearts and minds?

     

     

     

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