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Philippians 2

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

For those of you living somewhere other than Texas, let me simply say, although it may not adequately portray the importance...Football is BIG in Texas! The pressure and stress to perform, play hard and win are beyond measure. Practice goes almost year round and the youngest of boys dream of hearing his name called from the announcer's booth on Friday night under the big lights, and maybe their name will be mentioned in the sports section of the local newspaper. Making regional and state playoffs could mean college scholarships and the chance to play at the next level are all riding on performance.

Our football season has begun. Varsity football for our small school is still big. The lights, band, cheerleaders, hot dogs, etc. It's an event to say the least, and here we go again. This year I have two sons playing. I love to watch brothers building memories together, being part of a team where they have both contributed their talents. I also like the fact that the older drives the younger, so I am not sitting at practice or waiting for the bus to arrive sometime after midnight night.

As with most beginnings, there are a few mistakes, like wrong names or numbers in the game program. It was actually a little funny that in the program the first week, one of my sons, who is tall and lanky had the number of an underclassman. Throughout the game, my son was called by the wrong name. "Interception for the Eagles by Wrong Name." "A great throw by Quarterback...Wrong Name." "Receiving for the Eagles...Wrong Name." I kept cheering his name, even though he could not hear me. Some of the other parents caught on, and we chuckled at the error.

At home we teased our son about how great Wrong Name had played. He wasn't mad and really hadn't even noticed except someone had told him. The game writeup in the newspaper documented Wrong Name with our son's accomplishments. We all laughed again as the Lord provided lesson for all of us: the purpose of our son's efforts was to give his best effort and to diligently work at every opportunity. The successes (or failures) are not intended to bring glory to self, but to contribute for the team's success, represent his school and honor the Father in Heaven Who had given him the ability to play the sport in the first place.

There are many times in our lives when we will work hard at a task, and never to receive recognition or appreciation. The lack of praise or success of our efforts should not diminish our desire to work. We work for the Lord, for His glory and honor. It is Elohim who created all things, provides us the opportunities to participate in activities such as sports, have a job, write, sing, etc., and the outcome is in His hands.

Lord God Almighty, You alone are worthy of our praise. You alone are the giver of all good things, keeping our children safe as they participate in sports and activities which teach them of the talents You have bestowed upon them. Please keep our children humble by remembering Who is in control. May these young athletes be respectful of authority, play with good sportsmanship as they learn to work with others to accomplish goals. Help them remember they "play" sports because it is a game and a privileged to participate. Amen

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