Week Thirty-Seven, 2021

For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. Proverbs 24:16

Football is both a physical game and a mind game. It requires a lot of training and a lot of preparation. Players learn every aspect of the game. They even are trained on how to fall. The NFL keeps statistics on how players fall.

Everyone who carries the ball will fall. The average distance run with the ball is about five yards and then the player goes down. If the player falls backwards, he loses yardage and if he falls forward he gains yardage. After a player falls, he gets up, goes back to the huddle and gets ready to fall again.

There is a spiritual parallel here. God is always working in the lives of Christians. He is faithful. When His children fall, He will pick them up and dust them off. He will never forsake His faithful ones and with His mighty right hand He will hold you.

He knows what you need, He knows what you’re going through, and He knows your pain. Commit to Him, continue to live by His Word, hold on to God’s promises in your heart and know that in all situations He will help you and with Him you will overcome.

Like a football player, you learn by falling, so you will do better in the next play. Romans 8:28 says: We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. It does not say that all those “things” will be easy, painless or short lived. But we will be better because of them.

People who fall the hardest, bounce back the highest. Just because we fall one time doesn’t mean we can’t get up and let our light shine. When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep walking.

Football players know that it is hard to beat a person that never gives up. So, when you fall, and we all will, get up, get better and go forward with God.

When difficulty strikes, which way will you fall and how fast will you get up?



Oswald Chambers observed, “Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations; his teachings are truths that can only be interpreted by the disposition he puts in. The great marvel of Jesus Christ’s salvation is that he alters heredity. He does not alter human nature; he alters its mainspring.”

Chambers noted that the Sermon on the Mount, for example, “is not a set of rules and regulations: it is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us.”

This is a massive insight. We can regulate external behavior, but only God can change human nature. We can act in godly ways to impress others and seek God’s blessing. But measure your heart—do you secretly still want to do what you know you should not do?

Imagine being so free of addiction to sin that we no longer suffer from its cravings. Obviously, we will act in godly ways and will draw others to Jesus as a result, but this will be true joy for us as well.

Our “mainspring” will be different. Jim Denison

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One of the consequences of living in a consumer-driven economy is that consumers believe we drive more than the economy. We are given to think that it’s all about us, that we should have what we want when we want it. We assume that what we believe is best for us is best for us.

This fact helps to explain why optimism is down nearly twenty points since May. A majority—55 percent—of the public now say they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, a marked change from the 36 percent who said the same in a May 2 poll. According to ABC News, the drop “likely reflects the growing concern that lockdowns could be reinstated, and already vaccinated Americans could need a booster shot” for COVID-19.

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Jeffrey Bilbro is a college English professor. In Reading the Times: A Literary and Theological Inquiry into the News, he notes: “There is a profound, insidious kind of formation that happens when the first thing we do in the morning is to reach for a smartphone to find out what new thing occurred while we were sleeping. Such habits form the horizon of meaning by which we judge the significance of our daily life and actions. Structuring our days and weeks instead around Christ orients us to his story and equips us to fit the news of our day into the redemptive pattern of his life and work.”

Bilbro is right: “Modern news organizations double as lifestyle brands; where we get our news signals and shapes our identity.” He adds perceptively, “Instead of looking to the news to create better communities, we should be looking to strengthen communities so that they can create better news.”

We “strengthen communities” by loving our Lord and loving our neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39). We do this best by being led and empowered each day by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and then responding to problems with intercession and to opportunities with service.

When we do, we can know that God is using us not just to follow the news, but to make it, not just to react to culture, but to shape it. Bilbro advises, “Christians should be wary of being caught up in the trivia of the day and should be devoted to eternal truths. This is the posture of the martyrs—faithful to the Word, indifferent to victory.”

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Caroline Campbell has written the entire Bible by hand, completing in June a project that began nine years earlier. Her mother estimates that the completed manuscript, which is compiled in forty-three binders, is more than ten thousand pages.

Caroline serves as a greeter at her church in South Carolina and regularly visits church members in nursing homes. She got a job a few years ago at a restaurant, where the franchise owner said after meeting her, “This girl is a star. Her personality shines. She’s a true star, and her star radiates. Her attitude makes ours better.”

Since completing her handwritten Bible, Caroline has received some attention in the media and is happy to hear she’s inspired others to love God’s word as she does. She recently received a letter from a seminary student on the West Coast who told her he is going to begin writing out the Bible by hand too. All of this helps Caroline fulfill her mission, as she told Christianity Today: “I want to inspire people to learn the Bible.”

By the way, Caroline has Down syndrome.



Christ alone is our foundation and salvation, and in Him you have been set free, so do not allow others to enslave you to traditions and regulations of men. Edgar Aponte

Keep doing good deeds long enough and you’ll probably turn out a good man in spite of yourself. LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS

When planning and problems are preoccupying your mind, turn to Jesus and whisper His Name. Sarah Young

Many are quick to blame God for everything instead of thanking Him. Dan Shock

The most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. Thomas L. Huxley

Saints, in Christ your salvation has been secured, and only in Him through the Spirit you can have victory over temptation and sin. Edgar Aponte

When you’re willing to share in the sadness of this sin-filled world, you learn to feel tenderness and compassion for those around you. Sarah Young

Rather than criticize God, we need to learn from Him. We need to have that same love, compassion, and readiness to forgive as God does. Dan Shock

Western society is experiencing God’s permissive judgment in response to our rejection of his word and will. Jim Denison

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. Thomas Jefferson

No one ever told me how much fear is hidden in love. Erin Loechner

Never underestimate the importance of removing stuff you don’t need.