“A Strange land!”

 KEY SCRIPTURE

 Exo. 2:18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day 19 And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock 20 And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread. 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22 And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.  

“PAXSON FOR THREE!” That phrase has a familiar ring to it for a lot of people who experienced the years when the Chicago Bulls were the toast of the town. Leading the way of course was Michael Jordan and his mind-boggling, jaw-dropping, gravity-defying act, which was later accentuated with an outstanding post-up game, and a masterful display of long-range shooting! And alongside him there was Scottie Pippen, the highly versatile “point” forward, whose play on both ends of the court earned him a spot as one of the 50th greatest NBA players of all time! There was also the hard-working Horace Grant, the youthful-yet-deadly shooter B. J. Armstrong, and a superb supporting cast of various specialists with scintillating skills.

However, let us focus on Bulls guard John Paxson who, is best known for his play during the 1993 NBA Finals. In Game 6 at the America West Arena in Phoenix, the Bulls were down by two as Paxson took a pass from Horace Grant and buried a three pointer with 3.9 seconds left, giving the Bulls a 99-98 lead. The victory was then secured by a last-second block from Horace Grant! In his NBA career, John started 369 games, and averaged 7.2 points and 3.6 assists per game.

To some extent, when relegated to a lesser role we become “a stranger.” Paxson, a long-time starter for the Bulls, joined them in 1985, and had to perennially endure a ferocious battle for his spot. He finally, lost his starting job to B. J. in 1993, and it had to feel strange to be a new bench player. Psychologically, entering into a game now as a reserve, after being a career starter, had to make him feel like he was in a “strange land.” General speaking, others’ expectations for a starter is certainly unlike those for a reserve; the expectations of the starter himself also differ generally from those of a reserve. After being demoted, with little time left in the game, and with most of the familiar names not being involved in the end of the play, ol’ number 5 made the biggest shot of his professional career!

Accomplishing any major goal: (1) usually require that we get some major instructions and training, and (2) is a product of our will. To stimulate our will we must be inspired, or “get it” (see the light) so that we can accomplish the mission our will is confronted with. Before we can finally realize how to engage this mission (or our methodology), we need intuition to bring our objective into a sharper focus. Our desires may give us a general idea of what it is we want in our lives, without actually giving us the solution(s) necessary for its manifestation(s). We can either be selfless or selfish in our desires based on our maturity level. However, do realize that what happened for a “selfless” Paxson could happen for you! “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart (Psa 37:4).”

When not inspired we may feel like we have “a hole in our soul.” Perhaps the feeling is one of anger, or maybe even hunger for that “missing ingredient”. The best way to overcome this is by partaking in “The Bread of Life (Jhn. 6:48-52).” Eating this “Bread”, a.k.a. the Word, which was “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jhn. 1:1)”, prepares you for “the works of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent (Jhn. 6:29).” God “sends” those who are filled with Bread, even as He sent Jesus, because they are anointed for His “work”! “And He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him (Jhn. 8:29).” Heb. 11:6 states “… without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” To battle confusion, emptiness, trepidation, etc., we need to add to our faith:

1. VIRTUE

1. goodness: the quality of being morally good or righteous 2. good quality: a particular quality that is morally good . 3. admirable quality: a particular quality that is good or admirable, but not necessarily in terms of morality 4. cardinal or theological morality: any of the cardinal virtues, such as justice or moderation, or of the theological virtues, such as hope or charity 5. chastity: the moral quality of being chaste, especially in a woman 6. worth: the worth, advantage, or beneficial quality of something 7. effective force: the power or efficacy that something contains to do something (archaic); 

2. KNOWLEDGE

 

 

 

1. information in mind: general awareness or possession of information, facts, ideas, truths, or principles . 2. specific information: clear awareness or explicit information, for example, of a situation or fact 3. all that can be known: all the information, facts, truths, and principles learned throughout time;

3. TEMPERANCE

1. restraint: self-restraint in the face of temptation or desire;

4. PERSEVERANCE

1. determined continuation with something: steady and continued action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite difficulties or setbacks 2. Christianity: Calvinist concept of divine grace: in Calvinism, the belief that God’s grace brings selected people, the elect, to salvation (Jhn. 6:37); Roman Catholic belief in God’s grace: the Roman Catholic Church believes that God’s grace lasts to the end of somebody’s life if that person has maintained his or her good works and faith (Jhn. 5:29);

5. GODLINESS

1. devout: devoted to or worshiping God (formal) 2. divine: fit for God or a god, or having godlike qualities;

6. BROTHERLY KINDNESS:

1. showing the affection a of brother: the showing feelings that a brother might be expected to have toward his sister or brother 2. ability to behave kindly: the practice of being or the capability to be sympathetic and compassionate 3 compassionate act: an act that shows consideration and caring;

7. LOVE

1. eros sexual desire 2. phileo non-sexual affection, friendly 3. agape self-sacrificing;

 all seven which may represent the “fullness of God” (II Pet. 1:5-7, i.e. the seven daughters). Notice how what starts as a “mustard seed of faith (Mat. 17:20),” eventually becomes that ultimate expression of God called agape love (I John 4:8, 16). This love sometimes make us put other people’s problem before even our own, making us more effective leaders (“How is it that ye are come so soon to day?” in KEY SCRIPTURE). So, it is evident that being self-sacrificing shouldn’t be so strange to us!

 

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