Do Referees Get More Respect than God?

How many people do you know that are more interested in watching their favorite sport on TV than going to a place of worship?

How many people do you know that spend more money on sporting event tickets, box seats, paraphernalia of their favorite team (hats, sweaters, T-shirts, etc.) than they do for charity or tithing?

How many people do you think there are who spend as much for tithing as they do when betting on a Football Pool or for their Fantasy Leagues?

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And of all the problems with the worldwide religion called “Sports”, I think the worst one is that people will be more respectful of the rulebook for their favorite sport than they are for the rulebook God gave us.

I don’t follow or watch professional sports, even though I like sports. I have been very active in sports my whole life, but it is a past time, not an obsession.  Still and all, I will sometimes be watching something on a TV somewhere outside my home and there is a sports event on it. I see people argue with the referee or umpire, and they want things to be their own way (“I was safe”, or “How could you miss that foul?”) but, when all is said and done, the Ref gets the final word. And they accept that, or they get thrown out of the game.

Yet, when you tell the same people they shouldn’t eat pork or shellfish, they give you all types of excuses why they are allowed to. They don’t tell the ref that when they got tagged they shouldn’t be made to get off the field, but when God says don’t commit adultery, they say they are unhappy in their marriage, or their spouse doesn’t understand them, or some other excuse that they accept as a legitimate reason why they didn’t break the rules.

Some people have told me that they know what they do is OK, and that they are certain God loves them and will accept them as they are. God does love you, he loves everyone, but that doesn’t mean he will allow you to do whatever you want to do!

Now here’s the weirdest part: they know the Referee will not agree with them, but they expect that God will!  Really? They know that they have to abide with the referee’s decision because that’s what the rulebook says, but when it comes to God’s rules in the Bible, well…that’s different.

Actually, they’re correct: it is different. When you ignore the referee, the worst thing that happens is that you get thrown out of the game. You still have plenty of other games you can play in. However, when you ignore God, you don’t get thrown out of a game, you get thrown out of eternity! The Ref may send you to the showers, but God will send you to the Lake of Fire. And his ruling is forever!

Yeah- I would call that a BIG difference.

I expect an unbelieving person would ignore God without any problem, but how can anyone who professes to believe in God ignore him? As for people who are part of organized religion, Gentiles have been told God’s Torah is only for Jews and many Jews have been taught the Talmud is God’s word and takes precedence. These people may be ignoring God thinking it is OK, without really understanding the consequences of their actions. I can understand how they would think they aren’t doing anything wrong, which is the perfect example of the blind leading the blind. But as the traffic cop will tell you when you say you didn’t know the speed limit was only 35 MPH, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law.” And likewise, when people will be facing God (which we all will have to do at some time) and tell him, “But that’s what they always told me!”, I can’t speak for the Almighty, but I would assume he might reply with something like this:

“I understand that’s what they told you, but it is what I say that counts!”

You may have been taught that some of God’s rules are not for you, so next time you see someone arguing with the Referee please think about this: how will you convince God that his rules are wrong?

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Have a blessed day, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

We all need a scorecard

Ever been to a baseball game? You’ll hear vendors crying out, “Hey! beeeeer heeeere!” or “Hot dawgs! Git yer hot dawgs!” They also scream, “Scorecards! Can’t tell the players widout a scorecard!” (you may have noticed my experience at baseball games has been exclusively in New York stadiums.)

It’s the scorecard that tells you who is who on the teams. And with the scorecard you can also keep track of the each play, marking down who scored when, which players (and in what order) played the ball in the field, and later this record can help you to relive the game and re-familiarize yourself with the players you had seen.

In real life we all need a scorecard, but not for baseball players. We need to know who the spiritual players are, the good guys from the bad guys, if you will.

The legions of the enemy don’t have uniforms, and (frankly) neither do the angels of God. The way we tell who is who is by following the advice that Yeshua gave in Matthew 7:16. In the same way you tell an orange tree from a lemon tree by looking at the fruit that grows on it, we can tell the good guys from the bad guys by looking at their fruit. A good tree gives forth good fruit, so look at the fruit of the person.

And remember that most everyone we look at is human, and like humans, not every fruit from even the best tree will always be good. And also remember that a good tree can sometimes be attacked by bad bugs, turning their fruit rotten even as it hangs on the branch (Job would be a good example of this allegory- he was treated with disdain by his friends because of the suffering God allowed to test his faith, so even though his fruit seemed bad because of the tsouris he was going through, Job was still a good tree and once the ‘bugs’ were removed, he again put forth good fruit.)

This is a hard thing to do because no one always has good fruit. The bad tree can produce fruit that seems good, but may be full of worms. As they say, the only thing worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm is finding half a worm. Sometimes we end up knowing that the fruit is bad only after having taken that bite.

The thing to do is throw the fruit away once we realize it is bad, but not let that turn us off to trying new fruits, or trusting in trees that seem to have good fruit.

The enemy will turn out what seems to be good fruit to get us to bite into it, and once we taste his fruits, we are in big trouble. That’s because the fruit of the enemy is extremely habit-forming. It tastes good, it makes us feel good and we want more of it because it appeals to our sinful nature, the natural part of us that is hedonistic and self-absorbed.

How do we tell the fruit of the enemy from godly fruit? Well, you keep score with your scorecard and you learn the players.

The scorecard we all need, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is the Word of God- the Bible. And we also need the announcer, who is the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, to keep us aware of all that is happening, play-by-play, so we know what is happening as we watch the game unfold.

Reading the bible is so important- you have heard me preach this to you hundreds of times, and I will never stop saying it. Reading the bible is so important (oops- there it is, again!) because it is the best way to know the good guys from the bad guys.

The fruits of the spirit are told to us by Shaul (Paul) in Galatians 5:22-23; and the 13 attributes of God are related by Moshe (Moses) in Exodus 34: 6-7. This is the “fruit” that we should look for. And no one will have all of these, but the ones who regularly show most of these fruits are the ones we should trust. The ones who only show a little are the ones we should watch very closely.

You don’t need to watch your friends, and you should never take your eyes off your enemies.

If you haven’t been using your scorecard, now is the time to get it out and track this game (like it or not, you are in the game of salvation and you need to pick a side.) Read Galatians and Exodus (as referenced above) to start, if nothing else. But that’s not enough- you really need to read the entire bible, that’s from Genesis to Revelations. Even if you aren’t Christian (i.e. you’re Jewish and not Messianic) go ahead and read the New Covenant writings. If you can, get a Messianic version so the subtle anti-Semitic references aren’t so distasteful, but read it. Yeshua (Jesus) did not create a new religion- that was Constantine. Yeshua preached and taught Torah because that was the only scripture there was. In fact, Yeshua was, is, and always will be the Living Torah.

Here’s a pre-game warmup for you regarding the time from Yeshua’s birth to about the Third Century: when He was born there were Jews and Pagans. That’s was all. After He started His ministry, there were Jews who did not accept Him as their Messiah, Jews who did, Gentiles (i.e., pagans) who accepted him and were converting to Judaism, and pagans who kept to their religion.  After Constantine “legalized” (what at that time was being called) Christianity, at the Council of Nicea it was Constantine who created the “Christian” religion which totally separated the Jews and the (now called) Christians.

When you read the entire bible, more than once, and memorize the attributes of God and the fruits of the spirit, then you will be able to hear the Ruach tell you who to trust and who to watch out for.

As Sherlock Holmes used to say at the beginning of a case, “The game’s afoot!” This game is afoot, and has been since Adam and Eve got their eviction notice. But we’re in the Ninth inning, and the game is going to end soon.

The bible tells us that the loser will have a tremendous rally in the top of the ninth inning, and it will look as if the home team (God owns the earth so He is the home team) will be too far behind to catch up. But don’t worry- this scorecard is already filled. Yeshua will hit the ultimate Grand Slam that will defeat the challengers, and everyone on God’s team will win the universe, for all eternity.

You know that credit card that ends it’s commercials with the catch phrase, “What’s in your wallet?” Well, here’s my catch phrase: “Who’s team are you on?” And don’t be fooled by anyone who says you don’t have to choose a side because that is a lie. Yeshua tells us, clearly, that whoever is not with Him is against Him. And when you read the Tanakh, that is clearly what God says, as well. Just go to Exodus 20 and read the first two commandments, if you think God is willing to cede any part of His authority or uniqueness.

So, nu? Who’s team are you on?