Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Normally at this time of the year families are gathered at local ballfields cheering for their sons and daughters as they participate in America’s greatest pastime – baseball.  From the little bitty guys who can barely swing the bat to the more proficient older kids who dream about one day playing in the major leagues, everyone is enjoying participating in this wonderful sport.  Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 crisis, this part of Americana is not happening this summer or, at least, has been delayed.

If we could go watch our children play baseball tonight there are some things we would definitely see and hear.  I am confident we would hear a coach in the dugout calling for a player in the outfield to stand up and put his glove on – those outfielders have a way of becoming disengaged so far away from the action.  I have no doubt some child who has just hit the ball would need to be told to run to first base – it’s so easy to forget what comes next after you’ve focused so hard on making contact with the ball.  I am absolutely certain, in every game at every level of competition, you would hear the coach say to the player, “keep your eye on the ball.” 

Keep your eye on the ball…  This simple instruction is key to anyone playing the game.  Regardless of competency or experience, success in baseball demands the player not lose sight of the ball.  Injuries happen when you take your eye off the ball.  The opponent gets an advantage when you take your eye off the ball.  You just are not going to win if you take your eye off the ball. Keep your eye on the ball…

As 2020 was beginning, I like many others prayed for God to move among us in a fresh way and bring revival to our nation.  I like many others declared this would be a year of spiritual outpouring and a great ingathering of the harvest.  There seemed to be a consensus among church leaders and believers from all walks of life this would be time of awakening for our country.  I believed it strong.

Then it happened…a virus began to spread across the world infecting thousands.  Our country went on lockdown as the death toll from the virus continued to mount.  Schools and businesses were forced to close causing unemployment to reach levels near those of the Great Depression.  Churches were not even allowed to meet in their sanctuaries forcing them to create new methods to share the Gospel and do ministry.  This was certainly not what anyone expected.

Then it continued…a despicable event occurred in Minneapolis as a police officer took the life of an African American man who was already restrained lying on the pavement in handcuffs.  We all saw the video and could not believe our eyes.  This event brought to the forefront again the vile spirit of racism that continues to exist in our nation.  Many people responded with peaceful protests while others took to the streets with anger and violence resulting in additional deaths and destruction.  This was certainly not what anyone expected.

Today I sit in my office at the six month point on the calendar and wonder what in the world will happen next.  I continue to see the effects of Covid-19, both in the health of many friends and the economic stress in our communities.  I grieve at the racial tension that remains high across the United States and my heart hurts because this issue just will not die.  The weight of both of these matters is heavy.  How much more can we take?  The hope of awakening and revival seems so far out of reach.

As I was praying for our country and the many people dealing directly with these two huge attacks of the enemy, the illustration I began this blog with came to mind.  In my spirit I believe I heard the Lord say, “keep your eye on the ball.”  Somehow I believe I am being reminded situations and events cannot stop God’s plans.  Through all the melee of the first half of 2020 my reaction must be that of I Corinthians 15:58 – “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

While we recognize the reality of the corona virus and pray for its end and while we admit and repent of the continued existence of the sin of racism in our country and seek the reconciliation of all races, we must not take our eye off the ball.  The answer to these issues and all others we face is Jesus.  We must reach up to Him before we reach out to others.  It is the fresh wind of His Holy Spirit that will bring us the victory.  A genuine revival in the hearts of men and women will bring the change we need.

At this very moment – with people sick, unemployed and protesting in our streets – I still believe the rain of revival is on the way.  Looking outside, I see a small cloud about the size of a man’s hand and I keep getting a scent of rain.  Some may think I am foolish but I’m preparing for a downpour.  It is coming!

Here is what I’m going to do –

I am going to live in a state of continual repentance – meaning I’m going to constantly be asking the Holy Spirit to keep guard over my heart.  If there is any sin there – maybe way back in the dark recesses that I have ignored – I want Him to reveal it to me and forgive me of it.  I do not want to harbor anything in my heart that offends my Lord.  I do not want any attitude or behavior in my life that is unbecoming to a child of God.  I want clean hands and a pure heart.

I am going to make prayer a lifestyle.  As I stay in communication and communion with my Father, He will direct my steps, orchestrate my life and use me for His glory.  This will keep me in a place I can hear His voice and know His will.  This will allow me to be part of the solution to the world’s problems.

I am going to keep preaching truth with confidence knowing as I plant and water, God will give the increase.  I can do this even with my limited abilities because “the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13) 

If I will live cleanly, pray passionately and preach faithfully there are not enough powers in hell that can stop this God-ordained revival from coming! 

You have got to know, our enemy the devil, knows as we do revival is on the way.  He knows he cannot stop God but he thinks he can distract us.  If he can only get us to look at the angry waves we just might miss seeing Jesus walking to us on the water.  We cannot let this happen!  We won’t ignore the major issues facing us – we will address those as the Spirit leads – but, we will not let anything keep us from the one thing this world needs more than anything else – a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit.  We must not take our eyes off the ball. 

4 thoughts on “Keep Your Eye on the Ball

  1. Thanks my Brother;
    I feel We are right smack in the middle of God’s Plan! Stay focused and don’t fall victim to the “OFF SPEED” ball. Always enjoy your commentary. Love you… Carlton sends…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a timely analogy to sum up what’s been going on—we must keep our eyes on Jesus. My repeated comment this week to some younger friends on Facebook—Jesus is still the answer! Andre Crouch’s Jesus Is the Answer has been running through my mind all week! I’m going to keep my eyes on Him—keep my eyes on the ball!

    Like

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