(Image courtesy of https://wesleymemorial.wordpress.com.)

Football season is now over.  And with daylight savings time, I now come home in plenty of time to enjoy the darkness.

Football was
pretty rough this year.  We lost seven out of our ten games, ending up with three wins (for those of you who struggle with math, you can thank me later).  Our final game was an away game against a school called Jackson South Side.  I'm kind of embarrassed to say the score.  Let's just say South Side set school records and even a few state records.  We lost in humiliating fashion, 70 to 52.  Needless to say, it was a very disheartening way to send the seniors out on their last game of their high school career.

All in all, the football season was not a complete loss.  I know that God used me in some capacity, if just to encourage the handful of Christians on the team.  It is so incredibly difficult to be a Christian teenager in today's culture, even more so than when I was a teenager less than a decade ago.  Think about it: According to the LA Times, in the year 2000, Vermont was the first state to recognize civil unions, while there were other states that were banning gay marriage in their state constitutions.  Today, just thirteen short years later, there are fourteen states that legally recognize same-sex marriages.  Wow.

Why did I pick same-sex marriage to show that life as a teenager today is more difficult?  I am showing that society no longer accepts Biblical truths as relevant.  It is a free-for-all.  Everyone can do what they want.  I see this firsthand every day in our public school building.  It can be very overwhelming.  And it is deceiving even the strongest of Christian teenagers today.

But even in such trying times as these, I was approached by a couple mothers after the season, thanking me for being a godly, male influence to their sons.  I am extremely humbled thinking about this even now; what have I to offer?  I am sinner saved by grace.  And I have been set free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2) in order to point others to Jesus.  That is all I am worthy of - to point others toward The Source.  I am honored to even be able to do that.

The days we live in are full of unrest and untruth.  There are very few who stand for what is right anymore.  And if they do, I fear the day is coming when they will be silenced.  Yes, even in America.  And it is extremely scary.

That is, if I didn't know who was still in control.

The Bible has much to say about what will happen in "the last days."  In fact, none of the deeds of lawlessness today should be a surprise to those who believe in Jesus.  Jesus foretold these days when man would commit abominations and substitute the truth of God for a lie, just as they did in Paul's days, as he writes in Romans 1.

It would be very easy to lose hope and give in to despair at the sight of the tsunami of evil and corruption that is sweeping over our entire world.  But I will not give in so easily.

No; even though I know not what the future holds, I still know who holds the future.

The Apostle Paul sums up the proper Christian response to these days we live in best:
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and I make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize!" (I Corinthians 9:24-27).
Perhaps it's the football player in me, but I love the idea of beating my body and making it my slave, bending it to my will (which is Christ's will, ultimately).  I love the thought of taking on the enemy with the power and the strength of Jesus Christ before me, behind me, and to the side of me, running headfirst into the wave of destruction and deception that is overpowering the masses around me.  I love the fact that Jesus carried His cross through the winding streets of Jerusalem - bleeding, sweating, and shaking with exhaustion - to Calvary so He could bear my sin.

That's the Son of Man I follow.  That's the God I serve.  That's my Savior, paving the way for me to do the same by His power, for His glory today.  Blood, sweat, tears, even exhaustion - I will bear them all to the end result that even one might know Him.  Oh Lord, do not let me consider my life so important so as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11).

Put your hope and trust in the Lord!  The Alpha and The Omega, The Beginning and The End, The One who holds the future!

Therefore, I urge you, fellow brothers and sisters: Do not give up.  Do not give in.  You are the Lord's, bought with a price.  Honor God.  Fight the good fight of faith!

"They overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony: they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death" (Revelation 12:11).

I'm fixin' ta die, y'all!