Some sports takes to start you off on this beautiful Friday morning in Fresno:
*The Fresno-area River Park Little League team plays tomorrow night in the Western Regional Championship game at San Bernardino against Arizona (ESPN 2, 6:00 p.m. PT). One of the players on the team, Ryan Clark, is the grandson of Woodward Park members Ron and Karen Clark.
*Wednesday I threw the Rangers under the bus, pronouncing them finished in the AL West race. Since then, the Rangers have won two games by a combined score of 22-2. Hopefully, my pronouncement was premature.
*Tonight, the Dodgers and Giants begin a crucial three-game series that will go a long way in determining how the NL West shakes out. On July 26, the Dodgers were in last place in the NL West. This morning, just 16 days later, the Dodgers are in first. Is that a testimony to good baseball by the Dodgers or mediocre baseball within the division?
*Tonight in Fresno, the AAA affiliates of the Dodgers (Las Vegas) and the Giants (Fresno) do battle at Grizzlies Park. I will be blessed to join Mike and Rena Avedikian and their family in a luxury box for the game. I am excited about my introduction into Fresno Grizzlies baseball.
*Finally, only one college has produced three potential NFL starting quarterbacks for the 2006 season. Can you name them and the college from which they came? Email me if you know the answer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Yesterday was a dramatic day with a terrorist plot to bomb 10 flights from the United Kingdom to the United States foiled by British authorities. The plot, according to a Nightline special last night, was devised as a celebration by extremists of the five-year anniversary of 9-11.
In the face of a world fraught with terror, how are we, the children of God, called to live? Should we cowher down in the face of fear? Or is there another option?
"The LORD is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life -- of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident" (Psalm 27.1,3).
David, writing 1000 years prior to Jesus, calls for confidence in the face of fear. And that can only happen when the unhealthy fears of terroristic threats are replaced with the healthy fear of the LORD.
Jesus said it this way: "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him" (Luke 12.4-5).
If I read Jesus right, his advice is the unhealthy fear that drives us toward cowardice must be replaced by a healthy, confident fear of God and His power.
If the recent events have caused you pause and filled your heart with fear, then today might be a great day to stop and reflect: Who do I fear most -- man or God?