Zechariah 9:6 … and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. 7 And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: ...
2500 years ago, the God of Israel gave the Hebrew prophet Zechariah a vision of the day we live in. A day when the spiritual descendants of the Philistines, the Palestinians lead by Hamas, would have blood in their mouth and abominations between their teeth. The reason we know this prophesy is for today is because Zechariah wrote this passage over one hundred years after the Philistines had disappeared as a distinct people. Yes, the Philistines are back and in their Gaza homeland.
The recent unilateral withdrawal of Israeli presence from the Gaza Strip in August of 2005 has made way for them as a unique entity, separate from Egypt or any other regime. Gaza is now being used as a staging area for rocket attacks on Israel daily.
In response, God says that he is going to take the blood out of their mouth and the abominations from their teeth. Why? Because of cannibalism? Not likely. How do the modern Philistines have blood in their mouth and abominations in their teeth? By killing innocent babies, women, children, and elderly and then celebrating their accomplishment passing out sweets and candies. That is exactly what happened today as Islamic terrorists (presumably tied to Hamas) blew up an Israeli bus carrying noncombatants (women, children, the elderly). True to form, Hamas celebrated with gunfire, sweet cakes, candy, and general celebration.
The Palestinians response to this latest terror attack is eerily similar to the street celebration held in Gaza in March 2011 when armed terrorists broke into a Jewish settlement in the West bank and slit the throats of a Father, Mother, eleven year old boy, three-year old, and an infant as they slept in their own beds.
To us in the western world, it is not rational to celebrate the death of innocents. We would never celebrate the death of innocent children. Israel too has never celebrated the death of Palestinian babies or innocents (despite being accused daily by the Arab media). To Israelis, the death of innocents is the harsh reality when fighting an enemy that puts its offices and battlements in and on residential neighborhoods and buildings; an enemy that hides among women and children to shield itself from combat, and to provoke world-wide outrage when innocents are killed.
To Hamas, the modern day Philistines, it is their duty to kill innocents and a reason to celebrate. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri praised the attack by saying:
"Hamas blesses the attack in Tel Aviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli massacres...in Gaza," he told Reuters. "Palestinian factions will resort to all means in order to protect our Palestinian civilians in the absence of a world effort to stop the Israeli aggression."
To the modern day Philistines, and others of the same mindset, they have a moral duty and obligation to shed the blood of the infidels (especially the Jews). Here is how the argument goes; It is morally incumbent on members of Hamas (and all Muslims) to inflict terrorist attacks, suicide bombings, and constant missile barrages against Israeli towns because for the last sixty five years Israelis have occupied Palestinian land, restricted freedom of movement, demolished homes of terrorist families, and accidentally killed noncombatants. Hamas come by this mindset honestly however, because the Prophet Mohammed himself made no distinction between Infidel combatants and Infidel noncombatants:
Qur'an:9:5 "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war."
Qur'an:8:39 "Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah."
Qur'an:8:39 "So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world)."
The God of Israel will not sit back idly and allow the modern day Philistines, Islamic Terrorists, or any other nation to destroy His heritage. He brought them back to Israel after two thousand years and has promised to restore his Kingdom and establish Jerusalem as His dwelling place. Perhaps it will be the IDF, a natural disaster, or something else, but Gods word is clear; he will destroy the modern day Philistines and Gaza, and leave it without inhabitant. Soon, they will no more celebrate the death of innocents by passing out candies and cakes for the God of the Bible, and of Israel, has given his word that he is going to take the blood out of their mouths and the abominations from their teeth.
This same judgment is coming on all the Islamic world. More to come…
Zephaniah 2: 1 Gather yourselves together… O nation not desired ; 2 Before the decree bring forth , before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you... 4 For Gaza shall be forsaken... 5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.
God’s word is clear. There will not be a Palestinian State side by side with Israel. Before a final decree is issued (presumably by the United Nations), the judgment of God will come upon Gaza and they will be destroyed.
Historically, Gaza was the homeland of the Philistines (also known as the Cherethites). The Philistines were a sea faring people who left the Island of Crete (presumably driven out by natural disaster, Mycenaean Greeks, or other) and settled in Lower Egypt.
The Philistines were promptly defeated out of Lower Egypt and driven into Canaan (Gaza). By the time they reached Gaza, they were ready to stand and fight. So fearsome were the polytheistic Philistines, God would not allow the Israelites departing Egypt to take the shortest path to the Promised Land by crossing through Gaza. The Philistines would go on to become the mortal enemies of Israel and would persist until they lost their independence and were absorbed into the Babylonian and succeeding Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic empires.
A few recent events have occurred making Gaza, and its inhabitants, relevant again on the world stage. In 1948 Israel became a nation again. After the immediate 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Gaza Strip was carved out and acquired its current boundaries (under Egyptian administration) at the cessation of fighting. Then in 1993, the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, gave the Palestinian Authority administrative governance over the area with Israel maintaining control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings apart from the land border with Egypt. The last and perhaps most significant event was the Israeli unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005 giving the native population control of Gaza, which promptly elected (democratically) the Radical Islamic terrorist organization, Hamas, to its leadership.
Hamas's Charter calls for the destruction of Israel. It is to be replaced by a single Islamic Palestinian State. Since 2005, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets and missiles at settlements, towns, and cities in southern Israel. Hamas backed terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have fired approximately 900 rockets and missile shells into Israel this year alone (as of November 2012). Additionally, the range and accuracy of the rockets has increased with support from Iran and others, putting large numbers of Israelis in danger.
The respected Israeli diplomat, politician, and author Abba Eban said in previous negotiations with the Palestinians, “They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Hamas, like its Palestinian Authority predecessor, views Israel’s desire for peace negotiations as weakness; a sign that the moon god Allah is blessing their cause, bringing them closer to victory in their armed conflict over the Jews. Hamas is not interested in peace, unless it is a Mohammedan peace (Hudna).
Perhaps it will be the IDF, a natural disaster, or something else, but God's word is clear; Gaza will be forsaken, destroyed, and without inhabitant.
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.(Proverbs 1:20-23)
It is my belief that to those who have ears to hear, God himself is crying out to our generation through the ongoing stream of news stories that flow across the national consciousness day after day. Because the time is short, the volume is turned up, Lady Wisdom is quite literally crying out…but what is her message?
I believe that the Penn State fiasco provides more than one warning to us all from the Lord;
1) In the battle between good and evil, neutrality is impossible-A non decision is a decision, not standing against evil, is in fact standing for evil. When an assistant coach at Penn State walked in on the sexual assault of a young boy, rather than immediately intervene to rescue the 10-year-old, he left the room!
No doubt he wishes he had done differently now. Perhaps a thousand times over he is kicking himself for his inaction, and will for the rest of his life. But he chose rather to call a supervisor, who reported the incident to someone else, leaving the perpetrator to victimize who knows how many others?
Evil is to be withstood, children are to be protected, those who oppress and victimize them are to be exposed! This is what Wisdom is no doubt crying out about! There can be no neutral position regarding evil.
2) Homosexuality is a treacherous, predatory evil-Penn State has the distinction of being the first major university to host a homosexual fraternity, and is ranked as being one of the most homosexual friendly campuses in the nation, as this Collegian article attests,
For the 10th year in a row, Penn State received a five-star rating — the highest score possible — on the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender-Friendly Campus Climate Index. (Penn State Ranked LGBT Friendly)Because it is an unnatural vice, homosexuality is predatory, especially of the young and vulnerable. There have been ample demonstrations of this in our lifetime, although the willful blindness of our progressive elites in politics, education and the media seek to deny by suppression, homosexuals are a danger to children. Shouldn’t the destruction of the modern Catholic church have been our warning? In our lifetime , homosexuals have infiltrated and destroyed One of the largest and oldest religious institutions in the western world!* Penn State is a smaller scale version of what happened with the Roman church, including the cover-ups by the hierarchy.
3) Sports have become idolatrous in our day-Within days of the scandal breaking out, longstanding coach Joe Paterno was fired. When the Students heard that coach Paterno had been fired, they rioted in the streets overturning vehicles and starting fires! They didn’t riot because they were outraged by the sexual assaults on children, nor for the subsequent cover-ups, rather they rioted because coach Paterno is a “legend” and they felt he was being made a scapegoat.Do you see the near complete moral blindness? Its not just Penn State, Americans have made millionaires and celebrities out of athletes who, had they not been able to pass or catch a football, would probably be serving time somewhere for the various assaults, sexual and otherwise that is almost a routine part of some of our athletes “college career”. Some college coaches bring on a crime wave into their university towns, just by their recruiting of young athletes!
I like Sport as well as anyone, but if the Penn State saga tells us anything, (if we have ears to hear) it is that athletics have replaced God for too many of us. Why was the open knowledge that little children had been violated, allowed to go unchecked? The vaunted show had to go on!
4)* We are living in the last days-
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.(Luke 17:26-30)
Jesus warned that the last days leading up to the final judgment of mankind, would be like the days of Noah and of Lot. The days of Noah were characterized by a population explosion, advances in technology, agriculture and the arts,(see Genesis 4:19-26, 6:1-11) and violence.But the Penn State fiasco is just one example of what it was like in the days of Lot, for all the sordid ingredients are there.The appalling, predatory degeneracy, the willingness to tolerate and even cover up the oppression of innocense,(we are told in scripture,’The cry out of Sodom rose up into the Lord’s ears’), the spectacle of young adults violently demonstrating in the streets.
5)* Finally I believe Wisdom is crying out that hypocrisy is shortsighted for there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed, nothing secret that shall not be brought to the Light… The lesson to be learned from Penn State is not that they were bad people to be loathed and hated because of the exposure. It is that God is soon going to expose all sin, for our God is a God of Holiness and Truth, who hates pretense.
The best thing to do is to confess your sin now, to be willing to be known before God(and man) for who you really are, and to run for refuge to the Ark God has prepared for us, Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Lord.
* By no means do I endorse the Roman church, I have serious theological issues with it. However I know that the vast majority of Catholics abhor what homosexuals have done to disgrace it.
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
It has been dawning on me lately that there are many within the confessing church who have already forsaken the biblical teaching on hellfire, and Divine judgment. The heavy message of a God of wrath, who utterly hates all that is evil, false, and degraded doesn't fit the new "kinder and gentler" humanistic church-growth model adopted by so many.
The popularity of recent heretical books such as Love Wins, by Rob Bell, as well as the rarity of actual teaching on the fate of the wicked even among many evangelical churches have convinced me that this defection is real.
It is almost as though the idea of Divine wrath that underlies the traditional christian teaching on perdition, is seen as a primitive throwback, and somehow beneath the more evolved modern concept of God.
The new and improved evangelicals,(some calling themselves "emergents") are not only rejecting Hell, but they are repudiating some of the very attributes of the God of the Bible.
This is precisely the meaning of the second commandment's prohibition against forming our own preferred image of God, rather than worshipping God as He has revealed himself to be. People don't really reject Hell, they reject God as He has revealed himself to be; Holy, Sovereign, Majestic, Righteous, a a God of wrath against sin as well as a God of mercy.
But most of what we know that is biblical and accurate about hell and judgment comes from the teaching of Jesus himself! He is the one who warns humanity in the starkest terms of the wrath that is coming. More than Peter, Paul, James,Jude or any one else, Jesus warns us of the danger of Hell fire.
How fitting that it is the Saviour and the only Mediator who should be entrusted with this revelation from God.
After all, Peter, Paul, James, Jude, as well as you and I, all fully deserve to go to hell. Jesus alone lived a fully God honoring human life, as the Son of Man. And at the prime of his life He made the offering to God that makes it possible for us all to avoid it.
Furthermore, Jesus, is the one who will actually decide the eternal fate of every human being. Therefore it seems apt that to him also is committed the fullest revelation of the reality and liability of perdition. In scripture we behold him compassionately pleading to all who will listen not to go to hell!
To Jesus, "trivial" sins such as anger, name calling, and mental adultery are so terrible that it would be better (if possible) to maim oneself to avoid them than to indulge them all the way to hell!
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29-30)
Obviously self-mutilation is not the cure of sin, but Jesus is teaching a complete and radical resistance towards indwelling sin, particularly of thought(Eye), deed(Hand), and direction(feet).Those who escape Hell, are at war with indwelling sin!
Jesus also speaks in stark terms about the horrifying level of regret and remorse experienced by those cast out into outer darkness;
"But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:12)
Notice too his constant warning to the "children of the Kingdom", in other words the ones who assume they are sure to go to heaven, as though it were some kind of birthright, rather than an indescribable privilege, a precious gift of mercy.
Once again it is Jesus who warned that the end of the age would see a great judgment, a separation of "wheat and tares" and that the Hell would be as a "furnace of fire";
"As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:40-42)
One of the most frightening images is that of Hell being the place where the "worm dieth not, and the fire is never quenched",
"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 8:47-48)
Notice the urgency of Jesus! His concern that we seriously resist evil, as if all or any of us are in danger of hell fire! I believe that Jesus is the faithful witness to the Truth, the only sure account of eternal reality, He warned more of Hell than he spoke of heaven!
To hear modern preachers and theologians speak of it, you would almost think Jesus didn't believe in hell. But look at this small sampling from the gospels! This isn't Dante's inferno, or some angry fundamentalist, or a medieval monk, these are the words of the Son of God!
It is Jesus who tells us that Hell wasn't really intended for people, it was made for the devil and his angels...
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" (Matthew 25:41)
But we shouldn't assume people won't be going there, because in this context Jesus himself is the one sending people there, no doubt sadly, but surely. Though Hell was made for the Devil and his angels, those who side with the Devil in his rebellion against God, must go there.
Jesus again is the one who specifically warned us of the ultimate disaster, that any should "die in his sin";
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24)
The worst thing that could happen to anyone, is that the should die in their sin! To die unforgiven, is to face the full liability for a life of unbroken resistance to God, the Infinite,Holy,Personal King of the universe.
Keith Green the psalmist/evangelist once wrote a song called "Alter Call" which said,
Most people don't find out till
It's too late,
That someone has to pay the price.
You can pay it yourself (hah) or
Let someone else,
But who would be that nice,
To pay a debt that isn't his, oh I
Know someone like that,
And he's your best friend, he
Really is, he really loves you.
Most people don't find out till
Their half dead, that they need another life.
You say you've heard everything
That's ever been said
About The Way, The Truth, The
You say you've heard lot of
Preaching all before, so many times,
But did you ever open up your
Door, give Him a chance to prove Himself?
Well He's real you know!
I hope you find out before it's
Too late, that there's nobody else
You know it's breaking His heart,
The longer you wait,
Cause you've only been lying to
Cause no one believes a thing you
Say - NOT EVEN YOU!
You know you're gonna find out
That He's the way,
No matter which way you choose,
But I pray you find out by His
Love for you.
Jesus is the one who spoke more on Hell than anyone else, and who did what needed to be dome to save us from Hell, by giving his life to Gd as an offering, a substitute who bore the penalty due us, that God's wrath might be satisfied. Jesus loves you, flee the wrath to come! Come to him for forgiveness and new life before its too late!
By: Jamie Northrup (4 Oct 2010)
Many Americans look back at the 1972 Munich Olympics (38 Years ago this month) as the games that Mark Spitz shocked the world by winning 7 Gold medals in swimming, and the games that Dan Gable shocked the world by winning a Gold Medal in wrestling while not giving up a single point.
Another event occurred at the 72’ Olympics that shocked the world and still leaves many unanswered questions. One night during the games, 11 Israeli athletes, mostly wrestlers, were kidnapped and killed by Islamic Terrorists. Many of the young heroes died trying to save their fellow teammates. Ironically, the very same terrorists responsible for orchestrating the massacre have been leading the current Middle East peace negotiations (I.E. Yassar Arafat, and Mahmoud Abbas, current President of the Palestine National Authority). Arafat even received a Nobel Peace Prize while in the midst of orchestrating terror attacks!? (before his death) Of course, none of the surviving terrorists have ever apologized for the atrocity.
As we remember the fallen heroes of the Munich Massacre (as it is called), let's consider the event from a Biblical lens. Over 2000 years ago, Bible prophets like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and others wrote of a day when the God of the Bible would bring the Jewish people back to the land of Israel after having been scattered over the face of the earth. Jeremiah 30:3 says the following:
"For behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and Judah.' The LORD says, 'I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it."
The prophet goes on to say in Jeremiah 30:6-7:
"...why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? 7 'Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob's [Israel's] distress, But he will be saved from it."
The verses above tell us that the return of the Jews to their homeland would not be peaceful. Rather, it would be dangerous, troublesome, and contested by the nations round about, and even the whole world. Thinking rationally for a moment, can Israel really negotiate peace with people that continue to orchestrate terror attacks against it? Can peace be made with people who are forever committed to its destruction? In this scenario, peace would only be achieved when all Jews are dead! In spite of this, the Bible says in Jeremiah 30:7 that the Jews will be "saved" because of this trouble.
In Luke 21, Jesus spoke to the people telling them what the last days would be like before his return. In the laundry list of signs he gave, (including false teachers, wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences, and violence) Israel, the Jews, and Jerusalem were at the center of His prophecy. Most other prophesies in the Bible are similar.
Zechariah 12:2-3 "Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. 3 "It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”
These amazing fulfilled Bible Prophecies are on continual, daily display in world news reports. The world would do well to take note. Recently however, some prominent evangelical pastors like Rick Warren have told churches to avoid Bible Prophecy. They say that Bible Prophecy is controversial, divisive, and not necessary. Contrast this with what Jesus, Paul, Peter, and all of the Apostles said concerning Bible prophecy. They exhorted all to "watch and pray" concerning the signs of the times; to never be left "unaware". A whopping 1/3rd of the Bible is prophecy. Should Christians truly ignore 33% of the Bible? I think I will follow Jesus, not Rick Warren.
God says in Isaiah 46 that the reason he gave us prophecy is so we will know that He is the true and living God; Not Allah, Krishna, Buddha, or other:
Isaiah 46:9-10 - "9...for I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is none like me,10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done..."
Back to the unanswered question; why were the Israeli wrestlers murdered by Islamic Terrorists? Because to the Islamic world the rebirth of Israel stands as a portent of what is coming. Israel, and all the nations that support Israel, hasten this portent. What is coming? A world without false religion, terrorism, and hatred. A world without false teachers, deceit, and violence. A world without sin, injustice, wars, or famines. A world of peace with Jesus Christ at the helm!
The thought of the return of Jesus was so distressing to the great Islamic Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, that in 1541 after conquering Jerusalem and hearing that Jesus would come back some day through the East Gate of Jerusalem, commanded his officers to forever block the gate preventing Jesus’ return. It remains blocked to this day…but not for long. Jesus is coming back as he said. The rebirth of Israel is a huge sign confirming His promise.
Pastors who do not educate, equip, and prepare their congregations to understand these unfolding signs are not true shepherds. They are what the Bible calls hirelings; merely there to collect a pay check. When the wolf comes, and they always come, the hireling leaves the flock to fend for itself while the wolf comes to scatter and devour the flock. By not equipping their flocks to watch, pray, and be aware of these events, hirelings encourage their flocks to focus on the cares of this life which are passing away.
May we never forget 1972. May the events of 1972, 9/11, 7/7, and all other terror events remind us to keep our eyes continually on Jesus through His Word. May we always hold to Jesus’ promise to us in Luke 21:28:
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.”
Homosexual Adoption: Breaking the Everlasting Covenant [Isaiah 24]
Since 2000, the number of gay couples that are adopting children in the U.S. has risen significantly, according to census data. Statistics from 2009 show that about 19 percent of same-sex couples claimed they had adopted a child on their forms and this number is growing significantly every year.
Homosexual adoption is now a reality on the ground all across the United States. Even President Barack Obama has weighed in as an outspoken supporter homosexual adoption. As more and more states legalize homosexual marriage, and with hundreds of thousands of children now on the waiting list for adoption in the U.S., pressure continues to build for more and more homosexuals to adopt.
According to The Daily Mail, Bryan Samuels, commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, recently said, “The child welfare system has come to understand that placing a child in a gay or lesbian family is no greater risk than placing them in a heterosexual family.”
However, the Bible is clear in its stance on Homosexuality (sodomy) and Homosexual marriage. Throughout the Bible Homosexual behavior and practice is forbidden as a sin against God Himself (Lev 18:22, Lev 20:13, 1 Cor 6:9-10) . Additionally, the
By: Jamie Northrup (6 Nov 2009)
I look back sometimes on my brief wrestling experience as a kid in the state of Iowa. Growing up at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids I wanted to be a part of one of the finest wrestling programs in the state. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the great wrestlers that came from our school like Barry Davis, the Zalesky boys, and others.
I had a few successes, many close calls, and lots of disappointment in my brief wrestling experience. As Iowans know, Iowa is not like most states when it comes to wrestling. We take our wrestling serious. The success of the Iowa and Iowa State collegiate programs says it all. Even though my own wrestling sons have never stood atop the pinnacle of the award stand at Iowa Kids State Wrestling meets, they always manage to perform well against state champions from other states at kids national tournaments. Iowa wrestling is the real thing!
I especially remember those tight matches as a youth. The pressure I felt as I tried to stay off my back and get a few points. I would hear the father of my opponent calling out moves and encouraging his son. As I was losing steam, they were energized and strengthened by their dad’s encouragement. Say what you want about zealous wrestling fathers, but I knew they all loved their sons and wanted them to succeed and grow with every match.
Coming off the mat after losing those matches, I would hurry to a corner of the school and try not to betray my tears. It was always a long wait for my parents to pick me up at the end of the meet. Like most parents raising kids in the late 70’s early 80’s, my parents were not from “sports oriented” families so they really didn’t understand kid’s sports, or kids wrestling. In those tough economic times, it was all they could do to just to work hard and provide for their family. I love them for that.
Moving on from adolescence to manhood, I left wrestling but I always followed my wrestling friends at school and especially the Iowa Hawkeyes. I noticed that the wrestlers who stayed close with their fathers through the years went on to great things. They did not fall to the vices that so many of their peers fell into. They did not get involved with the wrong crowds or get into drugs. However the wrestlers who became distanced from their fathers had many struggles.
Each of our spiritual lives is like this. Ephesians 6:12 says that in the “wrestling match of life”, our real match is not against other people, but against the forces of evil that would draw us away from truth, love, and our Father in heaven. Our opponent is strong, cunning, and deceptive. He knows how to wear us down and will not be satisfied until we are destroyed. However the loving voice of our Father is always there to coach us and equip us for every battle. Because of His victory on the mat (the Cross), He promises us that we can win by believing in Him and listening to His Word. When we slip up, He lets us know and teaches us how not to get caught in the same old moves. When we are victorious, He will not allow pride to creep in and deceive us. When we fall short after years of training, he never gives up on us and continues to coach us in love. He even wipes the tears from our eyes! He has given ALL for us along with His promise in John 3:16, “Whoever believes on Jesus will not perish [lose] but have eternal life [win]”.
My sons know realistically that dad cannot always be there. Nor does dad have all the answers. But their Father in heaven "is" and "does". If they stay close to Him and listen to His voice they will never lose, no matter who the opponent or how many matches they wrestle!
"Therefore brothers, be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain."