Friday, September 12, 2008



By Ramone - September 11, 2008
"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous... Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

- Joshua 1:6,9
It was probably in June that I was watching baseball on TV, and the Hanshin Tigers looked unstoppable in the Central League. As I talked with God (yes, while watching baseball!), I heard Him say that the church was like the Tigers this season.


It was a strange thing to hear, and I shelved it, not wanting to think I'd heard some prediction of who'd win the baseball season. And indeed, it wasn't two months later that the Tigers began to slide, taking several tough losses, injuries, and setbacks. A new star player (Arai) who went to the Olympic team over-extended himself and is out for the rest of the season. And their arch-rivals, the Yomiuri Giants, began closing in on the Tigers very fast, winning game after game. Like many Japanese sports teams, when the Tigers begin to lose, they lose motivation and spirit, and it just gets worse from there.

On the evening of the 11th when I did this picture, I was again watching a game (which the Tigers would go onto win in a walk-off victory in the bottom of the 9th). The Tigers are still in first place, barely, and are doing better than last month. As I watched them play, I remembered how they looked three years ago when they won the Central League pennant. They had an energy, a zest, a zeal. You could see it in the way they lead off from bases and were ready to run. Ready to catch. Ready to hit.

I knew that when they want it, nothing can stop these Tigers!

And God said, "That is just like you!"

I am a tiger in God! He has made me a ferocious tiger!

He tells me,
"Don't forget who you are! Don't be intimidated by the 'Giants' behind you, the old adversaries that lately have come and annoyed you. But instead TAKE HEART and BE COURAGEOUS! For the victory is won! Press on to the finish and stay strong. Learn from your losses and be encouraged and filled with the Spirit!"
I remembered the Tigers' slogan during its many last-place years in the '90s: "Never, Never, Never Surrender!" We never need fear or surrender, because He will never leave us!
Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (nor relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

- Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified Bible)
In the years since becoming stronger (the 2002 and 2003 seasons), the Tigers changed their slogan to: "Be the Best for the Fans!" As I remembered this, I heard God say to me, "I am your #1 fan!"

So yeah, this has been fun and unusual for me! It's not about the baseball team, by the way! It's not about whatever turns out for them this season. Instead He let me know that I am a tiger! and not to forget it. That's who I am in Him, and never surrender to forgetting it. I think it's true of all of us, too!

The words in the picture say,


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