[Note: #998, #999 . . . #1000! . . . anticipation is building.]
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith (1 Peter 5:8-9, NLT).
In the end-times, we must stay alert. We should be watching and standing firm.
I was a lukewarm Cincinnati Reds baseball fan. I’m fanning the flames of revival for the Reds again. Why?
Elly De La Cruz!
If you have been living in a bubble, not paying attention to life, and generally unaware of today’s important matters, you may not have heard of Elly De La Cruz!
Shame on you.
De La Cruz is a rookie baseball player with the Cincinnati Reds. Not just any baseball player but the fastest baseball player, with the strongest throwing arm, and hitting the ball with more velocity than any other major league player.
He is from the Dominican Republic, but most who have seen him play say that his skill level indicates he is from another universe.
I recently watched a video of him hitting a single to first base, stealing second base, stealing third base, and then stealing home. That’s not done in major league baseball — the players are pros, and they are not caught unaware.
But it happened.
Many players steal second base as it’s a long throw for the catcher, and once in a while, someone steals third from second – more difficult because the catcher has a shorter throw.
But nobody steals home plate. You have a pitcher throwing 95 m.p.h. fastballs, and the catcher is sitting right behind home plate!
Yet Elly De La Cruz stole home. How? Nobody was watching.
I mentioned at the beginning of this blog that I watched the video. Now a confession: I watched it 23 times. I sat down the morning after that game to read my Bible.
I saw a video of the base stealing on my news feed and watched it 23 times.
God still loves me.
Let me give you a Pastor Grant re-cap of the base stealing.
De La Cruz hits to first. Pitcher throws his pitch to the next hitter, and De La Cruz runs toward second . . . the catcher throws the ball to the shortstop at second base . . . too late . . . Ely is safe! The pitcher pitches again, and De La Cruz steals third with the opposing team not even attempting to stop him.
Ely De La Cruz rounds third, takes his helmet off, rearranges his hair, puts his helmet back on, and steals home.
What? Yep, nobody was watching because nobody expected him to do it. The pro baseball players on the opposing team weren’t alert.
While De La Cruz rearranges his hair, the catcher throws the ball to the pitcher and then turns his back on De La Cruz.
Ely De La Cruz, standing between third base and home plate, sees the pitcher turn his back and runs toward home.
The pitcher wasn’t expecting it, the catcher wasn’t expecting it, the broadcasters were caught unaware, the home plate ump had taken off his protective facemask preparing for the next hitter, the fans were buying pretzels, and Ely De La Cruz steals home.
Nobody watching. No one alert.
Today . . . gender being stolen, children’s virtue taken in schools, the viability of the dollar suspect, respect for the Bible lost, faith in God dwindling, and righteous living ridiculed.
Stay alert, watch out for your great enemy; the devil prowls about.
Since I am a renewed Reds fan, I think it’s fine for opposing teams to fall asleep while Ely De La Cruz is on base.
But as a pastor, I’m praying for the church to wake up.