24/365

24/365

Since my boys have moved away it is now my responsibility to watch football with Jeff. Football is Jeff’s favorite sport, and I am pretty sure it is the only sport he really likes. Of course for Jeff being born and raised in Alabama, there is only one team and you guest it, it is Alabama. What once was a time that I made snacks and went shopping while the boys watched the game. Is now my responsibility to sit with Jeff and watch the game and all sports related news because after all, he looks so lonely watching the game by himself, and he has since given in to watching Hallmark movies with me, since Amy has moved away, so you can see this empty nest thing has changed everything in our lives.  

In the process of learning to love this sport, I have watch a lot of documentaries of just how Alabama works because that is what I like, I like knowing about the administrative part of it. One thing I was surprised to learn was that the Alabama football players don’t just train during the school season. No! They school and train year round. Once you make the team, you are Saban’s and you do what he tells you to do. I was really kind of shocked to hear this because for some reason I just thought September through January is all the time they spent on football. But that is not the case.

If you have been locked in a cave somewhere, then you may not know that the Southeastern Conference National Championship game was this past Saturday. Where Alabama played Georgia and won 28-35. But it was not an easy task, Georgia was ahead all but just a little over a minute of the game. (the last minute at that)  Something that hasn’t happened to Bama at all this year. Up to this last game I believe the longest Alabama had been behind in a game this season was about 70 seconds.

It looks as if Alabama is on its way to winning it’s 17th National Championship and just won it’s 27 Southeastern Conference Championship. Unless you were raised around this kind of excellence you really can’t comprehend what Alabama football means to it’s fans.

But it really isn’t that different than being a follower of Christ. There is an standard of excellence that is expected from God from His creation and we as His followers are expected to train and follow Him 24/365. We can’t just expect that, showing up for church once a week thinking this is gonna get us to the level of relationship with God that we need to be, so we can tackle this day to day life we live.  

Alabama is known as a 2nd quarter team mainly for their endurance, not because they often come from behind in the last half, but because they don’t give up when they are ahead. They don’t quit. They play up to their potential all 90 minutes of the game, not their opponents abilities, but none of that would be possible if they didn’t train 24/365.

Our life of following Christ is a 24/365 choice. We don’t get to just pick and choose when to be nice to our neighbor because God already said “Do unto others as you would have other do to you” and  We can’t just tell God, I don’t have time for you right now, or when we get scared we run to anything but Him. Because He already told us that” we should have not other God’s before Him!”

Most Christians don’t know what God’s word says, that is why we are so easily deceived into doing things that aren’t true and we sure don’t either, know or believe the promises He made us like “All things work together for good to those that love Him”. because if we did, we wouldn’t get discouraged so easily.

The Alabama football team, was able to endure to the end of the game this past week because they train 24/365 and in the last minute of the game won. In fact it was sort of a restoration story as our 1st string quarterback, Tua,  got hurt and was pulled out and was replaced with the 2nd string quarterback, Hurts, who took us to the victory.

The funny thing is, almost a year ago the exact opposite happened. Last year Tua, who is our first string quarterback this year was our 2nd string quarterback, and a similar situation happened then in a championship game. These 2 quarterbacks have worked as a team this past year. They aren’t in a competition their goal is for the good of the teamWhen many people thought last year’s first string quarterback  Hurts, should leave Alabama football when he wasn’t put back in as 1st string this year. But Hurts endured and knew Saban had a plan and he trusted the process he was going through. Doing so, he was able to restore his name and now he is admired more than he ever was before because of the character it showed. Hurts is a better player by being on the second string this year, because he was able to work on the things he needed to improve on. Then, when the test came, he put that new ability to use and won the game for his team.

I wonder if any of you have ever felt like you were discarded to 2nd string in this life? Have you ever felt like you failed and there was no coming back? God wants you to know, that He is working on you and we are all just in the process of life. You may not feel like you are on the 1st string team right now, or maybe you don’t even feel like you are on the team at all.

But that is why we train everyday as Christs follower 24/365. We need to read our bible, pray, listen to God, follow what His word says, work out with His team (at church on Sundays)  Then when we play in this game called life, we are prepared, we know God’s word, we know who we are because of God’s word and because we know His promises. We endure to the end when we trust the process.

God took what Hurts thought might be the end of his career in college football and turned it around to a winning championship. Because over this last year, Hurts has been faithful to train, practice, and he didn’t quit.

I don’t know what you are going through today, but don’t quit, don’t give up! Trust the process. Just like the story of Joseph in the bible. He could of given up and turned his back on God when he was sold to slavery and the later, put in prison. But all the while God was using it for His good and God has good plans for you too – Just trust the process.

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Life isn’t a game but Alabama football is.

If you know anything about my family you know, there is only one sport as far as we are concerned. Seriously, I didn’t even realize the World Series was going on and I hate to admit it but, I missed last years too. The last time I watch a World Series was when the Royals was in it and well, of course, it was only because the Royals was in it.

I mean it is football season for goodness sakes, why is anyone playing baseball? But if you know my family you know it isn’t just any football team that we love. No, we only focus on one team, a team that has been supported by the Miller family for generations. The only football team that we pull for is the University of Alabama. My husband was born and raised there, and in Alabama, there is really only 2 teams and the love for them does not co-exist in one household, you are either a fan of Auburn or Alabama and to love one is to hate the other. It has been said that there is no greater rival between 2 teams than Alabama and Auburn.  So, needless to say, this Kansas born girl, knew that I too would have to love Alabama football when I married into this family. Our children were raised to love the team too! When they were little we would ask them “What does the dog say?” and they would bark like a dog. Then we would ask “What the cat say? and they would meow like a cat. Then we would ask “What does the elephant say” and they would yell “Roll Tide!” We have continued this tradition with the grands as well.

When the boys lived at home, they would sit around the television, with their dad each weekend,  watching the game. Following the game, my husband would pick up the phone and call his dad, where they would debate about the game, play by play. They would discuss how each player could have been played better. This was a bonding moment for Jeff and his father. Two years ago when Jeff’s dad passed away that all changed. Since our boys don’t live at home anymore, they have continued the tradition, although they may not be watching with dad in the same room we know they are sitting around a TV somewhere watching the game, and after the game, the phone will ring and now, Jeff the patriarch of the family, gives the advice and together they debate the games.

So, with the boys out of the house, I have now had to become Jeff’s game watching partner. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind it. But honestly, I never really have understood it all. I mean I get the basic’s, There is a ball, and some guys on the field and they run back and forth on the field and when they get the ball in their end zone they get some points, I get that. Although I do have to say when Jeff and I started dating, I played a little trick on him, He told me that he played football at his High School. So I asked, all innocently and with a twinkle in my eye “Does your team make a lot of home runs? ”  Jeff, looked at me shocked, unsure if I was serious or not and replied “Yeah”.  I am certain he walked away wondering ” What he had gotten himself into?” Well, I have come a long way since then. I know a little more now. So with the boys gone, I am have learned I kind of enjoy watching the sportscasters during the week discussing the stats for the games. See I am no longer the snack hostess for the big game day, as I was so many years when the boys were home and they had their game day. No, now I have moved into a full-fledged spectator and Jeff has learned to make his own cheese dip.

Another thing that I have realized that I enjoy is listening to the Nick Saban when he is interviewed by the press. See, Alabama being undefeated is No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches polls, and most recently was ranked No.2 in the college football rankings. In an interview last week on ESPN, he told the press, “I could care less about the poll,” Saban added “You won’t see me waste any time watching TV or who is 1 and who is 2. It doesn’t really matter. What really matters is how you play the rest of the season.”

 Those comments got me thinking………..Wouldn’t it be nice, if all the people who claim to follow Christ felt the same way?   What if they gave up worrying about the opinions of others. All too often as a follower of Christ but an inhabitant of this world, we get way to caught up in worrying about what other people think.
See, what I like about Nick is that he isn’t looking around him to see what the other coaches are trying to do so he can copy them and he doesn’t want his players listening to the comments about how good the team is. He recently compared the positive comments that the press was saying about the team, to rat poison.  See, Nick wants his team to stay focused on what is ahead, he knows this season isn’t over yet and if they get distracted they may miss something they need to do to defeat the next team. I believe what Saban wants from his team is for them to play 100% every game. You know, one of the things that I love about the tradition of Alabama football is they want to be the best and they expect the team to give 150% for the whole 90 or so minutes of that game every week. They expect the best and if they don’t get it, you won’t be playing on that team. What if we had that kind of commitment to God, What if we gave Him our all. What if we quit worrying about what everyone else is doing, saying and expecting of us and we just focused on His word and His will? See cause the truth is if we aren’t giving Him 150% then the truth is we really aren’t playing on God’s Team. The Bible tells us that “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other….. ” Matt 6:24 And you know what verse 25 says, .”…do not worry….”. So how about we stop worrying about what others think, and we just live for God. Let’s give Him our all with what little time we have left in this game we call life because in the end it really isn’t a game so we need to get it right now and following Jesus is the only right way to live.