Levi Velasco, Author
What are you thankful for? Is it your job, family, friends, things you’ve accumulated or your status in life? Are you also grateful for tragedies in your life like sickness, financial meltdown, divorce, fractured relationships or a wayward child?
God is the basis of my thanksgiving. I am grateful for Him who created me, saved me through His Son and gave me meaning and purpose in life to do His will. Because I have totally placed my life into God’s hands and He is able to sustain it no matter what, I have the capacity to give thanks in the good times and the bad. I am confident that in all seasons of life, God continues to work His plan. So whether I am up or down, successful or failing, strong or weak, loved or unloved – in all things I will give thanks . . . to God.
Levi Velasco, Author
On Sunday, November 20th, as we were getting ready for worship service, I heard a song on WMBI (Chicago) entitled The Basics of Life sung by 4Him. Memories of family concerts in the Pacific Northwest came cascading back like a flood. I thought, as I reminisced, it was apropos 25 years ago, but moreso today. Read the lyrics while listening to the song.
We’ve turned the page, for a new day has dawned
We’ve re-arranged what is right and what’s wrong
Somehow we’ve drifted so far from the truth
That we can’t get back home
Where are the virtues that once gave us light
Where are the morals that governed our lives
Someday we all will awake and look back just to find what we’ve lost
We need to get back to the basics of life
A heart that is pure, and a love that is blind
A faith that is fervently grounded in Christ
The hope that endures for all times
These are the basics, we need to get back
To the basics of life
The newest rage is to reason it out
Just meditate And you can overcome every doubt
After all man is a God, they say God is no longer alive
But I still believe in the old rugged cross
And I still believe there is hope for the lost
And I know the rock of all ages will stand through changes of time (to chorus)
We’ve let the darkness invade us too long
We’ve got to turn the tide, oh
And we need the passion that burned long ago
To come and open our eyes
There’s no room for compromise (chorus)
Levi Velasco, Author
As newly-landed immigrants in the US we settled in the land of Lincoln in 1984. Being a new Chicagoan I immediately was drawn to rooting for the Cubs, Bulls and Bears (no offense Sox fans). I remained loyal to these teams even though we had moved away from the area and lived in other cities that had their share of professional sports teams. Our return to Chicago in 2003 rekindled my passion in cheering for these, my sports teams.
I’m sure most of you know by now that the Cubs, after a 108-year wait, finally won another World Series Championship. There a few spiritual illustrations I wanted to point out concerning the Cubs’ feat:
Redemption. There were several times when the Cubs were on the verge of losing Game 7 of the World Series. The team was dogged by defensive miscues, most egregious were two by Javier Baez (one of the youngest) and two by Dave Ross (“Grandpa Ross” to his teammates). Feeling they both let their team down, both Baez and Ross redeemed themselves and each hit the ball out of the park soon after their errors.
Brotherhood. They were their brothers’ keeper. It was evident all throughout the season that the Cubs team cared for each other. There were no prima donna tantrums or evidences of the blame game. This was true in Game 7 of the World Series as well – team members encouraged each other when the going got tough. “We picked each other up,” Javier Baez shared.
Perseverance. Down 3-1 in the World Series, this Cubs team never gave up. Winning three straight games, with two in enemy territory, was a tall order for this very young team. But each rose to the occasion, buckled down, and the Cubbies were able to grind-out back-to-back-to-back wins.
Long-Suffering. The fans, that is. I’ve seen Cubs games on TV and at Wrigley Field (especially in the 80s) when the Cubs weren’t that good. These Chicago Cubs fans never booed them. It’s as if to say, we enjoy watching you play more than “the W” (the win). And so it went for 108 long years, suffering but never wavering in their loyalty to the Cubs.
Trusting God’s Timing. Many fans and Cubs players themselves were unsure of the outcome of the game. There were several times when the Cubs felt assured they’d end their 108-year championship drought, only to be discouraged as the Cleveland Indians fought their way back to contend for the win. Then the rain came, and a 15-minute delay ensued. What now? Jason Heyward, right outfielder, gathered the team and gave an inspirational talk ending it with: “I don’t know how it’s going to happen, how we’re going to do it, but let’s go out and try to get a W.” And win they did! Heyward said that “it was the best rain delay of all time.” The rain ended the drought . . . as it should. The answer? It was in the rain.
I’m sure you can come up with a few more of these parallels, but what is certain is that real life is rife with the manifestations of theology and the stories of characters from the Bible.