I was reading the other day and was reminded about MLB’s “Iron Man” named after Calvin Edwin “Cal” Ripken Jr. Cal Ripken's record was extensive. He was a first ballot inductee to the Hall of Fame back in 2007 with the third highest voting percentage in history behind Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan. You know what record he holds? It’s the unheard-of record of playing in 2632 consecutive baseball games! Ripken surpassed the previous holder, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees, whose record of 2,130 consecutive games had stood for 56 years. This is a record that Cal holds may stay in the books forever; he will certainly be remembered forever as a legend in the game.

Most sports records are set when a player gets on a hot streak — they have a good game or a good month or even a good season. Ripken's record is the result of a 'hot streak' that lasted more than 16 years. Day after day he simply took another step in the right direction, one game at a time.
Something many people don't know about Ripken is that during his first year as a pro — while playing minor league ball in West Virginia — he made his mark in a different way: he committed a league-leading 33 errors at short-stop.

It wasn't a good start, and since his dad was already well-known in the world of baseball, critics said he was just an over-rated kid, not good enough for life in the big leagues. But Cal kept taking one more step in the right direction, one game at a time. Later in his career he went 95 consecutive games without making an error, and committed only three in an entire season — another record he holds. Ripken's habit of taking one more step took him on a journey from worst to first.

It's a journey you can take, too. God wants to pour out his grace in your life. He wants to change you inside and out. He wants to give you victory over sin, and the power to live the life of your dreams. Today, if you feel like you're the worst, he wants to help you move in the direction of becoming first.

Paul said, "For I am the least of the apostles. In fact, I'm not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God's church. But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his grace on me and not without results." (1 Corinthians 15:9-10)

God is ready to pour out his grace — his special favor — into your life, too. Accept it, and take that another step in his direction. 


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