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In his short devotional from First and Goal, my son Jake (former NFL player) shares about his pumpkin patch experience when he was five. Yes, I was embarrassed, but did I expect less from a kid who scoffed at the idea of the Easter Bunny at age three? Nope.

598660_10151457603074942_866131723_nDisguise Coverage: When the defense adjusts its coverage to trick the offense. The defense will align in one form of coverage and shift to another after the ball is snapped to prevent the offense from recognizing which type of coverage they are using. They usually switch their alignment and make you think they are going to do one thing when they are actually attempting something else.

imagesWhen I was five, my mom took my little sister and brother and me to a pumpkin patch. We met a crowd of kids talking to a pumpkin. Well, not exactly a pumpkin, but a four-foot round orange object with dark mesh covering the eye and mouth openings.

The scene did not sit right with me. I wanted to understand this odd pumpkin being, but I’d given up believing in the Easter Bunny at age four because I couldn’t fathom the idea of a six-foot-tall bunny who filled kids’ baskets with candy once a year. Rabbits don’t get that big. And talking pumpkins? No way. Didn’t fly with me.

That autumn day at the pumpkin patch, I took a step closer to Mr. Pumpkin. “You’re not really a pumpkin.”

Mr. Pumpkin chuckled low. “Why, sure I am, little boy.”

I asked him a lot of questions, like if he was a very short guy, or a kid that could fit inside the pumpkin, or a guy standing somewhere else and talking into a microphone. While I attempted to solve the pumpkin patch mystery, my mom tugged me away from the murmuring crowd. She frowned and said parents were upset because their kids actually believed in that orange dude. Apparently, I’d ruined the day for a few innocent, trusting children.

False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24).

From a young age I was a straight shooter who didn’t put up with nonsense. I didn’t like to be tricked even in fun. Though Mr. Pumpkin probably hadn’t engineered an evil plan to lead kids down a bad path, I felt it was better to recognize what was real and what wasn’t so I didn’t get tricked. That was my take back then. It still is today.

In football, the disguise coverage can trick us and throw us off. You have to be on your toes and aware. The same applies to all life situations. The wise recognize liars, false prophets, and false teachings. Maintaining spiritual insight keeps us on track with God’s plan.

Confused? Got questions? When in doubt, ask God, seek His wisdom, study Scripture, and talk to your pastor or a trusted Christian friend. But don’t be tricked, even if the rest of the crowd is lured into false teaching.

12016186_10156044039905635_176705038_oFirst and Goal

Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive…but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes. Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.

Jake’s journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You’ll feel as if you’re lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you’re about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God’s dream for you.

Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger.

Jake blogs at www.typewon.net

He can be reached through the following social media:

Facebook Page (Type Won): www.facebook.com/typewon1

Twitter: @sugarfreejb82

Instagram: Jakebyrne81

Email: typewonquestions@gmail.com

First and Goal, published through Harvest House Publishers, can be purchased at many books stores and online booksellers. Link for Book at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FAYKo8