Category Archives: God’s guidance

When Trees Clap Their Hands

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You will indeed go out with joy
and be peacefully guided;
the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12

The scorching Georgia heat radiated off the black tar of the parking lot where I stood waiting to meet my son. He was running late, and I was quickly running out of patience. To make the most of the delay, I pulled out my cell phone to check emails. But as soon as I read the first sentence, the sickening sight of a blank screen and dying battery appeared, and my frustration level escalated.

I felt a slight, welcomed breeze blow through my hair as I looked for a shady place to sit, and I glanced toward the sky to see if a summer storm might be brewing. That’s when I noticed the lone tree topped with limbs forming a perfectly shaped cross. The beautiful scene stopped me in my tracks as I felt God nudging me with a reminder that my day had been so jammed with appointments and to-do lists, I had not taken time out for HIM.  He too had been waiting for His child to meet Him…and she was too busy.

“Holy goosebumps” tingled from head to toe as I felt God bending down reminding me to align my priorities appropriately. He paused my schedule right there in the blazing hot parking lot to send me a sign of His love. The tree He destined as my messenger also served as my shade from the scorching sun. I remembered the verse from Isaiah,

“You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Joy and peace were blatantly absent from the hours leading up tho this moment, but my frustration melted into joy while I treasured this heaven-sent gift. I did not schedule this divine appointment, but I am so thankful that He interrupted my chaotic life with a holy meeting.

I pray that God will open your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of mountains singing and trees clapping their praise to Him…or growing their limbs in the shape of a cross! Make your time with Him a priority, and He will fill you with joy and guide you peacefully through your day.

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Don’t Widen Home Plate

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“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)

I just read the verse above about the “narrow gate” when my dad forwarded the following article to me. It shares a valuable lesson not only about coaching, but also about parenting…and, most importantly, the narrow road that leads to life:

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who the heck is John Scolinos, I wondered. Well, in 1996 Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. No matter, I was just happy to be there.

He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate. Pointed side down.

Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.

“No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls.

“And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over these seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Bobby. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of throwing the ball over it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause.

“Coaches …”

Pause.

” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? What do we do if he violates curfew? What if he uses drugs? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

Then he turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful….to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.

(copied post – author unknown)

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God Colors

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God Colors

“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
~Jesus
John 8:12 (ESV)

My family and I recently took a trip to explore a huge, underground cavern called “The Lost Sea,” so named because at the bottom of the .75 mile cavern is the world’s second largest underground lake. As our tour descended further and further into the dimly lit cave I was amazed at the enormity of this geological formation inside the earth. At one point our guide stopped the group in a gigantic, cavernous “room” and began to explain its colorful history, describing the types of people this room had housed throughout history: including Native Americans, Civil War soldiers, even Roaring 20’s prohibitionists.

As I was imagining the types of activities which might have taken place right where I stood, the guide told us to remain still for a moment as he turned out the lights. My husband, son and I huddled close together to prepare for this experience. Once the lights were extinguished, there was absolute and total darkness. Deep under the earth, in complete absence of light, I could not see my own hand in front of my face, and without any visual point of reference I began to feel unsure of my footing, even though I knew my feet were planted firmly on solid earth! It was an especially eerie experience to know that my loved ones were standing right next to me, holding hands to steady each other, and yet my eyes could not perceive them…even faintly.

What a big relief when the lights were finally turned back on! As my eyes readjusted to the light, I was amazed at how colors began to pop out at me. The walls and ceiling of the cave seemed to sparkle from the light. The path ahead and my surroundings were once again visible, and my anxious feelings during the brief moment of darkness were calmed.

Jesus tells us in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus brings the light of life to all mankind, and His light ensures that we will never have to stumble in darkness. His light illuminates our path, shines His truth into every situation, and removes the darkness of sin from our lives.

As children of God, we reflect the blazing light of our Savior into the dark corners of the world, bringing out the “God Colors” for others to see. The world is watching how we respond to tense situations, how we treat our family members, how we provide care and comfort to others in need, how we bow our heads to say our blessing of gratitude before a meal, and overall how we live our lives. As the light of Christ shines through our lives in each situation, the God Colors begin to sparkle. God’s presence in our lives is not a secret to be kept, and as His children, our best way of drawing others to the Light of the World is by letting the brilliant light of our Savior shine in our everyday lives.

So let your light shine brightly and reflect the divine God Colors throughout the world!

The Immeasurable Power Within

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“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them,
because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
 

Do you realize that God’s Spirit lives in you, if you are a child of God? His Spirit is your constant companion.  From the day you became a believer in Jesus Christ, He “set his seal of ownership on you, and put his Spirit in your heart as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:22 NIV) So as one of God’s children, you are “sealed” by the royal seal of the King of Glory ~ you are HIS, and nothing can break that bond! And even though you may not always feel His presence, the Spirit of God is always within you. He placed His Spirit in your heart as a security deposit, as a guarantee that He will fulfill all His promises to you.

“You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God Himself is present in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16 (MSG) So if God Himself is present in you, you possess an unlimited supply of God’s power, protection, wisdom, discernment, guidance, and provision.  His capabilities are immeasurable, unlimited and unsurpassed.  You have nothing to fear because GREATER is He who is inside of you, than he who is in the world! Think about this: The Creator of the Universe indwells your heart! The very same might and power which raised Jesus from the dead is at work inside of His children. With Him, all things are possible.

So tap into the limitless power source within your heart. God’s Spirit will work through you to accomplish great things!

  • “Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe, and may it be done according to Your might and power. Friends, it is this same might and resurrection power that He used in the Anointed One to raise Him from the dead and to position Him at His right hand in heaven. There is nothing over Him.” Ephesians 1:19 – 20 (VOICE)
  • “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,” Ephesians 1:18(NIV)

Soul Strength

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“On the day I needed You,
I called, and You responded 
and infused my soul with strength.”
Psalm 138:3 (VOICE)
 

 Do you need an infusion of strength in your soul? Then plug into your Divine Power Source through prayer.

Prayer is your direct connection to God.  It is sharing what’s on your heart with your Heavenly Father ~ not that God doesn’t already know what’s on your heart, because He knows that better than you can even express it to Him. But by expressing your heart’s desires to Him, you acknowledge your dependence on Him and your gratitude for His blessings and help. In fact, one of the shortest verses in all the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT) says simply, “Pray continually.” So in other words, in all circumstances, never stop talking to God and sharing your heart with Him.

  • When you are worried, pray.
  • When you are afraid, pray.
  • When you are thankful, pray.
  • When you are sick, pray.
  • When you’re in need, pray.
  • When you’re heartbroken, pray.
  • When you are confused, pray.
  • When you are happy, pray.
  • When you need courage, pray.
  • When you need comfort, pray.
  • When you need forgiveness, pray.

Even though God doesn’t always answer your prayers in the exact way you think He should, you can be confident that:

  • He bends down to listen ~ “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Psalm 116:2 (NLT)
  • He hears your prayers~ “We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan.” 1 John 5:14 (VOICE) 
  • And He answers your prayers ~  “I will answer their prayers before they finish praying.” Isaiah 65:24 (CEV)

So tap into your heavenly source of soul strength through prayer, and remember this good advice, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Phil 4:6 (MSG)

“Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)

“You can get anything—anything you ask for in prayer—if you believe.” Matthew 21:22 (TLB)

On We Go!

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Go Forward

 

 

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water 
so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”
Exodus 14:15 – 16 (NIV)
 

Is God telling you to “move on” today? Is there something you have been praying about, and you sense that God has told you to move in a direction that seems humanly impossible? You can always be sure that if God leads you to it, He will lead you through it.  If you listen carefully to your Heavenly Father’s divine directives and follow His guidance, He can turn dead ends into miraculous detours.

With mountains on one side and the red sea at their backs, the Israelites felt trapped as Pharaoh’s pursuing army closed in on them.  There was no obvious route for their escape, and the people were terrified. But God told Moses to stop crying out to Him and start moving…into the direction of the Red Sea!  The people had no idea that God would part the sea for them to cross on dry land.  As God’s chosen leader, Moses told the people, “Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14: 13)  Moses had just witnessed God’s incredible deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage from Egypt, and he had faith that God would again protect His children and provide a way of escape from the approaching army. Moses obeyed God’s command, raised his staff, stretched out his hand over the sea, and watched the miracle unfold before his eyes as the sea parted and made a way of escape for God’s children.

So there comes a time when we need to stop praying and start doing. If Moses had doubted God’s directives and continued praying for another answer, the Israelites might have been doomed. Often we refrain from doing whatever God is calling us to do because we are fearful and we doubt our abilities.  But even in your most desperate situations, you can be sure that God is whispering in your ear, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsakeyou.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)  So with God by your side, you can have confidence to move on. Absolutely nothing is impossible for the God of all possibilities.  Never doubt His power nor His abilities.  His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His solutions are beyond our imagination. God’s greatest work is accomplished through our weaknesses.  When we are weak, He is strong, and in our weaknesses God can shine!  On we go!

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 (NLT)

Seeing with Eyes of Faith

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Faith is like a radar
“The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (VOICE)
 

If you have ever driven through a dense fog, you know how difficult it is to navigate safely through the dangerous conditions, especially if you are unfamiliar with the road. Your visibility is limited, and you can’t see what hazards lie ahead.

Sometimes your journey through life can also feel like you are passing through a thick cloud bank of uncertainty.  You can’t see what lies ahead, and you feel scared and unsure of which direction you should head.  But the Author of Life sees your future clearly. After all, He wrote your story, and He knows the beginning, the middle and the end.  If you place your faith in Him and allow His divine guidance to be your radar, you can be certain that He will chart the BEST path for your life. Trust Him for all the things your human eyes cannot see.

 

Your ears will hear sweet words behind you: “Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go” whenever you must decide whether to turn to the right or the left. Isaiah 30:21 (VOICE)

 Teach me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; Guide me in your truth and teach me, for your are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)
 
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)