Category Archives: Hope

Our Global Reboot

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“Come away by yourselves to a || SECLUDED|| place and rest a little while” ~ Love, Jesus (Mark 6:31)

Perhaps God is using this world-wide pandemic for a global #reboot. People all over the earth who were ‘continually coming and going’ have halted their busy-ness and find themselves in a ‘secluded place.’ In the stillness of these moments, let’s take time to re-evaluate our priorities and realize what is truly important.

Over the last few weeks, we have had a front row seat to witness healthcare workers, National leaders, state leaders, local leaders, truckers, grocery workers, business leaders, ministers, athletes, celebrities and ordinary citizens come together like never before in history to work for a common goal. We are witnessing God’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” in action!

When this #pandemic storm passes, let’s never go back to our “old normal.” Let’s use this experience with #covid_19 for a time to reset to a new normal where we eliminate the clutter in our schedules and embrace God’s command to love our neighbors.

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12: 30 – 31

“We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan.” Romans 8:28

 

Pray with Your Eyes on God – Not Your Difficulties

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“Then Peter called to him: ‘Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.’ ‘All right,’ the Lord said, ‘come along!’ So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.”

Matthew 14:28 – 30 TLB

We may not be called to walk on water, but we do walk through periods of tumultuous circumstances in life. Right now our world is battling the pandemic virus COVID-19, and we are being tossed about in uncharted waters of a global shutdown. Every time we turn on the television or scroll through social media, we are inundated with a flood of bad news. If we focus on the swirling waves of difficulties surrounding us, we can easily feel like we are being swallowed up by the surge of life’s problems.

Peter experienced a rather unusual example of God’s power when he went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. His faith in Jesus gave him the courage to throw his leg over the side of the boat and step out into the stormy sea.  However, his faith wavered when he realized what he was doing. Once he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the crushing waves around him, he began to sink.

Like Peter, we often start out with great intentions. We may be “prayed up” and filled with holy confidence before we begin to face the day. But once we wade into the undulating sea of life, our faith begins to falter, and we sink in despair. We feel ill-equipped to navigate the storms that batter us. Yet this doesn’t mean that we have failed. When Peter’s faith faltered, he immediately reached out to Jesus. In his time of greatest fear, he called on his Savior to rescue him.

When you are afraid of the troubles that swirl around you, keep your eyes on Jesus’ power rather than your own inadequacies. Call out to Him for help, and He will rescue you from the stormy seas.

“We have to pray with our eyes on God ~ not on the difficulties.” ~ Oswald Chambers

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:31-33

Every Storm Runs Out of Rain

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God is the ultimate // S t o r m  W h i s p e r e r ! //

He’s still in The business of calming storms — even pandemic life storms. When you feel like your courage is melting in the face of these desperate circumstances, call on the One who can hush the towering waves of panic and turn them into peace. 🌊 🌊🙏🏻☝🏻✌🏻🙌🏼

“So they cried out to the Lord in their distress, and God brought them out safe from their desperate circumstances. God quieted the storm to a whisper; the sea’s waves were hushed. So they rejoiced because the waves had calmed down; then God led them to the harbor they were hoping for.”

Psalm 107: 28 – 30 (CEB)

Choose Faith Over Fear

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Get vaccinated with a dose of Faith.

Read Psalm 91 aloud (below), and let the power of His words melt away your anxiety and fear. As you read the psalm, you can turn it into a powerful prayer to the Lord in behalf of you and your loved ones. God is greater than the hardships we face, and no problem is too great for God…not even COVID-19!

While He has us in a world-wide Holy Time-Out, you can replace panic with peace by spending time feasting on the soul food of His Good News, not the constant social feed of bad news.

God is teaching us to trust in HIM — Not the economy, not the stock market, not your job or your bank account.

Put your faith in the One who has overcome the world and rest in the shadow of His wings.

Choose Faith over Fear!

Psalm 91 ~

Whoever rests in the shadow of the Most High God
will be kept safe by the Mighty One.
 I will say about the Lord,
“He is my place of safety.
He is like a fort to me.
He is my God. I trust in him.”

He will certainly save you from hidden traps
    and from deadly sickness.
He will cover you with his wings.
Under the feathers of his wings you will find safety.
He is faithful. He will keep you safe like a shield or a tower.
You won’t have to be afraid of the terrors that come during the night.
You won’t have to fear the arrows that come at you during the day.
You won’t have to be afraid of the sickness that attacks in the darkness.
    You won’t have to fear the plague that destroys at noon.
A thousand may fall dead at your side.
Ten thousand may fall near your right hand.
But no harm will come to you.
You will see with your own eyes
how God punishes sinful people.

Suppose you say, “The Lord is the one who keeps me safe.”
Suppose you let the Most High God be like a home to you.
 Then no harm will come to you.
No terrible plague will come near your tent.
The Lord will command his angels
to take good care of you.
They will lift you up in their hands.
Then you won’t trip over a stone.
You will walk on lions and cobras.
You will crush mighty lions and poisonous snakes.

The Lord says, “I will save the one who loves me.
I will keep him safe, because he trusts in me.
 He will call out to me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in times of trouble.
I will save him and honor him.
 I will give him a long and full life.
I will save him.”

 

 

 

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’s Help When You’re In Over Your Head

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A personal message from your Heavenly Father:

“But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place…
    the One who got you started…:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you…:
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.”

Isaiah 43:2 – 3 (MSG)

So today if you are experiencing deep waters of difficulty, and you feel like you’re in way over your head, don’t be afraid and don’t lose hope. God knows you by name, and He knows every messy detail of your life. He’s right beside you in the rough waters, and He will bring you safely through them ~ You will not go down. This feeling you have, like you’re between a rock and a hard place, is only temporary. God has big plans for your future, and He can use everything you’re experiencing for your good. Your Savior paid a huge price just for you ~ That’s how much you mean to Him! That’s how much He loves you! Trust that He is capable of bringing you through this tumultuous period. Nothing is impossible for Him, and there is no limit to the boundless strength He can provide for you. With Him by your side, you can endure anything.

“Try to remember that the ‘bottomless sea’ can’t hurt us as long as we keep on swimming”…with God!

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  • “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 1 – 3 (NLT)
  • “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6 (NIV)
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11(NLT)
  • “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28(NLT)
     

The Door To Your New Life

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Open Door to Your New Life

“Look! I’m making everything new.

Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”

Revelation 21:5(MSG)

On the first day of a brand New Year, are you looking forward to closing the door on your past and opening the door to your future? Perhaps you are glad for the chance to breathe in the freshness of the new possibilities that the coming year might bring. Are there pages (or entire chapters?) that you would like to delete from your life’s story? “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.” Ephesians 3:14 – 17 (MSG)

By opening the door of your life to Christ, He promises to bring about a glorious transformation inside of you, and you’ll be renewed from the inside out. There’s no better way to start out the new year than by accepting the gift of a fresh start with God. He alone can erase the pain of your past and the mistakes you’ve made along the way. You don’t have to spruce up for God or clean up your act before turning to Him. He meets you right where you are with His limitless love and grace. By inviting Christ to be the center of your life, He’ll be the compass guiding you along the path to your very best future.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12: 1-2 (MSG)

Now take a deep breath, close the door to your past, open the door to your best future, and step through to a new life with God!

  • “In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:9 (NCV)
  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2(NIV)