Free Tickets!!

andy-li-A_dJOYpxEVU-unsplash

andy-li-A_dJOYpxEVU-unsplash

Free tickets!! Who wouldn’t want free tickets to a sporting event? An amusement park? A Concert? The following is great “food for thought” for all of us. It was written by a fellow coach.

Super Bowl 39 featured a classic first half defensive battle, followed by a second half offensive shootout between the explosive New England Patriots and the gritty Philadelphia Eagles. New England claimed the Super Bowl title by only 3 points, 24-21. The game lived up to its expectation as the two divisional champs clashed for the title. Two Tickets to the Super Bowl cost between $3,000 and $10,000. With that in mind, if someone offered you two free tickets to the Super Bowl would you take them?

There was an interesting story several years ago about a guy named Greg Laurie who tried to give away an extra ticket on his way into the Magic Kingdom . As his family went into the park, he told his family, “Hold on while I find someone to take this free ticket. This shouldn’t take long!” But time after time he would approach people at the front gate only to be turned down. He was astounded! No one would take his free ticket.

Think about that…isn’t it hard to believe? Who would turn down free tickets to the Magic Kingdom? Well, shortly after moving to Orlando I got a job at the Magic Kingdom, and along with it an employee pass that could sign in 3 people per day to the theme parks for free.

One time a friend visited me and we went to go into EPCOT. As we were about to go in I said, “Wait… let’s see if we can grab two people to come into the EPCOT for free with us!” I approached several couples who looked like they hadn’t purchased tickets yet. I asked them if they’d like to come into EPCOT for free. I was shocked when time after time they would turn me down, often to walk right up to the ticket counter to buy tickets. Can you believe it? It was just like what Greg Laurie described. I was amazed. People just could not accept what seemed like was too good to be true.

It’s the same thing with the Kingdom of Heaven. The Bible says that the Lord has prepared a special place in His Kingdom just for you. All it takes is a “free ticket” to get into the gates. But most people can’t accept that anything that good would be so easy to get. Most people try to get into the Kingdom by being good, or acting a certain way or by living a “good life”. But it’s much easier than that:

To claim your ticket into God’s Kingdom you only have to do two things: 1) Admit that you have sinned in your life and need to be forgiven, and 2) to pray and ask the Lord to forgive your sins and to bring you into His Kingdom. It is just that easy and there is no catch.

Once you have your ticket into the Kingdom, all of your sins past, present and future are washed away and you have a guaranteed spot in a celebration infinitely better than the Super Bowl.

Consider these words from the Bible:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Your tickets to the Kingdom of Heaven are waiting for you. All you have to do is pick them up. Will you pick up your tickets today?

A Prayer for the Times

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Photo by Meet Savsani on Unsplash

The world has been brought to a stand-still and millions of people around the world are struggling and need a sense of peace and comfort. This is a prayer that was recently posted by a friend of mine whose friend is a Lutheran pastor. I thought that this supplication would be something worth sharing to people who may need it.

 

May we who are merely inconvenienced remembered those whose lives are at stake.

 

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

 

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

 

May we have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.

 

May we have had to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.

 

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

 

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

 

During this time, we cannot visually wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

 

Amen.

The Knots Prayer

brown rope tangled and formed into heart shape on brown wooden rail

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you ever felt like you were not good enough and that your life was filled with poor self-confidence and self-doubt? If so, then I have just the prayer for you…the “Knots Prayer.” It is my hope that this small little prayer can help strengthen and encourage you to stay strong in your everyday life.

“The Knots Prayer”

 Dear God:

Please untie the knots

that are in my mind,

my heart, and my life.

Remove the have nots,

the can nots and the do nots

that I have in my mind.

 

Erase the will nots,

may nots,

might nots that may find

a home in my heart.

 

Release me from the could nots,

would nots and

should nots that obstruct my life.

 

And most of all,

Dear God,

I ask that you remove from my mind,

my heart and my life all of the “am nots”

that I have allowed to hold me back,

especially the thought

that I am not good enough.

Amen.

~Author Unknown

Can Prayer Save America?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

During the Civil War, a friend of Abraham Lincoln was a visitor in the White House. “One night I was restless and could not sleep… From the private room where the President slept, I heard low tones. Instinctively I wandered in, and there was a sight which I have never forgotten, It was the President, kneeling before an open Bible. His back was towards me. I shall never forget his prayer: “Oh, Thou God that heard Solomon when he prayed and cried for wisdom, hear me…I cannot guide the affairs of this nation without Thy help. Hear me and save this nation.”

When the leaders of our country assembled to write the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin proposed that each session be opened in prayer. Franklin said, “I have lived a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth – that God governs the affairs of men.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, First Chief Justice John Jay are all names synonymous with the spirit of our country and some of the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. Over 200 years ago they shook off the chains of tyranny from Great Britain by divine call. Citing 27 biblical violations they wrote the Declaration of Independence
with liberty and justice for all.

But something happened since Jefferson called the Bible the cornerstone for American liberty then put it in our schools as a light or since “Give me liberty or give me death”, Patrick Henry said Our country was founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have eliminated God from the equation of American life thus eliminating the reason this nation first began.

Of the 55 men who formed the Constitution, fifty-two were active members of their church…founding fathers such as Noah Webster, who wrote the first dictionary
could literally quote the Bible chapter and verse. James Madison said, “We’ve staked our future on our ability to fallow the Ten Commandments with all our heart.” These men believed you couldn’t even call yourself an American if you subverted the Word of God

In his farewell address, Washington said, “You can’t have national morality apart from religious principle, ” and it’s true. Abe Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government of the next.”
So when you eliminate the Word of God from the classroom and politics, you eliminate the nation that Word protects.

Our nation is great because it was founded upon God’s Word and prayer. But today, prayer has been replaced by political intrigue, materialism, and a mistaken notion that our private and national affairs can be run without God.

But here and there throughout America, voices are heard as individuals and groups begin to call on God in prayer. But this whole nation must be moved to prayer. So great are the dangers, so grave the perils, so tremendous the problems, that it is imperative that we lay hold upon the Lord God in prayer for His will.

Prayer CAN save America! There is only one way to go…and that is up! If we do not turn to God, our country will soon disappear like many of the great empires in history have done. It is either revival or ruin. It is now or never. The answer will not be found in the UN or NATO. The answer will only be found when we call upon the Lord God. Spiritual values need to be restored and we must return to the faith of our fathers, to family prayer, and the Bible. If we continue to ignore God and focus on the inadequate philosophies of the world…America will continue its tailspin.

We need to remember the promises that God gave us to keep our nation strong:

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” – Psalm 33:12a

God blesses nations who humbly seek Him. “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

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Special Note: some of the information in the post is from the song, “God in America Again” ~ Carman

Dealing With Anxiety Can Be As Simple As 1, 2, 3!

lifeandshape,org

Photo Credit: Lifeandshape.org

There are literally millions and millions of people around this country and the world, who deal with large amounts of worry, stress, and anxiety every single day. Individuals may pay thousands and thousands of dollars on various therapies, medications, etc. While there are definitely some individuals who are authentically in need of medication, counseling,etc., many people suffer from self-induced anxiety.

So, I have good news!! I recently came across a nice and simple guideline, that people might want to use to help them deal with the tough times in their life. I found these ideas to be as helpful as 1, 2, 3!  I hope that these 10 steps will help you when you face stressful situations!

The Five Fingers of Prayers

Michael Goghlan

Photo Credit: Michael Goghlan via CC Flickr

I came across this little, fun way to pray many, many years ago that I always thought was a pretty good idea and a terrific way to remember not only who or what to pray for…but HOW to pray.

This is beautiful – and it is surely worth making the 5 finger prayer a part of our lives!

————————

1.Your thumb is nearest you.

So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you.

They are the easiest to remember.

To pray for our loved ones is,

as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

2. The next finger is the pointing finger.

Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.

This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers.

They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.

Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger.

It reminds us of our leaders.

Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators.

These people shape our nation and guide public opinion.

They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger.

Surprising to many is the fact that is our weakest finger,

as any piano teacher will testify.

It should remind us to pray for those who are weak,

trouble or in pain.

They need prayers day and night.

You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger

– the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves

in relation to God and others.

As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.”

Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.

By the time you have prayed for the other four groups,

your own needs will be put into proper perspective

and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

A Story of the Soldier and a Spider

Photo Credit: Petra via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Petra via CC Flickr

During World War II, a US Marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire, he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves. Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed. As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it is your will, please protect me. Whatever your will though, I love you and trust you. Amen.”

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me out of this one.”

Just then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave. As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.

“Hah” he thought, “what I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to him, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on.

Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered it for quite a while.

“Lord, forgive me,” prayed the young man, “I had forgotten that in you a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”

We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to forget the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in the most surprising ways.

As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded the people of Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem, “In God we will have success!” [Nehemiah 2:20]

Remember: Whatever is happening in your life, with God, a mere spider’s web can become a brick wall of protection. Trust and believe that He is with you always. Just ask for his help and you will see His great power and love for you.

———-

source: truthbook.com

What If…?

Photo Credit: kakissel vis Flickr

Photo Credit: kakissel vis Flickr

The following poem raises some good questions that we can ponder…what if?

What If…?
God couldn’t take the time
to Bless us today
because we could not take the time
to thank Him yesterday…

What If…?
God decided to
stop leading us tomorrow
Because we didn’t
follow him today…

What If…?
God didn’t walk with us today
because we failed to
recognize it as his day…

What If…?
We never saw another flower bloom
because we grumbled
when God sent the rain…

What If…?
God stopped loving and
caring for us because
we failed to love and care for others…

What If…?
God took away the Bible
tomorrow, because
we would not read it today…

What If…?
God took away his message
because we failed to listen
to his messenger…

What If…?
God didn’t send
His only begotten Son because
he wanted us be
prepared to pay the price of sin…

What If…?
The door to the church
was closed because
we did not open the door of our hearts…

What If…?
God would not hear us today because
we would not listen
to Him yesterday…

What If…?
God answered our prayers
the way we answer
his call to service…

What If…?
God met our needs
the way we give
Him our lives…

It makes you think….

——————

Author Unknown

Source: heartwarmingstories.com

A Prayer for the New Year (The Prayer of St. Francis)

Photo Credit: "Silent Prayer" Leila Darwish via Flickr

Photo Credit: “Silent Prayer” Leila Darwish via Flickr

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

 

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Saying Goodbye to Mom and the Christmas Miracle

Photo Credit: jandmranch.com

Photo Credit: jandmranch.com

It was a week before Christmas and my dearly beloved mother was in a coma. She was dying of cancer and had been unconscious since early that afternoon. It was the third night in a row that my wife and I had made our two hour trip to come to my mother’s house to say  ”goodbye” to her.

The hospice doctor had told me three days earlier that he believed that mom would pass away at any time and that we should visit her to be with her when she passed. So, for those three nights, we would make our trip to be with her and wait for the dreaded moment to come.

Leaving her house each night was very heart wrenching because I was never sure if it would be the last time that I would see her alive. I had always made it a point to tell her that I loved her each time I left her, so that I could always say, that that would be the last thing I told her on this earth if she passed away.

Like I said earlier, it was the third and last night we were with her and she was just in a deep, deep sleep. It was such a strange and surreal feeling, standing their watching my mom take in very slow breathes with her oxygen mask on her face. All of her hair was gone and she was just a shell of the beautiful and delightful woman that was my mother.

As the night wore on and the time got later and later, I grew more and more saddened by the fact that we would have to leave to return home. Finally, around midnight, we decided that it was time to go home. We had to be home for our two little boys in the morning.

I remember thinking that I wanted to SAY goodbye to my mom just one more time but I knew that I could but she would never hear it. So, with a heavy heart, I leaned over my mom, placed a gentle kiss on her forehead and said, “I love you mom.” Then I whispered to her, in almost a prayer-type request, “come on mom…wake up one more time. Please? Just once more?” But my request fell upon deaf ears and she never woke up. My wife then sat on the side of her bed, held hand ever so gently and began to say her goodbyes.

Suddenly, my mother opened her eyes, took off her air mask and said, with a voice as clear as could be, “what is everyone doing here? I am fine! I have just been sleeping. I am going to be fine.” It was simply fascinating experience. Here was my mother who had talked, just the day before, with a weak, raspy voice that was caused by constantly having the mask on and inhaling the oxygen 24 hours a day, and now she was totally awake and not only sounded like she was totally healthy but acted like it as well.

I stood there mesmerized and the sudden turn of events but I was also so very thankful…I could now SAY goodbye to my mother and share my feelings and last thoughts with her! After telling her the things that I wanted to tell her, giving her one last kiss goodbye and telling her how much I loved her and for being such a terrific mom, we got ready to leave. I felt truly blessed and thankful that my “whispered prayer” was answered. My heart was filled with joy knowing that God had given us a Christmas miracle…my mom.

Soon after we left, she went back to sleep and never woke up again. Later the next day, surrounded by friends along with her childhood best friend, she quietly passed on from this world and touched the face of God.

The Five Finger Prayer

Photo Credit: micn2sugars via Flickr

Photo Credit: micn2sugars via Flickr

This is a beautiful reminder of how we can pray each day and it is surely worth making our 5 fingers a part of our lives. It is my hope that the “Five Finger Prayer” will be something that will help your own prayer life each day!

1. Your thumb is nearest you.

So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

2. The next finger is the pointing finger.
Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.  Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger.
It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger.
Surprising to many is the fact that is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, trouble or in pain. They need prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger, the pinkie.
The smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others.
As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.” Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

Remembering Our Veterans: Praying for Pappy

Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net

Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net

This is a story that took place in the south and involved a little boy and his mom. It shows us the sad side of war and reactions that a family endured at the loss of their loved one. Get a box of tissues ready as you read this story of a little boys love of rhis mom and dad.

Tommy’s Maw Maw and Pappy used to take Tommy to church every Sunday before his Pappy left to go to war.

Tommy had learned early in life all about God and how to pray. Every night Tommy would kneel by his bed and pray before going to sleep.
Today is the day the soldiers are to come home. Tommy and his Maw Maw dressed and went and stood at the dock waiting for his Pappy to arrive. They would wait and wait… Until the last boat left the dock but Tommy’s Pappy would not be arriving this day.

When they got home Tommy was too tired to care about eating. He kissed his grand mother goodnight and went straight to his room. He changed into his pajamas and knelt by his bed.
Lord,
It’s Tommy.
We stood at the dock all day. Every one walked away and we just stood there. Pappy must have missed the boat so we waited for the next one then the next one until all the boats were gone and the tall man in the uniform said all the soldiers had gotten off but he is wrong ’cause Lord, Pappy didn’t get off none of those boats. I hate it when maw maw cries Lord. Please send Pappy home so she will stop crying.
Thank you.

 

All week long Tommy listened as his Maw Maw cried. He heard her on the phone several times asking about why his Pappy didn’t come home like the rest of the soldiers. On the seventh night he knelt by his bed and prayed.

 

Lord ,
It’s Tommy .
It has been a long week. Maw Maw just sits and stares out the window when she ain’t cooking and cleaning or on the phone asking where Pappy is and why they didn’t send him home.. She hasn’t hardly spoke in days other than when she is on the phone.
Mrs. Nelly Baker from down the road came by to see if Pappy had come home yet but he hasn’t and Maw Maw began to cry again as Mrs. Nelly Baker talked to her. I heard her say You might have Pappy with you Lord. If you do , could you please tell him it is time to come home ’cause Maw Maw and me miss him and Maw Maw cries at night and calls for him. I’d sure ‘preciate it if you would.

 

Slowly the days passed by, then weeks. Every day was more of the same. Tommy was worried about his Pappy and his Maw Maw. It had been a little over a month now and Pappy still hadn’t come home. He walked in the living room and there his Maw Maw sat staring out the window until a knock came upon the door. A man in a uniform stood at the door. He backed up and Maw Maw walked outside. His Grand Mother screamed falling to the ground. Then the women in the neighborhood came running.
Tommy was confused. Why was his Maw Maw screaming and crying Pappy was coming home finally. He felt heavy hearted, So he went and knelt by his bed and prayed.

 

Lord,
It’s Tommy.
It’s been a month and three days since Maw Maw and I went to meet Pappy at the dock. Some man in a uniform just showed up at Maw Maw’s door and made her scream. He ‘pologized for making her scream and cry before he left. Mrs. Nelly Baker and some other women came running . I guess they heard Maw Maw screaming before she fell to the ground.
I don’t understand Lord. Why is she so upset ? The man said Pappy would be coming home tomorrow with something in a pine box. Don’t know why he needs a box. I guess he lost his suitcase. I thank Lord for sending Pappy home.

 

Tommy didn’t know his Maw Maw stood silently by the door. She listened as the little boy of ten prayed through sobs.

 

Lord,
It’s Tommy .
I un’ stand now. My Pappy came home today. I know all about the pine box now. I guess I forgot to ask for you to send him back to Maw Maw alive. I hope she will forgive me. I thought You knew what I meant when I asked you to bring my Pappy home. But you did do what I asked. I made a mess of things. Now my Maw Maw will never be happy again. Lord, the next time I ask for something make sure I ask the right way please and tell Pappy I am sorry I got him dead I didn’t mean to. It’s all my fault Maw Maw is sad. I am so sorry.

 

Tommy opened his tear stained eyes to see his Maw Maw standing in his doorway , tears streaming down her face. ” Dear child, it is not your fault.” She said through sobs and held her arms out to him. ” If it had not been for your prayers, your Pappy may never had come home at all.”

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Source: friendburst.com