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Taking Off The Goat Horns

In life and especially in sports someone emerges as the hero and someone else the goat.  It almost seems like a balancing act,  Kind of like where there is darkness there is light, where there is bad there is good.   On that fateful day October 3, 1951 Bobby Thomson was the hero and Ralph Branca was dubbed the goat.  To understand the importance of the situation you need a history of New York baseball at that time.  New York or more affectionately called “The Big Apple”, was the hub of baseball back then.  The Yankees were in the midst of 5 straight World Series victories and the Brooklyn Dodgers were winning national league pennants with regularity.  Then there was the New York Giants who always had an intense rivalry with the Dodgers.  If you lived in New York you were identified in a large part by who you rooted for.  Many Yankee fans were front runners.  It was easy rooting for the Yankees because they seemed to always win.  They wore suits to the games and ushers not only escorted them to their seats but wiped them off as an extra bonus.

The New York Yankees of the 1950s: Mantle, Stengel, Berra, and a Decade of  Dominance: Fischer, David: 9781493038923: Books

If you lived in New York and were not a Yankee fan you might have been a Giant fan.  Giant fans were more traditionalists.  The Giants used to own New York baseball.  At the turn of the century the Dodgers and the Highlanders (now known as the Yankees) were not very good teams.  However the Giants were always contending for the pennant.  A good number of Giant fans grew up Giant fans in the family tradition.  Grandfathers and fathers taught their kids to love the Giants.  They also grew up hating the Dodgers who they played 22 times a year.  Giant fans were more of the middle of the road team as far as economics. They were not the elite like many of the Yankees fans were and they were not on the other side of the scale like most Dodgers fans.  The Giants played in an ancient ball park called the Polo Grounds.  They used to rent the Polo Grounds to the upstart Yankees until the Yankees built a new stadium which could be seen on a clear day from your seat at the Polo Grounds.

The third team the Brooklyn Dodgers had fans like no other.  Because Brooklyn was a place in New York without very much going on for it, the baseball team was far more important to their inhabitants than fans of the other two.  The Brooklyn fans were mostly blue collar workers.  Their dominant language was Brooklynese which was actually an accent which pronounced words differently.  For example back in the history of the Dodgers they got a former Yankee pitcher named Waite Hoyt late in his career.  Hoyt hit a double one time and on his way to second base he pulled a muscle.  A disappointed Brooklyn fan was heard saying “Hurt is hoyt.”

Classic Photos of Ebbets Field in 1940 | Money

The Brooklyn fans were crazy about their team. A big event was going to their little cozy ball park. It only seated a little over 30,000. There were hometown signs on the fence and popular national advertisers. One of the signs was a local Tailor who advertised that if someone hit the sign on the fly they would get a free suit. The problem was that Brooklyn’s best outfielder Carl Furillo played right field and nobody can ever remember the sign being hit. The ballpark was built in limited space which explains its odd dimensions which included a very short right field. To counter that a big wall was built to hit over. Hitting that wall caused different problems for the fielder. The ball was liable to bounce anywhere after it hit courtesy of the angle and hardness of the hit. Carl Furillo became an expert playing the angles and it was an advantage for the Brooklyn team.

Ebbets Field - Wikipedia

The Brooklyn players were part of the community. It was not uncommon to run into them at the grocery store or on the subway coming from the game. They were loved even when they had a bad team and their affection was so strong that they called the team “Dem Bums” as they still flocked to the ballpark. The fans had a band called the Brooklyn Sym phony which was named by their announcer Red Barber with the emphasis on the word phony. Their sound was awful, out of tune and lacking timing. But the Brooklyn fans loved them. They also had unforgettable fans like Hilda Chester who had a very loud voice and a cow bell that she rang constantly especially after a Dodger good play! As you can see the Brooklyn Dodgers were almost like a religion to Brooklyn inhabitants and their games were inflated greatly as to their importance. In that setting walked Ralph Branca in the third and final playoff game to determine who would go to the World Series.

Branca was called to relieve Don Newcombe who had pitched a wonderful game but was out of gas. Leading 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning the Giants got their first 2 men on base courtesy of hits. With runners on second and third and only one out manager Charley Dressen took Newcombe out. Walking the long walk from the bull pen was Ralph Branca. As Branca met Newcombe they had a little talk. “Don’t worry about it big fella, I’ll take care of everything.”, Branca reportedly said. Years later Newcombe quipped that “it only took 2 pitches but he took care of it alright.”

Branca put his foot on the pitching rubber. It was a place he had been many times and he felt comfortable. His first pitch was his best, a fastball right down the middle. Thomson took it for strike one. He was frustrated thinking he might not see a pitch like that again. Branca thought that he would throw his next fastball high and tight. It would be out of the strike zone and brush Thomson off of the plate and prepare him for a possible curve ball or fastball over the outside corner with later pitches. Unfortunately for Ralph there were no later pitches. Thomson turned on the fastball that would have come close to hitting him and slugged a low line drive down the left field line.

Everything happened so fast. The ball barely cleared the wall and the place was going crazy. Thomson was carried off of the field and the Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges was yelling into his microphone “The Giants win the Pennant, The Giants win the Pennant.” A dejected Branca was forced to take the long walk to the dressing room in defeat. What a lonely walk that must have been. Feeling like the goat, feeling like his world had come to an end and feeling like he let his teammates and his fans down all rolled into one.

In the Locker room Branca was crying. He stretched himself out on the steps between the outside door and the locker room area. A cameraman took a picture of him and won a prize for it. Branca face down obviously in misery clearly showed the agony of defeat. After a long while Branca got dressed and was walking across the parking lot to his car. He happened to see a priest and in a short meeting words of wisdom were given. Words that would stay with Branca for the rest of his life. “Why me? Why” , Ralph asked the Priest. “Because”, the priest said, “God knew that you were strong enough to carry his cross.”

Joshua Prager, author of The Echoing Green:The Untold Story of Bobby  Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World - Jerry Jazz  Musician

Ralph Branca married his fiance just a 17 days after the tragic event. Even though many Brooklyn fans didn’t forgive him Branca was able to eventually forgive himself. He became good friends with Bobby Thomson and was even able to laugh about the hero and the goat labels. He was a leader in the foundation of B.A.T.S which helps former big league players who are struggling with their finances. After hearing of Brancas death in 2016 at the age of 90 Vin Scully the ex Brooklyn broadcaster said it best. “I was closer to Ralph than to any other Dodger,” Scully said, after hearing the news. “We traveled around the world and became very good friends. He carried the cross of the Thomson home run with dignity and grace. I was grateful for his friendship and I grieve at his death. He was a great man.”

Like Branca many of you are wondering why. Why did this happen to me? Why did I make this stupid mistake? Why did this go so wrong when I meant it to be so right? Like Branca, you need to take off those goat horns that are bringing you down. Whatever happened is over and done. Make the best of your experiences good and bad, but move on. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Quit living in the past and blaming yourself daily for past mistakes. You are not growing when you can’t get past the history that is holding you back. Why did this happen to you? The answer is the same as what the Priest told Branca. “Because God knew you were strong enough to carry his cross!

Jesus Carrying Cross Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Welcome To Our World

Welcome to our world my precious little one.  In the coming days, months, and years we will get to know each other very well.  As your parents we promise to be there for you and help you navigate life.  When others let you down you can always count on us to be on your side.  We are looking forward to seeing you develop into the beautiful person God planned for you to be!  You have already blessed our lives and you will continue to enrich our lives for as long as we are together.  Sadly nothing in this new world can be taken for granted.  We live day to day and someday we will all depart.  We pray that we are the ones that depart first and not you.  We promise that every day you are with us will be treasured and that we will never forget our happiness of this first day for you on this earth.

Newborn baby behaviour & crying: a guide | Raising Children Network

There will be many life lessons you will experience!  You will have many accomplishments as you grow.  There will be exciting times when you learn new victories and as you feel successful.  There will also be heartaches when things don’t turn out as you planned.  There will be times you sleep like a baby as the saying goes.  There will also be sleepless nights when something is driving your mind and thoughts.  Through it all you will grow both physically and mentally.  You will laugh and sometimes it will be uncontrollably.  Unfortunately you will also cry and sometimes the same way.  We hope and pray that you will ask us for advice and we hope and pray that we have the right answers for you.

Through it all we want you to know one thing.  You are ours and we are very proud of you!  Whatever you accomplish will be icing on the cake, but it will never add or take away from our love for you!  When you have your incredible highs in life we want to be right there with you basking in your success.  Also when you reach your lowest lows we also want to be there to give you support and love.  Know that both things will happen in your life.  We cannot tell you when and how but we can tell you from our experiences that you will have a variety of experiences too, both good and bad.  Please don’t be in a rush to determine what is good and bad however.  Sometimes what seems to be horrible at the time turns out to be something very good when we look back.  On the other hand sometimes what seems to be very good at the time can turn into something very bad.

There is not enough words to describe all of the feelings you will go through in this live.  There will be sickness and health, richness and poverty, joy and sadness, pain and a feeling you will never die, hope and despair, love and hate, peace and darkness to name a few.  Through it all you will grow if you let yourself.  You will become better if you learn to take the good with the bad.  You will become stronger as you get a clear understanding of life’s ups and downs.  You will be happy when you realize that not only do we love you but God does too!

viewing planet earth from the moon can lead to a new understanding of humanity's only home

At the start I welcomed you to our world.  In truth it isn’t our world.  If it was we would protect you from bad  things that will happen to you.  We would be able to see in the future and guide you around your sorrows.  Unfortunately we are unable to see the future just like you won’t be.  Many things and people will affect your life.  Some will be good for you and some bad.  We probably won’t be able to tell the difference just like you won’t.  Even if we could there is no guarantee you will listen to us.  As hard as it will be for us, it is usually best that you go through things.  You will have to learn from your own mistakes just like we learned from ours.

We welcome you to the world!  It is not a perfect world as you will see.  You might say that life is not fair.  Throughout the centuries people have made that claim and they are right.  God doesn’t always give us fairness while we are on this earth.  His rewards are in the afterlife when he makes justice prevail.  Until then we live and learn and grow in many ways.

I mentioned God just now and it is very important that you come to a relationship with him.  We believe that he loves us and sent his son to die for our sins that none of us will perish even when we die.  We cannot make you believe as we do.  What we can do is give you good examples and loving advice.  Ultimately your decision will be yours.  You will either accept him with your whole heart or you won’t.  Whatever path you take know that we will always love you.  When people let you down we won’t.  Even if you have a rebellious time we hope and pray that someday you will come home.  Someday we hope that you will see that we were right way back then.

You see we are not able to navigate this life by ourselves.  We can give you advice out of love but the creator of the universe knows all things.  He can see the future and what is best for you!  He is on your side no matter how far astray you might go.  He will always remind you of your early Godly lessons and safely bring you home if you will only give your heart to him!

As your parents you will learn very early that we are far from perfect.  We will make mistakes and sometimes you might feel that they are horrible.  Unfortunately there are times you will be right about that.  We pray that we will always do the right things in your life, but sometimes we won’t.  Forgive us for the harm we might cause you.  Know that our decisions are based on love, however our vision of the future is very cloudy.  We are flawed and sometimes it will show.

St. Joseph Picture Books: St. Francis of Assisi

So I conclude by saying again “Welcome to our world our little one!”  Learn, laugh, cry, love and hate.  Go on your incredible mountain tops and linger in the valleys of life.  Grow and prosper wherever you are.  Live life day by day and make each day better!  Learn to make someone else smile every day because when you do you will smile too!  Learn and live the beautiful words of St. Francis of Assisi who said “It is in giving that we receive!”  You have already given us great joy and happiness and although we cannot promise you things will always be rosy we can promise that when you need us we will always be there for love!




On The Radio

It was stormy outside.  Quickly though it calmed down.but not before our power went off.  You know the scenario.  You are sitting there watching TV with the lamp lighting up the room.  All of the sudden the picture starts fading in and out.  Then poof the TV and the lamp go off and there you are sitting in darkness.  This was the second such storm of the year when we lost electricity. After the first one where we sat there with our flashlights trying to read to pass the time I vowed to myself to get some batteries.  Yes, we  always do have AA and AAA batteries in the house but they don’t power the bigger radios we have around.  What we seemed to need were the big D batteries or at least C batteries for this other radio I found.  Since I didn’t do anything before and we were out of power again, I headed to the nearest store.

lightning strike at night

The nearest store happened to be Walgreens and after seeing the prices for big batteries there I decided to drive down the road to Meijers.  Meijers didn’t have their batteries out because management was rearranging things. The department employee went in the back to find me some.  In the meantime I found a little portable transistor like radio. Since it ran on AAA batteries it seemed perfect.  I also bought the C batteries he brought out.  Unfortunately the C batteries didn’t bring life to the radio.  Fortunately the little radio sprang to life after inserting AAA batteries.  We were at least entertained and informed while waiting out the storm.

Before TV radio was the thing.  People had big radios the size of a refrigerator or stove.  They gathered around their radios and listened to their shows at night. Shows like The Lone Ranger,  The Abbott and Costello Show, Fibber McGee and Molly, or maybe Murder at Midnight filled the dead air.  There were so many shows that much like TV today people planned their nights and days around their shows!  TV has taken over as far as viewers for shows these days.  In fact very rarely do you get an old fashioned radio show anymore.  When I was growing up radio was much more likely to be played for music.  Competing rock and roll radio stations were in our area.  We had WKMI and WYYY. Each had their own following but the results were that lot’s of kids tuned in and knew all of the latest hits.  I remember my sister got a radio for her 13th birthday and it  picked up stations from out of town much better than any other radio that we had. We listened to WLS out of Chicago often.  That station was a cut above our local ones, playing all of the hit songs while giving us the big city effect.

Radio: The Internet of the 1930s | American RadioWorks |

As a kid I had a radio set up in the garage while shooting baskets.  My dad had nailed a basketball hoop up in our garage.  I was little and the hoop was only 6 feet high.  Still that was enough for me at that time.  I couldn’t use a real basketball because it was liable to break something so I used one of those plastic balls you often saw at stores at that time.  I liked shooting baskets and pretending they were big important game winning shots while listening to the Detroit Tigers games on my radio.  My little setup even worked well in bad weather since the hoop was inside the garage!  All in all those were great memories and my radio was a big part of them!

Like so many teenagers who started driving, the car radio brought songs to our ears that caused us to sing along!  I might have later bought the album but the songs were favorites that we heard on the radio.  We listened to the music but that was only part of it.  The disc jockeys were also a part of the entertainment.  There was a disc jockey named Dave Thompson who worked for WKMI.  His shift was 3 pm to7 pm.  He was very popular and brought energy and humor to his job.  Dave visited our school one time as a special guest speaker.  He gave us some of the inside story on being a DJ at the radio station and it was very interesting.

Old fashion car stereo : Stock Photo

In the mornings on our way to school WYYY had a guy named Roger Hamlin who did the news.  Roger always had outlandish headlines to lead off his news stories.  We were laughing before he even told us what really happened.  For example he might have said  something like “A crash, A rollover, but nobody hurt. This is Roger Hamlin WYYY news. ” Then he would explain his crazy headline.  Radio brought conversation, it brought humor, and it brought information.  If someone were looking for a car back in the day and found a good one, but it didn’t have a radio it is likely the deal would be off.  That is how important we thought the radio was to our driving experience!

I used to listen to a station in Cleveland Ohio.  Cleveland is a long ways away from my town but it could come in crystal clear sometimes at night.  It was 1100 on the dial and they had a sports talk show starring Pete Franklin.  Pete was hilarious the way he would get upset with people who didn’t agree with him.  There were times however when the station wouldn’t come in very good.  Other stations crowded in when the skies were not totally clear.  Sometimes the show would be on and suddenly it faded away and instead of listening to Pete and his callers I’d be listening to country music or a rock music station.  Sometimes Pete’s voice would come through for a little bit before being once again drowned out by the competing station.

Brady's Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia: Pete Franklin Interview ...

Some nights the atmosphere caused that Cleveland station to be totally absent from our ears.  The signal was just too far away to pick it up.  There are times we had a local station playing but the dial was not tuned exactly on the right frequency.  Other stations started crowding in and we’d have to adjust the knob to hear the right voices   That is exactly how God works in our lives too.  He wants to talk to us but we have to be willing to tune in to his voice and his voice only.  Other voices are bound to come in and interfere with our thinking, so we need to have the mindset of only wanting to hear him.  When we have our dial tuned to God and only him we will hear the right voice!  God doesn’t want us to listen in just when a storm is brewing or we are in the middle of one.  He wants us to tune in when everything is going well too.  Like when I dreamed of glorious successful game winning shots in the garage, God wants us to succeed in life.  Success can only be measured by how close we walk with him and how determined we are to hear his voice!

My Heart’s Radio
By Lewis Hamilton
From the Book “The Gardener and My Garden”

I’m Trying to hear your voice Lord
on my heart’s radio
But I’m hearing only static
Not the sweet voice that I know

There’s others cutting in
telling me what I should do
I must resist their beckoning
for I know it isn’t you

I need to make a turn right now
toward the voice I want to hear
As I travel nearer
the static will disappear

When my heart’s radio is close
in proximity to you
I will hear you loud and clear
and I’ll know just what to do

A Life Saved!

You have probably heard that Al Kaline the former Detroit Tiger baseball great passed away this year at the age of 85.  What you might not know is that without his former teammate Willie Horton he probably would have died 50 years earlier.  Al Kaline became a legend in Detroit Tiger history when at the age of 20 he won the batting championship.  He is the youngest player in history to win this coveted award even to this day.  Kaline spent his entire 22 year career with the Tigers.  At the time of the day of the collision Kaline was in his 18th season.

In the history of major league baseball no player has died on the field during a game, but 45 years ago, Tiger legend Al Kaline nearly earned that distinction but […] Detroit Sports, Detroit Tigers Baseball, Detroit Michigan, Flint Michigan, Baseball Players, Baseball Cards, Baseball Photos, Sports Photos, Jaw Clenching

Willie Horton got called up to the Tigers in 1963.  The Tigers were slow to integrate blacks into their organization.  Although they had a couple of African Americans who were on the team before him, Willie was the first star the Tigers had.  Being the first black star of the Tigers, Willie developed a fan following!  In fact during the Detroit race riots in 1967 Willie showed up after a game, still in his uniform and tried to make peace while standing on a car.  It was a hectic situation as buildings were burning all around and rioters were not hesitant to ignite destruction.  It was Willie’s presence that helped to calm some of the hatred.  Willie had a big heart filled with love and he cared for the city that had always been his home.  He also cared for his teammates because they were “his family”, as he so eloquently stated.

Willie was counted on to do what needed to be done.  Usually on the ball field it was with his bat.  Willie’s physical strength was his strength.  As a 16 year old high school player in 1959 10th grader Willie hit a ball in the Detroit Public Schools championship game that almost went out of Briggs Stadium.  It landed on the roof and bounced back into the stands in right center field.  His mighty blow happened in the very first inning and was missed by most of his Northwestern High School classmates.  They didn’t start arriving at the park until later in the game as the Principal did not let them out early from school.  Two years later Briggs Stadium was renamed Tiger Stadium and as an 18 year old Willie Horton signed with the Tigers.

16-Year-Old Willie Horton's Monster Blast at Briggs Stadium

Willie played catcher in high school but the Tigers signed another promising catcher from the campus of the University of Michigan named Bill Freehan.  Willie was switched to the outfield.  He learned how to play left field adequately and that was enough for the Tigers who cherished his big bat in the lineup.  I remember watching Tiger games on TV in 1965.  When Willie hit a home run they had a nickname for him that they flashed on the screen over and over.  He was “Willie the Wonder”.

Although Willie was known for his bat he was a dependable fielder.  When he got his glove on the ball he caught it.  I’ll never forget one time in 1965 when the Tigers were playing the Cleveland Indians.  It was in Cleveland and Willie as usual was out in left field.  One of the Cleveland batters hit a high fly way back over Willie’s head.  Willie went back to the wall and was looking up.  He leaped for the ball but apparently it was out of his grasp.  That is what George Kell, the Tigers announcer,  concluded as Willie walked somberly away from the wall with his head down.  The Cleveland fans were all loudly cheering and the batter was trotting his home run out around the bases when something very strange occurred.  To the dismay of the cheering crowd and the happy Indian player, Willie straightened up from his slouch and threw the ball back into the infield.

Detroit Tiger Willie Horton tried to bring peace during the 1967 riots

Willie was also responsible for the turning point in the 1968 World Series.  It was in the 5th inning of the 5th game and the Tigers were down to the Cardinals 3 games to 1.  They were also losing to the Cardinals in this game 3-2.  Lou Brock the Cardinals speedy outfielder was killing the Tigers with his bat.  He was on second base and Julian Javier was the batter.  Javier hit a line drive on one bounce to Willie.  Although it looked hopeless with the speedy Brock running Willie threw without hesitation to home.  The ball took one bounce and came right to Freehan just as Brock got there.  A collision occurred and Brock was called out.  The Tigers went on to win that game and the next two to win the World Series.  It was Willie who once again made the unexpected difference making play!

As much as that play was important to the baseball team Willie made his most important play two years later.  On May 30, 1970 Willie was in left field.  A ball was hit by a Milwaukee player between Kaline and the center fielder Jim Northrup.  They were both yelling at the top of their lungs that they had it.  Unfortunately the crowd was loud and neither of them was heard.  With both players running at full speed and the ball between them they collided in a horrible thud.  Northrup was stunned and he wobbled to his feet looking for the ball.  The Milwaukee batter ran out an inside the park home run.  Willie was racing from left field.  His first thought was to help any way he could to get the ball back to the infield.  When he saw the play was hopeless he kept running at full speed to a dead like Kaline.  When Willie reached him he noticed that Kaline was turning blue.  Willie did not hesitate.  He had CPR training as a youth when he was a golden gloves boxer and remembered what to do.   Willie compressed Kaline’s chest, forced his jaw open and with his finger he pried Kaline’s tongue out of his throat unblocking his air passage.  By the time the medical people had reached him Kaline was breathing freely again.  He was put on a stretcher and carried off of the field and to a nearby hospital.  Kaline spent the night there  as they ran tests on him.  He was able to return to the Tigers shortly thereafter.

Three months later Horton was honored for his heroics in a pregame ceremony.  He was given a plaque by Dr Harold DePree from the Michigan Heart Association  With Kaline standing next to him the plaque was read.  “For seeing what needed to be done and doing it, thereby quite probably saving the life of his teammate Al Kaline. Unconscious after a collision in the outfield, Kaline’s jaws were locked and he was turning blue. Horton forced open his jaws, allowing air to reach his lungs. Speed in applying this first step in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is all important.”

Today the plaque hangs in Willie’s recreation room and it is his most cherished award.  Perhaps this loving story of a black player and his white teammate should be remembered even more in the times we are living.  A true love story going far beyond the call of duty resulting in a life saved.  Willie expressed his feelings years later in a most humble way.  “Al was part of my family and you do what you have to do to help anyone.”

Former Tiger Willie Horton stands next to his awards in his Bloomfield Hills home in 2020.




Not An Orphan

At first it was a surprise, then a shock, and then a spirit of concern.  That was what I heard from the voice of my wife as I was sitting in the other room.  She had looked out our patio door and saw a baby deer looking over our deck.  We have seen baby deer before but always with at least one parent and sometimes two next to them.  This little deer was all by itself and it was not very strong.  It’s little speckled spots told us it was very young.  When I got to the door the little deer was gone.  We walked out to where it was seen looking over the deck and to our worst fear we found it laying at the base of the deck.  Half of it was under and half was on the outside.  It wasn’t making any noise being very still.  Quietly we slipped back into the house and I took a turn for the computer room.

So cute. ~ETS #delicatethings | Animais bebês mais fofos, Animais ...

So what do we do when we don’t know something?  Of course we Google it.  My first thought was what does a baby deer eat?  I also thought about putting a bowl of water out so the little thing could drink.  I did Google the food thing but I also Googled what we should do with a stranded baby deer?  I found an interesting and surprising answer.  We should not do anything.  It is likely that our deer was not an orphan.  It was probably placed there by it’s mother to wait for her until she finished eating or whatever she planned to do.  Every couple of hours I went out to see if the baby deer was still there.  Each time to my dismay the little thing was either sleeping or looking about. In  either case it acted like it didn’t have a care in the world.  The Google page asked some questions about the condition of the baby deer.  Was the deer moaning or in misery?  Was it in distress in any way?  Our little friend was not only not in agony or distress it seemed to be in perfect peace with the situation.  It wasn’t shaking in fear or moving around.  It acted like this was a perfectly normal experience and it was being perfectly behaved knowing that everything would be alright.

It’s in times like this your mind starts to wonder.  I wonder why deer don’t use their parents like we do?  How often we had dropped the kids off at Grandma’s house while we went to work.  We would never think of leaving the kids alone in the house.  Perhaps grandma and grandpa deer want nothing to do with babysitting.  Maybe they feel like they did their part with their young and don’t want that kind of responsibility now. What if mamma dear forgets where she dropped off her kid?  It seems like it could happen.  After all there are so many yards and houses that things could start looking the same.  These kind of thoughts can easily go through your mind as every couple of hours I tiptoed across the deck and still saw the baby deer in the same position it was the last time I checked.

My parents died 18 days apart in 1997.  Dad went first and it was expected.  He was sent home with his cancer to die because they could do no more.  In the coming days we found out that mom had inoperable cancer.  They were going to try to shrink the cancer with chemo therapy but she died of kidney failure as the cancer blocked the path.  I remember my sister and I feeling like orphans.  Just days before we had both of our parents and suddenly we felt all alone.  It is amazing the things that we take for granted in having parents.  They are such a good source of information and counseling.  My dad was really good at helping with the physical things.  If we had trouble with the car or if something was not working right in the house it was dad we called.  He was always quick to come over too carrying his tool box and ready for anything.  Mom was always so good at the counseling side.  She had a way of talking about every problem and comforting us mentally.  She was also very good at praying for us and many times I remember her praying on the phone for whatever situation came our way.  It’s natural that when something comes up, especially after the beginning, that your first thoughts are to call mom or dad.  Suddenly the sad realization hits like a brass knuckle.  Mom and dad aren’t here anymore to help me.

Days before we saw a grown up deer laying comfortably in our bushes.  In looking back we figure that it must have been the mother. She just stayed there hours at a time and she did blend in with the surroundings.  Our thinking was that when she left her little baby she planned to have it laying in the spot where she had such a peaceful time.  However, when the baby was first seen it wasn’t in her spot.  Maybe the little one wasn’t as comfortable there as it’s mother was.  Maybe it wandered down toward the deck to find a more comfortable spot.  Then you wonder if mom comes back and her baby isn’t where she thought it would be if she would panic?  Would she possibly miss it and assume something bad had probably happened?  Would she leave in grief regretting that she left her little one in harms way?

The Kindest Care | Missouri Department of Conservation

After hours of waiting, wondering, and being concerned,  I went to Google again.  I wondered how long a deer would leave her baby alone?  I found out a surprising fact.  There are times that babies might be left up to 12 hours.  I think it was around 10:30 in the morning when the baby deer was discovered looking over the deck.  Twelve hours from that time would be 10:30 at night and it would be totally dark.  All we could do was wait and see what happens.  Since becoming a Christian years ago I have heard the phrase “waiting on the Lord.”  I guess this deer experience made things a lot more clear what this meant. God has his own timing on things and sometimes we are to just obey what he wants us to do.  Sometimes that obeying means to do nothing.  In a Bible story about two sisters one of them Martha was busy with doing work duties around the house while the other one  (Mary) was content sitting at Jesus feet and listening to his wisdom.  After awhile Martha came to Jesus and she was frustrated.  Martha was upset that she was doing all of the work and Mary was not helping.  Jesus could have told Mary to get up and help Martha, but instead he commended her on doing the right thing.  Our Christian walk isn’t measured by how busy we seem.  It is measured by how obedient we are.

I couldn’t wait any longer.  It was just after 6 the next morning and it was just getting light out.  I slipped some shoes on and tiptoed across the deck and down the steps.  When I looked over to where the deer was it was gone.  Obviously mom came back and found her baby.  It might have been in a different spot but they have a way of communicating.  Her little baby knew her voice and when she called her baby answered!  In the same way we can be tuned in to God’s voice.  He has not left us here on this earth to be orphans.  As believers he has sent his Holy Spirit to dwell in us.  It is his voice much like the voice of the mother deer, that we need to listen to.  Like the baby deer, we need not ever be afraid or fearful because we know that everything will be alright!

454 Best Baby Deer images in 2020 | Deer, Baby deer, Animals beautiful

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Deuteronomy 31:6 New International Version (NIV)

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 forsake you.”

Discipline And The Egg Mcmuffin

For someone who is not used to having time on my hands this can be a problem.  Suddenly I have a lot of time on my hands.  You might think “What is he complaining about?”  I am not complaining but I recognize how different it is.  Nobody is making my schedule like what happens at work.  I’ve often thought about what life would be at retirement.  I think that if I had a young family it would be a wonderful time to spend watching and helping the kids grow up.  That is not the case when you get to my age.  Now you top that off with the virus restrictions that are in place where we can’t go out and eat, or go to the movies, or even visit friends and it feels like we are trapped.  I’ve found that it is easy now to get into horrible time wasting ruts.  Watching one TV show after another and before you know it the whole day is gone.  Feeling frustrated that the whole day has been wasted and what did I get done?  Have you ever noticed how much your spirit is uplifted when you feel like something got accomplished?  God made us to be productive and there is a certain sense of satisfaction in completing projects.  If you are really organized you might make a list and check the items off as each one gets done! Then you look back on the day and you say “Well I’m glad I got that accomplished today!”

Honda HRN Residential Lawn Mowers

Last Friday I was talking to a friend and I mentioned that I needed to mow the grass.  He said that the only day to do it would be Saturday.  Apparently he looked at the weather forecast and the next few days after Saturday it was going to rain.  My back yard is the harder and bigger one.  Usually after I mow it I call it quits because it really wears me out.  I got done with the back and quit like I normally do.  However after a few minutes I found myself back outside.  I thought to myself “I could get the front yard done too, it won’t be that bad.”  So I powered up the lawn mower and there I went.  With each little accomplishment I told myself how nice it will be to get this yard all mowed before it rains.  Instead of concentrating on how tired I was, I pictured being done with the project and how good I would feel about it.  Sure enough I finished the front yard and the whole job was complete.  The next day it poured rain and I sat there watching the rain feeling so good about getting the job done!  What a difference it would have been if I had put it off.  I would have been kicking myself for not getting off of my butt while I had dry weather!

The meaning of discipline that I want to promote today is having the fortitude to stay on the right path to accomplish what you desire.  Many people associate discipline in another of the words meanings as in “I need to discipline my kids.”  This is not the meaning of the word that we are talking about.  We can have self discipline in our lives.  That comes about when we have a desire and don’t stray from the path until our desire turns into reality.  I was watching the Jim Rome show a couple of weeks ago and he was talking about discipline and his personal experience.  He mentioned how he was set to do everything right the other day which related to his eating.  He would start his day with a granola bar and had his schedule of good food planned from there.  When he got to the office somebody had bought him an Egg Mcmuffin and had it on his desk.  Jim mentioned how there was plenty of grease and exaggerated saying that it was burning a hole in the paper wrapping and his desk.  Suddenly Rome was in a dilemma.  What was he going to do?  “What would you do?”, he asked his audience.  “I’ll tell you what I did”, he went on. “I hoovered up that Egg Mcmuffin!”.  Now he was tempted to just give up on the day.  He had blown it and was strongly desiring to make a McDonald’s run and crush another Mcmuffin or two.  On the other hand he was tempted to follow his Mcmuffin with something on hand like a Snickers bar that they always had plenty of in the office.  “What’s the use?, this day is shot”, he would tell himself.  Then he remembered one of his favorite motivational speakers and dialed him in on his computer.  The effect was that Rome was talked off of the cliff and back into the discipline that would make him satisfied!  He overcame his desires and said no to the temptation and he started feeling good about himself again!

McMuffin - Wikipedia

Snickers Bar Stock Pictures, Royalty-free Photos & Images - Getty ...

In Matthew chapter 4 we can read about Jesus getting tempted in the wilderness.  To set the stage though we have to start with the end of chapter 3 when Jesus was baptized.  Now we may wonder why Jesus had to be baptized? After all he was the son of the living God.  The answer may be that it set an example for the rest of us.  At any rate it was a major high point as when he came out of the water the heavens opened up and a dove came down and landed on him.  Then a voice from heaven proclaimed “This is my son of whom I am well pleased!”  After this glorious high Jesus fasted for 40 days.  He was then led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.  Why would the spirit lead him into temptation?  Jesus was at his weakest point and surely didn’t need this.  The answer might be that he was again setting an example for us.  What should we do when we are tempted?  You can read the details in chapter 4 but the summary is that each time Jesus was tempted he resisted the temptation by quoting scripture.  You see Satan quoted scripture too, but he only quoted partial scripture.  Satan tried to take advantage of Jesus weakened condition but Jesus knew that Satan’s power was only for this earth and would never satisfy.

Jesus And Temptation Stock Photos & Jesus And Temptation Stock ...

So how do we learn to resist what we shouldn’t do?  The answer seems to be in self discipline.  How do we get that self discipline to do the things we should do and resist what we shouldn’t?   When we put the spirit first in our lives he helps us discern what we should and shouldn’t do! Like Rome sought help from another source we can seek the Holy Spirit’s advice.  Developing that discipline to follow the Lord’s voice will lead us to the long term results of health and happiness.  When speaking of health it is not exclusively our physical health.  Yes our physical health is important, but of more importance is our spiritual health.  Yes, you will be tempted and sometimes you will fail.  Failure though is never final.  We can and should always get back on the path of truth and light.  I remember when I was first learning to ride a bike. I was very young and my mom was helping me.  I could go for a few pedals before I lost balance and teetered.  Mom was right there running along keeping the bike straight.  Slowly I went a little further and a little further.  At long last I had control of the bike better and my slip ups were fewer and fewer.  That success is like what God offers when we stay on his bike with the discipline to keep going and never quit!

Teach your child how to ride a bike really quickly! - YouTube

Digging For Gold

Every year around this time millions of people are suffering from allergies.  Until just now I couldn’t tell you what a commercial I have been seeing numerous times on TV was about.  All I keep seeing in my head is a dog they show that apparently got sent in for grooming.  Well as they say a picture paints a thousand words.  The dog has half his hair cut and the other half just like it was.  The announcer comes in and says “You wouldn’t accept an incomplete job from anyone else so why accept it with your allergy pills?  I’m not going to condemn or condone the product but as a former Advertising major I am going to rate the commercial very good!  It is short and to the point with a picture showing their point in a very obvious way.  Now the fact that I didn’t remember the product name or what the product was supposed to help me with should be troubling and I could argue that their commercial is incomplete.  Perhaps I am digging a little here to help them complete what they started.  Maybe if they showed someone after the dog with itchy eyes and other symptoms suffering from their allergies and the product that can help them I would have remembered.  Like it is I have that incomplete job in my head of the dog, but not a strong product identification for a problem.  Pictures surely speak louder than words.

Flonase TV Commercial, 'Most Pills Don't Finish the Job' -

Lately during this corona virus time I have been reading spiritual books.  I have also been studying the books and I mean really studying them.  Unlike the dog example picture that keeps popping up in my mind, we are breaking down the broken down!  It is amazing how much gold you can find if you just dig for it!  Now this is not a mental thing as much as a spiritual thing.  Let me explain it this way.  We’ve seen smart people mentally who can tell you the answer to almost every question you ask.  However, these people have head knowledge and surface knowledge and I am searching for heart knowledge and hidden knowledge.  The heart knowledge runs so much deeper and can only come from desiring to gain knowledge that will help our spiritual walk.  I’ve heard the saying that with knowledge comes power.  I believe this basic rule and if you don’t consider the leaders around you.  Each one must have expert knowledge of the subject at hand or they wouldn’t be in that position.  In a business setting someone determines the value of the knowledge they possess and pays them accordingly.  It works the same way in the spiritual realm.  God sees that we are trying to dig deeper and possess more of his  spiritual knowledge so he has a helper (The Holy Spirit) who teaches us!  However, we are only going to learn if we are willing to be taught! We must be humble and know that there are many more things we don’t know than what we know.

In 1849 we had a great hunger in America.  It was the hunger to get rich via the Gold Rush!  300,000 people came from the United States and all over the world to find gold.  It is true that some came away very wealthy, but most made just enough to get by or even worse almost lost their lives. They were called 49ers because that was the year they made the trip 1849.  One of the men who saw gold at the end of his rainbow was named Samuel Brannan.  Brannan had heard rumors of gold discovered in San Francisco his home town.  Brannan was a newspaper editor and local merchant.  Quickly Brannon put together a gold prospecting supplies store and  walked the streets of San Francisco with a vial of gold shouting “Gold, Gold, Gold, from the American River!”  He saw the other side of the equation.  He set himself up for riches whether gold was discovered or not.  He knew the human hunger for riches would make him rich!

Miners vs. Merchants: Fortunes Made Through Global Trade

At first if the 49ers were very lucky and early they were able to pick the gold nuggets right off of the ground.  Those nuggets went fast as you can imagine and the others were relegated to panning for gold in the river.  Brannon didn’t have the only business that took advantage of the increased population.  Local Banks, Tailors, and Equipment stores were also very successful during the gold rush years.  Again they used the rush for gold to their advantage by providing for the 49ers services that they thought they needed.

I read a book one time about J. Paul Getty.  In it he stated how he got called when one of his oil wells struck oil  I read of different successes he had in that book but I didn’t realize the whole story.  Getty was married 5 times and had 4 kids each from different women. He actually got rich from his dad who bought land and struck oil on it. Getty inherited 1/3 of the Getty Oil Company but was able to expand it and in 1957 Forbes Magazine named him America’s richest man.  Yet with all of that wealth Getty didn’t like to spend money.  For this reason and many more he was not able to be happy in marriage.  Getty seemed like he had some regrets as he got older.  He stated that “A lasting relationship with a woman is only possible if you are a business failure”, and “I hate to be a failure. I hate and regret the failure of my marriages. I would gladly give all my millions for just one lasting marital success.” 

J. Paul Getty Stock Pictures, Royalty-free Photos & Images - Getty ...

Getty had gold right in front of him but he didn’t realize it.  He sold out to the gold of this world which will never satisfy.  As Christians we need to sell out too, not to this world, but to our spiritual treasures!  Digging deep we can find the spiritual nuggets.  The Holy Spirit will reveal all truths if we are open for it!  Unlike the Gold Rush there is plenty of nuggets for everyone who desires them!   Like the 49ers we need to be hungry.  Our hunger though needs to be directed at the spiritual.  We are a spiritual being who has a soul and lives in a body.  Jesus asked the question “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world but forfeit their soul?”  Mark 8:38.  It helps to get together with a fellow believer in our studies!  Matthew 18:20 tells us that “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  He does this in the form of the Holy Spirit who teaches us all truth!  Unlike the allergy commercial we will now be led to a complete victory.  Our willingness to go way beyond the surface leads us to understanding the complete picture! Are you willing to dig deeper for that gold that will satisfy?  If so your spiritual gold will never be empty and your cup of joy will always be full!






Following The Spirit

One day in 1970 Mac Davis (singer and song writer) went to the office.  He was recently divorced and because his former wife was ill he had their 5 year old son, named Scotty, with him.  Scotty was a typical kid with one thousand questions and Mac wanted to get some work done.  He wanted to write a song and Scotty was taking his mind off of the task.  Finally Mac decided to give Scotty a pad of paper and a pen.  He told him to draw a picture for daddy.  He drew a picture with two figures and the letters prlfq.  When he asked young Scotty what it spelled Scotty said “mom and dad.”  Mac was not quick to correct his son.  He knew that in time he would learn to spell but the effort was there!  In that moment of smiling at his son an inspiration came to him!

Mac Davis – Song Painter (1970) | Sounds of the Universe

Growing up there were two TV shows that I remember from Sunday morning TV.  One was called “Lamp Unto My Feet” and the other one was “Look Up And Live.”  I don’t remember the content of the shows.  In reading about them I discovered that they had guest stars (famous people) sharing their faith.  What I do remember is the titles.  Each title makes a bold statement.   The first statement was from a book I have been re-reading called “How You Can Be Led By The Spirit Of God”, by Kenneth E. Hagin. In Chapter 1 “The Lamp Of The Lord”, Hagin states that “Children of God can expect to be led by the Spirit of God.”  He quotes Proverbs 20:27 which states that “the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord.”  Here is what he states in conclusion of this statement.  “God will enlighten us-he will guide us- through our spirit.”  He makes the point that nowhere does it say that the body of man is the lamp of the Lord’, or that  the mentality of man is the light of the Lord.  We must follow God with our spirit because that is how he leads us.

How You Can Be Led by the Spirit of God: Kenneth E. Hagin ...

I was talking to my friend Kevin the other day about his experiences in the Navy.  Kevin was on a big ship with about 400 other soldiers.  When it got dark at sea it was pitch black.  You could not see your hand in front of you.  They had a drill that they did with a large group.  Each one had to line up behind the team leader.  The team leader had a laser light that let him lead the way.  The others put their hand on the collar of the man in front of them.  Slowly they marched to each ones berth and dropped them off one by one.  The Navy tried to build trust in your fellow teammates.  Everything in the Navy was based on trusting your teammate.  All of the men were trained in every situation.  They were trained to be firemen because if a fire started they couldn’t call the fire department. As they went through each thing that they were trained in they accumulated points which could lead to promotion.  The Navy teaches teamwork and depending on others, but God wants us to depend on him.  If one of those soldiers lost their grip with the person in front of him all of the ones he was leading would be stranded in the darkness.  It reminds me of the parable Jesus taught about the blind leading the blind.  Matthew 15:14 states “Disregard them! They are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Have you ever had a lamp that was not working?  You might make sure the bulb is tight and fiddle around with the wires.  Suddenly you notice that the plug has come out of the electric outlet.  When we plugged it in the light worked!  It is the same way with God.  He is waiting to light our path, but it is up to us to get and stay connected.  If our spirit isn’t in connection to God our light will not work.  Instead of walking in the light we start walking in darkness.  We depend on our emotions and what we think with our finite minds.  We depend on someone other than God who will ultimately lead us into darkness.  As I was writing this an appropriate children’s song came over the TV in the other room.  We are all probably familiar with it.  It is called “This Little Light of Mine.” The lyrics go “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”  How do we let it shine for the world to see?  We have it plugged in to the power source that makes it all possible!

When we seek after the spirit God is very pleased.  He is our Heavenly Father and like our good earthly father he is delighted in steps of learning that we make!  He realizes that we will fail, but he also see’s effort and potential!  He see’s the big picture in our spiritual growth and he is anxious to help us shine our light!  We are all uniquely made and he cherishes the wonderful differences each of us possess.  All he asks is for us to trust him and walk in the spirit where he can put a lamp under our feet!

When Mac Davis finished his song he let Bobby Goldsboro sing it and make the hit that it became.  One thing he didn’t let Bobby do though was change the name of the son.  He kept it Scotty because that was personal.  He loved Scotty and Scotty was the reason the song was written.  He delighted in watching Scotty grow just like your Heavenly Father delights in your willingness to learn and grow through his spirit!

Vinyl Album - The Peter Pan Rangers - Watching Scotty Grow - Peter ...

Watching Scotty Grow

Written by Mac Davis

There he sits with a pen and a yellow pad,
he’s a handsome lad, that’s my boy.
P-r-l-f-q, spells mom and dad.
Well, that ain’t too bad, ’cause that’s my boy.

You can have your T.V. and your night clubs.
You can have your drive in picture shows.
I’ll sit here and drink a beer and listen to the radio,
bidin’ my time and watchin’ Scotty grow.

Makin’ castles out of building blocks,
and a cardboard box, that’s my boy.
Mickey Mouse says it’s thirteen o’clock.
Well, that’s quite a shock, but that’s my boy.

In four short years I’ve grown from rags to riches.
What I did before that, I don’t know?
Let it rain on my windowpane, I got my own rainbow.
And we’re sittin’ here shinin’, watchin’ Scotty grow.

Up on daddy’s shoulders and off to bed,
old sleepyhead, that’s my boy.
Gotta have a drink of water and a story read,
and a teddy bear named Fred, that’s my boy.

What’s that you say, momma, come on and keep your feet warm.
Well, save a place, I’ll be in in a minute or so.
I think I’ll stay right here and say a little pray’r before I go.
Me and God are watchin’ Scotty grow.

Playing For The Prize

“When you pass the ball three things can happen and two of them are bad!”  The quote was attributed to either Woody Hayes or Darrel Royal, both great college coaches of the day.  That philosophy was also a key ingredient in the philosophy of the great Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers.  In 1967 Lombardi was trying to take the Packers to their fifth championship under his command.  However,  the Packers were in trouble.  Not only were they frozen stiff but they had just went down in the score.  There was only 4 minutes and 50 seconds left and they had the ball on their own 32 yard line.  They were down 17-14 and the obstacles seemed enormous.  The field was frozen and they might have been better off on ice skates.  The wind chill during the game was 48 degrees below zero.  Before the game Vince Lombardi, the Packers coach talked to Chuck Mercein, his big fullback.  “This is exactly the game I brought you here for”, he told Chuck.  “Now go out there and do what I know you can.

Vincent Lombardi - IMDb

Lombardi had already faced trouble earlier in the season.  In a game in the middle of the season both of his starting running backs had been hurt.  Elijah Pitts and Jim Grabowski were out and Lombardi knew that he needed help to implement his plan to victory.  He was trying to keep his eyes on the Apostle Paul’s comment in I Corinthians that he used to motivate his team before the playoffs started.  Paul stated that many people run the race but only one wins.  Run in a way that you will win.  In order for Lombardi to win the race he needed to sign a running back to help carry the load!

Chuck Mercein was a big fullback who played for the Giants.  That is until he was unceremoniously cut.  Chuck was selected in the 1965 draft as the Giants second pick.  He had a great career at Yale University.  He wondered why the Giants would choose him in the second round after using their first round pick on another fullback named Tucker Fredrickson?   The owner told him that they were going to move Tucker to halfback and Chuck would play fullback.  That answer satisfied Chuck.  However, the message must not have been communicated to the coach because Coach Allie Sherman had Tucker playing and Chuck on the bench.  Chuck mentioned later that he didn’t think that Sherman liked him from the start because he went to Yale.  Yale had a very good year but was not normally associated as a breeding ground for NFL talent.

Chuck Mercein - Wikipedia

Chuck was not a flashy runner.  In football terms you could call him a grinder.  He was more apt to try to run over someone than around him.  He was a slow straight line power runner who could also catch balls out of the backfield.  He was not a breakaway threat but could get a dependable three or four yards.  In 1965 Chuck didn’t play much.  He was also nursing an injured groin and that didn’t help the situation.  However, in 1966 Chuck got a real chance with the Giants to show what he could do.  Tucker got hurt and Chuck was the lead back.  He stepped up and led the team in rushing even though he missed the last two games because he was injured. 1966 Philadelphia # 130 New York Giants Chuck Mercein ...

In 1967 he came to camp ready to compete for the starting job but found that the decision had already been made and he would be a backup.  It didn’t sit well with Chuck when Sherman told him  he was putting him on waivers because someone got hurt and he needed to sign a linebacker.   Chuck was told not to worry though because they would call him back.  The Giants figured that nobody would claim Chuck because of his contract situation and he could easily be called back.  In the meantime Chuck played semi-pro ball to stay in shape.  When he finally got the Giants call he found that they wanted to bring him back as a kicker.  Chuck was a kicker for his Yale team in college, but he hadn’t kicked in a couple of years, and he wanted to play fullback, where he thought his skills could be best used.  However he came back as a kicker and on his second attempt he missed an extra point.  After the game he was waived and found himself out of football.  He remembered his coach in the College All Star Game and called him.  It was Otto Graham, who was coaching the Washington Redskins.  Otto wanted to sign Chuck but he had a roster problem.  He wanted him to wait until he got it cleared up.

While he was waiting Chuck got a call from the Giants owner.  Vince Lombardi had called and wanted to know if Chuck was still available and would he take his call?  Chuck happily told him he hadn’t signed yet and Lombardi called soon after.  He wanted Chuck to come to Green Bay.  He had just lost two running backs and felt that Chuck could come and help them win another championship!  Chuck told his wife “we are heading to Green Bay!”  So that is how Chuck Mercein ended up back in Wisconsin.  Chuck had lived in Wisconsin early in life and knew of the weather he was getting into.  Yet he also knew he was needed and wanted!  Chuck was a perfect fit for Lombardi’s plan.  Lombardi valued determination and grit over talent.  He saw that Chuck was a hard nosed player who would give him all that he had.  To Lombardi that was much better than a super talented player that didn’t give his all.

Bart Starr, the Quarterback didn’t say much when the team formed their huddle.  Later when asked about it he said that he looked into the eyes of Forrest Gregg and Jerry Kramer and saw their determination.  All he said then was “Let’s Go!”   It was with great resolve that the Packers left that huddle.  For much of the second half they had been sliding on the icy field.  They could not keep their footing.  Chuck picked up a key first down on a seven yard sweep.  He was pushed out of bounds by the Packers sideline and he heard Coach Lombardi yell “Atta boy Chuck!”  He felt an amazing amount of confidence fill his body!  Donny Anderson and Boyd Dowler were key players in the drive but Tom Laundry the coach of the Dallas Cowboys mentioned one play that really hurt them.  The ball was on the Dallas 30 and Chuck let  Bart Starr know that he had been open in the left flat.  Bart put that wisdom into his thinking and when he couldn’t find his primary receiver on the next play he dumped the ball to Chuck.  The toss was a little behind him but Chuck gathered himself with sturdy feet and outstretched arms and brought the ball in.  Sure enough there wasn’t a Cowboy in proximity as methodically through the ice Chuck moved with determination and strength.  Trudging sturdily  all the way down to the 11 yard line, he was finally  pushed out of bounds.

Chuck Mercein I

There was one minute and eleven seconds left and the Packers odds of scoring the go ahead touchdown were looking good!  The next play made it look even better as Chuck broke through the pack and plowed his way to the three yard line!  From there they got to the one yard line, but for the next two plays the backs couldn’t get their footing and were stopped short.  The ball was on the 1/2 yard line but there were only 16 seconds left when the Packers used their final time out.  Starr made a quick visit to Lombardi and made his case.  “Our backs cannot get their footing but I can push off and get in”, Starr stated.  In typical Lombardi fashion he said “Well run it then and let’s get out of here!”
Starr came back to the huddle and called Chuck’s play.  Chuck knew that he was going to score.  To Chuck’s surprise as he was charging in to get the hand off Starr never turned around.  Starr took the snap and pushed forward behind a slight hole the line had made and landed in the end zone.  Meanwhile Chuck was charging and couldn’t stop.  There was a rule at the time that a ball carrier could not be pushed into the end zone.  Chuck’s arms went straight up in the air.  “It wasn’t a touchdown signal”,  Chuck related later.  “It was showing the referee that I wasn’t helping by pushing him in!”  Chuck gained 34 of the 68 yards on that drive.  Without him the Packers would not have won.  Yet when the winning moment occurred it was Chuck who made sure in that split second that the victory stood!

Bart's QB sneak behind Jerry

Chuck Mercein was not the most talented player in the league.  What he did have though was something far more important than talent.  He was determined to be the best he could possibly be.  He was willing to work for that goal.  Just like Lombardi looked for desire and maximum effort, so does God!  He looks at our hearts and asks of us this question.  Are you giving me all that you have?  When we learn to give him everything, God finds a time that he will use us!  Like Chuck we might seem ignored when the credit is handed out, but in the end God knows who did their job and will reward us fully!  Unlike Chuck’s end zone picture we will be raising our hands not in following the law, but in praise to the one who made it all possible!

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”

1 Corinthians 9:24









The Best Ability

I remember the excited voice of our softball coach.  It was at the beginning of the year and he had just turned in our roster to the city organizers. “I put Kip on there and he is really good!   He fields everything at third base and he has great power!” He later explained that Kip couldn’t come every week but he is on the roster for when he could.  It turned out that we played the whole season and Kip never showed up.  I thought of this story from my past because of my favorite football team the Detroit Lions.  This year they drafted one of the best running backs in the college ranks!  There were some people that didn’t like the pick.  “Why should we draft another running back when we have one with enormous talent already?”  The answer seems to be very clear.  The talented running back that they have is undependable.  In 32 games that they have played with him on the team he has been able to play only 18 of them.  Injuries have taken their toll on him and the team has decided to not totally depend on him to show up every game.

Lions' Kerryon Johnson had an outstanding night against the ...

Have you ever wished you had certain abilities other people seem to have?  “I wish I could speak in front of people like that person can”, you might say..  “I wish I could have the gift of prophesy or the gift of healing”, others might think.  There are many gifts that we can have that put the spotlight on us, but is that what it is all about?  Be careful when you see a ministry that is centered around one person.  We have seen at times that where it should be less of me and more of him in reality it is more of them and less of him.  It is also a common thing for us to see someone get healed in a famous persons ministry and feel like that we have to go there to get our healing.  We forget that God loves us just as much as them and he can heal us by our own faith!

So what should we pray for in abilities?  I can tell you that we shouldn’t pray for anything that would make us proud.  Throughout the Bible God despises the proud.  It is with pride that they reject his son as their savior.  Proverbs 16:18-20 states these things about the proud.

18. Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall.
19. It is better to be humble and stay poor than to be one of the arrogant and get a share of the loot.
20. Pay attention to what you are taught, and you will be successful, trust in the Lord and you will be happy

We can conclude that God loves it when we are the opposite of proud.  When we give him the glory instead of keeping it for ourselves.  After all he is the reason we live and breath!  It is God who makes anything we are or ever will be possible!

Have you ever considered how God continuously uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things?  The Bible is full of these examples!  How about David fighting Goliath and winning?  This is what David said to Goliath in Samuel 17…”David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.”  David was not relying on his own power, but the power of God!

FreeBibleimages :: Moses and the Red Sea :: God opens a path ...

God had to work with Moses to get him to do what he asked.  Moses had the opposite problem of being proud.  Moses had the problem of not thinking highly of himself.  When God asked Moses to lead his people out of Egypt Moses had five excuses.
1. I’m not good enough
2. I don’t have all of the answers
3. People won’t believe me
4. I’m a terrible public speaker
5. I’m not qualified

Moses had the same fears and doubts that we have today.  These fears and doubts hold many of us back from doing God’s will.  Like Moses we argue with God and make excuses for why we won’t do what he asks.  We get the idea that someone else has more abilities, and can speak eloquently, or have all of the answers.  Why would he call me when somebody out there has all of these wonderful gifts that people think so highly of?
The answer is that God wants to use you, an ordinary person, to do extraordinary things through him!  So what is the ability that God cherishes the most?  It’s the same ability that the Detroit Lions cherish in a running back.  It’s the same ability that you and I can have that Kip didn’t.  The writer of the article made this quote. “The best ability is availability”  If we are available we are in a position to hear God’s voice.  If we hear God’s voice we are in a position to do what he wants!  So being available is the ability we should strive for and is the best ability to have!





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