Archive for January, 2012

Regardless of Results Seen!

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Wandering Thoughts

As i face some complicated decisions for myself that involve many others i am tempted to look at results and base those decisions on those “results.” Without going into the details i will state the results as i see them, by going to Habakkuk 3:17. After almost 6 years this is where it would seem that i am ending at.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,

i do believe that those words pretty much summarize where i am with Onething Campus and Onething Prayer Center, the results appear to be bleak at best (but God).

But Habakkuk 3:17 does not end there. It goes on to say, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!.” It says “I will exult in the VICTORIOUS GOD OF MY SALVATION.” i may not “feel” victorious because i am to absorbed in the results that i think others are looking at. Then too, i am looking at victorious me and this verse says it’s victorious God, the God of my salvation. Results… i won’t say that results are not necessary or that God doesn’t expect them but i will say that they do not deserve the prominence that i give them. The God of my salvation does not change by my results whether i or others deem them successful or not. “The God of my salvation…” how blessed am i!

What i love about God and His word is that neither, leave me where i am. They take me to where i need to go. They lead me with application to get me beyond where i am at the moment.

The Lord God (of my salvation) is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress (not results) upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! For the Chief Musician; with my stringed instruments.

Will make ed to walk, not stand still in terror, but to walk, and make spiritual progress, upon high place of trouble, suffering, or responsibility! Isn’t this where i need spiritual progress, in the tough and uncomfortable places. So why would i consider results, when i know that i have made spiritual progress during the past 5 plus years. Five years plus of trouble, suffering, responsibilities, and spiritual progress! But God!!

i close by using the Message to express the words a little more clearly. Actually this version includes Onething Life, into my previous words, ‘Though the sheep pens are sheepless.” whether there are sheep in the pens or not, i’m singing joyful praise to God.

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

i am counting on God’s Rule to prevail, i am learning to take heart and gain strength just as David did in 1 Samuel 30, run as a deer, well that’s my mind at this time and we’ll work on the actual physical ability to do that. i am not a big “feel” person. i prefer to know that i am king of the mountain and right now i don’t think i know that.  It’s been a bit elusive, coming and going. So Lord i pray Habakkuk 3:17-19 for me.

Psalm 121

Posted: January 30, 2012 in Wandering Thoughts

Psalm 121 – I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?    No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep. God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you— Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke. God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.    He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always.

When i look around me and towards the “normal” way things are looked at, when i am distracted from the truth, i am deceived by thinking that my answers, my solutions, my strength comes from any of those places. No, my strength, solutions and answers come from God who by the way made the heavens, the earth and those other so-called options come from distorted versions of what God intended them to be. When i look to Him for whatever i need He holds me in place. He does not let me stumble around or just stumble upon anything, but directly leads, guides and walks along side me. He is my guardian and watches over me while i am “waiting patiently” for His direction.

These words must be important, God won’t fall asleep, my guardian, my protector, my source will never doze or sleep. God is on my right side which in one of the translations says right side which is not protected by me shield. God, my God guards me from every evil and so i must not be so quick to identify things i do not like as being from the enemy. If God is not guarding, blocking or removing it from my life then there must be value in it.

He guards my very life, my very breath. He guards me when i leave and when i return, he guards me now, he guards me always.

Lord hold me in this place until You have prepared the next place for me to go. And yet that i walk in the knowledge that everyplace on which my foot shall tread, You have given it to me. Marco Thumus – patience because i have a big mind. Ezra 9:8 is big, really big, so i am holding, standing, waiting. A God story, bigger than i can imagine is coming forth!

Ezra 9:8

Posted: January 25, 2012 in To be or not to be?, Wandering Thoughts

While studying i was led to Ezra 9:8. i would not normally find myself in the book of Ezra but as i said i feel i was led there and perhaps in light of present circumstances it is appropriate. This is one of those extremely personal posts and lachrymose is an understatement! Reproof and correction are never wanted but always needed.

Ezra 9:8 “Now for a brief time God, our God, has allowed us, this battered band, to get a firm foothold in his holy place so that our God may brighten our eyes and lighten our burdens as we serve out this hard sentence.

We were slaves; yet even as slaves, our God didn’t abandon us. He has put us in the good graces of the kings of Persia and given us the heart to build The Temple of our God, restore its ruins, and construct a defensive wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

Just maybe now for a brief time (this comes as no revelation as i have been told for over a year that time was growing short and i don’t mean that as an alarmist but as for me and my relationship with God personally, for me to “be” as He has directed in every area of my life.) God, my God is allowing me and this battered band (i have been doing life with a small group for some time and many or i should say all of them have heard the same word about time being short for them to act upon what they know of God.) to get a firm foothold ( INTENTIONAL, not a what ever will be will be , not wishy-washy, not half-hearted, not what i think but a firm hold on what i know.) in His holy place (Onething Campus, Onething Prayer Center, and Onething Life) ( in spite of our lease coming to a close and apparent end, at least at the current location, that my time there and seemingly this battered bands time there is not finished.) so that God may brighten my eyes and lighten my burdens (this says to me that God is working in my life and that there are benefits to be gotten by finishing strong in whatever, whether the actual end or just a season change in my life.) as i serve out His hard sentence. (yes, it has seemed like a hard sentence this past year, but i never… well not never, thought of it as God’s sentence on me. In my sane moments i knew that my own decisions created the hard sentence and as i sit here today it feels really hard no matter how i look at it. Consequences!) i was a slave; yet even as a slave, my God didn’t abandon me. (regardless of what i have or have not done my God did not and has not abandon me. This word today is His voice speaking to me.) He has put me in the good graces (i sense that my time is not over (yet) as in ending, but certainly changing as God always does with things. i have a hope which i didn’t have a few months ago. These words lead me to think that there are relationships that God has ordained and that they are the good graces of God.) of the kings of Persia and given me the heart to build The Temple of my God, (i have not lost heart to build and i’ll leave it at that for now.) (no i have to say a little more. In the past five plus years i have attempted to build what i have had a heart for most of my life. That being unity of the body,  and the need for a personal intimate relationship with God in every single persons life. But… but, i did not always count the cost to Ann Marie nor myself and i find myself coming up to a place, feeling like so much more could have been done, but i ran out of resources. Not just financial but emotional, physical and every other “al” that can be identified. Being a giver i did not count the cost when i continually gave it all away without a care in the world. Thinking that i could just depended on God to make it all-right, that in a sense i could be many others source of faith and finances.)

Luke 14 says, “For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, Saying, This man began to build and was not able (worth enough) to finish. Or what king, going out to engage in conflict with another king, will not first sit down and consider and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand [men] to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if he cannot [do so], when the other king is still a great way off, he sends an envoy and asks the terms of peace.

Now i must surrender and go to the King while we are months from finishing and ask for terms of peace.) restore its ruins, ( i feel like that is where i am today in some parts of my life, in ruins and now i need to spend time restoring, Ann Marie and i, Onething Campus, Onething Prayer, and i believe that Onething Life is the venue for that to happen and no Ann Marie and i are fine but i or i should say we want more than fine, we want great, excellent, awesome, incredible, and construct a defensive wall (this says to me that i need to be intentional in keeping the enemy out of my life, my marriage, my family, the campus, the prayer room and out of the battered bands lives as much as i can, knowing they have a free will and choice.) in Judah and Jerusalem.

As it stands right now i will not post the rest of this week, and i’m not sure when i will again, as i need to INTENTIONALLY meditate and ACT upon this word. Let me begin by asking Ann Marie to forgive my lack of consideration on her part and placing her in this place without counting the cost, without considering your need and all women’s need for security, for giving away what was not all mine to give.

A Sign Of The Times

Posted: January 24, 2012 in Stories

i am sure i have read this before but as technology continues to become a larger part of my life, this serves as a reminder that relationship is not found on television. Technology is to stir the heart to find one on one relationships that will bring life into those that participate. i was made to do life together with live, in person relationships.

A SIGN OF THE TIMES
They lie on the table, side by side The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is well worn, but cherished with pride (Not the Bible, but the TV Guide)
One is used daily to help folks decide. (Not the Bible: it’s the TV Guide.)
As the pages are turned, what shall they see Oh, what does it matter?…turn  on the TV.
Then confusion reigns, they can’t all agree on what they shall watch on the  old TV.
So they open the book in which they confide (No, not the Bible…..it’s the  TV Guide.)
The Word of God is seldom read. Maybe a verse e’er they fall into bed.
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be… not from reading the Bible-from watching TV.
So then back to the table, side by side, lay the Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
No time for prayer….no time for the Word. The plan of salvation is seldom  heard.
But forgiveness of sin so full and free is found in the Bible…..NOT on TV!

The Son, The Son,

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Stories

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had Everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son. About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.” The young man held out his package. “I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.” The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the portrait. “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.”

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “We will start the bidding with this portrait of the son. Who will bid for this painting?” There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted. “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?” Another voice shouted angrily. “We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!” But still the auctioneer continued. “The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?”

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the long-time gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $10 for the painting.” Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10, who will bid $20?” “Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.” “$10 is the bid, won’t someone bid $20?”
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the painting of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!”  A man sitting on the second row shouted. “Now let’s get on with the collection!”

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!” God gave his son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, “The son, the son, who’ll take the son?”

My take away from this story is that i may not know just how close i am in some relationships as well as what do i value? i will take the Son!

ABC’s

Posted: January 21, 2012 in Stories

The Alphabet Prayer

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged with man. Now the story goes, a little shepherd boy was watching his sheep one Sunday morning and he heard the bells of the church ringing. And watching the people walk along the pasture where he was, he happened to think to himself, “I would like to communicate with God! But, what can I say to God?”

He had never learned a prayer. So, on bended knee, he began to recite the alphabet. Repeating this prayer several times, a man passing by, heard the boy’s voice and peaked through the bushes. He saw the young boy kneeling with folded hands, eyes closed, repeating the alphabet.

He interrupted the boy. “What are you doing, my little one?” he asked. The boy replied, “I was praying sir.” The man seemed surprised and said, “But why are you reciting the alphabet?” The boy explained, “I don’t know any prayers, sir. But I want God to take care of me, and to help me care for my sheep. And so I thought, if I said all I knew, He could put the letters together into words, and He would know all that I want and should say!”

The man smiled and said, “Bless your heart, God will!” And he went on to church knowing full well that he had heard the finest sermon he could possibly hear that day.

Maybe if i thought like a little child and let God put together the letters, what i should want, and what i should say, things would probably work out a lot better than i planned!!!

Less is More!

Handle With Care…

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Stories

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?
When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror.

The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little anxious to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he’d never seen  in uniform.

“Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this.” “Hello, Jack.” No smile. “Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids.” “Yeah, I guess.” Bob seemed uncertain. Good. “I’ve seen some long days at the office lately. I’m afraid I bent the rules a bit-just this once.” Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. “Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?” “I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct.” Ouch! This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. “What’d you clock me at?” “Seventy-one. Would you sit back in your car, please?” “Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65.” The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.
“Please, Jack, in the car.” Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn’t he asked for a driver’s license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again.

A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip. “Thanks.” Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to his car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

“Dear Jack,   Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car.  You guessed it – a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I’m going to have to wait until heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I’ve tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again.  Even now. . . Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left. Bob”

Jack…twisted around in time to see Bob’s car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

Life is precious. Handle with care. Today is a reminder of things i know and apply in most cases but i say most when it should be reflected in all. It is appropriate for me to personalize the following words.

1 Peter 2:10-17 But ed you are chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy person, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out -for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

ed, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourself cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.

Make the Master proud of you by being a good citizen. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good ed, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. ed treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.

Philippians 1:27 The only thing that matters is that you continue to live as good citizens in a manner worthy of the gospel of the Messiah. Then, whether I come to see you or whether I stay away, I may hear all about you-that you are standing firm in one spirit, struggling with one mind for the faith of the gospel,

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A Shadow

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Stories

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often.

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by. The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body in the shape of a cross. Instead of diving, he knelt down and asked God to come into his life. As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned the lights on. The pool had been drained for repairs.

i am reminded that God is always present and watching over me… when i allow Him to act on my behalf, things go better.

The Window

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Stories

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Epilogue. . . .There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite my own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If i want to feel rich, all i must do is count all of the things i have that money didn’t and can’t buy. “Today is a gift, that’s why it is called the PRESENT”. i am learning to live in the moment, with hope for another. Somewhere in that i am also hoping to learn for this moment that i might better use the next. And above all that is the intention of making every moment give God glory and honor.

A Father By My Side

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Stories

A Simple Prayer: By Peggy Porter

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a  short time.  During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to”dad.”

That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do.  Dad was not receptive  to doing things with his son.  But Gilbert tried.  Dad read the paper  and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his  young,eager son.  The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed.

Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out.  The  project began.  Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best  if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work.  And he did.  I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could do and what we couldn’t do.  Within days his block of wood was turning into a pinewood derby car.A little lopsided, but looking great (at least through the eyes of mom). Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids cars and was feeling  pretty proud of his “Blue Lightning,” the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

Then the big night came.  With his blue pinewood derby in his hand  and pride in his heart we headed to the big race.  Once there my little one’s pride turned to humility.  Gilbert’s car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own.  All the other cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed.

A few of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert’s, lopsided,  wobbly, unattractive vehicle.  To add to the humility Gilbert was the  only boy without a man at his side.  A couple of the boys who were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side, Gilbert had “mom.”

As the race began it was done in elimination fashion.  You kept  racing as long as you were the winner.  One by one the cars raced down  the finely sanded ramp.  Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there.  As the last race was about to begin, my wide-eyed, shy eight year old ask if they could stop the race for a minute, because he wanted to pray.

The race stopped. Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny looking block of wood  between his hands.  With a wrinkled brow he set to converse with his  Father. He prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half.  Then  he stood, smile on his face and announced, ‘Okay, I am ready.” As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as  their car sped down the ramp.  Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with  surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy’s car.

Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud “Thank you” as the crowd  roared in approval.  The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with  microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, “So you prayed to win, huh,Gilbert?” To which my young son answered, “Oh, no sir.  That wouldn’t be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else.  I just asked Him to make it so I don’t cry when I lose.”

Children seem to have a wisdom far beyond us.  Gilbert didn’t ask  God to win the race, he didn’t ask God to fix the out come, Gilbert  asked God to give him strength in the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars he didn’t cry out to God, “No fair, they had a fathers help.” No, he went to his Father for strength.  Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God’s strength to get through the struggle.  “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  Philippines 4:13

Gilbert’s simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night as it does to me today.  He never doubted that God would indeed answer his request as i do not doubt today.  He didn’t  pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that God supply the grace to lose with dignity.  Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father showed the crowd and me that he wasn’t there without a “dad,” but His Father was most definitely there with him as He is with me.  Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at his side. May i walk away today a winner, with my Father by my side.