Thank you Lord for the opportunity you have given me to coach others. I recognize the sacred responsibility I have to encourage, inspire, and motivate others to succeed. I also recognize that it is not just about winning a game, but winning the game of life. I pray that I am able to help those I coach identify and capitalize on their strengths, minimize their weaknesses, and learn from them both. I pray that I am able to be a role model for them at all times, knowing that what I do far outweighs what I say. Help those I coach learn that failing is not fatal unless they quit and that stumbling blocks can become their stepping stones to success. I pray that the preparation and perspiration required to succeed are coupled with perseverance and common sense. I ask that you help them condition their minds and bodies to excel and that you protect them from harm. I pray Lord that you help them compete with integrity, character, and humility, and not worry about what their critics or competitors say, but to let their actions put the words of those that oppose them to rest. Help us remember that to be the best requires time, determination, being secure in yourself, and having a teachable spirit. Let us always honor those who have helped us succeed, whether it is our parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, or friends. Teamwork is vital in sports, business, and home life. Help us each do our part to succeed in the game of life. Amen.
(Dedicated to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting)
Here are some of the lyrics from a song with that title penned by Elvis Costello:
“As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain, hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside
There’s one thing I wanna know:
What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding? Ohhhhh
What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding?”
The truth is: it is not funny at all. It is sadly lacking in our world today. Everywhere I look I see people caught up in evil and going crazy on each other. Here is what I believe WILL change the world for the better: We have to see other people through God’s eyes. What would that look like?
- We would love each other despite our differences in politics, religion, ethnic origin, or any other prejudice.
- We would seek to understand those that are different from us rather than fear, hate, or judge them.
- We would put others before ourselves and learn to be givers instead of takers.
- We would truly care about people who are suffering, poor, widowed, orphaned, or in prison.
I know this may seem like the impossible dream, but if I don’t do it, who will? If I can set the proper example, then maybe those that God brings across my path will be inspired to love, understand, and be at peace with one another, but it has to start with me.
Lord, I come to you today first of all to give thanks. Thank you for your love, your grace, and your mercy on me. Thank you for my family, friends, and co-workers. Thank you for my job. Help me, Lord, in the decisions I make today. I pray that my decisions are not selfish but for the good of all and that I make them for the right reasons. Help me to remember to lead by serving. Help me to discern what is important and what is wasting my time. Help me to face my fears and not let them keep me from making the hard decisions. Help me to know who to trust, who to watch, who to empower, and who to let go. I pray for those that work with me, that I will encourage them, for I know that many of them are carrying heavy loads at work and at home. Bless each of them and their families, Father. Give them strength for the day, and help them not to worry about tomorrow, but to learn to trust you regardless of the circumstances. Help me be a reflection of you and your love to those I encounter this day. Amen
With all the things going on in the world today, I don’t know how anyone survives without prayer. There are catastrophes galore, unspeakable acts of evil abounding, and chaos seems to be the theme of the day. This week I was reminded of how much we need to pray. I was at school and one of the ladies who works there was quite despondent. I know her to be a jubilant person most of the time, so I knew immediately that something was terribly wrong. When I asked her why she was upset, she did not want to speak. I could tell she was fighting back the tears. I told her it was OK, and gently asked her again to tell me what was wrong. She said she had relatives in Puerto Rico and had not been able to reach them for the past 4 days because of the hurricane. She is just one of many teachers we have on staff that have family in Puerto Rico and Mexico which have both succumbed recently to natural disasters. I simply told her what she already knew: prayer is the answer. God is still in control. The best thing we can do for those in peril and for ourselves is to pray! She agreed and thanked me for the encouragement. I saw her later that day and asked her how she was doing. She smiled and said she was feeling much better. Sometimes we just have to be reminded of the power of prayer. Worry is a terrible thing and can weigh down the heart of the mightiest warrior. Prayer is a powerful weapon when you have everything to lose and no sign of hope ahead. I realize it takes faith as well, and that faith has to be in God. Only He can change the course of a river or the heart of a King….but he can do it. With Him, everything is possible. Whatever you are facing today, turn it over to God. I have included a prescription for you from Him. It is available to you right now. You won’t even have to wait in line at the pharmacy! Just accept it, use it, and trust God for the results. P.S. God’s Son paid for it. Shalom! Dan Skognes
To cope, you have to have hope. To have hope, you have to have something to believe in beyond your own capabilities. Hope is the anchor we have in the storms of life. It is what gives us a reason to go on despite how dark the horizon appears or how fearful we may feel inside.
People turn to many things to help them cope. Substance abuse masks the pain, but it always returns when the medication wears off. People turn to affairs or casual sex to fill the void of loneliness. Unfortunately, that does not cure the underlying problem. Compulsive buying or binge eating are also common problems that people use to try and cope. The problem is that you can’t buy peace and lasting happiness. Binge eating will just make you overweight and shorten your life.
Coping in a healthy way requires two things:
- Faith your fears. Holding on to fear will kill your hope.
Face Everything And Rise or Forget Everything And Run. It is your choice!
- Quit worrying about things that are out of your control. What good does worrying do? None!
You may be familiar with the first stanza of The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, but did you know there is a second stanza? Here is the full prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
That is how I cope and that is my hope.
There are few things in life that frustrate me more than having car problems. They always seem to happen at the worst possible time. Recently my check engine light came on and I took it over to a garage that I had dealt with before. I thought I could trust them…but learned otherwise. I did not ask them what they would charge to look at my car and tell me what the problem was. Big mistake! When he gave me the bill, I was both shocked and dismayed. The bill was $108 just to diagnose the problem. I knew other garages that would have checked it out for $65, so this sent up a red flag to me. Then he handed me the suggested repairs. I nearly fainted as he told me that two O2 sensors were out and my car should not be driven further until they were replaced.
Wow. What a pickle! The tab was over $800, and I did not have that to spend as I had just shelled out $1,200 to fix our air conditioner at home. I did not stress out about it. Instead…I prayed for discernment and made several calls to other garages to see what they would charge me. Of course, they wanted to run their own diagnostics before giving me a quote…which I can understand, but I did not want to go broke on getting estimates either. So, I parked my car and borrowed my wife’s “Granny Van” till I could save up the money for further diagnostics and repairs.
I normally go to a men’s Bible study group on Saturdays, and this particular Saturday I almost did not go because my lawn was needing to be mowed and it was very hot. The earlier in the day I mow the better…but something told me I needed to go to the Bible study anyway so I went.
I had not told anyone at the group about my dilemma, but one close friend of mine came over and asked me how things were going…and I told him about my car and the gigantic bill that I had to somehow come up with. He said, “I had that very same problem on my car recently and it turned out to be a hose that cost me $40. Let me look at it and see if that is the case.” So, after the Bible study he came over to my house, popped the hood and sure enough there was a big crack in the hose that goes to the air filter! I bought the hose and a new air filter and he put them on for me. He had both the tools and the know-how which I lacked. Auto repair is NOT one of my gifts.
We were literally getting all the parts back together when I get a call from my wife. She was at Walmart and HER car would not start! LOL. I just looked up in the sky and said, “Really God?” LOL. We finished putting all the screws back into the engine and I was off to Walmart to help my wife. It was a bad battery and as soon as we gave it a jump it started right up. I swapped cars with her and took hers around the back of Walmart to the auto repair shop and got a new battery put in for her.
What a day! I thought back on all the circumstances that happened and how my friend was there for me when I needed him. I know God will bless him for his servant’s heart…as will I. The really sad part about this day was that the mechanics I thought I could trust were just smiling crooks. They had no morals or ethics and only cared about the dollar. Little did they know that I had planned on doing some major work on both vehicles with them in the near future, but that business will never be done with them at this point. The moral to the story:
- When you have a gut check about something that someone is telling you…LISTEN. Don’t ignore that little voice telling you that something is not right. If you don’t have peace about it, there is a good reason and you need to find out what is wrong.
- Don’t make rash decisions just because there is an apparent emergency. Slow down, pray about it…and seek advice from trusted advisors.
- Wait on God. That is probably one of the hardest things for me to do, and yet when I do, He does things for me that only He can do…and He makes no mistakes! I just have to trust Him and HIS timing.
- It was not an accident that I was compelled to go to the Bible study even when I had other things I needed to do. It was not an accident that my friend was there and had the perfect solution for me at a price I could afford. It was not an accident that my wife was at Walmart when her car broke down. I literally had to just drive it around the corner of the building to get it fixed.
Did I like doing all of this on a hot August day in Texas? No. I would much rather be indoors watching a movie and munching on some popcorn, but that is life. We have our days to watch movies and our days in the sun. We can expect to have them both; just don’t stress out when things get a little crazy. Take a deep breath, pray, trust God, and wait. You will endure the heat much better if you learn the secret of chilling.
P.S. I still mowed my lawn while I was waiting for my friend to come over.
P.S.S. I do know that you can take your car to Auto Zone or O’Reilly’s and get a free diagnostic on the check engine light, but that does not tell the whole story. A qualified mechanic has to look at it to see what is really going on. This is a perfect example. The free diagnostic said I had two O2 sensors not working, but what I needed was to replace a cracked hose! Shalom!