At the age of six, Curtis Pride played one T-ball game and then said, "I'm going to be a baseball player." Twelve years later, he signed a contract to play for the major league New York Mets. In the intervening years, he was: (1) an outstanding high school athlete excelling in baseball, soccer, basketball, wrestling, swimming, track, and gymnastics; (2) named as one of the top 15 youth soccer players in the world (the only American) and a member of the U.S. National All-Star Soccer Team which traveled to China to compete for the 1985 Junior World Cup; (3) a "Parade Magazine" high school basketball All-American and a four-year starter as point guard on the College of William and Mary basketball team.
As the lead-off hitter, he batted over 300 for the Montreal Expos of the National League and played right field.
Curtis Pride is 95% deaf.
People often use adversity as an excuse for mediocrity.But Christians have every reason to approach difficulty with hope, setting aside the fear of failure and pressing onward in the strength of the Lord.The mark of spiritual maturity is to walk boldly ahead even when our cup is half-full, with no thought that we may not reach our desired goal.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1)
"But what is perfect will someday appear, and what isn't perfect will then disappear.When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do.But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways.Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror.Later we will see him face to face.We don't know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us." (1st Corinthians 13:10-12 Contemporary English Version)
Years ago, I had a best friend.We called each other frequently; visited each other’s homes; had slumber parties; went shopping together; were involved in similar activities at school; attended each other’s birthday parties; and did what best friends do.
We went away to college, lived away from each other and grew up, but we stayed in touch.We were in each other’s weddings.And, I’m sure, as we went through some things; our relationship ebbed and flowed as most do.We even had our silly spats.
We talk very infrequently now despite the fact we live about 30-45 minutes apart.As expected, we’ve developed other friendships over the years and, of course, had our share of challenges, responsibilities and disappointments. Life.We’ve grown distant.
Recently, I missed my friend’s birthday; the one time a year that we usually talk.Despite the fact I’ve called several times to apologize and to explain what was going on, the calls have not been returned.A line has been drawn in the sand.
GospeLines Prayer:Abba, Father, I am thankful that You hear my anguish and forgive me when I make mistakes.I thank You for your unconditional love.
When I am distant, Your arms are always open to accept me.I am thankful that I don’t need a special occasion to commune with You and that You walk with me and talk with me.
May I never draw a line in the sand and separate myself from You.
O.K., I confess... I'm hooked on it!At my local grocery store there is a game machine which is filled with colorful stuffed animals of all kinds.It reminds me of what a cartoon of Noah's ark would look like.On each of my 3 or 4 weekly trips to the store, I almost always feed the machine with money and manipulate the grappling hook to snatch one of the little critters.Over the years I've become pretty accomplished at it.We have more than 50 small animals in various parts of our house, grinning their stuffed hearts out and bringing smiles to everyone who sees them.The neatest part about my obsession is that each of the animals is different.They are unique in their own special way, hand crafted down to the last tiny detail.
I toted another one home tonight, for the third time this week.As I looked at our collection, I began to think about the imagination of the craftsman who makes them.It reminds me of my Creator, how He carefully made me and you unlike anyone else.But our differences don't stop with our looks.Each of God's children is born with talents and gifts which set us apart for service.Within you, God has crafted a special gift which makes you important to Him and to the world.There is a part of you which blesses someone every time they see you!The world would be much worse off without you in it.I am glad you are here to share it with me!
GospeLines Prayer:Creator of Eden, Holy Father of Revelation, I adore You for making me the way You did.With compassion You shared Your tears; with heartache You gave me freedom to choose; with agony You blessed me with suffering.You didn't make me perfect like Yourself, but You held nothing back so that I can feel what You feel, and in no small way I can know the mind and heart of my Creator.Thank you for making me in Your image.Amen and amen.
One of our Pastor's favorite sayings is "Keep the main thing, the main thing."What is the "main thing" in your life?If someone asked you to quickly name the four or five most important things in your life, what would you say?
Most of us would list the things we love the most - our families, our friends, our careers, maybe some precious possessions.Hopefully we'd also include our health and the health of our family and friends.
It's interesting that these things are all about the heart. When we're really serious about what's the "main thing" in our lives, we always turn to our heart.Who and what we love is in our mind, our soul - that's the seat of our passion and all our desires.If something's not permanently joined to our hearts, it's probably not very important to us.
Over 1,400 years before the birth of Jesus, Moses wrote to the Israelites challenging them to obey God and reject idolatry.He told them to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Remember that in 1st Samuel 15:23 we're told that arrogance is like the evil of idolatry.Colossians 3:5 tells us that whatever belongs to our earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, is idolatry.So, what was Moses saying?The people were engaging in idolatry by putting their earthly natures and desires of their hearts before God.
When Jesus was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."(Mark 12:30)Jesus again referred to the things of the heart.
After Jesus said these words, the Rabbi who had ask Jesus the question replied, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.And I know it is important to love Him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”Then Jesus said, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
There it is!If we want to be close to the Kingdom of God we must realize the importance of loving the Lord with all our hearts.This is more important than offerings and sacrifices!Our list of the four or five most important things in our lives must place God first!He is the "Main Thing."
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
When Marcus Houston was a junior in high school, twelve of the members of his football team were flunking classes and lost their eligibility.He was concerned by their failure and started a program called "Just Say KNOW."He went to 8th graders and talked to them about success, offering prizes for essays written about doing something with their lives.Now that Marcus is a freshman in college, he has taken his message to the Big XII athletic conference and hopes to see it spread nationally.He asks in his promotional brochure, "Is your character rich enough so that people will want to invest in your dreams?"(SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and READER'S DIGEST)
How big are your dreams?The most important thing you can pass on to someone is your faith-knowledge.A mind will be filled with something, whether it is the philosophy of the world or the Truth of the Word.Paul admonished us: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ" (Colossians 2:8).Encourage others in the knowledge of Jesus Christ... Just Say KNOW.
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, bind my spirit of timidity; overcome my slothful spirit.Create urgency within my soul to feed the hungry world with the Bread you have given me."Amen and amen.