Addy of the Door Islands has arrived. Addy arrives on the Orphan Train but no one waits for her. Now she must figure out how to care for her little sister Molly. Her impetuous ways endear her to the islanders but get her into so much trouble. Will she truly find a family and what about the parents that gave her up . . .will she ever know if they are alive and how to deal with the feelings of abandonment that stalk her?
Do you think/believe we are in the End-times? Why or why not? _______________________
What do you see ahead in the next 5 or 10 years? __________________________________
Have you experienced persecution? What kind of persecution do you think we’ll encounter?
How do you define persecution? ___________________________________________
What should be the Church’s focus as a whole (the whole body of Christ, not just our church)?
What should be America’s focus, as relating to the End-times? _______________________
What should be the individual’s focus? ___________________________________________
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.
But when the wicked rules, the people groan.
Guideposts publishes books. One of those is Miracles Do Happen, 101 Glimpses of the Hidden Hand of God. It will include two stories from our family. One is Lee’s story of being instantaneously healed of a broken back. He was riding his motorcycle with his brother-in-law and hit an overgrown stump in a field. His 25% compression fracture of his 7th vertebrae could have made him a paraplegic. In a wonderful moment at a Kathryn Kuhlman service in the early 1970’s he was completely healed. He left his back brace in New York. The other story occurred the day after my nephew Matthew died. I saw a window into heaven open and Matt leaned forward to tell me he definitely was there. It makes me laugh and cry every time I think about it. The book was originally scheduled to be published in May 2017, but it has been put off to May 2018.
My friend Kelli Hughett is my guest today. She wrote a novel about football . . . so what’s not to like. So, as the pro-football season is heating up, the little league baseball season has wrapped up, and Kelli found some life lessons from her sons’ summer to share with us.
Summer Baseball was about to begin. It was the first batting practice and anticipation was high. We were there to see our 7 year old shine. But his feet were all wrong. He stood so awkwardly at the plate. The bat extended from him at such a strange angle. Our stomachs flip-flopped as his first swing went everywhere except to meet the ball. We lost count of how many balls swooshed by him as we shouted encouragement to little man. The coach, seeing the distress, slowed down the pitches, but our son connected only occasionally.
The game wasn’t much better with players on our 12 year-old’s team, but as the weeks passed, their stances improved as did their swings. Players on each team learned to connect with more pitches.
When late July arrived, they both played in the end-of-season tournament.
What a difference! Both teams, and both sons showed major improvement at the plate. They were taking fast, hard pitches and sending them into the outfield! This year, both their teams won their bracket! What a joy to watch them learn and improve in a sport they love.
Even with all the improvement, pitches still got past every hitter on both teams. Out of three pitches, they might foul one before sending a big shot to left field. How we would cheer when they connected! The fans (read: parents) won’t remember the balls they didn’t hit. We remember the balls they did!
As Christians, we so often put tremendous pressure on ourselves. We look at the challenges and opportunities of life like batting practice, only we expect to hit every pitch to the fence. When we don’t we feel guilty or like failures.
Here are 8 winning strategies for success when opportunities come your way like batting practice.
- Step up to the plate. You’re never going to improve if you don’t take batting practice. Pray God starts sending “pitches” you can hit. Opportunities to serve and share the gospel will come if you step up to the plate!
- Trust your coach: God’s a good coach. He’s promised to be patient with you. If you’re at the plate, that’s all he wants. He’ll allow some slow pitches while you’re learning. Take correction by getting into the word on a daily basis.
- Swing batta, batta. Take the risk and swing! Don’t let the best opportunities pass you by because you weren’t ready to swing or feared failure.
- Shake off the strikes. Stop feeling guilty about the pitches you missed. The ones that matter are the ones that connect.
- Wait for your pitch. As Christians, we can get busy “swinging” at any ball (opportunity). Set your priorities and wait for your pitch to make the biggest impact for the Kingdom of Christ.
- Sometimes you get walked. God’s grace can send any batter to first without a hit. Capitalize on this to persevere when the game gets hard.
- Quit keeping the count on other Christians. We’re quick to call 5 and 2 when our fellow players are at bat. Be an encourager of your teammates, not the umpire!
- We’ve already won the game. Jesus Christ has already sealed the victory with his blood. We play, not to earn the win, but because we’ve already won! Step up to the plate like a winner!
Here’s the link to Kelli’s book: http://tinyurl.com/qesthpm
You can also visit her website at kellihughett.com