musings of a hopefilled soul

Archive for September, 2012

BEYOND BELIEF: Finding The Strength To Come Back

Josh Hamilton Of Texas

Last week while on vacation in northern Minnesota, I seized the opportunity to read the story of Major League Baseball player, Josh Hamilton.  If you are not a sports fan as I am, I will fill you in on a few details.

Josh Hamilton was the first overall pick in the 1999 Major League Baseball draft.  Multi-talented, he was a masterful pitcher and a talented outfielder with a fantastic arm. His outstanding hitting ability just added to the already enticing package!.

Josh who had been a clean-cut kid, avoiding any appearance of anything that might compromise his baseball career, begans to experiment in alcohol, and eventually, drugs.  He openly admits the first night he tried alcohol he knew he was addicted.

His addiction to both drugs and alcohol almost destroyed his life, let alone his career.  Many times in treatment, he would complete the course only to find himself back where he began…addicted and using!

The book, so vivdly reveals his desperation…. “In the past, my response to helplessness would have been to use.  Using was the all-purpose reaction, good for any occasion, suitable for any emotion. Sad? Use. Happy? Use. Angry? Use. Afraid?Use.”

This time, Josh cried out to God in prayer and pled for His mercy and received it.  The scripture he found to be his source of strength was:
James 4:7 “Humble yourself before God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’

Thus begins the story of his miraculous journey back from addiction and his return to baseball, the major leagues, and all-star status.

The book describes one relapse Josh had since committing his life to Christ and if you follow him at all you know he has had one since.  He acknowledges his mistakes and gets right back to what was able to help him get his life back….God!

I will pray for Josh as he is on such a world stage. I will not get down on him if he falls but lift him up in prayer as I would like people to do when I mess up in life.  I believe that God IS enough to bring total freedom from addiction!!!!  As one song puts it “….and the saints are just the sinners who fall down and get up..they fall down and get up…they fall down and get up …again.”

We all have short comings and weaknesses. I believe God allows those things in our lives to remind us that our dependency is on him and not ourselves.  “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13

BEYOND BELIEF:finding the strength to come back, was inspiring and amazing.  Our God is an awesome God!!!

Who’s In Control?

While out for my morning walk, I came across the sunflowers in the picture above.They are located in a cornfield.

As a young person growing up on a farm in Iowa, before bean buggies and weed resistant beans, my friends and I would spend the summers walking beans to earn extra money.  This involved removing by pulling or hoeing, the unwanted corn, thistles, cockleburs, button weeds and sunflowers growing in the field.  We viewed them as a nuisance that would compete for the plant nutrients needed for the beans to grow.  They also were carriers of disease that might damage the crop.  They were out-of-place, harmful, and unwanted.

While on our vacation to northern Minnesota this past week, we drove past fields of sunflowers, intentionally planted.  They have a purpose and are controlled and nurtured by  knowledgeable farmers with the intent of producing something good.  Sunflower seeds… who doesn’t love them whether human or bird?  Sunflower oil has become increasingly popular also as a useful cooking oil.  And just the sheer beauty of the happy and colorful sunflower has made them desirable for cut flowers and fall arrangements.

So you see it depends on who has control of this plant.  Very much like our lives.  When left to our own devices, without God our lives are destructive and harmful.  A nuisance to ourselves and those around us.  Yet with the Master Gardeners touch we can be come beautiful, useful, and productive.  There is a purpose and a plan, when God is in control!

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of God living in them do not belong to Him al all.) Romans 8:9 NLT