Saturday, October 29, 2011


Comments after Friday night's championship game:
"This is why you keep batting," said David Freese who delivered the winning home run in Game 6 on the Cardinal's last strike. Freese was named most valuable player after Friday's win. "Sometimes things don't work out, you get injured, you do stupid stuff,but you try to stay on path.
"You surround yourself with guys like we have on this team."
"We just kept playing," commented Lance Berkman.
Albert Puljols: "The fans never gave up."
Yadier Molina: The pitcher, Chris Carpenter, had a little trouble the first few innings and Molina told him, "You've got plenty more."
The team was ectastic because Texas had been a formidable foe.
What kind of encouragement do we receive from God's Word to keep pressing on to fulfill our calling?
"Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world" Revelation 3:9-11 NLT
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us" Hebrews 12:1-3NLT
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" Galatians 6:8-10.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What we can learn from Freese

On Thursday night it was a tied ballgame in overtime, the last out for the St. Louis Cardinals and the last strike for David Freese. The Texas Rangers stood ready to snatch the 2011 World Series from their grasp.
The Texas pitcher grasped the baseball and prepared to send St. Louis to the outfield. The ball, exceeding the speed limit on most freeways, headed for the plate and Freese's bat connected, arching the ball high above the field, over the wall and into the grassy area beyond.
Freese ran the bases and the St. Louis players and fans went berserk with joy. After a season of wins and disappointment and barely making it to the playoffs, they were within one game of being the champions.
They didn't quit. They kept believing they could do their best. Albert Puljols pointed up to give God the glory when he did well.
Most of the players embarrassed themselves every once in a while with a foolish error. But they didn't become professional baseball players by allowing their goofs to knock them off course. They alway kept trying.
Seventy years ago, on Oct. 29, 1941,Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited England's Harrow School.
“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense," Churchill said.
Things were looking up a bit for Britain. The German World War II bombing blitz on London was over. They needed some encouragement.
Even today, we can use encouragement as well, but we also need to make up our minds to never give in to adversity.
* Never give up on freedom in our nation.
* Never give up on your loved ones.
* Never give up on doing your best.
* Never give up living for the God who loves you. Keep your heart's door locked to Satan.
* Never give up on believing God will take care of you, bless you, use you, and lead you.
* Never give up praying and reading God's Word.
* Never give up looking up--for the Lord Jesus to come and catch away the church.
Never, ever, give up. You never know when the swing of your "bat" (the talent you hold in your hand) will be a home run.
Never, ever, give up being on the winning team that defeats the enemy of their souls, and will make Heaven their home.
Never give up.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Guest post from novelist Staci Stallings

Ever Faithful

By Staci Stallings 

            For many years of my life, I wanted to be successful.  I put a lot of effort into that endeavor.  I worked and worked and worked.  If I joined an organization, I had to be president because I wanted the organization to be successful and I wanted to be seen as a success in the organization.  Success was my goal.
            After I started writing, I turned my success-orientation toward God. I wanted to be a success for Him.  Somehow I thought that would prove to Him I was worthy of His love and gain me a place in His kingdom.  I wanted Him to love me, and I thought the only way He would love me was if I was a success. Sad how some of us get so mixed up like that.
            It took seven years of writing, three years of publishing, and a gentle re-direct from God for me to see how wrong I had been the whole time.  As always, I had been working and working and working, trying to get the publishing and marketing to work out.  I put an enormous amount of time and effort into that endeavor. Still, things were not pointing toward me being a success.  Even when I had successes, they were too small for me to acknowledge, and so I called them failures and resolved to do better.
            When I finally woke up to see that what I was doing was not what God required of me—that He didn’t require me to be a success for Him to love me—that was truly a revelation.  In a very real way He saved me from me!
            Since then, lesson-by-lesson, I have learned to let go of doing it myself and to let Him take over the controls of my life.  Not always easy for a control-freak, but by far the easier way to live once you get the hang of it.
            The other night in a sermon, God spoke to me in a way that made me smile.  The pastor said, “God doesn’t require you to be a success. He only requires that you be faithful.” Well, that’s about as direct a message as you could get.
However, would I have heard those words ten years ago? Probably not, but they sure resonated with me the other night.
            The amazing thing is that a friend of mine and I have been talking about this very thing—being faithful.  She said, “What I am learning is that God doesn’t even require us to be faithful because our faithfulness is imperfect. God simply wants to show us His faithfulness.”
            Wow!  Not only do I not have to be a success to gain God’s approval, I don’t even have to be perfectly faithful to gain God’s approval!  The more I thought about this, the clearer it became.  Over and over and over again, God has shown me, “Staci, even when you fall, even when you’re discouraged, even when you feel like a failure, even when you’re scared, I am here—loving you, cheering you on, giving you Me.”
       With that understanding, how then, I ask you, could I ever feel like a failure? How could I ever think I was anything less than a success?  And it has nothing at all to do with me. It has nothing to do with my performance, my plans, my control, my abilities, my knowledge, my understanding.  It’s all about Him.
     His performance, His plans, His control, His abilities. His knowledge, His understanding, His wisdom, His love, His mercy. His faithfulness. In a very real way, all He asks of me is that I take a step back from me, look to Him, and marvel at His faithfulness.  He is ever faithful to me. Not sometimes faithful. Not faithful when it’s easy or convenient. He is EVER faithful!
Just as He is ever loving.  He is.  And if I let my worth be based not on me but on Him, then I’m already a success.
Isn’t He the coolest?

Copyright Staci Stallings 2006

 A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. 
Find Staci on the 'Net:
Facebook Author Page at:
 Staci's Bookshelf:
Spirit Light Books--The Blog
Follow Staci on Twitter @StaciStallings

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Need help

Two-year-old little Layla often says, "Need help."
She does it when she can't turn the door knob to go out into the yard. The little tyke did it the other night when company was in the house for dinner, the dog was in his kennel, but the door she liked to open in order to let her playmate out was turned to the wall.
"Need help," she said, turning to anyone in the room who would come and let the dog out.
Today we need help. I guess we've always needed supernatural help. but today we who live in the United States notice it more than perhaps our generation has any other time. Mexico has had 20,000 people killed near our border by the drug cartels. Iran is busily building nuclear bombs with a dream of wiping us and Israel off the map. Islamic terrorists hope to get our citizens a few at a time with a bombing here or there or to take down another plane or three.
Enemies outside our borders are devising ways to ruin America--the only place in the world where people want to live so badly we're thinking of building a fence to keep them out--in contrast to the countries who built walls to keep people in.
But we have problems at home also with too many unemployed, houses being repossessed, our economy in danger of collapsing, and thousands of unruly folks demonstrating in the streets.
Many of us, like the Psalmist David, discovered our help comes from the Lord. Much of the church is praying for our nation. Yet, we don't need to worry about the politicians--although they need our prayers--but we need to pray for the church, and ask the Lord to make our hearts right. God said, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:13-15).
I pray for our leaders, but I also acknowledge that I am nothing but dust, and I seek God's forgiveness for all my sins.
We need to put God first in our lives once again, and walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. "Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-8).
Need help. The Lord has helped people who asked for His mercy in the past, and He will do it again.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1-3).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

I’ve heard the young people who are protesting on Wall Street and other large U.S. cities don’t have one identifiable reason for being there.
Some say they’re fussing because the Wall Street Fat Cats are licking up too much financial milk. Others talk about unemployment.
Some of them are there because they’ve been paid by unions and other organizations to go out and demonstrate, according to journalists who uncovered some of the advertising.
Whatever each person demonstrating says is the reason the crowds are creating a mess in New York and other cities, I discern they all have an inner basic yearning for which they are living on the streets—to make a difference in the world with their lives. To make their lives count for something bigger than themselves. They’re searching—but I don’t think they’ve found it.
When you’ve been taught you are no different from an animal and you arrived on earth by some accident that just happened to land you here with a perfect body and everything you need to sustain you available, including gravity to hold you, it’s difficult to find something meaningful to which you can devote your life.
In contrast, my family became devoted Spirit-filled Christians about the time I was born. I learned early that God—the Creator of the Universe—loves me and has a plan for my life. Now that I’ve lived a large percentage of my years, I see how His plan unfolded. Never in my dreams would I have thought I would have the privilege to be a newspaper reporter who in my columns and in meeting so many people could make an impact on people's lives.
I couldn’t have imagined that my writing in Christian publications could guide and encourage thousands of folks I’ve never met. My first book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, sold 7,000 copies while it was in print, but people are still asking for it, buying used copies on the internet and soon it will be an e-book.
My latest project, “Swallowed by LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal,” will be available on Amazon in November and I'm hoping it helps those with a terminal diagnosis, those who fear death, and the grieving.
Our wonderful children and grandchildren are other ways God has blessed my life.
Anyone who wants to make a difference in his own life and impact the world should investigate the Bible and who Jesus Christ is.
Christians created most of the hospitals around the world and missionaries, without fanfare, take medical relief to the poor here and in foreign countries. Churches now are drilling water wells in drought- and famine-stricken nations. They house the homeless and orphans, visit the lonely in prisons, nursing homes and mental centers. Christians started most of the educational institutions around the world, including our most prestigious universities. Harvard to train preachers. Yale for training in church work, civil duties, the arts and sciences. Vanderbilt for teaching law, medicine, theology and the arts. Baylor was the fruit of the Baptist General Convention. Boston University was started by Methodists for training in theology. Boston College was Catholic, as was Fordham. Cornell College was Methodist. Rutgers University for 80 years included the New Brunswick Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church of America.
The world still is being educated by Christians. Wycliff Translators, who are Christian missionaries, live with primitive tribes and give them a written language and then teach them to read. Wycliff translated the Bible into hundreds of languages, and brought literacy to many nations.
If you want to make a difference in the world, give your life to Jesus Christ. It’s a choice, you know. He will never barge into your heart without you inviting Him.
Jesus said, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:19-21).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Joplin: Nothing left but the foundation

On our way home this week after visiting family and the balloon festival in Albuquerque we stopped in Joplin again to view the tornado damage.
Although some businesses are being rebuilt and a few houses are in various stages of construction, concrete foundations and floor slabs are all that remain for the most part because of the storm that blew away about one-third of the city. I took a few photos of damaged buildings and piles of debris that once were schools, churches, adult education centers, dental and medical offices and St. John’s hospital.
One basement with a tarp over it appeared as if someone could be living in it.
Seeing all the foundations reminded me of scriptures that tell us to build a sure foundation on the Rock Christ Jesus, but I always pictured a home with a few shutters loose and flapping in the wind, maybe a few broken windows, shingles torn away—but most of the house remaining.
In Joplin I realized sometimes storms might take all of our hopes and dreams away but our foundation.
Anyone who becomes a writer finds himself frequently in the winds of adversity that threaten to rip away at his calling. I’ve quit mentally off and on over decades, but then something new would burn in my heart. I wrote again, often publication resulted, and I am still writing into retirement.
Several times I’ve taken time out over the years to work on my faith and through rewriting rebuild something previously worthless, or to add strengthening beams of learning.
No matter what our goals and dreams are, it helps to know God intimately and to accept His Son as Savior. God is three persons, which includes the Holy Spirit who empowers us and works in our lives. God helps us stand secure, no matter what the circumstances. It is such a privilege to know our Creator watches over us. He notices every sparrow that falls and He sees our needs before we even ask for help.
We can do all things through Him who strengthens us, and there is hope in every situation--even death, because "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Yet as we live on earth and work in His kingdom, we know if He called us, he will complete the work He began in us. Look it up. It's there in Philippians 1:6.
Another scripture says even if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved (our bodies), we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1-3).
That, is hope!