Friday, April 26, 2013

What's Your Next Shot?

Enjoyed playing golf today with my father, although my round had its usual ups and downs.  As I believe I've mentioned previously, since I have no natural golfing ability, more or less, golf is a game I have to work at just to be mediocre.  Hence the challenge of it all.  As a result, I am frequently looking for someone or something to help me improve my game.  I recently heard some good advice from a friend of mine at church, a man whose golfing abilities far outweigh my own.  He described some solid mental advice while playing a round, that is, think about what your next shot will be.  I thought about this some while I was hitting the ball today.  The next shot...that's what I should focus on.

It makes perfect sense.  I don't want to get bogged down in thinking about the bad shots I may have just made.  Keep pressing forward.  Don't let the bad holes get me too far down.

On the other hand, after hitting a good shot or having a good hole, my work is not done.  I can't rest on my laurels.  A round of golf, unfortunately, contains eighteen holes so I can't really relax until I've completed them all.

This also translates to life.  I can't get too bogged down when I make a mistake.  I should try to make amends or correct it and move on.

In addition, if I have some good things happen to me in life or receive accolades, I may enjoy them for a season, but then I have to move on.  If I hold on too tightly to my past, my present life will get stale.

Hence, my life, just like my golf game, is a game of endurance.  There is no resting until I reach the finish line.  Currently I am involved in several activities, for example, writing my second book, "Glorified Sickness", seeking multiple ways to minister to others who are dealing with cancer, and, of course, sharing revelations on my blog.  But after these things fade away, then what?  How am I going to hit my next shot in life?

So, whether I'm in a water hazard or a fairway in life, or maybe even if I have just missed an easy putt, I have to think, "Where do I go from here?"


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Staying Positive In The Midst of Difficulties

I've been in contact with Ken Medema's ministry in order to get some information for my second book.  If you aren't aware, Ken has been essentially blind from birth, only able to discern the silhouettes of objects.  Nevertheless, he has become a prolific Christian singer, pianist and composer in his lifetime in spite of his visual deficit.  He has recorded numerous albums and has ministered to many.

I sent Ken's publicist a copy of the chapter I'm writing which mentions how Ken demonstrates God's power in spite of his illness.  I subsequently was gently rebuked and came to understand that Ken doesn't see his blindness as an illness, but as a "character trait".  What a great attitude!  No wonder God has used him in a marvelous way.

You can learn more about his ministry at:

The Apostle Paul also had a great attitude towards hardships in life.  He describes his experiences as follows:

"Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure." (II Corinthians 11:24-27 NASB)

How did he characterize these experiences overall? II Corinthians 4:17 gives us a clue in which he says, "For momentary, light affliction (italics mine) is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison." 

Did you catch that?  His sufferings for the sake of the Gospel were "light afflictions".  Is he kidding me?  The above list doesn't look "light" at all but extremely burdensome.  Yet, he kept his eye on the prize, the "eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison".  I guess some things in life really aren't that bad when you recognize the eternal purposes of God.  Our sufferings are, as Paul put it, "momentary".  Glad they won't last forever.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Run, Hide, Fight

Saw a sad billboard going to work the other day, a billboard which reflects the unfortunate events which now seem to occur routinely in our society. As you recall, there were  horrendous shootings in Aurora, Colorado in a movie theater last year and later in a school in Newtown, Connecticut.  Perhaps in responding to these tragedies, some organization felt led to give some advice regarding what to do if  confronted by a shooter in the workplace or other community setting.  Although I don't remember everything from the billboard, the main information which it conveyed when confronted by a shooter is simply, "Run...Hide...Fight!".  In contemplating these guidelines, I thought these terms not only apply to how to handle a person with a gun, but to life in general.  Let's explore these in a little more detail, shall we.

First of all, run when in danger, when the nemesis is more powerful.  Several years ago when cutting the grass in my backyard, I ran over a yellow jackets' nest with my lawn mower.  I didn't see it until I was being stung by several yellow jackets and immediately realized what had happened.  What did I do?  I ran to my house as fast as I could, rolling on the ground along the way to try to rid myself of the stinging varmints.  It was very frightening, but, yet, the best course of action considering the circumstances.  I think I ended up with about five or six stings, although it could have been much worse if I hadn't vacated the premises.

Second, if running is not an option, then it's best to try to hide from the danger.  Where I live we occasionally are visited by the threat of tornadoes.  As a result, when a "Tornado Warning" is issued, local meteorologists provide continuous recommendations of how to avoid being injured from these cataclysmic events, for example, going to the lowest area of the house towards the innermost part of the structure, especially staying away from windows.  In following their advice, you could say we "hide" from the danger.

Finally, sometimes the most appropriate thing to do is fight, especially if there is no place to run or hide.  When confronting cancer, there is no other option.  Running away from it won't make it go away.  It continues to grow within the body, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.  Whatever the case, it is relentless in seeking to destroy its host. 

Can't hide from it either.  Avoiding doctors or avoiding medical scans won't affect it one way or the other.  It still will be there.

Hence, the only option is to "fight the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12) or what I would describe as "using maximum physical and mental effort."  Giving only minimal effort will not be sufficient to remove takes heavy hitters such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.  In addition, a healthy overcoming attitude may also be invaluable in the struggle.  Furthermore, by punching at cancer with all we've got, it's possible that many may be victorious in spite of overwhelming odds.

Are you ready to fight???