The Power of Patience

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy Saadi

Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, I always thought of baseball as a way of life. I couldn’t get enough of it. But along with the hitting and fielding, I developed a growing irritation for anything that didn’t work out for me. I got bugged by things that took time.

Without my seeing it, this impatience began to carry over into various parts of my life. I remember once standing in line in the high school batting cage. I was anxious to take some extra cuts and annoyed that others were taking too many. I rudely pushed my way ahead of a couple of players.

I heard the coach holler out to me, “Hey, Ron, patience is a virtue.” I laughed and said sure, but I couldn’t make it to the big leagues by just standing around. Guys who wait I figured, just didn’t go anywhere.

In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, “Thought Conditioners”. Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader

I felt my not waiting had paid off when, in my senior year at high school, after a good season, the New York Yankees signed me to a major league contract. It all seemed fantastic. The Yankees signed me for a nice bonus, and some New York newspapers were beginning to call me the “Jewish Babe Ruth.”

That summer the Yankees sent me to their rookie league in Tennessee. I did pretty well there and felt I would sail right into the big leagues in the next year, 1968. Well, the next year the Yankees decided they wanted me to have a bit more training and sent me to the Carolina League.

After two more years in the minor leagues, I really felt discouragement getting to me and because of it, I pushed extra hard. I was so anxious to be called up that I began to try for a home run every time I got up to bat that year. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time it didn’t.

The spring of 1971 was chilly and brisk in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the Yankees hold their training camp. I was invited to camp that year and knew it was to be my big chance.

The fall before, I had got married, and I brought my wife Mara down to Florida with me. I told her this year was it for me and I had to do it now, or else.

Right away, problems began. I hurt my back chasing a fly ball on the first day of practice. Then the Yankees said they wanted me to be an outfielder, not a first baseman like I’d always been.

I worked hard but couldn’t seem to do anything right. I was too eager. I charged in too fast on ground balls and lunged and missed pitches while straining for home runs. In my anxiety to do good quickly, I fell flat on my face. I was one of the first players cut—it was to be back to the minors again.

I told Mara that’s it. We’d go home instead, back to Atlanta. I would finish up my degree in physical education.

Back home, I moped for several days. One evening Mara and I went to temple and as we were coming out, I ran into my old friend and rabbi, Harry Epstein. I told him I had been dropped again by the Yankees but that it was just as well, for I was tired of hanging on.

Rabbi Epstein then asked me what it was deep in my heart that I really wanted to be. I answered with the first thing that came to me—a professional ballplayer.

“Well, he said, “it seems to me what you need most is to unhurry yourself. If you sincerely want something, learn to wait for God to put it in place. It doesn’t matter if it’s baseball or anything else in life. You must have this perspective.”

I told him I had waited enough—three and a half years. I couldn’t do it anymore.

“You must, though,” he said, “for there are reasons why God makes you wait. He will help you get there when the time comes.”

Two days later I was home waiting for Mara. We were going to the movies and she was slow in dressing. “Hey, C’mon,” I yelled, “we’ll be late.” Mara came out of the bedroom, still not ready, and gave me a cross look. “Can’t you wait for anything?” she asked angrily.

I looked at her, surprised. “I’m sorry,” I said after a moment, and with that, I suddenly realized how far my “hurry-upness” had taken me. I had turned into a nervous whiner who couldn’t stand for the slightest interruptions in life.

“We’re not going to the movies,” I said quickly. Then I reached for the telephone. After some dialing, I managed to get hold of a Yankee official in New York. I asked him if it was too late for me to report to the minors. No, he said, and the Yankees were wondering why I wasn’t there.

When Mara and I got to the minor league team in Syracuse, I remembered to do one thing. That was to unhurry myself. To relax and not press so hard. I even learned to play the outfield.

I began hitting consistently, and things went very well. My team was winning, and I was enjoying it. Then on June 25, the call came. The Yankees wanted me up in the majors. They felt I was finally ready, and so did I.

It was a great year for me in 1971. I hit .322 as a major-leaguer and had seven home runs. Probably the most memorable event of that year came in September.

We were playing Cleveland at home and the game was on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish high holiday. This meant that to observe the tenets of my Orthodox faith I would have to end my work before sundown, the beginning of the holy day. Since I had already explained this to the New York Yankee officials and players, they understood that I might have to leave the ballpark before the game was over.

The score was tied and it looked like the game was going into extra innings. We had runners on first and third bases, and I was up. Huge shadows now blanketed the outfield of Yankee Stadium as darkness approached. I might not get a chance to bat.

I went to the plate with one eye on Steve Dunning, the Cleveland pitcher, and the other on the skyline. I was nervous and eager, but my confidence in the God who had helped bring me to the majors was now so deep that I would stop my bat in the middle of my swing and walk off the field if the sun began to set.

I looked out at Dunning and was ready to swing at the first pitch to push things. Then I caught myself. Even though the sun was now only partially visible, I knew I had to wait for the pitch I liked.

I watched two pitches go by, then came a high fast ball. I swung and hit it on a line to right field to send home the winning run.

With that swing, I took another big step in learning the value of patience. More important, I learned that when you trust God in all things and are faithful to Him, He gives you strength and power in every area of life.

Today’s article was written by Ron Blomberg and is shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/entertainment/sports/the-power-of-patience

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Three Ways to Increase Your Faith

Feed your faith and starve your doubts Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr.

Three Ways to Increase Your Faith

How do you increase your faith? I used to struggle with this as a young Christian. But in time I’ve learned at least three simple ways to help build and increase our reliance on God.

1. Read the Word

Or at least hear God’s Word. Romans 10:17 says, So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. If no one had ever told me about Jesus, and about God’s plan for my life, or if I had never read for myself about Him, I would be clueless about the need for faith.

Reading or hearing God’s Word is like planting a garden. If you want to grow or “build” a garden, you must first plant the seeds, or the actual plant or flower. God’s Word is the seed that grows the faith. Knowing His promises, what God says about you, about life, and about Jesus’ plan for eternal life won’t transplant themselves into your brain by osmosis. Become familiar with the Bible and what faith is all about by meditating on its contents. This will give you the basis for growing or increasing your faith.

James 1:22-24 offers a second way to increase your faith: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. What I see in the mirror when I first wake up is not the most beautiful sight. Obviously I see there is work to do and makeup to apply if I want to add to my appearance.

If we fail to heed what we’re reading and ignore what God is telling us, then our faith grows stagnant. It took faith for us to become children of God in the first place. Therefore, in order to grow and increase our faith, we need to use that “measure” of faith God gives to everyone and build on it.

3. Test the Word                  

There is a difference in “testing” God by “contesting” Him (seeing how far God’s patience will go with your own self will) and “testing,” or proving God’s Word is true.  Malachi 3:9-11   offers one practical way God says we can prove Him faithful to His Word. This passage concerns tithing and being good stewards of the things He has given us:  Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”  As you “test” or act on what God says and experience God’s blessing, your faith grows.

The process of testing the measure of faith you have may involve trials and difficulties. How can you increase your faith in those circumstances? Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (James 1:2-3).

A Personal Example

The first time my husband and I had to admit we were financially challenged, we had some choices to make. The biggest one was, would we trust God and the promises we had read in His Word? When a new difficulty developed, we faced the same choices. If we chose to believe God, our faith grew a little more. Then the really big crises erupted, like unemployment, parenting, and marriage challenges.

But each time we looked back and saw the tracks of God’s faithfulness. He truly had kept His Word, and we came to understand the true meaning of “perseverance.” Trusting Him with smaller problems has built our faith to believe Him for the harder issues. Yet, there are still times when I feel more like a baby in my faith than a giant. It’s always in need of growing.

My Prayer for You

Lord Jesus, increase our faith as we learn to depend on You and trust You more and more. Help us to crave Your Word: to read it, to heed it, and to test it, so it can truly become part of our lives. We long to be doers and not just hearers. Lord, we desperately need more of You and less of ourselves. Thank You for Your faithfulness in always keeping Your Word.

Day-votedly Yours,

Rebecca

Today’s post was written by Rebecca Barlow Jordan and is shared from the following website: https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/three-ways-to-increase-your-faith.html

 

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You Are a Child of God

Remember who you are. Don’t comprimise for anyone, for any reason. You are a child of the Almighty God. Live That Truth. Lysa TerkeurstWhen I was a young boy, we had a man in our ward whose face had been disfigured by a terrible disease. The man’s appearance frightened me and other children in the ward. Then, one day when I was five or six years old, he stood up in fast and testimony meeting and bore his testimony. I don’t remember what he said, but into my young heart came a powerful feeling of warmth and love.

After that experience, my fear of the man left. I didn’t realize it then, but the Spirit had touched my heart and helped me to see more than the man’s physical appearance. Through those feelings, I learned that he was a beloved child of Heavenly Father and that I didn’t need to be afraid of him.

Later, I had an experience that helped me understand that I too am a child of God. When I was in Primary, disturbing things were happening in the world. I remember being frightened sometimes when I listened to the news. I wondered what the future would be like.

One Sunday in Junior Sunday School, our leaders announced that we were going to learn a new hymn called “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” (Hymns,no. 270). The music director taught us the words to the hymn using pictures of mountains, stormy seas, and other scenes mentioned in the words: “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, over mountain or plain or sea; I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I’ll be what you want me to be.”

As the words of the hymn ran through my mind, the feeling of warmth and love that I had felt before came into my heart again. I knew for the first time that Heavenly Father knew who I was and that I was important to Him. I knew that my life had a purpose and that everything would be all right.

I am one of 11 children. As I grew up, my parents taught us the principles of the gospel in our home. We worked hard milking cows, feeding chickens, moving sprinkler pipe, and taking care of animals. Summers were spent planting, weeding, harvesting, and preserving fruits and vegetables. We were active in church, school, and sports. There was never enough time to get everything done. But our parents always insisted on us waking up early each morning for family scripture study and prayers before we went our separate ways. Through the years, I felt that feeling of warmth and love reminding me who I was and that everything would be all right.

I testify that each of us is a beloved child of Heavenly Father. He loves us with all of His heart. Take time to read about Him, pray to Him, and attend church to worship Him. I know that He will give you that feeling of warmth and love in your heart. Then you can know that you are a child of God, your life has a purpose, and everything will be all right.

Today’s story is shared from an interview with Paul B. Pieper. It is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/friend/2008/01/you-are-a-child-of-god?lang=eng

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God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Their primary source of income is from agriculture.  Yet it is a difficult proposition as due to perennial shortage of water, they can grow mainly a single kharif crop like paddy or some arahar dal or ragi.  Therefore part of their livelihood is also met by wages doing daily labour.

Water, which we in the towns and cities use indiscriminately, is a major source of worry.  They are dependant on a small river nearby for their daily consumption and household needs.  Unfortunately this source dries up in summer and can be of help only for a few months in a year. Who is affected the most by this fact?  The villagers go through severe health problems which affect not only their livelihood but also the quality of their lives.  In such a scenario, the women bear the brunt of the suffering.  Fetching water becomes an important task for which they often have to get up at 4 am. After a full day’s work in the fields, they again have to trudge to the river to bring water.

In such a bleak scenario, enteredthe Harsha Trust, a not-for-profit organization that works with the tribal and the poor in remote locations of Orissa, aiming to bring in human development in challenging conditions. Professionals from Harsha Trust visited the village in October 2014 and at once identified this problem and met frequently with the community to deliberate on the possible solutions.  Now this was not the first time a meeting such as this was being held in the village.  Similar meetings had been conducted earlier by various government departments: they came, they spoke, they promised…nothing concrete happened.  The hopes of the villagers were crushed. Therefore you can well imagine the reception the Harsha Trust got!

Luckily, one of the village elders, Mr Srima Praska, showed interest and managed to persuade his fellow villagers to give them a chance. So Harsha Trust arranged for a field trip to Kumbharapada village in May 2015.  This village had installed a drinking water model with facilities for  irrigation with the help of a solar pump from a deep borewell.  Impressed by what they saw, the village Self Help Group (SHG) members held a meeting to dwell on the details and to see if this could be replicated in their own village.

After a few rounds of discussions, the community was motivated and then started the finetuning of the project.  A corpus fund of Rs 1000/- was collected from each household. This total of 29,000/- was earmarked for the work which began in June 2015.  A borewell was dug.  Just by digging 245 feet, about 2 inch of water got discharged.  Happy at this outcome, the villagers decided to construct an overhead drinking water tank in the plot of Mr Ghasiram Praska.

Another interesting feature of this bottom-up experiment was the actual construction.  Members from each household contributed by working for the construction of the overhead tank and piping layout. Thus each family contributed 15 man days and also helped in the 14 trips (tractor load) needed to get the boulders to make the overhead tank.  They developed a mechanism by which daily 10-12 people worked on a rotational basis.  In case a family could not participate in the work due to some reason, that family was required to pay for the substitute worker hired for the work.

The tank was constructed with a capacity of around 10,000 litres of water. Around 2550 feet were dug to accommodate the delivery pipes.  The entire work was completed in January 2016.  A 2-HP solar pump lifts around 70 thousand litres of water per day.  Around 12,000 litres of water are required for the household consumption.  Miraculously, what was backbreaking work for the women is now done in just one and half hours. The excess water is used by 12 households to cultivate tomatoes, chillies and sunflower in 1.5 acres of land.

Fittingly enough, to ensure the sustainability of this project so dear to them, the women have formed a committee named “Maa Phulamati Solar Jala Sechana Prakalpa”.  The main aim of this group is to take responsibility for the performance and future maintenance of the solar water supply system.

The committee is running well since 5th November 2015.  Each household deposits  Rs 30/- per month for drinking water (Re 1/- per day). To avail water for irrigation, a farmer has to contribute an amount of Rs 20 to receive a coupon that allows him to use the pumped water in the field for an hour.

We find today, a village which had health issues, a village where its women spent a large part of their day ferrying water, a village which could not live only with its income from agriculture, now reaps multiple benefits from a simple yet much-needed device as a solar pump.  Water is readily available for the women.  As the surplus water is used for irrigation, agriculture flourishes.  Some households have also started kitchen gardens with their waste water.  Villagers are making a conscious effort for cleanliness and hygiene.

A sea change has come over the village so much so that before giving their daughters  in marriage, parents are enquiring about similar facilities in the grooms’ villages.

Today’s article was written by Sabyasachi Kar and is shared from the following website:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/god-helps-those-who-help-themselves-story-villagers-empowered-kar

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The Blessing of Adoption

Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart but in it Fleur Conkling Heyliger
It’s safe to say that one of the greatest feelings in the world comes from the warmth of being unconditionally loved. Whether that mean the love of your spouse or partner, or the connection you share with your mom or dad. Or even the loving bond between your siblings and friends.I’m extremely grateful for all the love that I’ve had in my young life. But the truth is, there are many parts of the world where unconditional love is lacking. With wars taking place each and every day, messy political battles, starvation, and greed; the world needs you more than ever.

Because even in the darkest of alleys, remains the fact that we as humans are meant to love.

I wrote this essay nearly 4 years ago during my sophomore year of high school, and to me, it captures the essence what unconditional love really is. Certainly, my birthparents weren’t the only ones to show me this mysterious force, but the story carries an invaluable lesson that you can probably relate with.

Unconditional love is the solution to all of the worlds’ ills.

While the details of this story may differ from yours, I ask you to go forth and share the light within you.

This is a tribute to my birth parents – because of their unconditional love I am able to share my passions with the world – I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The night before, I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake tossing and turning. What was I to expect? What was I to call them? Mom? Dad? I will never forget the day I hugged my birth parents for the first time in a mid-sized chain restaurant. I was 12 years old.

But why?” I often recall asking my mom, when the subject of being adopted came up. “Because they loved you honey,” she would patiently reply.

Ever since I can remember, my parents have been nothing but honest with me concerning adoption. For this reason, I have become comfortable openly talking about adoption.

I’ve always found it funny, how when a person I know discovers I am indeed adopted, they are always afraid to ask questions. Now, I know they are just trying to be respectful, but I have nothing to hide.

My parents’ honesty and candor regarding adoption has caused me to admire the both of them, greatly. I realize that not all children are as lucky as myself. I have heard stories of adoptee parents who have hid the fact from there children that they were adopted.

This saddens me deeply. Being adopted is nothing to be ashamed about. I am truly grateful for how my life has turned out thus far.

My birth mom at the time of her pregnancy was not married to my birth father, their relationship anything but stable. Receiving news that she was to have a boy, she began to think.

She couldn’t stand the thought of me not having a father; a father to play catch with me outside in the backyard; a father to take me camping on the weekends; a father to give me the always dreaded “birds and the bees” talk.

For this reason my birth parents agreed, for my own well-being that I was to be put up for adoption. For my birth parents to put up their only son for adoption, shows how much they loved me. To do what they did must have been one of the hardest things they had ever done; but when it came down to the future of their baby boy, they knew what they had to do. To this day I thank them.

My parents always wanted to have kids, and like many other families, adoption didn’t even register in their minds. They tried to have kids the “normal” way. Nothing. They tried again and again and again. Still nothing.

Finally after a visit to the doctors they discovered that having biological kids were not part of God’s plan. For a couple whose only dream was to raise their own children, this discovery became -as my parents recall- “one of the lowest points of their life.

Biological kids may not have been in God’s plan, but the man up stairs had something else up his sleeve.

My parents – still distraught over their inability to have their own children – had nowhere else to go, they turned to prayer. It wasn’t long before their prayers were answered, in a form a of a phone call. A friend of my mom, who ran a daycare center, knew of a lady who’s sister was putting her baby son up for adoption.

My parents jumped on the bandwagon. With in a few weeks I was in their hands. Who said not being able to have biological kids was a bad thing?

It was finally the day! The day I was to finally meet the two people who brought me into this world. I picked out my favorite pair of jeans, a nice t-shirt, and a sweatshirt – in which an outline of snowboarder gracefully covered the front.

My dad, mom, little brother, cousin, and I were to meet my birth parents for lunch. I had been waiting for this moment all my life. Who was I going to look more alike? My mom? My dad? My mind was bombarded with questions on the drive (which seemed like forever) over to the restaurant. We got to the restaurant and parked.

With every passing moment, my heart began beating faster and faster, for reasons I can’t explain. At the last moment I became scared, so scared I almost couldn’t move. We opened the door to the restaurant and walked in. Off to the side, there was a couple with a table reserved. The couple – my birthparents.

The next few minutes are hard to recall, as it all happened so fast. All I remember is hugging both my birth mom and birth dad and feeling a sense of joy fill my body. I was the luckiest kid in the world. I had four parents who would give the world for me. I had seen pictures of my birth parents as a child but nothing beat a real life photograph of them.

We continued on to have lunch, which was filled with lots of questions – none concerning adoption, of course. What was my favorite color? (blue) and so forth. I can honestly say that was one of the best meals I ever had.

Every day, I thank God for how things have turned out in my life. It is amazing how our lives are a mere result of cause and effect. If one small piece of my past were altered, it would change the world today. I respect my birth parents for giving me up, for doing what they thought was right, at the time. This is a pure act of love.

To say they were successful in providing me with a good life would be an understatement. They provided me with the best life a kid could ask for.

I also thank God for not allowing my mom and dad to have biological children, for if that were to have happened, I would have not been adopted by some the most loving parents in the world. I wouldn’t be who I am today, without their guidance and knowledge. This is all part of God’s plan and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today’s story was written by Bud Hennekes and is shared from the following website: http://thinksimplenow.com/family/unconditional-love-being-adopted/comment-page-1/

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