Nothing Will Be Impossible

“It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”~~Hank Aaron
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is pejorism, which means, “The belief that the world is becoming worse.” You won’t get any argument out of me.

Today is Winston Churchill Day, commemorating April 9, 1963, when Winston Churchill became an Honorary Citizen of the United States.

As stated previously, we will be heading to Mineral Wells around noon today, to spend the afternoon with my mother. Yesterday was her birthday, and, as mentioned, it was a year ago that my father fell, resulting in a trip to the ER in Mineral Wells. Later that day, he was helicoptered to Arlington, where he spend 10 days. He was then sent to Mineral Wells Nursing and Rehab (I think that is what it is called) on Saturday, April 18. On Monday, April 20, he passed away. I won’t try to whitewash it; the next couple of weeks are going to be a difficult time as we remember these events, still somewhat fresh in our hearts and minds. I won’t belabor it in the blog, and I won’t talk about it very much. But you can trust that it will be heavy on my mind and heart. In addition, my mother’s radiation treatment will begin on Wednesday, April 20. I talked to her, yesterday, and she’s actually rather glad about that. It will be a distraction for her, something to occupy her mind, at least for part of the day.

Rachel and Justin will be joining us in MW, and we will have lunch out, somewhere. We don’t know where, yet. Could be Mesquite Pit; could be Pastafina; could be Dairy Mart; I suppose it could even be someplace completely different. Who knows?

The Rangers bullpen held firm last night, for a change, and they beat the Angels 7-3. The Red Sox came back in their game against the Blue Jays, winning 8-7. I confess I quit watching after Joe Kelly gave up a grand slam in the 4th inning. That wasn’t the only reason I quit watching. I also started playing The Show 2016 on the PS4 shortly after that. Later, though, I found out that Travis Shaw answered with his own grand slam in the 6th, which made it a one run game. In the seventh, the Sox scored two more, as Big Papi and Hanley Ramirez both drove in runs with singles. What an exciting game! And I had two Facebook friends (both of whom I have actually met IRL) who were at that game, cheering the Sox on! Also, the Yankees and the Rays both lost.

On this date in 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the Civil War. You can read the rest of the story at History.com.

Today’s birthdays include:

1794–Theobald Boehm, German inventor of the modern flute
1830–Eadweard Muybridge, English photographer and moving picture pioneer
1889–Efrem Zimbalist, Russian violinist
1926–Hugh Hefner, American “entrepreneur and publisher”
1932–Carl Perkins, American musician, “Blue Suede Shoes”
1935–Avery Schreiber, American actor, Burns and Schreiber
1937–Marty Krofft, Canadian TV producer, H.R. Pufnstuf
1939–Michael Learned, American actress, The Waltons
1943–Terry Knight, American music promoter, Grand Funk Railroad
1945–Peter Gammons, American sports journalist
1954–Dennis Quaid, American actor, The Rookie
1965–Paulina Porizkova, Czech supermodel, married to Ric Ocasek . . . since 1989
1965–Mark Pellegrino, American actor, Dexter
1966–Cynthia Nixon, American actress, Sex and the City, Amadeus
1979–Keshia Knight Pulliam, American actress, Cosby Show
1987–Jesse McCartney, American actor/singer
1990–Kristen Stewart, American actress, The Runaways (No. I’m not even typing that other movie she was in)
1998–Elle Fanning, American actress, Dakota’s little sister
2000–Jackie Evancho, child singer

Carl Perkins was one of the pioneers of “rockabilly,” and was born on this date in 1932. He wrote a song that was made more famous by Elvis, “Blue Suede Shoes.”

Jackie Evancho is a child phenom vocalist. She is sixteen, today, but here is a clip of her audition on America’s Got Talent when she was ten years old. I have no idea what the song is, but who cares, really? It is nothing short of amazing. I tried to set the video to begin at 1:41, when she actually starts singing, but if it didn’t work, you can skip over the introductory stuff.

Pope Constantine, Pope Benedict VIII, King Edward IV of England, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Sir Francis Bacon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Frank Lloyd Wright, David Prater (Sam & Dave), Brook Benton, Richard Condon, Mae Boren Axton (Hoyt’s mother), and Willie Stargell are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah.
God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!

Psalm 47

“There is a noisy exuberance in this psalm that is appropriate to God’s people–a kind of holiday parade atmosphere that goes along with the realization that ‘God is king of all the earth.'”

“Your rule, God, is something to shout about! In my praise I will seek to express all I feel in joy and freedom, sharing with others the sense of celebration you bring, in the name of Christ my King. Amen.”

(From Devotions From the World of Sports)

For nothing will be impossible with God.
Luke 1:37

There are debates among both sportswriters and fans about records that many believe will never be broken. Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hitting streak (the closest active player is Jimmy Rollins with 38 in 2005-2006); Nolan Ryan’s 5714 strikeouts (Randy Johnson is second with 4875; the closest active player is C.C. Sabathia with 2574); Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters (Sandy Koufax is second with 4, and only a few active players have 2).

But on April 8, 1974, one of those records fell. Babe Ruth had held the home run record at 714. Hank Aaron ended the 1973 season with 713. The air was electric as the 1974 season began, and Aaron promptly tied the record in game one of the season. In game four, he hit the record-breaking home run.

“The seemingly impossible had happened. A nearly 40-year-old record fell.”

There are many things in our lives that seem impossible to us. There are, of course, many things that are completely unrealistic and will never happen. “But nothing is impossible if we follow God’s will and give our best effort.” That’s a stretch, I think, but I appreciate the idea. There will always be things that are, indeed, “impossible.” But in God’s plan, if he desires for it to happen, it will not be impossible, because he will make it happen. All we must do is have faith and follow his plan.

Father, help me to know that your plan for my life is not only possible, but certain. You will work your plan; you will see to it that the things you desire for me will come to pass. Help me to have faith in this. Help me to follow Christ. Help me to love you properly and follow your will for my life.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Grace Under Pressure

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”~~St. Jerome
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is, appropriately, reminisce, which means “to talk, think, or write about things that happened in the past.”

Why is this word of the day appropriate, you ask? I’m glad you asked. You see, today is February 3. And February 3, 1959, was “the day music died.” On that fateful day, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in a plane crash in Iowa. This day has been forever memorialized in Don McClean’s famous song, “American Pie.”

This year continues to drag us down as we get more bad news. At this point, I’m not going to divulge the most recent strike, but would appreciate your continued prayers for our family. It’s not as bad as it could be, I will say that. Nevertheless, it is unsettling and disturbing, which probably mean the same thing.

Today is Wednesday, Hump Day. This weekend, we plan to travel to Mineral Wells to go to church with my mother. Stephanie has really been wanting to do that, and we didn’t go on Christmas weekend while we were there, so we just decided to do it this coming week.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.
You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them.
You will destroy their descendants from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of man.
Though they plan evil against you, though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows.
Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.

Psalm 21:8-13

Here, we find a very important concept, especially in light of our modern culture. The Psalmist identifies that there are enemies. But he does not fight them, himself! He hands them over to God. “Our job is to recognize that there is an enemy and then, in prayer, to trust that God will deal with him.”

“Keep me, O God, from the easy nonchalance that fails to prepare for the onslaught of evil. Keep me also from the consuming indignation that attempts to get rid of the wicked by my own strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Psalm 28:7

(From Devotions From the World of Sports)

For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. . . . But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9

In the 1964 Olympic Games at Innsbruck, the United States team was in danger of being completely shut out for gold medals. Past the halfway point, they had won only a silver and a bronze medal. “But Terry McDermott burst onto the speed skating scene to give the Red, White, and Blue reason to cheer.”

Terry was not a media hog. “He preferred to let his skates do the talking.” His coach, however, decided to put some pressure on him, scheduling him for a “dangerous late run,” during which the ice might soften, increasing time.

World record holder Yevgeny Grishin, a Soviet skater, tied with Russian Vladimir Orlov and Norwegian Alv Gjestvang, in early heats. As McDermott’s time approached, the ice improved. “The temperature warmed just enough to create a thin layer of lubricant on the surface.” McDermott sped around the rink, taking a gold medal, and the Olympic record with a 40.1 time. “Terry McDermott salvaged America’s pride and prevented the United States’ first gold medal shutout in Olympic history.” The pressure brought out the best in him.

“Pressure in life either destroys us or strengthens us. It strengthens when we respond by relying on God. Pressure destroys when we look only to ourselves.”

I chose this reading for today’s blog because I’m feeling that kind of pressure, right now. This year has brought sadness and emotional upheaval, so far, and appears to have no intention of letting up. As I drove home yesterday, I realized that I’m faced with two paths, sort of that fork in the road episode, depicted by Robert Frost. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . . ” In my case, one road leads down the path of despair. That would be the one where I rely on my own failing strength. The other road leads to a path of stronger faith. That is the one where I rely solely on the strength of our mighty God.

Which one should I take?

Father, increase my faith. Show me that your strength is worthy of my trust. No . . . I don’t need to ask you for that! You have shown me countless times, in my life, that your strength is worthy of my trust! I don’t need to ask you to show me any more. What I need is to be pushed in that direction by your Spirit. Do not allow me, my Father, to head down that path of despair. It is a losing direction. I cannot rely on my own strength, for I truly have none. Help me to rely on your power; on your grace and mercy. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Be my rock and my salvation, my ever present help in trouble. Be my all in all.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.