TIM TEBOW: HOPE TO LET GOD DEFINE

“TIM TEBOW WAS ASKED ABOUT PEOPLE NOT LIKING HIM; NOW HIS INSPIRING RESPONSE IS GOING VIRAL (Mike Oz, Yahoo Sports, February 18, 2019)

Tim Tebow, minor league baseball player in the New York Mets organization, may go on to the major leagues this year. Tebow does his best to be his best, and he intentionally helps many others especially through his foundation. However, there seem to be some who don’t like him no matter what he does.

I think the biggest reason for that is because they don’t measure up to a standard he strives to meet. Rather than raise themselves up they had rather tear him down. Tim Tebow dares to stand for his principles, he genuinely strives to make a difference, and he hopes to inspire others to do and be their best.

While at Mets camp one recent weekend Tebow was asked about people not liking him. His response was so powerful that sports blogger Mike Oz said it was “like right out of a book of inspirational quotes.” I share it today, because I think Tebow is one sports figure worthy of being quoted and is a good example to kids today — to all of us! Here’s what he had to say….

“It’s really about keeping perspective and not letting other people define you, because they sure want to. Shoot, I try to encourage young people all the time to not let the world or outside sources define you, because you are always going to have critics and naysayers and people that are going to tell you that you won’t, that you can’t, that you shouldn’t. Most of those people are the people that didn’t, that wouldn’t, that couldn’t.

Don’t be defined by the outside sources. You go after your dreams. Succeeding or failing is not making it to the bigs, or it’s not necessarily fulfilling that. It’s having to not live with regret because I didn’t try. I just feel for all the young people who don’t go after something, because they are so afraid of failing that you are going to live with a lot more regret than if you would’ve and you failed. I’m very passionate about that.

I think the reason people don’t go after things is because how much you will be criticized. What if I fall flat on my face? Fear and doubt and all these things creep in. I just don’t believe that is the healthiest way to live. I don’t want to have to live with fear or doubt everyday regardless of what everybody here says about me. It doesn’t define me.

I’m grateful that doesn’t define me. There is one thing that defines me and that’s what God says about me. Besides that, I get to go live out my dreams and help as many people along the way as possible.” (Tim Tebow)

Lots of people are taking note of Tebow’s words. In fact the video of his comments received one million views by that Sunday night, two million by the following Monday morning, and was rapidly climbing. Wouldn’t it be nice if Tim Tebow’s attitude  spread as easily as his words have gone viral?

I agree with Mike Oz’s assessment: “Whether Tebow ultimately  becomes a successful baseball player in the big leagues remains to be seen. But there’s no arguing that his dedication and attitude are at an All-Star level.”

 

“Blessed are you when people  insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” (Matthew 5:11)

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  (Colossians 3:17)

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity.” (Titus 2:7)

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

“Let all that you do be done in love.” (I Corinthians 6:14)

RESCUED FISHERMEN: HOPE IN A GREATER PLAN

I remember reading the US NEWS & WORLD REPORT article entitled “Costa Rican Fishermen Rescued by Cruise Ship After 20 Days Adrift” (Alexa Lardieri, Dec. 24, 2018)… and thinking of hope.

Two fishermen found themselves lost at sea for twenty days, out of gas with little food and water gone.  This was their desperate circumstance when rescued by a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that “happened” along.

Their memorable near-death adventure lead them near Grand Cayman Island between Jamaica and Cuba. After leaving Costa Rica they cast their nets, and both men fell asleep while winds increased.

They awoke to find they had been blown far from their nets and ran out of gas trying to return to land. They had enough food and water for seven days. When food supplies were depleted, they fished for food, but the need for water became critical.

When rescued one of the fishermen was unable to walk and was carried aboard the cruise ship. Health care professionals examined them and provided needed care, food, and water.

Both fishermen disembarked the ship in Jamaica with both of them walking. The ship’s crew donated about $300 USD to help provide them with clothes and food.

The Royal Caribbean ship, Empress of the Seas, had not been scheduled to travel the route where the men were rescued. They were supposed to be enroute to Cuba, but storms and dangerous weather forced them to change course.

A ship spokesman commented, “Pure luck, lining of the stars, God, whatever you choose to believe, the facts are we would not have been in that area at the time had we not switched to go to Jamaica, and you can’t help but think there was a greater plan, but I’ve already seen a Christmas miracle.”

I agree with the miracle aspect of this deduction. I believe these two fishermen survived this near-tragedy because of a divine plan. I do not believe in coincidence; I believe the ship was divinely appointed to be in the location to rescue the men.

I hope they are thankful to the One Who coordinated their rescue on the Carribean Sea. I hope they trust the One Who can lead them through rough seas in storms of life and Who can see them to safe harbor when it really counts at the end of life’s journey.

May we all see the miracles in our lives and respond to the Miracle Giver with thanks, devotion, and love.

“Stretch forth Your hand from on high; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters….” (Psalm 144:7)

“… Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are Mine!  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior….” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

HUNTER WOODHALL: HOPE TO INSPIRE

  1. According to Arkansas’ KATV News, there’s a men’s track & field coach who admits his “mind is blown.” This describes Coach Chris Bucknam’s reaction to a sophomore sprinter for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Maybe it’s not that unusual for a coach to be impressed by or even awed by an extraordinary athlete. While Hunter Woodhall is an extraordinary athlete, he’s clearly an unusual one. Woodhall is an athlete who happens to be the first double amputee to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship in track and field.

Woodhall explains a greater purpose than winning races, “This whole journey and this whole reason I’m in college is to show people what’s possible.”

I believe what’s possible in his life will bring inspiration and hope to many — from athletic hopefuls to amputees needing a dose of hope and lots of folks in between.

As a two-time Paralympic medalist, Woodhall achieved first team all-American honors at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Outdoor Championships last spring while competing with traditional (non-amputee) runners. He already has earned a first place finish and has reached his own personal best indoors this winter.

He has earned such athletic success despite being a double amputee. Both his legs were amputated below the knee when he was a baby due to underdeveloped fibula (from knee to ankle).

Woodhall wisely claims, “No matter what situation you’re born with, no matter what situation you’re in in life, you’re the only one that can stop yourself from accomplishing your goals.”

He competed in several sports including skiing, soccer, and football before committing to track. Woodhall explained, “When I got my first pair of running legs, it’s just like this feeling of freedom. It’s hard to explain.”

When he chose to start sprinting in high school, there were doubters about his potential to win.

He admitted, “It was just people being content that I was showing up. ‘The kid without legs was running,’ and I would kind of get the sympathy clap.”

Doubters soon witnessed this unusual runner surpassing all expectations to win. Spectators watched him run and win! They watched him run faster and faster to win again and again! They watched as Woodhall ran to become state champion and as he kept running to become a state superstar.

There seemed to be no stopping him, so next he wanted to run in college competitions, however he needed scholarship offers. University of Arkansas happened to be “one of only a handful of power programs bold enough to recruit him.”

Woodhall understood, “It was really just a lack of knowledge of the situation. No one without legs has ever ran division one.”

Coach Bucknam noted his speed, of course, but he perceived that Woodhall had more to offer than speed alone. In addition were his mental fortitude and confidence.

Bucknam explained, “You gotta take some risks anyways if you want to be good, right? We were willing to take a risk with him.”

Woodhall liked what he saw at U of A and decided, “From my visit, being on campus, just the whole entire experience showed me this is the place I need to be. These people are going to fight for you.”

Bucknam admired not only Woodhall’s speed but also his boldness to compete in the SEC (Southeast Conference).

Woodhall recognized, “If you want to be the best, you gotta go to where the people are the best. You gotta beat the best,”

NCAA granted Woodhall special permission from the NCAA (think waiver) to compete with traditional runners. He struggled during his freshman season last winter, but this season is bringing improvement.

“He’s an NCAA all-American, and we just know the sky is the limit now,” Bucknam commented.

Striving to reach or exceed that limit seems to be something Woodhall is motivated to do for others. “If there’s somebody in the stands that maybe doesn’t believe in themselves or for whatever reason if they can see me run or whatever else I do, if I can inspire them to say, ‘you know what, let me go do something,’ that’s special to me…. That means more than times, medals, places, anything like that.”

Woodhall’s amazing attitude is full of hope… hope to run… hope to win… hope to inspire…. He’s an example to others who need hope to get in life’s race and maybe even dream of winning their own races. I think Hunter Woodhall is a champion worth cheering on — both on the track and in life.

(Quotes of Hunter Woodhall and Coach Chris Bucknam are from KATV News)

As I share Hunter Woodhall’s story I am reminded of the following verses that inspire me. “…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1, 2)

I am proud of Hunter’s amazing attitude as well as his athletic success. He definitely has potential to be an even greater sports star, and I anticipate seeing his star shine brighter before dimming. My prayer for him is that he will succeed not in races but more importantly in life. To me that means he’ll finish well by obtaining the reward that God has for him at the end of life’s race.

In the meantime I’ll be cheering him on. Run, Hunter, run!

MURPHYS: HOPE FOR CONTENTMENT

‌I would like to recommend another book, EIGHT TWENTY EIGHT: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Ian and Larissa Murphy. The Murphys are a married couple who “seek to serve God together all while dealing with the implications of life in a world marked by suffering yet compelled by love.”

Ian and Larissa are learning to trust the God of Romans Eight: Twenty-Eight, to rely on its truth, and to be content. Their book title comes from one of my favorite Bible verses: “For we know all things work together for good to those who love God, to those that are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Together they are an example and inspiration to anyone who needs hope to be content — whether married or single. The focus of their story is not on their tremendous devotion to each other but on the deep love they reflect of God’s deeper unfailing love. It is not focused on tragedy, disability, or loss but on hope that allows them to experience God’s faithfulness, to trust Him more, and to learn contentment as they share a marriage that is accomplishing His purpose.

The following is from this book’s back cover, but I invite you to read the book to be challenged to love God more than you love comfort and ease.

“They met in college and fell in love. They talked about getting married, and he started looking for a ring. They dreamed about life together, a life of beauty and joy, raising babies and laughing with friends and growing old.

They did not imagine a car accident. They did not imagine his brain injury. They did not dream about the need for constant care and a wheelchair and fear that food might choke him.

And they could not have imagined how persistent love would be. Theirs and God’s.” (Eight Twenty Eight book cover)

The following is Larissa’s article about contentment at desiringgod.org where more articles full of hope and insightful Bible teaching by John Piper can be found.

“I didnʼt know contentment in my prosperity — contentment then meant health and ease not God. God has not given us an indication that Ian will be fully healed here, which means that we have needed to enlist ourselves in our suffering. We still pray for complete healing, but we also pray for strength to endure a life-long disability. We are learning that contentment is produced as we obey and act on His promises like… ‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.’

Recently, this has meant believing I can do all things when Iʼm woken up by the sound of Ian throwing up at 4:00 a.m. He canʼt move his body fast enough to not choke, and so my body and mind must jolt from my dreams and spend the next hour cleaning up a man who is too tired and sick to hold his own head up. Yet somehow, in a moment so mysterious that it must be of God, I am filled with peace in the quiet of our house, throwing filthy bedding down the laundry chute.

And I think that itʼs in those tiny moments of serving and obeying that contentment abounds. Often they are just that, tiny and passing, but they must be building toward a greater joy.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold and not another.’ (Job 19:25–27)

Ian has been the best at teaching me that even though we are given mercy to grow in contentment here, ultimately we are built for heaven. On mornings when I wish we would just wake up without a brain injury after saying, ‘you and me both, sister,’ he points me to heaven and that it is so near. Coming from a man who canʼt sit up in bed on his own but who does not even want to curse God, Iʼll humbly follow his direction.” (desiringgod.org)

Ian and Larissa are real — not just real people but real in their emotions and openness to share their story. This book is a powerful and memorable one. It so happens that their wedding date was on my spouse’s and my anniversary (8.28). I don’t think I’ll celebrate another year without thinking of this couple and feeling thankful for their Christian testimony of when love didn’t give up.

(Learn more about the Murphys at their own blog at ianandlarissa.com)

MAX LUCADO: UNSHAKABLE HOPE

Do you ever feel like your world is shaky even to the point of toppling? Do you face problems that seem beyond your ability to cope? Is your pain more than you can bear? Are “difficult circumstances” an understatement when describing your life?

You may know you need hope but don’t know where to find it. Are you willing to truly seek unshakable hope? If so, continue reading….

“In his new book, UNSHAKABLE HOPE, Max Lucado unpacks 12 of the Bible’s most significant promises, equipping readers to overcome difficult circumstances by staying focused on the hope found in the promises of Scripture rather than dwelling on the problems in front of you. For every problem in life, God has given you a promise.” (Amazon.com)

After 40 years of ministry and more than 130 million books in print, America’s bestselling inspirational author, Max Lucado, has authored UNSHAKABLE HOPE. This New York Best Seller by one of my favorite authors is about living a life built on the promises of God that are found in Scriptures.

I guarantee that having this book on your shelf won’t change your life, but something awesome may happen if you apply God’s promises to your life. This book can help you learn and focus on hope of promises on which to build your life.

Will seriously reading it be worth your time and effort? What have you got to lose when you may turn from hopeless to hopeful? Seems like a no-brainer to me!