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September 17, 2018

Peace in Our Storms

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”  So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed).

 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

Mark 4: 35-41 (NLT)

I wonder if we’ll ever just get it!

In the passage above, the disciples are in a boat, with Jesus onboard and asleep in the back. When out of nowhere, as they often do, a storm comes up. The disciples begin to worry, they allow the storm which is outside of the boat, into their life—despite the fact that Jesus is on board. They allow what is around them to control them.

And so they panic. They go nuts, actually; shouting at Christ to wake Him up, and accusing Him of not caring about them simply because he continued to sleep in the midst of the storm. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 10, 2018

A Time to Rise Again

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

This is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes, and we reach for the stars.” (The West Wing)

I wonder how many this week will pause to remember.

Yesterday I paused to listen to Tom Ridge, former Governor of Pennsylvania and the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security, share in the dedication of the “Tower of Voices” memorial erected in Shanksville, Pennsylvania remembering the moment seventeen years ago, where and when United Flight 93 went down killing forty passengers and crew members.

Remembrances of that tragic day on September 11, 2001 seem to be different, and fewer, than those which occurred in the days and early years which followed the attacks of 9/11.

I wonder if complacency and apathy have begun to rule the day. And, of course, neither of those is worthy of this great nation and the people who have gone before us.

But on that day, seventeen years ago, the evil attacks on our land did, in fact, occur. And they continue. However, the current assault is not only occurring from outside by those intent on hurting us—through the attempts by growing numbers of terrorist cells around the world and crossing within our borders—but it seems to be occurring from within the walls of our institutions and foundations of our Country. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

September 3, 2018

Believe It To Be!

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.”

Job 3: 25 (NLT)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4: 13 (NKJV)

What do you think the rest of the week will look like for you?

As you take a moment to think about that, do yourself a favor and remember this comment which I have found helpful to embrace as I begin each day.

It’s a comment by the American novelist, Henry James, who once said—

Be not afraid of life.

Believe that life is worth living,

and your belief will help create the fact.”

I don’t know whether or not Henry James was a teacher or a coach, or any number of other similar platforms with opportunities to impact the lives of others. But, if he was, that attitude would have worked well for him and his students and players.

And in those two scripture passages above—we have two different points of view in time. And both are true, and can work to set in place in our minds the outcomes of the days ahead of each of us, depending on which one we choose to follow.

For me, I choose to embrace Paul’s statement in Philippians 4:13, as I move forward in life.

The point is this—we tend to instinctively move in the direction of what our minds focus on and what we believe will happen next, and beyond that. In 1951, Brooklyn Dodgers’ pitcher Ralph Branca delivered the fateful pitch that Bobby Thompson hit for a home run for the New York Giants’ pennant victory—that became known as the “Shot heard round the world.”

Legend has it that the final words spoken to Ralph Branca in a meeting on the mound just before Branca made that fateful pitch to Thompson, were along the lines of—

Whatever you do, Ralph, don’t throw it up and in.”

Guess what? Well, I’ll leave it to you to think for a moment where the next pitch which Ralph Branca threw to Bobby Thompson was located. You’re right. Right in that sweet spot for Bobby Thompson. “Up and In.” It was the last thought Branca had before he made the pitch.

What’s your view of the next moment of your life?

What are your expectations for the rest of your today and your tomorrows?

May I suggest that you focus on what you want to occur—not on that which you don’t want to occur. May I suggest, that you believe in what you want to occur—as if it is a given. As if it was a certainty.

You may not always get there—but you’ll never get there if you don’t believe you can. What you believe you can do, what you want to achieve, will set the direction for your next thoughts and steps.

And there’s another reason. Even better and more fundamental.

Always remember this—God always wants the best for you and for me.

The Apostle Paul reminds us of that in Romans 8:28 (NLT), when he says—

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good

of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

I don’t know what that is, or what it will be or even when, but I do know that God will always work out everything for our good, as He believes that to be, and for His glory, to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

That’s enough for me. You?

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2018. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 27, 2018

Always Joyful—For Good Reason

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-17 (NIV)

I probably feel the same as you do. Go back and read that scripture verse again.

The Apostle Paul wrote it. This is the same guy who was imprisoned regularly, lashed five times and beaten with rods three times by his fellow Jews, stoned, shipwrecked three times, constantly on the move and in danger from rivers, bandits, friends who betrayed him, whether in the cities, the country or at sea, and was always hungry, thirsty, and without sleep.

And Paul’s advice to us:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.”

I’m with you here—the man has obviously got a few screws loose. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

August 20, 2018

Your Choice—Your Life

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

“If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile.'” Job 9:27

I wonder what Wes is doing these days. Our meeting that day was only a “chance” and one-time meeting. Actually, I can’t remember the last time I had thought about my limping friend, until the other day.

This is hard to admit, but I had a momentary lapse the other day and found I was viewing the glass as “half-empty” and wondering “why me” and thinking “if only.” I had all the makings of the onset of my own pity-party. I was struggling with perspective and I had allowed worry to replace trust in God.

Oh, I worry about my granddaughters and their safety in a difficult world. I’ll probably always be on guard for that and them—it’s part of the stewardship of the sacred trust God placed upon me as their granddaddy. You don’t dare try anything with them with me around. I’m not talking about that outlook as a “glass half-empty” moment. But, instead, every now and then a confluence of events, spoken words and relationship moments occur which provide the opportunity for that “half-empty” kind of thinking to take hold. Usually it doesn’t last for too long—occasionally it does.

But that’s when I remember Wes. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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