Training Table — From Our Friends (Week 12)

Training Table — From Our Friends (Week 12)

Monday

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

Breath

Athletic competition often requires tremendous exertion, which results in muscles taxed to the limit, profuse amounts of perspiration, and an enormous rate of respiration.

I ran 42 cross country races during three years in college, and at the end of all of them I was gasping for breath. During my middle age years, I have sometimes participated in pick-up basketball games, always half-court. Even then, after 20 or 30 minutes the result was the same. I would be sucking in as much air as I could possibly get.

Do you ever thank God for the ability to BREATHE? God made us with nostrils and sinus passages, a windpipe, diaphragm muscles, and a set of lungs. The air comes in, the oxygen goes into our bloodstream, and with proper nourishment, we gain strength and energy to engage in any amount of physical activity.

These body parts did not happen by accident and they came as a package deal! What good is a diaphragm without any lungs? What good are lungs without a windpipe? What good is a windpipe without sinus passages? According to Daniel 5:23, Daniel told King Belshazzar that God literally… ”holds your breath in His hand…”

It’s amazing how much I take for granted. Thank you, Jesus. You are the God of creation. You are the God of love. You are the God of provision. Even my next breath is in Your hand.

— Stanley A. Tucker, Reader Submitted

Tuesday

“God, Who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” Hebrews 1:1, 2a

Listen and Respond

When I was in the eighth grade, my school invited Phil Judson to be the guest speaker at our annual awards banquet for junior and senior high boys sports.

Judson and his twin brother, Paul, were mainstays on the Hebron, Ill., state basketball championship team in 1952, when it was still a one-class system. Hebron is still the smallest school EVER (enrollment 98) in Illinois to win the state title.

Our school had an enrollment of about 100. It had only been eight years since Hebron’s title run, and Phil Judson was still a household name in Illinois. So, when Judson took the podium at our banquet, you could have heard a pin drop. All of us boys, plus the people in the packed audience, were enthralled by what he had to say.

His speech was not eloquent, but effective. During his talk, he said, “Boys, the set shot days are passing. Develop a jump shot.” My cousins and many others began practicing a jump shot the very NEXT DAY! We hung on every word Phil Judson said.

On a spiritual plane, why can’t I be like Martha’s sister Mary, “who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word.” (Luke 10:39) God Himself speaks to me, through His Word, through circumstances, or through His still small voice in the middle of the night or during the day.

Do you listen when God speaks to you? My prayer for all of us is that we would hang on His every word, and then respond when He speaks.

— Stanley A. Tucker, Reader Submitted

Wednesday

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Mountaintops and Valleys

Our walk with The Lord is not always an easy one, and it was not meant to be. There are highs and lows during our lives, and we must cling close to Him in the valleys and He will help us climb the top of the mountain. As a professional golfer, these mountains and valleys are part of my job, as one week I may miss the cut, but there’s a chance I could win the following week. Similarly, in life we must rely on Him for strength and thank Him for both instances in our lives, the good and the bad. The good times we must be thankful that things are going well and that He is faithful and continues to bless us. But the rough times, the valleys, are even more important. This is when He strengthens and molds us, and if we seek Him, we grow closer to Our Father. In whatever circumstance you are in now, give thanks. He has you right where you need to be, mountain or valley.

— Drew Perry, Reader Submitted

Thursday

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Overcoming Evil, with God

On vacation this summer, we went to Custer’s Last Stand, Yellowstone, the Tetons, the Black Hills and finally, the “Field of Dreams” movie set near Dyersville, Iowa.

What a cool place! The ball diamond is still there, along with the cornfield, the bleachers and the farmhouse. The Don Lansing family still manage the field, paying royalties to Universal Studios to do so, and receive over 65,000 visitors each year.

It has an effect on any visitor with a baseball background. No games are played there to keep the grounds intact, but many who come bring a ball and glove and “have a catch.” The kids run the bases, and the adults get their pictures taken on the mound, or coming onto the outfield from out of the corn. Others sit in the bleachers and reminisce.

Little League players visit the field. College players visit the field. Minor league and several Hall of Fame major league players have been there as well. It’s a place where dreams are remembered, and perhaps where some dreams are born.

My college cross country coach once told us to “plan as if we would live to be a thousand, and live as if Jesus were returning tomorrow.”

Also, the above verse was crucial for me as a young Christian. It helped me realize that whatever my dreams were, God would take care of the details.

Do you have dreams about your future? Pursue them until God closes the door, or opens it wider.

All the while pursue Him. He has a way of showing us where we need to go.

— Stanley A. Tucker, Reader Submitted

Friday

“We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.”  II Corinthians 13:9-10

Power In Weakness

All sports require strength of one type or another. Some weigh more heavily on the physical strength and others on the mental side. I think golf is a great test of both because it requires physical strength to hit the ball and control the shot, and mental toughness to maintain your focus and composure throughout the round. I have been blessed to compete at every level in golf, back from my junior golf days, up through college golf, and now into the professional ranks. As the competition and level of play grew tougher, I found myself trying too hard. It exposed my weaknesses and kept me from reaching my potential. For so long I tried too hard to overcome my weaknesses and correct my faults on the course, and I failed to do so as my patience wore out and I grew weary. I eventually realized that I was going at it all wrong, trying to do it alone. I was relying on myself to overcome these weaknesses. The Lord is the center focus of my life, but my faith was not properly put into action because I was relying on my own strength and not His.

We all fall into trying to control certain aspects of our lives, and usually they are the ones we struggle with most or those in which we feel especially weak. But we need to realize we are weak. But that is OK, because as Paul wrote, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” God wants us to rely on Him completely for strength, patience, and endurance through His grace. We must allow His strength to overcome our weaknesses, instead of us relying on our own strength, which is inadequate. For The Lord told Paul, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

— Drew Perry, Reader Submitted

Weekender

“The merciful man does himself good, But the cruel man does himself harm.” Proverbs 11:17

Going Long

Read Proverbs 11:17 and meditate on what it says concerning the difference between being merciful and being cruel. The beatitudes also speak of mercy in Matthew 5:7. What are the similarities you see in both verses and how can you apply it to your life?