BATTER UP!

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Encouraging Words

Batter Up!

By

Richard Scharfenberg

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a land far, far away there was a small and poor country called Sackcloth. Although the people in this country were impoverished, they all found ways of getting involved in their one great love; baseball. Baseball was the national pastime and it was played everywhere. Everyone, young and old alike, played in one of the many leagues that had formed. There was a toddler league, a children’s league, high school league, an over-the-hill league and even a left-hander’s league. This was all well and fine, but they all agreed and put their money on a superior league called The Saulville Saints. Boys went to bed at night dreaming of making the first cut for the Saints. The Saints had won the Universe Series twelve years in a row. Last year they had beat the Dogwood Demons in four games straight!

Alpha Omega was the manager and his word was law. He remembers one spring training when a young man named Wavering, a little unsure in the blush of youth, showed great promise when he came on the scene. Wavering was fleet of foot, quick of eye and nimble as a cat. He had a deep love for the game of baseball, but had not yet refined his raw ability. Alpha saw past his immaturity and envisioned his potential. This young man was going to go places. With his skill and Alpha’s coaching, the sky was the limit. Alpha began to personally tutor him.

All through spring training you could watch this rookie begin to hit the ball with authority, steal bases with ease and make diving catches in the outfield. Wavering blossomed under Alpha’s instruction.

Then came the BIG DAY; the final pre-season game to determine who would make THE TEAM.

The entire village of Sackcloth was in the stands that day, earnestly watching their heroes perform. The lead changed back and forth as the teams battled each other.

The score was tied seven to seven in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs when Wavering came to bat. In the dugout Alpha gave the sign for a suicide squeeze bunt. Wavering couldn’t believe his eyes. He knew that he could blast the ball to kingdom come. Alpha knew it too. Nevertheless the sign held. Ignoring the signal Wavering proceeded to hit the first pitch over the fence for a grand slam home run, winning the game and sending 50,000 delirious fans home, raving about THE HIT that won the game.

Now the stands are empty. The locker room is strewn with uniforms, showing signs of a recent celebration. Happy players are drifting out of the stadium excitedly talking about the upcoming season. But back in the corner of the dugout Alpha speaks softly to Wavering. “I’m sorry son. You won’t be playing with the Saints. You’re a terrific athlete and you had a brilliant future, but what I really need is someone to follow the rules without question. Yes, we won today and you will be called a hero, but you will never know the plans I had for you.

He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is

who loves Me and he who loves Me shall be loved by my

Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.

(John 14:21)

Changing You, Little by Little.

The Author

I was wife to Richard for over 42 years, mother of 6 and grandmother to 16 sweetie pies. I've been a high school dropout, teenage wife and mom, single working parent, stay at home mom, service rep for the phone company, children's librarian for 16 years, now retired and busy with speaking, teaching, mentoring and counseling. I have been published in four books, Rest Stops for Teachers, Rest Stops for Busy Moms and Grace Givers, Amazing Stories of Grace in Action. My full-length book, Secure Families in a Shaky World has recently been released and is available through www.redemptionpress.com, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I am a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries and for conferences, retreats and all other womens' events. You'll often find me training, speaking or mentoring. I absolutely love encouraging women. Oh, if you add to that playing with a grandkid and not having to cook dinner; it's a perfect day. You can hear two of my messages at www.ranchobaptistchurch.org, click on sermons and then May 19, 2007, Keys to a Joyful Heart and December 6, 2008, The Heart of Christmas.

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