Friday, September 30, 2016

Expressions of Faith: God's Eyes

God’s Eyes
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
(1 Peter 3:12 NIV)


Most excellent news!

  1. In the fight between good and evil, God is on the side of good.
  2. If we are righteous, God watches us and listens to us. 


This is truly something to be thankful for, even if it’s not Thanksgiving week.

The fate of those who do evil is God's turning away from the evildoer. 

It's a fate we can avoide by living righteous lives.

Next Friday's Expression of Faith Series: Answers

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Timeless Truths: To Follow Jesus – Take Up Your Cross Daily


Timeless Truths: To Follow Jesus – Take Up Your Cross Daily

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Luke 9:23-25
All Scripture quotations are from the NIV.

Two things stand out in these verses.
  1. The honesty of Jesus. – He brings us face-to-face with the truth.
  2. Jesus never asks us to do anything that He did not do himself. – Jesus set the example for us to follow.


Re-read the command. Notice
  • Cross bearing is always voluntary.

Crosses are not thorns. We choose whether or not to pick up our cross.
  • Cross bearing is an act of love.

Cross bearing should always be a response to God’s love. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [John 3:16]
  • Cross bearing is hard.


More Insights
  • Christianity is not about “me,” it’s always about God’s way.
  • Bearing fruit where we are “planted” by God is our cross—doing the right thing regardless of the cost.
  • Selfish living is harder than bearing our cross.
  • Living a Christian life is the most challenging way to live.
  • We identify with Jesus by carrying our cross.
  • The cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love.

WHEN WE CHOOSE TO PICK OUR CROSS, IT BECOMES OUR EXPRESSION OF GOD’S LOVE FOR THOSE AROUND US.

Special thanks to Rev Tom Goble for the primary teachings used in this post.

Next Thursday's Timeless Truths Series: To Follow Jesus – Follow Jesus

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback!

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Science Guy’s Almanac. Coaching Memories (continued) - Baseball


A Science Guy’s Almanac. Year 2. September 26, 2016
Coaching Memories (continued) - Baseball

I coached football, baseball, track & field, and soccer during my twenty-three years at Monte Vista High in Spring Valley, California. Today, the focus is “America’s pastime”—baseball.

I played baseball from Little League through college at San Diego State University. Depending on the year, I was an average to superior player in most aspects of the game.

My best baseball season as a player was my final year in Pony League when I was finishing 8th grade. I hit something like .440 with five home runs. I pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I did very well in the school track meet in 8th grade. 8th grade was the apex of my personal athletic career.

This preface has nothing to do with coaching. It provides background information for. . . Actually, it’s probably unnecessary. But, since I’ve already written it, it’s staying.

I accepted the JV Baseball head-coaching job because it sounded like fun. That's me in the header photo pointing to the outfield. Hmmm. I don't remember ever looking that thin . . .

We had tryouts. The players looked okay. The season began.
  • Within days, my best two players were promoted to varsity. Things went downhill fast after that. We ended up with a single “W” in our record. We played people close, but we lacked both hitting and pitching to hold a lead.
  • One of my players was a flashy shortstop. He’d been an All-Star in Pony League. He had excellent range, but his throws to first were always made side arm or lower.
  • I explained that, while he might get people out at the JV level, he’d never succeed on the varsity because it took his throws too long to get to first base. He never changed. He never played varsity. I suspect his dad had coached him all the way up to high school and allowed him to mimic Gary Templeton. “Tempy” did throw side arm often—but he had a very strong arm.

I felt the sorriest for my “only” pitcher. I’m pretty sure the varsity coach left him down with me because I had no other viable options. He’s the only JV pitcher that year that pitched more than three innings in any game. My “other” pitchers had given up so many runs by their third inning of work it was a merciful act on my part to remove them from the mound.

I didn’t coach baseball again for seven or eight years.

One January morning before school, the principal came to me and said he’d heard I’d coached baseball before. He asked if I wanted to give the varsity baseball job a try.

It seems that the head coach from the previous two seasons had been selling off school equipment in the off-season and pocketing the money. I decided to give it a try. 


I met the team for the first time during their final winter league game. We started practice a week after that.

Pundits were predicting the Monarchs to "successful" in the Grossmont League. I had a pretty good pitcher and one of the leading hitters in the league returning. Several other players showed good potential. As you can see in the article from The Daily Californian above, I was optimistic.

Things went along fine until we played our first league game. We were up by three going into the bottom of the last inning. They loaded the bases with two outs. The last runner was the result of a horrific play by our third baseman—our “best” hitter.
  • Long story short, our number two pitcher hung a pitch. The hitter drilled it over a 15-foot tall chain link fence into the tennis courts that bordered the baseball field.
  • We did not win a league game after that loss. The All-League pitcher ended up with an ERA over four. The leading hitter finished the season hitting under .220.
  • At least once a week, other biology teachers and I sat around and re-arranged my lineup for the game the next day. To not avail.


Final anecdote.

I’m coaching third base in a tournament game. Standing in front of me is a senior who was playing varsity for the first time. It’s a close game. I signal the batter to squeeze bunt.

Since the runner on third can’t see the signs because of the angles involved, we had a verbal cue. If I said, “Head’s up, number 15” (or whatever the runner’s jersey number was) to the runner, that meant we were bunting and he was to take off for home plate at the pitcher’s first move. If I said, “Heads-up, Gibson,” (using the player’s last name) that meant nothing. I used this version a lot. By the way, Gibson wasn’t the last name of the runner on third in this story.

The pitch is thrown. The batter lays down a perfect bunt. They throw the batter out a first. The runner is standing on 3rd base. He had not made any move toward home plate.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I hit a double and took third on the overthrow,” he answered.

It was that kind of year.
It was also the last year I coached any sport at any school.

Do you think there might be a correlation 
between those two statements?

Next Almanac: Coaching memories continued – Track and Field

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

Friday, September 23, 2016

Expressions of Faith: Deceitful Speech

Deceitful Speech
For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.
(1 Peter 3:10 NIV)


This is the first in a series of three verses about turning from evil and doing good.

It's not random that Peter's first direction on this topic deals refers to the way we speak.

Peter closely links being evil and being deceitful.

Rewriting this in a DO instead of a DON't DO style might read:
...must speak the truth in love.

Oh, wait. Paul said to DO that.

Next Friday's Expression of Faith Series: God’s Eyes

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Timeless Truths: To Follow Jesus – Deny Yourself


Timeless Truths: To Follow Jesus – Deny Yourself

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Luke 9:23-25
All Scripture quotations are from the NIV.

To deny oneself means to say “no” to self and “yes” to God.
  • The New Testament writers understood this.
  • Today, many Christians are willing to demonstrate this idea during the Lenten season.
Denying self needs to be a way of life, not just a seasonal act.

The Apostle Paul wrote,
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— [Romans 6:6]
  • The call to deny self is the call to break the bonds of sin.

To those who said, “That can’t be done,” the Apostle Peter wrote,
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. [I Peter 4:1-2]
  • The really important thing is not the momentary or occasional acts of sacrifice but living a daily lifestyle of denial of self.
  • The Kingdom of God is “upside down” compared to humanities natural life.
  • People aren't looking to follow a weak calling—one with no challenge.

Jesus does not
  • deceive us by His call. He supplies all we need to meet that challenge through the Holy Spirit.
  • call us to anything He wasn’t willing to do.

Denying self does not mean giving up all that made life good and fun.
  • What we need most to deny is individualized for our personality.
  • The struggle to commit is eliminated if we deny ourselves first.
  • Commitment without loyalty to Christ will not endure.
Americans aren’t used to having any Lord. We must “get past that” and find freedom through self-denial.

“No person has ever given their all to Christ who did not wish (s)he had more to give.” Paul Skiles
Special thanks to Rev Tom Goble for the primary teachings used in this post.

Next Thursday's Timeless Truths Series: To Follow Jesus – Take Up Your Cross Daily

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback!

Follow A Day in the Life of a Science Fiction Writer by Email