Category Archives: Thanksgiving

A Summer Thanksgiving Story Without Turkey and Stuffing

 

The drive to meet Pastor Rick took me past the Temecula Valley High School baseball field where our son, Cole, played shortstop for the Golden Bears during his four years there. Cole was a good player, but that wasn’t the reason I always thanked the Lord for His mercy when I drove by the field. It was because of a special miracle the Lord did twenty-two years earlier during a state playoff game.

On that particular day, the Golden Bears were playing the Norco High School Cougars. The pitcher for the Cougars was Carson Riley, a right-hander, who threw around ninety-five miles per hour and was a solid major league prospect.

Cole stood in the right side of the batter’s box to lead off the seventh inning. Riley’s first pitch was a fastball, which tailed inside and hit Cole in the middle of his chest, knocking him to the ground. He laid motionless on the ground.

The three coaches for Temecula Valley rushed to him. One of them took out a cell phone and made a call.

Jane and I were sitting in the bleachers above the dugout on the first base side of the field. I grabbed Jane’s hand. “Honey, we need to go out there. Cole’s in danger,” I said.

We stood up and hurried to field.

Jim Dawson, the head coach for the Golden Bears, looked up as we approached home plate. “Dylan, he’s not breathing. I phoned for an ambulance, which should be here in four minutes,” he said.

Jane and I dropped to our knees and began praying. She prayed in tongues while I placed my hand on his chest.

“Father, You gave me a promise when Cole was born that He would preach the gospel and do miracles in Your name. When You made that promise, You looked into the future and saw this day. And yet, You still made that promise to me. I am not leaving until You honor Your promise and Cole stands up, totally healed in Jesus’ name. You did it for Elijah when he prayed for the widow’s son and I’m asking You to do the same thing for Cole, right now,” I prayed.

Coach Dawson grabbed my shoulders. “Dylan, let’s wait for the ambulance,” he whispered.

I shook his hands off me. “Let go of me,” I shouted. “God is doing a miracle here.”

Dawson released his grasp and wandered off. A siren could be heard pulling into the school’s parking lot.

“Father, I didn’t ask You to give me that promise for Cole. You did it on Your own. So, honor Your promise, in Jesus’ name,” I prayed again and again.

“What’s happening here?” asked a paramedic, rushing toward us with a stretcher.

Cole’s green eyes fluttered and opened. He looked into my eyes. “Dad,” he whispered, “I met Jesus. He said I had to come back to life because of your prayers.”

My son was totally healed and wanted to stay in the ballgame, but of course, the two paramedics insisted on him riding in the ambulance to Temecula Valley Hospital. Jane and I followed them in our SUV.

All of the tests on Cole proved to be negative. The Lord healed him.

Cole graduated from high school two weeks later and now lives in San Diego with his wife Allyson and their two daughters, Mia and Madison.

If I drove by the baseball field a hundred times in any one day, I always thanked the Lord for His gracious miracle every time. I always wanted Him to know how much I appreciated what He did for our family on that day.

That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders. (Psalm 26:7)

(Excerpt from Still in the Fight, an upcoming new novel by me.)

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Filed under America, Christianity, Healing, jesus, Literature, Prayer, spiritual warfare, Thanksgiving, Writing

Why Be Thankful this Year?

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One of my favorite stories is about a simple-minded, homeless person named Joe Bananas who lived on the streets of New York City. He survived by begging for money and scrummaging through garbage.

One day, Joe listened to a street evangelist and gave his life to Jesus. It so amazed him that the Lord could love a lowly person like himself that he made up his mind to tell everyone about Jesus. And that’s what he did.

So, without the ability to read, without attending a church, and only knowing that Jesus loved him, he stood on the sidewalks as Wall Street brokers, bankers, and Madison 5th Avenue admen rushed by him, preaching his message. He didn’t quote John 3:16, but simply said, “I’m just bananas about Jesus.”

Although Joe’s heart was totally changed, his life remained the same. He was still a filthy, smelly, homeless man who lived in cardboard boxes. Yet, he continued to faithfully preach his message on the sidewalks of New York City until he froze to death one night during a cold spell.

This would have been the end of the story, but some of the passersby who walked by Joe each day heard about his death and then showed up at his pauper’s funeral. Dozens testified how Joe’s simple message opened their hearts to receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Why be thankful this year?

Because Jesus lives and loves us.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Kingdom of God, Thanksgiving