by Pastor E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
“The best thing I’ve ever done, the best thing I will ever do is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni. I can’t ever give up because I can’t leave my daughters. I love you girls more than I will ever be able to express. You are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage tonight because of you.” – Stuart Scott
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
– Henry Ford
Forward Thinkers, this week I was amazed at the will power to stand in the face of death as I heard about seven year old Sailor Gutzler. Sailor’s parents and other family members were killed in a plane crash. Sailor, the sole survivor was wearing a tee shirt and short pants at the time of the crash but did not panic after trying to wake her parents up. Forward Thinkers, she took a broken branch from a tree hit by the fallen plane and stuck it in the fire coming from the crashed plane and began walking through the dark and cold forest almost a mile before finding help. Later when asked how she made it, Sailor replied,” my daddy had taught me how to hike so I did what he had taught me.” At the memorial service a family member asked her how was she able to remain so calm and she replied, “my mom and dad would want me to be strong.”
Forward Thinkers, there is so much we can learn from Sailor and her parents: the importance of a father coaching his children, the benefits of being in a strong family/household, and the value of following instructions.
Forward Thinkers, the enemy will continue to aggressively attack the position of “Fatherhood” because, the enemy understands how important the voice of a father is to the success of his family.
Forward Thinkers, Sailor didn’t figure out during a life crisis what to do; she had been prepared throughout her life for what to do.
Forward Thinkers, the role of whatever church you attend and sow your finances into should be to prepare you for the issues of “life” before you have to experience the issues of life. Forward Thinkers, every time you miss church, you miss a “life” lesson.
Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me
2 Kings 20 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’”
Forward Thinkers, in the 23rd Psalm, David says, “I walk through” (the Message bible calls it Death Valley). The key word here is “WALK.” David is saying, I keep moving no matter what I’m facing and I refuse to quit here in the Valley of Death. Forward Thinkers, David is encouraging us not to lay here and die in the midst of our current situation but find the “willpower” to keep moving. Forward Thinkers, David reminds us that we still have a choice to make. No one chooses cancer, ALS, or any other life threatening disease but, if one happens to choose us, we still have a choice to keep the faith and keep on fighting through it.
Forward Thinkers, David says I will not let fear win. As people of faith, we can’t allow the fear of the unknown to defeat us into forgetting what is known.
Forward Thinkers, what is known? God is with me no matter what I’m facing; I know God is with me. Remember at the birth of Jesus they called him Immanuel which means God is with us. What is known is that God was with them in the fire, in a lion’s den, and in a storm, therefore; I have faith that God will be with me throughout every difficult place in life.
Forward Thinkers, can you still have the will power to stand in the face of death if you knew you were going to die? Hezekiah in 2 Kings is told he is going to die and to get his house in order. Even after God extended his life fifteen years, he still knew in fifteen years he is going to die. Forward Thinkers, our present reality is we don’t know when or how we are going to die; therefore, we must follow the instructions given to Hezekiah and get our house in order.
Forward Thinkers, the key here as a Believer is not focusing on dying but focusing on living. We have to have the will power to stand even in the face of death.
Is faith unused really faith?
Forward Thinkers, it’s no secret I’m a big sports fan, therefore; my television stays on ESPN majority of the time and I became a big fan of Stuart Scott. Stuart Scott was a sportscaster who did it his way even though people told him his way would not work on main stream television; maybe BET but not ESPN. In spite of what others said, Scott became one of the biggest names in sports. Forward Thinkers, Stuart Scott became a walking quote machine:
“Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.” Stuart Scott
Forward Thinkers, what Scott was saying here is that, when God created us, he created us to be who he created us to be and we must stop spending so much time and energy in life trying to be someone else. Forward Thinkers, one of the greatest freedoms available to man is the freedom to be yourself.
Forward Thinkers, in November 2007, Stuart Scott received the bad news that he had cancer. He refused to back down and said he would not allow cancer to dictate how he lived. Forward Thinkers, Scott prided himself with being a great father to his two daughters and said he would fight cancer to the end for them.
Forward Thinkers, people with cancer saw him as a beacon of light and used his journey to motivate them in their journey. I have a question, Forward Thinkers? When you’re dealing with the difficulties of life, how do people see you? Are you viewed as a Champion or Chump?
Forward Thinkers, Stuart Scott died on January 4, 2015 but he lived with cancer on his own terms. “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” Stuart Scott
Forward Thinkers, remember, God told Hezekiah to get his house in order. How you know if you’re ready to die is answered by how you are living right now.
Forward Thinkers, in conclusion, seven year old Sailor and Stuart Scott’s seven year public battle with cancer are perfect examples of the will power to stand in the face of death but today I’m going to close with a very personal story of one of my heroes of faith who battled ALS for seven years; my friend William Harris, Jr. (former University of Texas and NFL football player) who like Stuart Scott fought the good fight of faith because he had two daughters to win for. Forward Thinkers, one of his last words almost a year ago to his wife was “LOOK UP” and every time she lowered her head he would say again “LOOK UP.” So my final words today to you are no matter what you’re dealing with or going through “LOOK UP”; the Lord God is with you.
Forward Thinkers, keep looking up and remember to continue to release the will power to stand no matter what situation or condition you’re standing in.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or the church website www.ghic.net