Prayers for the Week – Remembering

This past week my wife and I drove her aunt and uncle to Montana for her Uncle’s Memorial service. It was a long, 2,000 mile journey through 11 states, but it was a great trip nonetheless. It was a journey of remembering, of remembering the time Uncle Bud drove school buses from North Carolina to Montana with his brother Sam. It was a journey of remembering the trips that Cindy made in days gone by, and it was a trip of remembering all the trips that Uncle Sam and Aunt Saundra made back to North Carolina. In all, nine of Uncle Sam’s relatives made the trip by car or plane from North Carolina to Montana to be there for Aunt Saundra, Lori Jean, Tom, Allison, and the rest of the family. In each case Aunt Saundra remarked that she couldn’t believe that we came out for Sam. Well, Aunt Saundra, we didn’t come out for Uncle Sam. We came out for you.

In preparing for this message, I found myself drawn to 1 Corinthians 15:52-57:

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭51-58‬ ESV)

The older I get, the more I draw comfort in the words that God leaves for us. They inspire me, the direct me, they are my hope in a crazy, chaotic world. They help me to sleep at night, knowing that whatever happens, God is with me. Aunt Saundra, Lori, Tom, and Allison, God is with you too. Draw comfort in that fact.

Now, please pray with me the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayers for the Week – RIP Uncle Sam

Uncle Walter, Uncle Bob, Uncle Bud, Uncle Sam, and Uncle Ted in 2008

Uncle Walter, Uncle Bob, Uncle Bud, Uncle Sam, and Uncle Ted in 2008

7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ~ 2Timothy 4:7 (ESV)

My friends, thank you for joining us today on a very special Prayers for the Week post.  We learned on Friday morning that Uncle Sam, pictured in the grey sweater, passed away in his sleep that morning.  It was totally unexpected — we had just seen Uncle Sam just 6 weeks earlier for Uncle Ted’s (far right) funeral.  My friends, thank you for your love and support during this trying time.  In this picture, only Uncle Walter on the left and Uncle Bud in the middle are left, and I know that they are hurting, wondering what is happening.  My wife Cindy and her family has lost three of her uncles in the past 18 months.

My friends, please pray with us, pray for Uncle Sam, for his goodness, for his kindness, for those that he touched in his life.  Pray for Aunt Saundra, his wife, and their children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and cousins and on and on and on.  Please pray for their comfort, their strength, their peace, pray that God would wrap them up in His arms and care for them for as long as need be.  Most of all, pray that they would turn to God in their grief, that they wouldn’t turn angry towards God, but rather, that they would understand that God needed Uncle Sam at that moment, that, while we don’t know the reason he was chosen at that moment, we know that it is for the Glory of God.  Most of all, pray that if there is someone that does not know God, pray that they would come to know Him through the example that Uncle Sam, Uncle Ted, and Uncle Bob left for us.  These were great men, all of them taken before we wanted them, and I know that the old saying is that these things come in threes, but I didn’t want that to be the case.

My friends, please pray for Uncle Bud and Uncle Walter, that they would stay in good health, and that God would not call them for some time to come.  My wife Cindy and her family need them to stick around for a while yet.  Now, please pray with me the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.

A Walk Through Time – Uncle Bob and the Atlanta Braves

Image courtesy

Image courtesy The Magical Blogorail

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Riding the Rails post that our friends at the Magical Blogorail host each week.  In this week’s edition, we are taking a look at the Wide World of Sports complex, and particularly how it has been the home of the Atlanta Braves for Spring Training for 17 consecutive years now!  Personally, I have never been over to the WWoS facility — I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because that Magic Kingdom captures my attention ;) — but I do have family that have been there, and today I’m going to take a moment to think about them for a while.

This Spring Training has got to be a little hard for many of Cindy’s family.  Uncle Bob, who we lost a few months back, was a huge Atlanta Braves fan, and he and his wife, along with Cindy’s Uncle Sam and Aunt Saundra, and even Uncle Bud and Aunt Carol once, would make a pilgrimage of sorts to visit the Spring Training facilities for their favorite teams for many years.  It was a tradition that they had.  Uncle Bob’s Braves, Uncle Sam’s Reds, Aunt Saundra’s Dodgers, Aunt Clara’s Cardinals, and Uncle Bud’s Orioles — at some time or another they were all in Florida for Spring Training, if my memory serves me correctly.

For Aunt Clara in particular, this year is hardest because the tradition that they all observed — being in fellowship with those they loved, and enjoying the sport that they enjoyed so much — that tradition is in part broken with Uncle Bob’s passing.  This spring is a reminder to us all that our memories are very important — and that, just when we might be moving on and remembering the good and putting aside the bad, something reminds us of our loss — like Spring Training for Aunt Clara — and just like that, we remember the sorrow and the loss all over again.  Last month I wrote a post about the song “Do you want to build a snowman?” from the movie Frozen.  Today, I’m thinking that Aunt Clara is another person who would like to be building a snowman with Uncle Bob…

My hope and prayer today is that Aunt Clara will take at least one more trip with Uncle Sam, Aunt Saundra, and the others, and travel through to Spring Training one last time.  It would be a difficult journey, I believe, but I think it would remind her of all the incredibly great times that they have all had with those trips in the past — and I think Uncle Bob would be there too, rooting on his Braves in Spirit, even if he isn’t there in person.

Thank you for stopping by today!  This post is part of the Riding the Rails series over at the Magical Blogorail — click on the button below to check out the rest of the posts, and thanks!  Now, go out and make today and everyday a great Disney Day!

Prayers for the Week – Angels


Image ©

{Editor’s Note: Today’s Post is written in honor of Bobby Wayne Matthews, my wife Cindy’s Uncle, who passed away last night about 10:30PM after a struggle with lung cancer and pneumonia.  Please pray for our family in our time of grief, but know this — we grieve because of the man that we lost, but we REJOICE because Jesus was there to welcome him home, saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”}

Hello everyone, and thank you for coming to this week’s Prayers for the Week post.  Last week was an incredibly trying one because of Cindy’s Uncle Bob’s illness, and her Uncle Ted’s illness as well, so for today, I wanted to take a moment and focus on them, and on the impact that God can have on us when He has His Angels help us out.  Reading this verse from Psalms 91:11-12, I am instantly calmed down, as so often happens when I put myself in the Word.  Please read along with me:

[box] 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.[/box]

My friends, we don’t know what will happen in our lives — what trouble we will face, what joys we will experience.  But what I have learned as I’ve gotten older is this: by putting our trust in God, He will pave the way for us, and He will take care of us.  How do I know this?  The Bible tells me so.

Prayer Requests

  •  Please pray for my friend Beth — she is a Youth Minister, and has two of her charge that are facing a horrible reality — the loss of their father due to cancer. Here is what Beth wrote, please pray for these Sisters-in-Christ and for all of their family. Also, of course please pray for their Daddy, and ask God to give him and them all the Peace, Comfort, and Strength that they need in the months ahead.Cancer SUCKS! I have 2 youth (sisters) ages 18 & 16 whose daddy is dying of brain cancer. Hospice came in last Thursday. We didn’t think he would make it through the night last night, but he’s still hanging on. I stayed over there until 10:45 last night with the girls. It’s so sad to see a child lose a parent.
  • Please pray for Shane and Stephanie. Stephanie, as you know, is my niece, and Shane is her husband. Now that he is back from Boot Camp and AIT, they are getting back into their routines, and are working on getting the steady employment they need. God is in control, of course, and we all believe that it will work out to the Glory of God and His Will, but please pray for them to get things settled as quickly as possible. Thanks, everyone!
  • My dear friend Beth’s nephew Dustin has been in our prayer requests before. He had kicked cancer, but unfortunately, his struggles are not over yet. We have learned that his cancer is back, and it’s in his bone marrow. Please pray for him, his family, and pray that God would use this tribulation in their lives to show how powerful He is as he heals Dustin of this illness once and for all. Thanks everyone! With God’s Love and our prayers, Dustin will be free of cancer once and for all!
  • Continued prayers please for my friend Sheila, who has been looking for a job for over four months now. Please pray for one of her leads to pay off for her!
  • Continued prayers also for Cindy’s Aunt Carol, who has been fighting breast cancer for a few years. The treatment continues, and it is working, but I know that she would like to kick this now for good. Thanks!
  • My cousin Barb’s husband Tim is still fighting his colon cancer. The treatment is going well, but there have been some bumps in the road every now and then. His latest bump was an abscess that they had to treat, so please pray for him.
  • Please continue praying for Aunt Ginny, who is battling breast cancer.
  • Please pray for Dr. John Sailhamer — he is a Christian Theologian who is batting both Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.
  • Please pray for the Mom and Dad of my friend Steve. His Dad needs to have surgery on October 21st, and his Mom has Alzheimer’s Syndrome. Please pray that God would bring them Peace, Comfort, and Strength in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.
  • Please pray for the Open Door committee as they determine the path they should take. Please pray for me as I wrap my hands around this and look to God to see how He would lead me.
  • Please pray for my friend Jaime’s work partner JD. JD’s mom has breast cancer, and his father passed away some months back. Please pray for that family as they deal with these multiple tribulations in their lives. May God grant them His Peace, comfort, and strength in the days and weeks ahead.


  • Big Praise to my cousin Kelly, who, with God’s help, has conquered breast cancer of her own! Yay Kelly!
  • Praise to God for my friend Elisha, who’s neck x-rays were negative and is feeling much better!
  • Big Praise to Cindy’s Uncle Sam and Aunt Saundra and cousin Jeannie, who have all arrived in town safely after long drives from Montana and New York City!
  • Lastly, the biggest praise I have today is for Jesus, and for Uncle Bob, who has been embraced in Heaven by family, friends, and most importantly of all — by Jesus!

As I have told Sophie many times this week, what we are going through with Uncle Bob serves to remind us how important our relationships with loved ones are.  In the end, I told Sophie, the things that we cling most closely to are the memories we have with our family, friends, and other loved ones.  Because of that, in my opinion we should work hard to have good, meaningful memories — and not ones that are ones we would like to forget.  Of course, that isn’t possible all the time, but when a loved one is sick and moving on to Heaven soon, now is the time to make good memories, not bad ones.

In closing, since we were talking about Angels, I would like to remind you all that I believe that Angels can be found anywhere, at any time.  Heaven has a new Angel, and one day it may be Uncle Bob that helps out when we need one.  To that end, please enjoy this YouTube video of a great band — Alabama — singing their song “Angels Among Us”.  May the Lord Bless you and keep you safe this week.