Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football but, at age 14, found out he had type 1 diabetes - determined, he persevered. 'First And Goal', written by Jake and his mother, Holly Michael, is a collection of 90 devotionals. Each titled alphabetically with a football term, and relating a personal experience from his journey to the NFL, enhanced by a related scripture which the reader can apply to his/her own situation. It will appeal to both youth and adults, male and female. I enjoyed reading Jake's story, and was inspired by his courage, determination, and faith. He currently works in Dallas, and has a blog to "educate and encourage others, especially diabetic youth, to be active and achieve goals - regardless of what life throws at them".
Following are excerpts from 2 of the devotionals:
TWO MINUTE WARNING (A stop in the game clock, 2 minutes before each half. Normally results in a TV commercial.):
Jack relates his first year of tackle football, as a 3rd grader, and in his awkward chubby stage. Constantly being yelled at because of his mistakes, he hated football - yet his father forced him to complete the season. Just as the 2 minute warning is a time for the team to regroup, he needed 2 years to regroup and decide if he would continue the sport. Two years later, when his friend encouraged him to sign up for youth football because of his size, and knowing all his friends would be playing - he decides to try it again. It was the right decision and time.
When pushing oneself, or being pushed by another, and it doesn't work out - he urges that it not be counted as a failure. "Is there anything that you gave up on because of poor results, thinking you weren't good at it? Have you given it a season of rest? Maybe it's time to try again."
(There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1)
EXTRA POINT (After a touchdown, the offense has a chance to kick the ball through the goal posts to earn an extra point, which is also known as the point after touchdown or PAT.):
Lying in her hospital bed, the doctor confirmed what Holly Michael already knew - she was miscarrying. She argued with, and questioned, God. Why would He take her first child? A nurse entered the room and encouraged her to "always have hope", leaving without physically examining her. Considering the cramps and huge loss of blood, hope seemed useless. Yet, contemplating the nurse's encouraging word, Holly realized hope meant giving one's trials to God, and trusting the outcome to Him. Obstacles can prevent an extra point after a touchdown, yet an attempt is made. Scared and sad, Holly made an attempt by giving her situation to Him - dedicating the baby to Him in prayer, trusting Him for the outcome, and understanding that a miscarriage would be His decision. Immediately after, she was filled with a peace, bleeding ceased, and the baby was okay! Hearing the baby's heartbeat, for the first time, brought her to tears, also surprised looks from the medical staff - she never again saw the nurse who had comforted her.
A few months later, looking into her newborn's eyes for the first time, he stared at her with what she can only describe as "wisdom from heaven", cooed, then just as suddenly, his gaze switched to one of an innocent newborn. She knew from that moment, God had big plans for Jake's life. "Like the football soaring into the end zone for the extra point, hope - rising up to heaven - always brings the best results. It's never pointless." (You have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you. Psalm 71: 5-6.)
Quotes taken from 'First And Goal' (Jake Byrne and Holly Michael, Harvest House Publishers), and Jake Byrne's blog: www.typewon.net
Giveaway: We're giving away a copy of this new devotional this week. Currently #1 in Teen Devotions on Amazon!Leave a comment to enter!