“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
Once again, I visit this amazing passage.
Once again, I need it.
Once again, I stumble to the throne of Grace.
Once again, I repent for my anxiety, my fear, my worry.
Once again, I turn away from my fears and look at the face of the God who made me.
Once again, I need His provision, His care, His peace.
Once again, He gives it.
Once again, I find the peace that escaped me in my fears.
Once again, I remember that I am a son of the living God!
Once again, I wonder how could I ever worry or fret.
It’s the beginning of a new day. A night of rest and once more we begin our lives.
Another chance to get it right.
In the last few days much around us has changed. In Oklahoma more than 24 people are dead from a terrible tornado. The day before that storm they awoke to their new day having no idea what was ahead for them on that day.
Our lives are lived in 24 hour moments….a day at a time. Each new day is an opportunity to live for God because it may be the last of your days…..today may be your final morning here on earth!
So, how to use it…how should we spend our days as if they were our last?
So in the beginning of this new day resolve to do these things:
1. Love God with all your heart, soul and mind.
2. Make things right with Jesus Christ.
3. Love people.
4. Say what you need to say to those who you need to say itto.
Today could be your last day… will you have another chance to make it right?
On a hot July night in 2012, I witnessed the passing of a torch.
There wasn’t a ceremony and no one from the local newspaper was there to take a picture to document the event, but make no mistake, what happened that night was something magical.
As I made my way through the crowd along the dimly lit back stretch of Fremont Speedway, trying to get to Brian Smith’s pit stall. I could not help but notice that the people who passed by the “Grace Car” that night were not aware of the magic that was taking place right in front of their eyes.
But I did.
As the adults and race fans were getting the opportunity to see the “Grace Car” up close, Brian Smith, then a 26 year veteran sprint car racer from Fremont was kneeling down talking to a young boy. I could see the eyes of this young boy as Brian bent down and talked to him.
The look in this young boy ‘s eyes initially was a look of awe. I am sure the boy was amazed that he was actually talking to a real life race car driver and I immediately noticed the look of awe begin to sparkle in the eyes of this young boy as the transformation had begun. The torch was passed on to another generation.
No one noticed that Brian had just performed magic. He just transformed a young child into a lifelong race fan. He just made a young fan believe in heroes. One that is not found in the comic book store or on the movie screen.
Through the eyes of a child was a real life hero… living right here in Fremont, Ohio.
While many drivers lined up their race cars to get them on the trailer and get out of there. Brian was still there… no hurry… sleep could wait… there was more important business to do.
Heroes emerge sometimes from the most unlikely of sources.
It is no secret that I am a racing fan. I have a special place in my heart for sprint car racing and it was instilled in me at a young age.
I know this to be true… because my hero found me more than 40 years earlier at the same little dirt race track in Fremont, Ohio.
His name was Harold “Mac” McGilton.
For those that don’t remember him, Harold may be just another name in the record books, just another plaque on the wall. To those of us that remember him, he’s a legend, a hometown hero, a sprint car racer and a cherished memory.
I first met Harold McGilton in the early 1970’s. I think I was about 11 or 12 years old at the time. It was a chance meeting and though it was a long time ago…I remember it like yesterday. I watched him drive his sprint car full speed into the corners of that wonderful dirt track in Fremont, Ohio and slide through the turn and then fly down the straight-a-way passing cars and winning races. In my mind, Harold never lost a race… there were just times he didn’t win. However, when Harold would win his race.. he just didn’t win, he beat the other drivers.
As a young boy, when I rode my bicycle, I imagined that I was Harold making the heroic and dangerous pass on that final turn to win the race. And when I played with my “Matchbox” cars…I had a special car that was “Harold’s” car. It NEVER lost a race. I am sure there were times when in my mind, I was more Harold McGilton than the real deal. I am also sure that his family had a different perspective of Harold and his life as a hero. After all he was human… just not in my eyes.
Harold McGilton had no way of knowing that when he stopped what he was doing after a race all those years ago and took the time shake my hand on that July evening, at the Fremont Speedway, he would have had such an influence on a young boy from Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Harold never knew my name, nor did we ever talk to each other since that first night I met him. However, Harold “Mac Attack” McGilton had a tremendous influence on me during those early years. He just never knew it. He was larger than life to me and I idolized him and when he passed away a few years ago, I cried.
Tonight as I sit at my desk, I imagine I hear the roar of the engines of the sprint cars as they fly around the track just a few blocks from my home. As I imagine each lap as the cars go around, I wonder if there is another young fan in the stands watching their favorite driver take their car into a 100 MPH slide through the corners of the Fremont Speedway. Much like I was in the early ’70’s, I came to the track one night a young fan of the races and little did I know that I would leave a few hours later with a hero in my life that I would carry with me for the rest of my life.
Brian Smith understands this… he too has heroes. He was influenced by many drivers over the years and shows honor and respect for those he looked up to all those years ago. In addition, his grandfather and father were racers that planted a seed in him that he passes on each week to each child he talks to.
I have said this many times, in my life, I have traveled around the world. I have met a number a professional athletes, politicians and famous people over the years. I have even had the honor of meeting two U.S. Presidents and shaking their hands. All of these people would be considered heroes for many people, but not for me. I did not have to travel all around the world to find a hero. He found me at a little dirt track in Fremont, Ohio.
For those of you that say that there are no real heroes in life.
I say you just don’t know where to look.
Come out and bring your children to Fremont Speedway on a Saturday night and I know where you just might find one.
What has my attention this week is the news….news of murder, neglect, war, sexual abuse. None of it is new, none is surprising, but I am so tired of sad news every week.
While I am thrilled at the miracle of these young women escaping 10 years of being kidnapped, I am sad to hear the sad details of what they have had to endure.
I look forward to the day, and it is coming, when sin, death, sorrow, tears, war and violence will be a forgotten memory. There will be a day when God redeems the creation we have destroyed. More and more, as I read the news and am saddened by what I see, I look forward to that day. The day when all is made right, when Jesus is Lord of all.
Some say that day will never happen. Many can’t imagine a world without all we live with, but it’s coming….it’s near….soon the idea of death, of war, of violence or sexual abuse will be as foreign to us as the absence of it seems right now. I long for that day when all will be made right. I long for the day when there will be no more sad news weeks.