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The Day Our World Changed

November 13, 1989. 11:30 AM I had just finished my lunch in the teacher's workroom and was walking back to my classroom. I was teaching at San Jacinto Elementary in San Angelo, Texas at the time. Up until then, it had been a typical November day. As I walked past the school office, the door swung open, and a fellow teacher stepped out with a look of concern on her face. She spoke directly to me and said, “Your wife’s on the phone, and it sounds serious.” I ran into the office, took the phone, and heard my wife say, “I don’t know what happened, but your brother is on life support in a hospital in Austin.”  Twelve hours later, my father and I were sharing a room in a hotel on I-35 in Austin. My sister-in-law, Sandy, and her six-year-old daughter, Araceli, were in a room across the hall. I hardly slept that night. I would doze off and suddenly wake up to my father crying and calling out my brother’s name.  My brother was dead. Osiel had collapsed that morning while his high s

My Prayer for my Children

John grew up and became strong in spirit. -John 1:80 John the Baptist was an interesting man: a bit eccentric as evidenced by his appearance and his diet, and not afraid to tell the truth. Jesus referred to him as a truly great man. That he was. But one of the things that first gets my attention was that as a child, he became strong in spirit. Strong in spirit refers to being resolute and principled. It describes a person whose character is being molded and refined by learning to trust in God during life's difficulties. It speaks of someone who's not easily swayed by popular culture or opinion but who lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. My children aren't children anymore but I still want them to become strong in spirit because I know they frequently face difficult and painful situations. In their trials, I want them to remember that being strong is spirit is only possible when our lives are deeply rooted in Christ and when we learn to live in the

How to Please our Heavenly Father

This past weekend, my family and I had an opportunity to travel to San Antonio for a quick two-day get-away. We ate together, watched a Broadway musical, and laughed a lot! We had other extended family members and a very good friend with us, so the fun and excitement was maximized. Friday night, we all ate at Pappasitos to celebrate Bethany's birthday. The food was great, and the conversation was almost continually amusing. As I sat and watched our four children and their cousins talk and laugh, I felt such a strong measure of peace and joy to know that they all love each other and enjoy each other. There have been times in our family (as in every family, I'm sure) when our children have been at odds with each other and have not enjoyed each other's company. That always breaks my heart more than they know. It doesn't happen very often, but even once is too often. These are not my children. Just some people laughing. As I observed them laughing and enjoying the e