A few years back I was invited to play the perennial number one ranked golf course in the world, Pine Valley. It is on every golfer’s bucket list. The first interesting aspect of the invitation was that I was living part time in Utopia, Texas at the time. My course in Utopia was pretty much the opposite of Pine Valley, if you catch my drift. Secondly, the invitation also included the sharing of my faith with a group of men at this particular gathering. So in essence the trip started with awe. Only God could orchestrate such an invitation.
Secondly, I met a gentleman there who I grew to love. He was an amazing player and gentleman but had an issue with anger and frustration on the course. The last morning as I led the devotional before play the Lord had me share 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, “Be joyful always, pray constantly, and in all circumstances give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
After the devotional he and I were paired together. I asked if I could mark his ball with JPT for the day so that each time he looked down at the ball during the round he would be reminded of Joy, Prayer, and Thanks. He agreed, and off we went to see if he could maintain composure with the power of Scripture on his ball. He was playing beautifully for several holes. Eventually he missed a shot and was about to explode. I walked over and asked him to tell me what the letters stood for as he was boiling. It was the place in his life where the enemy stole his identity. When he failed with a shot, he felt like a failure in life. This was the source of his anger. He needed a transformation, and JPT was the ticket. He calmed down, internalized the meaning and power and hit a nice recovery shot. Something clicked in his soul.
On the final hole of the day, it happened. His towering 300-yard drive drifted to the right and buried about waist high in a huge bunker. He had the dreaded “buried lie” leaving him with an extremely difficult shot. He entered the bunker. As he approached the ball he began to yell for us to come. With tears in his eyes he pointed to the ball (see the picture). His ball had been struck with a force that created about 3,000 revolutions per minute. We were speechless, the only thing visible were the letters JPT. Only God… we all stood in awe. He is a different man today because of that moment, and so am I.
David L. Cook
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