The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow


For You and You alone

Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing

For the world You love

Your will be done, let Your will be done in me


In Your presence, in Your power


For this moment, for this hour



Like the rising sun that shines

From the darkness comes a light

I hear Your voice and this is my



Awakening ©Chris Tomlin


Yesterday was my fifty-eighth birthday. Fifty-eight. Wow. It seems like it was only couple of years ago that my wife Jackie threw a surprise Fiftieth Birthday Party for me. Yet it seems like it was a lifetime ago. Come to think of it, everything that came before my spiritual awakening a few years ago seems like a lifetime ago. Perhaps that’s because I was a different man, living a different life.

I hadn’t been born again eight years ago, when Jackie surprised me with that gathering of my family and close friends. I didn’t know God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit back then. Oh, I knew who they were, but I certainly didn’t know them, didn’t know them at all. I didn’t know how very different my life could be, how different it would be, with God at the center of my universe.

I spent the better part of the yesterday reflecting on many of the days, weeks, and months, that were the components of my first fifty-eight years. I revisited many of the “Kodak Moments” that have been burned indelibly into my mind’s eye. Most of them were good, but of course, many of them were painful to recall.

I found myself reflecting on the two lives that I’ve lived. My first life obviously began with my birth, on September 27, 1952. My second life began on August 9, 2006, which was the day that I committed my life to being a soldier of Christ.

It was during my reflections on my second life that I found myself completely overwhelmed by God’s presence, and by what He has done in me, and with me, since that day in August. Each time that I made an attempt to write this post, I was overcome with emotions, not because of the way my life used to be, but because of the life that I’m living today. I’m not too proud to tell you that I spent most of the day in tears, overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s goodness, and overwhelmed with my life.


My awakening began, not on the day that I was born again in August of 2006, but one year earlier, in August of 2005. God had given me the courage to make some major changes in our lives (See A Seed was Planted on the home page), and Jackie had graciously agreed to go along with my plans.

At the time, I didn’t realize that my courage was a gift from God. I figured that my commitment to change was the result having been miserable in our business for sixteen years, and that my actions were the direct result of years of desperation and a life with no hope for a better tomorrow. I didn’t know where my newly found bravery came from, but I was glad to have it.

During the course of the next few months I became increasingly aware of the fact that God was the source of my courage, and of my strength, and that He had been all along. It had been God, and not Sam Maniscalco, that had gotten me through alcohol, and cocaine, and smoking, and a broken marriage. I had never given Him the credit for what He’d carried me through. What’s worse was that I’d never really thanked Him for it.

My prayers took on a new purpose. No longer was I praying to God simply for Him to supply me with my needs. I found myself offering prayers of gratitude for all that He’d done. And I found myself inviting Him into not only my heart, but into my life. And that’s all it took. I gave Him (this) much space in my heart, and He moved in.

It’s kind of funny, the way that He worked in me. No sooner had I come to the realization that He was my provider that was I filled with both the desire and the courage to share the news with anyone who would listen!

Looking back on it now, I realize that by the time that I was born again several months later, I was already on fire for God. I couldn’t know enough about Him, or get enough of Him, or feel enough of His presence. Still can’t. I pray that I never will, or that I’ll ever want to.


Yesterday I received a call from Susie, a dear friend, an amazing Christian woman, and fellow blogger. Susie was calling to extend birthday greetings and to get “caught up” (it had been a while since we’d spoken).  

Well, wouldn’t you just know it? I started bawling right in the middle of our conversation! I tried to explain to Susie that I was crying, not because something was wrong, but because everything was so right! I also informed her of my futile attempts to get beyond my tears and emotions so that I might write this post. Through my tears, I laughingly told Susie that while I had an idea of what I wanted to write about, I didn’t know how to express what I wanted to say. I mean, how do you write something meaningful about being overcome with emotion? I remember saying to Susie, “I don’t know if I’m writing this one for everyone else, or just for me.”

We ended our chat, and as I hung up the phone I thought about the selfishness and self-centeredness of the statement that I’d made to Susie. I actually regretted having said it.

You see, I never write for myself. I write for God. And I write with the hope and prayer that something I share with you will make even a small difference in your life.

I’m gonna close this post with my birthday prayer of gratitude.

Father, I thank You for giving me not only this day, but for blessing me with such an amazing life. I thank You for taking me, a man battered, broken, and without hope, and lifting me up to heights that I never dreamed possible. I thank You for giving me a devoted wife, for surrounding me with an incredible group of family and friends. I thank You for allowing me to serve You, and for giving me the opportunity to share what’s on my heart with others. I thank You for every one of my fifty-eight birthdays, none of which has been better than this one; not because of gifts, or possessions, or anything other than Your overwhelming presence in my life. I thank You for the gifts of Your Spirit, which You supply me with daily. I thank You for my salvation, which was made possible by the gift of Your Son. I thank You for being the amazing, life-giving God that You are. I thank you for loving me. I thank You for allowing me to be.

In Jesus' name I pray. Amen and Amen.




Linda wrote on 09/28/10 12:14 PM

Pamela wrote on 09/28/10 2:52 PM

Very touching, Sam :-) Please keep posting your blog ... reading it is one of the highlights of my week ! Thank you for your honesty, your humbleness, & your faithfulness - you are such an inspiration ! Love in Christ :-) ~ Pamela ~
GIna Kite wrote on 09/28/10 7:37 PM

Susie Mc wrote on 09/28/10 10:04 PM

Beautiful post--thank you for always sharing your heart and being so transparent...but ya know what? There is NOTHING self-centered about my dear friend Sam! I think that one of the reasons we write is to keep us accountable and focused on Him. I think God has brilliantly spoken through you, and I am blessed every single time I read one of your posts or have the pleasure to speak with you. I am glad that God showered you with such love on your 58th....are you really 58? I would think maybe 50, but 58? You must have a secret potion of that fountain of youth. Lastly, just remember, you are writing for HIM and through HIM, and YES, it is SO MUCH FUN to serve never feel guilty about His favor....just receive it you have indeed. Love His love!! You are SHINING SO BRIGHT....enjoy a year ahead with more of His Presence and continued favor, blessings, and abundance....HUGS
CC wrote on 09/29/10 7:14 AM

Happy beladed Birthday Sam and for a 58 yr old man you sure look good :-), Sam you are a blessing to all of us and I thank God for you!! and remember that when you write this you write it for all of us and also for you, so you are not selfish or self-centeredness because you write what God plans in your heart so keep up the work and keep blessing ALL of us with the word of God
Mary Hamel wrote on 09/29/10 8:42 AM

WOW, Sam! You shared such a beautiful bounteous (is that a word) birthday post! I agree with Susie, that there is nothing that you write that is"about you"! We all appreciate your transparency and see your heartfelt passion for the ONE you serve...Jesus Christ! Just let HIS love continue to bathe you and refresh you in the coming days! Love and Hugs! mary h
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