POSITIVE DAILY INSPIRATION - HUMOR
"Whenever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive." Matthew 21:22
A couple of weeks ago I was examining my gas grill to find out why it
always produced a mild explosion when trying to light it. I would turn on
the gas, throw a match in, and run. Even though this worked, it was not
ideal. In the dark, the flash of light during the initial explosion would
like the whole backyard. One time it singed all the hairs off of my arms.
Upon examination, I discovered big, rusted, gaping holes in the gas lines
inside the grill. Thank God, that I still had my life and all my limbs
intact - I decided it was time for a new gas grill.
As I write this Positive Daily Inspiration, I am gazing at this gleaming example of
modern excess standing proudly on my patio. It has nine burners, a smoker
and rotisserie. Yes, more than I need for one hamburger at a time, but
there is something about a man and his gas grill. Even cooking one
hamburger patty I look so much more manly than I did cooking it on my
small electric George Foreman grill in the kitchen.
The new gas grill made the rest of the patio look dull and outdated. I
decided I needed new patio furniture to accent the gleaming stainless
steel monument to culinary one hamburger at a time skill.
I shopped and found on sale a perfect seven piece wicker set of two
chairs, ottomans, a settee and cushions, a coffee table, and an end table.
I couldn't believe the great price. I purchased it, rented a truck and
came back to the large store to pick it up. After showing my receipt, the
helpful men brought just one smallish box out to my truck. I said, "No,
that's not it. I bought the complete seven piece set with cushions."
They laughed, and said with a knowledgeable grin, "Yes, it's all in there."
The box said, in big, block, bold, letters, "Some assembly required,"
along with made in China. It NEVER occurred to me that I would have to
The box although small weighed a couple hundred pounds. It took four
people to lift it off the truck. Then, we literally couldn't figure out
how open the box. It was stapled, strapped, and glued as it was holding
something too priceless to open by an ordinary citizen. We tried cutting
the box but it was too thick, then we took a chisel and a hammer to the
Most of our time that evening was spent walking around that box. No bank
safe has ever been so secure. We commented that the Chinese, and not
Dubai, should be put in charge of port security.
After a good night's sleep, and prayer, I was fresh enough to try again.
The hours of effort the night before along with the work equity this
morning were accumulative and the box gave way to reveal its contents.
Never have I witnessed a zigzag puzzle of packing better than this. I even
took a picture of it. In a way it was beautiful; it literally could have
found display in a modern Museum of Art.
I must admit I was intimidated; I was born without one gene of handyman
skill. Starting to unpack the dozens of individual parts, I looked for the
directions, and was dismayed when I found directions for my Chinese patio
furniture assembly were totally in Spanish.
I left the garage in defeat. Later in the day, I prayed about it, and with
all the courage I could muster I opened the garage door. It had not
moved-there it was staring at me daring my manhood, as if saying to me, "A
real man doesn't need directions!"
I prayed for the wisdom of God to come through me and make easy the task.
Then the directions in English literally fell to the floor from a
discarded section of the mutilated packing box.
I kept praying through every assembly task. Now, you can come and sit on
my patio, but use common sense - don't sit down too hard - because I did
have a lot of screws mysteriously left over - that I know belong
Jesus did not put conditions on the power of faith. He said, "Whenever you
ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."
Neither do you limit your faith by assigning a measure to it or doubting
that you have enough. Your faith is in God and in God's goodness in your life.
When appearances suggest that things are not going well because of the
results you expected to happen are not happening, you remind yourself that
it is God who is in charge, not you.
Your faith is in God and God will prevail. With God, all things are truly
possible. You know this; you believe this; you live your life based on
your faith in God.
When you place your faith in God you are opening your life to the desires
of your heart, to all blessings.
Air-Conditioning the Garage
People often ask me how I like living in Houston, Texas. It is a great city, except, to be
honest, in the summertime. It is often over 100*, and the humidity is the same.
You hear a lot these days about family values, and my son Jonathan is home for the summer from college; he will
turn 21 next month and I'm very proud of the man that he is becoming. I enjoy spending time with him and
sneaking in tidbits of fatherly wisdom when he least expects it.
I have a garage at my home where my son and I enjoy working on my cars and motorcycle. But in the summer it's
unbearably hot in the garage.
The garage doors are made out of metal - not the brightest thing to make a garage door out of - because under
the summer sun, it is like having a 20+ foot radiant heater facing the sunny side of a closed room.
It has been so hot in that garage in the past that I have been concerned; I imagined coming out there one evening
and seeing the plastic dash in my car, turned into liquid form, dripping on the carpeting.
I decided this year would be different - I was going to air condition the garage.
There are many neighborhood restrictions against using the garage window to put an air conditioner in, because it
faces the neighborhood street. I also could not put an air conditioner through the back wall, because it's brick,
and load-bearing, the Positive Christianity offices are above it. I wisely understood with the skills that this
handyman possesses, I could literally bring down the whole house, and my ministry, with one wrong cut of the buzz
There are new portable air conditioners on the market that are on wheels, but they are too small for the large
open space with the metal heating element doors, plus they need to be vented, and I didn't have anywhere to vent
The lowest price that I received on a central air unit was $4500. Those of you that know me well know that I'm
cheap; I guess a better word is thrifty. But without that God-given gift this ministry would not be possible!
I decided I would invent a new system, never before created, and impress my son. "You don't learn everything in
college," I told him, "watch your wise dad and learn!"
On Memorial Day, I was in Home Depot with my son. Free time is only made better with a SALE!
I found a large air-conditioner rated to cool twice the size - therefore taking care of the radiant heat doors,
on sale for just $399.
Because it was the biggest unit, it required 230 V plug which I didn't have, BUT the electrical panel was in the
garage, so I reasoned it could be cheaply modified.
Being a wise father I wanted to teach my son the joys of thriftiness. I said, "A lot of people would just pay the
$4500 and be done with it, but watch and learn."
I bought a furniture dolly, so that I could sit the VERY heavy air-conditioner on, making my own custom portable
air conditioner. I told him that I was going to have an electrician install a 230v plug and set this air-
conditioner directly in the middle of a garage for maximum airflow.
My son said, "Dad, you can't do that, what about all the hot air that's going to come out of the back of the air-
I explained in the most intelligent way that I could, giving my best fatherly advice, about how an automotive
air-conditioner has a button that says "recirculate."
We were going to "recirculate" without a button. The hot air would be very hot at first, but then as the garage
cooled, the cooling would overpower the heat. Plus, I reasoned, the heat coming out the back would be cooler all
the time because it was only sucking in cold air. I explained that this air conditioner was so big, that turned
on high, the garage would be turned into a polar ice cap in the middle of August.
He nodded, I believe more out of respect, than agreement.
The electrician came out the next week and just shook his head when he looked at the electrical panel. I needed a
new, second, electrical panel along with a custom installation 25+ feet in length to create a plug for the air-
conditioner in the middle the garage.
The electrician didn't say anything about my new invention, but he did stare. The electrical work was performed
and I had one incredibly nice $718 plug, for my $399 air-conditioner.
It was a bit of a financial blow, but it was quickly forgotten when I turned it on, and listened to the massive
hum of its engine. I wheeled it into the exact position for maximum airflow. I felt like an air conditioning
genius, a manly man, who won a battle over the ordinary ways of doing something. The air was chillingly cold
coming out the front; it did also have hot air coming out the back.
My son went into the garage after it had been running for an hour, he said, "Dad it seems hotter." Since it was
an extremely hot day, I knew that it needed a little bit more time to cool off. I suggested we go away for
several hours - coming back about nine o'clock that night.
I am not exaggerating when I say that garage was SO hot, and SO overly humid, that the Amazon would pale in
comparison. Plus all that humidity that the air-conditioner was trying to take out of the air created a large
lake-like flood, water was everywhere and it was hot and sticky just like the air. It was so humid that
condensation was dripping from the garage door rails. I guess this is what attracted the frogs. I've never seen
so many frogs, we counted 18, plus there were the mosquitoes, big Texas sized mosquitoes - it was like a plague.
My son couldn't get over how many frogs were in that garage.
The next night I tried to open the garage door just enough to roll the back of the air-conditioner to vent
outside, this attracted even more insects, and frogs, that had probably been told by other frogs, on other
streets, about the new pond.
I prayed to God about what to do - there is a door at the back of the garage, I thought I could cut the door and
stick the air-conditioner out of it. Of course, I would have to have the electrician move the plug. That was just
$165! At this point - that seemed like a real bargain.
I am writing this Positive Daily Inspiration tonight sitting in a lawn chair in my garage basking as only a true
father can bask.
The lessons that I taught my son - I know will last a lifetime in his memory.
I only wish my son was here to see it, he escaped when the Titanic was sinking, and went on a trip with a friend.
Perhaps the best lesson that I can teach my son, is to always be willing to laugh at yourself, for it is the best
comedy that you will ever see!
Returning Home from Corinth Mississippi
January 1, 2003 is a date that I will remember, fondly, for the rest of my life. Sometimes, we
cannot remember what we were doing, or where we were at a certain time, but I will always remember THIS New
Monday, December 30th, I flew to Memphis, Tennessee and received a ride from a friend down Highway 72 to Corinth,
Mississippi. I was going to Corinth, Mississippi because I bought a new motorcycle for myself, as a Christmas
and New Year's gift. People asked me why I didn't buy this yellow Honda Gold Wing motorcycle at a local dealer. I
have learned, in my years of ministry, to be thrifty. I was able to save so much money by going to Corinth,
Mississippi that it was worth the whole trip -- or so I thought, when I was making the deal. Plus, the adventure
appealed to me!
When I made the deal by telephone, the Houston, Texas temperature was 80 degrees. It was hard for my mind to
imagine anything else. It wasn't until I was close to the time of going to the airport, that I realized that I
was flying up north, way up north -- in the middle of winter -- to ride a motorcycle back home over 800 miles of
winter highway. I said to myself -- "Self, perhaps, this is not the smartest thing you've ever done!"
My favorite channel on television soon became the weather Channel, with a highlight of my day seeing the extended
forecast for the Northern Mississippi region. It is surprising how long you have to watch to find the information
God was certainly with me when I picked up my new motorcycle. It was almost 20 degrees above normal. I actually
felt foolish that I had brought 14 coats, three sweaters, and a special motorcycle plug-in heated suit that is
like wearing your mother's old electric blanket. I wasn't so sure about wearing this heated electric suit on my
motorcycle IF there was a possibility of getting wet. Not even the wind chill of the late afternoon air cooled me
down. I was actually too hot, which was a surprise to me -- but it was NOT going to last.
I rode south, immediately, but the good weather only lasted about four hours. Then the rains came -- rains that
would have caused pause to Noah on his ark. It started raining about six o'clock that night and continued all
through the next day, and part of the next. I was driving down the beautiful Natchez Trace, which was so pretty,
even through the heavy rain.
For the first time in my life, I learned to read lips. On all the passing cars' drivers' lips, I could read them,
speaking, "Oh that poor man!" It's interesting how one man's mystery is another man's heaven. Little did they
know, or realize, that I was in heaven. I felt so alive, with a happiness that surpassed joy, bordering on
euphoria in my soul. My electric suit worked, surprisingly well, in the rain!
Like a cowboy on his horse, I was having a moment-to-moment spiritual experience. I rode further south towards
home, every day. I realize this passion is somewhat unique to me, for I do not know one person that would have
been happy riding with me.
The coldest that it got on my ride was 37 degrees, but I had my electric suit turned up; the radio was turned up,
too; and I was singing along to country songs for an audience of one.
Life is good, and God means for it to be good, but we have to be willing to go for the gusto. Life is an
adventure, a true gift from God, and your year should be engineered, by you, to include joy, if you are to
experience your own true happiness. Sit down with your calendar and plan good times. I have many motorcycle rides
planned for this year. I'm even going to ride to some of my speaking engagements. Be good to yourself. It has
been said that God helps those who help themselves. This is as true for play as it is for success and prosperity.
(Update: since this was first published I have returned to Mississippi to buy another new motorcycle, because I
enjoyed the original trip so much. And, the second trip was just as much fun.)
"If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light." Matthew 6:22
The "eye" talked about in the Bible is always referring to perception in
the human being. A lot of the world focuses their whole perception on the
negative, instead of the overwhelming positive. Your whole body (life)
will be full of light when you perceive in the right way.
People will often write and comment about some of the humorous pieces
that I sometimes write for Positive Daily Inspiration.
They will often ask me where I get my material. All you have to do is look
around your own life. Life in general, is very, very, funny when you observe it properly.
God created us and, like little children, we are often very humorous when
we are observed at play. I believe one of the successful ways to approach
life is with the laid-back humor of observation. I used to have a sign
that said, "Don't get mad, laugh." While this does not work for
everything in life, it works for a lot of our observations that we will
make on a daily basis.
For instance, everyone in my neighborhood owns an SUV (Sport Utility
Vehicle). An SUV, is usually a huge truck-like vehicle, originally
developed for military use. All-terrain, and very muscular, these are
designed to make boys into men, in the off-road wilds of a road-less wilderness.
So I offer you an observation, THIS IS NOT a criticism. A person can't
criticize too much when his own family owns two versions of SUV's. I
myself, drive a small Toyota Prius that could fit in the back of one
of these small SUVs. I have discovered, parking in a mall parking lot,
between two huge SUVs, that you can search for hours and still not spot
your Prius hiding between the two behemoths.
As a teenager, I remember bragging rights fell to the person whose
Volkswagen Bug got the best mileage. SUV owners don't brag about mileage.
One neighbor sheepishly admitted that she gets 4 miles per gallon on her
large military like Hummer.
There are places in America where four-wheel-drive SUVs are needed. I have
been in blizzards before that I would have felt comfortable in one. But
Houston, Texas, where I reside, has not seen snow in the last hundred
years. There is not one mountain in sight, it is totally flat, and it averages
about 100* per day during August.
One day recently, when all the neighbors had their SUVs in the driveway,
our neighborhood looked more like Fort Bragg, NC, than a regular housing
subdivision in Texas.
Two neighbors have cow-catchers on the front of their SUVs. Living in a
residential suburb, I would venture to make a bet that we have not seen
any cows in almost 100 years in our neighborhood, either.
I asked the other day how many neighbors have actually taken their SUVs
off-road. Again, they sheepishly admitted none have. "It might scratch the
paint," one neighbor said.
An SUV is an image vehicle. It makes a statement to the owners themselves
and to others about what type of people we would really like to be. No man
wants to be a weak Dagwood Bumstead. In our minds, we all want to be
strong mountain men, like Grizzly Adams, wrestling grizzly bears as a
hobby, and making campfires by rubbing two sticks together, laughing at
the rest of the population that needs matches. A real man doesn't use
maps; he doesn't need to anymore because all the SUVs have satellite
navigation systems with huge color screens and human-like voices to
direct one's every turn.
An SUV is supposed to look dirty and heavily used off-road, but none of
these SUVs do. This has caused an image problem in the shiny clean SUV owner's world.
We are in a drought. There has not been substantial rain in Houston, Texas for some time - but not to worry.
There is now Spray On Mud in a can. Owners can buy mud in a can to make their SUVs look heavily used off-road.
This is the truth. I could not make up stuff like this.
I'm glad that God created us the way we are. We are quirky, trendy, and
very funny as a society. Life would be dull if we were all sensible all the time.
People love us for our imperfection and quirkiness, more than our
perfection. And again I'm not criticizing, I, myself, am filled with
quirks, for it takes quirkiness, to see quirkiness.
I learned a long time ago, if you see something in another person - it's
also in you, or you would be blind to it, not knowing what it is.
Thank God we are goofy, different, and non-sensible at times. For this is
positive craziness that adds humorous spice to a world that needs
seasoning and is often afraid to laugh at itself.
The Cell Phone
"ONE OF THOSE DAYS" (2002)
"God will answer you in the day of trouble! . . . God will send you help
from the sanctuary and give you support. . . . May God grant you your
hearts desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over our
victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May God fulfill
all your prayers! Now I know that God will help God's anointed; God will
answer them from God's Holy heaven with mighty victories by God's right
hand." Psalms 20:1-6
Have you ever had "one of those days," when everything seems to go wrong?
I had one, recently. My main computer stopped working. I switched over to
my brand-new, two-week-old laptop and it crashed. I was told the TV camera
that I ordered for the new internet television program was, indefinitely,
out of stock. My car's warranty expired six months ago, and was in the
shop for the first time as a non-warranty visitor. It was admitted to
emergency with a wiring electrical problem. I was told, by a sad-faced
mechanic, the poor thing would need a new wiring harness. They then said,
with a sadder expression, they didn't have any wiring harnesses in
America, that it must be shipped from Europe. Last, but not least, the
Daily Inspiration list was being blocked and tens of thousands were not
receiving Daily Inspiration.
This all happened within a matter of hours! So many things were going
wrong that it became funny. Problems sometimes come like geese. Multiple
problems will defeat you, or cause you to laugh in disbelief -- I always
choose the latter.
My 16-year-old son, Jonathan, came home and we went into the backyard to
sit outside, and enjoy the day -- because there was nothing else I could
do. Actually, I was afraid to touch anything. I decided I would try to
relax. When looking at the birds in the backyard at the bird feeder, I
walked over to the birdbath and accidentally, dropped my cell phone into
it. It floated for a minute, and then went up on one end, and sank to the
bottom, like the Titanic. My son laughed, and said, "That cell phone is
history." I fished it out of the birdbath and held it, like you would a
dying friend that you have spent many wonderful hours with. I wanted to
teach my son a lesson about saving things. I told him that there was
nothing wrong with the cell phone, other than the circuits being wet.
I went into the kitchen and turned the oven on to 400 degrees. I told my
son that I would place the cell phone in the oven for just a few minutes
and it would dry out the circuits. I placed the cell phone on the top rack
of the oven on a baking tray and then went into my office and thought that I could
accomplish two things at once, so I called technical support at the
computer company of my new laptop, to get "in line, on hold." For the
first time in my life, I was not put on indefinite hold, but instead, got
a very helpful technician, immediately. I was so excited, that I
COMPLETELY FORGOT about the cell phone in the oven.
My son wasn't any help either, he also completely forgot about the cell
phone in the oven. In my conversation with the tech support, alarms
started to go off in the house. The tech on the line from Seattle WA said,
"what is that?" My son ran in and said, "what is that?" And I questioned,
"what is that?" My son and I then looked at each other with a strange look
of realization and dread of what the smoke alarm was telling us.
We ran to the kitchen, opened up the oven and
found the black blob of what used to be the cell phone. I found out that
as much as the cell phone hated the birdbath, it disliked the oven even more!
The cell phone appeared to have exploded too, it seems the battery didn't like
the intensive heat either. Its pieces
are scattered, melted, thoughout the surface of the oven, as a permanent
memorial to "the cell phone that once was." I did prove my point though, I
was able to get ALL the moisture out of the wet circuits of the cell phone.
Even though I didn't have a warranty on the phone, I decided to take the baking tray
with the melted black blob to Verizon, to see if I could get any sympathy resulting
in a discount on a new phone.
It caused quite a sensation, and as I write this they are probably still back of the store laughing.
Everyone wanted to see it, all the people came out from the back, and the manager even called his
supervisor who drove directly to the store from his office.
Only God could solve this problem, manager wanted to buy the cell phone fused to the baking tray, to display
in the store - as an exhibit of what should never never be done.
There been a few days in my life that I would call "one of those days,"
when everything seemed to go wrong. But the vast number of days have been
good and the good of God always outweighs the bad. I am not going to tell
you that this day did not exhaust me. But that's what sleep is for. When I
went to bed that night, I knew that I would be recharged by God and ready
for a brand-new day, where everything would turn around. Sleep allows us
to relax, and allows God to come through to minister, heal, and mend. It's
like when you reboot your computer to get it to work again. You must turn
it off, let it rest for a few minutes, and then turn it back on. I believe
that God and God's Angels do minister to us, especially when we get out of
the way. Sleep is a great refresher of the body and mind. Sleep restores the
spirit and renews our outlook on life. Sometimes ONLY God can adjust, and
turn around "one of those days."
I've also had "one of those days" in the reverse many, many times. A day
where everything works out, and God-good comes to me, without me even
trying. God's good often comes like geese also. Sometimes, it is so good
and overflowing with bounty that it is a virtual cornucopia of God-happiness.
Everything has worked out perfectly; I knew it would, even in the midst of
the war zone of the bad few hours. A person can go through any dark tunnel
of life, if they can see light at the other end. Sometimes you cannot see
it with your physical eyes, and sometimes you have no evidence that it
will be there, other than your faith in God. But if you know that God is
with you, you know without doubt, that things are going to work out better
than you can even imagine.
When you have "ONE of those days," remind yourself that you are ONE with
the ONE. You are ONE with the ONE God that is working silently behind the
scenes, to bring everything to a successful conclusion. You do ALL you can
do, and then, LEAVE THE REST TO GOD.
My new laptop is back from the factory, being totally rebuilt and checked
out. My desk computer is working better than it did when I first bought
it. I have just received the new television camera and will begin filming
today. I will get the first program sent off to Canada to have the
specialist prepare it for the internet and for the company in Richmond VA
that will place the program on your computer. My car is being fixed better than new.
AND...You should see my new cell phone -- it is sooo beautiful!
The oven still needs some work-- but as they say "Rome wasn't built in a day!!!
The Second Motorcycle Ride from Mississippi (2012)
Enjoy Life - It Has An Expiration Date
"God has made everything beautiful in its time. God has also set eternity in the hearts of humans;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11
Doesn't fun fly when you're having time! There have been times in my life when I've had too much time on my hands
but never a time when I had too much fun in my hands. My religion of life is to always be cheerful, and to enjoy
Some people find the dark cloud for every silver lining, and I admit I lived that way for awhile in my early 20s,
but I found it to be useless, unnecessary, self-inflicted suffering. I thank God that I found God!
I will be home by the time you read this, but I beginning to write this Positive Daily Inspiration from a picnic area
where I have stopped on a scenic road in beautiful Mississippi. I've been riding my new motorcycle, and I cannot get
the smile off my face. I don't believe that you could even surgically remove it. I love my life, and I am having
a particularly good day.
After a $58 one-way flight from Houston to Jackson Mississippi, I picked up my new motorcycle in Brookhaven Mississippi.
I have been shopping for the best price for over two years. Last year, I had the money saved, but the central air-conditioner
went out at my home, it was 105* in Houston that day, my office is located upstairs (closer to the sun)
so this took top priority. I told the air conditioner installers that it may look like
an air-conditioner, but it's really my new motorcycle. I told them I was going to sit on the fan unit outside, and allow
the wind blow through my hair, and pretend that I was on my new motorcycle. I did that once, but it was not the same.
I feel totally alive on a motorcycle, I guess because I'm closer to God's beauty everywhere. So much is missed
on a daily basis of the glory of God, unless one takes time to experience it.
I mapped out every scenic road, and checked with Roadfood.com for the best restaurants.
I have been on Weight Watchers since the end of June, and will soon continue after this brief interlude.
I went to The Dinner Bell Restaurant in McComb Mississippi. This is a cornucopia of everything good.
You sit at a large round table with 16 other starving people. The center of the table is a massive
lazy-susan that is constantly circling homemade delights of over 20 continuously filled dishes within
easy grabbing, all you can eat, reach. It was a spiritual experience. The owners Andre and Ashley Davis
said it was such a pleasure to serve someone was having such a good time.
The next morning the temperature had dropped drastically to 38*. But no problem, I had a heated suit
that I plug-in to the electrical system on the motorcycle. It was toasty. I stopped to fill up the gas tank
at a Shell station in Natchez Mississippi. A woman at the next pump commented to me, "Your smokin!"
All I could say was, "Thank you." Recently, I had heard another woman refer to George Clooney that way.
I just thought, she was commenting about how good I looked on my new motorcycle.
Then she got VERY serious, and said, "NO really - you are smoking!"
Never has a man in the history of motorcycling taken his heated suit off
quicker. But, thank God, nothing was wrong. It was just a combination of heat
versus cold in the morning dew.
After I stopped smoking, I went to the Rosedown Plantation to tour the gardens, and the Myrtles Plantation
in St. Francisville, Louisiana, followed by another road food delight, Mammy's Cupboard.
I always pray for serendipity - unexpected positive surprise. One of the positive surprises on my trip
was during a stop off in Alexandria Louisiana, at the Silver Dollar Pawn and Jewelry Center.
No, I did not stop at a pawn shop to raise money to go to another road food restaurant.
It is the home of the History Channel's new television series "Cajun Pawnbrokers."
I was able to meet the entire family that the show was based on. Jimmie DeRamus, Jimmie,
also known as "Big Daddy," is joined on the show by his daughter Tammie and his younger brother Johnnie.
They are wonderful people. The large pawn shop is like a museum, and I spent hours trying to see it all.
The 20,000-square-foot store houses more than 100,000 items, and is an attraction for school and tourist bus tours.
I traveled over 710 miles in all, every mile more aware of God.
One of my favorite lines is from the Broadway play, "Mame." Mame says, "Life is like a smorgasbord,
but most people are starving to death."
Life is out there for the taking, if we will but take time for the fun that life offers us.
Ask God for serendipity in your own life today, and for fun, and for blessing.
It is everywhere, waiting for your call, and harvest.
Well, we had the funeral at 5:30 PM, dusk today, Odie, the family dog, a border collie mix, attended.
The funeral, took place in our backyard for my 9 year old granddaughter Savannah's cat named Sugarfoot.
Sugarfoot was never what I would call healthy cat, never grew beyond the size of the large kitten,
and only had one eye. My granddaughter picked her, because she said, "No one else would, and she needed love."
Her life was not as long as other cats, but she had quality-of-life, and love, and I suppose that's what means
the most in the end. It's not the length of life, but quality of life that matters.
This funeral went on longer than Gandhi's funeral. My daughter and granddaughter had been to the store
the night before, bought a dozen yellow roses, a friendship bracelet, downloaded funeral music on
Savannah's new Christmas iPod. And Savannah wrote, and read the eulogy.
The priority mail box they picked as a casket was unusually large, when I was digging the hole, honestly
I believe, I could've fit a corrugated box that would have held a Maytag washer. I actually had to dig three holes,
because I kept running into huge tree roots. When we got to the hole, the box still wouldn't fit, so again with
shovel in hand, funeral music pouring out from the iPod, I dug deeper and wider, my breath at this point was louder
than the iPod.
Savannah held the shovel, and filled the dirt over the casket provided by the US Post Office. "The Casket" had
pictures of Savannah and Sugarfoot, along with 10 personal notes written by Savannah over the last 24 hours.
I still believe that the dog was scoping out the whole activity, to dig up the cat, and return, when least expected.
This would be "the game of fetch" taken to a whole new otherworldly level.
Savannah is now making a tombstone, out of concrete, which will help mark the area permanently for the dog.
I am relieved this is burial is over, because it almost wasn't. Savannah's REAL desire was to have the cat stuffed
by a taxidermist, to be placed on the mantel above the family fireplace. That would've freaked out grandpa.
But what our real challenge is now, and what my granddaughter doesn't know yet, is her hamster, Snowflake, died
just before our November Spiritual Retreat Cruise. We didn't want to ruin the spiritual retreat cruise, or
the visit to Disney World for her, with THAT news.
My wife kept the hamster at her office in downtown Houston, so my granddaughter did not have daily contact.
Good thing! Hamsters only have a two-year lifespan.
Snowflake died in peace, surrounded by dessert treats, and I believe that's the way I want to go someday.
We decided in our tremendous grandparent wisdom to keep the hamster frozen in a freezer in a clear, double locked,
freezer bag, for an ideal time to thaw out from frozen, and to tell her - "The sad event that just happened."
My son actually found the dearly departed when he came back for Christmas searching through the freezer looking
for a TV dinner. I don't believe he ate that day.
After the cruise, came Christmas, and now in January, it's birthday time, we didn't want to link any of those
to death. Now, with this funeral, it is NOT an ideal time to bring this up.
I suggested, perhaps when she is 18 or 19 years of age, and attending college in another state, it might be
an easier time to break the news, but that was looked at with disdain from family members that think
that I should be stronger.
I got the idea, to take Snowflake out of the freezer, carry he, or she, stored in the clear, double lock,
freezer bag to Petsmart, and closely match to a living hamster, and purchase in secret a new Snowflake.
I told myself, I'm sure they are used to this, and people probably do it all the time.
The story I was going to tell Savannah is that hamsters are the only animals that as they age, actually can
even change their spots on their furr.
I, too, I have gotten a few strange spots as I've aged.
I'm not doing this just for Savannah, The family dog is lonely, Odie is right now sitting by the closed
bedroom door hoping to see the cats paw tease from underneath. It's funny in death, we even miss the things
that tormented us, just briefly before. Odie now needs a friend too. Odie loved the hamster, and when Snowflake
visited the house, she would lay by the cage all night long.
My actions didn't seem strange to me at the time, but to quote Forest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does"
I guess, my first surprise, was the way the Petsmart management reacted, when I took in the frozen hamster,
to shop for a Snowflake2 replacement.
I tried to explain, but a frozen hamster in a Ziploc bag does clear an aisle filled with shoppers,
faster than any fire alarm, not even Petsmart employees come close.
I tried to explain what I was doing, but the employees were standing at the other end of the store,
refusing to come close - it's hard to communicate.
I told them that we bought the hamster there, hoping this would help. They asked if I wanted my money back,
then another employee asked, "How long ago did the hamster die," I said, "I believe it was late October."
You should've seen the look on their faces when I said that.
It's like the old quote says, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray" Robert Burns (1785)
What was true then, is true now. It basically means no matter how well you plan something, always expect
the unexpected, in other words, just because you think you've done all you can for something to go
right....something can still get messed up
(Always have a plan B)
Plan B - Never show your face in that Petsmart again, they will recognize you.
Go to another Petsmart, this time with photos only, of the hamster in happier days,
with a smiling granddaughter holding. Employees will become endeared to your actions as a grandparent.
Not carrying the actual dearly departed to the shopping experience with you, brings friends
and associates you have not known before, instead of repelling.
When she is 18 or 19, or when she is married with children of her own, I will break the sad news
that Snowflake - is really Snowflake6. By then, I will most likely have my picture hanging
on the wall at Petsmart, near the hamster cages, where this family tradition began.
God will give you strength to do things you could not ordinarily do. Perhaps it's easier to muster
this kind of strength when you're doing it for others, but this strength is also available when
you need to muster strength to do something for yourself. God is with us in life, and God is with us
when we go through the valley of the shadow of death.
(Update: My son came home from Austin Texas where he is working, hungry, he was exploring through the freezer
for something to eat, when he came upon Snowflake which at first, looked like a popsicle to him in a plastic
bag. Upon closer examination, he immediately lost his appetite, and said at the time,
he would probably never eat again!)
A COMMA vs. A PERIOD IN LIFE
A couple of years ago, I was waiting for my car to have an oil change.
During times like this, you will get up and read anything. There was a
complimentary real estate magazine on the table, and I was looking through
the pictures of property. I noticed a 5,499 acre parcel with 100 year old
mansion. The price was under $500,000.
I have always wanted to own a house on acreage, and I will someday. I
lived once in a house on about 40 acres, provided for me by the ministry I
served, and I loved it. Deer would come close to my front porch, and I
even had a bobcat on the property. Which is fun to look at from afar, but
not when the predator is circling the hot tub you are in, alone, late at night.
I was talking on the cell phone with some friends and telling them about
this huge parcel of land, and as we talked I started to see the potential
for a Positive Christianity retreat center. One friend said that "You have
to look into this, because, that's only $90 an acre, with a mansion thrown in."
In my mind, I already had my current house listed for sale, along with all
my worldly belongings.
It also said in the real estate magazine, that the land was "improved"
property. I didn't know what this meant. It could mean that it had just
been mowed, or, that utilities were already in. I wasn't buying just
"land," I was buying "new and improved" land. Any child of the 1950's on
responds favorably to ads that tout "new and improved."
I could see myself on my tractor, in my three-piece suit, just as Oliver
Wendell Douglas did on the television show "Green Acres."
The theme song of that television show is still playing in my mind as I
write this. I wish it would stop.
Well, after talking with several others, I was vibrating with excitement
over this property.
$90 an acre with mansion!!!
You should have been here when I called the realtor.
I said, "I'm interested in the 5,499 acre parcel with the mansion."
She said, "What? We don't have anything like that."
I said, "I'm looking at it right here in the ad."
She put me on speaker phone so that the other realtors could also help in
the search for this property.
She started laughing, and kept laughing.
She said, "Put on your glasses. It's NOT 5 comma 499, it's five-period 499."
In other words, 5 1/2 acres.
She was still laughing when I hung up the phone.
I found out that "improved" meant electricity and water (nearby.)
It's a lot like life. Life contains commas and periods. A period means an
end, and a comma means a continuance. Many times what appears to be the
end is just a comma in the road of life-like losing a job, only to find a
better one waiting through an open door opportunity of God, or, being
disappointed, as a relationship comes to an end, only to find the true
love of your life waiting for you. Even at a funeral service, we realize
in our faith, that what appears to be the end, is just a comma in the road
of life-that life continues even though unseen to our human eyes.
And many times, what appears to be a comma in life is really a period. So
often, in the middle of our problems, we believe in human mind that
they'll never stop or change for the better. We believe falsely that our
challenges are permanent, instead of temporary.
It's important to laugh every day, and to laugh at ourselves. It's
important to not take life too seriously. Otherwise worry and anxiety will
play tricks on our human mind.
Thank God, that life provides both periods and commas for us in the right
proportion for the ongoing of our soul's journey. God will provide Divine
order in each day. Life is an adventure to be enjoyed and savored.
I pray you have commas to all your good. I pray you have periods to all your challenges.
Also read the fine print. I have always been a big picture type of person
leaving the details to other people.
On one of our spiritual retreat cruises a friend of mine gave me one of those joke lotto tickets.
I scratched it off and it said I was a winner - a BIG winner.
I didn't dare tell my children who were on the cruise with me, thinking that they would probably
do me in for the inheritance.
I called one of my coworkers in to my cabin in private, he is very much a detail person.
I told him in private I think that I just won the lottery, but I wanted him to look at the ticket
just in case I was overlooking something.
He immediately read fine print which said, this ticket is only good if you believe in Santa Claus
and the Easter Bunny. Fine points that I had missed in my first exuberant review.
Life has fine print - but also know God does not have any fine print.
God's promises are always true. God is not tricky. God can be trusted.
And that statement is said with a period.
A Classic Sunday Funnies
I would like to share with you a letter that a fellow wrote to his
insurance company because it really epitomizes where some people are. "I'm
writing in response to your request concerning block 11 on the insurance form.
It asks for the cause of injuries, wherein I put 'trying to do the
job alone.' You said you needed more information, so I trust the following will suffice:
"I am a bricklayer by trade. On the date of injuries, I was working alone,
laying brick on top of a four-story building. At the end of the job I had
about 600 pounds of brick left over, so I thought I would lower the bricks
on a pulley rather than making several trips to carry them down. I went
down below, secured the rope at ground level, went back up and loaded all
the bricks into a barrel, and then I swung the barrel off the side of the building.
"Then I went back down, untied the rope (holding it tightly with my right
hand so I would assure a slow descent). You can imagine my shock at being
jerked off the ground so rapidly that I lost my presence of mind.
"Somewhere between the second and third floors, I collided with the barrel
coming down. This explains the injuries to my head and shoulders.
"Colliding with the barrel only slowed my ascent momentarily as I
proceeded rapidly up the side of the building, not stopping until my right
hand was jammed in the pulley, which accounts for my broken thumb and fingers.
"Regaining my presence of mind, I held tightly to the rope. About the same
time, however, the barrel hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the
barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed about 35-40
pounds. At this time I began a rapid descent. I met the barrel somewhere
between the second and third floors as it was coming up, which explains
the injuries to my legs and knees.
"I landed on the ground on the pile of bricks which caused minimal back
injuries and internal injuries. (Fortunately, they were only minimal.)
"At this time, however, I'm sorry to say that I lost my presence of mind,
and I let go of the rope. As you can imagine, the barrel crashed down on
top of me. I am happy to report, however, that I am finished trying to do the job alone."
Doesn't that say a little about how many of us have been trying to do the
job alone, without God's ever-present and willing help? We feel that we
are responsible for everything that is happening in our lives, and
everything that is supposed to happen. We take it all on, like we are the
ones doing everything. God's in charge! We are here today to remember God's help.
BE HAPPY WHERE YOU ARE
"Take DELIGHT in the Lord, and God will give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37:4
It's hard to believe this happened so long ago, I remember it as if it was
yesterday. 23 years ago on a Sunday afternoon I went down to Branson, Missouri
with my family. Monday morning we decided to go to the outlet mall.
Jonathan, my four-year-old was not happy at the outlet mall at all. I love
to shop, I always have, but he wanted to go somewhere to have some fun.
So I said, "Jonathan, in just a little while I'm going to take you to a zoo
like you've never been to in your whole life," (it is easy to make a promise
to a four-year-old of something they've never done in their whole life).
I told him "I'm going to take you to Wilderness Country Safari."
This is the type of zoo where the animals are running wild and you are
caged in your car. Jonathan got excited. Every minute he would tug on my
pants and say, "Is it time now to go to the zoo?" He couldn't wait to be
at the zoo.
Well, we finally got to the zoo. The first thing I did was get out of my
car, because in the parking lot they had baboons running wild. I said,
"Isn't this something? Look at that cute little baboon over there."
I picked up Jonathan and we went over to the baboon that had his back to
me. I said, "Let's pet the baboon." That baboon turned around, saw me and
showed his teeth. He had a consciousness of one thing in his mind: kill
the man with his child.
That baboon chased me across the parking lot. For those of you who don't
think I'm physically fit, I outran that baboon, with a 50 pound child
attached to the very top of my head, gripping on with fingernails inserted!
Well, we finally went into the zoo. Almost immediately after we entered
the gates, a buffalo came up to the window of the car and peered in. I was
in euphoria. I was loving this experience.
Jennifer, my daughter who just had her birthday and was now eleven said,
"Come on, Dad. Move the car, Dad. This isn't funny, Dad! I mean move the
car now!! I want to get out of here now!! Jonathan was in the back seat
with absolute terror in his eyes, not moving because he was afraid that
the buffalo would see him. So, I moved the car.
Every time an animal came by, it was the same thing: Jennifer said, "Move
the car, Dad. Dad, really, this is not funny. Let's hurry up and get out
of here." Jonathan never said a word. We continued, and finally we drove
out of the gate.
At that point, Jonathan starts jumping up and down on the back seat
saying, "Yea, Daddy! Yea, Daddy! Yea, Daddy!" I had saved his life by
getting us out of there.
Remember the old adage, "The grass is always greener on the other side of
the fence." Do you remember the television series "Green Acres?" There
were two main characters: Oliver Douglas and his wife Lisa.
The whole gist of the show was about this argument of where they could be
happy. Oliver stands up and says, "Green Acres is the place to be. Farm
livin' is the life for me."
And then Lisa stands up and sings, "Ah. New York is where I'd rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay." They have this duel that went through the
Where do you think that you will find your happiness? Where is it, really?
Many people believe that you cannot find happiness today. Therefore, they
keep tomorrow as a scapegoat. They think, "We can be happy at some other time."
I want you to think about something for a moment. Imagine you are not a
body that has location; you are a mind with a free will attitude.
We tell ourselves, "If I move this body to same other location, then I will
be happy there." The problem with this is we take our old self with us.
On Monday some may tell themselves, "Well, it's only four more days until
Friday. Then we have the weekend. Our body will be in a different place
and that will bring us happiness."
Or we tell ourselves, "Oh, I can stick this out a little bit longer. It's
a hellish environment. But once I get my promotion, the world is going to
change." We think, "If I could only get a new job, a new spouse, a new
significant other or retirement . . . I am really going to be happy."
Here's the problem with that. When you move your body into its new
location in life that is supposed to bring you all the happiness, you also
move and unpack all the things that have made you unhappy in this now moment.
That's the problem with that type of thinking.
It's the old thing . . . "Is this all there is?" You discover greater and
greater good, and yet it's never enough. We're never enough. We never can
be totally aware of our happiness in the moment. We always tell ourselves
that we've got to try something new. We tell ourselves, "I can't be happy
in this moment." We have learned that lesson well.
Decide this moment that happiness is too great to be put off for another time.
Decide NOW to be happy today. Practice happiness. Happiness is a natural state
of mind and body. We learned to be unhappy and it becomes habit. It is a habit
that I admit is hard to break. There is no other way than to do it now.
Soon you will have a following, because the world needs happy people.
Happy people are magnetic to attract friendships. So many are starving
for a simple smile, and upbeat attitude, or a positive word.
You are now the one. You are the carrier of the cure. You attract friendships.
Happiness multiplies happiness. There is a smile not just on your face,
but there is a soul smile that radiates center to circumference.
I am happy that you took the time to read this and consider the possibilities of the rebirth
experience working in you through the practice of happiness.
Dear God, make this a profound moment in my life.
This is a moment of decision.
I no longer base my happiness on outer events.
I become happy by living inside out.
I choose happiness.
I do not delay happiness.
Happiness is mine to experience now.
With You, by my side, how can I be anything but happy.
I pray that my soul smiles in momentary delight.
I become like a child again, and smile with the joyous grin.
I laugh deep.
In Jesus Christ's name... Amen
POSITIVE DAILY AFFIRMATION: My purpose in my God-given life is to be happy and enjoy it.
POSITIVE DAILY QUOTE: "Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both,
and you won't have to hunt for happiness." William E. Gladstone
There are some things in life that we should not continually revisit in our mind.
Often we have to remind ourselves what we choose to think about and hold onto,
and what it is that should be leave behind.
I had a dog once, 150 pound golden retriever, who was overly active. I signed the dog up
for dog training. Anyone that has gone through dog training knows that the owner receives as much,
or more, training than the dog. This was certainly true of my experience. He never learned a thing,
but I took away an important lesson.
The trainer was this towering, forceful, athletic woman from Russia. On the first night,
surrounded by 28 people, and 24 dogs, she shouted with great authority - SIT!
I was the only one that sat, when she screamed that order.
This once a week, six week course, was something that my dog failed miserably at. He didn't
learn anything, but it was a life lesson I will always carry with me.
When the dog was taking off to chase an animal, like one time when he was chasing a skunk,
I shouted with great authority - "LEAVE IT!"
Upon this command, hopefully, he would stop in his tracks, and turn the other way. He never did.
But, I started to give the command to myself. Human brain is often fascinated and motivated
with things do not serve our best interests.
I would silently shout to myself - LEAVE IT!
This is a command that has worked for me for almost 20 years, and it will work for you also.
It helps us recall, in the moment, the direction, and path, that we should be on,
so we do not get too sidetracked, and misdirected.
Sometimes, no matter how much we desire to go in a certain direction, a few minutes of rest
give us the boost that allows us to do all that we need to do giving us the self-control
to go in the right direction, and to say the right thing at the right time.
When trying to resolve a difference with another person, and no resolution appears,
perhaps the best thing you can do is to let it rest for a while. Sometimes the best thing
you can do is - leave it.
The very life and intelligence of God is continually with you to help and guide you.
The wisdom of God will help you by influencing every decision you make, and every action you take.
Sometimes, like my golden retriever you will be chasing something like that skunk.
You know it's bad for you, but still you are running towards it-that is the precise time
to hear the command within you - LEAVE IT!
POSITIVE DAILY PRAYER:
Dear God there are some areas of my life where I realize I am on the wrong path.
I spiritually shout to myself LEAVE IT.
To habits that are not good for me I decree to myself LEAVE IT.
To blind alleys, and areas that I know that I must leave, I say LEAVE IT.
I may not always have the courage.
I may not always have the will.
I ask You to empower me to leave behind the things that I need to leave behind.
And move on.
Toward Your greater God-given good.
In Jesus Christ's name... Amen
POSITIVE DAILY AFFIRMATION: LEAVE IT!
We are ALL Grand Prize Winners
These stories are true and funny, however there is also an important message for each of us.
"In 1991 I went into to the Post Office. I put my key in my Post Office
box (and I always pause for a minute because one of my favorite things to
do is to receive mail), turned the key, and stuck my hand in.
"There was just one envelope inside. I pulled it out, and looked at it. It
looked official. On it was printed, 'Official Notification. You are a
major prize recipient!'
"I said, 'Thank You, God. Publisher's Clearing House is finally noticing
me, after ALL this time!'
"I opened up the envelope and pulled out a letter from a resort property
in southern Missouri. They said, 'You have won! You have won a high-tech
color television set.'
"I said to myself, 'A high-tech color television set?' I read on.
"It said, 'Reverend, if you come down and visit our resort property and
take a tour for ninety minutes, you can pick up your high-tech color TV.'
"I looked on the calendar and found a day; my day off, on Friday."
"As I was thinking about going down to pick up my high-tech color TV, I
thought perhaps I would need a pickup truck because it would be a big box.
Then I thought, 'Well, what if it rains?' If it rains the box would get
all wet in the back of the pickup truck and possibly ruin the TV inside. I
thought if it might rain, I have a friend with a full size station wagon.
The station wagon was a Chevrolet Caprice; it came from the age before gas
prices mandated downsizing. It was literally about 19 feet long and about
6 feet wide. With the seats down in back it looked like the interior of
one of the jumbo cargo planes. I would ask this friend to go along with
me. I thought we could put quite a big box in there, and if it was bigger,
I could rent a U-Haul trailer. I'm open to possibilities.
"I went down in his full-sized station wagon (about a two-hour trip), and
I toured the property. They were very, very nice to me. At the end, the
man said, 'Now it is time. What have you won?'
"I said, 'I've won a high-tech color television set.'
"He said, 'Well, you can pick it up right over there,' and he pointed to a
small shed-like building with a small door. I'm wondering how in the world
they got the high-tech color television set in there.
"Well, I shake the nice man's hand, leave his car and go get the station
wagon. I waited for about 20 minutes until all the cars had left the front
of the small building so that I would have room for the mammoth Chevrolet
Caprice station wagon to back up to the door. I backed it up to the door
because I didn't want to carry the television set box very far. I open the
lift gate and I think I can get it through the doorway if I tilt it just a
certain way, and then I can slide most of the box right inside the station
wagon. I go in, and the first thing I do is look for a high-tech color
television set. I'm looking all around and I don't see any big boxes.
"The nice lady behind the counter said to me, 'Do you have your certificate?'
"I said, 'Yes, I do, I said proudly. I have won a high-tech color television set.'
"She said, 'Yes, you have! And because you're here on Friday you've also
won a bonus prize!'
"I said, 'Great! Thank You God!' I took several deep breaths, bringing the
strength of God into me, because the excitement was almost too much for me to bear.
"Several others were coming in at that time and had to squeeze around, the
Chevrolet Caprice to get through the open door. I apologized saying 'I was
there to help a large console color television set, and knew that I
couldn't carry it very far.'
"They all worked for the company, and they gave me the strangest stare!
"The lady took a small key and put it into a lock on a small drawer. She
turned the key, opened the drawer, reached in and pulled out a box. She
handed me a little box and I said, 'What is this?'
"She said, 'This is your high-tech color television set.' No exaggeration,
the box was four inches by seven inches and about an inch deep.
"I said in total shock, 'That's my color television set?' In the meantime,
I have the station wagon backed so close to the door that nobody can get
into this place. Several people are looking through the door from the
other side of the Chevrolet Caprice, trying to see what is happening.
"I'm holding this in the palm of my hand and she says, 'Yes, there's a
color television in there.' I thought when I opened it up that perhaps the
directions to the warehouse would be in there to where I would go and pick
up the huge box as big as this station wagon demanded.
"I open up the box and here is what was in it.
"A Casio television the size of a small transistor radio. It had a
"I felt a little embarrassed. I moved that station wagon faster than
anyone has ever moved a station wagon, and I acted cool, like I knew all
along, it would be in a small box like this.
"She gave me a diamond watch, too. (That's what it says. There's something
in there that sparkles, so I guess it must be a diamond.) That was my bonus gift.
"I had to drive all the way home because my friend, the owner of the
station wagon, was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down his
face to a point that he couldn't see."
That, that brings a smile to the face, is one of the best gifts won in life.
(25 years later - I was with my good friend, when he was in the hospital close to death,
he told that day was one of the greatest days of his life - he felt like he was the real winner.)
"Behold, I am doing something new! It's already happening; don't you
recognize it? I will clear a way in the desert. I will make rivers on dry land."
During the Depression, there was a gentleman who had been accustomed to
great wealth. He lost everything in the Depression. He walked around in
shock and kept saying over and over again, "I know there's a way out of
this. I know there's a way." He'd even wake up at night and say, "I know
there's a way out of this." He didn't realize it, but he was saying a
positive prayer affirmation. He was preparing his thinking in a spiritual
way. He was giving of himself to God. He was not buying into what was
happening in the world. He was buying into what could happen to him with
God's direction and help.
He was reading a newspaper one day, and noticed an article about millions
of pounds of coffee being available in Brazil, but there was no market for
it. There was no money to bring it over here, and over here, they wanted
the coffee, but there was no money to get it here. He thought for a
minute, "Well, there are millions of bushels of American wheat over here."
He realized that if he could get the two together in a trade, we would
have coffee and they would have wheat. Through a couple of simple
telephone calls, he started on his way back to making a fortune.
The key to life is circulation. The key to life is keeping things moving.
You've heard the saying, "When things are tight, something has to give." I
change that to say, "When things are tight, someone has to give."
In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you; good
measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into
your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."
As humans, we have an incompleteness of vision. The clear vision is
disclosed to you and me that in God, supply for any need you face, this
morning, is instantaneous. No matter what your need, God is here to
fulfill that need. But, to our human thinking, supply is progressive. We
think we have to go through a series of events, from here to there, from
point A to point Z, waiting for our supply to come.
We have a tremendous opportunity to realize, first of all, that in God,
supply is instantaneous. In God, supply is infinite and instantaneous. To
human thinking, it is progressive. Your available supply, in a practical
sense, is measured by your spiritual lung capacity. It is measured by your
ability to use it. We know that air is everywhere present, but we can only
use that amount of air in front of us that we have the lung capacity to
use. It is the same with supply.
In Matthew 13:12, Jesus says, "For those who have [a consciousness of
supply] more will be given. They will have abundance. But those who have
nothing [those who do not have a consciousness of the supply from God]
even what they have will be taken away."
Where does the demonstration of abundance begin? In demonstrating supply,
the demonstration begins with the spiritual consciousness of supply. Do we
really believe in God? Is our God big enough to handle our challenge?
What do you wish for in your life? What successes do you wish for? What
kind of supply do you need? Is your God big enough to meet the need? Can
you believe, in your spiritual consciousness, that it could be instantaneous?
In many places in our world today, there is apparent lack. But we know
that this is just in that particular place. Somewhere else, there is all
anyone could ever want. The problem with lack in the world is
circulation-how to get those needs to those people, how to get that supply
to the people who need it most.
The problem in our individual lives is always circulation.
Years ago, there was a man who owed many, many debts. He was frozen in his fears. He
had some money, but he didn't have enough to pay everybody. Therefore, he
just sat frozen, filled with fear, because he didn't know how to move.
What was said to him by the minister is that he was not living the law of
circulation-giving and receiving. He had to get into a new relationship
with supply. He was urged to go to his creditors, explain the situation,
and offer to pay them a little, what he could, to start the payback, to
get into the movement of circulation. Every one of those creditors was
impressed with his integrity, and they helped him remain in business. He,
ultimately, fulfilled his obligations and was on his way back in a big,
big way to success.
So often, when the human mind cannot see its way completely through a
problem, it is tempted not to act even upon what it can see because we
can't do all that we desire to do. Too often, we delay in doing anything at all.
Give what you can, and you can always give something. If you have no
money, offer your services. Find some way to keep yourself in circulation.
The poor human is the shut-off human. It is the person who isolates
himself or herself from life. Keep your contacts open with activity and
circulation and supply, and never harp on your losses.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6
In the Bible, the prophet asked a poor widow what she had in her house.
She did not answer him directly; she told him what she lacked. She said,
"Thy handmaiden hath not anything in the house save a pot of oil."
When the disciples were asked what they had, they said, "Oh, Jesus, we
don't have anything. We just have five loaves and two fishes." This is the
consciousness of lack. It is the awareness of postponement. It is the
awareness of delay.
Agree with God now. Do not say, "I will prosper when . . .," or "I will give when . . ."
Thank God for present supply, for what you can do now, for what you can
give now. Now is the acceptable time. All things must begin when you begin.
Let me give you some guidelines to power-giving to jumpstart the law of
circulation in your life.
#1. Attach no strings to your gifts.
So often, we receive a gift with a string attached to it. How did you like
that gift when you received it? That is not a gift at all. Attach no
strings to your gifts. Do not try to bargain or barter with God, because
that is attaching a string to your gift with God. Give your gift of your
services, your time, your money, with no strings attached. Here is an
excellent motto: "I give as to the Lord."
Emerson once said, "Have the courage to withhold what you can't give
without a blessing."
#2. What is given in a grudging way, blesses neither the giver nor the
receiver. As you give, you shall receive.
Here is what I'm talking about. You are paying a bill and saying, "That
Electric Company is really, really robbing me this month." What we link
with our gift or payment becomes as real to our minds as something
tangible in front of us, and it goes forth like an unseen messenger to
represent us and to become identified with us. Unless we wish to attract
lack, we should never stamp the thought of lack on any one of our disbursements.
#3. If a person says: "Sooner or later, my good always becomes manifest
for me, but I'm tortured by many 'eleventh hour' deliverances of apparent
want and anxious waiting," what's wrong?
God answers our prayers even before we ask. But if we are having
interruptions, we need to give more regularly. We need to get into
circulation in a more regular way. You wish, as I wish, that God will
continuously give to us. Well, we must be about the Father's business.
What is the Father's business? The Father's business is giving, sharing,
and serving. Let us be as regular in our giving as we wish God to be in
giving to us.
#4. How should we measure our giving? With what standards shall we
compare our gifts?
Shall we give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? Or should we give
full measure, heaped up, pressed down, and running over?
Years ago there was a company that many of you are familiar with - A & P
grocery stores. They were a major concern in the grocery industry because
when you went in for a pound of coffee, instead of giving you sixteen
ounces, they gave you seventeen ounces, on the Biblical principle of
giving you more than you paid for. They stopped doing that and sadly went out of business.
Always go the extra mile, surprise people by giving more than they expected,
and you will be rewarded with continuous, ever-expanding success.
The Biblical principles work in our lives. When we're paid our salaries,
do we give more than we were paid for? We should. We should constantly
give more and surprise the person on the other end. That is the law of
success. It is a joy. It is the first half of manifest prosperity.
Let me quickly share with you the second half-receiving. Some of us are
I'd like you to think of receiving in a new way. It's a joy to give. You
all know that because you are giving people. But you also share the joy of
giving when you receive. You must receive.
"Faith without works is dead." James 2:26
There was an elderly lady who hardly had any money at all. A minister
helped that elderly lady by giving her a ride to church several times. The
elderly lady got together her nickels and dimes and quarters and put
together a love offering gift of $2.00 to the minister. She had great joy.
She stumbled over her words and said, "Here. I want you to have this."
The minister said, "No! What I did for you was a joy. I wanted to do it."
The lady was crushed. She said, "Wait just a minute. You must not deny a
like joy to me. I want you to allow me to give to you."
The minister refused the poor woman's gift, and within weeks of woman quit
the church, refusing to ever come back.
Minister thought a lot about this realize that he robbed this woman the
joy of being in circulation. The minister decided that he would never
refuse another gift.
Here are the guidelines for receiving.
#1. We must not rob the giver in their joy of giving.
#2. We must prepare ourselves to receive by being receptive and appreciative.
#3. We must be grateful for little things to prepare for big things.
#4. God's bounty and blessing will come to us through God's messengers.
Friends, if you are praying for an answer to a problem, there will
probably be someone new come into your life with the exact solution.
#5. We must be open to new people who bring us new ideas.
#6. Jesus said, "No one cometh unto God but by Me." I say, "No one cometh unto me except by God."
When a new person comes to you, expect good. Say, "God, thank You.
I am so open to this new person coming to me."
#7. We must be unselfish and let others have the more blessed joy of giving when it's their turn.
#8. We will accept the best.
Too often, especially those who are giving their lives to God, say, "Well,
we don't need the best. Second best will be just fine." The problem with
this is that we put this out as a spiritual identity. Jesus constantly
said to you, "Can you believe?"
In modern-day language that means, "Can you accept?" I'm going to give you
this idea on how to get this car, or home, or furniture, or a new career.
If I give you the idea, can you accept it? Are you a good receiver of new
and delightful ideas?
The last part is accepting God in a new and profound way, every moment of
every day-being a receiver of God, realizing that we are not alone; we
don't have to do it alone; human mind does not have to do it alone. God is
going to work through me when I work. God is going to bring talent to me.
God is going to work in my body, and I am a perfect receiver of God.
Let us pray -
Today, in this moment, I give of myself, totally to God. I give of myself,
totally to life, and I get into circulation. I am excited about receiving.
I am complete because I give and I receive. I will do so every moment of this day.
In Jesus Christ's name . . . Amen.
God Does Take Care of Us
"For God has made with us an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure." 2 Samuel 23:5
Even when you seemingly do everything wrong, God coming through you can do everything right – bringing perfect results, and restoration.
God always takes care of us so perfectly. 37 years ago, when I was in seminary, a fellow ministerial student by the name of Don Allen asked me for help in buying a new car. He considered me to be a better negotiator than he was.
This particular winter day a light dusting of snow covered all of western Missouri. Don picked me up in his old car that he wanted the trade. This small imported station wagon had definitely seen better days before living its life for over a decade in the Rust Belt.
He said for me to watch my step getting into the car because the floorboards had rusted through on my side. As we drove a long it was the opposite of having a sunroof – instead of looking at the sky – I watched the road as it moved a few inches underneath me.
He said, "Tell me, if you feel like you are getting sleepy." I asked him what he meant, and he said there were holes in the exhaust and fumes tended to come into the interior through the big opening in the floor – especially on cold days, when you had to have the windows fully rolled up.
There was no heater; however, you did get some heat off of the gases from the hot exhaust!
I told him to be noncommittal when we entered the first dealership, and I would talk to them preparing the way for the best deal. We prayed for God's help. I told him to be sure to keep a low profile, and just look around at the first dealership.
We drove for about 15 miles, then, as we were stopped at the light, waiting to turn left into the first dealership -- the car caught on fire! Flames were coming out of the sides of the hood. I was ready to bolt for the safety of the grass in the median when the light changed, and Don quickly floored it, pulling into Mitch Crawford Chrysler in Raytown Missouri, and to my dismay he parked directly in front of the showroom window!
It seemed as if every employee of the dealership ran outside. Three had the quick foresight to grab fire extinguishers sensing correctly that this old wagon had the potential of blowing up if the fire was not immediately put out.
Don walked into the dealership – never has a person in automotive history ever had a more noticed higher profile.
He said to the 12 salespeople staring at us, "I want to buy a car!"
They said what kind? He said I do not know? What you have?
The salesman said, “Well we have a nice gray sedan out back.”
And Don said something I will never forget, and I quote, “I’ll take it! – how much will you give me for my trade?” – pointing to the chartered smoking lump of steel outside the dealership window.
The salesman said, “Don’t you want to see it first?”
“No,” he said, I’ll take it!”
I just stared at him – I tried to whisper to him, "BE COOL!!!!!," But he just couldn’t.
Within one hour he was in his beautiful new car. The dealership liked him SO much they bend over backwards to help him, they even gave him $500 for his smoking trade that was still trying to relight in the parking lot. Everyone was laughing and everyone was having a wonderful time. I am sure to this day that dealership still remembers the day when Don Allen drove in and said, "I want to buy a car!”
God helped him make one of the best deals, I have ever seen, with the opposite of every human negotiating skill that I have ever learned. God does take care of us.
There is human negotiation, and then there is the superior God negotiation. No matter how bad things appear when God takes over – Divine order governs the day.
Letting go of the tendency to worry about the outcome of some important event often seems difficult. We may find ourselves trying to do everything in OUR power to accomplish all that needs to be done. Finally, almost as if it is our last resort, we turn to God.
When facing a challenging situation let us always turn to God FIRST, and let God takeover. Let us still our anxious thoughts, and give God complete charge over all that concerns us. As we let go, and let God, we release ALL fears. We become open and follow through on God's guidance.
We follow the guidance that we receive calmly and with poise, for we know that God's loving presence is with us all the while.
As we let go and let God takeover, we are sure that ALL the power in the universe is working, and negotiating, to maintain order in our lives and bring the best to us continuously. We go forth to meet every challenge with faith and confidence in our God-given ability to overcome.
In the new car, the heater felt so good on the way home, but I must admit – I missed seeing the moving pavement underneath my feet!
POSITIVE DAILY PRAYER:
Dear God, I know that when everything turns bad, You have the power to turn it around, and change everything to great good.
I turn human negotiations over to You.
I let You take over.
I allow You to be the head of the government of my life.
Thank You God!
In Jesus Christ's name… Amen
POSITIVE DAILY AFFIRMATION: I am in control of myself and the situations in my world because God is in control of me.
POSITIVE DAILY QUOTE: NEVER GROW A WISHBONE – WHERE A BACKBONE OUGHT TO BE.
“That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God is willing and working at what will give God the most pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
I decided that I needed a Jeep recently. After watching videos of driving off-road on Jeep trails I decided that was for me as it looked very exciting.
I haven’t done that yet. The website says that the trail is for experienced drivers only and requires a spotter. I didn’t know what a spotter was, so I called Jeep and asked if the standard equipment on my Jeep included the spotter. After the laughter died down, I was told that a spotter is a person that stands outside the Jeep and guides you slowly so that you don’t kill yourself.
I bought a stripped two-door Jeep. When I say stripped, I mean it has no options, except for air-conditioning, which you must have in Houston during August or you would literally cremate yourself.
Jeeps are now owned by Fiat, an Italian company, so I affectionately named him Giuseppe.
I had a friend in Giuseppe recently and he wanted to roll down the window and was searching for the button. I pointed to the crank and he was shocked. It brought him back to earlier times of his childhood when his parents had a car with crank down windows. He couldn’t stop playing with it.
All new cars have a break in period. I have taken this to a new level with Giuseppe. I ate breakfast the other morning at Waffle House in Hattiesburg Mississippi. Upon returning to Giuseppe I realized I had locked the keys in the car. Giuseppe doesn’t have power locks either. Sadly, I had parked in front of the main window of Waffle House. I gave everyone quite a show when I had to break into my own car. It has a canvas convertible top that unsnaps. But then I had to lift myself up pushing my body over the exterior sheet metal (this took about 10 attempts as a Jeep is a surprisingly high car) and crawl into the car wiggling my way through the suitcases like a worm looking for the key. Every time I looked up I saw more smiling faces pressed against the window of Waffle house.
Giuseppe has a standard manual transmission. I have driven a manual transmission before, but it was in the 1960s. My mother had a 40 hp Volkswagen beetle. As a teenager I learned to drive on that car grinding through every gear. I remember my mother having to replace the clutch twice and that disapproving look that she gave me.
Truthfully, today, I never know what gear I’m in. Driving Giuseppe in the mountains of Georgia, where we have Hope Hill, our new retreat log cabin, is sometimes frightening. You can have a long line of cars behind you on a steep hill and putting in the clutch you tend to roll back into their laps.
I will often go from 1st to 4th missing the gears in between which causes the car to sputter and sometimes stall.
Takes a lot of prayer when you’re driving.
When you’re driving your life it also needs prayer.
We all have a transmission of sorts to determine the speed that we are going in our life. I have known many people that skip needed gears including myself.
How many times I have gotten overexcited about something and have gone from first year to fifth not taking the time or giving the patience for the momentum to pick up speed on its own.
Dreams can sputter and stall when you don’t use ALL your gears.
Years ago, there was a man I knew that on the first date asked the girl to marry him, he told her he had fallen madly in love. Of course, this scared the girl off because he didn’t take the proper time. He went from first gear to fifth missing all the normal gears in between.
I have seen business people too, have an idea and then go out and spend tens of thousands of dollars without testing it or seeing if it would work.
People often will say Godspeed. Godspeed doesn’t necessarily mean fast. Sometimes it means slow. It means being in the proper gear, with the needed momentum, for what you’re facing now so that you can get to the destination without stalling.
It’s like preparing a cake. You mix the ingredients and then you must put it in the oven for the exact correct amount of time otherwise it will not be cooked, or it will be burnt.
I pray today that you have God’s perfect timing in your life. I pray that things are not too fast or too slow – but perfect. I pray that you remember ALL your gears and allow God’s divine order to determine your speed and your direction. You will find you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
POSITIVE DAILY PRAYER: Dear God, I pray You will take over the driving of my life. I ask You to determine the speed that is best for my continual progress and success. I pray that I will not struggle as I go up the hills of life because You provide the power and the energy to meet any obstacle I will face.
POSITIVE DAILY AFFIRMATION: God determines the speed of my life and I am a person of lasting success.
POSITIVE DAILY QUOTE: "The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg. ... Dreams are the seedlings of realities." James Allen
A couple of weeks ago I was examining my gas grill to find out why it always produced a mild explosion when trying to light it. I would turn on the gas, throw a match in, and run. Even though this worked, it was not ideal. In the dark, the flash of light during the initial explosion would like the whole backyard. One time it singed all the hairs off of my arms.
Upon examination, I discovered big, rusted, gaping holes in the gas lines inside the grill. Thank God, that I still had my life and all my limbs intact - I decided it was time for a new gas grill.
As I write this Positive Daily Inspiration, I am gazing at this gleaming example of modern excess standing proudly on my patio. It has nine burners, a smoker and rotisserie. Yes, more than I need for one hamburger at a time, but there is something about a man and his gas grill. Even cooking one hamburger patty I look so much more manly than I did cooking it on my small electric George Foreman grill in the kitchen.
The new gas grill made the rest of the patio look dull and outdated. I decided I needed new patio furniture to accent the gleaming stainless steel monument to culinary one hamburger at a time skill.
I shopped and found on sale a perfect seven piece wicker set of two chairs, ottomans, a settee and cushions, a coffee table, and an end table. I couldn't believe the great price. I purchased it, rented a truck and came back to the large store to pick it up. After showing my receipt, the helpful men brought just one smallish box out to my truck. I said, "No, that's not it. I bought the complete seven piece set with cushions."
They laughed, and said with a knowledgeable grin, "Yes, it's all in there."
The box said, in big, block, bold, letters, "Some assembly required," along with made in China. It NEVER occurred to me that I would have to build it.
The box although small weighed a couple hundred pounds. It took four people to lift it off the truck. Then, we literally couldn't figure out how open the box. It was stapled, strapped, and glued as it was holding something too priceless to open by an ordinary citizen. We tried cutting the box but it was too thick, then we took a chisel and a hammer to the cardboard fortress.
Most of our time that evening was spent walking around that box. No bank safe has ever been so secure. We commented that the Chinese, and not Dubai, should be put in charge of port security.
After a good night's sleep, and prayer, I was fresh enough to try again. The hours of effort the night before along with the work equity this morning were accumulative and the box gave way to reveal its contents.
Never have I witnessed a zigzag puzzle of packing better than this. I even took a picture of it. In a way it was beautiful; it literally could have found display in a modern Museum of Art.
I must admit I was intimidated; I was born without one gene of handyman skill. Starting to unpack the dozens of individual parts, I looked for the directions, and was dismayed when I found directions for my Chinese patio furniture assembly were totally in Spanish.
I left the garage in defeat. Later in the day, I prayed about it, and with all the courage I could muster I opened the garage door. It had not moved-there it was staring at me daring my manhood, as if saying to me, "A real man doesn't need directions!"
I prayed for the wisdom of God to come through me and make easy the task. Then the directions in English literally fell to the floor from a discarded section of the mutilated packing box.
I kept praying through every assembly task. Now, you can come and sit on my patio, but use common sense - don't sit down too hard - because I did have a lot of screws mysteriously left over - that I know belong somewhere.
Jesus did not put conditions on the power of faith. He said, "Whenever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."
Neither do you limit your faith by assigning a measure to it or doubting that you have enough. Your faith is in God and in God's goodness in your life.
When appearances suggest that things are not going well because of the results you expected to happen are not happening, you remind yourself that it is God who is in charge, not you.
Your faith is in God and God will prevail. With God, all things are truly possible. You know this; you believe this; you live your life based on your faith in God.
When you place your faith in God you are opening your life to the desires of your heart, to all blessings.
"Insurance Company Letter"
"And now I commend you to God and to the message of God's grace, a message that is able to build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified." Acts 20:32
I would like to share with you a letter that a fellow wrote to his insurance company because it really epitomizes where some people are. “I’m writing in response to your request concerning block 11 on the insurance form.
It asks for the cause of injuries, wherein I put ‘trying to do the job alone.’ You said you needed more information, so I trust the following will suffice:
“I am a bricklayer by trade. On the date of injuries, I was working alone, laying brick on top of a four-story building. At the end of the job I had about 600 pounds of brick left over, so I thought I would lower the bricks on a pulley rather than making several trips to carry them down. I went down below, secured the rope at ground level, went back up and loaded all the bricks into a barrel, and then I swung the barrel off the side of the building.
“Then I went back down, untied the rope (holding it tightly with my right hand so I would assure a slow descent). You can imagine my shock at being jerked off the ground so rapidly that I lost my presence of mind.
“Somewhere between the second and third floors, I collided with the barrel coming down. This explains the injuries to my head and shoulders.
“Colliding with the barrel only slowed my ascent momentarily as I proceeded rapidly up the side of the building, not stopping until my right hand was jammed in the pulley, which accounts for my broken thumb and fingers.
“Regaining my presence of mind, I held tightly to the rope. About the same time, however, the barrel hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed about 35-40 pounds. At this time, I began a rapid descent. I met the barrel somewhere between the second and third floors as it was coming up, which explains the injuries to my legs and knees.
“I landed on the ground on the pile of bricks which caused minimal back injuries and internal injuries. (Fortunately, they were only minimal.)
“At this time, however, I’m sorry to say that I lost my presence of mind, and I let go of the rope. As you can imagine, the barrel crashed down on top of me. I am happy to report, however, that I am finished trying to do the job alone.”
Doesn’t that say a little about how many of us have been trying to do the job alone, without God’s ever-present and willing help? We feel that we are responsible for everything that is happening in our lives, and everything that is supposed to happen. We take it all on, like we are the ones doing everything. God’s in charge! We are here today to remember God’s help.
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