I am reminded that the decision to do nothing … is still a decision…
“You can do nothing, and be nothing.
Or, you can do something,
and be something.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
I am reminded that the decision to do nothing … is still a decision…
“You can do nothing, and be nothing.
Or, you can do something,
and be something.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
Here are 3 quotes, all from “today,” which I either used, made up, or found:
The first one I have said many times, and, frankly, I think someone else “said it first,” but I’m not sure who.
However … once again, I used it today:
“If you follow the crowd … you’ll end up where they end up.”
Later today … I made this one up, so I’m sure it’s an original:
“Your entire body will end up where your steps take you.”
Tonight, I was writing on behalf of someone else:
I use a “flash-drive” to save material I get from one location, to “save it” until I get to another location. Often, it’s something I write at School, or something I’m working on at home, to take to School. I also have any number of small notes, in particular “sticky notes” of ideas I transfer from one location to another. To keep these together, and to protect them, I often put these small notes in a “sandwich bag,” in order to protect them, and to keep them separate in my “lunch bag,” which is one of those large insulated bags, with the zippered pouch in front. I also use this same sandwich bag to transport my flash drive from home to School, and vice-versa.
Tonight, I was working off of the flash drive, to complete something I needed to have prepared for School tomorrow. So, when I went to my lunch bag, that front zippered pouch, and pulled out the sandwich bag with the flash drive … as I reached in and pulled out the flash drive … this little note came out … somehow, stuck to my finger. It was a “small note” I had received, I don’t know when, at the end of a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. You know what I’m talking about …
You just never know where you will receive inspiration from … you just always have to “be on the lookout” …
I don’t know … it had to, at least, been months ago … maybe years ago … but, today … tonight … it just stuck to my finger …
Here’s what was written:
“If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
If there has been a common thread which continues to run throughout this series, it would be this statement from Hebrews 13:5: “Be content with what you have.”
God gives us a little to see how we handle it. How we handle it will determine if He gives us more. In other words, He gives us a little, so see what we would do if He gave us a lot.
Another common thread is the discussion of how important it is, how we “handle things.” Perhaps the most important characteristic we show to the world is “how we handle things.” Good things. Bad things. Honestly, I don’t know which circumstance reveals our character more: When we have less than we need … Or, when we have more than we need. When all is said and done … how people will remember us … will be largely based upon two things: How we “handled things,” and how we treated others. This is because both of these characteristics will be based upon how we mirror, or not-the image of Christ. How His influence … influenced us …. or, whether we allowed “others” (this can be both people and things) to influence us.
I guess it really is just a simple matter, this “influence,” of what you allow to control you. One of the great quotes I’ve ever heard is from my Pastor in Georgia:
“What you attach yourself to, you become a part of.”
It is, simply put, just a matter of control.
What we allow to influence us has the power … great power … to control us.
We try to write as much about how important it is how we act when things are going well, as when things are not going well. Especially, when true heartache is involved. Again, I can honestly say, from a Christian life standpoint, I’m not sure which is a harder test: Success or poverty. There are many quotes I could use, but the one from Dr. David Jeremiah I still love, how it is circumstances which reveal, not change, character. Or, from Dr. Martin Luther King, about how the true test of a man’s character is not when he is on the mountaintop, but when he is in the deep valley. Both valid. Both powerful. Both true.
I must say this: It is just a matter of control. Of who, or what, we allow to influence us. When we were kids, and boy this made us mad more often than not … our parents would always try to warn us about friends we had, people we were hanging out with … we hated that … and, let’s be honest, often we felt hate toward them (even though we didn’t really understand “hate” at the time) for trying to keep us away from who or what they thought would be a bad influence on us.
I wonder why that was?
Why did our parents, and sometimes our friends, and sometimes our teachers, try to warn us about what would happen if we continued to “hang out” with certain people? Or, try to stop us from doing certain things?
Why was that?
Has the principle behind such a warning changed? Have bad influences suddenly become ok for us to be around? Oh, yeah … I forgot … we are “all grown up now,” so we can’t be influenced by people or things anymore …
I just came in from outside, checking on a flower garden. We have been so busy this summer with work going on around the house, that, especially with equipment all around the house and yard, we haven’t mowed the grass in a month. I examined a new flower garden which I started earlier this summer, before the work began. If I don’t act right away … and yank those weeds out of the garden … get them out of there, away from the flowers … those weeds will take over the whole garden! Just the weeds being there, right now, have already hindered the growth of some really beautiful flowers … if I don’t act fast … and the bad weeds are already starting to influence the young, impressionable flowers … if I don’t act fast … if I don’t remove those weeds … if I don’t get them away from the flowers … if I don’t remove the weeds from the flowers … the weeds will take over … completely … the weeds will take over … will take complete control of the flowers … will take complete control of the garden … the flowers, with all their potential of being so beautiful … so beautiful, so lovely … will be destroyed … And, in so doing, the weeds will destroy the entire garden …
I “hate” to tell you this … but, I must: The weeds won’t mind a bit that the garden is destroyed. In fact … yes … even though God created the weeds, too … In fact … it seems that the entire reason for the existence of the weeds … is to “take over” …
Funny … as with so many things … we see it and warn our children … we see it and “yank out those weeds” in the garden … yet … now that we are “all grown up,” we can’t see it in our adult lives …
As a side note, some of the flowers in the “new garden” were transplanted, full grown, from an area which was overtaken by grass, trees, and weeds. They did well, even there, but I wanted them to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, so I “got them out of there” and put them in a special, newly cultivated area. They were even blooming at the time, and they never lost their blooms … they transplanted so well … what a great spot for them now! However … since I haven’t taken the time, in a while, to “weed” their new surroundings … even though they were strong, beautiful, full-grown flowers … if I don’t get those weeds away from them … as strong … as beautiful … as full-grown as they are … they won’t last much longer … not as long as those weeds are allowed to influence them … and, their environment.
I think there is a lesson in there, somewhere!
Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow? And … that goes for the older, well established garden, too!
I weeded it early … but, not often … and, even though it is an old, well-established, vibrant, “growing wildly” flower garden … making it through a few cold, snow-filled winters … if I don’t “yank those weeds” out of its environment, we all know what will happen to it, as well.
Please note that both of these gardens, both young and old … are facing this new “enemy,” well capable of their destruction … during the summer … during the days of sunshine, when the sun is at its brightest …
Which further confirms my question of whether it is more difficult during bleak times … or sunny times?
I guess it just depends on what or who (and if I don’t get out there, that will be me) is allowed to influence their environment …
Remember that, sometimes, the greatest action, the action which results in, causes, and influences the most action … is inaction.
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.
The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can’t let yourself be beat because of lack of effort.
My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.’
If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you.
Limits, like fear, is often an illusion.
I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.
I’ve never been afraid to fail.
I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent.
You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.
Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.
Sometimes you need to get hit in the head to realize that you’re in a fight.
I never thought a role model should be negative.
I will not quit this game because of what the media has done to me.
I think the players win the championship, and the organization has something to do with it, don’t get me wrong. But don’t try to put the organization above the players.
My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn’t stand the sideline.
If you quit ONCE it becomes a habit. Never quit!!!
Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.
To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.
The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.
The key to success is failure.
The best come from the worst.
If I had been playing for money I would have complained a long time ago that I was underpaid.
“If it turns out that my best wasn’t good enough, at least I won’t look back and say that I was afraid to try.”
“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
Success isn’t something you chase. It is something you have to put forth the effort for constantly; then maybe it’ll come when you least expect it.
The good part about being famous is being able to help people.
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Among all the causes which degrade and demoralize men, power is the most constant and the most active.
By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.
Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.
Liberty becomes a question of morals more than of politics.
Authority that does not exist for Liberty is not authority but force.
Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control.
The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern: every class is unfit to govern. It is easier to find people fit to govern themselves than people fit to govern others.
A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.
Learn as much by writing as by reading.
At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare.
Men cannot be made good by the state, but they can easily be made bad.
Government rules the present. Literature rules the future.
Moral precepts are constant through the ages and not obedient to circumstances.
There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
Bureaucracy is undoubtedly the weapon and sign of a despotic government, inasmuch as it gives whatever government it serves, despotic power. Bureaucracy tries to establish so many administrative maxims that the minister is as narrowly controlled and guided as the judge.
Towns were the nursery of freedom.
The will of the people cannot make just that which is unjust.
It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority.
A public man has no right to let his actions be determined by particular interests. He does the same thing as a judge who accepts a bribe. Like a judge he must consider what is right, not what is advantageous to a party or class.
Well, here it is in the middle of January, and I am still seeing emails, blog posts, and news stories about “the year that was” and what we wish for the New Year. I read these, always on the lookout for encouraging words, things that will inspire me for the days and months ahead … regardless of the time of year. You just never know where you’ll find that one word that you need that will “take you over the edge” to improving, being better, etc. I’ve also discovered that you just never know who that word, “in season” may come from.
I think of a famous NFL coach who, it seems, after every game, even if they win big, always says, “We need to improve … get better … We’ll go in … look at the film … find ways to improve … find ways to get better…” I know I’ve heard him say that when they were leading by 30 points at half-time … “There’s still some things we need to improve on … do better …”
I think, really, what a great statement that is for us in our Christian walk. Isn’t that what we really want? To have a better, closer relationship with Jesus? To improve, to get better? As we look ahead … tomorrow … the next day … the next day … the whole “New Year,” shouldn’t that be our goal? Let’s face it: Even those days when we “did great,” didn’t we lose our witness at a critical time, even though we had stayed in “prayer/thank you Jesus” mode all day … even on those rare days … there always seems to be at least a couple of times we wish we had said something different, not joked when maybe a Christian thought shared may have been better, or not had a certain thought … you get the idea.
I pray every day, asking God to help me think the right thing, do the right thing, and say the right thing. And, to write the right thing. To stay faithful to His calling, and to His Word.
Well … yet again, I started writing a certain post (had a great title and everything!), and in the middle of the first sentence, God changes it, and here I am, writing something completely different. The way I love to write: Not my hand, but His Heart.
I think God just gave me another great saying!
When I write, let it be His heart, not my hand.
When I think, let it be His thoughts, not my thoughts. I pray every day for Jesus to renew my mind. Philippians 2:5 says to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Let’s not forget who we are in Christ. How powerful it is, when we see ourselves the way Jesus sees us. And, that’s only half of the battle: Perhaps our greatest need … the one which may bring our biggest improvement … is to see others … other people … the way Jesus sees them. If we just grab hold of that … what a difference that would make. Really, if we just did that … see ourselves, and others, the way Jesus does … think of how differently we would think, we would act … and, we would talk!
When I act, let me act like Jesus would. It was on these pages that I made the statement that, perhaps, the “thing” to ask is not “What Would Jesus Do?” but, “What Would Jesus Want Me To Do?” … Don’t worry … already working on developing that one …
My words. Ouch! I don’t know about you, but that’s the one that gets me in trouble the most. Not with students … but, with adults. I have so much joy in my heart that, sometimes, I just get too silly … I mean it … this is my biggest area needing improvement. Maybe. And, I don’t mean “trouble” like getting into trouble, just being too silly, or joking around too much. Deep down, I feel like, if I have a reputation for being a joker, how do I then turn it around and be serious, and witness to these same people? I want them, when they see me, to see Jesus, not a joker. To see Christ, not a clown. How about you? Maybe your words aren’t silly … they are sad … We have all known people, who, when they just walk in the room, they bring everyone down. I need to be more sincere, but that doesn’t mean to be negative. It’s just that I have so much joy, and God has blessed me so much, that it spills over … I need to control that … to improve … to get better. To let my words be His Words.
If I can think better, and can speak better, I will act better. So, if I think like Jesus, see myself and others the way Jesus does, and if I speak like Jesus … then it would have to happen that I would act more like Jesus. What a change this would make in tomorrow … the next day … the next day … the whole year. A successful week is a series of successful days … a successful month is a series of successful weeks … and, you get the idea.
One more thought about words: Proverbs 18:21 is right (of course it’s right!): “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” You just never know how your words may affect others; or, how the words of others may affect you. I wonder if this famous football coach ever thought that his words would be a huge encouragement to Christians around the globe? That God would use his words to spread His Word?
So, for tomorrow … the next day … the next day … the whole Year, let’s follow his advice:
Let’s go in (go to a separate place, away from the crowd, to be alone with God)
Look at the film (Read the Word)
Look for ways to improve (Pray)
Hey! He’s right! If you’ll just do these three things, I guarantee we will all:
Blessings to you, and your family.
Now, and always.
To continue from where we left off … On my bureau/dresser, I have note cards with Scripture, standing up, where I can rotate them, one Scripture at a time, displaying one Scripture verse at a time, which directly “speaks” to something I am specifically praying for, right now.
On Carol’s bureau/dresser, she has the cards laid out, face up … three on one side, and three on the other, which speak to our day-to-day relationship with God. You can read them all at once, or concentrate on just one.
It never struck me until this writing that the two dressers, a room apart, address every reason why we need to read and speak Scripture every day … no matter what we are, or aren’t, going through. Carol has the fundamental, foundational Scriptures which we need, covering every area of our existence, posted where they can be seen. They cover our personal relationship with God, and why we need Him, in every area of our lives, every day. Meanwhile … on my bureau/dresser … I have a specific need/request covered with Scripture verses addressing that particular need/request only. What strikes me now is this: It is that fundamental, foundational relationship with God, which I need every moment of every day, that builds my faith and trust … builds my personal relationship with Him … every day … which gives me the faith and assurance that He will meet my needs and requests … which I have addressed in the “other” set of note cards!
God is so faithful! But, how would we know if we don’t find out for ourselves? It is the daily walk with Him, depending on Him, knowing Him, being led by Him, that proves to us that He really is Who and What His Word says He is. We will never know Him … until we know His Word. That is why it is so important to read His Word, to hear directly from Him, and to speak to Him … every day. This, His Word, is our foundation. A solid foundation, which will hold us up … regardless of what we may face … any day … every day.
It is almost like Carol’s cards are “Stack # 1;” My cards are “Stack # 2.” You can’t go to Card Stack # 2 until you have “dealt with” Card Stack # 1. It is your day-to-day relationship with God-good or bad-which will determine how you handle things that hit you … which would end up in Stack # 2 … the “Emergency” stack. It strikes me now that it is your personal relationship with God which determines how you handle the circumstance … or, whether the circumstance will handle you. How often I have written that it is how you face every day, which determines how you handle the major issues of life. If you don’t depend upon God for everything … then, things will happen which will only leave you, alone, to handle them. I call that certain disaster.
Trust and obey … as the song says … there is no other way … You just can’t know what God has promised … until you know what God has promised! Not what I say, but what He says. You just can’t have a personal relationship … until you have a personal relationship. It is how God gets you through the “day-to-day” … every day … which moves you to trust Him, as you move from your own, personal “Card Stack # 1” to your own, personal “Card Stack # 2,” which will prove that He can be trusted when “the deck” seems to be stacked against you.
I just can’t state strongly enough how important it is for you to read God’s Word every day. To expose yourself to the Word. Every Day. To make every attempt to put your eyes … yes … your eyes … where they will see Scripture promises … God’s Word … where you will see it … every day.
I have written often of how critical … yes-I’ll say it … even life or death important … especially when you are facing a trial or tribulation … to write down specific Scripture verses to read, often, throughout the day … every day. How important it is, when personal trial strikes, to have … in places that you’ll see it … read it … verses that “speak” directly to what you are going through. I know … there are times that the pain, the agony is so deep, that the only thing you have to “cling to,” to “hold to,” are the promises of God. Directly from God’s Word. Not from your friends, not from your neighbor, not from the television, not from the newspaper, but words which “proceed from the mouth of God.” You know that I am not speaking against “Godly counsel;” I’m just stating how important it is to put God’s Word where you will see it … read it … speak it … repeat it … pray over it … constantly, throughout the day.
Wow! This paragraph just “took off” …
This writing is really not about “emergency” reading … but, the lesson is still there … What I am writing about is exposing yourself to God’s Word … when there is not an “issue” you are going through … there is no tragedy or painful circumstance you are facing at the moment … just day-to-day life. Which can be tough enough. I encourage you, plead with you, and implore you to make Bible reading/study and prayer a part of every day of your life. Every day. Don’t wait until something “strikes” all-of-a-sudden, to realize how valuable this encouragement is. We need God’s Word every day, and to pray every day, to keep the most important relationship in our lives going strong. I believe that the best time to read God’s Word, and to pray is first thing in the morning. Often, and I try to do this every morning, as the clock goes off, and I get up and hit the snooze button for the first (of maybe 3 times?) time, I lay there and pray … first thing … before I even get up … I dedicate this day … I dedicate my thoughts, my actions, and my words, to Him … When the second snooze goes off, I ask for His help in my thoughts, actions, and words … the first thing I think of, in the morning, even before I get up, is how to serve Him today … and, the realization that I have no chance of serving Him without His direct help and intervention … See, I need Him every moment, of every day, in every way … or, I’m just not going to make it. Keep in mind this is without having a major “issue” that has kept me awake most of the night … How much more do I need His help and guidance when I am really “going through something?”
I am going into this lengthy explanation because I know people, as you do, who are going through major issues in their life, and they’ve come to you for answers. I don’t have the answers … but, I know, personally, the One who does. I just know that I need to read God’s Word every day, and pray every day. Period. How God uses me is up to Him. But … I have to be ready for any situation … and, the only way that I can do that is to be “in the Word, and in prayer.” Period. I don’t want to wait until I am “in a foxhole” to cry out to Him. I cry out to Him now, even before “something happens.” That is the key. God’s Word and prayer-before something happens.
You need to write down verses that will encourage you, and place them where you will see them often … every day. We all know people who have verses posted on their refrigerators, on their bathroom mirrors, etc. Great! The key is to put these verses-those that mean the most to you-where you will see them … even when you are “not looking.” The refrigerator and mirror is such a great place because you go to these often … every day.
For several months, there was something that I was believing God for. I put a postcard/note card on my car visor with the promise I was believing in … I saw the promise every time I drove the car … I would see the card, then read it … meaning that I was speaking the promise. Of course, the promise came true. It had to! Why? Because I believed in the One who had promised! It was a promise He made … so, it had to come true. It had to!
At some point here, I must get to the “bureau” or “dresser.” My parents called it a bureau. I call it a dresser. It is the … well, you know what it is … and, it is the most important “standing” piece of furniture in your bedroom. It is where all your … well, you know … clothes and accessories are … the important point is that I, and most of us, have no choice but to spend a certain amount of time there, every day, to prepare to go to work, or, before we go anywhere. Whether we are getting dressed, seeing how we look after we are dressed, or anywhere in-between, it is a major focal point of our existence. The point is, that, regardless of how rushed we are, how big a hurry we are in … we always have to “stop” while we are there … I don’t remember much about a lot of details in our home, but I can tell you-exactly-what is on my dresser. And, what is on Carol’s. I can’t remember what I wore to work yesterday, but I can tell you-in detail-what is on our dressers/bureaus. I can also tell you exactly what is, in detail, on our bathroom counter and mirror. And, our dining room table. And, on my truck visor.
Here is the point: For some reason, I really like the idea of the bureau/dresser … it’s because my Bible is there, and I always have note cards, standing up, which I read every time I am there … which is concentrated time, at least a few times a day. And … if, I don’t read them, I always know they are there. I always have a stack, with specific verses to address just exactly what I am going through now, and I just rotate the cards on a daily basis … the cards are always there … they are just as much a part of my furniture as the clock radio … and the Bible …
On Carol’s dresser, it is a little different, as far as the cards are concerned … she is so awesome … they are laid out, individually, covering a large part of the top of the dresser. So, you can read all of the cards at once, or just concentrate on one card. On my dresser, I have the one-card-at-a- time, carefully rotated.
Here is the real point, and please allow me to be used to express this, in the manner intended:
While writing this, I have realized that, in the true “team” concept, I have just been given what is really happening here. On Carol’s dresser, there are verses for the “day-to-day” living … what we strive for every day, as part of our daily dependence on God and His Word.
On my dresser, there are cards, standing up to display one card at a time, which address a specific promise for something that we are going through, what we are “believing for” right now.
But, do I only see my dresser cards?
Well … my dresser doesn’t have a mirror … and, Carol’s dresser does … That’s ok, because my dresser was my Father-in-Law’s, and Carol has her Mother’s dresser … I never want another one … So, what this means is that, often, in order to dress properly … I must stand in front of “Carol’s” dresser, the one with the mirror … which has all of those verses on display … Even as I write this, I can quote the Scriptures on her dresser … I see the note cards almost every day …
I offer this as encouragement to those of you who have a spouse which you are trying to … encourage … even trying to lead to the faith …
Think about it … please … Your spouse knows what is on your dresser … just as much as you do … Let’s say you start leaving “note cards” around where “someone else” may see them …
I can’t tell you how many times I have read, and read again, the note cards with Scripture, which are on Carol’s dresser … Does she know this? I would say that a large percentage of the time, she is not aware that I am reading the note cards … she may be asleep, or out of the room while I read, again and again, the Words written on them … but I read them … often … and it changes me …
I know people who have these note cards posted “everywhere,” and some who have them posted in certain “high traffic” spots … but, I can assure you, both wives and husbands, there is no place where you can post them, where it will be noticed, more personally, than on the bureau or dresser …