Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Remedy for Irritability

When Dr. F. B. Meyer was young, he was often negative and irritable. One day an elderly saint told him how he had gained victory over irritability in his own life. "When irritation rises in my heart, I look up and say, 'Your sweetness, Lord!'"  Meyer said he tried this practice and it worked for him!

The great evangelist explained the best way to counter unhelpful thoughts and attitudes, is breathing a prayer of replacement.

For falsehood -- your truth, Lord.
For unkindness -- your kindness, Lord.
For impatience -- your patience, Lord.
For selfishness -- your unselfishness, Lord.
For roughness -- your gentleness, Lord.
For discouragement -- your courage, Lord.
For resentment -- your sweetness, Lord.

The cycle of negative thought patterns can be broken by calling to heaven for positive reinforcements.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Live Like a Dandelion

I love dandelions! Call me crazy.  Call me lazy.  Call me a weed lover all you want --I Iove dandelions.  I used to hate 'em, but now I love 'em.

Why in the world would I have an affinity for such pesky plants? Because they are a splendid illustration of how to live!

1. You can't keep a good dandelion down.
Try all you want, those little yellow flowers keep popping up all over the place. Weed eaters, lawn mowers, and even poisons don't phase them. They just keep coming back. Dandelion people are like that too.

When the setbacks and disappointments come, they refuse to cave into discouragement. They do not allow the circumstance to get the best of them. These folks figure out a way through the problem.

Instead of complaining about how bad the situation is, they figure out ways to make things better. Whatever comes -- they will always find a way to bounce back. You can count on it!

2. Dandelions add color to the landscape.

Isn't it boring to have a lawn of only one color? Just think -- dandelions are God's tools to brighten our day.  Think of those little yellow flowers as gifts! 

Dandelion People color the landscape too. They draw out the best in others, adds "spice" to life and bring joy wherever they go (others bring joy when they go!)

3. Dandelions don't play favorites.
They show up everywhere! I've seen them in gardens, sidewalk cracks, country roads, city streets, pastures, mansion lawns, and humble dwellings.

They don't seem to mind whose yard they inhabit. They're not "too good" for anybody. Dandelion people are like that too. They're not cliquish, and are willing to relate with people from all walks of life.

Will Rogers, a classic dandelion guy, said, "I never met a man I didn't like." You can find some good in everybody!

4. Dandelions are genuine.
When my daughter, Hannah, was five years old, she brought me a beautiful gift -- a dandelion!

It was a gesture of genuine love on her part. Nothing plastic or fake about this. She found a pretty flower and wanted to share it with her daddy.

I wore it behind my ear for the rest of the afternoon. Every parent can relate to the little glass of dandelions which sits on the window sill in our kitchen -- a bouquet representing the sincere love of a child.

5. Dandelions rise above it
Perhaps the thing I like most about dandelions is how they keep reaching new heights!

They know how to rise above the situation. Regardless of how tall the grass is -- the dandelions grow taller! You can pound them, cut them, and even steam roll them, but they keep popping back up.

Dandelion people rise above it as well. Their positive "can-do" spirit empowers them to move beyond any obstacle. Attitude, indeed, makes a terrific difference. Your attitude determines your outlook on life.

In once sense, dandelions are better than roses. I shared this thought with my friend Pastor Ben Drown, and he responded with an impromptu poem "Roses bloom, then fade away. Dandelions come back every day."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Do You Need a Refresher Course in Preschool?

Grown ups frequently forget the valuable lessons they learned as youngsters.  Maybe we all ought to go back to preschool for a refresher.  If we did that, here are a few important words we'd learn to say again:

1. Please.

So often, people make selfish demands of other people, forgetting that gentle requests are far more productive than dictates and ultimatums.
Just think how pleasant our world would be, if we all treated each other with courtesy and respect.  "Would you please. . ." goes much further than "You'd better. . . or else!"

2. Thank You.
Ingratitude is at the heart of most misery. Your emotional and spiritual health is directly linked to the level of thankfulness in your life.  If you go around thinking that "life owes you", your unhappiness is guaranteed. Gratiude at the root, produces joy as the fruit.

3. I'm Sorry.
A measure of maturity is how we own and admit our mistakes. Whenever we've hurt someone, intentionally or without realizing, we must go back and try to make amends.

Saying the actual words, "I'm sorry" is the first step towards healing in a fractured relationship. A failure to admit failure is the greatest failure of all!  Generally speaking, an offended person will be reconclied with a humble, heartfelt, honest apology.  Of course, the mere words, "I'm sorry", don't mean too much if they are not followed with appropriate action.  I recall my mother saying, "Sorry is as sorry does."

4. I Forgive You.
Forgiveness is difficult, but essential. It isn't "letting the other person off the hook", as much as it is
"letting ourselves off the hook of bitterness."  

Small children have a beautiful way of making up after a conflict. They can have a spat one minute, and then, get over it and be best buddies the next. Wouldn't it be great if we grown ups could learn to let our offenses go like that?

Yes, I think every grown up ought to go back every few years for a continuing education course in preschool.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Summer Residents

little flowers
familiar strangers
we have not learned each others' names
but that's alright
we smile the same
and give a friendly nod and wave
whene'er we pass
because they're summer residents

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Holiness and Soap

Holiness, like soap, doesn’t do much good until applied! You can keep it in a box, philosophize about it, and debate its merits at length, without ever getting around to using it. 

Soul cleansing is like taking a shower. If you skip a day, you’ll be the only one to notice. If you skip a week, your family will notice. If you skip a month, everybody will notice!

Using soap is, indeed, much better than merely discussing it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Take Time for the Important Stuff

Sometimes life seems like an exercise bicycle – we spin our wheels furiously and never seem to get anywhere. Often, we are caught up in a rat race of hectic schedules and deadlines. We become some busy with the urgent that we forget the more important things of life.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone, including you, would stop right now and appreciate the small, but precious gifts each moment brings? Take time for them and they will deliver much joy.

Take Time To Listen: Most of us are self-centered. We need to step back from ourselves and lend a listening ear to others. God has given you two ears and one mouth. They should be used in that proportion.

Take Time to Learn: Life is a classroom always in session. Never stop learning about your world, your God, your friends and yourself. A living brain is a learning brain. Keep the “learning switch” on all day long and you will make many exciting discoveries!

Take Time To Laugh: Laughter is medicine for the soul. Show me a person who doesn't laugh and I’ll show you a miserable scrooge. How long has it been since you've had a good laugh? If it’s been a while, I urge you to stop whatever you’re doing and “go hunting” for something to laugh about. Funny things aren't too hard to find if you look for them.

Take Time To Live: Some folks are so involved with the business of “surviving”, that they forget to live. We all need to relax and enjoy the journey. Take time for a wide variety of experiences. Meet new friends. Travel. Take a long hike. Join a new organization. Do something unusual every day. Live life to the fullest!

Take Time to Love: Loving and giving bring a sense of destiny to life. When we love, we are doing what matters most. Take time to express how much you cherish your family. Say “I love you” often. Time invested in building relationships is never wasted. The greatest waste is to live without loving.

Take the time for life’s most important matters, and your life will be packed full of joyful surprises! Spread love and cheer to others and they will return the favor.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Don't Let Troubles Trouble You

Don't let troubles trouble you. Problems are opportunities in disguise!

Some of us are blessed with dozens of such opportunities. Perhaps you would like give a few of them to somebody else.

We shouldn't really think it's strange when trials come. That's merely a part of the human condition. Trouble comes to everybody. Jesus Christ, himself, said, "In this world, you WILL have tribulation."

The more responsibility you have, the more difficulty you will encounter. If your life is full of struggles, it means you are doing something right. A wise old bard once said, "You know when you are on the road to success -- it's uphill all the way!"

The other day I thought I would drive to a place in town where there were no troubles. I couldn't go to the hospital -- problems there. I couldn't go to the bank -- problems there. Couldn't go to church either -- problems there. The only place I could find where the people didn't have problems was Greenwood Cemetery! The only way you won't have problems is if you're pushing up daisies!

Problems, then, aren't really problems at all. They're just facts of life. Let's just roll up our sleeves and deal with them.

How do we overcome the troubles when they come, instead of allowing them to overwhelm us?

1. Change Your Vocabulary!
Instead of calling them "problems", why not try "challenges". Instead of marriage problems, you simply have a few marital challenges! Instead of a "problem child", you have a parenting challenge. Instead of 'trouble at work", you have a challenging job! Somehow, it feels better to call them challenges instead of problems. The new term adds a fresh dimension of hope.

2. Get on the Solution Side.
Problems have a tendency to suck us into a negative cycle, draining away our emotional energy and strength. The best course of action is to get on the solution side. Instead of focusing on the problem, start looking for the solution. Any pea brain can point out the things that are wrong. Being a fault-finder is no sign of intelligence. Here's my challenge -- rise above the ordinary! Ordinary people point out the problems. Extraordinary people find the answers! You can find the answer if you are persistent and keep on looking!

3. Consider the Faith Factor.
I.O. + A.G. = U.O. Translated: Impossible Odds plus Almighty God equals an Unbelievable Outcome!

God is bigger than any problem you have! When you have faith, the "tight place" opens into the "right place."

Beware the pathway that has no obstacles. It won't get you anywhere. Nobody has ever coasted to greater heights.