A Majority of One

A man with courage is a majority. Thomas Jefferson

It's amazing what a little courage can do. Courage has the power to win battles. It has the power to overcome all obstacles. It has the power, once employed, to turn a thousand fearful, sleepless nights into nights of restful bliss. 

Courage allows you to "pop the question". It allows you to try out for and make the team. It allows you to stand before large audiences, or before that pretty girl or cute guy. 

Courage changes your life, but it requires two essential ingredients: One is God, the other is trust.

And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. "Come here", he said, "and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field." David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord God Almighty..." I Samuel 17:43-45, NIV

Do you remember who won?

Do you have any giants in your life that need facing? God will give you courage. You need but to trust and obey!

 

A Little Good News

How I want to hear the anchor man talk about a county fair... how everybody learned to care... and everybody loves everybody in the good old U.S.A... we sure could use a little good news today.

Anne Murray

I was listening to the news some time ago talking about a 5.9 earthquake back east. They had to evacuate the White House and the Pentagon. An anchor man walked through a store in Virginia and described it as a wasteland. He told of the paper goods strewn all about. He described the carnage of coke bottles lying broken on the floor. To emphasize the devastation, he even showed the nation the sticky bottom sides of his shoes.

Oh, the humanity!!

As I was wondering how pathetic we must all be to make that big of a fuss over such a minor incident, it dawned on me: If this was the most serious problem we had in America that day, it was a pretty good day.

Then I realized that every day is a pretty good day. It's true we have problems - sometimes very serious problems, but we have a lot of things that are going very, very well for us each day. If you are surrounded by family and friends who love you, what do you really have to complain about?

God is in Heaven, and He is genuinely concerned about what goes on in our lives every day. He listens to our prayers, He showers blessings upon our lives, and He is taking us home to be with Him forever, if we will just do our best to serve Him in His way.

It's the very thing that Christ came into this world to proclaim to His precious friends. That's pretty good news, is it not?

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord."

John 2:10-11, NIV 

 

A Legacy of Kindness

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. 

Aesop

His name was Brent Hodges and he contracted Polio when he was an infant. He had known pain his entire life, and had spent most of his adulthood in a wheel chair. Many would look at Brent and say that he would not be expected to do anything because of his handicap, but they would be wrong. You see, Brent was not handicapped.

A number of years ago, Brent went to school and learned how to use the computer. He and his sweet parents realized that this was an area where Brent was on an equal footing with everyone else. In fact Brent was head and shoulders above the vast majority of the world, having learned to use a computer when most people hardly even knew what one looked like.

But, it’s not Brent’s technical genius that I wanted to tell you about today - it’s what he did with it. You see, Brent probably didn't have a single day of his existence that he had not experienced pain. But rather than being bitter about his hard lot in life, Brent became acutely aware of the suffering of others. So, whenever some friend or acquaintance became ill, Brent would fire up his old computer and create his famous giant “get well” banners. He would then bring those banners to worship services so that everyone at church could sign it. Then, he would present this symbol of love to a soul that he knew needed cheering up.

Does that sound like a “handicapped” man to you?

Brent has gone on to his reward now - his polio finally caught up to him.  But Brent has left behind a legacy of kindness that will not soon be forgotten. He, like so many others, did what he could and left his mark. It's our turn now, so let us all do the best we can to leave behind our own legacy of kindness. Not everyone will notice, of course, but that's really not the point, is it? 

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…

I Peter 4:10, NIV

 

An Ideal World

When I grew up and found the world wasn't always the pleasant place I had thought it would be, I unconsciously decided if it wasn't an ideal world, it should be. And so I painted it that way. Norman Rockwell

What is it that makes certain men stand out from their peers? In the case of Norman Rockwell it's clear that his fame came at least in part from his enormous talent, but thousands of obscure painters whose work the world has never seen have had similar ability. The thing that made Norman Rockwell without equal in his niche of the art world was in his outlook on life: He genuinely liked people and he loved God. We don't have to read these facts in some sort of biography on Rockwell - we see them prominently displayed on the canvas of his paintings.

How about our lives: Do we genuinely like people and love God? Would we have to make some sort of announcement to that effect in order for others to be aware of these things? The fact is that if we truly love both our fellow man and our Lord, then the canvas of our lives will clearly reveal these things.

If we should find ourselves coming to the uncomfortable conclusion that we do not live in a ideal world, then maybe we should do something about it. It begins with letting our lights shine for the Master. What kind of picture are you painting for the whole world to see?

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. 

Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 5:14-16, NIV

 

A Higher Standard

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself.

Henry Ward Beecher

One of my favorite stories is of a young man who held a door open for a woman who, as it turned out, was very sold on the women's lib movement. The woman glared at the man and said, "I hope you're not holding that door open for me because you think I'm a lady!" "No, Ma'm", came the polite reply, "I'm holding the door open for you because I am a gentleman."

I enjoy this story for several reasons, but the main one is that it teaches something about holding ourselves to a higher standard than others may expect of us. Whether it is something as simple and refreshing as common courtesy, or something as critical as a high standard of integrity, our personal standards must be absolute and uncompromising.

It's important that our standards are exercised on the basis of being the right thing to do, rather than impressing the right people at the time. In other words, a gentleman will treat every woman as a lady, rather than try to ascertain her worthiness when it comes to courtesy.

Character, as someone so aptly phrased it, is who you are when you think no one else is looking. If we are in the habit of a high standard of conduct, we will be honest, hardworking and thoughtful as a matter of course instead of as a matter of convenience. It is when we reach this level of character, that we truly become what God has intended for each one of His dearly loved children: A servant worthy of the task to which we have been called.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Philippians 1:27, NIV