A Good Name

A good name is more desirable than great riches.

King Solomon

A number of years ago, a young woman by the name of Nellie was hired as a domestic servant for a well to do family. Prior to Nellie’s first day on the job, her new employer contacted the woman for whom Nellie had worked previously. She found that Nellie had been a good cook and was good with children, but was somewhat sloppy in appearance and was not always thorough in cleaning the house.

Nellie’s new boss called her in and told her what she had learned from the old employer. She added, however, that she didn’t believe it when she said Nellie was sloppy and a poor housekeeper. She told Nellie that it was clear by her neat appearance that she was not sloppy and, furthermore, she was quite confident that Nellie would prove to keep a very tidy house.

And Nellie did!

The truth was that Nellie had been sloppy in both appearance and housekeeping for her old employer, but was the exact opposite for the new one… but why? The reason was that Nellie had now been given a good name to live up to and she was going to do everything she could to live up to that good name.

When you think about it, we have a lot in common with Nellie. Prior to becoming Christians, we had some pretty sloppy habits which we were not too proud of. But now our circumstances are quite different. When we became Christians we were literally given a good name and, like Nellie, we need to do everything in our power to live up to that good name that we are now so privileged to wear.

You were taught, with regard to your former life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV

 

A Fond Farewell to Superfan

Why can't we get all the people in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to stay good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos. Charles M. Schulz

Today, we say goodbye to Superfan. Everyone from Happy, as well as anyone who watches high school sports in the Panhandle, knows exactly who I am talking about. For the last dozen years or so, Kelly Yowell has been the heart and soul of the Happy Cowboys Football team. Kelly shows up for each and every game in full "Superfan" mode. With black and gold face paint, cowboy hat, shoulder pads and a five gallon drum filled with ball bearings, Kelly leads the "boys" out of the tunnel and then spends the entire game exhorting them on to play their best.

In addition to his Superfan/Hero duties on Friday nights, Kelly helps keep the city of Happy running. Kelly can be seen just about everywhere,from serving on the volunteer fire and ambulance crews, to replacing rusty water lines, to painting the city fire hydrants gold and black. 

Behind every great man is a great woman, and Superfan is no exception. Kelly's wife Dee has also been a full time community servant and always seems to have a smile for everyone she meets. Without Dee, there would be no Superfan.

So to Superfan, and to Mrs. Superfan, Happy will miss you more than you could know. You will be in our thoughts and prayers. And, when our boys make it to State, we look forward to seeing you again, with your black and gold face paint, your cowboy hat, your shoulder pads, your drum filled with ball bearings, and you sweet wife who always seems to have that smile for everyone she meets.

You will be missed!

May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.

Genesis 31:49, NIV 

 

An Appointment with Happiness  

Suppose a man had an appointment a hundred miles north of his home, and if he kept it he would be sure of having happiness and prosperity. He has just enough time to get there, just enough gas in his car. He drives out, but he decides that it would be more fun to go 25 miles south before starting in earnest. Nonsense, isn't it? Dorothea Blande

This quote from Dorothea Blande's book, "Wake up and Live", sadly sums up the lives of far too many people. They know what they need to do to have happiness, but they don't do it. Then, strange as it may seem, they are genuinely surprised when they miss out on the contentment that they so earnestly desire. I'm sure glad that I'm not that dumb - aren't you?

The fact is that most of the failures I have had in my life have not come from a lack of knowledge. Instead, they have resulted from a lack of effort and commitment. The truth is that when things are really important to me I do them, and when they are not, I don't. We might have what seem to be legitimate excuses for not accomplishing the important things but the harsh reality is that we cannot reap that which we have not sown.

I suppose there are few areas in life that we make more excuses for than in our service to God. We haven't become a Christian yet because we want to study some more. We didn't go to worship last week because we felt a cold coming on. We don't study more because no one can really understand the Bible.  If we are honest, however, we have to admit that the reason we haven't become a Christian yet is because we don't want to. The reason we didn't go to church last week (if we were healthy enough to go anywhere else important) was because we didn't want to. The reason we don't study more is because we  don't want to. But...

We do have Heaven waiting for us if we truly want to go. We know this is true for God so loved us that He allowed His only begotten Son to die in our place. If you and I want something as tremendous as service to God and Christ (as well as the happiness that service brings) then we will have to do something about it. And, if we don't, we won't! Do you?

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22, NIV

 

An Abundant Life

It matters not how long we live, but how. Bailey

We are sometimes way too concerned with our health to enjoy life. Too often, we fear that we will come down with some dreaded disease that will cut our life short. So we exercise and read up on healthy lifestyles and visit our doctors on a regular basis - all good things to be sure - but if it is long life only for the sake of long life that we seek, then we are wasting our time. It's what we do with our time that counts, not the amount.

There are far too many people who are so concerned with having good health in order to enjoy life, that they simply forget to. They spend hours on calorie counters and exercise programs and the latest diet craze. They obsess over their blood pressure and their blood sugars and even the thickness of their blood, but they forget to live in a way that actually stirs the blood.

They read the doctor's columns in the newspapers, and listen with rapt attention to the physicians on the radio and television, just to find out if they might possess some symptom that will foreshadow their sure and impending doom. But they forget to turn to the Great Physician's Book of Life to find out how to really live. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing improper with seeking good physical health (it is both reasonable and prudent) it's just that it's not the main thing.

The fact is that this physical life is just the beginning (not the sum total) of our existence. We are eternal beings created by a loving Father for an abundant life, not temporal creatures with a few skimpy years of uncertain duration. When our lives are properly viewed through a spiritual lens, we realize that we are not getting one day older. It is the spirit that your physical body houses that makes you, you, so why not concentrate on the quality of your years here, rather than the quantity? Christ came that we might have an abundant life, so why not enjoy it to the fullest? Such a life of abundance begins by living for Him! If we will spend our life in His service, He will give us all the time we need here. And then, eternity!

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. Jesus 

John 10:10, NKJV

 

A Matter of Perspective

Two men looked out from prison bars. One saw the mud, the other stars.  

Anonymous

A number of years ago, Dale Carnegie shared the story of Thelma Thompson. Thelma was married to a man in the military who was stationed near the desert. She hated the sand, she hated the fact that she was stuck home alone, she hated that her only neighbors were the native Indians who did not speak her language. She was lonely and she was tired and she had had enough.

Thelma wrote to her father that she was at the end of her rope and was ready to return home. Her father quickly replied with a letter consisting of two lines - "Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw mud, the other stars". These two lines changed her life, so she began to do what people always must do when confronted with adverse circumstances: She did what she could.

Thelma began to take a closer look at the desert. She discovered sea shells in those desert sands left from an age gone by. She got to know the Indian women, showing a genuine interest in their activities. She noticed the craftsmanship in the pottery that these Indian women made, and these gracious women began to make special gifts to her because of her appreciation. She began to see just how lovely the sunrises and sunsets were in the desert, and looked forward to each passing day.

In short, she began to look for the beauty in the desert, and she found it. She began to look for beauty in the people, and she found it. She began to look for beauty in all of God's creation, and she found it. Note that the desert, her neighbors and her circumstances did not change. It was when her perspective changed that her life changed - from a miserable existence, to one of admiration, appreciation and thankfulness.

What circumstance in our lives would not be improved with such a transformation? If you or I should find ourselves in unbearable circumstances, perhaps it is time for a change of perspective.

Rejoice in the Lord, always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4, NIV