The Gratitude List

Like most mornings, I started today with a cup of coffee and my Bible. While I was reading, I thought about God’s wonderful deeds for mankind, and my lack of gratitude:

 

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

~Psalm 107:8-9

This morning I give thanks to these people I’ve never met:

  • Thomas Edison for the light that shines about my head.
  • Benjamin Franklin for the glasses I wear.
  • The Wright brothers and their work in the field of aviation.
  • Charles Babbage, the Father of Computers
  • James Watt for his inventive mind that gave us the steam engine.
  • Alexander Bell who gave the first truly functional telephone.
  • Galileo because his genius improved accuracy of the compass; without which I’d still be lost in the wilderness.
  • Henry Ford and his “moving assembly line” which allowed for the mass production of automobiles.
  • Willis Carrier for the air conditioning that I enjoy during the hot and humid summer days.

Expressing gratitude and giving thanks are themes that run throughout the pages of the Bible. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote: I thank God . . .  as I remember you 2constantly in my prayers night and day (1:3).

I encourage you to mimic Paul: Take some time today to reflect on the past year; express your gratitude, and say thanks to those who have helped you along the way and made your life a little easier.

Second Hand News

timeThe rhythmic and timely sound of a ticking second hand has been hushed by the advance of technology and the proliferation of digital watches. The value of a second isn’t found in its sound but in the action that transpires within this brief span of time that’s 1/86400th of a day and 1/60th of a minute.

Most people don’t give a second thought to the length of a second, but something unusual will happen on New Year’s Eve. When clocks strikes midnight in England, the final minute of 2016 will be 61 seconds long to adjust the world clock to the correct time.

Just how important is a second?

  • If you’re an astronaut it’s important since the speed of light travels at 18600 feet per second ( At the speed of light, the moon is about 1.5 seconds from the earth)
  • If you like hot rods, you know that a fraction of a second is the difference between winning and losing at the drag strip.
  • If you play baseball, one second is the time it takes for a baseball to leave the pitcher’s hand, get hit by the batter, and then be line-driven back to the pitcher.
  • Beekeepers think of one second as the time it takes for a honey bee to flap its wings 200 times.
  • One second is the amount of the time it takes for the earth to receive 48,600,000,000kw of energy form the sun (kilowatt = 1000 watts).

What is one second?  It’s the time it takes to say three words: “Goodbye and Hello.” When you bid farewell to 2016 and roll out the welcome mat to 2017, I hope you’ll take a second to turn a frown into a smile; change a bad impulse into a good one; and to say a simple “God bless you” to the person who is on your heart and in your mind.

Psalm 90:12: Teach us to number our days carefully, so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts 

Goodbye to the Prince, the Princess, and the Greatest

armedandsexyleia-officialpixAmong the many events that have happened during 2016, the most important to some people was the death of the idol they adored; for some it was a singer named Prince, for others it was the death of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and boxing fans had to bid farewell to The Greatest—Muhammad Ali. There was also the death of an author who was less heralded than these whose obituaries were printed in newspapers from the East coast to the West.

While he was well-known in some circles, Jerry Bridges, the author, did not have the notoriety of the Prince and the Princess, but he did know The Greatest One who is greater than any other; and, Bridges had found what proves to be elusive to some—the secret of peace and contentment.

Bridges was a prolific writer who said: “The Bible is full of God’s promises to provide for us spiritually and materially, to never forsake us, to give us peace in times of difficult circumstances, to cause all circumstances to work together for our good, and finally to bring us safely home to glory. Not one of those promises is dependent upon our performance. They are all dependent on the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ.”

The words of the Princess are a stark contrast to those of Bridges: “I knew better than I knew anything that what happens with stardom, with fame, is it goes away, and it leaves you in a humiliated space (Carrie Fisher 2006).”

Fisher’s assessment on life, reminds me of Solomon’s wisdom: Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Lord should be praised above all others. ~Proverbs 31:30

It’s a simple truth that this world offers nothing akin to genuine contentment.  Your health and wealth can vanish in a moment; fame is fickle; and the bright lights of Hollywood and Broadway fade away.

“Real contentment,” Warren Wiersbe said, “must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us.”  The “within” that Wiersbe spoke of is “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, and will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

If you’re restless, and feel as though there is a void in your life, I encourage you to give God’s peace a chance.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

Resolute Resolutions

ResolutionsChristmas is now past, and the sights and scents of the season have been crowded into the pages of history by the hopeful sounds of labor pains announcing the imminent birth of a new year.  Among these sounds are the voices of the optimistic and determined who announce their resolutions for the new year.

Some will achieve the goals they’ve set for 2017, while the not so resolute will bury theirs beneath the dust pile of defeat.  A few words from the wise might hint at the difference between the two:

  • Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday. ~Napoleon Hill
  • For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” ~Steve Jobs
  • Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, planned for success. Before he left his office at the end of the day, he would jot down the top three things he wanted to accomplish the next day.
  • The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tony Robbins has said that the key to directing your life, is to recognize and control your consistent actions: It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.

To reach your goals, I suggest you need to perceive to achieve:  Identify what you are already doing, and use it as a cue to prompt the appropriate action. Your daily routine is a good example:

  • After I pour my first cup of coffee, I will walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes.
  • Before I take my shower, I will do 10 pushups.
  • While I am eating breakfast, I will _____________.
  • When I take my coffee break, I will ____________.
  • Before I go to bed I will read ____ pages in a book.

If you are considering resolutions and goals to help you change and rearrange your life, I applaud your effort and leave you with two more quotes to serve as motivators:

  • Arthur Ashe: Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
  • Thomas Edison: Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Let us search out and examine our ways,
and turn back to the Lord. ~Lamentations 3:40

The Fortunate Few

I consider myself to be among the fortunate few.  This self-categorization is due to the fact that I have been blessed with two good dads.

After my father, Eddie Seymour, died a tragic and untimely death in 1965, my mother remarried; and, Bob Saferite, the man I affectionately call “Pop” became dad #2.  Even though he died in 2009, I remember him on this 27th day of December, the day of his birth.

The article below is an excerpt from a post I made in 2011.

Dateline  21 August,1944:  Second Lieutenant Robert L. Saferite….  shot down over France….captured by enemy forces…. fullsizerender

After completing 38 missions and 100 combat hours  flying a P 47, Pop was shot down, captured,and force marched to Germany.  On the way to the German POW camp known as Stalagluf #1 his feet froze.  He spoke very little of the hardships he endured as a POW.  On May 1, 1945, he and fellow POWs were liberated by the Russians.

Pop always had a strong love for flying, and on his 80th birthday, the members of S Troop (the blended Saferite and Seymour clan) pooled their money and bought him some flight time in a T-6 Texan.  Pop hadn’t lost his touch as a pilot, and when he took the controls of the plane he did a few loops and rolls..

I’ve been fortunate, in that,  I learned some valuable lessons from both of my dads.  My father told me more than once, that: Any job worth doing is worth doing right.  And, Pop would remind me: A man is only as good as his word.

As I think about Pop today, I do so with a great deal of love and gratitude, and I say: I still feel the touch of the pilot who guided me for the larger portion of my life.

Happy birthday!

 

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