A few months ago, I had a stroke and did not even know I was in this world. I finally came to myself in the ICU at the hospital and my wife Joy began to tell me about my very eventful day in the Emergency Room with the Stroke Trauma Team that I knew absolutely nothing about.
In the past several months as I have worked to recover, I have learned many lessons about many things. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is just what a precious gift we have been given with this thing that we call life.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. -1 Corinthians 15:52
One of the most meaningful lessons that I am learning is the preciousness of moments and how careless and flippant I have often been with them in the past by simply taking them for granted.
The reality of this human existence is that we are not guaranteed the next moment and if we don’t get the next moment, then the last moment was it, so we better allow every moment to unfold and learn be grateful for the gifts it brings.
One day last week, I was sitting in our living room and there were toys scattered all over the place. In the middle of the floor was a wooden bowl, spatula and a little car. When I looked at them I smiled inside and out and then began to cry tears of joy as I thought about my Grand Daughter Addi Jo stirring up some “make believe” deliciousness in that bowl and then offering me a bite. I was still getting blessing and joy from the moment even after it passed.
Life is a series of moments strung together by memories, so make sure that you are cherishing each moment as the special gift from God that it is, because we never know when this moment might be our last…
I love watching movies about Kings, Queens, Knights and Explorers. The grand castles, elaborate feasts and adventure of running a kingdom has always been fascinating to me. Another reason that I love these movies is because they paint such a clear picture of good versus evil. A good and noble King or Queen know that they are serving God by serving people and do not take their special position of nobility lightly.
William Shakespeare has King Richard IV Part 2 in act 3, scene 1 speak the following words: “And in the visitation of the winds,who take the ruffian billows by the top, curling their monstrous heads and hanging them with deafening clamour in the slippery clouds,that, with the hurly, death itself awakes? Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy reposeTo the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude, And in the calmest and most stillest night, with all appliances and means to boot,deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down! Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
The sad reality is that most of us have lost this idea of nobility, of being grateful for our blessings and using our blessings to be a blessing to others. We have allowed ourselves to get caught up in a “dog eat dog” world, where we believe that the ends justify the means, even if the means goes against everything we believe in. And the greatest tragedy in all of this is that people are not happier or more fulfilled and certainly not satisfied.
We have become so full of ourselves that we have become empty of anything meaningful. We have allowed the enemy to convince us that we are competing against one another for blessing and this is simply just not true. There is plenty of blessing for everyone of us and the way to blessing is not to get it all for yourself, but to take what you have been blessed with and be a blessing to others.
Jesus put it this way in Matthew 5:1-12 “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
These “Beatitudes” are the attitudes that will help us to live the life we were created for, so that we might experience the flow of blessing into and through our life and living. The only person that you need to try and be better than is the person you were yesterday! Put this into practice and you will discover that life is a gift that keeps on giving and begin to understand that not all who wander are lost…
Most of my days, now a days are pretty good. Looking back on my life from this vantage point makes me realize that most of my days have always been pretty good, but I often failed to see it and appreciate it, because I was too easily distracted by stuff that really was not that important, stuff that I often made a big deal out of, but that in the grand scheme of things, stuff that really didn’t matter.
Grudges will often cause us to miss the blessing of a good day. We trade away our happiness to hold onto resentment, judgment and condemnation. The real tragedy is that this is often with people that we say we love and care for. How sad to waste the beautiful gift of happiness by not taking time to appreciate and enjoy all that God has blessed us with. When I hold my 6 month old Grand daughter Addi Jo close in my embrace, everything else just seems to fade away, helping to remind me that there is what I think matters and what really matters and they are often miles a part.
An unwillingness to say “I’m Sorry!“ or to receive an “I’m Sorry!” can steal our joy and keep us from the day and life of blessing we were created for. Forgiveness does bless the other person by setting them free, but it also blesses you by keeping you from becoming enslaved in misery that loves company. If we mess up, then we need to admit it, learn from it and grow on. If others mess up, then we need to do our best to love them through it and if they are making any progress what so ever, then acknowledge and appreciate that by blessing them and giving God the glory.
Selfishness and greed can cause us to focus on ourselves and miss the blessing of the others that God has placed around us to make our life more special. The Scriptures teach that nothing really belongs to us, but that it all belongs to God. Anything we have been blessed with has been entrusted to us so that we, like God can be a blessing to others. The real joy of having is sharing, but we often miss it, because we convince ourselves that we’ve deserved it or earned it, because some how we are special, but the truth is: Anything we have has been given to us by God and not because we as so special, but because He is so gracious and He is offering us an opportunity to choose grace over grudge and live at a higher level by being a blessing to others for His glory.
Focusing on the negative and ignoring the positive can flat out drain us of the power that allows us to live blessed, fulfilled and happy. This one is so tough for most of us, because we live in a world that is constantly trying to manipulate and program us with the negative. We do have a choice and our choice is our super power, if we choose positivity over negativity. The flat out truth is that negativity is a choice we make that robs us of the people, places and things that really matter.
Mistakes made by ourselves or others, often become walls that imprison us from the world of blessing and lock us away in our own personal misery. The reality is that we all make mistakes. Look back on your life and you will discover many that you have conveniently forgotten about. When we remember our own mistakes, we tend to have a little more love, grace and mercy toward others.
The older I get, the more I realize that life is too short to waste my days away on stuff that really does not matter. Who said what or did what are really very small things when it comes to choosing to live the blessed life. I mean honestly: What grudge can you think of that has ever really been meaningful in your life in a positive and life blessing way??? Grudges are a waste of life, time and space.
Laughter is a gift from God that expresses the joy that flows from an inward place of contentment that can only come from being who, what, when, when and who God has created me to be and that is not a grudge holding, judgmental, miserable and unforgiving person.
If you do wrong, own it, by apologizing for it and then letting go and moving on. When others do wrong, forgive them, let it go and move on, regardless of their apologizing or not. The key is that we were created for freedom and the reason that most of us don’t live in freedom, is because we live in self constructed prisons of our own creation.
The older I get, the more I realize that God allows me to make mistakes so that I can learn from them. Looking back, I really can see how failures, mistakes and sins have been my greatest instructors and motivators in growing to become the person God created me to be.
I am learning that people change. In fact, we change everyday and it is up to us to decide if it is going to be change for bad or change for good. There are some things that are beyond our control, sometimes life throws you a curve and their is very little you can do about it, but miss it, fail and if you are smart, learn from it.
In the end, when it is all said and done and our life here on this earth is done, there is one truth that remains the same for all eternity and that truth is: LIFE GOES ON!