Category Archives: grace

The Amazing Gift Of Life!

We Are Blessed!

We have been given this amazing gift that we call life that most of us have the privilege of living, learning and loving for seventy, eighty, ninty plus years. Yes, it is filled with ups and downs, challenges and victories, but isn’t that one of the things that makes it such an amazing adventure.

Stop And Think About What A Wonderful Gift This Life Is.

I think one of the great tragedies of this life is that we often get so distracted by the living it, that we miss out on what an amazing gift it is. To get up in the morning and see the sunrise. To walk outside in the cool breeze and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. To hear the songs that the birds make, to see the play of squirrels and to taste something we like and be transported back to a special time, place and memory. There are so many incredible gifts that we are given as a part of this gift of life and what a tragedy that we are usually so distracted that we miss them and waste away our days.

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER…

One of my favorite teachers and mentors was Leo Buscaglia, He used to tell the story, which he discovered in the Journal Of Humanistic Psychololgy of a dying 85 year old man imagining “How he would’ve lived his life differently if given the chance.” You can also find the story in Leo’s book: “Living, Loving & Learning”. The old man said:

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I wouldn’t try to be so perfect. I would relax more. I’d limber up. I’d be sillier than I’ve been on this trip. In fact, I know very few things that I would take so seriously, I’d be crazier. I’d be less hygienic. I’d take more chances, I’d take more trips, I’d climb more mountains, I’d swim more rivers, I’d watch more sunsets, I’d go more places I’ve never been to. I’d eat more ice cream and fewer beans. I’d have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.

You see I was one of those people who lived prophylactically and sensibly and sanely hour after hour and day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had it to do all over again, I’d have more of those moments. In fact, I’d try to have nothing but beautiful moments- moment by moment by moment.

I’ve been one of those people who never went anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had to do it all over again, I’d travel lighter next time. If I had to do it all over again, I’d start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I’d ride more merry-go-rounds, I’d watch more sunrises, and I’d play with more children, if I had my life to live over again. But you see, I don’t.”

Think Of All The Things We Have The Opportunity To Enjoy.

I challenge you today to not wait until it is too late. Start right now enjoying all the blessings that this incredible gift of life offers to you. Spend time with people who help you discover the better version of yourself. Don’t just drink that cup of whatever, but savor it and enjoy it’s flavor. Don’t just eat food to eat, but enjoy the flavor and texture of every bite. Don’t just touch, but when you touch make sure that you feel and are felt. This life is God’s gift to you and what you do with it is your gift back to God – enjoy every moment.

Count Your Blessings!

One of the best ways I know to make sure that we are getting the most out of the amazing gift called life is to count our blessings. To actually make and take the time to think about what we are thankful for. To express our thanksgiving out loud as an acknowledgement of appreciation that we get it and are grateful.

When we really begin to get that this life is an amazing gift and we really get grateful for the gift that it is – life takes on a whole new meaning and living becomes an amazing adventure. I pray that we all get this sooner, rather than later…

Don’t Worry – Be Happy!

In the late 80’s Bobby McFerrin came out with a catchy little tune with a great message that we couldn’t help but join in and sing a long to a great little reminder: “Don’t Worry Be Happy!

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Here’s a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy.

In every life we have some trouble. But when you worry you make it double. Don’t worry, be happy. Don’t worry, be happy now

Chorus:

Don’t worry! (Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) Be happy
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry, be happy.
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) be happy.
(Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh) don’t worry, be happy…

We find this same message in the Scriptures and it is certainly a lesson worth learning. It is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible, because with God’s help, all things are possible. We just have to learn to get out of the way and allow His power and wisdom to flow to and through our lives.

“6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7

In just two verses we find an incredible instructions with an amazing promise for those who are disciplined enough to put these Scriptures into practice.

BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING!

The first thing the Scriptures teach us, are to “Be anxious for nothing!” In other words: Don’t worry about anything. There is no need for us to get worked up about what is happening or not happening in life. We are not supposed to let anything, no matter it’s size or shape to wreck us with worry.

Anxiousness is worry generated by any thoughts, images, emotions, and/or actions of a negative nature that we allow to repeat themselves in uncontrollable ways that cause us to perform a continual risk analysis in order that we might avoid, solve or get rid of anticipated potential (real or unreal) threats and any consequences we think they might bring with them into our life and living.

So what are we supposed to be anxious about? NOTHING!

PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING!

The Second thing the Scriptures teach us: Is that in the place of being anxious about anything we should “In everything talk to God with an attitude of gratitude!” Just taking the time to have conversation with our Creator can and will make a difference. It is important to remember that a conversation is made up of talking and listening, so please make sure that you tell God whatever you have in your heart and on your mind, but then make sure that you also take the time to listen to whatever it is that He has to say to you, because often in what He says to you, you will find the power and wisdom to overcome and experience the freedom of victory and all the blessings that come with it.

PEACE IS YOUR REWARD!

The third thing the Scriptures teach us is that we will be rewarded with a PEACE that cannot be explained or understood. This peace does not mean that we will be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means that we can be in the midst of these things and still be calm in our heart knowing that God has got us…

What In The World Happened To You?

Some of you know what has been going on with some of my health challenges and some of you may have missed part of the story”, so I thought I would try to clear things up and let you know “the rest of the story as one of my favorites Paul Harvey would say.

The first part of the story, I do not remember and I will have to tell you based on what I have been told by those that were standing by. I want to thank everyone for your prayers, love, support, encouragement, patience and understanding. It has been and continues to be a learning journey and has grown and is growing me in so many different ways. 

On Monday May 30th after suffering with a three day headache, I discovered that I had sinus infection that was making my ability to swallow difficult and my talking sound funny because of a swollen tongue. I of course started my home remedies, because even though I am not a doctor, I could play one on TV. On Wednesday evening, I preached, recorded and uploaded my Wednesday evening message and it sounded like I had a button or piece of candy in my mouth the whole time, I promise I didn’t, so on Friday, I decided after everyone’s coaxing to do a virtual visit with the Doctor. The Doctor prescribed Mucinex D and a nasal spray, which I started late Friday evening. Friday was a pretty normal day, other than sore throat, drainage and swelled tongue. I went to bed Friday evening just wanting to feel normal again.

This next part, I don’t remember, so I am going from Joy’s telling of the story. On Saturday morning June 4, 2022, I woke up, came into the living room and ask Joy what was going on? I told her that something was not right, that something was off. She got worried and started asking me all kinds of questions to see if I knew who I was, where I was, what our Granddaughters name was and when I couldn’t answer that, she got on the phone with my sister and My Brother In Law told her to call 911. During this time I was wide awake, talking, shaking hands and supposedly just trying to get my bearings. I am thankful for my Brother In Law Bill Cantrell showing up Johnny on the spot and Joy’s Mom Nancy Jo being here for Joy and the girls. There is a lot more to the story, and I was there, but I wasn’t there, so I’m not going into all of that, except to say: Praise the Lord, I did not say or do anything too embarrassing.

The rescue squad showed up and rushed me to the hospital with stroke like symptoms, where they did a CT Scan upon my arrival. Our good friend Julia Ellison Nicols made sure that I was well taken care of and was my Guardian Angel. The Doctors felt like my short term memory loss was due to the extremely high blood pressure and started me on a drip of medicine to try to start bringing it down and continued a barrage of tests, poking and sampling whatever they could get from me.

I can remember bits and pieces of the Emergency Room. I recognized Dr. Lutz from previous meetings when visiting parishioners, but it all just seems like a dream and I thank the Lord for that, because I have never been afraid to die, but I have never wanted it to hurt.

In the afternoon/evening they moved me into ICU and for the first time that I can remember, Joy and I talked and she filled me in on what all had happened, what was going on and what the plan of operation was. She informed me that I would not be able to preach the next day and that she had already sent messages and taken care of all of that and so I laid there and we talked and I slept and we talked and I slept They eventually brought me supper and I was trying to come up with a plan to get someone to break me out of there and take us to the Peddler, my treat. I told Joy to go home and get some good rest in a good bed. I actually rested pretty decent, although I am not a back sleeper and I was all wired up.

Sunday morning June 5, 2022 found me still in ICU, trying my best to come up with an escape plan. They were monitoring my blood pressure levels and decided to get rid of my drip and try me with a pill and see if they would stay stable, this was the key to my getting into a regular room and going home. I honestly was in pretty good spirits the whole time and kept thinking about how grateful I was that things were not much worse. Supposedly the meds that I took for the sinus infection cause my blood pressure to jump into the danger zone and I honestly was very blessed that things were not a whole lot worse. On the agenda for this day would be more test, particularly a MRI of my head, throat and chest. You will be pleased to know that I do have a brain and a heart.

Sunday afternoon they moved me to a regular room and we waited for results of the MRI. The MRI revealed that I had a small stroke on the back left side of my brain. It also revealed that totally unrelated, I had an aneurysm on the right side of my brain, but not that they were overly worried about. They also noticed that the arteries going up my neck were a little twisted, which they called Fibromuscular Displaysia, but they should be okay, because it did not seem to impact the flow of things. My heart looked good, other than some thickening of the heart wall, which was probably a result of the high blood pressure.

All I could think about was holding my Granddaughter Addi Jo, walking around our yard in Cheddar, seeing our family/friends and getting back to my Pastor/Preacher work and ministry, especially with my dear Eureka Baptist Church.

The good news so far is that there does not seem to be any permanent damage. I should not require any surgery, but I do have a slew of specialist that I now have to see, a few medications that I have to take and Joy thinking she has been promoted to General. (Haha)

On Monday June 6, 2022, I spent most of the day just waiting. We had to do an echo on my heart, just to make sure things were clear and my nurse assured me that no matter what time they gave me the clear that she could and would get me out of there within 20 minutes. Later in the late afternoon, we finally got the news that we could split and split we did.

God and everyone has been so good to us. The major thing I am learning is that I am not going to bounce back from this like I would anything else. I have good days, where I feel like I am back to normal and then challenging days where I feel like a very old man, who can’t do anything for himself. I believe this is just my body adapting, adjusting and getting used to a different way of living. I have prayed about it and I am trusting God to bring me back better than ever.

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13

Today as I was preaching, I felt more back to my normal self. I am still having some sinus challenges that is impacting my throat, tongue and speech, but I trust that in God’s time, God will take care of it, because I know without doubt that He is taking care of me!