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May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
A mechanic who worked out of his home had a dog named Mace. Mace had a bad habit of eating all the grass on the mechanic’s lawn, so the mechanic had to keep Mace inside. The grass eventually became overgrown. One day the mechanic was working on a car in the backyard and dropped his wrench, losing it in the tall grass. He couldn’t find it for the life of him, so he decided to call it a day. That night, Mace escaped from the house and ate all the grass in the backyard. The next morning the mechanic went outside and saw his wrench glinting in the sunlight. Realizing what had happened he looked toward the heavens and proclaimed, “A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound, that saved a wrench for me!”
A sky-diving instructor was asked, "How many successful jumps must a student make before he or she can become certified?"
He answered, "All of them."
Sky diving, however, is the exception. Is your life built on a series of successes? Do you usually attempt something new and immediately succeed, then succeed again and again? Or more likely, do you find that it is the other way around?
Our successes are often built on smaller failures. We fell off the bike a few times before we learned to ride. And we produced a few culinary failures before we baked a successful layered cake or prepared a satisfactory omelet.
Tom Hopkins observes, "The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying." And Winston Churchill stated, "Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm." They both agree that discouragement, rather than failure, is the enemy of success. Those who can remain hopeful and focused, though they fail, are those who will eventually succeed.
In all, Emily Dickinson is said to have written nearly eighteen hundred poems. Though fewer than a dozen were published in her lifetime and the first volume of her poetry was not published until four years after her death, Dickinson's success is attributed to the fact that she did not allow discouragement to keep her from her poetry.
It's good to remember that success may be just beyond the next failure, and you'll get there, not because you're destined to, but because you're determined to.
Two men were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could. The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When he was quite gone, the other Traveler descended from the tree, and jocularly inquired of his friend what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear. "He gave me this advice," his companion replied. "Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger."
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots was perfectly made and never leaked. The other pot had a crack in it and by the time the water bearer reached his master's house it had leaked much of its water and was only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, God will use our flaws to grace his table. In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in our weakness we find our strength.
There was a boy in India who was sent by his parents to a boarding school. Before being sent away this boy was the brightest student in his class. He was at the top in every competition. He was a champion.
But the boy changed after leaving home and attending the boarding school. His grades started dropping. He hated being in a group. He was lonely all the time. And there were especially dark times when he felt like committing suicide. All of this because he felt worthless and that no one loved him.
His parents started worrying about the boy. But even they did not know what was wrong with him. So his dad decided to travel to the boarding school and talk with him.
They sat on the bank of the lake near the school. The father started asking him casual questions about his classes, teachers and sports. After some time his dad said, 'Do you know son, why I am here today?"
The boy answered back, "to check my grades?"
"No, no" his dad replied, "I am here to tell you that you are the most important person for me. I want to see you happy. I don't care about grades. I care about you. I care about your happiness. YOU ARE MY LIFE."
These words caused the boy's eyes to fill with tears. He hugged his dad. They didn't say anything to each other for a long time.
Now the boy had everything he wanted. He knew there was someone on this earth who cared for him deeply. He meant the world to someone. And today this young man is in college at the top of his class and no one has ever seen him sad!
This past week was perhaps one of the most stressful weeks that I have had in my life. Stress and anxiety seemed to be coming at me from all directions and in many different shapes and forms. It started with some problems with my physical health. I have been in and out of doctors' offices for several months now trying to find out what has been causing me the pains and problems I have had with my intestines and chest. Well, it seemed they had straightened that out, but now I was having severe numbness and tightness in the entire left portion of my upper body. This is where the worrying began.
And then there were a couple of days when I had to be on the road travelling to clients, and I always get stressed when I have to drive long distances. Put on top of all of this a recent decision my wife and I made to start looking for a house, and you have one stressed-out person.
I regret that I did not find this verse in the Bible earlier in the week. But in some way, I think perhaps I had. The only thing that was able to get me through the week was daily giving my worry and stress over to my gentle father Jesus Christ. Each morning I prayed much the same words as the Psalmist recorded here at the beginning of Psalm 57. Of course, my words were not quite as eloquent, but they had the same meaning. I simply asked that God watch over me in the coming hours of the day ahead and that I was laying all of my burdens upon him, trusting that he would take care of them.
My pastor once said that you can tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your worry list. The longer your list, the smaller your God. God tells us time and time again in his word that we should not worry, and that he will take care of us. In Matthew 6:25 he tells us, "do not worry", and again in Philippians 4:6 we are told to "be anxious for nothing." But our human nature causes us to hold on to all of these worries and anxieties that can bring us nothing but harm.
I have come to realize that no matter how well our life may be going, we will always have problems and concerns. There are always going to be things to "worry" about. But if we will do as the psalmist says and take refuge in the shadow of our God, we can rest there until all of the worries and calamities have passed us by. I recently received an e-mail about a "worry tree." The essence of the story was that each day as the man came home from work he would pause before going into his house, and "hang" his worries on the little tree beside of the front door.
He discovered that when he would come out the next morning, there were not nearly as many worries as he had left the night before. Well as God's creatures we have the greatest worry tree of all. We can give our worries over to him each morning or evening, and he will bear them for us.
So in the coming week, let's give our worries to God and see how much better our week goes. He will take them all, no matter what. Whether it be a concern over a big sales presentation, finishing a big project, choosing the right house to buy, or even just choosing what to fix for dinner each night, God will take care of it.
Looks like some drama has been unfolding in the Rodney Atkins' household over the past month, leading to the filing of divorce papers by the "Backroad" singer. According to TMZ.com:
Country superstar Rodney Atkins was arrested last month in Tennessee for domestic assault after allegedly trying to smother his wife with a pillow -- but TMZ has learned Rodney has since filed for divorce, and insists his wife made up the whole thing.
According to court docs filed in Williamson County, Rodney's wife Tammy Atkins called 911 at 7:47 AM on November 21 -- claiming the two had been arguing throughout the night in their home ... when Rodney turned violent.
Tammy told police Rodney tried to smother her with a pillow ... and later grabbed her by the face and threw her down the hallway.
According to cops, Tammy insisted the platinum-selling singer "had been drinking alcohol all night and was intoxicated."
What's worse -- Tammy claims the entire assault took place in front of the couple's 10-year-old son.
Rodney was hauled to a nearby jail -- where he was booked and released on $2,500 bail.
But Rodney says his wife is straight up lying -- and his lawyer is calling the incident nothing more than an "unfortunate verbal dispute."
In a statement released to TMZ ... Rodney's lawyer says, "When Mr. Atkins realized their child was in hearing range of the argument his first priority became getting out of the earshot of the child."
The statement continues, "Mr. Atkins realized he would have no recourse but to file a complaint for divorce. He has exercised substantial parenting time with the parties son and he will continue to do so while the divorce is pending."
"Mr. Atkins wants to thank his fans for standing by him as he is confident the truth will prevail."
Rodney Atkins filed divorce papers on November 22nd, and is seeking joint custody of their son. You can view the divorce papers and read more HERE.