The Key to Old Age

After a meeting several days ago, I couldn’t find my keys. I quickly gave myself a personal “TSA Pat Down.”

They weren’t in my pockets. Suddenly I realized I must have left them in the car. Frantically, I headed for the parking lot. My wife had scolded me many times for leaving my keys in the car’s ignition.  She was afraid that the car could be stolen. As I looked around the parking lot, I realized she was right. The parking lot was empty. I immediately called the police. I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen.

Then I made the most difficult call of all–the one to my wife: “I left my keys in the car and it’s been stolen.”

There was a moment of silence. I thought the call had been disconnected, but then I heard her voice. “Are you kidding me?” she said slowly, “I dropped you off!”

Now it was my turn to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, “Well, can you come and get me?”

She replied, “I will, as soon as I convince this cop that I didn’t steal your car!”

Welcome to the golden years…Not me! (yet)

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)  Thank God He wasn’t talking about keys, but instead, about you and me.

Coincidence or Miracle?

How can you plan for this?

A man watching his students playing outside on the last day of the school, suddenly feels tense and irritable.  His fellow 7th-grade teacher, who happens to be an EMT, recognizes the signs of a possible heart attack.  He’s rushed to the hospital where the doctors save the day—not to mention, his life.

A man begins to feel tired and out of breath.  After several weeks he visits his cardiologists, who believes that he needs a cardiac catheterization.  While on the surgical table for the procedure, one of his main arteries dissects.  The doctors were able to repair it immediately—staving off what could have been a fatal problem

A man who has been feeling off for a while, visits his cardiologist and has several tests done.  While returning home, he receives a call from his doctor, who tells him that the tests show he is having a heart attack.  Just minutes away, the man immediately returns to be taken by ambulance to the hospital where doctors again save the day ( and his life).

So, did the doctors save the day all three times?  But how was it that this man always had the needed medical personnel on hand exactly when he needed them?  Three different times!  Not much of a chance.  How much of a chance?  “No chance at all”, Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself.  Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”  (Luke 18:27).

Poster the man had in his classroom while still teaching:  “Coincidence is when God decides to work a miracle and decides to remain anonymous.”

Fish or cut bait!

 

 

Decisions, decisions…sometimes the decision to do nothing is wise.  But you can’t make a career of doing nothing.  The New York Times explained it this way: ” Freddie Fulcrum weighed everything too carefully.  He would say, ‘On the one hand…but on the other.’  And his arguments weighed out so evenly, he never did anything.  When Freddie died, they carved a big zero on his tombstone.”  Not much of a legacy there.

To set yourself free from the worry and anxiety of making choices, you have to first accept personal responsiblity.  Don’t pass the buck when it’s time to make those decisions.  Tough decisions.  Lonely decisions.  Unpleasant decisions.  Misunderstood decisions.  Courageous decisions.  Decide and don’t leave it to someone else to make the decisions for you.

In other words, if you decide to fish–fine.  Or if you decide to cut bait–fine.  But if you decide to do nothing, you’re not going to have fish for dinner.

And if I remember correctly, Jesus often had fish for dinner.  Hmmm….

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  (Philippians 4:6)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. ( Proverbs 3:5)

What would you do?

 

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service.

With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak. “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, “when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high that, even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.”

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in the story. The aged minister continued with his story. “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy he would throw the other end of the life line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of the waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’, he threw out the life line to the son’s friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.”

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth. “The father,” he continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend. How great is the love of God that He could do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take hold of the life line.”

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the appeal. Within minutes after the service, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side. “That was a nice story,” politely said one of the boys, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”

“Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. Sorrow began to overtake the old man’s smiling face as he once again looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m here today to tell you that I understand more than most the pain God must have felt to give up His only Son. For you see, I’m the man who lost his son to the ocean that day, and my son’s friend that I chose to save is your pastor.”

– Author Unknown –

Read on Air by Phil Foley, Host of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church’s Good News From Tab Program on 12/6/2000

Look for the Stars

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:3-4)

You don’t have to sit outside in the dark.  But unless you do, you’ll never see the stars.

A piano holds endless music.  But it remains silent unless someone plays it.

A child has incredible potential with a reservoir of capability and creativity.  But adults must take the time to listen, train, encourage, correct, challenge, support and model.

Time, which is, by itself, directionless and vacant, can be filled with meaningful activities and personal accomplishments.  But to make that happen, you must think through a plan and then carry it through.

Your mind is a blank slate.  It will absorb whatever you feed it:  imaginary worries, fears, filthy and seductive thoughts, hours of television or games…or good books, stimulating conversations, exciting risks of faith and learning new skills.  The mind neither requires it nor demands it.  But, if you want to experience the joy of discovery and of learning new and doing exciting new things, you must put in the effort.

So, what are you waiting for?

Lifetime Love

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Kiss Me Good Night

Our future looked bright—a new way of living.

We learned how to love—a new day was dawning.

Before we were two—now that would be changing.

You’d kiss me good night—and kiss me each morning.

We two became one—our lives interweaving.

We started our lives—a brand new beginning.

We gave up ourselves—by constantly sharing.

By kissing good night—and kissing each morning.

We moved on through life—with everything changing.

Each one of us grew—our interests expanding.

Together we loved—and just kept on living.

As you kissed my goodnight—and kissed me each morning.

We never had kids—no little ones playing.

The sadness we felt—was often dismaying.

But even while filled—with emotion and feeling,

You kissed me goodnight—and kissed me each morning.

We learned to give help—to those who were needing.

In church, school and sports—and sometimes in singing.

But no matter what—the help we were giving,

You kissed me good night sand kissed me each morning.

We both left our jobs—to begin our retiring.

And made all our plans—to start all our traveling.

But no matter where—we ended up sleeping,

You kissed me good night—and kissed me each morning.

Through sickness and health—we never stopped loving.

In good times and bad—we kept on surviving.

‘Til all that was left—I kept on believing,

You’d kiss me good night and kiss me each morning.

It seems now we’re old—the years have been passing.

Our lives have slowed down—our memories fading.

One day it will end—yet I’ll keep on praying,

To kiss you good night—and kiss you each morning.

Happy 46th Anniversary, Betty.  I love you more with each kiss.

Miss U….

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saint. (Psalm 116:15)

Last night was the Greater Gardner Relay for Life.  It was a special time for us as my wife walked for the first time as a survivor.  It was also bittersweet because it was the first year that my late sister-in-law was not a member of one of the fund-raising teams.  This was always an exciting time for her and important because so many of her siblings and other family member have died of various types of cancer.  It brought to mind some of the many things we are missing since her death Christmas Eve.  Here are just a few of them in no particular order:

She would host Super Bowl parties at our house (while we were away vacation).

She would call in the middle of the night to let me know that the Red Sox had just done something great.

She would call in the early morning of every birthday and sing Happy Birthday.

She loved making puzzles at our house–whether we were there or not.

She visited and became my mom’s best friend in the last years of her life.

She transferred those visits and friendship to my sister, who had lived with my mom for those last years.

She would go on vacations with us and various other family members ( her sister, nephew and family, my sister, etc.).

She took pictures for every holiday and family gathering–and sometimes just for the sake of taking a picture.

She would play Scrabble with her cousins and my wife (and Dominoes, too, with the cousins).

She would clip news and sports articles from the local paper for every friend, relative and neighbor for miles around.

We would join her in celebrating her 29th birthday year after year after year.

There were so many ways that she impacted our lives, and each day we remember another.  And each time it hurts like an emotional wound that has reopened.  And, these are just a handful of memories that I will always have of the woman who became my sister when I married her sister.  There are many, many more.