Life sometimes has a way of dealing out circumstances unevenly. Dads and moms often try to balance praise and reward so that each child can feel fulfilled and encouraged. As encouragers we try to be even-handed and fair with our appreciation in order that each child feels equally blessed and loved.
One of my fishing partners had taken his motor home to a state bass fishing competition. In his haste to get some pre-fishing completed, he failed to check the water in his motor home. The half-tank of drinking water had set for many weeks. Giardia had built up in the tank and quickly infected him.
He shut off the car, got out and walked around the vehicle, but not seeing anything wrong, he got back in, started it, and pulled forward very slowly. Then, he felt the right rear end of the car sag and he knew immediately that the wheel had come off!
For most of my life I’ve had a hard time accepting compliments too. Just saying, “Thanks,” seemed vain. If a friend paid for lunch, I protested, making a mental note to reciprocate. Plain and simple, I’ve had a hard time receiving love.
Just about the time Les estimated that his grandson had reached the other side of the trees, he looked up and saw a huge Kodiak brown bear at the top of the hill above his grandson on the other side of the trees! The bear had evidently spotted his grandson and took off down the hill toward him.
All she had was a flat tire, but for her, that was monumental. She popped the trunk and Bryan got the jack and spare. Then, he got down on his knees in the wet gravel feeling for where to place the jack. He skinned his knuckles a time or two.
Living life by formula is an easy trap to fall into. When life doesn’t turn out like we expect, eventually disappointment and frustration can well up into resentment and disillusionment. What we really create with all our formulas for living is a formula for disaster!
Keeping focused can be a challenge. Whether it’s studying for an exam, taking mental notes during a key meeting, or following through on a plan of action, it’s easy to get distracted if we start looking around at other things.
Fear is something that can absolutely extinguish the joy in life. It can make the healthiest person sick to their stomach. It can paralyze your ability to think clearly. Those who regularly experience fear know too well its byproducts — discouragement and doubt.
It was a cold New York December day just before Christmas. A little boy, who was about 10 years old, was standing in front of a shoe store on the roadway, barefoot, peering through the big plate-glass window, and shivering with cold. An older lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?” The young boy responded, “I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes.”
Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: “This is to help build the little church bigger, so more children can go to Sunday School.”