Category Archives: ATTITUDE

YOU JUST CAN’T WORRY . . . 032916

Everything Will Be Okay Reassurance Advice Problem Worry OK

“You just can’t worry about everything.” Bob Gold, Austin, Texas; 1972. (from A Letter to My Kids)

Bob Gold was a boy I met when I was in the Jaycees in Austin.  He was a drinker and a bullshipper, but he was also a responsible member of the community.  He was a factory rep for a paper company.  He didn’t work too hard, but because of his relationships with his customers, he made a good living.  He always had time to stop and talk, even in a big city, high intensity environment.  If he needed to take the afternoon off to counsel or console a friend, he’d do it.  As far as I’m concerned he had the right attitude about life.

The main thing I remember about hmi is that anytime a crisis arose, and nobody could figure out what to do about it, he’d say, “Well, you just can’t worry about everything.” Seems like simplistic nonsense now, but at the time it really meant something.  It meant that you ought to take care, that is “worry”, about something you can do something about; and the stuff you can’t do anything about will either take care of itself, or it will reappear later, when you can do something about it.  It also means there’s a lot of stuff you just can’t do anything about at all, so you might as well not waste          your energy even thinking about it.

Like that verse in Matthew 6:34, which says, “Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow will take care of itself.  Each day has enough trouble for itself.”  There may be some people out there who would disagree with this advice, but I’m not one of them.  To me, take no thought means exactly that, do not think about things you can’t do anything about, ‘cause you just can’t worry about everything, you just can’t afford to.

And by the way; you don’t have to worry, because God is looking out for you.  Like it ways in the previous verse, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you [as well].” Matt 6:33.  If you seek a personal relationship with God, you get LIFE with Him.

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WRITE IT DOWN.032416

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“There is something positively supernatural about writing things down.” Tex (from a letter to my kids)

Well, as you already know, I’m not much good at setting goals.  I’m more interested in fulfilling my role(s).  But all the wise men say, and I concur, that if you wish to reach a goal, or achieve some great thing, or be some memorable person, you’ll get there quicker and easier if you write it down.  Actually, it seems to me that the mere act of writing it down makes it come to pass.  Any idea is more real if you write it down, and the more detailed you make it, the more real it becomes, and the more likely it is that it will come to pass.

And this applies to little every day things as well as for big, long-term goals.  You all know that I make a list of things to do every day, and I update my list every morning.l  It amazes me how often things on that list get done without my ever consciously thinking about them again.  Try it for 21 days.  That’ll make it a habit.  You’ll be amazed too.

I don’t get mad much anymore, (thank goodness), but you know I used to get mad a lot.  If it was a small simple thing I’d holler and get it out of my system, (which I occasionally still do), but if it was a big complicated issue, and I was having a hard time being heard and/or understood by my opponent, then I’d write a long, forceful letter and say all those things I couldn’t think up in a normal hollering match.  And then I’d actually GIVE the letter to the other person.  I guess that’s where I got the reputation for writing “mean” letters.  Later on, I stopped giving the letters to the victims, because I figured out the purpose of the letters.  It wasn’t to convince the person to think or do things my way.  It was only to vent my wrath.  But writing the letter had the great side effect of getting rid of the anger and helping me figure out what was really important, if I got to talk about that topic again.  The moral is: write long, irate letters if you must, just don’t mail them.

In conclusion, I believe there is something positively supernatural about writing things down.  Try it and see if you don’t agree.

DO JUSTLY, LOVE MERCY, WALK HUMBLY.030416

Natur Wald“What does the Lord require of you?  Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8                                 [From a letter to my kids]

            To “do justly” means to treat other people like you’d like to be treated. (Matt 7:12) To be fair, to take care of folks.  To do what you say you will.  Like my Daddy says, “A man’s word is as good as his bond.”   “He … swears to his own hurt and does not change;” Psalm 15:4.

            To “love mercy” means that you realize that the only way to live long and do good is to have God’s mercy on a regular basis, and you realize that to get mercy you have to give mercy.  You realize that mercy is better than judgment, any day.  If you have to choose between punishing somebody or letting them loose and forgetting about it; LET THEM LOOSE.  “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.” (Rom 12:19)  “Blessed, (happy) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matt 5:7.  The second great commandment originates in Leviticus 19:18, where it says, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”  Mercy means to forgive and forget.

            To “walk humbly with your God.”  That means that you realize that God is everything, and without God you are nothing.  In Romans 12:3, “Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to think.” [paraphrase]  You’re no better that the least of these.  “He who would be great, first let him serve.” Mark 10:43. “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” Matt 20:16.

            “God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;” 1 Corin. 1:27.  Just remember that it’s not your power, but the power of God within you, and you’ll do just fine.

UNDERSTATEMENT.030216

Isaac Newton       [From a letter to my kids]

I read somewhere that if you are asked to tell something about yourself, it is always better to say as little as possible.  If there is something about you that’s worth telling, somebody else can tell it, and it will sound a whole lot better coming from them than from you.

And if you are supposed to get an award for something you’ve done, make it a point to give all the credit to someone else.  Like your husband or your wife, or momma or daddy, or your teacher or boss or mentor.  Like Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the sholders of Giants.”  It’s especially neat if you can give the credit to the little people; like people who work for you; or your kids.  If you hunt a little, you can always find the right person or people to give the credit to.  If you’ll humble yourself, the Lord’s gonna lift you up. (James 4:10)

Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln (both of them) said that when you give a speech in English, use English (Anglo-Saxon) words, like hit, or run, or eat, or bite, or talk, or feel, or love, instead of long French-Latin based words like masticate, or orate, or agitate, or literate.  The short words have more meaning, more impact, and they stay with you longer.  In this case, as with the other, less is more.

As far as I know, the art of ‘kidding’, as taught by our forbears, is mostly the art of understatement; saying something is less than it is, just for fun and just for effect.  With folks that like to talk as much as we do, it’s hard not to talk, so it really is good to use the art of understatement.  As you know, I have a hard time doing it, but as I get older, I try a little more each day.  It’s not so much thinking about every word you say as it is a feeling in your heart.  If you humble yourself, the Lord will give you the right words to say. (1 Pet 5:6)

ROLES NOT GOALS. PURPOSE.022916

stone faced            “God has a purpose for your life.  All you’ve got to do is figure out what it is.”            [This is from a letter to my ‘young-adult’ kids in 1995]  “I used to wonder what I was doing here.  Sometimes I even wondered what you were doing here.  I finally got the message.  God has a plan for my life.  Actually, I think He has a plan for every person’s life, but some folks never figure out what it is.

“When I was a kid I bought into the idea that goal setting and goal pursuing and goal orientation were the way to achieve everything I wanted in life, and happiness too!  When I was 15 I wanted $1 million by the time I was 30.  I focused a lot of attention on it.  I read the right books and tried to practice what they preached.  But somehow it never worked for me.  I guess I just didn’t want it bad enough.  I just couldn’t get motivated enough.  I had a lot of other things on my mind.  Looking back, maybe God didn’t want me to be a millionaire.

“After I got baptized in the Holy Spirit, I started seeing differently.  I decided that God had a purpose for my life, a destiny.  Somehow, I got the message that God has a role (really a bunch of roles) for me to play in my life.  In fact each of us is given a number of readymade roles to play when we’re born.  Like the role of a son or a daughter, the role of brother or sister.  Then pretty soon you get the role of student, then later employee, then girlfriend or boyfriend, then husband or wife, then father or mother, then maybe employer, or doctor or lawyer, or teacher, or preacher, or seeker or finder.  What fulfills your destiny, and God’s purpose, is for you to be the very best you can at whatever role God has given you for that time.  And what’s really neat is that this will make you happy.  Seems to me that chasing a goal is not very fulfilling, but being best in your role is very fulfilling, and with your role you fit into God’s plan perfectly.  Just remember when you can’t figure out what you’re doing here, or where you’re going, or why; focus on being that person, that character, the very best you possibly can.  You’ll be surprised how happy it will make you.

“The thing that separates the exceptional people in the world, the 2-3%, and the rest of the folks, is that the 2-3% have realized that God has a grand design for their lives.  (Here again, a lot of people call it a lifetime goal, which is OK with me.)  Many people spend all their time just living from day to day, so they never have time to fulfill that grand design.  Eating and sleeping, working and raising kids may be enough for most folks, but it’s not enough for me.  I may never amount to a hill of beans, but it won’t be because I didn’t try.  Oh, and by the way, I still think that grand design is about the role you play in your life with other people; not so much about making a million dollars, or being the President, or climbing the highest mountain, or building the biggest building, even though those are perfectly OK things to aspire to.  (Heck, if you don’t aspire to something, you’ll never amount to anything.)

“But in the end, the best way to help other people is to get in tune with God’s purpose for our lives, and focus our attention on fulfilling His grand design for us. In the meantime we will still have time to eat and sleep and play and have fun and raise kids, just like everybody else. And we may do something truly memorable.”

TAKE CARE OF ‘EM.022716

         Homeless man holding sign   “We take in strays, orphans and widderwimen.”  (see James 1:27)

            Y’all all remember Lois.  She was the old lady that used to babysit for us when Lindsey was a little baby.  She was pretty crazy, and she had a drinkin’ problem off and on during her life.  She had some pretty hard times, what with her husband dying when he was a young man, and them having a boy with Downs Syndrome. She had to raise that boy by herself.  He lived to be about 20 years old. But oh what a caring heart that lady had.  She was like a member of our family.  She went camping with us in Big Bend; and she took y’all fishing at her lake house.  She took us out there to feed the chickens and have puppies in her living room floor.  She needed us and we needed her, and God saw to it that we all got what we needed, which was mostly somebody to love us, and hug us, and answer the phone when the call came in the middle of the night.  I was glad to know her.

And there was this guy named Dave Twoomey.  I’m not sure how it happened (somehow  thru the church I think) but we ended up with his wife and two little girls living in the basement apartment while he was sitting in jail for kiting checks.  Somehow or other he finally got out after about a month and they all left; but in the meantime we fed ‘em and talked to them about Jesus; and got ‘em clothes and stuff.  I don’t think we changed their lives or anything, but something was going on.  And at the time God had blessed us with extra stuff and money; so it didn’t hurt us one bit.  We even gave him a Bible, but I think he left it there when he left.

When I first got baptized in the Spirit, I was working for Paul Campbell remodeling apartments.  He had this cabinetmaker named Jim Haynes who was a recovering alcoholic who hadn’t quite made it to recovery.  One time he didn’t show up for work for 3-4 days and Paul got me to go with him to Jim’s apartment to see about him.  He was so drunk he couldn’t even get his clothes on, so we helped him.  Continue reading

OBEDIENCE 101.022116

White lighthouse tower on St. Anastasia Island“I have no right to say I believe in God unless I order my life as under His all-seeing Eye.”  Disciples Indeed, Oswald Chambers.

Matthew 7:21, 24-27: 21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter . . .” 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. . . . 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. . . .” NLT

What is the “will of the Father”?  For us to do what Jesus says.  In John 5:24, Jesus said, “If you  [pay attention to] (heed, obey) what I say, and trust Him who sent Me, you have eternal life; you will never be condemned; you have passed from death unto life.”

But don’t just say the words.  God is looking at your heart.  He knows if your heart has been changed.

HOUSE ON SAND.033015.jpg