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Monday, November 25, 2013

What is the Horn of Plenty?

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm 107:8

How many of you know what this is?



It is called a cornucopia, otherwise known as the horn of plenty. The reason for the lesser known name is due to its origins.

At one time, the cornucopia was made from a curved goat's horn that was hollowed out and filled with fruit and grains.
However, today, the cornucopia is usually made from a basket type material. Maybe you have seen one as a decoration around Thanksgiving time? It is often used this way because the cornucopia is a symbol representing the good things that we have to enjoy. I recently wrote about a dad and son taking a drive through a "poor" community only to have the experience backfire as the son realized how "poor" that he and his family really where. The cornucopia is here to remind us of our abundantly blessed lives.

My church sits right next to a McDonald's and during last night's service the preacher said that all of us can walk next door and get a belly full of food if we wanted to. No problem ... Right? Right. This was not a guilt trip, just a gentle reminder to everyone in the congregation that we have been generously blessed by our Lord just by living where we live. By default, we have way more than most.

The book of James teaches us that, "every good & perfect gift is from above." This means God has been busy blessing you even if you have not realized it. Perhaps you may disagree, but let me remind you that you are alive reading this right now. You have legs to walk, feet to run and hands to grasp. You have eyes to see, ears to hear and lungs to breathe. He has given you a mind to create meaningful relationships and work. I could go on, but if you have not gotten this concept by now, maybe you never will... I do not own a cornucopia, and to be honest, I always thought they were kinda weird, that is until I realized the deep symbolism embedded in them. I wonder, is this how the majority of us operate in our lives? Do we overlook our blessings? Are we painfully unaware of them? If I am honest, I do this more often than not. So perhaps it is time for me to go out and buy a cornucopia. Once I have one in my possession, I will place it in my office where it will sit visibly as a year-long reminder to take inventory of my blessings.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
From my family to yours.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why I'm thankful for being R$CH !

One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."


"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah," said the son.

"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them."
The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are."



With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I'd share one of my favorite stories with you.  I have discovered that in order to start looking at your life differently you should thank God for every meal, every time you wake up, every time you take a sip of water, every smile you receive and every embrace you experience. Do that, and I bet you can't help but be more of a thankful person. 


The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; 
but let the thankful heart
sweep through the day and, 
as the magnet finds the iron, 
so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! 

Henry Ward Beecher


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Integrity: A 3 Step Process

Integrity: By Stephen Carter 



Below is a review of Stephen Carter's 3 Step Definition of Integrity:
When refering to Integrity, Carter has something very specific and simple in mind.

Integrity, for Carter requires 3 steps:
1. Discerning what is right & wrong
2. Acting on what you have discerned (even at a personal cost)
3. Saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right & wrong.

Step One is all about moral reflectiveness. In order to be a person of integrity, you should be a person that not only knows what you believe but why you believe it. This will certainly be a struggle and will cause you to wrestle with what society teaches. Even more so for the Christian, as we are called to live according to God's standard instead of the World's.

Step Two is about staying in line with what you have wrestled with. Now that you have come to a place where you truly believe something is right or wrong...you must act on it (in spite of the consequences).

Step Three is the last act because when a person gets to this point, they are one with their decision(s). They are unashamed of their beliefs and share them with others.

Case in Point: Martin Luther King Jr.



He followed the pattern set by Gandhi (who followed the pattern set by Jesus) when he won over the hearts of millions for racial equality. King said, "Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love."

Here we see (1) a well thought out conviction on equality and how to go about reaching it in the United States (2) the guts to act on it [King was jailed because of his stance] (3) and finally, the conviction to say what he believed.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dear Isabella: A letter from your Daddy

Dear Isabella,

Recently I read something that made me think about our relationship.
Although you are only 6 months old; can’t talk, walk or crawl. You need to hear this.

Recently, I wrote an article about being, “A Good Girl.” In the article I highlighted two very important qualities that all girls should embody. The first is that you should know your worth. The world has a way of creeping up right behind your ears whispering all kinds of untrue messages. Messages like, “You have to act certain ways to fit in.” Or, “you should try to be part of the cool crowd and despise the other kids around you.” And then there is, “You don’t have to listen to your parents, especially your father …” (That last one you should especially reject and take special note of if you ever want to get your license or go to prom or leave the house … ever). The lesson here is simple and powerful: Isabella, know your worth and know it well. You are a person of infinite value! This I hope is something you get a handle on early in life; you are created in the image of God and hold tremendous value that cannot be added to or taken away.

The second thing I want to relay to you is the implication of understanding and embracing your inner value. A firm grasp on this will leave you strong. You will be the type of person that will not be defined by the TV shows you watch or the pressure your acquaintances put on you. You will be above it all. You get to set your own limits, live your own life and steer your own ship. You will also ward off many, many rotten apples that roll your way. And in doing so, you will have saved yourself a lot of grief and heart-ache (and lectures by your dad that will go on and on and...).

So let’s peer into the future together because your dad is planning something special for you. 

Sometime in the future, say when you are 12ish, I will take you on a date. We will both be dressed to the 9’s. During dinner, I will pull out a box wrapped in fancy paper with a bow on top. I will then share how important it is for you to understand and embrace the things that I have written about -that you know your worth and so forth. I will probably be crying so you will have to listen intently. And don’t worry; I will have requested a private booth so no one will see me sobbing like a baby. 

At some point, I will hand you the box and you will open it to find a necklace with a golden apple charm inside of it. The apple will represent a few things: 1 is that you are the apple of my eye and 2 is that the apples that grow on the top of a tree are valued the most since they are the most difficult to pick. I will then come over to your side of the table, take the necklace and put it on you. It is an outward symbol representing your inner beauty and worth. My hope is that every time you see the apple around your neck you remember the high standard that you are called to. That you always remember that day as the day your earthly daddy pointed you to your Heavenly one.

Isabella, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, full of life and joy. Each day you bring new light to your mother and I!

Know who you are.
More importantly, know Whose you are.

Signed,
Daddy



If you have a daughter that you cherish, pass this on!