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Archive for the month “April, 2013”

The Hummingbird Inn

Hummingbird Inn

Ron told me on the phone as we were making our reservations that he and Sherry were high school sweethearts!  In a world that encourages change it is nice to see commitment.  It is nice to hear about people thats love at a young age has grown stronger through the years.  Ron and Sherry have been married for over forty years and started The Hummingbird Inn eight years ago.  Ron was in construction and the house was constructed on a mountain surrounded by a breathtaking view about twenty years ago!  They have had the idea for a long time that this would make a perfect bed and breakfast place.  After the kids got older their dream became a reality!

Ron and Shery Bell

Ron and Sherry Bell

I don’t remember exactly how many weddings he told me they had each year but the total was in the hundreds! What a beautiful start to a marriage this venue is as you can literally see for miles and miles!  With each one the hope is that they will be as happy as Ron and Sherry, and that the breathtaking view that is seen from their beautiful home may be a sign of endless possibilites of their future together!

Hummingbird inn weddings

We were amazed that the roads were so narrow as we were driving to the Hummingbird Inn.  Not only narrow but winding hills with no guard rails.  It wasn’t a road that you wanted to drive if you were drowsy.  Falling asleep on that road could send your car tumbling down the mountain.  When attempting to make the drive to Branson from The Hummingbird Inn we got turned around.  I was amazed that when I finally spotted someone to ask directions of, he told me that if we continued going south either road would get us there.  It was like the old Yogi Berra line when describing how to get to his house, “when you come to a fork in the road take it.”  This was not the case when driving to The Hummingbird Inn.  One missed little turn could send you miles out of the way with no option of turning around.  The whole scenerio makes me think of the verses in the Bible about the narrow and wide gates.  “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14.

Ron told me that in about a week the hummingbirds would be coming back.  He had prepared by buying forty pounds of sugar.  Mixing the sugar with water in their feeder is a very time consuming  job.  It is a job however that is done with love, the same love that their human guests get as they are welcomed into their lovely home. The hummingbirds and guests have found a nice home at Ron and Sherry’s place!  It is up in the mountains about 14 miles from Branson Missouri.  People from miles and miles away travel to leave the hustle and bustle of life for a couple of days to a week.

The hummingbirds travel for miles and miles to come back to a place that they love!  We were told that their hummingbirds migrate to South America in the winter.  Truly amazing that a little bird that is hardly bigger than a wasp can travel that kind of distance!

hummingbird

As I was sitting by the window having the wonderful breakfasts that the Inn specialized in, I could see the beautiful view from the mountain.  I could see for miles and miles.  Sometime we will come back when the hummingbirds are there. In the backyard of the Inn they thrive!  Ron and Sharon always have their food prepared just like their guests inside!  It will be so delightful to see the hummingbirds enjoying their stay while eating my breakfast enjoying mine!

Sometimes the hummingbirds lose their way when they are at the Hummingbird Inn.  Ron told me that occassionally one might accidentily fly into the house.  There is a lot of room in the house but the hummingbird’s will end up hovering by the ceiling.  Not knowing what to do they become like deer in the headlights and freeze.  We were told that the only way to show them the door is to use a broom.  Usually in all of the excitement the birds will drop down to the floor as they become too tired to go any further.  As Ron told us they are almost in a surrender state as they seem to say “go ahead and eat me.”  Of course when they are on the floor they can easily be picked up and transported outside again!  Once outside Ron shared that it is amazing how re-energized they become as they feel the freshness that freedom has to offer!

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The contrast is truly amazing!  The little hummingbird can fly thousands of miles and yet when scared by a broom in a closed unfamiliar environment they become totally exhausted and ready to give up.  Just like the hummingbird, (some of the littlest of God’s creation), we are the same way.  Sometimes we get trapped in life and lose our way.  When we give up and let God take over he lovingly sets us free!  “Look at the birds in the air”, Jesus told the gathering.  “They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”  “Are you not much more valuable than they?”  He was telling the people not to worry.  His message was that their heavenly Father would take care of them!  Ron and Sherry care deeply for their guests (both people and hummingbirds) Much like God shows his love for us, they open up their home for travelers near and far.  All roads do not lead to the Hummingbird Inn, but thousands of people and hummingbirds alike will attest that when The Hummingbird Inn is found it feels like home!

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The Diamond Image

There I sat in the front row of the Jim Stafford Theatre in Branson Missouri with tears flowing down my face.  Oh yes, when something  or someone touches me in a special way I might cry.  I don’t think there is anything unmanly about that at all.  I might also laugh, clap my hands, or stomp my foot.  This particular show had me doing all of the above!  The mark of a good entertainer, writer, movie, or book to me is can they move me emotionally?  Make me laugh, cry, dance, get upset or whatever.  Somehow move me in some way.  I don’t want to just sit there feeling unaffected.  The show that was moving me so much was done by one man only Keith Allynn. His show is called “The Diamond Image”, in which he impersonates Neil Diamond. 

Keith Allynn as Neil Diamond

Keith Allynn as Neil Diamond

I have always liked Neil Diamond!  In fact I have many of his albums from back in the day.  Neil Diamond’s voice is the purest singing voice I know!  Match that with lyrics (that he also wrote) and which I can relate to and understand and you have a rare combination!  When I first found out about Keith and read his reviews I wanted to go to his show!

We went over to the Jim Stafford Theatre and they were having a sale on Joey I.L.O. tickets (2 for 1) that day.  Joey I.L.O. was highly recommended by someone I had talked to in Branson as being a clean comic that was very funny!  We ended up buying I.L.O. tickets that day!  The I.L.O. show was on Wednesday at 2 pm.  Keith’s show played in the mornings at 10:30.  Joey I.L.O. is very funny!  He had me laughing so hard!  Again, the mark of a good entertainer, writer, book, etc.  move me emotionally, which he did!  Keith helped out in Joey’s show too!  Keith played Lou Costello (the straight man) in Joey’s rendition of “Who’s On First.”  It was a nice giving thing that he did and you could see that they had developed a special friendship!  Both were sharing the same theatre and both were determined to help each others success!  Joey had Keith come out and do a Neil Diamond song as a preview to his show.  Keith sang “I’m A Believer”, the old Monkee’s song that Neil Diamond actually wrote!  After that Joey asked for two volunteers to compete for tickets to Keith’s show.  My wife  won our tickets and we decided to go to the Friday morning show (just before we left for home.)

When we got out of Joey’s show it was raining really hard.  Standing by the door deliberating on whether to make a run for it or not we noticed that Keith was right behind us looking out the window too.  Here we were standing there just the three of us and we talked to him.  Keith impressed me as being a totally down to earth guy!  From his humble, quiet, yet friendly dispostion it was hard to believe he was actually a veteran performer.  He answered my questions about his show telling me that it was a story.  Not only does he sing the songs but he puts it in perspective of what Neil was thinking when he wrote them.  Having a personal audience with him for that short time was so cool!  Seeing how he humbly and personally answered our questions was so refreshing!  There was nothing in him that put him on a higher level.  In his attitude I saw that he was doing a job much like we do our jobs every day.  His job happened to be in entertainment.

Looking back this may have been my favorite vacation ever!  Ironically we had no idea we were going to Branson.  I was going to have a week off from work and was looking for a place to go online. One day I shared with a friend what I had in mind.  We have enjoyed staying at Bed and Breakfast’s in the past and I was looking at South or North Carolina.  My friend asked me if I ever thought about Branson Missouri?  Checking Bed and Breakfast’s in Branson we found one that caught our eye!  Even the name of it “The Hummingbird Inn”, was so appealing!  It was a beautiful place nestled in the mountains with a breathtaking view!  Factored in of course was the shows we could see for entertainment and we made our reservations.  I don’t think I ever looked forward to a trip so much!  They say that the anticipation of a get away is almost as good as the trip itself!  I have to agree because I couldn’t wait to go!

We had a wonderful time at the Hummingbird Inn.  We found loving owners who made us feel right at home.  We delighted in the breathtaking view as we looked down from a mountain!  We enjoyed all of the amenities the place provided including a delicious big breakfast every morning!  The Hummingbird Inn is about 14 miles from Branson.  It is just far enough to feel apart from all of the commercial aspects of the city while being close enough to see the big shows that they have!

We saw four different shows while we were there.  The first show was one I ordered tickets for while in Michigan.  It was put on by Barry Williams (Greg on the Brady Bunch) who along with a team of very talented singers and dancers put together a tribute to the 70’s music show.  The next show was the Joey I.L.O. show.  He uses the initials I.L.O. instead of the actual spelling because the actual spelling he told us is a mafia name.  Joey’s mom and dad were both clowns and the poster that we had him sign is him in normal attire except for his feet which were emerged in clown shoes.  In the background is a family picture with all of them in clown makeup!  On Thursday night, the only night show we attended, we saw a family called the Haygoods!  What a talented group they were!  It seems each one could play three or four instruments and the only girl in the group being able to play six if I remember correctly.  It was five brothers and one sister and they were marvelous!  It was my favorite of the performances up to that point.  Then the last morning after we hurriedly packed our things and left The Hummingbird Inn for Branson for the final time we saw something very very special!

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Keith Allynn looks just like Neil Diamond did in his prime!  In fact there is a post card with both of their pictures and they look just alike!  We got there maybe fifteen minutes early but it was not too early for Keith as he was talking to the audience.  By the time we were seated we had missed probably half of his pre concert talk.  It seems that Keith is gracious enough to come out and answer questions the audience has.   He answered all of the questions in detail, even more personal questions about his personal health issue ADHD that he suffers from.  The little talk is beneficial as it would be very hard for him normally to perform in front of crowds, but knowing that he is performing for “friends” helps him immensely!  Finally he told us to give him a couple of minutes to get ready and the show would start!

It was so cool the way the show opens!  There is a big screen with Neil Diamond singing “Soolaiman” and he sings the lyrics “Come she come say, Ride on the night, Sun becomes day, Day shall provide ” and then the introduction from the public address system “A Diamond Image by Keith Allynn”, and without missing a beat Keith appears in the spotlight.  “Soo Soolaiman, Soolai Soolai Soolaiman”, he sings in a voice that is the exact of Neil Diamond!  I’m sitting there watching this quiet unassuming guy I had talked to a couple of days before and it is hard to believe he is the same guy!  The appearance is the same but the stage presence and boldness that takes charge of the audience is all there!  If I didn’t know any better I would think I was at a Neil Diamond concert!

As much as Keith gave us perspective on the songs and life of Neil Diamond he was also giving us a great perspective of his own life.  You see Keith was an Elvis impersonator for fourteen years.  He jokes that he did Elvis almost as long as Elvis did Elvis.  He was rated in the top ten Elvis impersonators in the world.  That he said would buy you a cheap cup of coffee.  He met a young woman who he would fall deeply in love with. Knowing that she loved Neil Diamond he sang the only song he knew in Neils voice over the phone to her.  It was a song from “The Jazz Singer” entitled “Hello Again.”  He noticed it got really quiet on the other end of the phone.  “Was it that bad?”, he said when he was finished.  “No, it was beautiful!”, she said through tears.   Later she became his wife and that song became theirs!  She had a dream and it was almost like she got struck with lightening.  She told Keith about it.  “I think”, she said “that you should do a tribute to Neil Diamond.”  Keith admitted that he sometimes goes in his own direction, so he started a tribute to Elvis Presley.  As time passed his wife told him again “I think you should do a tribute to Neil Diamond.”  So he started a comedy act featuring all of the impressions he could do.  He has over sixty voices he can impersonate including Kermit the Frog.  He did a quick Kermit and when he got a reaction he summerized “I do Neil Diamond and it is silent, but Kermit the Frog gets applause!”  Needless to say he has taken his wifes good advice and his Neil Diamond Tribute  show is fantastic!

So I’m sitting there and tears are rolling down my cheeks because of the song he was singing called “The Story of My Life”  It is a simple song like Neil’s usually are with deep meaning.  This song just hit me in such a powerful way.  The lyrics go like this…”the story of my life, it’s very plain to read,  It starts the day you came and ends the day you leave”  “The story of my life, begins and ends with you, the names are still the same, and the story is still the truth”  I was alone, you found me waiting and made me your own, I was afraid, that somehow I could not be the man that you wanted of me”, ‘You’re the story of my life, and every word is true, each chapter sings your name, each page begins with you”  “It’s the story of our times, and never letting go, If I die today, I wanted you to know.”

Keith mentioned that Neil Diamond once said “everyone could find their own song within the vast variety of his songs through the years.”  Keith said that the song that fits him was a recent one for Neil(written in 2008)  The song that he picked out tells me what I need to know about his beliefs!  It was a way that he could witness to us within the framework of his show.  It was a way for him to show us his true heart.  The song and lyrics follow!  Pretty Amazing Grace

“Pretty amazing grace, is what you showed me, pretty amazing grace, that’s who you are,  I was an empty vessel, you filled me up inside, and with amazing grace you restored my pride.”

“Pretty amazing grace, is how you saved me, and with amazing grace restored my heart, love in the midst of chaos, calm in the heat of war, showed with amazing grace what love was for.”

“Pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing!”

I think it is truly astonishing that of all of Neil Diamond’s songs the man who has studied his life and movements and voice so much chose this one as his song!  It shows of the depth of his understanding of Neil.  In Neil’s own life it is remarkable that he would write such a spiritual song only five years ago, long after all of his other hits.  Yet this particular song must have deep meaning to Neil at the present time!

As I think back to being mesmorized by Keith’s abilities in his replication of Neil Diamond another thought occurred to me!  Keith can impersonate over sixty people!  Keith impersonated Elvis for 14 years.  Keith has an act where he looks, sounds, and moves exactly like Neil Diamond in his prime.  Yet the Keith that I saw had another side.  It was a quiet, peaceful, humble, respectful, and loving side.  Keith was attired in a  sparkly vest  when he did the show.  Sometimes while singing he would go behind a wall for a second and come out with a different colored vest on.  It happened about four different times!  One time he told us it was an illusion!  Just as his vest changed numerous times, there must have been a time when Keith had a change in his own life!  Keith can do over sixty impersonations and you can say that each one is an illusion, not the real him. I marvel at the talent level it takes for him to convincingly imitate so many people so perfectly!  Yet the imitation  he does of his Lord without even realizing it, in his own personal, quiet, humble way is the real him! It is truly the best imitation he does!  Pretty Amazing!

Click below for a beautiful rendition of “Pretty Amazing Grace!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QoZUgub8I

Driving Me Crazy With Your Horn

There he was looking tired and wet!

There he was looking tired and wet!

Bob Weiner was driving his car from Orlando Florida to his home in Gainsville (about a 2 hour drive) in February years ago.  It was a cold rainy day unlike what it is supposed to be in Florida.  Suddenly he saw a young man dressed in a light jacket and drenched by the rain hitchhiking.  His jacket was way too thin to keep him warm.  Bob was about to pass him by when he heard the voice of the Lord say “pick him up.”  Looking around the nice clean seats of his new car, Bob knew what he had to do.  The young man lost his composure as he started on his journey with Bob.  After a couple of minutes he told Bob about a conversation he had with God.  He  had been out in the cold rain for six or seven hours hitchhiking without any success.  Finally he called out to God for the first time in his life.  “God, if you are there let the next car pick me up because if it doesn’t I’m going to throw myself in front of the second car and end it all.  The reason he was crying uncontrollably was that Bob’s car was the next car!

This little story illustrates where our mind should be as we are driving.  We should be living in a spirit of love and driving that way too, opened to what God is telling us!  When we are living in that kind of loving union there is no room for driving faults we all get into.  What is it about driving a car that can cause us all to be perfect?  As our perception of being perfect increases the reality of the situation is just the opposite.  I have seen the nicest christian people turn from Dr. Jeckyll to Mr. Hyde as soon as they get behind the wheel!  All of the sudden attitudes change into “it’s all about me”  and anyone getting in the way is the enemy.

My dad believed in getting to his destinations early and I always thought he took it to the extreme.  I was never one to want to get somewhere a half an hour early.  My method has always been to try to get there on time and not before.  I have to admit though that planning to get to places early would solve most of the driving rage I sometimes have felt.  I know that when I am running late every little annoyance of slow drivers ahead of me are magnified. 

They showed a film when I first took drivers training years ago.  I think it was called Mr. Smith’s rules of driving or something like that.  Anyway when Mr. Smith would like something someone did or when he saw them he would give as he called it “a friendly toot of the horn.”   We laughed at the time thinking he was going way overboard, but wouldn’t it be nice if people used their horn in a friendly way?  In fact the very sound of the horn especially when held down is very blunt and rude.  It expresses the anger that the driver is feeling to another driver.  Is this act necessary?  Some might answer that the other driver is doing something wrong and needs to know about it bluntly.  I wonder who made us the policemen of  the road and who transformed us to perfect beings?  I also know that when someone honks at me in those situations it makes me feel upset.  Their act raises my blood pressure and hurts me.  It might make me feel hate back in return which is not a good thing to spread.  All of these years later I think Mr. Smith and dad were on to something!

I read in a book one time about how Japanese driving is completely different to ours in the use of their horns.  I read that they use their horn in a positive way!  For example if someone walks in front of them they blow their horn to let the person know that they see them.  Honk honk, I see you!  I have a feeling it isn’t a blaring honk either.  Probably just a toot to say I see you, you are safe.  They are using their horn out of love where here we use it out of hate.  When people blare their horn it usually means “you are an idiot, get off of the road.”  I realize that there are exceptions and sometimes it is necessary to use the horn.  Still, Mr. Smith’s friendly toot of the horn seems so much nicer than the blare some people think it is necessary to create. 

I see you!

I see you!

I remember a scene just after my daughter died.  We went into a store because life keeps going even after ours had stopped.  As we were walking through the store we noticed more than usual the people that had kids.  They were being normal with kind words to them or disciplining them in the store.  We could only think to ourselves “if they only knew.”  It was like we were in a bad dream that we had lost interest in. The same kind of feeling hit a friend of mine who had lost her mother.  She had felt so detatched and yet life went on.  She needed to go to the store for something and was sure she probably messed up in driving or normal activities because she was so far out of it.

Years ago I was looking to recruit other people into a business I was doing.  It was a business in financial services and we were trying to build our own team in the organization.  A friend of our family told me about this guy Jim that would be perfect.  Jim was a real go getter who was great in business and he was highly reccommended!  When I showed up for our appointment it didn’t seem that anyone was home.  After a long pause I heard the door slowly open.  I could tell that Jim, who opened the door and the person I was supposed to see, had been crying.  His eyes were still watery and swollen as if he couldn’t hide what he was feeling.  It was a very ackward situation as I was upbeat about my business and yet Jim was so down and in no condition to talk.  He left me shaking my head as he quickly said he wasn’t interested and shut the door abruptly.  I dismissed the incident as a timing thing and the fact that Jim was obviously going through some issues.  Two days later I found out that Jim had killed himself.

I wonder if Jim tried to get out of the house in his state of depression?  If he did he probably wouldn’t be driving at his best.  Someone would invariably blare their horn at him because they had their own agenda that he interfered with.  I’m not saying that it happened because I don’t know.  All I’m saying is that we may be spreading hate instead of love when we get behind the wheel.  By not being loving we could be shoving a guy like Jim into a deeper depressed state.

Just like in our daily walk our christian life and example does not go on pause when we get behind the wheel.  Do onto others and be slow to anger still apply!  Love your neighbor and love your enemies are rules to follow whether driving or not!

If I ever designed a car I would have the horn with a friendly sound.  It would be impossible to blare it at someone.  It would sound more like a pleasant tone that people would notice but wouldn’t feel hated.  Saying this I realize that it is the person behind the wheel that controls the horn.  Mr. Smith was right in his theory that a friendly toot of the horn works just fine and sends a nice message of love.

Just like what the young hitchhiker was experiencing that Bob picked up years ago, we don’t know what people driving our roads are going through.  Maybe someone just found out they had cancer or the car in front of us has someone in it that is contemplating killing themselves.  Maybe the person in front of us is like me and lost someone they loved so dearly.  Whatever the reason to whatever they are doing,  we should treat them with love.  We should be slow to anger like the Bible talks about.  The other person needs a show of love instead of hate.  Perhaps we should pray before driving, not only for a safe trip, but to be a blessing to all that we see! 

Like my dad would say “start early and give yourself plenty of time.”  They used to have commercials about driving and the slogan “Watch out for the other guy.”  This slogan is appropriate in our christian walk too.  Not only should we watch out for what unexpected moves they make, but we should also watch out for them as people.  Treating them with love will never be the wrong thing to do!  Mumbling under our breath about their abnormal driving isn’t being loving.  Being patient, slow to anger and quick to forgive is!

Lord, help me to be a blessing to my fellow drivers who may have troubles I don’t know about!

I need to watch out for you as a person when driving!

Don’t Block My Blessing!

Dikembe Motumbo was a 7 foot 2 basketball center whose specialty was blocking shots.  Often his opponents would have a perfectly clear shot until out of the blue Motumbo’s long arm would come into the picture and change everything.   Motumbo had a ritual he did after he blocked a shot.  It was almost as if it disturbed and annoyed him as he wagged his long finger at the would be scorer.  “Please no,” he would say as his face changed to a troubled look.  It was like he hated to block their shot but it was in his job description, much like things we don’t like to do on our jobs but have to do them anyway.  What we never saw was the face of the would be scorer.  If we did it would surely be a hurt face as his shot that he may have  already counted for the score book was being bounced harmlessly to the floor.  I never saw Motumbo block a shot of a player from his own team.  The hurt and disbelief on his teammates face would be there for all to see if that strange and confusing event ever happened.  That same look that I imagine it would be like,  was the same stunned and hurt look on my grandpa’s face years ago.

"Please no"

Please no”

My grandpa was born in 1895 so by the time I got to know him he seemed very old to me.  Of course my parents seemed very old at the time and anyone over twenty seemed very old.  We would go down to Alabama every year.  My grandpa and grandma spent their whole life in Alabama and my dad loved to take us there.  We were sure to gain a pound or two as grandma was an excellent cook.  She had meals on the table precisely on time and we had our fill of all kinds of food!  Grandma would have been hurt if we didn’t eat.  Of course we never tested that outcome.  We always brought our appetites when we entered Alabama and didn’t stop eating until we left!  At the end of the day everyone was happy!  Grandma was happy that we enjoyed her wonderful meals and we were happy that she blessed us with them!

Grandpa was a quiet man but we loved him just the same.  We realized that he loved us very much too.  One rare time they came up to Michigan.  It was the only time that I remember that they came our way.  Dad had been playing catch with me quite often with the baseball.  Grandpa took his turn and we played catch together.  I had a bunk bed at the time.  Very rarely did the two beds get used at the same time.  I had wanted a bunk bed because my friends down the road had them.  Of course they had three boys sharing the same room, but I didn’t think about that.  I thought they were cool and different.  When grandpa stayed at our house he slept on the top bunk.  What a scary adventure he talked about over and over the next day at breakfast.  He was making it sound so exciting and breath taking all for my benefit.   The way he described it you would have thought that he had walked on a high wire over a lake or something!  He was giving me a memory that I would cherish forever!

Each year at the end of our stay in Alabama we would hug grandma and grandpa goodbye.  Invariably grandpa would reach for his pocket and pull a dollar out for both of us.  A couple of times we took his money with excitement!  One time on the way home mom and dad wondered if he gave us something.  When we said that he gave us both a dollar they both didn’t think we should have taken it.  You see grandpa was a poor man.  He was living on his social security and he didn’t have a lot of money to throw around.  The thinking was that he could use the money himself.  In the years that followed I remember numerous times grandpa trying to give us each a dollar and we didn’t accept it.  It was like a sad game as he would try to stuff the money in our pockets only to have us put it right back in his.  I could see that same hurt look in his eyes that came from rejection.

I was talking to a friend the other day and the same type of thing happened in her family.  A close relative took care of a friends cat.  This close relative was a giver to the nth degree.  She loved to give what she could and loved how people loved her gifts. This time the shoe was on the other foot.  This friend of hers was giving her a gift for the care that she provided to her precious cat.  It was a card and inside was a gift certificate for a restaurant nearby. It’s not remembered if she finally accepted it and complained later of if she didn’t accept it at all.  The words lingering in my friends memory were “I don’t need this”.

Sometimes we take something out of the Bible and stand it alone completely out of context.  For example it states that it is better to give than to receive.  You can make the argument that if someone is always receiving and doesn’t give that it is wrong.  I would have to agree with you.  However, does this mean that it is a sin to receive something?  Does it mean that we should avoid receiving and only concentrate on giving?  How about the passage “Do to others as you would have them do to you?”  If you made the special effort to give someone that you loved very much a gift wouldn’t it be hurtful if they didn’t accept it?  How can hurting someone be a good thing?

Just as if we give in love we can receive in love too!  When we do things for some other reason the connection cannot be completed.  For example there is something called the prosperity gospel.  It states that if we give such and such something good will come back to us.  This can only be true if we are doing things for the right reasons.  If we are giving to get concerned with “what’s in it for us?” that attitude will never be blessed by God.  However if we give something from our heart then it’s all good.    If we do something from our heart  the other person should accept it from their heart.  Likewise if someone  does something for us from their heart, we should accept their gift graciously and lovingly.  There is no need for the “you shouldn’t have” phrase we hear so much because maybe they should have.   Maybe they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.  Since everything is being done out of love and God is the source for love, we have a love connection and blessings will follow!

Tom Brady is unanimously one of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL.  As good as Brady is and as well as he can throw, the results of the play are not positively fulfilled unless someone is there to receive his passes.  He can throw the best most accurate passes ever and if his receiver doesn’t catch them it all goes for nothing.  However, when both are in unison doing what they are supposed to do they both are glorified.  It is very important in our Christian walk to not only be good givers but  good receivers too!

Brady looking for a receiver

Brady looking for a receiver

Sometimes we might have the attitude that I will accept a gift from God, but not from this person.  Does it ever occur to us that maybe it is one in the same. God is love and he is continuously trying to bless his people.  Since we are his hands and feet on this earth, he often uses people to bless other people.  If someone out of their heart feels the desire to give us a nice gift that process can only come from love.  That person loves us and wants us to have something they can give  to show their love!  Rejecting their gift is in fact rejecting their love. Rejecting their love may be rejecting God’s gift and blessing.

My question to you today is “Are you a selfish giver?  In the words of Olivia Newton John, “Have you ever let someone else be strong?”  Have you ever considered the fact that receiving can also be giving?  I know that you are thinking that I just jumped off of the deep end but let me explain.  Suppose someone gives me a gift and I give them back love.  I accept their gift thankfully and tell them how much their gift means to me.  I make them feel good that they thought of me and in turn it makes them happy!  I am blessed by the material gift they gave me and I have given them a blessing too!  It is the blessing of love that is from God and makes us all feel good inside!

It is remindful that God gave us the greatest gift of all in his son Jesus.  By receiving him into our lives as a free gift we can all get to Heaven.  Once again we have a giver and a receiver.  I know that it hurts God when people reject the gift that he has given freely.  His desire is for all to receive his gift and live for eternity with him.  Just as we accept God’s gift as a blessing we also need to accept each others show of Godliness that he has instilled in us causing us to lovingly give. 

I can still see grandpa’s sad eyes as his gift was rejected .  If I could change one thing in my childhood this would be it.  I would accept his loving gift which would have put a smile on his face.  “I’d say “thank you grandpa, I love you!” I may not go as far as making it seem like I was as thankful as I would have been had I survived walking a high wire over a lake, but it would have been real!  He would have felt good and blessed and I would have felt the same!  

A dollar would buy a lot more back then than it does today.  With that dollar I may have bought a nice baseball.  If a friend asked where I got it I could have told him that it was a gift from my grandpa!  They would probably think, and rightly so, that I had a great grandpa who loved me very much!  With this scenerio the blessings would have flowed without being blocked and everyone would have been happy including God!

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