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Archive for the month “May, 2020”

Discipline And The Egg Mcmuffin

For someone who is not used to having time on my hands this can be a problem.  Suddenly I have a lot of time on my hands.  You might think “What is he complaining about?”  I am not complaining but I recognize how different it is.  Nobody is making my schedule like what happens at work.  I’ve often thought about what life would be at retirement.  I think that if I had a young family it would be a wonderful time to spend watching and helping the kids grow up.  That is not the case when you get to my age.  Now you top that off with the virus restrictions that are in place where we can’t go out and eat, or go to the movies, or even visit friends and it feels like we are trapped.  I’ve found that it is easy now to get into horrible time wasting ruts.  Watching one TV show after another and before you know it the whole day is gone.  Feeling frustrated that the whole day has been wasted and what did I get done?  Have you ever noticed how much your spirit is uplifted when you feel like something got accomplished?  God made us to be productive and there is a certain sense of satisfaction in completing projects.  If you are really organized you might make a list and check the items off as each one gets done! Then you look back on the day and you say “Well I’m glad I got that accomplished today!”

Honda HRN Residential Lawn Mowers

Last Friday I was talking to a friend and I mentioned that I needed to mow the grass.  He said that the only day to do it would be Saturday.  Apparently he looked at the weather forecast and the next few days after Saturday it was going to rain.  My back yard is the harder and bigger one.  Usually after I mow it I call it quits because it really wears me out.  I got done with the back and quit like I normally do.  However after a few minutes I found myself back outside.  I thought to myself “I could get the front yard done too, it won’t be that bad.”  So I powered up the lawn mower and there I went.  With each little accomplishment I told myself how nice it will be to get this yard all mowed before it rains.  Instead of concentrating on how tired I was, I pictured being done with the project and how good I would feel about it.  Sure enough I finished the front yard and the whole job was complete.  The next day it poured rain and I sat there watching the rain feeling so good about getting the job done!  What a difference it would have been if I had put it off.  I would have been kicking myself for not getting off of my butt while I had dry weather!

The meaning of discipline that I want to promote today is having the fortitude to stay on the right path to accomplish what you desire.  Many people associate discipline in another of the words meanings as in “I need to discipline my kids.”  This is not the meaning of the word that we are talking about.  We can have self discipline in our lives.  That comes about when we have a desire and don’t stray from the path until our desire turns into reality.  I was watching the Jim Rome show a couple of weeks ago and he was talking about discipline and his personal experience.  He mentioned how he was set to do everything right the other day which related to his eating.  He would start his day with a granola bar and had his schedule of good food planned from there.  When he got to the office somebody had bought him an Egg Mcmuffin and had it on his desk.  Jim mentioned how there was plenty of grease and exaggerated saying that it was burning a hole in the paper wrapping and his desk.  Suddenly Rome was in a dilemma.  What was he going to do?  “What would you do?”, he asked his audience.  “I’ll tell you what I did”, he went on. “I hoovered up that Egg Mcmuffin!”.  Now he was tempted to just give up on the day.  He had blown it and was strongly desiring to make a McDonald’s run and crush another Mcmuffin or two.  On the other hand he was tempted to follow his Mcmuffin with something on hand like a Snickers bar that they always had plenty of in the office.  “What’s the use?, this day is shot”, he would tell himself.  Then he remembered one of his favorite motivational speakers and dialed him in on his computer.  The effect was that Rome was talked off of the cliff and back into the discipline that would make him satisfied!  He overcame his desires and said no to the temptation and he started feeling good about himself again!

McMuffin - Wikipedia

Snickers Bar Stock Pictures, Royalty-free Photos & Images - Getty ...

In Matthew chapter 4 we can read about Jesus getting tempted in the wilderness.  To set the stage though we have to start with the end of chapter 3 when Jesus was baptized.  Now we may wonder why Jesus had to be baptized? After all he was the son of the living God.  The answer may be that it set an example for the rest of us.  At any rate it was a major high point as when he came out of the water the heavens opened up and a dove came down and landed on him.  Then a voice from heaven proclaimed “This is my son of whom I am well pleased!”  After this glorious high Jesus fasted for 40 days.  He was then led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.  Why would the spirit lead him into temptation?  Jesus was at his weakest point and surely didn’t need this.  The answer might be that he was again setting an example for us.  What should we do when we are tempted?  You can read the details in chapter 4 but the summary is that each time Jesus was tempted he resisted the temptation by quoting scripture.  You see Satan quoted scripture too, but he only quoted partial scripture.  Satan tried to take advantage of Jesus weakened condition but Jesus knew that Satan’s power was only for this earth and would never satisfy.

Jesus And Temptation Stock Photos & Jesus And Temptation Stock ...

So how do we learn to resist what we shouldn’t do?  The answer seems to be in self discipline.  How do we get that self discipline to do the things we should do and resist what we shouldn’t?   When we put the spirit first in our lives he helps us discern what we should and shouldn’t do! Like Rome sought help from another source we can seek the Holy Spirit’s advice.  Developing that discipline to follow the Lord’s voice will lead us to the long term results of health and happiness.  When speaking of health it is not exclusively our physical health.  Yes our physical health is important, but of more importance is our spiritual health.  Yes, you will be tempted and sometimes you will fail.  Failure though is never final.  We can and should always get back on the path of truth and light.  I remember when I was first learning to ride a bike. I was very young and my mom was helping me.  I could go for a few pedals before I lost balance and teetered.  Mom was right there running along keeping the bike straight.  Slowly I went a little further and a little further.  At long last I had control of the bike better and my slip ups were fewer and fewer.  That success is like what God offers when we stay on his bike with the discipline to keep going and never quit!

Teach your child how to ride a bike really quickly! - YouTube

Digging For Gold

Every year around this time millions of people are suffering from allergies.  Until just now I couldn’t tell you what a commercial I have been seeing numerous times on TV was about.  All I keep seeing in my head is a dog they show that apparently got sent in for grooming.  Well as they say a picture paints a thousand words.  The dog has half his hair cut and the other half just like it was.  The announcer comes in and says “You wouldn’t accept an incomplete job from anyone else so why accept it with your allergy pills?  I’m not going to condemn or condone the product but as a former Advertising major I am going to rate the commercial very good!  It is short and to the point with a picture showing their point in a very obvious way.  Now the fact that I didn’t remember the product name or what the product was supposed to help me with should be troubling and I could argue that their commercial is incomplete.  Perhaps I am digging a little here to help them complete what they started.  Maybe if they showed someone after the dog with itchy eyes and other symptoms suffering from their allergies and the product that can help them I would have remembered.  Like it is I have that incomplete job in my head of the dog, but not a strong product identification for a problem.  Pictures surely speak louder than words.

Flonase TV Commercial, 'Most Pills Don't Finish the Job' -

Lately during this corona virus time I have been reading spiritual books.  I have also been studying the books and I mean really studying them.  Unlike the dog example picture that keeps popping up in my mind, we are breaking down the broken down!  It is amazing how much gold you can find if you just dig for it!  Now this is not a mental thing as much as a spiritual thing.  Let me explain it this way.  We’ve seen smart people mentally who can tell you the answer to almost every question you ask.  However, these people have head knowledge and surface knowledge and I am searching for heart knowledge and hidden knowledge.  The heart knowledge runs so much deeper and can only come from desiring to gain knowledge that will help our spiritual walk.  I’ve heard the saying that with knowledge comes power.  I believe this basic rule and if you don’t consider the leaders around you.  Each one must have expert knowledge of the subject at hand or they wouldn’t be in that position.  In a business setting someone determines the value of the knowledge they possess and pays them accordingly.  It works the same way in the spiritual realm.  God sees that we are trying to dig deeper and possess more of his  spiritual knowledge so he has a helper (The Holy Spirit) who teaches us!  However, we are only going to learn if we are willing to be taught! We must be humble and know that there are many more things we don’t know than what we know.

In 1849 we had a great hunger in America.  It was the hunger to get rich via the Gold Rush!  300,000 people came from the United States and all over the world to find gold.  It is true that some came away very wealthy, but most made just enough to get by or even worse almost lost their lives. They were called 49ers because that was the year they made the trip 1849.  One of the men who saw gold at the end of his rainbow was named Samuel Brannan.  Brannan had heard rumors of gold discovered in San Francisco his home town.  Brannan was a newspaper editor and local merchant.  Quickly Brannon put together a gold prospecting supplies store and  walked the streets of San Francisco with a vial of gold shouting “Gold, Gold, Gold, from the American River!”  He saw the other side of the equation.  He set himself up for riches whether gold was discovered or not.  He knew the human hunger for riches would make him rich!

Miners vs. Merchants: Fortunes Made Through Global Trade

At first if the 49ers were very lucky and early they were able to pick the gold nuggets right off of the ground.  Those nuggets went fast as you can imagine and the others were relegated to panning for gold in the river.  Brannon didn’t have the only business that took advantage of the increased population.  Local Banks, Tailors, and Equipment stores were also very successful during the gold rush years.  Again they used the rush for gold to their advantage by providing for the 49ers services that they thought they needed.

I read a book one time about J. Paul Getty.  In it he stated how he got called when one of his oil wells struck oil  I read of different successes he had in that book but I didn’t realize the whole story.  Getty was married 5 times and had 4 kids each from different women. He actually got rich from his dad who bought land and struck oil on it. Getty inherited 1/3 of the Getty Oil Company but was able to expand it and in 1957 Forbes Magazine named him America’s richest man.  Yet with all of that wealth Getty didn’t like to spend money.  For this reason and many more he was not able to be happy in marriage.  Getty seemed like he had some regrets as he got older.  He stated that “A lasting relationship with a woman is only possible if you are a business failure”, and “I hate to be a failure. I hate and regret the failure of my marriages. I would gladly give all my millions for just one lasting marital success.” 

J. Paul Getty Stock Pictures, Royalty-free Photos & Images - Getty ...

Getty had gold right in front of him but he didn’t realize it.  He sold out to the gold of this world which will never satisfy.  As Christians we need to sell out too, not to this world, but to our spiritual treasures!  Digging deep we can find the spiritual nuggets.  The Holy Spirit will reveal all truths if we are open for it!  Unlike the Gold Rush there is plenty of nuggets for everyone who desires them!   Like the 49ers we need to be hungry.  Our hunger though needs to be directed at the spiritual.  We are a spiritual being who has a soul and lives in a body.  Jesus asked the question “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world but forfeit their soul?”  Mark 8:38.  It helps to get together with a fellow believer in our studies!  Matthew 18:20 tells us that “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  He does this in the form of the Holy Spirit who teaches us all truth!  Unlike the allergy commercial we will now be led to a complete victory.  Our willingness to go way beyond the surface leads us to understanding the complete picture! Are you willing to dig deeper for that gold that will satisfy?  If so your spiritual gold will never be empty and your cup of joy will always be full!






Following The Spirit

One day in 1970 Mac Davis (singer and song writer) went to the office.  He was recently divorced and because his former wife was ill he had their 5 year old son, named Scotty, with him.  Scotty was a typical kid with one thousand questions and Mac wanted to get some work done.  He wanted to write a song and Scotty was taking his mind off of the task.  Finally Mac decided to give Scotty a pad of paper and a pen.  He told him to draw a picture for daddy.  He drew a picture with two figures and the letters prlfq.  When he asked young Scotty what it spelled Scotty said “mom and dad.”  Mac was not quick to correct his son.  He knew that in time he would learn to spell but the effort was there!  In that moment of smiling at his son an inspiration came to him!

Mac Davis – Song Painter (1970) | Sounds of the Universe

Growing up there were two TV shows that I remember from Sunday morning TV.  One was called “Lamp Unto My Feet” and the other one was “Look Up And Live.”  I don’t remember the content of the shows.  In reading about them I discovered that they had guest stars (famous people) sharing their faith.  What I do remember is the titles.  Each title makes a bold statement.   The first statement was from a book I have been re-reading called “How You Can Be Led By The Spirit Of God”, by Kenneth E. Hagin. In Chapter 1 “The Lamp Of The Lord”, Hagin states that “Children of God can expect to be led by the Spirit of God.”  He quotes Proverbs 20:27 which states that “the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord.”  Here is what he states in conclusion of this statement.  “God will enlighten us-he will guide us- through our spirit.”  He makes the point that nowhere does it say that the body of man is the lamp of the Lord’, or that  the mentality of man is the light of the Lord.  We must follow God with our spirit because that is how he leads us.

How You Can Be Led by the Spirit of God: Kenneth E. Hagin ...

I was talking to my friend Kevin the other day about his experiences in the Navy.  Kevin was on a big ship with about 400 other soldiers.  When it got dark at sea it was pitch black.  You could not see your hand in front of you.  They had a drill that they did with a large group.  Each one had to line up behind the team leader.  The team leader had a laser light that let him lead the way.  The others put their hand on the collar of the man in front of them.  Slowly they marched to each ones berth and dropped them off one by one.  The Navy tried to build trust in your fellow teammates.  Everything in the Navy was based on trusting your teammate.  All of the men were trained in every situation.  They were trained to be firemen because if a fire started they couldn’t call the fire department. As they went through each thing that they were trained in they accumulated points which could lead to promotion.  The Navy teaches teamwork and depending on others, but God wants us to depend on him.  If one of those soldiers lost their grip with the person in front of him all of the ones he was leading would be stranded in the darkness.  It reminds me of the parable Jesus taught about the blind leading the blind.  Matthew 15:14 states “Disregard them! They are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Have you ever had a lamp that was not working?  You might make sure the bulb is tight and fiddle around with the wires.  Suddenly you notice that the plug has come out of the electric outlet.  When we plugged it in the light worked!  It is the same way with God.  He is waiting to light our path, but it is up to us to get and stay connected.  If our spirit isn’t in connection to God our light will not work.  Instead of walking in the light we start walking in darkness.  We depend on our emotions and what we think with our finite minds.  We depend on someone other than God who will ultimately lead us into darkness.  As I was writing this an appropriate children’s song came over the TV in the other room.  We are all probably familiar with it.  It is called “This Little Light of Mine.” The lyrics go “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”  How do we let it shine for the world to see?  We have it plugged in to the power source that makes it all possible!

When we seek after the spirit God is very pleased.  He is our Heavenly Father and like our good earthly father he is delighted in steps of learning that we make!  He realizes that we will fail, but he also see’s effort and potential!  He see’s the big picture in our spiritual growth and he is anxious to help us shine our light!  We are all uniquely made and he cherishes the wonderful differences each of us possess.  All he asks is for us to trust him and walk in the spirit where he can put a lamp under our feet!

When Mac Davis finished his song he let Bobby Goldsboro sing it and make the hit that it became.  One thing he didn’t let Bobby do though was change the name of the son.  He kept it Scotty because that was personal.  He loved Scotty and Scotty was the reason the song was written.  He delighted in watching Scotty grow just like your Heavenly Father delights in your willingness to learn and grow through his spirit!

Vinyl Album - The Peter Pan Rangers - Watching Scotty Grow - Peter ...

Watching Scotty Grow

Written by Mac Davis

There he sits with a pen and a yellow pad,
he’s a handsome lad, that’s my boy.
P-r-l-f-q, spells mom and dad.
Well, that ain’t too bad, ’cause that’s my boy.

You can have your T.V. and your night clubs.
You can have your drive in picture shows.
I’ll sit here and drink a beer and listen to the radio,
bidin’ my time and watchin’ Scotty grow.

Makin’ castles out of building blocks,
and a cardboard box, that’s my boy.
Mickey Mouse says it’s thirteen o’clock.
Well, that’s quite a shock, but that’s my boy.

In four short years I’ve grown from rags to riches.
What I did before that, I don’t know?
Let it rain on my windowpane, I got my own rainbow.
And we’re sittin’ here shinin’, watchin’ Scotty grow.

Up on daddy’s shoulders and off to bed,
old sleepyhead, that’s my boy.
Gotta have a drink of water and a story read,
and a teddy bear named Fred, that’s my boy.

What’s that you say, momma, come on and keep your feet warm.
Well, save a place, I’ll be in in a minute or so.
I think I’ll stay right here and say a little pray’r before I go.
Me and God are watchin’ Scotty grow.

Playing For The Prize

“When you pass the ball three things can happen and two of them are bad!”  The quote was attributed to either Woody Hayes or Darrel Royal, both great college coaches of the day.  That philosophy was also a key ingredient in the philosophy of the great Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers.  In 1967 Lombardi was trying to take the Packers to their fifth championship under his command.  However,  the Packers were in trouble.  Not only were they frozen stiff but they had just went down in the score.  There was only 4 minutes and 50 seconds left and they had the ball on their own 32 yard line.  They were down 17-14 and the obstacles seemed enormous.  The field was frozen and they might have been better off on ice skates.  The wind chill during the game was 48 degrees below zero.  Before the game Vince Lombardi, the Packers coach talked to Chuck Mercein, his big fullback.  “This is exactly the game I brought you here for”, he told Chuck.  “Now go out there and do what I know you can.

Vincent Lombardi - IMDb

Lombardi had already faced trouble earlier in the season.  In a game in the middle of the season both of his starting running backs had been hurt.  Elijah Pitts and Jim Grabowski were out and Lombardi knew that he needed help to implement his plan to victory.  He was trying to keep his eyes on the Apostle Paul’s comment in I Corinthians that he used to motivate his team before the playoffs started.  Paul stated that many people run the race but only one wins.  Run in a way that you will win.  In order for Lombardi to win the race he needed to sign a running back to help carry the load!

Chuck Mercein was a big fullback who played for the Giants.  That is until he was unceremoniously cut.  Chuck was selected in the 1965 draft as the Giants second pick.  He had a great career at Yale University.  He wondered why the Giants would choose him in the second round after using their first round pick on another fullback named Tucker Fredrickson?   The owner told him that they were going to move Tucker to halfback and Chuck would play fullback.  That answer satisfied Chuck.  However, the message must not have been communicated to the coach because Coach Allie Sherman had Tucker playing and Chuck on the bench.  Chuck mentioned later that he didn’t think that Sherman liked him from the start because he went to Yale.  Yale had a very good year but was not normally associated as a breeding ground for NFL talent.

Chuck Mercein - Wikipedia

Chuck was not a flashy runner.  In football terms you could call him a grinder.  He was more apt to try to run over someone than around him.  He was a slow straight line power runner who could also catch balls out of the backfield.  He was not a breakaway threat but could get a dependable three or four yards.  In 1965 Chuck didn’t play much.  He was also nursing an injured groin and that didn’t help the situation.  However, in 1966 Chuck got a real chance with the Giants to show what he could do.  Tucker got hurt and Chuck was the lead back.  He stepped up and led the team in rushing even though he missed the last two games because he was injured. 1966 Philadelphia # 130 New York Giants Chuck Mercein ...

In 1967 he came to camp ready to compete for the starting job but found that the decision had already been made and he would be a backup.  It didn’t sit well with Chuck when Sherman told him  he was putting him on waivers because someone got hurt and he needed to sign a linebacker.   Chuck was told not to worry though because they would call him back.  The Giants figured that nobody would claim Chuck because of his contract situation and he could easily be called back.  In the meantime Chuck played semi-pro ball to stay in shape.  When he finally got the Giants call he found that they wanted to bring him back as a kicker.  Chuck was a kicker for his Yale team in college, but he hadn’t kicked in a couple of years, and he wanted to play fullback, where he thought his skills could be best used.  However he came back as a kicker and on his second attempt he missed an extra point.  After the game he was waived and found himself out of football.  He remembered his coach in the College All Star Game and called him.  It was Otto Graham, who was coaching the Washington Redskins.  Otto wanted to sign Chuck but he had a roster problem.  He wanted him to wait until he got it cleared up.

While he was waiting Chuck got a call from the Giants owner.  Vince Lombardi had called and wanted to know if Chuck was still available and would he take his call?  Chuck happily told him he hadn’t signed yet and Lombardi called soon after.  He wanted Chuck to come to Green Bay.  He had just lost two running backs and felt that Chuck could come and help them win another championship!  Chuck told his wife “we are heading to Green Bay!”  So that is how Chuck Mercein ended up back in Wisconsin.  Chuck had lived in Wisconsin early in life and knew of the weather he was getting into.  Yet he also knew he was needed and wanted!  Chuck was a perfect fit for Lombardi’s plan.  Lombardi valued determination and grit over talent.  He saw that Chuck was a hard nosed player who would give him all that he had.  To Lombardi that was much better than a super talented player that didn’t give his all.

Bart Starr, the Quarterback didn’t say much when the team formed their huddle.  Later when asked about it he said that he looked into the eyes of Forrest Gregg and Jerry Kramer and saw their determination.  All he said then was “Let’s Go!”   It was with great resolve that the Packers left that huddle.  For much of the second half they had been sliding on the icy field.  They could not keep their footing.  Chuck picked up a key first down on a seven yard sweep.  He was pushed out of bounds by the Packers sideline and he heard Coach Lombardi yell “Atta boy Chuck!”  He felt an amazing amount of confidence fill his body!  Donny Anderson and Boyd Dowler were key players in the drive but Tom Laundry the coach of the Dallas Cowboys mentioned one play that really hurt them.  The ball was on the Dallas 30 and Chuck let  Bart Starr know that he had been open in the left flat.  Bart put that wisdom into his thinking and when he couldn’t find his primary receiver on the next play he dumped the ball to Chuck.  The toss was a little behind him but Chuck gathered himself with sturdy feet and outstretched arms and brought the ball in.  Sure enough there wasn’t a Cowboy in proximity as methodically through the ice Chuck moved with determination and strength.  Trudging sturdily  all the way down to the 11 yard line, he was finally  pushed out of bounds.

Chuck Mercein I

There was one minute and eleven seconds left and the Packers odds of scoring the go ahead touchdown were looking good!  The next play made it look even better as Chuck broke through the pack and plowed his way to the three yard line!  From there they got to the one yard line, but for the next two plays the backs couldn’t get their footing and were stopped short.  The ball was on the 1/2 yard line but there were only 16 seconds left when the Packers used their final time out.  Starr made a quick visit to Lombardi and made his case.  “Our backs cannot get their footing but I can push off and get in”, Starr stated.  In typical Lombardi fashion he said “Well run it then and let’s get out of here!”
Starr came back to the huddle and called Chuck’s play.  Chuck knew that he was going to score.  To Chuck’s surprise as he was charging in to get the hand off Starr never turned around.  Starr took the snap and pushed forward behind a slight hole the line had made and landed in the end zone.  Meanwhile Chuck was charging and couldn’t stop.  There was a rule at the time that a ball carrier could not be pushed into the end zone.  Chuck’s arms went straight up in the air.  “It wasn’t a touchdown signal”,  Chuck related later.  “It was showing the referee that I wasn’t helping by pushing him in!”  Chuck gained 34 of the 68 yards on that drive.  Without him the Packers would not have won.  Yet when the winning moment occurred it was Chuck who made sure in that split second that the victory stood!

Bart's QB sneak behind Jerry

Chuck Mercein was not the most talented player in the league.  What he did have though was something far more important than talent.  He was determined to be the best he could possibly be.  He was willing to work for that goal.  Just like Lombardi looked for desire and maximum effort, so does God!  He looks at our hearts and asks of us this question.  Are you giving me all that you have?  When we learn to give him everything, God finds a time that he will use us!  Like Chuck we might seem ignored when the credit is handed out, but in the end God knows who did their job and will reward us fully!  Unlike Chuck’s end zone picture we will be raising our hands not in following the law, but in praise to the one who made it all possible!

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”

1 Corinthians 9:24









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