Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Right Age

“I’m too old for that,” my 53-year-old friend said.

I regularly hear such comments from those who have hit the big zero years (50, 60, 70). Once-attractive women complain, “When women reach a certain age, men ignore them.” When I hear that, I think, so what? Do you need approving stares to be happy?

I’m tired of hearing friends cringe at the mention of aging. I have no desire to be 30 or 60 again and am grateful for the years behind me.

Just because we reach “a certain age” doesn’t mean we stop living or enjoying life. Instead, we have an opportunity to add to our lives, to explore new ideas, and take pleasurable risks.

This year I turned 85, and I’m delighted to admit it. Here are a few things I say about my age:
"I've earned every wrinkle and creak in my body."
"This is the cost of living longer."
"I'm happy being who I am right now."
"This is exactly the right age for me."

Getting older isn’t only a downhill slide; we can always find positives. No matter how dismal life seems, we can choose to stay positive.

For example, my faith has grown stronger and my attachment to others is deeper. I’m free to say no. The older I get, the more I know the relationships I want to maintain and those I want to let go.

Regardless of the number of my years, I’m exactly the right age to increase my joy and appreciate all the goodness of life. I relish the freedom and the joy of life instead of thinking how terrible it is to get old. I regularly say to myself, “This is the life I’ve been preparing to live. Now I’ll enjoy it.”

What about you and your age? Can you say these words below?

by Cecil Murphey – Writer, Teacher, Speaker, Abuse Survivor

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Very Last Tract

Every Sunday afternoon, after the morning service at the church, the Pastor and his eleven year old son would go out into their town and hand out gospel tracts.

This particular Sunday afternoon, as it came time for the Pastor and his son to go to the streets with their tracts, it was very cold outside, as well as pouring rain.

The boy bundled up in his warmest and driest clothes and said, 'OK, dad, I'm ready.' His Pastor dad asked, 'Ready for what?'

'Dad, it's time we gather our tracts together and go out.'

Dad responds, 'Son, it's very cold outside and it's pouring rain.'

The boy gives his dad a surprised look, asking, 'But Dad, aren't people still going to hell, even though it's raining?'

Dad answers, 'Son, I am not going out in this weather.'

Despondently, the boy asks, 'Dad, can I go? Please?'

His father hesitated for a moment then said, 'Son, you can go. Here are the tracts, be careful son..'

'Thanks Dad!'

And with that, he was off and out into the rain. This eleven year old boy walked the streets of the town going door to door and handing everybody he met in the street a gospel tract.

After two hours of walking in the rain, he was soaking, bone-chilled wet and down to his very last tract. He stopped on a corner and looked for someone to hand a tract to, but the streets were totally deserted. Then he turned toward the first home he saw and started up the sidewalk to the front door and rang the door bell. He rang the bell, but nobody answered.

He rang it again and again, but still no one answered. He waited but still no answer. Finally, this eleven year old trooper turned to leave, but something stopped him.

Again, he turned to the door and rang the bell and knocked loudly on the door with his fist. He waited, something holding him there on the front porch!

He rang again and this time the door slowly opened.

Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady. She softly asked, 'What can I do for you, son?' With radiant eyes and a smile that lit up her world, this little boy said, 'Ma'am, I'm sorry if I disturbed you, but I just want to tell you that “Jesus does love you” and I came to give you my very last gospel tract which will tell you all about Jesus and His great love.'

With that, he handed her his last tract and turned to leave. She called to him as he departed, 'Thank you, son! And God bless you!'

Well, the following Sunday morning in church Pastor Dad was in the pulpit. As the service began, he asked, 'Does anybody have testimony or want to say anything?'

Slowly, in the back row of the church, an elderly lady stood to her feet.

As she began to speak, a look of glorious radiance came from her face, 'No one in this church knows me. I've never been here before. You see, before last Sunday I was not a Christian. My husband passed on some time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday, being a particularly cold and rainy day, it was even more so in my heart that I came to the end of the line where I no longer had any hope or will to live.’

‘So I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the attic of my home. I fastened the rope securely to a rafter in the roof, then stood on the chair and fastened the other end of the rope around my neck. Standing on that chair, so lonely and broken-hearted I was about to leap off, when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I thought, 'I'll wait a minute, and whoever it is will go away.'

‘I waited and waited, but the ringing doorbell seemed to get louder and more insistent, and then the person ringing also started knocking loudly.’

‘I thought to myself again, 'Who on earth could this be? Nobody ever rings my bell or comes to see me. I loosened the rope from my neck and started for the front door, all the while the bell rang louder and louder.’

‘When I opened the door and looked I could hardly believe my eyes, for there on my front porch was the most radiant and angelic little boy I had ever seen in my life. His smile, oh, I could never describe it to you!’

‘The words that came from his mouth caused my heart that had long been dead, to leap to life as he exclaimed with a cherub-like voice, 'Ma'am, I just came to tell you that Jesus really does love you.'

‘Then he gave me this gospel tract that I now hold in my hand.’

‘As the little angel disappeared back out into the cold and rain, I closed my door and read slowly every word of this gospel tract. Then I went up to my attic to get my rope and chair. I wouldn't be needing them anymore.’

‘You see - I am now a happy child of the King. Since the address of your church was on the back of this gospel tract, I have come here to personally say “Thank You” to God's little angel who came just in the nick of time and by so doing, spared my soul from an eternity in hell.'

There was not a dry eye in the church. And as shouts of praise and honor to the King resounded off the very rafters of the building, Pastor Dad descended from the pulpit to the front pew where the little angel was seated. He took his son in his arms and sobbed uncontrollably.

Probably no church has had a more glorious moment, and probably this universe has never seen a Papa that was more filled with love  and honor for his son than Pastor Dad.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

The Inner Critic

All of us have an accusing voice - a nagging, troublesome conscience or tormenting memories. As one friend said, “We know the voice and it’s with us every day. That inner censor makes its presence known repeatedly - especially when we’re in a low spot.”

Too often we listen and sink even lower, thereby endowing that detractor with the power to steal our joy and rob us of peace. Our self-faultfinder thrives in our tender places - those vulnerable spots and uncertainties. It’s where we store our shame and embarrassments.

In recent years, I’ve learned to rise above that condemnation.

First, I talk to the judgmental voice. Instead of fighting it, I say, “Yes, I failed to...” or “I’m still embarrassed over...”

Second, I remind myself that God forgives me, no matter what I’ve done (or didn’t do). I say, “God has forgiven me, so you don’t have to keep tormenting me.” Then I add, “Besides that, I forgive Cec.”

Third, I say to my inner critic, “Thank you for reminding me and, with God’s help, I won’t fail in that area again.”

Recently, I spoke harshly to a friend and immediately apologized. That sneaky voice whispered, “You failed at this before. Remember?”

I laughed and said, “I distinctly remember forgetting. Besides, Psalm 103:12 reads, ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.’ That means it’s gone and you can’t bring it up again.”

I honestly do it that way. Maybe it won’t work for you, but it might be worth trying.

Written by Cecil Murphey - Writer | Speaker | Teacher | Survivor

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

It's Always Behind Us

Image courtesy: www.lifeworksms.com
About 1,500 years ago, the Desert Fathers recorded that an assembly of monks was concerned about the failure of one in their midst. They sent for Abbot Moses to pronounce sentence before they excommunicated him.

The abbot arrived, carrying an old basket filled with sand. One monk said, “Your basket is leaking sand. Do you know that?”

“Are you sure?” He looked at his feet. “I see nothing.”

“No, no! Look behind you.” And the brother pointed to the telltale spillage.
“My sins are running behind me,” the leader said, “so I don’t see them.” He turned and left the assembly.

The story ends that the enacted metaphor caused the monks to forgive the offender and asked him to stay with them.

Like Abbot Moses demonstrated, I don’t see my failures and weaknesses. They’re behind me--in the past. I tend to forget them or dismiss them as “not that big an issue.”

Such behavior makes it easy for me to point out others’ guilt, failures, or weaknesses. It also reminds me that I’m as flawed as anyone else and often condemn in them what I need to see in myself.

When I face the trickling sand behind me, I’m forced to admit what I don’t want to see. As I pondered that illustration, it nudges me to cry out like the tax collector of Jesus’ day, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

(The writer Cec Murphey is a speaker, teacher, survivor and author. He has written or co-written more than 135 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world)

Thursday, August 03, 2017

A Christian's Possessions

A tax officer came one day to a poor Christian to determine the amount of taxes he would have to pay.

The following conversation took place:

"What property do you possess?" asked the assessor.

"I am a very wealthy man," replied the Christian.

"List your possessions, please," the assessor instructed.

The Christian replied:
First, I have everlasting life, John 3:16

Second, I have a mansion in heaven, John 14:2

Third, I have a perfect conscience and peace that passes all understanding, Philippians 4:7

Fourth, I have joy unspeakable, 1 Peter 1:8

Fifth, I have divine love which never fails, 1 Corinthians 13:8

Sixth, I have a faithful wife, Proverbs 31:10

Seventh, I have healthy, happy obedient children, Exodus 20:12

Eighth, I have true, loyal friends, Proverbs 18:24

Ninth, I have songs in the night, Psalms 42:8

Tenth, I have a crown of life, James 1:12"

The tax assessor closed his book, and said, "Truly you are a very rich man, but your property is not subject to taxation."

I pray that all of us will have this kind of tax free "wealth."