One of the things that really brings me joy is being able to be an encouragement to others, especially when I can help them live their best life. I try to be for others, what I wish someone would be for me. I am not sure that I always get this right, but it is the goal of my life and living and brings me great satisfaction and pleasure when I get it right.
Proverbs 11:25 says: The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.
This morning I was thinking about the practical ways that I can accomplish my goal of being an encouragement to others and here are just a few of the ways that I came up with:
SMILE MORE! It is amazing how many people walk around all day long and never smile. I’ve noticed if I smile at others, then often they can’t help but smile back. I try to make it a habit to speak to every person I cross paths with. It’s amazing what a ”Good Morning!”, “Beautiful Day!” Or “How’s Life Treating You?” will wake folks up to realizing that it is more than just them in this world. God has given us one another to be a blessing and encouragement. A smile communicates a thousand positive messages without saying a word.
THINK THROUGH AND TEACH THE SACRED SCRIPTURES! When my “hellos” turn into a conversation, then I need to have something better than my own home spun theories to talk about. This is another reason, that I begin everyday with reading in the Scriptures. God’s Word is God’s Wisdom and it makes me a lot wiser, when I read it, live it and share it with others. Speaking what I am learning from the Scriptures helps me to live it and gives others something meaningful to think about.
WRITE ENCOURAGING NOTES AND POSTS! I decided many years ago, that if I could not keep it positive that I would get off of Social Media. Social Media is a platform that can be used for good of bad, the choice is yours. I choose to use it for good. I can commit on other’s post and share an encouraging word, attaboy or way to go. I can post things I am learning and ways that God is growing me. I can text, email and send encouraging messages with just a few key strokes. The “key”, I have found is just making sure that I actually take the time to do it. Don’t just scroll and casually read. As you scroll, think about how you can be a blessing and be one.
LISTEN AND WHEN YOU DO SPEAK, DON’T WASTE YOUR WORDS! So many conversations now a days have become a big waste, because we do a lot of talk, but nothing much really gets said. There are a couple of easy things we can do to change this: 1.) Listen! Close your mouth, stop thinking about what you are wanting to say and really listen. Listening is an art form and the people that get good at it, can be life changing. 2.) When you do speak, make sure that what you are speaking is EAT = encouraging, applicable and true. The goal of our speaking should always be to leave things better than we found them.
JUST BE YOURSELF – THE YOU THAT GOD MADE YOU TO BE! You really are a special creation of the Most High God. And God created you to be a blessing and encouragement to others. When we get this right, our lives bring God great joy, so just be you, the real you, the fun you, the happy you. As you make life better for others, you will become even more of yourself and you will find that you are blessed in your blessing of others…
Some of you know what has been going on with some of my health challenges and some of you may have missed part of the story”, so I thought I would try to clear things up and let you know “the rest of the story as one of my favorites Paul Harvey would say.
The first part of the story, I do not remember and I will have to tell you based on what I have been told by those that were standing by. I want to thank everyone for your prayers, love, support, encouragement, patience and understanding. It has been and continues to be a learning journey and has grown and is growing me in so many different ways.
On Monday May 30th after suffering with a three day headache, I discovered that I had sinus infection that was making my ability to swallow difficult and my talking sound funny because of a swollen tongue. I of course started my home remedies, because even though I am not a doctor, I could play one on TV. On Wednesday evening, I preached, recorded and uploaded my Wednesday evening message and it sounded like I had a button or piece of candy in my mouth the whole time, I promise I didn’t, so on Friday, I decided after everyone’s coaxing to do a virtual visit with the Doctor. The Doctor prescribed Mucinex D and a nasal spray, which I started late Friday evening. Friday was a pretty normal day, other than sore throat, drainage and swelled tongue. I went to bed Friday evening just wanting to feel normal again.
This next part, I don’t remember, so I am going from Joy’s telling of the story. On Saturday morning June 4, 2022, I woke up, came into the living room and ask Joy what was going on? I told her that something was not right, that something was off. She got worried and started asking me all kinds of questions to see if I knew who I was, where I was, what our Granddaughters name was and when I couldn’t answer that, she got on the phone with my sister and My Brother In Law told her to call 911. During this time I was wide awake, talking, shaking hands and supposedly just trying to get my bearings. I am thankful for my Brother In Law Bill Cantrell showing up Johnny on the spot and Joy’s Mom Nancy Jo being here for Joy and the girls. There is a lot more to the story, and I was there, but I wasn’t there, so I’m not going into all of that, except to say: Praise the Lord, I did not say or do anything too embarrassing.
The rescue squad showed up and rushed me to the hospital with stroke like symptoms, where they did a CT Scan upon my arrival. Our good friend Julia Ellison Nicols made sure that I was well taken care of and was my Guardian Angel. The Doctors felt like my short term memory loss was due to the extremely high blood pressure and started me on a drip of medicine to try to start bringing it down and continued a barrage of tests, poking and sampling whatever they could get from me.
I can remember bits and pieces of the Emergency Room. I recognized Dr. Lutz from previous meetings when visiting parishioners, but it all just seems like a dream and I thank the Lord for that, because I have never been afraid to die, but I have never wanted it to hurt.
In the afternoon/evening they moved me into ICU and for the first time that I can remember, Joy and I talked and she filled me in on what all had happened, what was going on and what the plan of operation was. She informed me that I would not be able to preach the next day and that she had already sent messages and taken care of all of that and so I laid there and we talked and I slept and we talked and I slept They eventually brought me supper and I was trying to come up with a plan to get someone to break me out of there and take us to the Peddler, my treat. I told Joy to go home and get some good rest in a good bed. I actually rested pretty decent, although I am not a back sleeper and I was all wired up.
Sunday morning June 5, 2022 found me still in ICU, trying my best to come up with an escape plan. They were monitoring my blood pressure levels and decided to get rid of my drip and try me with a pill and see if they would stay stable, this was the key to my getting into a regular room and going home. I honestly was in pretty good spirits the whole time and kept thinking about how grateful I was that things were not much worse. Supposedly the meds that I took for the sinus infection cause my blood pressure to jump into the danger zone and I honestly was very blessed that things were not a whole lot worse. On the agenda for this day would be more test, particularly a MRI of my head, throat and chest. You will be pleased to know that I do have a brain and a heart.
Sunday afternoon they moved me to a regular room and we waited for results of the MRI. The MRI revealed that I had a small stroke on the back left side of my brain. It also revealed that totally unrelated, I had an aneurysm on the right side of my brain, but not that they were overly worried about. They also noticed that the arteries going up my neck were a little twisted, which they called Fibromuscular Displaysia, but they should be okay, because it did not seem to impact the flow of things. My heart looked good, other than some thickening of the heart wall, which was probably a result of the high blood pressure.
All I could think about was holding my Granddaughter Addi Jo, walking around our yard in Cheddar, seeing our family/friends and getting back to my Pastor/Preacher work and ministry, especially with my dear Eureka Baptist Church.
The good news so far is that there does not seem to be any permanent damage. I should not require any surgery, but I do have a slew of specialist that I now have to see, a few medications that I have to take and Joy thinking she has been promoted to General. (Haha)
On Monday June 6, 2022, I spent most of the day just waiting. We had to do an echo on my heart, just to make sure things were clear and my nurse assured me that no matter what time they gave me the clear that she could and would get me out of there within 20 minutes. Later in the late afternoon, we finally got the news that we could split and split we did.
God and everyone has been so good to us. The major thing I am learning is that I am not going to bounce back from this like I would anything else. I have good days, where I feel like I am back to normal and then challenging days where I feel like a very old man, who can’t do anything for himself. I believe this is just my body adapting, adjusting and getting used to a different way of living. I have prayed about it and I am trusting God to bring me back better than ever.
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13
Today as I was preaching, I felt more back to my normal self. I am still having some sinus challenges that is impacting my throat, tongue and speech, but I trust that in God’s time, God will take care of it, because I know without doubt that He is taking care of me!
What do you need to do? We all have that list of things that we need to do. The things that we are eventually going to get around to taking care of when we have a little more time. The reality is, we have time for what we make time for, so if it is really important, then we need to check it off of our to do list by making time for it.
Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies we will ever face in our life time. The bad thing about procrastination is not only the things that are left undone that need doing, but the stress that takes over our lives by thinking about what we need to do that we are not doing.
You know exactly what I am talking about. There is something that you need to do and you have been knowing that you need to do it for the longest time, but you always find other things to do in it’s place and the thing that desperately needs doing continues to go undone! I’ve even discovered that there are times that I procrastinate about what I am procrastinating about.
Napoleon Hill said: “Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”
For over a year, I have been telling myself that I needed to get my walking and exercise routine started back up. It is actually one of those things that contributes to the growth of the three most important areas of my life and living – physical, mental and spiritual. But while I have told myself I need to get started, it is easier said than done, I find excuses of others things that I have to do and so it’s just another thing on the list of unchecked items on a list that is getting things added to it everyday.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” -Hebrews 12:11
Here are a few STEPS TO TAKING ON AND TAKING OUT PROCRASTINATION:
1.) The secret to blessing and success in this life is figuring out what needs to be done and doing it. Make a list of all thing things that you have in your heart and head that need to be done.
2.) Now divide that list into things that you are willing to do and things that you don’t really want to do.
3.) Get to work on the list of things that you want to do and you will be amazed at how quickly you get that stuff knocked out.
4.) Pick one thing off of the list of things that you don’t want to do and make a commitment to “just do it” starting today. Make a plan with steps and tackle at least one step a day, until the task is done…
You don’t need to wait for inspiration, because I just gave that to you. You don’t have to feel like doing it to do it, you just have to give yourself a kick in the behind, get out of the lazy boy and get after it. I’ve noticed in my own life that the hardest part is getting started, once started, it’s usually half done.
In the words of a famous red neck theologian: “Git-R-Done!”