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  • "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." (John 6:51, ESV)

Archive for the ‘thoughts for your life’ Category

I hope this message inspires and challenges your heart to always try to do the right thing because when you do you will reap blessings more than you can think or imagine.

PAINTED WITH A DIFFERENT BRUSH

One man who loved the color yellow had yellow carpet, yellow furniture, yellow drapes, yellow walls and even yellow appliances in his yellow kitchen. He slept in a yellow bed with yellow covers and wore yellow pajamas. He got sick. You guessed it…yellow jaundice.
He called a doctor who came to his apartment building. The manager told him he’d have no trouble finding the right one. “You just go down the hall and come to a yellow door,” he said. “That’s the one.”
In a few moments the doctor was back. The apartment manager asked, “Were you able to help him?”
The doctor replied, “Help him! I couldn’t even FIND him!”

I suppose it’s not always a good idea to blend too closely with your surroundings. And that holds true for the way we think and behave, too. We may not always want to be like everyone else around us. I admire those people willing to stand out from the crowd.

People like a Miami mother who came to police and spilled out cash and coins totaling $19.53. Her young son added another 85 cents to the little pile. It turns out that, after two days, they were the only people to return money scooped up from an armored truck that toppled on an overpass and rained more than half a million dollars onto the street below. Police said that witnesses reported seeing rush-hour commuters loading money into their cars and driving off while the armored truck employees lay bleeding. Police had pleaded with residents to return the money, but got nothing but laughter until a mother and a boy came in.
In a world that seemed to think alike, two people had a different idea. They refused to blend in with those around them. It was as if they were painted with a different brush. “I have children and I needed to set a good example,” said the mother of six, who could have used a little extra cash to supplement her low retail store wage.
Most people talk about values and what they believe to be right and wrong. But I’ve noticed that our REAL values can be seen by the way we live. It is the things we do and the choices we make that show what we truly believe.
An 11-year-old boy who turned in 85 cents because he felt “it was wrong for me to keep anything” stood out from the crowd. And a mother who wanted to teach her children to do the right thing set an example they will never forget. Like Ruth E. Renkel says, “Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritances.”
When this Miami mother one day passes away, she will leave her children a rich inheritance. Maybe not a pile of money, but she will leave them an example of a life of integrity and self respect, an example of what it is like to be painted with a different brush. She will leave them something far more important than wealth.
If her children inherit her values, anything else is just money.
Paint them fortunate.

By Steve Goodier

I hope this message encourages and inspires your heart to believe again that greatness lies within you and that every dream that is in your heart can be realized.

WHAT ARE YOU DREAMING ABOUT?

The agricultural school dean was interviewing a freshman. “Why have you chosen this career?” he asked.

“I dream of making a million dollars in farming, like my father,” replied the freshman.
The dean was impressed. “Your father made a million dollars in farming?”
“No,” the student said. “But he always dreamed of it.”

All right. That was corny. But at least this student has a dream, even if it is only a dream about money.

I prefer the story of a man who was discussing with his wife a trip he wanted to take to Alaska. He told her he’d always dreamed of such an adventure. He wanted to travel deep into the wilderness. He wanted to rough it. He talked about how exciting it would be to stay in a log cabin without electricity, to hunt caribou and drive a dog team instead of a car.
“If we decided to live there permanently, away from civilization, what would you miss the most?” he asked his partner.
She replied, “You.”
His dream; not hers. A better dream might include her.

This is a time of year we often examine our dreams and goals. I’ve found a couple of questions helpful when I consider which dreams to chase and which to leave alone.

First, does my dream have deep meaning? Or put another way, is it significant and important enough to commit my time and energy toward? What will it ultimately mean if I accomplish this thing I think I want? Probably the pursuit of prosperity alone will not bring the kind of meaning you desire at a deeper level.
The second question is similar. Does my dream spring from the best that is within me? Does it come from a place of love or altruism? Will my life and the lives of those I love be better for it? My best dreams include those I love.
What are you dreaming about?

By Steve Goodier

The below story is from an anonymous source on the internet that I received in an email.
read it and see how you might be challenged.

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.
I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being..
She said, ‘Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?’
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, ‘Of course you may!’ and she gave me a giant squeeze..
‘Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?’ I asked.
She jokingly replied, ‘I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…’
‘No seriously,’ I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
‘I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!’ she told me.
After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.
We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this ‘time machine’ as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.
Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, ‘I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.’
As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ‘ We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.
There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.
We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!
There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.
If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.
Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.
The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets..’
She concluded her speech by courageously singing ‘The Rose.’
She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.
One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

I hope this message inspires and challenges your heart to give your all in the work that you do and know that your contribution does make a difference in the lives of others.

WORKING IN JOY

When I was a boy we had a wood stove that heated the house in the Winter. Keeping that stove full was no small task. My Dad, two brothers, and I would spend days cutting up trees on our land to fill the woodshed. It was hard work splitting up the logs, tossing them into the back of the pickup truck, and stacking them into cords. We never complained however. We spent the time laughing, joking, and teasing each other. We knew that hard work was a part of life and was best done in joy. We knew too that this hard work would keep us warm during the long, cold Winter to come.
Putting food on our tables and heat in our homes is only a small part of our real work in this world, though. Our greatest work here is the hearts we touch, the good we do, and the love we share. Our hands may be able to lift a log into a truck, but our smiles can lift another’s heart in joy. Our arms may be able to carry a load of wood, but our kindness can help someone carrying a heavy load in their life. Our skills and talents may be able to make us some money, but our love, goodness, and oneness with God can help to make this world a better place forever.

Leo Buscaglia said, “To work in love is to work in joy, to live in love is to live in joy.” Don’t be afraid of a little hard work then. Do all of your work in love and in joy. Work at giving, work at loving, and work at living happily ever after, day by day and choice by choice. God put us here to grow, to learn, to work, and to love. God put us here to find joy in our efforts and to share love in our lives. Do all of your work with a smile on your face, with love in your heart, with joy in your mind, and with light in your soul. If you do so your work will become play, your life will become joy, and God will always work through you.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

I hope this message inspires and challenges your heart to do all that you can to show your appreciation and gratitude towards those who make your life so much better.

BRINGING HEAVEN TO EARTH

I believe in Heaven. I have for a long time now. With me it is not just a matter of faith either. I also believe in Heaven because of all the evidence I see here on Earth. I see this evidence not only in the glorious natural world all around us but also in the endless acts of love that come from the hearts of people as well. These are the people who bring a bit of Heaven to Earth everyday and they are the ones I wish to thank now.
To all the people who pick up the trash off the ground and plant trees and flowers in its place, thank you. To every parent who spends the day hard at work and then goes home and makes the time to play with and read to their kids, thank you. To every kind heart who has ever taken in and loved a stray dog or cat, thank you. To every person who has ever opened their purse or wallet and given to a charity not out of duty, but out of love, thank you. To everyone who has ever offered a ride, opened a door, or shared a smile with a stranger, thank you. To every good Samaritan who has stopped along the way to help a person in need, thank you. To every gentle spirit who has shared their laughter, encouraged a friend, or inspired another soul, thank you. To every single person who has tried to make this world a little better through what they do, thank you. And to every soul who not only knows the words “Love your neighbor as yourself” but tries to live them as well, thank you.
God doesn’t just want each of us to one day reach Heaven, He also wants each of us to bring a little Heaven down here to Earth as well. Do your best then to love and be loved, to care for others and the world around you, to create joy rather than sadness, and to help everyone you can every chance you can. Do your best to let God’s love live through you. Then you will be ready for Heaven, because you will carry a bit of Heaven with you wherever you go.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

I hope this message ministers to your heart to see that God’s grace is a gift that we all need in our lives. It is a gift that will nurture, strengthen and enable us to walk with Christ.

A MORNING GIFT

Every morning when I wake up I find a neatly wrapped gift lying on my chest. Now I have to admit that in my past I always pushed this gift aside without even looking at it. I was too rushed and determined to get things done to even consider opening it. I was working, pushing, and trying so hard to make my life work out with so little progress at the end of each day. I trudged through all of my pains, challenges and difficulties while things went from bad to worse. I kept crawling through my life until I was too exhausted to go on. Then one morning I finally noticed that beautiful gift lying there and opened it for the first time.

These days when I open my eyes and see the gift waiting for me, I smile. I carefully and happily tear off the paper and open the box. I take out the gift and hold it in my arms. I give thanks for it and bring it with me wherever I go all through the day. This gift makes my life so much better. I meet people with a smiling face and a loving heart. I laugh easily, sing often, and feel my spirit dancing even when my feet don’t. I face life’s struggles, challenges, difficulties, and pains with hope, determination, optimism, and joy. I know that whatever I must face and whatever I must do that this glorious gift will carry me through.

This gift is Grace. It is the unconditional love of God. It is the unmerited help of our Heavenly Father in all we do. Grace is waiting for us each and every morning of our lives. It is waiting to make a home in our hearts and minds. It is waiting for us to share it with the world. Grace is there ready to help us live our live with love every single day.

What are you going to do when you wake up tomorrow morning? Are you going to shove this gift aside and struggle to make it on your own? Or are you going to thank God for this precious gift, take it in your hands, and place it joyfully into your soul?

By Joseph J. Mazzella

I hope this message inspires and challenges your heart to see that success
can be yours when you place the Lord first in your life. He will lead us
in the right direction and guide us on to the best for our life.

Steve Goodier has this to say:
SUCCEEDING AT LIFE

It’s said there are three ways to get to the top of a tree: climb it, sit
on an acorn or make friends with a big bird. But without too much
imagination I can think of a couple of other ways – like one that involves
a parachute and a poor landing.

However, the point is still well taken: getting to the top of that
organization or reaching a new height requires effort. And it is taken for
granted that reaching the top is exactly what everyone wants to do. After
all, isn’t that what “success” is all about? More power? More money?
Reaching the top?

But what about success at living – trying to get it right this go around?

Success at this thing we call living has always been important to me. And
climbing to the top of a tree has never been a good metaphor for it. I
like to think more about the word “priorities.” Getting some basic
priorities in order is key. And I know that if one’s life can be organized
around solid priorities, then a full and worthwhile life will be the result.

It is always risky to use sports illustrations; they just don’t speak to
everyone. But let me forge ahead with an oft-quoted statement by American
football coaching legend Vince Lombardi. He is remembered for saying,
“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” And Lombardi’s dream was
certainly to coach winning teams, but it’s a mistake to think that climbing
to the top of football’s ladder of success was his greatest goal. He
believed it was more important to succeed at life than at his career or
anything else.

Actually, winning football games was not “the only thing” to Lombardi. He
once actually listed his life priorities in this order: God, his family
and his career.

He knew what was important. And he knew that keeping his priorities
straight could bring him joy, peace and, ultimately, success at life.
Which is probably the only thing that truly matters.

By Steve Goodier

I hope this message inspires and challenges your heart to see that God can
bring the right answers to your life no matter what you are facing. His
ways are always better and higher than ours can ever be.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL ME TWICE

An early April snow had caught us by surprise here in the mountains of my
home. Flowers that had just popped out of the ground a week before were
now drowning in a sea of white. It felt like someone had turned back the
clock two months. Slowly it grew warm enough for the snow to begin to melt
in the late afternoon but soon the temperatures dipped again as the cold,
evening air turned the melted snow into ice.

Early the next morning I walked out to my cars. I needed to take my sons
to school and then had a 30 mile round trip to make after that. I wondered
which car to take. My little one had the better gas mileage, but the tires
on my bigger one were less worn. Just as I took a step towards my little
car, however, my foot slipped on a patch of black ice and I felt my body
hitting the driveway. I got up slowly and smiled. “You don’t have to tell
me twice God!”, I said before heading over to start the car with the
better tires. After dropping off my boys at school I made the round trip
safely. I felt my car hit patches of black ice several times, but each
time the tires gripped and adjusted well. I found myself laughing and
grinning even with my still sore left hip and shoulder. I was happy I had
followed God’s guidance and I felt loved and watched over.

God’s loving guidance comes in many ways. You can hear its gentle whisper
in your heart. You can listen to it come out in the touching lyrics of a
beautiful song. You can see it in the wise passage of a book. You can
notice it in an overheard scrap of conversation. You can feel it in the
quietness of nature. You can even get it when you fall to the pavement of
your driveway. However it comes to you, though, don’t turn away from it.
Don’t make God have to tell you twice. Listen to Him the first time. Trust
Him, love Him, and follow Him. He will take you to ever greater love, joy, and learning. He will keep you safe and lead you home.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

I hope this message encourages and inspires your heart to see that we are
blessed beyond comprehension and we have many people in our lives ready and
willing to help us overcome the challenges in our path.

SAIL ON

My friend and neighbor gave me a book recently. It is called Parables From
The Sea and was written by Robbins Wolcott Barstow. What amazed me about
it was that in the first few pages I found a paragraph that describes my
friend perfectly. It goes: “I often think of the way some people are
always leaving trails of light and gladness as they sail on through life.
There must be a great many who do for I know a lot of them. They are the
kind of people you are happy to meet anywhere, in a shop or on a street or
at home.”

That quote made me think not only of my friend, but also of all the other
people over the years who have blessed my life’s voyage with their light
and gladness. There was my Mom and my Grandma whose shining love guided me
over the rough waters of childhood and all the storms that went with it.
There was my Aunt and my Dad who kept me sailing on through the heartbreak
after my Mom and Grandma died and back towards a joyous horizon once
again. There were my two brothers and three children who taught me how to
find the joy in life even on the fiercest days when the waves crashed
against my ship.

There were my teachers, neighbors, and friends who showed me the many ways
to steer my boat into the peaceful harbors of love and happiness that life
gives us. Each and every one of these people taught me a little more about
sailing the ship of my life. Each and every one of them showed me as well
to always look towards God’s North Star and to always set my sails with
the winds of His love.

May all of you always sail on towards greater love and joy in your own
lives. May all of you always bless those around you with trails of light
and gladness as well. But most of all may all of you always keep your
ships guided by God’s loving light and never forget the true place that
you are sailing towards.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

I hope this message inspires and challenges your heart to see how
beneficial it is when a burden is shared. We can’t do everything on our
own and the sooner we realize that the quicker we will triumph over the
obstacles in our path.

PILLARS ON YOUR PORCH

You may have heard writer Elizabeth Foley’s insightful words: “Friends in
your life are like pillars on your porch. Sometimes they hold you up and
sometimes they lean on you. Sometimes it’s just enough to know they’re
standing by.” It’s true. The difficulties of life are easier to manage
with friends.

In the book Schindler’s Legacy, authors Elinor J. Brecher and Jill Freedman
interview some of the people saved by the Nazi Oscar Schindler. One
survivor says this about the sufferings of her life: “I survived Auschwitz
and all the atrocities of the war. But the most difficult thing I ever
had to face was losing my 39-year-old daughter to cancer.”

The army of modern medicine could not save her daughter. This woman went
through the war and concentration camp experience with people; she suffered
alongside of them. But she fought this other terrible battle alone.

We are all survivors! In some way we have each encountered something
potentially devastating, and we overcame. And the overcoming of it was
easier with the companionship of others.

Isn’t it true that very few burdens are heavy if everyone lifts? And for
some reason they seem lighter when we just know that, though others may
not be lifting, they are standing by.

If you’re trying to lift a burden alone, this may be a good time to reach
out. Others may be waiting to help lift. Or, like porch pillars, they may
at least be there to lean on.

By Steve Goodier