It's A Matter of Attitude

It seems to me that there are two basic approaches to life.
The proverbial partially filled glass of water illustrates these approaches. Is the glass half-full or is it half-empty?  Perhaps, the greatest difference between people is in what
they anticipate. What do you anticipate? What are you looking for? What are you waiting for, hoping for?

Norman Vincent Peale told of an old man who appeared on a popular television program. He had received a prize forwinning a contest and he proceeded to steal the show with his quick wit and exuberant spirit. The host of the show said to him, "It's easy to see that you are a very happy man. What's your secret? Let us in on it." "Well, son," the fellow
said, "it's as plain as the nose on your face. When I wake up in the morning, I have two choices. One is to be unhappy;the other is to be happy. And I want you to know, sonny, that I'm not as dumb as I may look. I'm smart enough to choosehappiness. I just make up my mind to be happy . . . that's all there is to it." (Have a Great Day, 1985).

Attitude; it's a matter of attitude. Of course, there are folks more like John Randolph of Virginia, one of the heroes of the Revolutionary War era. Randolph seemed to have everything going for him. He had exhaustless energy, initiative,honesty, and a talent for business. But historian Gamalial Bradford, after analyzing Randolph's public life, said of him,
that John Randolph opposed all parties, all movements, and pretty much all people. In short, he said, "he was a furiousnegative -- nothing more." That's a tragic waste of life brought about by an unnecessarily negative view of the world.

What is your attitude toward life? Is it basically negative or is it positive? Do you say I can't stand the dizziness? Ordo you say I can get through this! Do you say I can't stand being helpless? Or do you say, Thank God for all the peoplewho have been there when I needed them? Do you say I could never do that? Or do you say I'll give it a try?

Peter Marshall once preached a sermon on "The Problem of Falling Rocks," alluding to the signs that appearalongside the road in some areas. Marshall said, "You…have two alternatives: you can drive on and risk the falling
rocks, creeping along, peering anxiously upward at every rock, stopping every time a rock looks like it mightdislodge, never seeing the view and being in pain the whole time. And you will never change the fact that when the
rock decides to respond to gravity it will fall whether you are watching or not. Or, you can go to the mountains,observe the sign, be cautious, but decide not to worry about falling rocks and enjoy the drive . . . The worrying of the
driver has absolutely no effect upon the rock."

Attitude IS important. Do you get so absorbed in worrying about rocks that might fall on you that you forget toappreciate the gift of the scenery around you? Or do you enjoy the beauty framed by those rocks that might fall, but thataren't falling right now?

Several years ago, I saw the results of a study that said people identified as being pessimistic are more likely to diewithin the next ten years than those seen as optimistic. The most negative persons had the highest death rate. Do we need to conclude, therefore, don't worry, be happy?

We all have days when we find it hard to be positive, days when the negatives we encounter in life seemoverwhelming. The Psalmist often speaks for us in those situations. For instance, he speaks with certainty and surety
when he says, Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious and answer me. We can seek God's face even in thedarkest hours and know that God does not forsake us. And he also says, I believe that I shall see the goodness of the
Lord in the land of the living.

So how do we translate that faith statement into life action? Let's learn from a little book from Arco Publishers that is entitled Tips on Presiding. In that book, the writer says, "When the chair[person] of a meeting is presented with a negatively worded motion, he[/she] should ask the maker of the motion to make it positive. The purpose is not to alter the intent of the motion, but simply to make it workable. Experience has taught that negatively worded motions tend to defeat their own purposes." Negatively viewed living tends to defeat the purpose of life.

We know that pessimism and optimism are not personality traits we display without any change throughout our lives.Rather, they are learned ways of explaining trouble to ourselves as we go through life. And the influences upon us helpdetermine which one we acquire. Like the woman who walked into the playroom at the doctor's office where her son had been throwing darts. She looked at the five darts in the target, then at the one on the floor, and said to him, "Youmissed one, didn't you?" That boy is likely to have a hard time developing a positive attitude toward life if that is the
message he gets every day.

Attitudes, once learned, can be changed, however. There is life after pessimism. One can recover from this dis-ease.And we need to unlearn this learned grumpiness since optimists are life's big winners. Negative thinkers perform morepoorly in school, work, and play, than those who cheerfully face obstacles. Pessimists have poorer resistance, weaker immune systems, are more susceptible to depression, and age physically faster than the optimists.

One way of dealing with the adversities that drive us towards pessimism is to develop a sense of humor. Socrates wasa great philosopher in ancient Greece. It is told that one day his wife scolded him with scornful words and dumped a
bucket of water upon his head, to which, in true philosophical fashion, Socrates remarked that after so much thunderand lightning, he expected a shower.

It's a matter of attitude. What's yours? Do you have an optimism that carries you through the hard days, or do you try to hide an irascible pessimism behind the label of realism? The attitude with which we approach life is something we
learn. And the attitude with which we approach life is the direction in which we lead when called upon to do so.

Jesus tried to fill his disciples with a positive attitude, one that dealt realistically with pain and suffering, but thatcontinued to celebrate the fullness of life as it is given by God. The world you see is a picture of your own state ofmind, an outward picture of an inward condition. Just as Jesus called the first disciples to receive with hospitality and grace those who differed and were different, so he calls us today to be open and receptive to new people and ideasand ways. This is the spirit that reflects the mind of Jesus and is the spirit that can lead us to live in peace and harmony with one another and in the mind of Christ. This is the spirit of leadership. It is the spirit we are called tohave - you and I.

It's a matter of attitude! And the glass is filling up to overflowing. I just make up my mind to be happy. I just make up my mind to see the brilliance of God's light shining in my life and on the world. Thanks be to God!

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate.  He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"
He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it!  You can't be a positive person all of the time.  How do you do it?"  Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.  Each time something bad happens,
I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it.
 I choose to learn from it.  Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life.  I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy" I protested.  "Yes it is,"Jerry said.  "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.  You choose how you react to situations.  You choose how people will affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good  mood or bad mood.  The bottom line: It's yourchoice how you live life."
I reflected on what Jerry said.  Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business.  We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are
never supposed to do in a restaurant business:  he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination.  The robbers panicked and shot him.  Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.  After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident.  When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"  I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.  "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to
die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared?  Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great.  They kept telling me Iwas going to be fine.  But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.  In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man.'  "I knew I needed to take action."  "What did you do?" I  asked. "Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything."  'Yes,' I replied.  The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply... I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'  Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live.  Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.  I learned from him that every day we
  have the  choice to live fully.  Attitude, after all, is everything. You have 2 choices now: (1) save this or forget it or (2) forward it to those you care about and choose to pass this on.  Hope you will chose choice (2)
By Francie Baltazar-Schwart

It takes effort to become aware of our staggering and limitless abilities.
 It takes effort to become enthusiastic over a cause,or an occupation.
 It takes effort to continue when our results - as well as our friends tell us to give up trying.
 It takes effort to feel right about everything that happens the joy as well as the sorrows of life.
Our ATTITUDE determines whether we love or hate, tell the truth or lie, act or proctastinate, advance or recede, and by our own ATTITUDE we and we alone sctually decide whether to succeed or fail "
By our ATTITUDE, we blame ourselves for our failure, or we
foolishly blame others.
By our ATTITUDE, we decide to try or give up.
 By our ATTITUDE, we decide to read, or not to read.
It is ironic that one of the few things in this life over which we have TOTAL CONTROL is our ATTITUDES, and yet most of us live our entire life behaving as though we had no control whatsoever.
 And it also takes effort to learn to love ourselves above all others, especially when we are so consciously aware of our failures, doubts and tragedies.
It does not, however, take effort to fail.
It requires little else than a slowly deteriorating ATTITUDE about our present, our future, and about ourselves.
There is nothing greater than ones own fears !!  It takes a brave person to face them. Feel the fear and do it !!! And grow !

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Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember, what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.  Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.  Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy
confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.


      People Who Care

People who care are a rarity in this modern world. The busy, complicated lives which we live crowd out our concern, our active care for others. The words spoken by our Lord in Matthew 24:12 are fulfilled by our culture that finds little time for coping with issues that do not involve themselves directly. "And because iniquity shall abound,the love (agape) of many shall wax cold." It would seem that our Savior equated such brutal busyness as abounding iniquity. Others exempt themselves from acts of compassion, saying that our mission is to preach the Gospel. They say that God will somehow make things right for those who have to suffer now, who are hungry now, or who cry for our help -- now.  The love which Jesus spoke of in the Scripture quoted above is agape love. What does agape mean? God defines agape for us in John 3:16 by saying, "For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son..." A very simple definition and explanation of the word agape therefore is "the giving of oneself." Agape is an affection which stands in spite of any element, of attractiveness, desirability, or even value. It can even be hated by the object of its affection without decreasing its intensity or character. Agape is active love which does not wait to be acted upon. Unlike phileo (natural affection) or
eros (sensual instinct), agape love is giving and sacrificial. It was Christ’s call to agape love which put Peter to the test
in John 21:15-17. "So when they had dined,  Jesus saith to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agape) thou me more than these?’ He saith unto him, ‘Yea Lord, thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee’. He saith unto him again the second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agape) thou me?’ He saith unto him, ‘Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee.’ He saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ He saith unto him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (phileo) thou me?’ And he said unto him,‘Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’"Jesus knew that agape love would be needed to fulfill the assignment of "feed my lambs, feed my sheep." He acknowledged the kind affections that Peter possessed toward him. In a sense, Peter was confessing his inability to demonstrate agape love without divine assistance. The kind affections expressed by phileo love falls short of the standard which God has demonstrated toward His children. Nor would phileo alone meet the needs of the masses that were to receive the Gospel message. Peter would soon discover that with the Master’s assignment to feed His sheep, there was also to be an infusion of agape needed to fulfill the calling.
All who read these words are recipients of God’s agape love. Had it not been for this love which reaches out to undeserving sinners, we would still be in darkness. Agape love is love that takes the initiative. Agape love is the fire
which burns in the heart of all true Christians and longs for a means of expression. Rather than spending a lifetime
preparing to love and intending to serve God by serving others, agape takes the plunge, accepting the risks.
 According to the words of Scripture, hearts shall harden, and selfishness and sin shall abound, even among professing Christians. This we cannot change, but we can follow the example of our Heavenly Father who "loved the world so much that He gave His Only Son..." We can be people who care. We can live a life that matters in God’s Kingdom by living a life of agape-- love.


 Agape Love
Written on Martin Luther King Day, 1996
Winter is the quiet season - few noises in the natural world break the silence of he snow and cold, except the occasional flock of geese flying overhead. That's when Martin Luther King came into the world - in the middle of the winter. But he
wasn't a silent man - he had a lot to talk about. One of those things is love. Outside of the religious context, there is little talk of love. Of course, women's magazines are full of tips on reigning love, (interestingly, its rarely a topic in men's mags) but often on a sexual/ romantic level or, eros love. King spoke of agape, originally Christian love, or the "love feast" in the church. But King meant the feeling of love between humans on a brotherly/sisterly level - that of extended
family or community.  When discussing today's social problems, we talk about punishment, war unemployment, protest, homelessness - rarely about love. When it gets mentioned, its often met with cynicism. "Love won't get you far in this world," or "Love won't solve our budgetary problems," is often the response, either verbally or mentally. Or people think of the apparent naiveté of the 60's slogan "Make love, not war." Love just doesn't seem to be part of the solution, even
though lack of love is almost always part of the problem.  But let's face it - in many parts of the world (including the US), getting people to tolerate each other is hard enough - how can we possibly get a seat at the love feast?
The first step is reintroducing the concept into public discourse, rather than dismissing it out-of-hand as unrealistic. A good case in point is the Million Man March. There, hundreds of thousands of men who were strangers to each other,
started speaking about "loving all black men." Men are not known to easily use the L-word in public, let alone in a sincere way. Can you remember the last time you heard a male politician use that term? But to talk openly about love, it helps to understand it - or at least being willing to listen. What does agape love mean in the 90's? How can I love others like
brothers and sisters, when I've been taught to either hate them, compete with them, or see them as an enemy?
And then there's the homophobia question. As an adult, can I look into another adult's eye and say "I love you" without fear, shame or embarrassment? So we all need to do a lot more thinking about what love means, and how (and
why) we can start expressing (and receiving) it. Religion needs to emphasize agape love even more, especially towards
non-believers. The commandant wasn't, "Thou shall love thy neighbor only if they believe as thou doest." It was for everyone.  Love won't come quickly or universally - but we must start somewhere. Peace is not merely the absence of
war - it is the presence of love. If that's what we want, it will take effort on our part, not just waiting for someone else to do it. And its not something we talk about just on Martin Luther King's birthday or Christmas or Holidays.  Peace
happens minute by minute in each life.
WE ALL ARE GUILTY of knowing we could have done better with the gift of Agape Love that God gave us.


         6 Stories Lessons In Perspective


The Station
 Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.  We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at the crossing, of smoke pouring from a power plant, or rows upon 
rows of corn and wheat, of flatland and valleys, of valleys and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.  But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.  On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull
into the station.  Bands will be playing, flags will be waving.  Once we get there, so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit  How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes loitering - waiting, waiting, waiting for the station. "When we reach the station, that will be it!" we cry.  "When I'm 18." "When I buy a new car."  " When I pay off the mortgage." "When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!"  Sooner or later, we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive 
once and for all.  The true joy of life has been the journey.  The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.  "Relish the Moment" is a good motto.  It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad.
It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.  Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us
 of today.  So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.  Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less.  Life must be
 lived as we go along.  The station will come soon enough.
 Giving Blood:
  Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liza who was suffering from a  rare and serious disease.  Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion
from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little  brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.  I saw him hesitate for only a  moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liza."  As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all  did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks.   Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.   He looked up at the  doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"    Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going  to have to give
 her all his blood.
  Pickup in the Rain:
 One night, at 11:30 pm, an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a  lashing rainstorm.Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride Soaking wet,  she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her-generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s.  The man  took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into
a taxi cab.    She seemed to be in a big hurry!  She wrote down his address,  thanked him and drove away.   Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant combination console color TV and  stereo record player were delivered to his home.A special note was  attached.  The note  read: "Dear Mr. James:  Thank you  so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits Then you came along.  Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's
bedside  just before he passed away.  God bless you for helping me
  Say a Prayer:
  I was taking my usual morning walk when a garbage truck pulled up beside me. I thought the driver was going to ask for directio Instead, he showed me a picture of a cute little five-year-old boy "This is my  grandson, Jeremiah," he said.  "He's on a life-support system at a Phoenix hospital."  Thinking he would next ask for a contribution to his hospital bills, I reached for my wallet. But he wanted something more than money. He said, "I'm asking everybody I can to say a prayer for him.  Would you say one for him,  please?"
 I did,  and my problems didn't seem like much that day.
 Two Nickels and Five Pennies:
 In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table.  A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?"
 "Fifty  cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number
 of coins in it.  "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired.  Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit  impatient.   "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely. The little boy again  counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.  The waitress  brought the ice cream, put the bill on  the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table  and then swallowed hard at what she saw.  There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,  were two nickels and five pennies - her tip
The Obstacle in Our Path:
 In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway.  Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the  huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply  walked around it.  Many loudly blamed the  king for not keeping the roads  clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road.  After much pushing andstraining, he finally succeeded.  As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he  noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse  contained many gold coins and a note  from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed theboulder from the roadway.
The peasant learned what many  others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve
 one's condition.
 A Most Important Question:
  During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz.  I was a conscientious student and had breezed  through the questions, until I read the last one:  "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was  some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times.  She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know  her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last  question blank.   Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would  count toward our quiz grade.  "Absolutely," said the professor.  "In your  careers you will meet many people.  All are significant. 
They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello."  I've never forgotten that
lesson.  I also learned her name was Dorothy.
The following is something to ponder..............

 If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ... you are more blessed than the million who will
not survive this week.

 If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture,
or the pangs of starvation ... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

 If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death ... you are more
blessed than three billion people in the world.

 If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to are
richer than 75% of this world.

 If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish are among
the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

 If your parents are still alive and still are very rare, even in the United States.

 If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly are blessed because
the majority can..... but most do not.

 If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the are blessed
because you can offer healing touch.

 If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you,
and furthermore, you are more blessed than the over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

 Have a good day, count your blessings, and pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

 Author unknown

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