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"Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty --\nthey merely move it from their faces into their hearts."\n--Martin Buxbaum\n\nSome folk, no matter how old in years,\nNo matter how deep the wrinkled lines,\nTheir beauty never disappears,\nIt moves from face to heart and shines\nA brighter light than painted veneers.\nWhat lie that beauty's no deeper than skin!\nThe aged reveal the beauty within.\n
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!Series Introduction\nHere comes a series of thoughts on Choices. Time will tell whether the series is short or long. Your reaction will help determine its length, no doubt. In each message, I include a Choice Thought, the main text, choice quotes and Scripture texts, as well as thought questions to stimulate you to action.\n\nMore content will be placed online. Emails are scanned quickly, so in the email, I'll be giving you the gist of the message. If you want more, I'll include the page link for you to follow up.\n\n!!Choice Thought\nI am the result of my choices. Therefore, I choose to make choices that are well made, right, and timely.\n\n!!Choose Choice\nSome years ago I spent a depressing time telling myself that I had no choice. I was stuck. There were no options. I was facing a blank wall. A dead-end street.\n\nThe self-talk was a lie. Though I had reached at a point where my goals had been frustrated, so many other avenues were open to me that I could not see.\n\nToday, I have so many options, it's hard to choose among them.\n\nSome people think they can't chose because Destiny or some other nebulous concept has already checked off their possibilities.\n\nThe truth is, we have myriad options to choose from every day. We were created to be choosers.\n\nNot to choose is a choice to let others choose for you. Inevitably, their choices for us will be wrong. Our automatic choices tend toward the base and corrupt, since that's human nature. In order to overcome that nature, choice must be consciously redeeming.\n\nFrom birth people are bombarded with messages that our lives make little difference. Big government, big business, big media, we are told, make our efforts meaningless and futile. This lie serves those who desire passive subjects to manipulate. \n\nSure, we labor under obvious physical and social limitations. Most of us could never consider the career of a race jockey, for example. But our possible options are so vast as to be practically unlimited. And we access and take advantage of them through our daily choices.\n\nChoice is based on truth. If you don't have the right information, you cannot choose as you should. Not a few have regretted their choice of mates because they married without knowing the person!\n\nChoice brings responsibility and consequences. It entails commitment to working toward making the choice come to fruition. Chosing means following up and living with the results.\n\nBut the starting point is choosing to choose. To make myself aware every day that it's all about my choices. There's a lot in this world I can't control. But within my circle of things which I can determine, so much waits on my nod.\n\nSo I choose to choose. And I want to choose well. I'll get the facts, study my options, understand the necessary commitment, explore the results and consequences.\n\nI will choose the best, the highest, the choicest.\n\n!!Choice Quotes\nI know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. --Henry David Thoreau\n\nPerhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed." --Thomas Jefferson (on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, 2 January 1814)\n\nWe need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear. --Elizabeth ~Kubler-Ross\n\nI discovered I always have choices and sometimes it's only a choice of attitude. --Judith M. Knowlton\n\nOne's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. --Eleanor Roosevelt\n\nChoice of attention--to pay attention to this and ignore that--is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both choices man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences. --W.H. Allen\n\nThe soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. --Heraclitus (535-475 BC), philosopher\n\nIn darkness there is no choice. It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Christ who gives us light. --Mrs. C. T. Whitemell, Christ in Flanders\n\n!!!Choice Scripture\nDeuteronomy 5:10 - But I [the Lord] show covenant faithfulness to the thousands who choose me and keep my commandments.\n\nDeuteronomy 30:19 - Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live!\n\n1Samuel 13:13 - Then Samuel said to Saul, "You have made a foolish choice! You have not obeyed the commandment that the Lord your God gave you. Had you done that, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever."\n\nJob 22:28 - Whatever you decide on a matter, it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.\n\nPsalm 119:30, 173 - I choose the path of faithfulness; I am committed to your regulations. ... May your hand help me, for I choose to obey your precepts.\n\nProverbs 3:31 - Do not envy a violent man, and do not choose any of his ways;\n\nJeremiah 21:8 - "But tell the people of Jerusalem that the Lord says, 'I am going to give you a choice between two courses of action. One will result in life; the other will result in death."\n\nPhilippians 1:9 - And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, ...\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n#What choices do I consider difficult and avoid?\n#What choices, good and bad, have brought me where I am?\n#What choice can I make right now to improve my attitude, change my course, and bless others?\n----\n!!!Email feedback\nVery encouraging & uplifting to my heart. I will pass it on to others. May God bless you in your efforts. --Susan C., Ft.Worth, TX\n
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!! Introduction\nMany thanks for the kind comments and feedback on ChooseChoice. I appreciate knowing that the first of the series was helpful and encouraging.\n\nToday, choose contentment. I can't tell you why I chose contentment to lead off this series after the introductory article. It just seemed right. And that may reflect my own journey as much as anything. But I believe you'll be uplifted by these thoughts. Let me hear from you yeah or nay.\n!!!Choice Thought\n{{{\nIf I am content now,\n where I am,\n with what I have,\n with the people I'm with,\nI will be content\n wherever I am,\n with whatever I have,\n whomever I'm with.\n}}}\n!!!Choose Contentment\nContentment is a state of mind that has nothing to do with circumstances or situation. Contentment @@begins first with self.@@ I must be content with who I am, else I will be dissatisfied with everything.\n\nContentment knows that expectations disappoint. To be content, little is required, little expected, little demanded. The contented soul holds oneself to exacting standards, but is gentle with the foibles and follies of others.\n\nContentment is not absence of ambition, but knows that ambition is to be channeled not for personal gain but for service.\n\nThe contented heart @@refuses to compare.@@ Comparisons often leave us with a sense of inferiority in appearance, possessions, talents, relationships, or accomplishments. I cannot be content while I am envious, jealous, avaricious, covetous, or egotistical.\n\nContentment is not getting something out of, but investing in, contributing to. It understands Jesus' principle: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." This is @@the heart of contentment.@@\n\nThe contented person knows how to wait, has found how to entertain himself, discovers the small pleasures to be enjoyed at every turn. Contentment does not lack imagination, but focuses it to what can be now, where one is, with what one has, within the relationships that have been formed. Contentment @@works with the tools, time, and talents he has been given.@@\n\nTherefore, I choose to be content. With myself, with my station in life, with my circle of family and friends. And with that contentment, I will be more, accomplish more, acquire more, and love more.\n!!!Choice Quotes\n“What he had not learned, however, was this: to find contentment in himself and his own life." --Herman Hesse\n\n"He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have." --Socrates\n\nContentment is not satisfaction. It is the grateful, faithful, fruitful use of what we have, little or much. It is to take the cup of Providence, and call upon the name of the Lord. What the cup contains is its contents. To get all there is in the cup is the act and art of contentment. Not to drink because one has but half a cup, or because one does not like its flavor, or because some one else has silver to one's own glass, is to lose the contents; and is the penalty, if not the meaning of discontent. No one is discontented who employs and enjoys to the utmost what he has. It is high philosophy to say, we can have just what we like, if we like what we have; but this much at least can be done, and this is contentment,--to have the most and best in life, by making the most and best of what we have. --Maltbie Babcock\n\n“God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and is cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it.” --A.W. Tozer\n\nTrue contentment is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. --G. K. Chesterton\n!!!Choice Scripture\nEcclesiastes 6:9 - It is better to be content with what the eyes can see than for one's heart to always crave more. This continual longing is futile — like chasing the wind.\n\nJeremiah 22:15 - Does it make you any more of a king that you outstrip everyone else in building with cedar? Just think about your father. He was content that he had food and drink. He did what was just and right. So things went well with him.\n\nLuke 3:14 - Then some soldiers also asked him, "And as for us — what should we do?" He told them, "Take money from no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your pay."\n\n2 Corinthians 12:10 - Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.\n\nPhilippians 4:11 - I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance.\n\n1 Timothy 6:8 - But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that.\n\nHebrews 13:5 Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you and I will never abandon you."\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n#What situations or moments make me feel discontent? Why is that?\n#When I look at myself in the mirror -- really look at myself -- what thoughts go through my mind?\n#What comparisons do I make that leave me discontent?\n#Today I will choose contentment by\n##counting some of my many blessings;\n##serving my neighbor.\n!!! Your Turn\nWhat do you think about today's UPLift? Let me hear from you. Just [[click|http://randalmatheny.com/uplift/index.php?action=entry]] and write.\n----
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!! Introduction\nEditor Susan Bono of [[Tiny Lights|http://www.tiny-lights.com/]]: A Journal of Personal Narrative, tells me she gave UPLift a mention in the last edition. So I figured I'd better get with the next issue of UPLift!\n\nConsidering my failure to get with it and serve you up another bowl of frosty UPLift, I decided today to think of choosing failure.\n!!!Choice Thought\n{{{Failure is another name for effort. Success is a sweetcake made sweeter by my failures.\n}}}\n!!!Choose Failure\nLike success, failure hides a thousand meanings.\n\nLast I looked, God was still in heaven. Even the best of men trip and stumble, eat bitter words spoken in haste, act on impulse, or hesitate until the chance is dead.\n\nSo we must then choose either to lay down and die or to die trying. To commit the sin of omission or the sin of commission. To leave off doing or to err in acting.\n\nSome may prefer the former, I opt for the latter.\n\nAh, this divine paradox! @@Success cannot be kissed until failure is embraced.@@\n\nFailure are the pricks from the thorns of the rose-grower, the stings of the beekeeper, the mashed thumbs of the carpenter.\n\nFailure are the tears that harden the will, the sighs that make the slopes fall behind us, the groans that humble and heal our pride.\n\nMy failure calls my children to succeed, summons my friends to rally, invites my fellow man to weep by night, that we might dance at the dawn.\n\nFailure is not the specter that chases me into the closet, but the cheers along the route to finish the race.\n\nFailure is the risk of loving, the dip of the road, the flood of the storm, the lament of the heart, the rumble of thunder followed by the flash of lightning.\n\nFailure is the seed of success, the weeding of the garden, the fertilizer of the soil.\n\nI cannot but fail. And in failing, I cannot but succeed.\n\nCome fail with me, and we will failures be\nTogether, stumblers, bumblers, tumblers, both;\nWith arms entwined, we losers misaligned,\nWill find in failure joy and love and growth.\n\n!!!Choice Quotes\n"Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped." --African proverb\n\n"Success is not just the crowning moment, the spiking of the ball in the end zone or the raising of the flag on the summit. It is the whole process of reaching for a goal and, sometimes, it begins with failure." --Erik Weihenmayer, only blind man to scale the Seven Summits, the most challenging peaks in the world.\n\n"A failure is a man who has blundered but is not capable of cashing in on the experience." --Elbert Hubbard\n\n"Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won't have time to make them all yourself." --Alfred Sheinwold\n\n"It is on our failures that we base a new and different and better success." --Havelock Ellis\n\n"Remember, no man is a failure who has friends." --"It's a Wonderful Life"\n\n"Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes." --John Dewey\n\n"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." --Thomas Alva Edison\n\n!!!Choice Scripture\nAlthough a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again, but the wicked will be brought down by calamity. --Proverbs 24:16\n\nThe Lord grants success to the one whose behavior he finds commendable. Even if he trips, he will not fall headlong, for the Lord holds his hand. --Psalm 37:23-24\n\nNow we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong, not so that we may appear to have passed the test, but so that you may do what is right even if we may appear to have failed the test. --2 Corinthians 13:7\n\nFor we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. --James 3:2\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n#How does failure make me feel? How did I react the last time I failed at something?\n#Does failure spur me on, or inhibit my action? Do I fear failure or welcome it?\n#How much is my distate for failure tied to others' opinion of me?\n!!! Your Turn\nWhat do you think about today's UPLift? Let me hear from you. Just [[click|http://randalmatheny.com/uplift/index.php?action=entry]] and write. Or read more articles in this series: ChooseToShine\n----\n
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!! Introduction\nThe doctor friend had studied the claims of Jesus and had rejected them. Still, he told me one day, "I believe what you do." He was mistaken. He had belief perhaps, but no faith. There is a difference.\n!!!Choice Thought\n{{{Faith rouses to action. To believe is to do in accordance with your faith. The principle is still true: "According to your faith it will be done to you."\n}}}\n!!!Choose Faith\nBelief is static. It doesn't prompt to action. But faith leads to doing. Whether doctrinally or practically, faith alone just doesn't exist. The nature of faith is to pursue, to stretch every muscle.\n\nThe one who truly believes commits energies, details strategies, follows leads, grabs opportunities. Faith bestirs us to dare the unimaginable, to achieve the possible, to dive into the froth of the current and bring up diamonds from the murky bottom.\n\nFaith means not all the equation is solved, not all the pieces are accounted for, not every part has been or can be explained. But it's exactly those missing elements that call to work toward understanding, solutions, and explanations.\n\nFaith is not so much a leap in the dark as it is a journey into the unknown, with the promise of discovery. "Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father's household to the land I will show you." Faith is traveling to the unseen country.\n\nSo faith is not mere acceptance or acquiescence, but the Yes to the challenge, the stepping across the line in the sand to God's dare.\n\nA facet of faith faces off with fear. Fear imagines the worst; faith foresees the best. Fear sees all things cooperating for our downfall; faith sees God making all things contribute to our good.\n\nFaith is man's connection with God, while science is man's explorations of God's world and, at its worst, man's attempts to live by sight. Without faith, however, man reduces himself to an animal. Faith calls out the divine, the eternal.\n\nFrederich Nietszche charged, "Faith means not wanting to know what is true." On the contrary, faith means making true the highest aspirations of the human heart, planted there by the finger of God.\n!!!Choice Quotes\nFaith is the driving force of all the acts of the believer that brings him into perfect harmony with the will of God. --A.G. Freed, Sermons, Chapel Talks and Debates (p. 69), thanks to Jeff Jenkins\n\nFaith certainly tells us what the senses do not, but not the contrary of what they see; it is above, not against them. --Blaise Pascal\n\nFaith is not contrary to the usual ideas, something that turns out to be right or wrong, like a gambler's bet: it's an act, an intention, a project, something that makes you, in leaping into the future, go so far, far, far ahead that you shoot clean out of time and right into Eternity, which is not the end of time or a whole lot of time or unending time, but timelessness, the old Eternal Now. --Joanna Russ\n\nFaith as ultimate concern is an act of the total personality. It happens in the center of the personal life and includes all its elements. Faith is the most centered act of the human mind. It is not a movement of a special section or a special function of the total being. They all are united in the act of faith. --Paul Tillich\n\nFaith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. --Oswald Chambers\n\n!!!Choice Scripture\nNow faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. --Hebrews 11:1\n\nBy faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God's command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. --Hebrews 11:3\n\nNow without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. --Hebrews 11:6\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n#What are my beliefs (non-action) and what is my faith (that prompts me to action)?\n#What fears have squelched faith?\n#What can I do today and tomorrow to build my faith?\n!!! Your Turn\nAbout "When You Weep a Tear" (Feb 5): "Beautiful writing that touches the heart firmly and gently at the same time! --Susan, Fort Worth,Texas\n\nWhat do you think about today's UPLift? Let me hear from you. Just [[click|mailto:uplift-owner@associate.com]] and write.\n\n----
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!! Introduction\nI used to receive a motivational email with "laser" in the title. The laser serves as a good metaphor for the power of focus. Laser is intensely focused light which carries great power.\n\nIn our first months of living in ~SJCampos, when I would travel the Via Dutra expressway between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the narrow lanes and heavy traffic unnerved me. I would pass the big trucks and tremble as I watched the huge tires whine beside me, imagining them pass over my car.\n\nThen I learned focus. I quit watching the trucks and kept my eyes on my lane. Now I breeze by the eighteen-wheelers and assorted motorized monsters.\n!!!Choice Thought\n{{{Focus permits me to achieve my goals rather than dissipating my energies.}}}\n!!!Choose Focus\nFocus is a choice, because I must concentrate on one thing, or a few, to the exclusion of others. Chase two rabbits, goes the saying, and both will escape.\n\nA goal determines focus. It declares where and on what I want to concentrate my energies, time, and resources. Hence, the emphasis on goals and objectives.\n\nSomewhere around 445 BC, Nehemiah had one goal, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He overcame persecution, internal strife, lethargy, and extreme odds because he never lost sight of his focus.\n\nAll heroes, great men and women, successful types, and winners have learned the secret of focus.\n\nSo @@focus means narrowing down one's options.@@ Some never want to close themselves to any future possibility and thus never realize any of them. He who wants to leave all his options open never closes a deal.\n\nFocus implies constancy, persistence, and perseverance. Focus means that what I choose to devote my energies to, will receive them until it is done.\n\nWhile you're focusing, focus on the right thing.\n*Choose as your focus popularity or acceptance by others, and be plagued by loneliness.\n*Choose money as your focus, and all you'll get is a metallic taste in your mouth. (That includes when you vote.)\n*Choose education as the key to the good life, and you'll wind up with a soul as dusty and mildewed as your books.\n*Choose power, and you'll wind up under someone's boot.\nFocus has its place in every facet of life, business, study, relationships, sports, spirituality. We must discern not only @@how@@, but on @@what@@ to focus.\n\nFocus excludes many good things in order to devote itself to the best possibilities and options. For those who recognize they have many good options (everyone does, but not all know it), this is a great challenge.\n\nFocus on the One, and you'll shine like a laser and pack as much power in your life.\n!!!Choice Quotes\nMy success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things. --Bill Gates\n\nConcentration is the secret of strengths in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs. --Ralph Waldo Emerson\n\nConcentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus. --Alexandre Graham Bell\n\nThe immature mind hops from one thing to another; the mature mind seeks to follow through. --Harry A. Overstreet\n\nNothing so hinders us in what we are doing as to be longing after something else; in so doing, we leave off tilling our own field, to drive the plough through our neighbour's land, where we must not look to reap a harvest; and this is mere waste of time. If our thoughts and hopes are elsewhere, it is impossible for us to set our faces steadily towards the work required of us. --Francis de Sales\n\nNothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets. --Nido Qubein\n\nMost people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives. --Anthony Robbins\n\nKeep in mind, your moods are primarily the result of what you focus on. --Mike Brescia\n\nEvery great player has learned to two C's: how to concentrate and how to maintain composure. --Byron Nelson\n\nOften he who does too much does too little. --Italian proverb\n\nAll programming for prosperity should be built on spiritual foundations. The first step is to enter the spiritual dimension, the alpha level, and determine what your purpose in life is. Find out what you are here for, what you are supposed to do with your life. --Jose Silva\n!!!Choice Scripture\nI will meditate on your [God's] precepts and focus on your behavior. --Psalm 119.15\n\nThe wicked prepare to kill me, yet I concentrate on your rules. --Psalm 119.95\n\nSupport me, so that I will be delivered. Then I will focus on your statutes continually. --Psalm 119.117\n\nI will focus on your honor and majestic splendor, and your amazing deeds! --Psalm 145.5\n\nBut the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her.” --Mark 10.41-42\n\nBrothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. --Philippians 3.13-14\n\n“The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! --Matthew 6.22-23\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n#How do I get sidetracked from those things I really want to devote my energies to?\n#How can I determine between the good and the best as I choose my focus?\n#In what way can I emphasize people in my choices to focus?\nWhat do you think about today's UPLift? Let me hear from you. Just [[click|http://alcanceweb.com/MandarEmail]] and write.\n----
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!! Introduction\nIn the 22 years we've lived in Brazil (as of Nov. 28), I can count on one hand the times we've celebrated Thanksgiving in the US with our larger family. While we've missed that, I trust we've not lost the spirit of the holiday.\n\nI've not done justice today to the excellent choice of gratitude, but perhaps you may take away from this edition a keener appreciation of this marvelous quality.\n!!!Choice Thought\n{{{Gratitude for what I have, for who I am, for the God I know, injects joy into life, hope into faith, meaning into the moment.\n}}}\n!!!Choose Gratitude\nBrazil has a Thanksgiving Day, but few know it and fewer know when it is. It's no holiday, but another tacky special day invented by politicians to stroke constituencies. It arrives unnoticed and passes unobserved.\n\nThanksgiving is a big deal in the US, because it has Christian underpinnings. Check the history books that haven't been politically revised.\n\nMy non-religious friends and subscribers forgive me, but divorced from God, gratitude is impossible. There is no one to thank. Demanding one's rights replaces thankgiving.\n\nOne writer said he owed the world his gratitude. Excuse me, but without God, the world simply is. It has no intent, no plan, no purpose, no giving. So you just take what's there and grab for more.\n\nBut true gratitude results from recognizing that a gift of value has been offered. Deliberately. Kindly.\n\nGratitude knows the gift was given from love, offered as one's best, one's finest, from the possibilities one had at hand.\n\nGratitude recognizes that the gift was what was needed, that the giver took his needs into account.\n\nGratitude sees behind the gift the giving of self.\n\nGratitude knows reciprocity, it is the gift given in return for the giver's generosity. So I respectfully differ with the gentleman who wrote, "we are not really giving thanks—we give nothing—we are only responding with properly grateful hearts that are due the Gift Giver."\n\nOn the contrary, thanksgiving is real giving.\n\nAs such, gratitude often is more than words, but the return of love which, while accepting the gift, also wants to be on the "more blessed" side of giving.\n\nThe grateful person has a sense of timing. Too soon he proffers the thanksgiving, he may appear not to want to be in debt (read, in relationship) to the giver. Too late, he shows disdain.\n\nThanksgiving is the expression of gratitude. Without thanksgiving, gratitude withers and dies.\n\nThanksgiving may be the counting of blessings, but also the momentary savoring of a single blessing.\n\nGratitude does not discriminate by showing gladness only at the good. In trials and sorrows it sees room for growth, opportunity to steel one's fortitude, opening to serve and bless.\n\nThe grateful heart is thankful for what is. Only from the strength of gratitude can one consider what might be.\n\nChoose gratitude, today and every day, and listen to yourself say thanks to God and to many in your life who have touched you with goodness and grace, with light and life.\n!!!Choice Quotes\n"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." --William Arthur Ward\n\n"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." --Eric Hoffer\n\n"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." --Melody Beattie\n\n"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." --Thornton Wilder\n\n"We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country" --C.S. Lewis\n\n"When I was on my feet, big boisterous pleasures provided only fleeting satisfaction. In a wheelchair, satisfaction settles in as I sit under an oak tree on a windy day and delight in the rustle of the leaves or sit by a fire and enjoy the soothing strains of a symphony. These smaller, less noisy pleasures are rich because, unlike the fun on my feet, these things yield patience, endurance, and a spirit of gratitude, all of which fits me further for eternity. It is this yieldedness that gains you the most here on earth." --Joni Eareckson Tada\n\n"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say 'thank you?'" --William A. Ward\n!!!Choice Scripture\nJesus looked upward and said, "Father, I thank you that you have listened to me." --John 11.41\n\nThe Lord strengthens and protects me; I trust in him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude. --Psalm 28.7\n\nLet’s enter his presence with thanksgiving! Let’s shout out to him in celebration! --Psalm 95.2\n\nEnter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give him thanks! Praise his name! --Psalm 100.4\n\nFor all these things are for your sake, so that the grace that is including more and more people may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God. --2 Corinthians 4.15\n\nNeither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting – all of which are out of character – but rather thanksgiving. --Ephesians 5.4\n\nDo not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. --Philippians 4.6\n\nBe devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. --Colossians 4.2\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n#List five "negative" blessings (difficulties, sufferings, heartaches, sickness, etc.) which God has used in your life to show his goodness.\n#Remember significant people in your life to whom you may still express your thanks.\n#Ask yourself for the next week: "How can I be a blessing to someone today?"\n!!! Your Turn\nAbout [[Thanksgiving]]: "Thanx for the message, I sent it on to all those in my address book, too good not to ... thanx again for the reminder." --Walter, Colo.\n\n"Thank you, UPLift, for coming into our home and encouraging us in following the Lord. For this we can be grateful all year long. We serve an awesome God. --Marcene, SD\n\nAbout ChooseFocus: "God has truly given you the gift of words ... knowing just how to say something to cause us readers to deeply reflect on how our walk with the Lord is progressing. Thank you and keep up the good work! May God bless!" --Susan, Tex.\n\n"I must admit this one has been amazing. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I think that by wanting to keep my options open and by wondering what COULD be, I am letting my oportunities slip and I am not going about making possible what SHOULD be. I will dwell on this for a while." --Joel, Tenn.\n\nIn general: "I like these. Do you mind if I include these from time to time in [[The Bible Meditator|http://www.plymouth-church.com/bible_meditator.html]]? I will give full credit." --Don, Ore.\n\nWhat do you think about today's UPLift? Let me hear from you. Use [[this page|http://cloudburstpoetry.com/poet/contact.php]] to write! (I had to close the online comments page because it was flooded with auto-messages.) You might be quoted online and in the email message.\n----
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!! Introduction\nA hectic pace, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, is a recipe for disaster. Americans spend more time and money on health care than ever before, because they are sicker than ever. They are living longer, but the quality of life has declined. I know few people over 50 who are not on some kind of medication.\n\nObesity is a serious problem for many societies, and it is largely a result of lifestyle and not genetics. A comparison of other times and countries shows this to be true.\n\nSo how do we choose health?\n!!!Choice Thought\n{{{A healthy body gives you more options for your life. Take care of it, preserve health, start now.\n}}}\n!!!Choose Health\nI'm no doctor nor nutritionist nor a personal trainer, but not much experience and observation are needed to know the key elements to preserving good health.\n\n''1. Food.''\n\nIn my high school cafeteria, a poster greeted the students in the lunch line, just before we picked up our trays and made our selection. The outline of a human body was filled with fruits and vegetables and other foods thought to preserve health. Beneath the picture the title proclaimed, "You are what you eat."\n\nYou already know what to avoid. Load up on\n##fresh food -- get rid of the processed, canned and packaged items. These have little nutritional value and come loaded with preservatives and added ingredients your body doesn't need. Raw is better than cooked.\n##leafies and greens -- Go more with flora than fauna, prefer plants to meats. Animals have no more rights than plants, but they contribute to poor health. The darker the plant the better.\n##water -- no liquid, and certainly not soft drinks and false juices -- can replace your need for ~H2O.\n''2. Exercise.''\n\nLike fresh food, exercise is a no-brainer. The body needs activity to be healthy. Researchers are discovering that sedentariness is a quiet killer. Get off your seat and on your feet.\n\nSwimming is one of the best exercises, since it's non-impact and it works most of your body's muscles. Whatever your choice of workout, be it walking or jumping rope, get in a routine and hang on to it.\n\n''3. Air and Sun.''\n\nGet outdoors. In many countries, people are closed up in sealed houses and offices. Air conditioning keeps the body insulated from the outside in an artificial atmosphere. Man was created to walk among the trees. Find a forest, a park, a shady lane. \n\nI'm thankful that in Brazil windows of houses and offices are usually open to the outside. (Our house and my office are.) When I go to the US, I get claustrophobic and feel a terrible urge to open the windows.\n\nIndoor plants are good. The outdoor environment is better. Instead of driving, walk or ride a bike.\n\n''4. Mental Soundness.''\n\nAfter extensive tests, the doctor told a 70-year-old woman she had the health and heart of a 40-year-old. But she was so certain she was going to have a heart attack that she finally worked herself up for one.\n\nYour mind has a profound impact on your health. To a real degree, it's mind over matter.\n\n''Take charge''\n\nThere are some things we have no control over. I was born with defective kidneys and lost one of them to a knife-happy surgeon at a young age. But there is much we can do to give the body its best chance to maintain health as we age.\n\nTake charge of your health. Don't trust the professionals, for they are limited in their knowledge and options for treatment. Most treat pathologies, that is, they treat sickness rather than preserve health. And often they deal with symptoms rather than causes. They follow a medical model, rather than a holistic approach.\n\nGet to know your body and its needs. Understand that health is its natural state, something to be preserved, not produced. It can often be restored to a great measure by common sense and uncommon effort.\n\nHealth is not everything. We can be joyful and content without it. The body can be limited while the mind is free. But health is a wonderful blessing that allows more options for life. Don't take it for granted.\n\nChoose health, and you will enjoy physical life for as long as you live. Remember: the earlier you start, the healthier you'll be.\n\n(For a versified version of these ideas, read GetOffYourSeat.)\n\n!!!Choice Quotes\nA man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools. --Spanish proverb\n\nThe only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not. --Mark Twain\n\nSome people think that doctors and nurses can put scrambled eggs back into the shell. --Dorothy Canfield Fisher\n\nTo become a thoroughly good man is the best prescription for keeping a sound mind and a sound body. --Francis Bowen\n\nWe have worked at full speed since May. And that is I'm persuaded the root and source and origin of all health and happiness, provided of course that one rides work as a man rides a great horse, in a spirited and independent way; not a drudge, but a man with spurs to his heels. (Journal entry about her work as a publisher and writer.) --Virginia Woolf\n\nWhat can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience? --Adam Smith (1723-1790)\n\nTreasure the love you receive above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished. --Og Mandino\n\nWe should not draw too sharp a distinction between this "barren land" or "wilderness" of our pilgrimage, and the sweet home that God has prepared. We all know the changes and chances of this troublous life; but we can also know in this vale of tears the healthful spirit of His grace. Health for the whole man is God's gracious purpose for us here and now, often frustrated, often prevented by unbelief. The life of the saints in light must not emphasize for us simply the contrast between their state and ours, but rather the beginning of the gift of eternal life and all its benefits of inner strength and peace amid earthly vicissitudes. --David Head, Shout for Joy (1962)\n!!!Choice Scripture\nDear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. --3 John 2\n\nA bright look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the body. --Proverbs 15:30\n\nDo you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? --1 Corinthians 3:16\n\nOr do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? --1 Corinthians 6:19\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n#How can I change my eating habits today, in at least some small way, to contribute to better health?\n#What mental habits of mine inhibit my health?\n#What can I do physically to improve my stamina, feeling of well-being, and strength?\n!!! Your Turn\nWhat do you think about today's UPLift? Let me hear from you. Just [[click|mailto:jas@randalmatheny.com]] and write.\n\n!!!READER COMMENTS\nGood article on health. I do eat meat, but I also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, raw if I can. You had one sub-point "Air and Sun," but said nothing of the sun. In America, we have gone to an extreme, brought on largely by the medical community, especially dermatologists, that the sun is evil. We need the sun. That does not mean to get burned, but we need sunshine. We were created to live in it. --Don\n\nReally enjoyed this UPLift as I have begun to exercise every day and eat healthy. So far since Easter I have lost 25 lbs., heading towards a weight loss of 50. Thanks for all of the encouragement. --Cynthia, a 58-year-old grandmother\n\nDo you remember 5 years ago when I asked for your prayers to kick the smoking habit? Well, as you\nknow I made it ... with a lot of prayers and Tootsie Pops! But I gained about 20 lbs. So I joined a 1st Place Group at church which is a Bible-based weight loss program and all the stuff that you talked about were/are part of the life-style I had to adopt! Thanks! Hope your message helps others to change their life! --Sandra in Greenwood, S.C.\n\nExcellent UPLift! Made me start thinking and hopefully will get me to change some things. We all know what is good for us but getting up and doing it is the choice we have to make. Thanks for the wake-up call! --Bev\n\nI just read your "Choose Health," very good. Old habits are hard to break, but I am going to try harder. Thanks. --Darlena\n----
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!! Introduction\nI feel ambivalent about writing this chapter of the Choose Series on humor, for at least two reasons.\n\nOne, the world, and the US especially, is entertaining itself to death. The last thing we need is another laugh.\n\nTwo, much of the free world faces constant threats from Islamic jihadists, and it seems most people aren't taking this struggle seriously enough.\n\nSo, on both counts, why encourage humor and light-heartedness?\n!!!Choice Thought\n{{{A light-hearted approach to life is good for body and spirit -- not to mention your neighbor.\n}}}\n!!!Choose Humor\n''1. ENJOY THE RIGHT KIND OF HUMOR.''\n\nMost of the jokes and humor heard and seen in the media, be it stand-up comics or the movies, is a strident sarcasm produced by a jaded view of life. This type of humor is a killer not a calmant. It has always been present but today it dominates public humor.\n\nIt's the humor that, as Brazilians say, laughs so as not to cry. Or perhaps more accurately, laughs to keep from committing suicide from the despair and blackness that so many people feel today. Or as Mel Brooks expressed it, " Humor is just another defense against the universe."\n\nGood humor doesn't get a laugh at someone else's expense or embarrassment. It doesn't reek of an elitist attitude, a superiority complex or cultural clannishness.\n\nThe light-hearted laugh ranges from Gomer Pyle goofy to smell-the-rose intoxication to slap-stick comedy. It comes in more forms than we dare dream of and invites us to discover its unexplored facets.\n\n''2. IT'S GOOD FOR THE BODY.''\n\nScientific studies have demonstrated the positive effect that humor has on health. The sourpuss is a sickie, in more ways than one.\n\nI read a headline today that said the older one gets, the harder it is to appreciate humor. Old people don't get the joke. Perhaps the neurons are slow to fire.\n\nBut working at light-heartedness keeps the heart young. Working puzzles, scientists say, makes the brain work. And maybe, just maybe, trying to figure out the punchline gives the body a zing it needs.\n\nNow I'm the world's worst at solving puzzles and guessing riddles. (They make me feel really dumb, because I seldom guess them.) Part of it is a personality thing. Some people have inner logical systems that do better with those types of games.\n\nRegardless of your personality, though, we can all benefit from taking a light view of things. Along with our serious side which we shouldn't forget, the body needs a break from the furrowing of the brow.\n\n''3. IT'S GOOD FOR THE SPIRIT.''\n\nHumor helps us to lighten up and not take ourselves too seriously. Glum and gloom pile on the worries so that one can't enjoy life.\n\nLight-heartedness is the oil that loosens up the tight heart, the timid spirit and the fearful soul.\n\nI knew I'd reached a milestone when some years back at our dinner table I tried a Mr. Bean imitation (I'm as good-looking as he is) and pulled it off with enough success that my kids bellowed with laughter and pleaded for more.\n\nOf course, I retired from that career at the top of my success.\n\nAround that same time period, I would print off jokes from the Internet and read them at the table to the family -- since I could never remember one from the time I got up from the computer and walked to the table.\n\nThe point is that the driest prune in the box can learn to laugh. Break into a smile, rather than grow brittle with age.\n\nIt's a constant effort to see the light side. Fairly often I have to smile and tell myself, "Randal, you think too much." Too much about what could happen, what might happen. I see all the possibilities of things going wrong, all the accidents lurking, all the unsafe practices, all the dangers hiding around the corner. Dude, you think too much -- look up at the blue sky, feel the warmth of the sun on your face, enjoy the stretch of those muscles you're developing in swimming, take a deep breath and feel the air filling your lungs, study the plant on your desk, stroll in the park and watch the little tykes play in the sand, get out of your selfish little world and find some good deed to do for someone.\n\n''Conclusion''\n\nToday's entertainment doesn't necessarily lighten the heart. Often, it leaves us depressed and bored.\n\nWe live in dangerous times. The news constantly reminds us of terrorist attacks or dangers, besides the murders, rapes and other violent and heinous crimes occurring daily.\n\nAll the more reason to lighten up.\n\nSay, did you hear the one about ...\n\n!!!Choice Quotes\nA person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road. --Henry Ward Beecher\n\nWhen humor goes, there goes civilization. --Erma Bombeck\n\nOne doesn't have a sense of humor. It has you. --Larry Gelbart\n\nCommon sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. --William James\n\nHumor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs. --Christopher Morley\n\nThe more I live, the more I think that humor is the saving sense. --Jacob August Riis\n\nA sense of humor ... is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life. --Hugh Sidey\n\nA well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life. --William A. Ward\n\nOne tired waitress to another: “I always start the day with a smile—and get it over with.” --“Almanac” in Minneapolis Tribune\n!!!Choice Scripture\nA joyful heart makes the face cheerful, but by a painful heart the spirit is broken. --Proverbs 15.13\n\nA cheerful heart brings good healing, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. --Proverbs 17.22\n\nA time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. --Ecclesiastes 3.4\n\nBlessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. --Luke 6.21\n\nSarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." --Genesis 21.6\n\nLike a door that turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. --Proverbs 26.14\n\nWhy do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. --Jesus in Matthew 7.3-5\n\nBlind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel! --Jesus in Matthew 23.24\n\nBut among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints. Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting -- all of which are out of character -- but rather thanksgiving. --Ephesians 5.3-4\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n# Answer truthfully: do I sometimes get mistaken for one of the seven dwarfs -- Grumpy?\n# Identify one of your [[foibles|http://www.thefreedictionary.com/foible]] and massacre it with humor.\n# Find a clean joke, memorize it and amaze all your family and friends. Do this daily. But with different jokes.\n!!!Your Turn\nWhat do you think about today's UPLift? Let me hear from you. Just [[click|mailto:jas@randalmatheny.com]] and write.\n----
New series of reflections on making the right choices.\n#ChooseChoice (2006 July 14)\n#ChooseContentment (2006 July 24)\n#ChooseToday (2006 September 4)\n#ChooseFailure (2006 October 10)\n#ChooseFocus (2006 November 4)\n#ChooseGratitude (2006 November 22)\n#ChooseFaith (2007 February 24)\n#ChooseHealth (2007 July 4)\n#ChooseHumor (2007 July 12)\n#[[ChooseAmbition|http://randalmatheny.com/2008/04/14/choose-ambition/]] (2008 April 14)\n#[[ChoosePeople|http://randalmatheny.com/2009/04/09/choose-people/]] (2009 April 9)\n
by J. Randal Matheny\n!!! Introduction\nA trip to the U.S., a working visit from a friend, a touch of the flu, kept me away from UPLift. But back to our Choose series!\n\nThis issue, let's consider the choice of our time, living today.\n!!!Choice Thought\n''I have Today, now, this moment. I will make the most of it, without regrets or pining for yesterday, or worrying about tomorrow. Time is my friend.''\n!!!Choose Today\nConan O'Brien, whoever he is, said, "In Florida a 96-year-old woman is running for mayor. When asked if she knew who she was running against, she said, 'Time.'"\n\nWe see time as the enemy. Something we work against. Something that works against us, robs us of life, cheats us out of youth, health, and happiness. Milton called time "the subtle thief of youth."\n\nWe consider time the upturned hourglass whose last grains of sand fall through the aperture while we watch helplessly. A fleeing rabbit to be chased and, by some miracle, trapped.\n\nYesterday holds a log of lingering woes and fading memories. Tomorrow appears a gathering storm or the bottomless pit of our good intentions. Today we fight a fog of uncertainty clogging along in our daily routine.\n\nBut our despair about time wastes it. The Now is where we live. This moment is not merely "all we have," as if it were little enough, but the gift of God to enjoy, the plenitude of life's possibilities, the flower in full bloom.\n\nToday draws loved ones near, the present makes plans come to fruition, this moment breathes the air of all that is.\n\nMick Jaggar, not my favorite philosopher, said, "Time is on my side, yes it is." He's right, if I choose today.\n\nThe choice, then: to fritter time away by the minute and hour, or to choose today as my day to live, to shine, to love, to laugh.\n\n!!!Choice Quotes\n"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that the stuff life is made of." --Benjamin Franklin\n\n“Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have -- so spend it wisely” --Kay Lyons\n\n“Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.” --Shakespeare\n\n"I recommend you to take care of the minutes, for hours will take care of themselves." --Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, "Letters to His Son"\n\n“We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.” --Alice Bloch\n\n"Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such." --Henry Miller\n\n"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." --Carl Sandburg\n!!!Choice Scripture\nDeuteronomy 4:39 - Today realize and carefully consider that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below – there is no other!\n\nMatthew 6:11 - Give us today our daily bread, ...\n\n2 Corinthians 6:2 - For he says, “I heard you at the acceptable time, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation!\n\nRomans 13:11 - And do this because we know the time, that it is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is now nearer than when we became believers.\n\nPhilippians 1:20 - My confident hope is that I will in no way be ashamed but that with complete boldness, even now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether I live or die.\n\n1 Corinthians 3:21b-23 - For everything belongs to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.\n\nEphesians 5:8 - for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light –\n\nJude 1:25 - [T]o the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen.\n\n(All citations are from the [[NET Bible|http://www.bible.org/netbible/]].)\n!!!Think, Choose, Do\n#How do I think of time, as a friend or enemy? Why?\n#Do I think more about the past or the future? How does this keep me from living in the present?\n#When was the last time I remember really enjoying the moment?\n!!! Your Turn\nWhat do you think about today's UPLift? Let me hear from you. Just [[click|http://randalmatheny.com/uplift/index.php?action=entry]] and write.\n----
UPLift, Your Day to Shine\nhttp://YourDaytoShine.com\n\nThursday, 2007 January 25\n\n''Even The Cactus''\nby [[J. Randal Matheny|JasRandal]]\n\nDear friends, where have I been? Latest story is a car accident: http://www.randalmatheny.com/blog/\n\nI'm working on the next installment of the Choose series.\n\nIn the meantime, ponder these words:\n\n@@Even a cactus blooms.@@\n\nDon't let the short sentence fool you. Think about it.\n\nHey, I wrote the sentence above, and boom! out came a poem, ThePricklyCactus. You can read it\nonline, but please, first think about what the phrase above says to you.\n\nBrightly,\nRandal\n\nP.S. If you're an AOL user, please read this note: AOLUser.\n\n----\n\nYOUR TURN\n\nNo recent comments ...\n\nTo comment, click [[Reply|http://alcanceweb.com/MandarEmail/]]. Writing means you accept being quoted in this space. When you do, please include first name, city, and state.\n\n----\n\n1. Please forward Uplift, as is, to your friends.\n2. Your turn! What do you think about today's UPLift?\n3. Want to reprint an issue of UPLift? See ReprintRules.\n----\n
Here are [[Wednesday's ideas|ChooseHealth]] in verse form.\n\n''GET OFF YOUR SEAT''\nby J. Randal Matheny\n\nGet off your seat and on your feet;\nMake fresh and raw the plate you eat.\nGo take a stroll for sun and air,\nAnd clear the mind of every care.\nTake charge today of physical health,\nSo much a part of your worldly wealth.\nWithout a fight you'll go to pot;\nTo get in shape requires some thought,\nA plan and working up a sweat --\nDon't despair, you'll get there yet.\nControl yourself by a diamond will,\nYou've things to do besides get ill.\nBy putting your body under the rod,\nYou'll long enjoy this blessing of God.\n
God wants our eyes upon his hand,\nThat watch his every kindly move;\nHe wants a robust will to stand\nAttentive, judging minds to prove\nHis good and pleasing and perfect will.\nHe searches up and down the land\nFor one surrendered soul to spill\nHis life and serve the risen Son.\nGod seeks but one small saint to fill\nThe heart with heaven's race and run\nAbroad to spread the healing news:\nGod came down and bids us choose!\n\n----\nHere's a little something I wrote 8 June for a discussion forum as I get back to UPLift after a long period of neglect.\n----
I want to go to heaven to live\nUp close with him who died for me;\nFor there I'll sing all day and give\nHim praise and glory eternally.\n\nIn heaven I'm free of worries and bills,\nAnxiety pains and bed and food;\nThe Lord will heal me of all my ills,\nAnd give me answers that now elude.\n\nI want to enter heaven to rest,\nTo learn and see his wisdom's charm;\nI'll see where he's prepared and blessed,\nAnd how he won by uplifted arm.\n\nTo miss the door to heaven is bleak,\nFor hell is full of terrored fear,\nWhere nothing is found for they who seek,\nThe empty darkness always near.\n\nIt's heaven I want, where God abides\nIn fullness, his face and mine unveiled;\nAnd there I'll know, where Christ presides,\nMy every effort on earth availed.\n\n----\nWritten for [[SiteForTheLord.org|http://siteforthelord.com/viewtopic.php?t=1197]] 2007 Jun 8, using comments from various members.\n----\n
First name: James. Abbreviation for James is Jas. An easy and unique username I often choose online.\n\nFor info about me, see my business [[card|http://www.randal.fastmai.fm]] with all the links and [[my personal homepage|http://randalmatheny.com/]].\n----
''OPTIONS''\n[[Essays|UPLiftEssays]]\n[[Poetry|UPLiftPoetry]]\n[[Choose to Shine|ChooseToShine]]\n[[Reprint Rules|ReprintRules]]\n[[Previous UPLifts|http://randalmatheny.com/doku.php?id=uplift]]\n[[Feedback|mailto:jas@randalmatheny.com?Subject=UPLift Feedback]]\n[[Get it by email|mailto:uplift-join@associate.com]]\n[[Tell a friend|mailto:?subject=Poetry and Motivation&body=Hey, I enjoyed this site and thought you would, too: http://yourdaytoshine.com]]\n----\n[[Links|UPLiftLinks]]\n\n
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I think it will be easier for me to maintain the UPLift site and list by moving the site into the new software on my personal blog. The new address will now be at http://randalmatheny.com/category/uplift/\n\nBut all the old material will remain here, so there's plenty of uplifting reading to do!
The rule: don't send them.\n\nIf you must, please unsub to UPLift before you travel [uplift-leave@associate.com] and then sign up again when you get back [uplift-join@associate.com].\n\nBut be sure you hop back in on your return.
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This tag lists the poems available on this site.
If you’re interested in reproducing an issue of UPLift, be it prose or poetry, in a print or electronic medium, you may do so, under these conditions:\n\n#Retain the author’s name immediately after the title. Make sure you got the spelling right: J. Randal Matheny.\n#After the text, place these credits, in exactly this way:\n{{{\nCopyright (c) 2004-2011, J. Randal Matheny\nFrom UPLift, www.YourDaytoShine.com\n}}}\nThat means you don’t have to retain the masthead or comments or links at the bottom of the article. (This doesn’t apply to forwarding the UPLift email, which must be sent, as is.) You are welcome to format the text to fit your publication. But the content may not be changed in any way without my knowledge.\n\nObviously, if you're reprinting, I'd like to know. Please send me a copy of your publication. If it’s electronic, send either the link or email to me [[here|mailto:jas@randalmatheny.com]]. @@Do not@@ add my email to your list; let me decide to do that, if I have a hankering. If you have a print publication, send me a copy here: C.P. 11 - Sao Jose dos Campos, SP - 12201-970 Brazil.\n----
An abbreviation for our city of [[São José dos Campos|http://randalmatheny.com/doku.php?id=sao_jose_dos_campos]], in the state of São Paulo, in Brazil. We've lived here since January 1995.
ORIGINAL. ENCOURAGING. EXCLUSIVE. MOTIVATING. \n<html>&nbsp;&nbsp;</html>Start now. Start here. [[Join us today|mailto:uplift-join@associate.com]]
<html><img src="sunchild.gif" border="0" alt="UPLift Your Day to Shine" hspace="5" align="left" /></html>~UPLift, Your Day to Shine\n
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padding-bottom: 0px;}\n\n.fieldsetFix {border: 0;\npadding: 0;\nmargin: 1px 0px 1px 0px;\n}\n/*}}}*/\n/***\n!Misc rules /%==================================================%/\n***/\n/*{{{*/\n.sparkline {\n line-height: 1em;\n}\n\n.sparktick {\n outline: 0;\n}\n\n.zoomer {\n font-size: 1.1em;\n position: absolute;\n padding: 1em;\n}\n\n.cascade {\n font-size: 1.1em;\n position: absolute;\n overflow: hidden;\n}\n/*}}}*/
THANKSGIVING\nby J. Randal Matheny © 2006\n\nI thank you, Lord, for pain and trial,\n For these I seldom bow my head;\nI much prefer the laugh and smile,\n Than bitter tears with humble bread.\n\nI thank you, Lord, for lessons learned\n In testing knocks and wearied thorn,\nFor there I saw my forces spurned,\n And weakness on your strength was borne.\n\nI thank you, Lord, for sorrow's want,\n For sundered heart and silent grief;\nIn these the self is frail and gaunt,\n From you flows mercy's cool relief.\n\nI thank you, Lord, for a heavy weight,\n I bow my head in whispered prayer;\nFor under every burden's strait\n Your very presence meets me there.\n----\nWritten 2006 Nov 21, SJCampos. For some comments on this poem, see at bottom of ChooseGratitude.\n----
If even the prickly cactus blooms,\n Why, then there's hope for me!\nAnd if the skunk can sell perfumes,\n There's nothing I can't be!\n\nIf porcupines can find a mate,\n In spite of painful quills,\nI'm certain I can educate\n My paltry social skills.\n \nFor all my ugly bumps and warts,\n The world's an open door;\nOf people God has made all sorts,\n And I have sorts galore!\n \nI shun the morning's mirrored glass,\n There're better sights to see;\nI'm looking out for greener grass\n And lands beyond the sea.\n\nCast off regrets, be done with tears,\n Come find a grander view;\nFor if God can change my faults and fears,\n What can he do with you?!\n----\nWritten 2007 Jan 25, SJCampos, after writing the thought-provoker, "Even a cactus blooms."\n----
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We're now on Twitter [[@yourdaytoshine|http://twitter.com/yourdaytoshine]] with lots of stuff there. Check it out!\n\nAlso, we've a [[personal twitter|http://twitter.com/jrmatheny]] and one for our [[Forthright Press|http://twitter.com/forthrightpress]].
"~UPLift, Your Day to Shine" is an occasional message of encouragement with original content. The content varies between short reflections, quips, quotes, and poetry written exclusively for this publication.
Follows a list of UPLift essays published exclusively for this publication. Also see [[previous UPLift material|http://randalmatheny.com/doku.php?id=uplift]] published on my personal page.\n\nSee also UPLiftPoetry and the series ChooseChoice.\n----\n
!!!My other writings\n*[[Cloudburst Poetry|http://cloudburstpoetry.com]] -- a weekly poem to charge your life.\n*[[Forthright Press|http://forthrightpress.com]] -- Some of it even in print.\n!!!Mine and friends\n*[[BrotherhoodNews.com|http://brotherhoodnews.com]] -- news of the brotherhood from around the world.\n*[[Forthright Magazine|http://forthright.net]] -- daily articles by published authors on spiritual and biblical topics.\n!!!By friends and would-be friends\n*[[HEM-Lines|http://joycaster.com]] -- Tim Hall weaves beautiful tapestries in "Heaven and Earth Meets."\n*[[Thought for the Day|http://www.tftd-online.com/]] -- Alan Smith's tells great, and usually true, stories with a spiritual application.\n*[[KneEmail|http://forthright.net/kneemail/]] -- Mike Benson packs a spiritual punch with the best of his readings.\n*[[Email Devotionals|http://associate.com/groups/emaildevotionals/]] -- Don Ruhl writes morning and night with short thoughts to challenge your mind.
''UPLift, Your Day to Shine''\nhttp://YourDaytoShine.com\n\nMonday, 2006 July 10\n\nAfter a lull on your side, and lots happening on my side, finally, another edition of UPLift for you, this time, from a spiritual slant. And keep telling those friends about us!\n\n\nUPON MY BED[>img[My bedroom|http://random.antville.org/static/random/images/bedspread.jpg]]\nby J. Randal Matheny\n\nIn night's dark quiet, upon my bed,\nI think on what I did and said\n Throughout the day,\n If faith held sway,\nIf Christ was Lord, my guiding head.\n\nNocturnal breezes bid reflect\nIf words' and actions' full effect\n Upon my neighbor\n Was love's kind labor,\nOr selfish motive's deep neglect.\n\nThe crickets' chirps, the owls' hoots,\nFor conscience' sake are God's recruits\n To probe my heart\n And plumb the chart\nI coursed with all my earlier fruits.\n\nBefore I'm overcome with sleep,\nInstead of counting bounding sheep,\n I count good deeds\n Like righteous seeds,\nA sowing another soon will reap.\n\nMy God will give me peaceful rest;\nToday I did my faithful best.\n My night will seem\n A pleasant dream,\nFor I have come to bed well-dressed.\n\n----\n\n1. Please forward Uplift, as is, to your friends.\n2. Your turn! What do you think about today's UPLift?\nfile:///D:/My%20Documents/uplit/upliftexperiment.html#UponMyBed\n3. Want to reprint an issue of UPLift? See the rules\n here: http://YourDaytoShine.com\n\n
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WHEN YOU WEEP A TEAR\nby J. Randal Matheny\n\nWhen you weep a tear, your Father sees,\nYour sighs can stir the very heart of God;\nHis ear inclines to hear your whispered pleas,\nYour quiet faith, his powerful lightning rod.\n\nThink not that God rests in eternal slumber,\nRemote from needs, and slow to rouse and move.\nYour name's engraved upon his hand, your numbered\nDays upon his heart, your trust to prove.\n\nHe thought of you before the worlds were made.\nBefore he stirred the ocean lanes at will,\nOr raised the mountain's peak in cloudy shade,\nHe thought of you. He thinks about you still.\n\n----\n\nYou may think I've stolen the quote, so closely has the poem adhered to the original.\n>When a tear is wept by you, don't think that your Father does not see it. Your sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; your whisper can incline his ear to you; your prayer can stay his hands; your faith can move his arm. Do not think that God sits on high in eternal slumber, taking no account of you. Engraved on the Father's hand your name remains, and on his heart. He thought of you before the worlds were made. Before the channels of the sea were scooped or the mountains lifted their heads in the clouds, he thought of you. He thinks about you still. --Charles Spurgeon\n\nI first read the quote posted by 18-month-old Abel Tyson's parents. Abel was diagnosed with stage 3 high-risk neuroblastoma and suffers neurological effects of CPR for 20 minutes during surgery on January 2, 2007. This family is friends of friends of friends (wonders of Internet). Please say a prayer for little Abel. Read updates by going to their [[page|http://www.caringbridge.org/cb/inputSiteName.do?method=search&siteName=abeltyson]].
!!!!Within Your Power\n"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is\nnot due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it;\nand this you have the power to revoke at any moment."\n--Marcus Aurelius\n\nDistressed by circumstance,\nAfflicted at bad turns,\nDisturbed by fateful chance,\nOr worried with sad concerns?\n\nThe burning pain you feel\nComes not from truthful facts,\nHowever stark or real,\nbut from how your mind reacts.\n\nPerspective colors all,\nInterpret as you will,\nNot things that may befall,\nBut thoughts that harbor ill.\n\nWithin your power lies\nThe choice to change belief;\nInside you, realize\nThe shift to bring relief.\n\n!!!Your comments on ChooseFaith\nThank you for explaining about faith. I don't think too many people really understand faith. The word is used in many different ways, but none of them describe the true meaning of faith. Someone said that faith is like the battery in a car. Without the battery what good is the car? --Ruth Ann\n\nDeeply thought provoking ... which leads to more study and then action in the Lord's army! May God bless! --Susan, Fort Worth, Texas