Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Art of Praise

There is a very basic courtesy that should apply in all human relations--taking the time to thank people who help us. My friend Mike Somdal is a specialist at this. One reason he is so successful in business is that he has mastered the fine art of making people feel good by thanking them regularly. Often he will call customers simply to thank them again for the order they placed last week or for the recommendation they made to another customer, or for the lunch. Anything. And before the conversation is over, Mike has often secured another order. Of course, if he called simply with ulterior motives, his clients would recognize the manipulation and resist. But Mike has made gratitude a lifelong habit, and those of us who do business with him appreciate that quality. And we respond.

The art of praise--what is known as positive reinforcement in the current psychological jargon--is an essential art for an executive or teacher [or anyone dealing with people] to master. If there is a complaint employees most often express, it is this: "I never get any feedback from the boss--except when something goes wrong." And the teenagers who sit in my office tell me again and again, "My dad gets all over my case when I mess up at school, but when I bring home a good grade he acts as if it's nothing--that I'm finally doing what I should have been doing all along." Stop and think. How long has it been since you took a full 60 seconds to talk to your son or daughter about some fine thing they've just done? Or your secretary, or the managers who work under you?

When someone comes along who genuinely thanks us, we will follow that person a very long way.--Alan Loy McGinnis

Four Magic Words

A nurse ushered me into my grandma's room. Lying in the hospital bed, she looked so small. Her eyes were closed. I sat down quietly.

I was on my way to seminary and full of self-doubt. I had just given up a full scholarship to medical school, and everyone thought I was making a mistake. I desperately wanted Grandma's advice, but the nurse had warned me that she didn't have much strength left. After half an hour, Grandma hadn't stirred, so I just started talking. Suddenly she woke up, asking, "Danny, is that you?"

She told me how her faith had guided her all her life. After a few minutes, a great peace settled around us. I kissed Grandma and turned to leave, but then I heard her whisper some parting words. I leaned over to listen. "I believe in you," she said.

Grandma died that night, but in more than 20 years of work as a Christian psychologist, I have passed on her words many times. Four simple words can make a lifetime of difference. --Dan Montgomery

I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among the men [in my company] the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.

There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a man as criticisms from his superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a man incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise, but loathe to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise. --Charles Schwab

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence.--Samuel Johnson

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.--William James

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Life's Little Pleasures

I am sorry all of you who follow my blog, I have not been posting for awhile as my work has been extra busy, right now our missionary team is focusing on disaster relief in Haiti and as such need all of your prayers and support.

Here is some beautiful word I read the other day.

Our friend Thomas is a keen gardener, and it is always a great joy to walk around his garden. Recently, I was admiring some beautiful double chrysanthemums he had on show.

“Yes, they’re fine,” he agreed, but seemed to hesitate as he said it. I waited for him to continue. “Yes, there have been some wonderful developments—new varieties and all the rest of it. Yet sometimes, you know, I think we brush aside too easily the simple types, the single flowers with their delicate perfection.” And he led me across the lawn and pointed out just such an example.

No one, I think, would want to lose some of the wonderful developments which man’s skill and care has brought to all kinds of things, but I think we need to remem- ber Rudyard Kipling’s prayer, “Teach us delight in simple things. ... ” --Francis Gay

Possessions, outward success, public- ity, luxury—to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for the body and the mind.

—Albert Einstein

It was God who created the simple pleasures and joys of life for us to enjoy. He made our bodies and our senses to be able to look upon and enjoy things which are beautiful, to taste things which are de- licious, to hear beautiful music, to feel nice things that we touch, and to smell the beautiful perfume of a flower or even of a delicious meal that is cooking.


Apraiseful heart can find joy in so many things—learning a skill, walk- ing through the woods, meeting a friend, viewing a beautiful sight, cooking a good meal, giving a gift, teaching a child, help- ing someone in need, finding ways to serve, discovering a new truth, appreci- ating an old one, reaching out to God in prayer, passing His love on in little or big ways. There are so many things in life to be happy about—simple things, little things, joyous things, precious things.

Jesus, please help us to seize each op- portunity for enjoyment of all You’ve given us. Help us to see all the sparkles You’ve put in our path and to not fail to thank You for them, knowing that they and You are what make life wonderful.

—Chloe West

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Mustard Seed

By Angela Melinda, Romania

My family lives in a small town where everyone knows each other, at least by sight. My best friend and I were the town's only hippies, considered crazy because we always tried to be different, no matter what people thought.
When I received Jesus as my Savior, I changed. All I wanted to do was serve Jesus by telling other people how they could have His love too. I took some time to explain this to my relatives, as some of them worked for the police and could have caused me a lot of problems if they did not understand my new life.

One uncle who is on the police force didn't like me because I had been a hippie. He is a former communist and a morose, strict man-very hard to talk to. He spoke against me to my parents and threatened me over the phone, so I started to fear and avoid him. He was the last person I expected to understand this new part of my life. But three years ago something happened that completely broke his heart.
My uncle and his wife were in an auto accident. She died on the spot, in his arms. He had been driving, and almost lost his job on the police force because of it. He was in shock and felt very guilty. He never drove again. For the next two years he was a horrible father to his 16- and 18-year-old children, cursing and beating them.

Then in March of 2002, he suddenly got very sick. He couldn't walk or even stand on his feet anymore. No doctor could help him because they had no idea what was wrong. He became even nastier and blamed everything on his children.
He came to spend a few months in a hospital in the city where I was living and working with other members of The Family. Because I was his only relative in the city, I began visiting him out of duty, but as rarely as possible. It was then that I realized the desperate situation he was in, but I was still afraid of him. His tough attitude and the fact that he rejected any comfort I or anyone else tried to show him didn't help matters.

For four months he mocked God. His condition worsened to the point that he was unable to eat. He broke his right arm and developed tumors on his lungs. He was completely without hope.
At this time, the Lord showed me that my uncle was at last ready to receive Him, and that it was time for me to talk with him about Jesus' personal love for him. I felt like Jonah when God sent him to the city of Nineveh to deliver what Jonah expected to be a very unpopular message-I didn't want to do it! Still, I felt compelled by the Lord to try, and so prayed for wisdom and more faith.

I asked the Lord to fulfill His promise in Matthew 10:20, which says, "It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." So I went to the hospital. My cousin was also there, helping my uncle.
The Lord made it easy for me that day. My uncle was bedridden and in horrible pain. He had big bleeding wounds all over his body, a side effect of some of the strong medication he was on. He didn't have his tough mask on that day, but admitted that he was helpless.

I started by telling him how the Lord had helped me in my hardest times, when I had had nobody else to turn to. I went on and on, and because he was just listening, I told him that Jesus wanted to work in his life, and was trying to get to him through his sickness. But because he was resisting the Lord's Spirit, his situation was getting worse and worse.
Jesus wanted to first heal his soul, I explained. After he got his heart right with the Lord, He would heal his body. My uncle listened quietly to everything I said, only asking every once in a while, "Do you really think so?"

He was so responsive and respectful of everything I said that it seemed unbelievable to me. The Lord even helped me give him loving correction for how badly he had treated his children. I thought maybe I had said too much, but he just nodded.
I struggled to have the courage and enough faith to pray with him, but the Lord helped me. I took his hand, and both my uncle and his son (who overheard all this) prayed to receive Jesus. We then asked the Lord for my uncle's healing, also. My uncle prayed from his heart, in desperation, and kept his eyes closed after we had finished. For the next three minutes or so, I felt embarrassed and didn't know what to do or say. But when my uncle looked up, he thanked me through tears.

As soon as he received Jesus as his Savior, my uncle's condition started to improve. He felt better, and began to read the Bible and other inspirational materials I gave him. He now says that Jesus healed him in answer to our prayers, with no help from the doctors. He is still weak, but making good progress-and he behaves much better with his children. We all thank the Lord for what He has done for him!

I also learned a lesson from this: Even when I feel I don't have enough faith to do something the Lord wants me to do, I shouldn't let my own feelings overwhelm me, but trust the Lord and let Him do it through me. The Word says that with faith as a mustard seed you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). I felt my faith was even smaller than a mustard seed, but with that the Lord changed a whole universe-my uncle's universe.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


1. Mr. Moody once told a story which illustrated the only sure plan of getting rid of jealousy.

"There were two businessmen--merchants--and there was great rivalry between them, a great deal of bitter feeling. One of them became a Christian. He went to his minister and said:

"'I am still jealous of that man, and I do not know how to overcome it.'

"'Well,' he said, 'if a man comes into your store to buy goods, and you cannot supply him, just send him over to your neighbor.'

"He said he wouldn't like to do that.

"'Well,' the minister said, 'you do it, and you will kill jealousy.'

"He said he would, and when a customer came into his store for goods which he did not have he would tell him to go across the street to his neighbor's. By-and-by the other began to send his customers over to this man's store, and the breach was healed."

2. In South America there is a strange vine known as the matador. Beginning at the foot of a tree, it slowly makes its way to the top. As it grows, it kills the tree, and when at last the top is reached, it sends forth a flower to crown itself. Matador, means KILLER ... jealousy. ... It appears harmless when it is small, but if it is allowed to grow, its tendrils of malice and hatred soon clasp themselves around the heart and eventually kill the soul.

3. I remember reading somewhere in a Grecian story of a man who killed himself through envy. His fellow citizens had reared a statue to one of their number who was a celebrated victor in the public games. So strong was the feeling of envy which this incited in the breast of one of the hero's rivals that he went forth every night in order, if possible, to destroy that monument. After repeated efforts he moved it from its pedestal, and it fell, but in its fall it crushed him.

4. Jealousy is the raw material of murder.

5. Many lovely things pass out of life when jealousy comes in.

6. One can be covetous when he has little, much, or anything between, for covetousness comes from the heart, not from the circumstances of life.

7. Jealousy is a rebellion against God Himself, & the liberty & pleasure of His dispensations.

8. Covetousness is a spiritual idolatry; it is the giving of that love & regard to worldly wealth which are due to God only.

9. Americans sink millions of Dollars in unsound financial schemes, one of which is trying to keep up with the neighbours.

10. If it were as easy to arouse enthusiasm as it is suspicion, just think what could be accomplished!