Thursday, January 28, 2016

Never Give Up

Growing up in Alaska in the fifties and sixties, we drank mostly reconstituted evaporated canned milk. My mother insisted that we needed three glasses a day. (Perhaps that's why I don't drink much milk today.) Back then, I didn't gave much thought to the miracle of evaporated milk. Without it, we would have had no milk.


Then I read about Gail Borden, Jr., the journalist in the Texas Territory in the 1820's who coined the phrase, "Remember the Alamo." His greatest achievement was to condense food so it would remain edible for a long time.

"I mean to put a potato into a pillbox, a pumpkin into a tablespoon, and a watermelon into a saucer," he once said.

His ambition intensified into a passion when he observed a great tragedy while sailing home from England. On board ship, he saw children die as a result of drinking contaminated milk. He vowed to dedicate his life to finding a way to make milk safe for human consumption for a long time.

At every opportunity he had already been experimenting on guests, serving them concentrated soups and foods. For the California Gold Rush, he invented the dehydrated meat biscuit.

Through his experiments with his meat biscuits, Borden knew food could be kept fresh over long periods of time if moisture was reduced. He poured a gallon of milk into a kettle and boiled off the water. The experiment failed. The milk tasted burnt.

While visiting a Shaker colony in New York, Borden discovered the solution as he watched them condense maple sugar in a vacuum-sealed pan. Because less heat was required to cause evaporation in a vacuum, the burnt taste was reduced.

Borden finally succeeded, and the U. S. Army placed the first big order for 500 pounds of evaporated milk. Not only did Borden invent the process, but the company he founded became a multi-billion dollar company. He is known as the father of the modern dairy business.

On Borden's tombstone is inscribed, "I tried and failed. I tried again and succeeded."

The Apostle Paul observed in First Corinthians 13:7 that love is the best motivation to success:
Courtesy GoVerse
Borden's heart was touched by the deaths of those children. That motivated him to succeed, and he never gave up.

So, never give up! You are a failure only if you do not keep on trying.

What motivates you to succeed? What do you love enough to keep on trying until you succeed?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Prescription for a Better Life

Last week I wrote about the Power of a Smile. Did you know that smiling can change your life?

Frank Bettger, a major league ball player who turned to sales management after an injury, became famous for his inspirational speeches. He would ask people to promise to smile for 30 days.

Courtesy of
He said, "I have asked thousands of men and women in audiences all over the country for a pledge to smile, just for 30 days, their happiest smile at every living creature they see. Easily 75 percent of the people in each audience willingly raised theirs hands."

What was the result?

A letter from a man in Knoxville, Tennessee, is typical of several letters he received:

"My wife and I had just agreed to separate. Of course, I thought she was entirely at fault. Within a few days after I began to put the idea into action, happiness was restored in my home.

"I then came to realize that I had been losing out in business because of a sullen, losing attitude. At the end of the day, I would go home and take it out on my wife and children. It was all my fault, not my wife's at all.

"I am a totally different man from what I was a year ago. I'm happier because I've made others happy too. Now, everybody greets me with a smile. In addition, my business has shown surprising improvement."

This man was so excited about the results he got from smiling that he kept writing to Bettger about it for years.

Are there things in your life that aren't going as well as you would like? Perhaps you need to smile more too.

Centuries ago, the wise writer of the Book of Proverbs pointed out that

Courtesy of Pinterest .com

You may not feel like smiling, but if you do it anyway, your mood will catch up with that act of your will, and you will soon feel better. You can change your feelings by your actions.

Try it! It may be just the prescription you need to make your life better. I'd love to hear about your results.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Power of a Smile

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started on his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man sitting in the park staring at the pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his can of root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie.

Gratefully, the man accepted it and smiled at the boy. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he gave him a root beer.


Again the man smiled at him. The boy was delighted. They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling but never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and got up to leave. Before he took more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back, and gave the old man a hug. The old man gave him his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother, seeing the look of joy on his face, asked, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"

"I had lunch with God," he said. "And you know what? He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen."

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and asked, "Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"

He replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." Then he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

This story reminds me of a poem my grandmother, Florence L. Personeus, wrote years ago that I included in my book, Frontiers of Faith:

Just a Smile

It was only a smile and a wave of the hand,
As the giver hastened away,
But it cheered and brightened a heart that was sad
At the close of a weary day.

A smile often comes like a ray of sunlight
Sent from Heaven to us here below;
'Twill bring joy in return, to scatter bright smiles,
For we reap whatever we sow.

If we only knew how a little smile
Might cheer the heart of another,
How it strengthens them to struggle on,
We would smile just to help each other.

For those bright, cheery smiles that come and go
Flash sunshine on Life's thorny way,
And the good they can do not one of us knows,
So let's scatter smiles every day.

                                                           --Florence L. Personeus

We often underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or the smallest act of caring, but they have the power to turn a life around. And when You do it for one of God's children, you are doing it for Him.

Who did you smile at today?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

With the cold weather now upon us, I find myself consulting my thermometer and thermostat more frequently. Have you ever thought about these two instruments? They have related but quite different functions.

Both have to do with how hot or cold it is, but the similarity stops there. A thermometer merely reflects its surroundings. It does nothing to influence them. A thermostat, however, seeks to regulate rather than imitate, turning on the furnace or the air conditioner according to the need.

As a Christian, I want to be more like a thermostat than a thermometer. I don't want to simply report the conditions of the moment. I want to try to affect the future in a positive way.

For example, in dealing with finances in their families, thermometer types only report the conditions of the moment: "We can't tithe or support missions or you name it because the economy hasn't done very well this year. We didn't get a raise. We have too many bills."

What thermometer types don't do well is affect the future, except maybe negatively with self-fulfilling prophecies.

Thermostat-based talk says, "What ought the temperature be, and how can we make it happen?"

Thermostat types don't ignore the conditions. No, they first recognize what they face, but then they study the Word and pray and ask God to show them what He wants them to accomplish and how.

The Bible is full of wisdom. If we follow God's instructions and pray and work and trust Him, He will make a way where there seems to be no way.

In Acts 13:43, Paul and Barnabas urged the believers in Antioch to continue to rely on the grace of God. In times of difficulty, we too must not only report the conditions but respond to them with prayer and obedience to God's Word, trusting in His grace to see us through victoriously.

This year, I want to be a thermostat, don't you? I want to have a positive influence on the people and situations I in meet in 2016.

What do you need to do to become more like a thermostat?

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