Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Mrs. Stevie"

Mrs. "Stevie": "Where were you at this morning? I looked around the church building and I didn't see you? You should be here, you know?"

Me: "I was here, Mrs. Stevie. I sat back by Ken and Diana. You didn't see me?"

Mrs. "Stevie": Are you 'back-sliding'? (eyes twinkling) "Well, I was looking for you to be sitting in front of me, like  you always do."

Me: "Mrs. Stevie, thanks for caring." (hugging her)

Mrs. "Stevie": "You know I do, and all your kids and your wife, too!"

Me: "I know!"

Conversations like these were a staple of Mrs. Gladys Stevens. A wiry little grin from a caring spit-fire of a woman made her everyone's delight. Everyone appreciated Mrs. "Stevie's" motherly guidance, courage, caring ways, and her twinkling eyes.

I met her at about 77 years old. I saw her at every service of the church. Her  broken hip when she was in her 90s did not stop her. She loved Jesus.

Not many see 100 birthdays, and even fewer stay faithful to God's writings.
It has been well said by Solomon, "A woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised."

God wanted this kind woman near him, and took her home. 

Mrs. Gladys Stevens, dead at 102. 

To God: "Thanks for loaning her to us for a little while."

To "Stevie": "Thanks!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


There was no warning. He just wasn't there. My scheduled replacement, "J.W.", should be on time.

It was 11:10 p.m. I was tired. Ten minutes before my shift ended. I was sleepy and ready to go to bed. But security guards are not off duty, no matter what the reason, without being replaced.

I called the other guardhouse to inform the other guards about his absence. “Call the Lieutenant,” was the barbed reply. I knew they were right.

“Lieutenant, he is not here, again. This makes four times.”

“Big surprise, huh?” came the sleepy, sarcastic voice. “Stay put, and I'll call you back shortly,” the Lieutenant grumped.

At 11:14 a guard notifying me of the Lieutenant's actions. He had ask another guard to go to JW's house and wake him up. At 11:27 I learned J.W. was on his way. The 6-minute drive took him 18 minutes. At 11:45 he arrived. He gave no apology. His excuse was suspicious.

I relayed important information, completed the required paper work and phone call, turned the equipment over to him, and hit the door. I failed to give him a quick examination for drugs or alcohol.

This true story has been fictionalized and exaggerated. Why? So I can practice Philippians 4:8. Phil 4:8 has eight areas needing evaluation, meditation, and decisions. Phil 4:8 lead to a greater dependence of God, seeing reality through God's eyes, and making decisions to enhance life here and now.

Here is what I found. You will see areas where your help is needed.
  • Whatever is True.
    • Expect the unexpected. I need to be ready for anything.
      • Being a bit like Gumby is a good thing. Be flexible.
      • Be ready for the Lord to return. No one knows His time. Be prepared.
    • Be Patient. With planning, there is little reason for hurrying. James 1:3-4 says, "knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
  • Whatever is Noble
    • What Noble thing could I done? Suggestions? Put your ideas in the comment section, please.
  • Whatever is Just 
    • Writing him up would have been just. Justice might serve the repeat offender. It might begin disciplinary measures in hopes of correcting JW's behavior.
  • Whatever is Pure.
    • I fail to see anything Pure. If you do, please put your idea in the comment box at the bottom.
  • Whatever is Lovely / Acceptable / Dignified.
    • Could I have approached him to check for alcohol or drug use with dignity? I would like to think I could. A highly professional approach should be acceptable, even expected, from a fellow guard.
  • Whatever is of Good Report / Endorsable.
    • The third guard sent to his home is something I support. I am glad the guard did for JW's good. Would it have been better if I had went instead?
  • Any Virtue.
    • Morally, I demand punctuality in myself, noting the effects of tardiness on others.,
  • Anything Praiseworthy.
    • My Lieutenant was responsive to the situation. I should develop the ability to respond carefully and appropriately to all situations,too.

A Ten-Hut!

That is what I thought they said. Really! The man with the two or three stripes on his sleeve always said “A Ten-Hut” when an man with brass on his shoulders walked in.

Now I know they were saying “Attention!” to show honor, or to recognize someone more noble.

The Challenge
Philippians 4:8 challenges us to think (meditate) on whatever is noble or honorable. This high standard of thinking requires decision making, judgments, evaluation, and planning to imitate noble personalities.

As I toil to transform into a noble or honorable person, I found Festus being honored by Paul. I recalled prophets (preachers) do not get honor where they live.

Jesus was dishonored. He was accused of being a “Samaritan” (similar to the “N-word” in our society.). Jesus said he had not received honor from the religious authorities.

How does God view being noble or honorable?
God says humility comes before honor.  He said if the Son is not honored, then He is not honored. The Son spoke of the noble-hearted as the fruitful soil.

God recognizes marriage as honorable by everyone. He saw the Corinthian's gift to the Jerusalem Christians as honorable. He wants His Son's followers to live honorably. Living noble lives protects Christians from slanderous talk, and gives Him glory. Parents should live honorably, and receive honor from their children.

Benefits for us.
As I aim for a noble life-style, benefits will come my way.
  • Slanderous talk, aimed to shame, will be laughable.
  • Co-workers and friends will enjoy being around me.
  • A confidence will emerge that provides additional success.
  • My opinions will be viewed as valuable.
  • Good opportunities for service will become incessant.
  • Associates will mimic my honoring of others.
  • The humility that brings honor will sharpen my outlook and shrink my mood-swings.
  • I will enhance the noble work of others and exhibit it in my demeanor.
  • I will decide to be humble, whether honor comes or not..
  • I will arrange and achieve noble activities.
  • I will set personal goals as I move toward honor
  • I will practice, practice and practice.

Want to join me?