Monday, December 31, 2012

I Saw Grace Today



I saw grace today. It showed up in two unexpected places. 

A homeless man was in a coffee shop in Seattle when a kind woman approached and gave him a new pair of jeans.  He had on his only pair, and now he could have a wash day and clean one pair while wearing his new second pair.  This man received grace today, and our anonymous lady gave because she chose to give.

Amazing!

I saw grace today in a retail store.  A store manager, a nice man of forty-one gave a sale to one of his sales team members simply to help his associate hit his monthly quota. 

That too was amazing grace. 

Neither of these gift givers was forced to give.  They could have walked on by, ignoring the situations.  Instead, they gave from a self-less heart.  They gave hope.  They gave acceptance, and they gave grace.

I want to look for moments when I can offer grace to someone in 2013.  Will you join me?


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It Doesn't Make Sense



Some things just don’t make sense. 

Let me give you some examples.

In the Bible, there was a woman caught in adultery.  She was about to be stoned to death when Christ came along.  Do you remember what he said to her?  “Neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more.”

Doesn’t make sense.


Zach was a problem citizen.  He was a tax man and he was very good at his job.  However, in order to be that good he charged some more than the going rate.  Not the man I would choose as a best friend. 

But when Christ came along, he invited himself to dinner – an act unheard of in that day.  And the end result – he changed Zacchaeus’ life. 

Doesn't make sense. 

John’s life didn’t make sense.  His mother died when he was seven.  His father taught him the shipping business where he served on six different ships, working his way up the proverbial ladder of success.  As life wore on, it also got hard for John.  He joined the Royal Navy, attempted to desert, attempted suicide, and ultimately found his way to the slave trade business. 

Imagine, the man who wrote “Amazing Grace” being a former slave trader who attempted suicide. 

Doesn't make sense. 

Grace sometimes doesn't make sense.  Philip Yancey says this in “What’s So Amazing about Grace ... "Grace goes against all instincts."  


Same for my life and yours.  God’s grace flows down – undeserved, unearned, often unexpectedly.

We can’t earn grace.
   We can’t buy it in a store.
      We can’t barter for it.

All we do is accept it. 

And we can pass it on to others.
      -We can extend terms on money owed us.
    -We can allow someone in front of us in the grocery line.
  -We can slow down to allow a car to enter a clogged roadway.
-We can forgive a wrong.

Haven’t we all had amazing grace shown to us?

Sometimes we can’t figure it out – it just doesn't make sense.

Extend grace anyway. 


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top Five Morning Notes Blogs (Revised)

Welcome to the Top Five blog posts based on the number of hits each has received.  


1.  I Saw Love Today

2.  What Handicap

3.  Where Is God  or  
     YouTube Video Link to Where Is God

4.  More Than a Label

5.  Make Good Art

Thanks for reading.  


P Michael  Biggs
Up-Words.net
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Birth of Jesus


The Birth of Jesus
Based on The Gospel of Luke

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, in Galilee, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, favored one.  God is with you.”

Mary was troubled at his words and wondered. 

The angel said, “Do not be afraid Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son.  You are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come and overshadow you.  The holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  For with God nothing is impossible.”

Mary answered, “Let it be done to me as you have said. For I am the Lord’s servant,”

Meanwhile, the local ruler, Caesar Augustus, issued a decree that a census be taken of the entire Roman world.  Everyone had to go to their own home town to register.



Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the town of David.  He belonged to the line of David. He took Mary also, who was pledged to be married to him, and she was expecting a child.  While there, she gave birth to her firstborn son.  She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Now shepherds were nearby watching a flock of sheep on this night.  Suddenly the angel of God appeared to them, and God’s glory shone around them.  They were terrified. 

The angel assured them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy for all the people.  Today in Bethlehem a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.  Look for this sign:  find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of angels appeared praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels left, the shepherds said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

After seeing all of this the shepherds spread the word about what they had seen and heard.  All who heard it were amazed. 

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.


Merry Christmas

P Michael Biggs
Up-Words.net
Offering Hope
At Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Story of Silent Night




In 1817, 25 year-old Joseph Mohr was assigned to the position of assistant priest at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria. As a lover of music since his childhood, Joseph was placed in charge of the music at the small church and he even wrote poems and song lyrics for special services.


In 1818, during a particularly cold winter, Mohr was making last-minute preparation for a special Christmas Eve service that had been planned for months. Everything was in place, the music, the message, everything. But as he cleaned and readied the sanctuary, he encountered an unfathomable dilemma; St. Nicholas’ organ wouldn’t play. A frantic Mohr struggled with the old instrument, making adjustments, fiddling with keys, stops and pedals, even crawling behind the console to see if he could find a problem. Yet the organ remained silent, its voice as still as a dark winter’s night.

Realizing he could do nothing else, the priest paused and prayed for inspiration. He asked God to show him a way to bring music to his congregation on the year’s most meaningful day of worship. His answer was found in events that had been initiated almost two years earlier.

In 1816, while assigned to a church in another village, Mohr had written a Christmas poem. The six unadorned stanzas were inspired on a winter’s walk from his grandfather’s home to church. Though he had shared the words with a few friends, the priest had never sought to have the work published nor attempted to come up with a melody to go with his words.

After digging Silent Night from his desk, Mohr read over the words.  Up until that moment the verses hadn’t seemed very important, but as he read them again, it was as if God was tossing him a lifeline of hope. Encouraged by new and unfolding expectations, he shoved the worn paper into his coat pocket and rushed out into the night.

On that same evening, 31 year-old schoolteacher Franz Gruber was struggling to stay warm in his drafty apartment over the schoolhouse. Though he had once studied with a renowned organ master of his day, he now played organ only for St. Nicholas’ modest services. As he went over notes from one of his lessons, he heard a strong, knock on his door. To his surprise there stood Father Mohr.

After a quick “Merry Christmas,” the agitated priest explained the problem of the non-working organ, and the last minute thoughts of their approaching Christmas Eve Service.

Father Mohr finally pulled out the poem he had penned two years earlier and begged Franz Gruber to “please write music to these words that can be easily learned by our choir.” He added, “and, without an organ, I guess the song will have to be played on a guitar.”

They both glanced at the mantle clock. “But time is so short!”

Studying the poem, Gruber set to work. Father Mohr, feeling confident that God somehow had a special plan for this Christmas Eve, hurried back across the snow to the church, leaving Franz Gruber alone with his thoughts, a ticking clock, and a prayer for inspiration.

A short time later, the two friends met at St. Nicholas. There in a candlelit sanctuary, Gruber showed his new music to Mohr. The priest approved, and after learning the guitar chords, rushed it to the choir members who were waiting for their scheduled rehearsal. In very short order, Gruber taught the choir members the four-part harmonies to the last two lines of each verse.

Just after midnight, Mohr and Gruber stood in front of the main altar and introduced their simple little song. As they sang, they couldn't have guessed that Silent Night Holy Night would be remembered not only the next Christmas in their small village, but almost two hundred years later, around the world.


May you and your family and friends be blessed this Christmas season. 


P Michael Biggs
Up-Words.net
Offering Hope
At Christmas

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Baby In His Arms



Picture this …

A lone figure is standing at the top of a grand staircase made of the most perfect pearl – brightness surrounds him – emanates from him.  And if you look close enough, you can see that he is holding something – but what?

As if on cue, in the grand scheme of some celestial clock, He begins walking down the staircase.  Slowly He walks, as with great intent.

Walking, standing perhaps a bit taller and more proud than the normal man would stand. 

And as He descends, we can just make out what is in His arms – it looks like … a bundle, a package of some kind, but what?

Onward He descends.  He is coming straight to us.

And as He reaches our level, His arms reach out and he hands us … 

He hands us a baby.


And the baby’s name is Jesus!  
The Christ!  
The Son of God.

A Baby
   The Son of God
      Our Savior
         Our Redeemer
            Our Friend


… All wrapped in a blanket of love. 

This is our gift from God.


Merry Christmas.


P Michael Biggs
Up-Words.net
Offering Hope
One Word at a Time

Photo use courtesy of Bill Reshetar Photos
www.billreshetarphoto.com/
Used by permission

To hear a podcast version of this blog, click HERE

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Man and the Birds


(We do not know the creator of this wonderful story, but are thankful for his or her contribution to our understanding of the essence of Christmas.  Paul Harvey used this on one of his broadcasts when I was a small boy and I have cherished it ever since.  If you know the authentic author of this story, please contact me.)


THE Christmas Story, the "God born a man in a manger” version simply escapes some people.  Perhaps they seek complex answers to their questions, and this one is really very simple.  So for the cynics, and the skeptics, and the unconvinced, I submit a modern parable. 

I want you to meet our main player in this story.  He was not a Scrooge.  He was a kind and descent man.  Some would even say he was a good man.  He was generous with his family, fair in all of his dealings with other men, but he just did not believe all that incarnation stuff which the Churches proclaim at Christmastime.  It just didn't make sense, and he was too honest to pretend otherwise.  He just couldn't swallow the Jesus story, about God coming to Earth as a man. 


"I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve."  He said he'd feel like a hypocrite.  That he'd much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them, and so he stayed, and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away, snow began to fall.  He went to the window and watched the flurries get heavier and heavier, and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper.

Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound, and another, and yet another.  At first he thought some kids were throwing snowballs against his living room window.  But when he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow.  They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn, where his children stabled their pony.  That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it. 

Quickly he put on his coat and goulashes, and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn.  He opened the doors wide and turned on a light...but the birds did not come in.  He figured food would  entice them in, so he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted, open doorway of the stable, but to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow.

He tried catching them; he tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them and waving his arms.  Instead they scattered in every direction, except into the warm lighted barn, and then he realized that they were afraid of him.


"To them," he reasoned, "I am a strange and terrifying creature.   If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me.  I'm not trying to hurt them.  I’m trying to help them.  But how?"

Any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow.  They would not be lead, or directed because they feared him. 


"If only I could be a bird," he thought to himself, "and mingle with them, and speak their language, then I could tell them not to be afraid.  Then I could show them the way to the safe, warm ... to the safe, warm barn, but I would have to be one of them so they could see and hear and understand.

At that moment the church bells began to ring.  Their sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind and he stood there listening to the bells ringing out ..."O COME, LET US ADORE HIM" ... listening to the bells peeling the glad tidings of Christmas, and he sank to his knees in the snow.


Merry Christmas
P Michael Biggs
Up-Words.net
Offering Hope
At Christmas


Friday, December 14, 2012

An Open Letter for Newtown, CT


An Open letter to Newtown, CT

Dear Newtown:

Millions around the world are thinking of you and praying for you in these days.  This is a great time of loss.  Most of us can’t imagine what you might feel and we won’t pretend to do so.  

We will not offer rote words, for words fail us all on a day like today.

What we do offer you is love.  Though we've never met, we still reach out with our hearts and our prayers in great love for the loss you feel.

-To say we pray for you – we do.

-To say we are with you in your grief – we are.

-If we could, we would take your pain away, bring back your loved ones, and reset the clock to a more peaceful time before this day.

In the middle of your grief, may you find comfort in the arms of your family, close friends and in the God of your understanding.

May His peace, His presence and His sustainability empower you for such a time as this.


With Love
P. Michael Biggs
Up-words.net
Offering Hope
For Such a Time as This

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Inn Keeper

2:31


We don’t know much about the inn keeper in the Biblical story of the birth of Christ.  Perhaps he was only twenty, or maybe sixty-five.  He could have been crippled.  Perhaps he had more debts than money to pay them. 

We do know that on this particular night his inn was full.  All day - all day long he had handled travelers-sending his errand boy to clean yet another room for the paying customers.  Finally, he rented his last room for the night.

He had to be tired.  His feet probably hurt from standing on them all day long.  And his thoughts no doubt had long ago turned toward his supper, knowing it was cold now because of his late night hours. 

He had made his money for the night, and perhaps for the week, or month.  This census thing was good for one thing - it was good for his business, and that was all that mattered to him.

Just as he turned to snuff out the last candle there was a soft knock on his door.  He sighed heavily.  His first thought was to ignore the rap on his door.  Let them figure it out for themselves.

But something prompted him to slowly shuffle to the door, remove the security bar and open it with just a crack.  His speech was already rehearsed.  After all, he had given it about a dozen times already tonight.

“I’m sorry.  There’s just no … “

And he stopped.  The woman caught his eye first.  She was a frail thing-perhaps 14, and pregnant.  More than pregnant.  She was ripe with pregnancy. 

And the husband had a look of desperation.  He was obviously out of options.

“Is there no place we can rest for the night?”

The inn keeper sadly shook his head, and rather than speak he attempted to close the door.  Almost.

“I’m sorry, my friend.  I just rented my last available space.

The awkward silence between them spoke volumes - desperation in the traveler, and regret in the innkeeper.

As the traveler turned to leave, the inn keeper had a flash of insight, and he took pity on the couple.

“Wait.  I do have a small barn.  It’s drafty, not very warm, but it will keep most of the wind off you.  Just follow that path down to the left about a hundred paces and you’ll see it.  Push the cows aside if you need a bit of room.  That’s all I can offer you tonight.” 

And that is perhaps how it came to be that the Christ - the Son of God came to be born in a manger.  It was all that was open. 

It was enough. 


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

22 Christmas Thoughts and Meditations



For your convenience, in one location, you can click on any of these Christmas meditations that most appeal to you.


The Birth of Jesus
Morning Notes - Dec. 24


The Story of Silent Night
Morning Notes - Dec. 23

Listen for Love
It's All About People - Dec. 23

A Bit of Hope at Christmas
The "Almost a Minute" Blog

The Baby In His Arms
Morning Notes - Dec. 20

My Grown-Up Christmas Wish List
It's All About People - Dec. 20

Where the Road Leads
The "Almost a Minute" Blog - Dec. 20

The Man and the Birds
Morning Notes - Dec. 16

Christmas Changes
It's All About People - Dec 16

What Can I Give Him
The "Almost a Minute" Blog - Dec 16

The Inn Keeper
Morning Notes - Dec. 13

Your Best
The "Almost a Minute" Blog - Dec. 13

The Impossible Is Possible
It's All About People - Dec. 13

Consider Joseph
It's All About People - Dec. 10

Christmas Wins Again

Morning Notes - Dec. 10

God Is a User

 Morning Notes - Dec. 6

A Christmas "Do" List

It's All About People - Dec. 6

A Conspiracy of Love

It's All About People Dec. 3

What Child Indeed
Morning Notes - Dec. 3

Christmas Peace
The "Almost a Minute" Blog - Dec. 10

A Man for All Mankind

The "Almost a Minute" Blog - Dec 7

The Curious Ones of Christmas

The "Almost a Minute" Blog - Dec 3


Enjoy, and have a Merry Christmas.


P Michael Biggs
Up-Words.net
Offering Words of Hope
At Christmas

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Wins Again




I offer you an abridged version of a story told by Stanley Weintraub in his book Silent Night.


----
On Christmas Eve, 1914, in the beginning days of WWI, a Christmas truce was called for.  At midnight on Christmas morning, all guns were to be silenced for one hour.

On this particular battle field, an entrenched squad of German soldiers faced an entrenched squad of US soldiers. 

Moments before, each side had been shooting at anything that moved on the enemy’s side, but for this moment in time, all guns fell silent.

As midnight approached, the night became still.  Snow was softly falling. 


Listen to the stillness.  Take in the beauty of snow covering a barren landscape, and hiding all the ills of war.

As we listen, we hear … we hear …

Could it be?  It sounds like …

Listen.

“Si…  Ho…”  I can’t quite make it out. 

Listen.  Did you hear that?

And then with clarity, one lone German voice sang out “Stille Nacht.” 

The melody lingered in the air, and soon, from the American side you could hear an echo. 

“Silent Night, Holy Night.”

Cautiously, slowly, one lone German soldier ventured out of his trench and made his way to common ground - the middle of the battle field.  And then an American soldier joined him at center point.  

Soon others came crawling out of their fox holes and trenches. 

For this moment in time, these men of the human race chose to put down their weapons and open up their hearts, all because of Christmas.

Before you could say “Jack Rabbit” some food was produced, and drinks were passed around. 

And grown men, formerly sworn enemies, were enjoying a moment of friendship and celebration with fellow members of the human race. 

They were singing and making merry, offering hugs of acceptance and celebration, showing photos of loved ones back home, and communicating as best they could, all because of Christmas.

Rumor has it that the high command from both sides of this battle field did everything in their power to establish decorum of war-like conditions, but their commands and warnings went largely unheeded. 

Christmas broke out on a field of battle. 

Christmas and all it represents.

Peace on earth, good will to all men.
Joy to the World!
Hope has come.

On both sides, the conversations ran like this:  
“Wish we could go home.”
“Wish we weren’t enemies.”
“Wish we could live in peace and harmony.”

As the cold Christmas day wore on, the soldiers moved back across their lines of battle, back to their lonely fox holes and muddy trenches, but with a warm glow of Christmas on their hearts and in their minds. 

It is said that later, on Christmas day, ranking officers on both sides continued issuing commands to resume fire, and the firing of weapons did eventually begin again.

But for a period of a few days, the bullets zoomed high above the heads of the enemies on the other side of the field.  High on purpose. 

For how could they fire upon someone they now considered “friend”?

You see, Christmas revealed itself to those soldiers that day on that particular battle field. 

Christmas came to war, and Christmas won.


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope at Christmas
One Word at a Time

Thursday, December 6, 2012

God Is a User




God is a user.

Down through history he has used people, circumstances, and municipalities.

-In the Christmas story he used a plain and simple peasant girl to give birth his son.
-He used a nowhere place like Bethlehem as the gateway city for Christ’s birth.
-He used Gabriel, chief among angels, to announce his plan to Mary and Joseph.

-He used angels to announce the coming of Christ.
-He used shepherds as the first visitors.

-He used wise men to bring gifts.
-He used a feeding trough as a bed for the Christ-child.

And if we allow him, he will use us.  In a world in need of peace, joy, hope and love he needs our hands and feet to carry the gospel.

God is a user.

Before the Christmas story God used some interesting individuals.
-David was an adulterer and a murderer, yet God used him.
-Mary Magdalene was a common street woman – and God used her.
-He used the despised, the down-and-out, royalty, the IRS agents of the day, and so many others.

He does not look at our cloths, our dialect, our vocabulary or our bank account.  He uses people and locations and situations to do His work.

I wonder who He is using right now.  There are a lot of stories being written in our world tonight.  I believe God is at work – He is using circumstances and individuals to work out his plans. 

Are we willing to be used this Christmas season?


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
At Christmas

Monday, December 3, 2012

What Child Indeed


What Child Indeed
  
It is interesting to ponder the baby who became a King.  He was brought into the world into such humble settings.  His place of birth was less than wonderful.  His first swaddling left much to be desired.  His first visitors were farm animals, and then came shepherds fresh from the fields. 

Not a very exciting way to welcome THE KING, was it? 

His birth surprised the establishment of the day as well.  They were looking for a deliverer. 

          Instead they got a baby.

They were looking for a warrior to overcome their oppressors. 

          Instead they got a baby.

They were looking for a hero.

          Instead they got a baby.


But most of all they got love.


Ponder the child in the manger. 


Love expressed in the most wholesome, beautiful way.

Love expressed in innocence.

Love expressed in cries in the night, just like the sounds any normal baby would offer.

Love expressed through a lifestyle of peace, compassion, caring, passion. 

Never before had the world seen
such a life, nor would we ever see it
again in such a pure state.


This baby, this little one named Jesus grew to become …

Well, what do you need this Christ Child to be in your world?

Do you need …
A friend?     He is.
A healer?     He is.
A savior?     He is.
A comforter?     He is.
A model of integrity?   He is.
A pathfinder?     He is.
A protector?       He is.


What child is this?

Indeed, what child is this!

(If you would like to hear this in a Podcast version, click
What Child Indeed PodCast

P Michael Biggs
Offering Words of Hope
At Christmas

Remember, I'll be posting on Monday and Friday during the month of December.  Be sure and check out my other blog sites for Christmas posts as well.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coming Home



Homecomings are celebration times.  When soldiers return home we bring out the flags and the brass band.  When our children return home we cook up a whole mess of food and clear our schedules for some reunion times. 

When we “come home” we know we are coming to a place where we belong.  It is a place of love, trust and acceptance.  We receive hugs and kisses.  We will feel a profound sense of belonging. 

When I return to my roots I walk the streets of my home town and visit the houses I lived in as a small boy.  I reminisce.  Fond memories are found when we come home. 

There will be a bit of homecoming during the Christmas holidays.  Travel plans will be made, egg nog bought and chilled, and pies baked.

Remember the prodigal son in the parable from the Bible?  He came back home.  There was fear, trepidation, and anxiety in his returning home. 

Would he be accepted? 
Would he have to sleep with the pigs? 
When would he ever earn enough to buy a decent suit of clothes?

But homeward he went. 
Every step was a step of faith that he would be accepted. 
Every step was a step of anticipation of resting his eyes on his father and brother, just one more time. 

And what a homecoming he received.  While he was a long way off, his Father saw him, and began giving orders.

“Kill the calf.  Bring the best robe.  Invite all of our neighbors.  My son has come home.  It is reunion time.  It will be the homecoming of homecomings.” 

What a picture. 

-Welcomed back as if he had never left.
-Received with the same status as when he left.
-Robed and fed as if he belonged, once again, in the immediate family – not a step-child, not even as a second cousin. 
-He was a first-born again with all the rights and privileges that go with that. 

Amazing!

That was quite a homecoming.

And it is ours as well.  When we turn to our Father God, he throws open the cupboards, turns back the covers on the most comfortable bed, and he prepares a feast – all for us, for we have returned home.

Home to the God who loves us with such intensity – such devotion – such unconditional love.

No conditions.
   No restraints.
      No sermon.

Just love.

I love homecomings.


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time


P.S. Christmas themed blogs begin on Monday, Dec. 3.  I'll be posting on Monday and Friday and each one for each of my blog sites will be different.  Thanks for tuning in - read as many as you wish - share them - be  blessed this Christmas season.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Set of the Sails



Sail boats fascinate me.  Carolyn and I have been invited to go sailing a couple of times.  That’s a kick, but what gets me is that we can sail away from the shoreline and sail back, and I never notice a shift in the wind patterns. 

It’s like this poem:
"One ship drives east 
and another drives west.
With the selfsame 
winds that blow.
'Tis the set of the sails 
and not the gales
that tells the way to go.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1916


So the analogy is pretty self-evident, but let me say it anyway.

We have to manage the winds, or they will manage us.

Here is a great story to illustrate my point:

There once was a man who had two sons.  The father lived a life of drunkenness and reckless living.  His life was in shambles and he died a broken man.

As the years went by, his two sons grew into manhood and followed their own paths.  One son became an upstanding citizen, and a teetotaler, while the other son lived a life of drunkenness and debauchery as his father had done. 

Later in life each son was asked this question:  
“Why did your life turn out the way it did?”

Amazingly, both sons gave the exact same answer: 
“Are you kidding?  Knowing what kind
of father I had what did you expect?”

You see, one son set his sails for a life different from his father’s.  He managed the winds of his life and made choices along the way that led him down a different path from the one modeled for him.

And that is the secret.  He managed the winds.  He made good choices

The power of choice is yours and yours alone. 

Choose wisely.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Friday, November 23, 2012

How Far



In the September issue of Success Magazine John C Maxwell asks this wonderful question:
“What’s the farthest 
you can imagine going?”

What are your dreams and passions?
What is your focus?
What makes your heart beat faster?
Where do you want to go?

And then we ask – 
“How far can I imagine going?”

That helps bring my vision into better focus.  It drives me to my computer even more so that I might write all those books that are inside of me.

It drives me to read more so that I can generate more ideas for more blogs.
It drives me to do more with my speaking life.

What else can you and I imagine doing?

Worth thinking about.


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Thanksgiving Thanks



I love Thanksgiving.  I love it for the opportunity it affords to be an on-purpose thanks-giver, and I love it for the moments when we gather with family.  The food is pretty amazing too.

So in the spirit of gratitude, may we all remember to pause occasionally and remember those who serve us, and give them a word of thanks and appreciation.

-To the postal workers and special delivery men and women
-To our medical professionals
-To retail sales clerks

-To grocery clerks who are harried, hassled and hurried
-To ministers and staff who serve faithfully each week
-To our children who keep us young at heart
-To spouses, mothers, grandmothers and daughters who work endless hours preparing all the delicious food we enjoy

And to God on high, who sees us, loves us, likes us, and watches out for us. 

Happy Thanksgiving!


P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time