Thursday, January 31, 2013

Again and Again

What if we made a new amendment to the constitution of the world? 

“Henceforth, from this day forward,
every person alive is now allowed
as many do-over’s as they need,
without repercussion.”

That would be amazing. 

Don’t we sort of have that?  Consider this, from my own personal experience.

God keeps giving me little snippet gifts.  Many are small tokens of his grace and love, but some have been Lottery-size.  Carolyn was one.  Another time I was given $3,000 anonymously. 

And God keeps forgiving.  That is amazing to me.  If I were God I’d put me on a leash and after, say, 13 times I’d cut me off and say, “Bad boy.  Can’t you learn anything?  You are banished from my presence forever.  There!”

But not God. 

And what about the invitation.  Time and again God invites us to be with him, to come to him, to dwell with him, to dine with him, to be a partaker with him. 

~Oops, we wandered away.  
          God says, “That’s okay.  Come on back.” 

~Oops, we broke our vows, again.  
          God says, “I will forgive.”

~Oops, we lost our sobriety or we relapsed for the 17th time.  
          God says, “Come to me; try again.  I will give you rest.”

Again and again we are reminded of God’s forbearance, his love, his patience, his goodness and his mercy. 

Time and again we are invited back into the arms of God, regardless of how we smell, how we think, how we live or have lived, or what our nationality might be.

We are received time and again. 



Has God lost his common sense? 


He never says  I've had it with you, you low life.”


As Anne Lamott says in Help Thanks Wow, “We get to keep starting over. What a concept.

A God who invites us back in over and over and over, again and again and again.

Gotta love that.

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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Step Into the Truth

Have you stepped into truth lately? 

When we step into the truth we take a bold step toward something good.  Often times, it is a scary step and one we dread to take.  Perhaps there is no other step to take than into the truth. 

At AA meetings, most attendees are all about stepping into the truth.  They admit publicly that they are powerless over their addiction and are seeking help from their higher power and their support network.  The part about “powerless over their addiction” really speaks to this concept of ‘stepping into the truth’.  We have to come to the end of ourselves, I think, in order to see that what we need, more than anything, is the truth about ourselves, and then move in the direction of truth.

Any significant act of coming to an understanding, confronting, confessing, or bearing all is a form of moving closer to the truth in our lives as we know it.

My doctor often encourages me to step into truth about my health by regulating and controlling my key indicators. 

Carolyn and I want to continually step into the truth in our relationship.  That is why we are on-purpose in so many areas of our relationship.  Otherwise we might drift aimlessly and end up missing each other completely. 

I have a college friend who once said to me “What are you pretending not to know?”  That was a major jolt in getting me closer to stepping into the truth.  I confess in retrospect that I saw the danger signs to which my friend Harold was referring, yet I was unwilling to confront them and successfully deal with the relationship at hand.

Any time we step into the truth we are taking positive steps toward an eventual resolution to whatever truths need to be revealed.  Nothing much happens when we continually hide our feelings, fears, agendas, and the truth. 

Something to consider in all of our relationships.

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Letter

The Letter

I received a letter in the mail yesterday.  It’s the first time I've ever received a letter such as this.  

It’s … Scary.

It was from God. 

He wrote to me because you've been sort of distracted and sidetracked with all that is going on.  So here is what he wanted me to tell you.

“My Dear Child:

I am still here.  I haven’t left.  I have not abandoned you. 

When you face the challenges and traumas of life on earth, I am with you. 

I am with a new-born baby just as I am with the aged and the distressed.

I know the trials and joys you face and I am with you in the middle of them all. 

Your government is in my hands as well.  You may or may not like the current political party or the majority mindset at play, but I am watching.  I have a steady hand on the helm of this world, and I’m not losing my grip.

-When you are in distress, I am near.
-When you are discouraged, I whisper words of encouragement in your ear.
-When you are well and at peace, I am present.
-When you prosper I smile.

Let me remind you of some things you may have forgotten.

     I AM.
       I will never leave you or forsake you.
         My peace is with you always.
           My grace is sufficient for any circumstance you face.
             My forgiveness is available-I never remember past faults.

You are my child, my chosen one.  I adore you, and I am very fond of you.

Seek me and I will be found.
Call on me and I will answer.
Come to me and rest.

Your God

I don't know about you but I want to know that kind of God. 

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

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Sculptor

I've read the biography of Michelangelo twice now.  He was an amazing man – a painter who also sculpted, famous in both forms of art. 

It is said that he could see images inside a block of marble and then his task was simply to set about freeing that image. 

What an amazing perspective. 

In the process of ‘freeing’ those images he had to wade through a lot of debris – his chippings - to get to the heart of his creation. 

Marble is expensive, but if it is in unwanted places, what good is it?  And so he had to discard the excess.  He formed, he shaped, he polished, and he discarded.

That is an important principle.  We pursue, yet what do we discard?

Thoreau once said:

“Thought is the sculptor
which creates the person
you want to be.”

In the process of holding onto good thoughts that shape us, we also discard thoughts and concepts that hinder us. 

We all sculpt.  We form, we morph, we shape, and we emerge – with each blow of our hammer.  We are shaping and discarding.

What might we look like in the end?

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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Balloon Salesman

The Balloon Salesman

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a balloon salesman at the county fair. Every day he would walk around the fairgrounds selling the kids a colorful balloon. 

A small young dark-skinned boy stood watching our balloon man with great fascination.  When things slowed down, the balloon man would release one balloon up into the air; first a red one, then a blue one.  The balloons would rise high and float out of sight.

After each release the crowds would swarm around him, and business would be brisk. 

Once, when things slowed down, our young boy approached the salesman and asked rather timidly, “Mister, if you released a black balloon would it raise high up in the sky like all the other balloons?”

With great insight our balloon-man said, “Son, it doesn’t matter what the color is on the outside.  It’s what’s inside that counts.”

Jeff MacNelly wrote a Shoe comic strip a few years ago that showed Shoe, the crusty newspaper editor, standing on a baseball mound with his catcher.

His catcher said:  “You’ve got to have faith in your curve ball.”

Shoe thought to himself, “It’s easy for him to say that. When it comes to believing in myself, I’m an agnostic.”

It really does boil down to what’s inside that counts.  Thoughts are things.

Think about that!

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

Monday, January 14, 2013

Labels and Categories

Slapping a label on something assures we can catalog it, file it, store it, and set it aside until another day.

It’s the same with people.  Sometimes, we are so prone to label a person.

“He’s gay.”
‘She’s fat.”
“They are strange.”
“All you loony tunes stand over on that side.”

Where is the redemption in a label?

Where is grace in a label such as these?

What we sometimes forget is this:  
“There is always a person behind the label.”


I've had some labels attached to me before.


And others …

Labels hurt. 

Here is a bit of encouraging news …

“For Jesus, the person was more
important than any category or label.”

Philip Yancey said that in What’s So Amazing about Grace.” 

Gotta love that. 

I’m not the labels of my past, nor are you. 

We are way more important than any label mankind can attach to us. 

Believe that. 

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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Defines You

“Be impressed with me.  I drive a …”
"Love me more.  I won the coveted title of …”
“Pay attention to my words.  I've just published my new …”

“Avoid me.  I have …”
“Leave me alone.  I’m known as a …”
“Ignore me.  I’m just a …”

We love to hang titles on ourselves, don’t we?  We think a title gives us a status, or prominence, or positions us for a better whatever. 

OR …

Or we wear the dirty rags of life like a badge of honor.

“I’m just a …”
   “I have this bad habit of …”
      “I smell like a …”

         “I look like a …”
           “I only work at …”

My past:
-I dropped my drum sticks on two different occasions in performances.
-I've sung exactly 165 flat notes in my lifetime.
-I was turned down fourteen times for dates before meeting Carolyn.
-I've had 127 people un-friend me on Facebook.
-A boss once told me to quit writing, for I was an embarrassment to him.

What defines your life?

-Your past?
-Your mistakes?
-A failed whatever?

My friend - be encouraged. 
You are not your past.
You are not even the worst day of your life.

You are a unique individual.  We are all on a journey, and along the way we encounter bumps and bruises, pot holes and ruts.  Sometimes we get lost.  Sometimes we fall in with the wrong crown.  And sometimes we fall flat on our faces.

And if we do, remember this.

Pick yourself up.
     Dust yourself off.
          Start all over again.

And especially note this …
        God loves you more than you can imagine.
God is with you.
God has gifted you.
God is guiding you.

What else is there?

What defines you?

Your possibilities.

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

Monday, January 7, 2013

Waves and Billows

Waves and Billows

Waves can sometimes overwhelm.  Billows can hide and make obscure.

So when we are overwhelmed and our path is darkened, what then?

How about a bit of good news?

Love this thought.

“But God is the God of the waves and the billows,
and they are still His when they come over us;
again and again we have proved that
the overwhelming thing does not overwhelm.
Once more by His interposition deliverance came.
We were cast down, but not destroyed.”
Amy Wilson Carmichael

That is an amazingly encouraging thought.  Kind of reminds us that God is in control no matter what. 
He is the master of …

The waves
The billows
The problems
The challenges
The deficits
The discouragements

All of this and more is still his. 

And remember this …

The overwhelming thing
does not overwhelm.

I love that!

My history has proven that.  So has yours.

Remember that time when …?  You can fill in the blank.  We thought the end was near.  We thought we would never get out of whatever we were facing at that moment. 

And look at us today.  The overwhelming thing did not overwhelm. 

Perhaps it is a good day to give thanks to God.

Be encouraged.

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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto

The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto
January 3, 2013

Brene Brown is my new hero.  In the fall of 2012 Carolyn and I both read her book – Daring Greatly, I listened to it on Audibles, and read it on my own in my private reading time.  Needless to say, I love this book. 

Here is something you need to know, understand and internalize.  Brene calls it The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto.

Here is a brief intro from Brene, and then the manifesto.  Happy reading.

“I wrote the following parenting manifesto because I need it. Steve and I need it. Putting down the measuring stick in a culture that uses acquisitions and accomplishments to assess worth is not easy. I use the manifesto as a touchstone, a prayer, and a meditation when I'm wrestling with vulnerability or when I've got that "never enough" fear. It reminds me of a finding that changed and probably saved my life:  Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.”

And now …

“Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions--the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.
We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.
We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.
You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.
I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.
I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.
When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.
Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.
We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.
As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.
I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.”

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

Powerful Beyond Measure

  “In her book A Return to Love, bestselling author Marianne Williamson writes eloquently about the instinct within us that recognizes our God-given gifts: 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure.”

Powerful beyond measure!

What a grand thought.  And so is this one …

We are not inadequate. 

That perhaps is an even more profound thought.

I personally believe that every person alive - every person – has gifts, skills, and inclinations that cannot be replicated nor duplicated in another.  Your unique slant on a same-old topic is just that – it is unique to you. 

That begs this question:  Do I recognize and believe in my own uniqueness?

During your down-time, when you are all alone, where do your thoughts take you?  When you consider your life’s dreams and goals, what are you seeing?

Your answer to these questions will reveal the keys for your potential greatness.

Unlock your future.
          Unleash your talent and inclinations.

Follow your nature.  Do what you are born to do.

God has already placed those seeds within you

Become what your heart has been telling you to become all along.

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