Zig Ziglar’s old classic, “See You at the Top” has a great story about Zig visiting his grandmother. He says that his grandmother baked beautiful, delicious, fluffy biscuits.
Well, one day young Zig went over there and the biscuits were hard, short and squat. His grandmother took one look and said something that Zig never forgot, “Well, look there. Those biscuits forgot to rise and got baked in a squat! They squatted down to get ready to rise, then took too long and forgot to rise.”
That is what happens to so many of us! We forget or fail to rise to our full potential and somewhere along the line we get baked in a squat, unable to rise any further.
You see, Granny Ziglar had left out the baking powder, an essential ingredient for the biscuits to reach their full potential. That is what optimism and encouragement is to you. That is what wise advice is to you. In the same book, Ziglar also says that:
“Too many people are SNIOP… Susceptible to the Negative Influence of Other People.”
We listen to the people who say ‘it can’t be done’ or that it is too hard or makes me too uncomfortable. We listen to those negative people and remove the positive hopes and dreams that could buoy us to rise to great heights!
Many of us, as we move through the stages of life, from childhood to adulthood, learn, grow and work hard to obtain things, achieve success and retire comfortably. But when it comes to spiritual matters, we just try to ‘fit in’. We go to church (or not), ‘try to be a nice person’ (or not), give some money to our church because we can’t or won’t serve or ‘go on mission’ (or not) and we mind our own business (or not).
The Bible has something to say about spiritual maturity and rising to our full potential in Christ. The Apostle Paul says it this way, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time, you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:11-14).
Again, in Hebrews 10:32-39, God says, “But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.
For, “Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
It’s never too late to rise out of your comfort zone, come out of your complacency, and join God in what He is doing. Go on the greatest adventure of your life, join and follow Christ as He goes about, ‘teaching in the synagogues and churches, homes and hospitals, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. They brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and He heals them. And great crowds will follow Him (see Matthew 4:23-25).
Your Brother and Friend,
PS: I have been a life-long sinner, saved by God’s grace. I remind myself, sometimes, of the images used by evolutionists (although I don’t subscribe or believe in evolutionist theories):
I have been dumb-as-a-monkey, stubborn as an ape, ignorant as a caveman, clumsy, dangerous and stupid as a neanderthal.
My weight varied between 185 and 195 pounds. I was grossly over-weight and stressed out. My blood pressure was being controlled by two different medications. Then, at the end of 2012, I had a two-episode stroke.
I was lying on a gurney, in an emergency room stroke center. My vision was fading, my ability to speak was going away, and a nurse leans over me and asks, “Are you a praying man?”. I nodded, yes. She said, “Now would be a good time to start praying”. Then I heard the neurologist on duty shout, “hurry up with the clot-buster meds! We are losing this guy!”
I spent four and a half days in intensive care. I survived, and on the fifth day I got out of my bed, walked (clumsily) down the hospital corridor and returned to my room to announce that I was going home.
The doctors protested, but allowed me to leave. I refused the wheelchair and walked (slow and somewhat unsteady) to the car. My wife had pulled to the exit and watch anxiously as I plodded toward her. (Still stubborn as an ape ).
I recovered completely over time, and the doctors called it ‘miraculous’. It was miraculous. I knew then that God had done His Work with me. (Even the scarring in my eye from a blot clot had healed over time, although my ophthalmologist said, ‘that just should not be possible!’)
A follow-up visit and another M.R.I. showed I had suffered, not one, but two-stroke events. There are two ‘dead spot’ injuries on my brain. The attending physician whistled and said something like, “Wow! Two of them. Pretty amazing. How are you feeling?”
I was put on blood thinners and cholesterol medication, a modified diet and cautioned to avoid stress. The medication I was taking was creating a poor quality of life for me. I had to stop the use of cholesterol drugs after two and a half years because of the severe side effects.
Then in early 2015 God led my wife to discover a book titled “Prescription for Life” by Dr. Richard Furman. In short, he prescribes eliminating foods that harm your system over time and to follow an effective exercise regimen. Dr. Furman also warns that once you have damaged your body and system, it is hard to recover. So, my wife and I began the Prescription for Life.
In my first four months, I lost between fifteen and twenty pounds. My blood pressure levels dropped dramatically, and my cholesterol level fell to healthy levels.
I am off all cholesterol medications (except the once-a-day blood thinner) with the blessing of my physician (as long as I stay faithful in my healthy eating, exercising and living regimens.)
God has brought me out of that darkness and into His marvelous Light. It is too bad that it takes suffering difficulties to realize how richly God has blessed us and the good He wants for us. Hopefully, that realization will move us toward maturity in Christ.
It’s working for me. It was the wake-up call I needed, I guess. I can still be a mess, but not in God’s sight. I am doing my best to serve Him and honor Him, daily. I pray that those who read this will skip the ‘trauma training sessions’ and just go on with the business of following and joining Jesus in what He is already doing!
I pray for blessings of health and spiritual prosperity for you!! Find and really follow Him!