I had someone say to me recently, I do not read “positive thinking” books or blogs, I only read things that are biblically based. That is why it took me several years to read “The Secret.” I had heard it was new age and not biblically based.
I love material about positive thinking. I read “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale when I was 9 years old. I have read Og Mandino and Napoleon Hill. Then one day a friend called me, she said, “I finally understand what you mean, that the JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH. I never understood it. I always thought you were a little kooky when you would say that, in the worst circumstances.”
This friend had met me shortly after my mother had died of cancer that metastasized into her bones. My sisters and I hospiced her for 3 months before she died. My husband had lost his job that he had held for 20 years the day after my mother had been diagnosed with cancer. My husband lost his job, his retirement and his severance package as the company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy the day after they let him go. He was in management, so the union did nothing for him. For the 3 months that I drove back and forth from Georgia to Texas and helped my sisters hospice my mother, we had no income except his unemployment. I want to mention we also had a $55,000.00 legal problem with a rental property and our son was in Germany and had been diagnosed at 24 with congestive heart failure. The only thing that held me together was the JOY OF THE LORD. I held onto JOY, I prayed for JOY, I sang for JOY. I knew if I released my hold on JOY, I would fall apart. Truly my strength was in the JOY OF THE LORD.
My friend told me that she thought I might be a little off, nice, but off, until she read “The Secret” and then my JOY made perfect sense to her. I felt that if the book had convinced her I was sane, which I am not altogether sure of myself, (HAHA) , I should read it. When I read it, I was blown away. What did I find in the covers of “The Secret”? Something I really did not expect to find at all. I was so surprized I had my 3 sisters read the book, and they found the exact some thing. When I called back to find out what they thought of the book, all of my sisters had found the same thing I had found – OUR DAD!
We had never been able to explain our Dad to anyone. Many people had found our Dad amazing, unique, uplifting, astonishing and impressive. There were other people who found our Dad alarming, bewildering, perplexing and scary. He had 7 children and we found him to be all those things, but we knew he lived by faith. I promise you he never read “The Secret.” He lived the “The Secret.”
Our Dad was born 3 days after our grandfather left our grandmother. She also had his sister, who was 18 months older than our dad. My grandmother, in 1936 rural Tennessee was a single mother with 2 children under the age of 2 years old. My grandfather had sold their property before he left and in fact, ”borrowed” every cent my grandmother had, when he left. He had told her he was going to the store to purchase food and he never returned.
Later in life my grandmother was diagnosed as having a “borderline personality disorder.” My Dad called it her “black periods.” apparently, in between jobs nursing elderly patients, she would lock my dad and his sister in the apartment and not allow them to eat, turn on lights or leave.
My grandmother had been a schoolteacher before marrying. She schooled my dad year round, and when he was 16 she had him take a test at the county courthouse, which entitled him to a high school diploma. My grandmother bought him a one way ticket from the little town they lived in the mountains of Tennessee to David Lipscomb College, 200 hundred miles away in Nashville, TN. So away my dad went to college, with a suitcase tied together with a rope, all the clothes he owned, his “diploma”, 5 packages of green KOOLAID and no front teeth. My dad had fallen into a concrete curb when he was eleven and lost his front teeth. My grandmother made no arrangements, and sent no money!
When he got to David Lipscomb College, it was closed up for the summer. He found an open basement window and camped out for 2 weeks. He tried to find odd jobs to earn money. He told me he helped a man move all day and the man gave him 10 cents. I do not believe 10 cents was sufficient to feed a 6′ 4″ teenager for one day, even in 1952. My dad said he had never been as hungry as he was those 2 weeks before the college opened.
David Lipscomb College was a small college, run by the Church of Christ. The college president and other staff were more than surprized to find my tall, skinny,toothless and somewhat bedraggled and starving father in their basement. Later in life, my dad wore contacts, but he was very,very farsighted and his glasses were coke bottle thick. Amazed at my grandmother’s audacity and with no return ticket, the staff took him in as a project. Someone purchased him a partial, which he wore proudly, even in his casket. They enrolled my dad simultaneously in his last year of high school and his first year of college. The staff found him a job in the kitchen, where he met my mom. He and my mom sang in the David Lipscomb College choir, with Pat Boone and his wife. Graduating from college with a degree in theology when he was nineteen, he married my mom in November 1955.
My mom and dad had 7 children. He established 4 churches here in the United States. He started and completed 5 building programs, here in the United States. He went on 17 mission trips to Africa, Mexico, Russia, the Ukraine, Jamaica and India. He self published 3 books and a monthly newsletter. He had bought a computer and was beginning to have a presence on the web before he died in October 2000. He loved the Lord with all his heart.
My dad always took the mission churches, the churches that offered no salary. He believed that the Lord would provide and the Lord did provide. Although I never had a lot of things, I never felt poor. Poor people are who we gave to. My dad was always very generous.
Here are seven quotes from ” The Secret”, what my dad would have said and how they were lived out in his life. I could actually go word for word and page for page, but my purpose is not to bore you, but to inspire YOU. This really works. This is what the Bible is all about, living with purpose and prosperity for our posterity.
1. “The Secret” “You attract your dominant thoughts”
My Dad would have said, Mark 11:23-24, “Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].
My Dad was 64 when he died. He had always worked for mission churches and had never had health insurance Pancreatic cancer treatment over a 10 month period, including a Whipple surgery is very expensive. 15 days before my dad died, my mother had a heart attack and had to have a stint placed in her heart. She was also 64. these expensive medical procedures added up to $250,000.00. I really had no idea how we were going to pay these medical bills. My dad assured my mom the hour before he died that these bills would be paid. Someone from his congregation sent a letter with my dad’s last newsletter and from that letter enough money came in to pay ALL of the medical bills and more. Now my dad’s newsletter had never generated a lot of money, less than $5,000.00 a year.
2. “The Secret” “Choose your thoughts carefully … you are a masterpiece of your life.”
My Dad would have said from Phillipans 4:8-9, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
We were not allowed to watch television growing up. My dad was that concerned with what we put into our minds. I am afraid my sister and I found ways to watch “Dark Shadows” at the neighbors in our preteens, but all of his children are readers. That is what happens if you do not have access to television, but lots of access to books. I have one brother who is a forensic chemist, one brother is an engineer for a live shot truck for ESPN and my youngest brother is the chief mechanic for a National Guard Unit.
3. “The Secret“ “Happy feelings will attract happy circumstances”
My Dad would have quoted from Nehemiah 8:10, “Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!” That is what he did.
My Dad had always lived his life so extraordinarily, that I was shocked when he died, at the age of 64, of pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed in January, had the Whipple surgery in January and continued to amaze people up to the day he died.
He was at home, and people would come to visit him, he would give them a book, ask his visitors what they needed and pray with them, his joy was contagious. Until the day he died, he could walk from his huge recliner to the regular bed. Shortly before he passed away, he wrote me a note. It says, I love you. Thank you for everything. Just reading these words brings tears of joy to my eyes. He spoke with my mom and assured her that everything would be taken care of. He asked my mom, my sister and myself to join hands with him, in prayer and he went home to His Lord.
4. “The Secret“ “Gratitude will bring more into our lives immediately.” My dad would have quoted Phillipans 4:6; Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
There were a few times on the mission field that things were very close. One of those times happened when I was six years old. My Dad had been helping a mission church in Florida and for reasons that I do not know, the church had no funds to pay my Dad. At that time there were 4 children. My mother had opened up her last jar of stewed tomatoes, and cooked the last of her rice. She served them together for lunch. As we were eating, there was a knock at the door. 4 people were at the door, with bags and bags of groceries and an invitation for my Dad to hold a 2 week Evangelical meeting in a neighboring town. They also paid him for one week of the meeting up front. This is the last time I remember worrying about my next meal, although I am not sure that was true for my Mom.
5. “The Secret“ “You can start with nothing … out of nothing or no way – a WAY will be provided.” My dad would say, Matthew 6:33; Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
When my parents died they owned 6 acres and a 2200 square foot log cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. My parents loved living in the mountains, they loved their log cabin and they loved having their children and grandchildren come visit them. My parents were not rich in money, but they had exactly what they needed until they died and they left each of us 7 children a small inheritance. All my life I heard other grown ups in the family whisper among themselves, with all this mission work and children, what are they going to do when they get older? I only wish I could express in words the richness of their lives, relationships with other people and their children and grandchildren.
6. “The Secret“ ”Our job is not to worry about the “HOW”. The ”HOW” will show up, out of the commitment the belief in the “WHAT”.
My dad would quote Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. He lived this truth out over and over in his life. From no family to family, from no father to beloved father, from nothing to missionary evangelist with a college degree, from nothing to leaving an inheritance for each of his 7 children.
7. “The Secret” “Life is meant to be abundant in all areas.” My dad would have quoted Proverbs 10:22; God’s blessing makes life rich; nothing we can do improves on God.
Now you will say, but you have already stated your parents were not wealthy. Do you count abundance in how many dollars you have in the bank? My Dad did not! My Dad had many wealthy friends and he loved and appreciated them. He had many friends that he made from his prison ministry and these friends had very little money, but my dad loved and appreciated them. Abundance is a state of the heart, not the number of dollars you have in the bank.