Saturday, November 21, 2009



Several years ago I walked into the shoe store owned by a good friend with whom I exchange a lot of good natured banter and the latest jokes. Out of the blue I announced to him that I noted he had no customers and that I could help him with the problem. He responded with a questioning nod and a smile, waiting on the punch-line, whereupon I told him it was no joke. I said matter-a-factually, “you take me back and sell me a pair of shoes, and I guarantee that when I come up to check-out, I will have to wait behind four other customers.”

He rolled his eyes as we started to the back of the store where the men’s shoes were located. After finding the shoes I wanted, we returned to the front and check-out. His eyes widened as I stepped into the line – FOUR PEOPLE DEEP! I turned to him and with an air of I-told-you-so and asked, “Now, do you want to put me on a percentage basis or straight salary?” I went on to explain. “You see, I have this special AURA that surrounds me everywhere I go. When I go to Walmart to purchase just a few items, I can go in and all of the check-out lines are empty of customers. I won’t be but just a very few moments, and when I return, every line is full. It happens every time.”

Needless to say, he continued to be skeptical and I left without a SALE on my AURA. It continues to be the base for good-natured ribbing each time I stop in and find no customers in the shop.

Later on, as I was standing in line at WM, I noted that the checker was having a particularly rough time with a customer about FOUR ahead of me, and began to weigh what she was feeling. As the line shortened toward me, her patience and demeanor became even more negatively pronounced. It seemed the other customers, rather than giving her encouragement, became impatient themselves, adding fuel to the already intolerable situation. Observing this, I determined to try to be a positive influence.

As my turn came, I simply stated, “I’m here to bless you today!”

She looked up from her task with a look that said, “Oh no. What now?”

Others were behind me in line, so I began quickly to explain to her about my AURA, which was already a source of blessing because it brought many customers into the store. Granted, some didn’t realize they were part of the blessing.

Heads behind me began to nod in agreement, their own rush forgotten for the moment. I went on to explain that as a Christian, I was to be a source of encouragement, so I thanked her for her task of helping me.

As I completed check-out, she smiled and expressed, “Thank you. You’ve made my day.”

“Of course,” I said, “that’s what my AURA is all about!”

Now, to explain, I’ve studied this AURA phenomenon extensively in other situations and it always works. Not just at WM or my friend’s shoe store. It happens when I am on the road, driving. I can bank on it. If I want to go somewhere, this AURA will be felt by many others who seem bent on going the same direction, many to the same location. Now, prior to my research into this AURA, invariably I would take the stance of many of those customers I mentioned, who became more of a problem than the blessing they should have been. I’m still not perfect and forget my AURA’s influence, and become impatient with the press of the folks I have “infected”. but coming to my senses, assume my responsibility and try to enjoy the trip, even uttering a prayer for those drawn along in my wake.

In my study, I have noted that the AURA responds to my emotions. When I am in a rush, pressed for time, or otherwise anxious to complete my trip or get through the check-out, my AURA seems amplified and draws a greater number of persons into my space. Often, I think, if I truly want to get somewhere quicker, I need to assume a deadpan look, chill my emotions and speak with a typical “Ben Stein” monotone. Yes, I think that would do it.

The only problem is, the AURA not only affects others, it also affects me and cannot be bottled up for long. And shouldn’t be!

Now, at this point, many of you are thinking that all that I’ve explained, YOU’VE BEEN THERE! DONE THAT! You just did not think of it as an AURA. You’ve perhaps thought of it in terms of the world in which you live. It’s just the way things are. We face the good and the bad with no control over situations. Just make the best of it. Correct?

WRONG! I started out thinking of it as a joke with my friend. Quite frankly, I was SURPRISED about those first FOUR myself. I was simply stating things I had observed that happen to people everyday – waiting in lines, etc. Then the more I thought of it, the more I reflected on just what kind of influence I have. And do you know what?


I realized also, that those who do not have His presence, do have their own “AURA” that they project, often not as attractive as the one HE GIVES!

As I thought on this, I realized another application of TRUTH that I believe about how God works to enhance the AURA of His Son.

First, I believe God is in providential control of every life's contacts. Second, I believe that God has given me His Son that I might be a bearer of His blessings through His Son. Third, I believe God puts people in “my way” to touch them with that PRESENCE. Hence, the AURA which is His, shines forth to touch all with whom I come into contact, whether in a check-out line at WM or on the highway, everywhere and in all situations. And He is in control of the movements of others, to bring them into that AURA of influence for His good purpose.



Consider these scriptures and be encouraged today:
Matthew 5:14 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Little Past the Top of the Hill

A little past the top of the hill
We're called to climb in the path of God's will,
The burdens of journey we carry them still
But He waits to refresh, just past the top of the hill.

The climb is a hard one this side of the hill
And success in the effort seems less than our skill,
But we're given command, and continue the drill
Until we are told we're past the top of the hill.

Sometimes in our climb past the top of the hill
We're set by some things that make us feel ill,
But if we would make it through this moment's chill
We'd find a blest healing past the top of the hill.

O climber, don't give up this side of the hill.
Keep climbing, though burdens seem ever to fill
Your mind, instead of God's passion to thrill,
When you reach just a little past the top of the hill

Now, not all we will face past that side of the hill
Will thrill us or skill us, for its intention's to kill,
But if we'd continue our Lord's will to fulfil
We'll find renewed vision past the top of the hill.

I was reading from II Samuel and came across this passage in chapters 15 and 16, where David was facing the threat against his throne by his son, Absalom, who was conspiring against him. In fleeing with his household, David seeks to avoid being captured by his son. As he comes to accend Mount Olivet, with head covered and feet bare, he does so with weeping. All the people following him also ascend in the same spirit, with weeping. When he came to the top of the mount, he worshipped God. After receiving word of the activity in Jerusalem, David is "a little past the top of the hill" (16:1), when he is met with donkey's laden with food for those with him. They were refreshed for the continued journey and ultimately, the defeat of the conspiracy.

The hill of progress that must be climbed is often hard and we wonder if it is worth the trouble. David's heart ws burdened with the rebellion of Absalom, but "a little past the top of the hill" he found refreshment, and though the problem still lay before him, he went forward. The struggle upward with burdens which seem too much, need the awareness that "just a little past the top of the hill" there is respite, a repast, a renewal of heart and strength to continue in the midst of even stones being thrown at us by those who do not follow the right path. (16:5-6)

Be encouraged today, dear friends, as you climb the hills in adversity's wake. God will be there to give you refreshment.