No 608



As I have said before, one of the greatest things about writing this weekly column is the fantastic people that I have the privilege of meeting, through letters, phone calls, e-mails and occasionally even in person.
Just this past week I got a letter from a gentleman who lives in Kentucky and who is the second vice president of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II. He was so kind and was responding to a column about family values. He was also praising his wife, due to the fact that he had to be gone from home for months at a time and she raised their seven children in the right way. He said, “She taught them Godly values at home – I praise her for that.” Bob, to be sure, it does make a difference.
Over the past few years, I have gotten to know another gentleman by the name of Jerry Martino Morris, who I really respect. He lives in El Dorado, Ark., and reads my column in the El Dorado News Times. We have had a number of conversations about important topics, but something he wrote in a letter a while back is worth passing along to you. In all of my reading and research, I have never run across anything like what Jerry shared with me, and I believe you will find it helpful and interesting as well.
He begins: “When I was in the 12th grade, back in the early '60s, my Dad, then editor of the Daily Times, Salisbury, Maryland, was also the Associated Press photographer for the NASA launch facility at Wallops Island, Virginia. He took me down for a few launch attempts of a 75-foot, solid-fueled Blue Scout Rocket, whose mission was to test ablation materials to be used on the Apollo capsules later that decade. Ablation materials are those which burn off, thus cooling the capsule when it re-enters the atmosphere. Because the weather conditions near Bermuda were not suitable to permit spectrograph filming, the vehicle sat on the launch pad and was dubbed 'The Monument.'
"One night, everything was in place. One of the final things the launch crew did was to bring the rocket to 'Attitude,' measured in the number of degrees from the horizon. This act 'aimed' the rocket and set its trajectory, height it would reach, re-entry angle, and other factors on how it would behave during flight. Mr. Davidson, it took me over 30 years to catch on to the implications of that act. But more and more I am realizing the need for God to bring me to attitude each day before he launches me into the day. Saying Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me) is part of the answer, but it is not complete.
"In his Lead The Field program, Earl Nightingale talks about sitting down with a legal pad to seek answers for the situations we face or the goals we wish to accomplish. I believe this is a vital part of bringing us to attitude. We are listening for God’s thoughts here. Though many of the ideas might be from us, God’s gems are there for us to discover and put to work. Jesus Christ will guide us in all this, including putting the ideas to work. According to Luke 14:28-33, Jesus advises us to rationally sit down to address our problems and then to count the costs.
"Many of us, including myself, do not calm ourselves down where we can examine what we face. We emotionally keep running around in circles, futilely trying what has been proved to be ineffective. With His help, we need to calm and open ourselves to the wisdom of the creator of all to learn how to best handle what challenges are facing us.”
After reading this, I have concluded that Jerry Martino Morris has hit the nail on the head.
It is one of the best analogies that I have ever heard or read to get our days started off on the right foot. Really, all any of us need to do before heading out for the day is pause, come to attitude, count the costs and use the talents and abilities that God has given us.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)