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attitude happiness

“Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now”

Neal Pollard

When did I first know I wanted to be a preacher? I’m not sure, but I remember the day I addressed the city council in Cairo, Georgia.  I was only nine.  We were walking home from school.  Every day, we’d make the trek from 10th Avenue across Broad Street to our house on 12th Avenue.  It was a straight shot, but there was a penny candy store if you went south.  A couple of blocks south, between us and the store, was the court house. Of course, every self-respecting boy looks for shortcuts. Mine was through the court house that day.  It appeared empty to me, so I was singing the far out, new McFadden and Whitehead hit, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.”  Just one more set of doors between me and the back door, I thought. So I burst through them bellowing, “…We’re on the move.”  With that, I brought the city council meeting to a stop and in the instant before my beet-red face welled up with tears of embarrassment, I think I saw looks of irritation as well as amusement.  For some reason, I was feeling really good that day…until that moment.

Do you ever feel unstoppable? Maybe you are bounding with energy, excited, or happy without even knowing why.  It may cause you to sing, exercise, eat, kiss your spouse, give exploding knuckles to a stranger, or pause in grateful thanks to God.  Every moment cannot feel euphoric and golden, but how wonderful when it happens.

Depression is a real malady that many people, including good Christians, experience.  Some deal with clinical depression, physiological and demanding chemical treatment.  However, some without such an excuse seem to have a hard time finding joy in their lives.  It could be because they have conditioned themselves toward negativity, constantly complaining, bemoaning, wallowing in self-pity, and being their own one-person thunderstorm.  Some seem to stand there, waiting for the lightning strike on a cloudless day.

As Christians, we are not expected to be out of touch with reality or even our own feelings.  Yet, only we can choose our outlook and attitude.  Isn’t it amazing that we are all exposed to national politics, economic uncertainties, sickness, disappointment, and betrayal, but some are resilient while others are resentful.  Some count blessings, but others court burdens.  May we, as God’s children, always focus more on what we have been given by Christ, what we have through Christ, and what we look forward to with Christ.  I tell you, it will make you feel unstoppable!

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What Brings Alligators And Vultures Together?

 

Neal Pollard

Kathy and I were able to swing by the Everglades National Park a few weeks ago, near sundown.  The wildlife were very active, in a preserve that is a haven for many types of birds, panthers, snakes, crocodiles, and alligators.  As we were walking down one of the trails, we saw not only the beaty eyes of alligators in the adjoining canal but at least one that boldly ventured onto the trail.  You can imagine the respect and right of way the many park-goers like ourselves gave this scaly reptile.  I took this picture as three black vultures came boldly strolling up to the alligator.  There were gasps and fearful looks from some bystanders, most fearing the worst for the birds.  What do you think happened next?

It is very unpredictable.  Alligators are known to attack vultures, as a search of You Tube would amply demonstrate.  Vultures are known to attack alligators, too.  One is a strong, ferocious predator.  The other is a famous bird of prey, a scavenger who lives off of death and decay.  What might have happened under different circumstances, where hunger or a perceived threat or territorialism prevailed, is unknown.  Soon after the photo, however, the alligator lazily turned and retreated to the canal and the vultures returned to…whatever vultures do when they aren’t “vulturing.”

My imagination wandered.  What was this confrontation about?  Was this a game of “chicken”?  Were the vultures thrill-seekers?  Was the alligator full, bored, or something else?  Given that most alligator-vulture disputes center around vying for the same entree, the likeliest explanation is that the alligator had killed something and the vultures wanted a postmortem piece of the action.  They were likely brought together by death and devouring.

The Bible speaks of some who are like this, uniting for less than life-bringing reasons.  Asaph condemns God’s people for associating with adulterers and consenting with thieves (Ps. 50:18).  Some fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (cf. Eph. 5:11).  Some, who should know better, give hearty approval to those who practice things worthy of death (Rom. 1:32).  When you are with that companion or in that relationship, it is good to ask, “What brings us together?”  If the answer involves sin, spiritual darkness, and the spiritually deadly, maybe it is find to find a new “partner”–and not a partner in “crime.”