Sunday, May 8, 2016

The world as I am seeing it...

One of the frustrating things of writing is trying to get everything typed out before you forget all the good stuff you have going on in your head.  I've had a lot going on in my head for a number of months now and I've been putting off writing them down because as soon as I put my laptop in my lap, my mind wanders off to the Gilligan's Island theme song or some other silly path.  So tonight I was perusing Facebook and again, putting off writing my thoughts down when I saw that Ted Cruz was suspending his campaign after losing badly in Indiana.  I decided it's time.

Right here is where I will say that the rest of this post will be mostly directed at Christians.  While others may get something out of this, I wanted to be upfront with anyone reading this as to where it's going.  I won't feel bad if you stop reading here.  Remember, you've been warned!  I may get preachy!

I've watched in curious amazement with how Donald Trump has been successful in his bid for the President of the United States.  Here's a guy that's pretty brash, says what he wants, is not afraid to offend anyone and frankly, can be kind of rude.  While he's not my first choice, nor was he my second choice, I've noticed something that his presence in the race has done.  It has brought strife into all circles of life, but here I'm concentrating on the Christian circle.

Strife if defined as "Bitter, sometimes violent conflict or dissension; An act of contention.  Fight, Struggle".  What better way for Satan to get at Christians than a good political battle!  While I firmly believe a Godly man would be good for our Country, I also don't think a non-Godly man need be terrible for our Country.  Now please know that I am not blaming Mr. Trump for the strife I see.  While some reading this would willingly point their finger at him saying it's his fault, I disagree with this contention.  We've been heading down this path for years.  His appearing merely brought it more to fruition.

In 2 Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul wrote "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."  How many of us can claim that we've been humble and gentle in how we've been acting this political season?

Our problem in this Country is not which candidate to vote for.  It has been our blatant disregard of God and His Word.  In the last 150 years we've been purposely blocking him out.  It's been a long slow process, but We The People have been the ones doing it.  Take the Ivy league schools for instance.  Did you know that these were all started by Christians?  Harvard, Yale, Princeton, all started by Christians and slowly, God was pushed out of those schools and now, God is not accepted on campus.  Shoot, you can't hardly bring a mildly conservative speaker on campus!

So fast forward to 2016 and the election process.  I am amazed at how many Christians aren't considering God's role in elections.  Oh, they think they do.  And they are partially correct, however many are omitting His presence in the process.  I can't tell you why, but I've been really comfortable through this election cycle.  I've had friends coming unglued, but I've just had this undefinable comfort.  I'm seeing God at work.  I can't quite explain it, but I'm just seeing things through a different set of eyes.  I've realized that we've been chasing after a man to fix things in this country when really it's God we need.

There are many who are predicting our doom as a country, and there is some good ammunition for that thought, however we are still a nation with many believers.  As a nation, our leaders may not be leading, but many Christian organizations are still putting missionaries out into the field.  There are still many that are preaching to the world.  God will not overlook that in my opinion.  Yes, as a country we need to be on our knees, but God told us that He would not leave us or forsake us.  I'm standing on that today.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It's been a while...

I don't know about you, but my mind is always going.  Sometimes I get some serious stuff rumbling around in my brain, but mostly it's bizarre musings that at times even I think, "Seriously dude?".  But lately it seems more and more serious (read mature adult) themes have been popping through my head.  I guess I've been feeling that I've got something to say! I've never been one to keep things in my head, but it seems I've been letting these thoughts and ideas just go to waste since I've not been writing them down.

So with that said, I'm going to resurrect this old blog of mine.  Keep your eyes open! (Like you're interested!)  But hey, if nothing else, I'll feel better knowing that I got my thoughts out of my head and written down so I can go back to them later!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Longing for civility

I was surfing the net today and saw the story of Pastor Rick Warren's son who committed suicide a couple days ago.  An unimaginable loss for the family.  His son Matthew was 27.  Reading the story, it told of how Matthew suffered from mental illness and after years of treatment, he decided to end his life.  A tragic story for any family.  What saddened me was the comments I read from people.  Going out to several different sources and going to the comments sections, I was taken aback by the incredibly callous and uncivil comments some people left!  What has this world come to?

It seems that with some people in this world, it has gone to a point where if you disagree with someone, there is no middle ground.  This is so far beyond my comprehension that I struggle to understand it.  There are many people in the political realm that I strongly disagree with, but I am still civil enough to have compassion and empathy for someone who is suffering.  I cannot fathom ever thinking "Good, they had it coming". 

I pray that this world changes.  Can't we see each other as we are?  Fellow human beings going through a stage on this planet together.  You don't have to believe as I do, but can't we just get along?  Agree to disagree?

I long for civility.

Friday, August 24, 2012

An open letter to my children

To my children,

When I first married your mother, having children was not yet in the front of my mind.  I guess the thought of having a child wasn’t a real thought, but more of a possibility that it could happen some day.  Then one day I received a phone call while at work.  It was your mother calling to tell me that she was pregnant.  

I recall the conversation, or lack thereof, very well.  I was somewhat in shock, not knowing what to say or how to react.  Your mother was very excited and I didn't know what to say.  I sat on the phone in silence while Mom was questioning my happiness with the news!  After assuring her I was happy as well, I hung up and sat down at my work station.
I worked in a department where I was the only guy.  There were about 40 people in my immediate area and I was the only dude!  Not only was I the only guy, I was by far the youngest, with most of the ladies in the department 35 and older.  I was 20.  
After sitting down, the lady behind me asked if everything was OK.  She apparently picked up on my body language while on the phone.  I turned around and told her quietly that your Mom was pregnant.  Not expecting it to go any further, she proceeded to turn around to the entire department and loudly announce that I was going to be a father!  The place erupted in shrieks and howls.  It was then that it hit me.  The happiness of the thought of becoming a father started to sink in.  I was going to be a dad.

So nine months later Emily, you were born.  Standing in the hospital room holding you, marveling in the thought that you were a creation that I was a part of was quite overwhelming.  The amount of love I felt was beyond what I had ever experienced before.  There was also a large amount of pride to have such a beautiful daughter.  And then it was time to take you home...

The drive home was a long one.  You cried the entire time.  I'll admit that this was a bit unnerving!  While going through the pregnancy period, your thoughts of parenthood are all blue sky and puppies!  There are no hard times!!!  So what's up with this? We got home and calmed you down and proceeded to "show you off" to friends and family.  It was a pretty cool time.  

You grew and we adjusted, mostly, and you know what happened when you were 10 months old.  I don't need to go into the details as you know them already, but it was a really trying time for me and your mom.  We had already been under a lot of stress because I had lost my job shortly after you were born and the new job I had was not paying well, so money was pretty tight.  The combination of a low paying job and missing hours because I was at the hospital with you only compounded the issue.  You came through that time beautifully and courageously and soon it was time for a sibling.
Christina, you came into the world in perfect harmony with your personality.  Full of energy and ready to go!  It was only 45 minutes from the time we arrived at the hospital to the time you were born!  And in the fashion typical for you, at 1 day old you were trying to hold your head up!  Already trying to be involved to see what was going on!  

Bringing you home was a little easier than it was for your sister.  Mainly because we had some experience in dealing with a baby.  I've often told your sister that she was the "guinea pig".  It's part of the deal when you are a first born.  The 3 of us adjusted pretty well to having you in the home.  Your sister was very proud to be a big sister.  She was a very protecting and mothering big sister.

You two grew and matured and handled the family changes very well.  Your mother and I were very proud of you two.  You were both very good children.  While there were challenges along the way, there is no father more proud of his children than I am of you two.

A number of years later, we were once again blessed with a child.  Jeremiah, you joined the family on Christmas Day.  Our best Christmas present ever!  While your sisters have both reached adulthood, you are still in your teens, still growing into a man.  You have a wonderful heart and I look forward to watching you grow into that man.

Looking back over the past 26 years of being a father, I can't help to feel an incredibly vast ocean of emotions.  As a parent, you have a vision of how things should be, but life has a way of happening and changing that vision.  While I have no regrets, I do have many disappointments in my own life.  

I find it difficult to put into words, but as a parent, you want to do everything you can for your child.  To give them everything they want, to protect them from all hurts and to never let them experience disappointment.  Now we all know that this is not reality.  We all know that kids need to experience some "bad things" in life as it is part of growing up, but that doesn't mean that is doesn't hurt the parent.  There is no pain that I have ever experienced that is greater than the pain of disappointing your child.  

The problem with life is that there is no "do over" button.  What's been done has been done.  We can only learn from our past.  The problem with making mistakes while bringing up children is that you can't go back and correct it.  I mean, as an adult, if you make a mistake you can move on from that mistake, explain to the people involved etc.  As a child you are in a development mode.  Kind of like a clay pot.  While new and soft, it can be molded and shaped, but if the artist makes a mistake and dents the soft clay, it can forever stay in that pot.  The pot may still be beautiful after the clay hardens, but it will forever have that dent.

I have always tried my best as your father.  I know I have not been perfect and God knows I've made my mistakes.  I only wish my mistakes would not have affected you.  I was not always the most savvy financier and learned late in life how to manage my finances.  This is one area where I have great regret in not being able to help you as much as I have wanted.  Considering life does not have a "do over" button and since I am fresh out of highly modified DeLorean's, I can only say I am sorry.  I wish I could do so much more for you.

I believe that people can continually improve if they choose to.  I am always trying to improve myself and I strive to be a better person.  I am truly thankful that the three of you are so loving and forgiving and I will always try to be there for you.  I will always love the three of you.


Friday, August 3, 2012

I still believe

I am a Christian.  Please don't misunderstand what I mean when I say this.  I am not saying I am perfect.  I am not saying that I know more than those who are not Christians, nor am I saying that you are wrong in your belief.  I am saying that I have chosen to make Jesus Christ the lord of my life by asking Him to come into my life.  For those who don't believe in God, this may seem a bit odd or confusing, and this may make you more confused, but I am more convinced of His existence than I am the chair I am sitting in.  I have had more deep experiences with my savior than I could ever number.  He is very real to me.  I truly believe the only reason my oldest daughter is alive today is because of God intervening in her life at 10 months old.  No one will ever convince me otherwise.

For many years I have taken on many insults and slander because of my beliefs.  It pretty much comes with the territory so you kind of get used to it.  The thing is that it seems lately my faith has come under a much greater attack than I can ever remember.  It's no longer just a mild ribbing at your beliefs, or the old bible thumper jokes, but a much more vile hatred that I see.  It seems people are no longer willing to agree to disagree. 

The funny thing is, many people don't understand what faith is.  Every one has faith in something.  My choice is faith in God.  An atheist has faith as well, it is merely directed at another source.  Take our existence for example.  We came from somewhere!  I choose to believe that we were designed by a supreme being.  Now for those already rolling their eyes, I do not believe that this Earth is only 7000 years old.  I believe no one knows for sure, but I believe it is possible that the Earth is millions of years old, but I also believe that God put man on this Earth sometime in the last 10,000 years.  Prior to that, I don't know what went on here, but I leave that up to God and that's where my faith comes in.  I believe there may have been another race here, but I don't know for sure.  The evolutionist believes that life just started somehow.  That something came from nothing.  This also takes faith to believe in considering that science tells us that something cannot come from nothing. 

So then, since we all have some kind of faith, why are we Christians persecuted for ours? 

I've had some discussions with a few atheists in my life and many are cordial, but what confuses me are the nearly violent ones.  It is like you mention God and they get violently angry!  It is almost as if they are afraid of you!  I am pretty sure I have never purposely hurt anyone having a discussion. 

So where do I go from here?  I guess I just "keep keepin' on" and pray for those that persecute me.  God said in His word that I would be persecuted and hated by all nations because of Him. Matt. 24:9  This is what I have to remember. 

My life verse is Romans 8: 38-39.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This speaks my heart.  I still believe.  No matter what, I still believe.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The beginning of the end?

I've noticed something happening during my lifetime.  There has been a slow moving change in the attitude of people in America.  A change in the attitude of entitlement.  Many people want things given to them.  While this attitude has been around forever, it seems to be growing in intensity lately.

I came to the revelation of this problem recently while surfing the Google App store for my Android phone.  I was looking for a specific app and part of my process in looking for an app is to read the reviews people have left.  This can be very helpful in determining the value of an app, or if the app is buggy, etc.  One thing in the reviews that has become a glaring example of my previous thought is the number of reviews I have read where people are complaining that an app is not free.  There is a recurring attitude in the reviews I have read that people believe they should be able to have all the apps for their phone for free.  I can't help but think "why"?  Why should someone spend their time and effort on something to simply give it to you?

Now don't get me wrong.  I am all about charity and helping the needy, but many with this attitude are not needy, but merely want something without working for it.  I see this as a troubling trend for our country.  This country was built on a strong ethic.  Pioneers who believed they could build their own future.

This attitude falls into the thinking of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement.  People believing that the "1%" people should take care of the other 99%.  A "share the wealth" concept.  This seems nice in theory, but it is not practical.  I recall watching an interview with an OWSer a few weeks ago and it was rather troubling.  This man felt that someone should give him a big screen TV. (Seriously!)  When asked why someone should give him a TV, he answered "Because I want one!"  He went on to explain how utopian society would work.  It's as simple as this.  Some guy has the knowledge of how to build a TV, and he would build a TV for someone, and the receiver of the TV could say, give this guy a chicken, or a belt buckle.  The problem is that the lazy person is still lazy.  He wouldn't have a chicken, because he has an attitude of entitlement.

We have rich people in this country and we have poor people.  The poor don't need handouts, they need assistance.  They need help to be self-sufficient.  It's the entrepreneur that makes this country tick and we need to stop penalizing success.  People also need to stop the attitude of entitlement and remember that you need to work for what you get.

If this country is going to continue to prosper in the future, then we need to stop coveting our neighbor's things and be willing to put forth the effort it takes to succeed.  We live in a great country.  Opportunities still abound...for those willing to work for them.  Let's not forget the pioneering spirit that made this country great.

In 1787, Scottish History Professor Alexander Tyler said the following about Democracies. (Emphasis mine)

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage"

Our nation is going on 250 years and from what I can see, we are at stage 7.  I pray we wake up and that this is not the beginning of the end.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Time travel

It's funny how the mind works.  Today the weather is cool and breezy so after I got home from work, I opened all the windows in the house, changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and laid down on my bed to relax for a few minutes.  As soon as the breeze blew over my legs, I was instantly at my Grandma's house, on the day bed on her front porch in the summer of 1975. 

Grandma had a great front porch.  It was enclosed, but fully surrounded with windows.  The porch faced the east so evening sun was on the other end of the house.  It was always cooler on that front porch.  Grandma didn't have air conditioning so you learned to really appreciate that porch. 

Grandma's house circa 2010
In the summer, us kids could go up and spend a week at Grandma's house.  We LOVED this time at Grandma's.  While she lived in an older neighborhood in a small town, there were other kids in the neighborhood that we could play with, as well as some cousins.  On the days when the other kids weren't around, or when I was just wore out, I would relax on that front porch with all the windows open.  The breeze would come through the windows, lightly caressing my body, putting me into a relaxed state.  Like today. 

Laying there relaxing today I started thinking about those times up at Grandma's house.  You see, my Mom was a bit uptight and worried about everything, so to get away for a week was wonderful.  It was a new freedom, albeit temporary.  Grandma was pretty laid back with us grandkids.  As long as we were home for meals and home before dark, we could pretty much be on our own!  Ahh, it was awesome!  Freedom can come sparingly as a child and I really loved those times up at Grandma's. 

Grandma sold her house around 1977 and moved down to the cities, thus ending my summer times away, but I will always cherish those times.