All for One, One for all

I admit I struggle with racist feelings. I’ve tried not to, but too many things keep being thrown up, and it makes it near impossible not to be a little racist.

Take for instants when I first started my business. I worked extremely hard to put a business plan together with realistic goals, and the steps needed to reach those goals over the next 5 years. I did everything that was asked by the bank I was applying for my Small Business loan with all of my ‘i’s dotted and ‘t’s crossed.

They told me everything looked great, but there was one thing I still needed to do. I needed to put everything in my wife’s name only. I couldn’t have my name on any of the legal forms or records, even though this business was my dream, and I was the one with the technical skills to do the work.

This bothered me on several fronts. First they wanted me to lie, and this goes against my core values. Second, it felt like they were trying to drive a wedge between my wife and I. That just wasn’t going to happen. We are in this marriage together, completely. There is no separation, period. Again this went against my core values.

I bring up core values, because all of this happened before I was a Christian. The banker was just trying to help us in his way. The worldly way. We were technically only changing things on paper. Bending the rules so to speak. Everyone does it, right? But does it make it right?

The point being, I was denied the loan because I was a white male, not because of my business plan. The banker told me if I put everything in my wife’s name we would have gotten the loan because it would have been for a woman. A minority, starting the business.

I’m annoyed with all of the special interest groups where whites are not allowed, like the black college fund, migrant head start programs for hispanic, and the list goes on. If anything says whites only, they are accused of evil, and racism. This bothers me in so many ways that I wasn’t able to come to grips with it until now.

If we are to truly get rid of racism, there shouldn’t be any special programs, funds or want not. The ruse of saying were are only trying to help those less fortunate does not apply. Hard times do not care what color skin is, or who your parents are. Hard times fall on whom ever it can. The devil only cares about the numbers. He wants as many people suffering as possible, and will use any means possible.

We are all in this fight together as pawns in this spiritual war. The only way we can survive is to band together, completely as one. There are only two sides to this war. You have a choice, and not choosing is not an option. You can choose the one who likes hatred, anger and negativity, or you can choose the One who loved us so much he gave His life for us. I choose my all for the One Who gave His all for everyone.

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Gay Marriage

Let’s clarify the point right away. I am against gay marriage, and the act of homosexuality. I am not a gay basher, or an ignorant fearful person. I shall now share my experience, and thought why.

Through my life I have known 3 men who have stood out in my life. The first was my neighbor as I was growing up. He was the perfect neighbor. He kept his place nice and neat, and was extremely quiet. When our paths would occasionally pass, he was very nice, and polite. Don’t you wish everyone was that way?

The next one was one of my Dad’s drinking buddies. He was a cowboy/redneck before there ever was such a thing. He was fun and always tried to make me laugh. He even took the time once to take me shooting when Dad couldn’t. Don’t we all need more friends who try to make us laugh, and do fun things with us?

The last was when I was an adult working as a mechanic. He was a landscaper who always bought new equipment every year from the shop I worked. I admired him for how he took care of his equipment, and his men working for him. The equipment was always new, and kept in pristine condition, and the men always had a steady paycheck even through the winter when there was no work. Wouldn’t you like to work for someone who made sure you had the best tools to work with and a steady paycheck even when there wasn’t any work?

The one thing all these gentlemen had in common was they were gay. Nothing was ever said about it, you just knew without a doubt. Their homosexuality was not the center of who they were just like my heterosexuality is not the center of who I am. They led normal lives with hopes and dreams like anyone else.

The problem isn’t about being gay, it is how sexuality has now become the center of everything. I don’t care what your preference is, but when you are so focused on yours or anyone else’s sexuality, you are going to have an unbalanced, and unhappy life. You are missing out on so many other great things in life.

Marriage to me is a deep spiritual/religious connection between a man and a woman for life. I resent anyone who tries to make a mockery of it, including those who get married one day, and divorced the next. Changing mates as if they were changing clothes. When I got married 22 years ago the average life of a marriage was 7 years.

I find gay people wanting to get married as idiotic as a woman wanting to join a men’s only club, or a white guy wanting to go to a black’s only school. It’s just as silly to think a 200 plus pound guy with 2 left feet, and no rhythm like me should be allowed to join the bally.

Some things just aren’t meant to be regardless of how many people wish it. What I don’t understand is when did it become bad, or wrong to be different? When did it become so grand to be normal? And everything we do has to be considered normal? Do you look up to someone because they are normal, or have what is considered a normal sex life (whatever that is), or do you look up to them because they have done something extraordinary?

Genesis 19:1-29, Leviticus 18:22, Genesis 2:18-25, Matthew 19:4-6

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Talking

If I was politically correct, I would use the word communicate instead. Thank goodness, I have no desire to be politically correct in anything. Now, when was the last time you paid attention to how you talked? It doesn’t matter whether you were talking verbally, or by the written word. Sorry, I don’t include texting. I consider texting to be somewhere between animal and man grunts.

The reason I haven’t posted for a while wasn’t for the lack of things to write, for I did write a couple of articles, but they just didn’t set well with me.

It wasn’t because the message was wrong, or couldn’t be confirmed with scriptures, it was the way I was talking. Instead of talking one on one in love to a friend, I sounded like I was preaching down to everyone. I hate that.

Whenever I hear someone speak to me that way, my first instinct is not to listen, but to flick them on the nose. I hate arrogance and rudeness, even from someone who is an expert in their field. Of course, when it comes to life, there are no experts; we are all sinners doing the best we can.

For me the first thing I notice is not what people say, but how they say it. What is the tone of their voice, and what does their body language say? Is it friendly, anxious, annoyed, or bored? The same goes to the written word. Are they using a lot of odd words I have to look up to find out the meaning, trying to come across more intelligent than they are, or is it full of so many typing errors, you have to decipher the message?

My point is to make sure you are talking in a way that is appropriate for the situation. As I continue on my journey here, I will do my best to talk about the lessons I have learned either directly, or indirectly through others, humbly, with love, to you, not down to you. Just remember though, tough love is still love.

Exodus 33:11, Proverbs 10:11, 15:4, 16:24.

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Standards, part 3

We all have standards to one degree or another. The question is do you really know them, and where they come from? It’s easy to equate standards with minimums, like quality control standards for a part before it leaves the plant.

With a part, you judge whether or not it meets the standards by looking at it. You can easily see if it meets the minimum measurements. This makes people think standards are all about looks. What they forget is at a plant, they already know what the part is made out of, and the look is just a byproduct of the machining process.

Just as you wouldn’t expect a wood part to come out of steel plant, you can’t expect to have standards of any value, unless you have some values. Your standards are a direct byproduct of your principles, and values. Not the other way around. Every part of our life is affected by what we value.

So what do you value? Is it money, looks? The questions get harder when you have to choose what you value between two things you like. For instance do you value saving the forest more than human life, so you tamper with logging equipment that might get someone hurt, or killed? What about finishing a report at work instead of seeing your kid play a baseball game?

If you value truth, would you be able to testify against your child in a court of law? These are prime examples of why many people say they are flexible, and why life seems so tough for them. They might say it was just a pack of gum he stole. What’s the big deal? But if there are no consequences for his actions, what is to prevent him from doing it again? What’s to keep him from stealing something else, like a video game, then a car, someone’s virginity, or life? The list can go on, and on.

In this world today, with the bad glorified 24 hours a day, and the media constantly remind us the world is changing, it can be tough to know what to value, or if there are values anymore. The biggest lie out there being spread around is saying you need to change. If you don’t change you will be left behind. The question is, do you want to follow the herd over the cliff, or stay up on the hill and enjoy the view?

True values are timeless, and unchanging like God Himself. If you have doubts as to what to value, I suggest turning to God, and the Bible. Start with the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:1-17. The Bible can teach you all you need to know about values in life. Values start with your heart. A good way to check your heart is to ask, am I doing this because it makes me look good, or am I doing this because it is good?

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Standards, part 2

Are your standards real or just superficial fluff? Do they make you a person of value, or just petty? Is there a distinction between your standards, and principle? Should there be?

Unfortunately, too many people have standards centered around short term appearance. When your standards revolve around looks, it leaves no room for principles. It also greatly reduces your value to the point of zero, long before your life is over. Need proof? Just look at all of the famous people who are having plastic surgery.

I know some are thinking those are just extreme cases, but count how many plastic surgeons are in your own area. What about those of you who won’t drive a car older than 5 years and only buy new ones. Regardless of whether or not you can truly afford it. And for the record, if you have to finance it, you can’t afford it.

What about those of you who will only buy certain brands? Do your standards have value? Do those expensive jeans really make you look better? If those fancy jeans only last a very short time, but cost considerably more than regular jeans, what does that say about your standards? Does it matter whether you can afford it or not?

I’m not against people looking good, or taking care of their appearance, as long as it is a byproduct of standards with value. In other words, take care of what you’ve been blessed with. A 20 year old car can look just as good as a new car if it’s taken care of. Most people only notice jeans after their nose has told them something is wrong.

The point most people who are trying to keep their appearance up with the Jones miss, and fail to see, is, the Jones looked good not from trying to, but as a byproduct of having real standards with true value. If you want to know if your standards have any value, just look at their expiration date. The best standards are timeless.

Exodus 20:1-17, and Matthew 6:1-18.

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Survivors

Yesterday was the 10th Anniversary to the attack on American soil by terrorist. To be honest I haven’t lost anyone close to me, nor do I know anyone who has, but it doesn’t mean I’m not affected by it each day. I often wonder why did it happen, and how anyone could be so full of hate and anger towards a society they don’t know. They would rather die than share the same world as us.

Having had the privilege of dealing with so many different bullies through my school years, many moons ago, I’ve learned one thing really well. Bullies are cowards, and the best way to stop them from picking on you is to stand up to them. Sometimes that just means getting in their face and telling them no more. Sometimes they need to be knocked down first to get their attention. The worst ones needed to spill a little blood before they learned the error of their ways, or at least learned to leave you alone.

Radical muslims are in a class of bullies all on their own. Unlike the worst I had to deal with in school, these radicals refuse to even try to survive in the same world as me. It is very black and white to them. Either I go, or we both go. Us surviving in this world just isn’t an option as far as they are concerned.

As Americans, we feel we’re known as being a survivor. To overcome the odds, and make it. Having done this a few times, we can also get a little cocky, even to the point of arrogant. We’ve even thrown our weight around, so it’s safe to say some think of us as a bully.

There are those who are trying to say this very thing, and the attack 10 years ago was their way of blooding our nose in an effort to get our attention. That we need to leave them alone, and not to push our values and beliefs on them.

It doesn’t matter if you live in New York, or Idaho, we are all survivors of the attack 10 years ago. The question is how do we survive? How do we get a good night’s sleep? How do we enjoy life again guilt free?

It doesn’t matter what people say with long impressive titles, there is only one way to survive this life, and to even find joy in it. This is through trust. Not in people, or politicians, intelligence, knowledge, or even military might. You must trust the one who ultimately built it all, and still owns everything, God.

Trust He has a plan for not only the world, but for you and me personally. Trust he really wants the best for us, not the worst. He doesn’t want us to just survive in a hole shut away from everything. He wants us to go out and to share the news of his love, and Son. It’s not our values the radicals hate so much, but God’s.

If you truly trust God, than you know this life here on earth is just temporary. You can’t share his love and joy when you’re just surviving yourself, and living in fear. You need to be a survivor. Someone who is walking beside God, so he has more room to carry the next person who is scared, and doesn’t know him yet.

Isaiah 4:1-3, Psalm 34:3-4, Hebrews 13:5-6

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Standards, part 1

I’ve been thinking about this for some time now, trying to work things down to one simple article instead of a book. The best I was able to do was make it a three part thought.
Do you have standards you adhere to everyday? Would you say those standards are written in stone, or are they written in sand like on a beach, ready to be changed with the next high tide? From what I’ve seen, unfortunately most are written in sand. This explains why it is so hard to find someone with integrity you can count on.

How would you rate your standards? Would you say you have high standards, middle of the row standards, or low standards? What would others say about your standards, or have they been washed away so many times, no one knows what your standards are?
Your standards are your principles. Where you draw the line between right or wrong, yes or no. You will accept this, but you won’t accept that. Did you set your own standards, or do you just try and have them aligned with everyone else’s?

I’ve heard many people tell me life is too hard unless you are flexible, and nothing is black or white. For example, stealing is wrong unless you’re starving, then it would be O.K. The question then is what would you steal? Would it be a bag of rice capable of feeding you for a month, or someone’s computer full of family photos that can’t be replaced? Plus, how long do you go hungry before it’s O.K. to steal? If you’re built like me, a couple of meals missed would feel like the end of the world, but a couple of days would do me some good.
In the long run it’s actually harder to be flexible, because you end up having to make so many more decisions. Once you start to compromise your values, you end up with none. You also end up with a group of people who may like you, but don’t trust you, or have any faith in you.

When you read the Ten Commandments, you clearly see #8 is very short, and to the point. “You shall not steal.” No ifs, ands, or buts. God didn’t give us a set of standards to make life harder, but to make life ultimately simpler, and easier.

My question to you is not whether you think stealing is wrong for any reason, but whether or not you believe God is real? Is he the God of love who only wants the best for you? And remember, actions speak louder than words.

Exodus 20:1-17. The Ten Commandments.

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Tired Spirit

I seem to be tired lately. Not so much physically, or mentally, but of the spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not spiritually tired, for I know without a doubt God won’t let me down, and Jesus is my savior. I’m talking about the great American Spirit. The driving force that we can do anything, and overcome all odds.

It seems I am surrounded by people who are constantly telling me I can’t do this, or I can’t say that, because it might offend someone, even if I’m offended by the other person’s words, or actions. The oppression is almost more then I can stand. I know it’s not reality, but it feels like I’m surrounded by people who are just waiting to pounce on me for screwing up, and making sure I pay for my mistakes. And I’m not talking about just what it costs for fixing what I broke. I’m talking about the cost of accidently breaking a rule.

Everything seems to be about the rules, or laws, and no longer about the good of the people, and helping them do better. It is all about making everyone equal, so anyone who might be getting ahead must be bad, and needs to be knocked down. Honestly I feel so weighted down by all the laws, and rules, I just don’t feel like doing anything.

What’s the point of even getting up in the morning? I know I’m not a perfect man, and I feel lucky if I can count all my mistakes I’ve made in one day without taking off my shoes. So far I haven’t been made to pay more than the cost of repairing my mistakes, but I know it isn’t because someone has shown me mercy, it’s just that my number hasn’t come up yet. So each day brings with it a new hell, with me wondering if this is the day my luck runs out.

I don’t think this is what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the constitution, and I know this isn’t what God had in mind. So how did we get here? How did we go from dealing with a few large bullies, to so many little special interest bullies? How did control get taken away from those who are actually producers of society, to those who are just takers, who have never produced anything except more rules.

Why is it people who don’t work drive nicer cars then those who do work? How did ‘work’ become a dirty, evil, four letter word? The joy of accomplishment has been shunned and become perverted, while sexual perversion is now something to be proud of, and don’t worry if you have a problem with this, for they make a pill for you now.

‘The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help us God’, seems to be more folklore then reality. Hypocrisy is something people just don’t understand because their principals are as unpredictable as the weather. Regardless of what people say, or want to believe, the truth will never change, and there is a right and wrong.

Many people will agree with me, with more than a few whose spirits are tired as well. I don’t know about others, but I think I have taken this earthly world to serious and spending eternity in heaven with Jesus not serious enough. I often forget here is just temporary, and even if they take all I have, they can’t take God’s love away. God promises us he will take care of us, so what is there really to worry about?

Phil 4:6, Gal 6:9, 2 Thes 3:11-13, Isa 35:3-4

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Under New Management

We’ve all seen the signs, ‘Under New Management’. The business has a new Manager because the old one was really bad, or just tired. We’ll spend the next week or two watching the business to see what changes take place if any. We will all hope it improves, even if there were no problems from before.

Now if nothing improves, whose fault is it? Is it the new manager’s fault or the employees’ fault? In reality it is usually a little of both, but because the manager is the leader, they end up with the responsibility for the failure. We all agree?

What about you and your business? We are all in business for ourselves. We earn money, and hope for a little extra (this is called profits) so we can play. And just like a business, if it’s neglected enough it/we die. Some of us seem to be doing O.K. and others not so much. I think most of us can agree we’ve had times where we wished someone else would take over for a while because we’re tired.

Letting someone else with perfect judgment take over is a great thing. Many have done it, including myself, and encourage others to do the same thing. The person who we have let take over is Jesus Christ. God clearly knows what is best for each and every one of us.

When you accept Jesus as your Savior, and start telling everyone, you are in fact hanging out a sign saying “Under New Management”. People are going to start watching you now to see what changes take place. If no changes take place, or the changes aren’t good, people will be disappointed.

The end results, you as the employee now can tell people how great Jesus is, but if they don’t see how he’s improved you, why should they listen. The difference between the businesse of ‘you’ verses the restaurant down the street, is there is no doubt with you, it is not the manager’s fault. You, the employee, weren’t following the plan he set out for you.

When the Bible says we are to do all things as if we are doing them for Jesus, this is why. People are watching us, and unfortunately don’t understand, or see how much God has helped us on the inside. The world is full of too many Jerry McGuire who are shouting, ‘show me the change’ instead of the ‘money’.

I’m not saying we can, or need to be perfect. I just wanted to point out why we need to do our best. We are Jesus’ representatives, and wouldn’t you agree, he deserves our best.

Under New Management

“Please be patient with us through this transition period.” – Jesus

Ephesians 6:7, Colossians 3:17, Corinthians 6:19-20, Galations 1:10

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Production Mode

This week has been a struggle. Of all the trials of normal life, the only real problem was my attitude. It was less than stellar more times than I care to admit.

I wish I could blame my poorness on something major, but nothing comes to mind. All things considered my life is pretty good. All the bills are paid, and I’m not lacking in work. I also have a great family that loves me for some crazy reason, and we’re health, at least by our standards.

So the question of the hour is why do I have a pissy attitude? In the past I’ve wasted a national debts worth of time trying to figure it out, but as I get older it gets a little easier to recognize the situation. I’m stuck in a production rut.

Have you ever really thought of the saying ‘Stop and smell the roses.’ And wondered what the hell it means, and how do you really do it? I’m not sure how old the saying is, but I’ve heard it used in movies older than me, which means it’s before the computer age, and the necessity of ‘Fast Food’.

Granted, I know it means life isn’t all about work. We are to stop and enjoy the fruits of our labors. The thing is I usually enjoy work. I love the feeling of being productive. I love getting into a mode where things start to click, and check marks steadily appear on the list.

Unfortunately when I’m in the production mode too long, reality sets in, with the realization of never getting to the end of the list. I then start to question the whole point, and before long the joy I felt earlier has turned to hate. Instead of enjoying my work, I dread it, and then feel trapped by it. Work/production slows down to a crawl, with more time spent dreading and procrastinating then working.

The answer for most people it seems simple, that’s what weekends are for. Workaholics like myself are just lost on weekends. I really struggle with finding joy in just doing something just for the heck of it, like going for a ride with no destination in mind.

I pray I’m the only one who has this problem, but this computer age where everyone seems to be struggling with A.D.D. to one degree of another, I believe the saying, ‘Stop and smell the roses’, is more prevalent than ever.

I don’t have the answers, but suspect one reason we struggle is we have lost the true meaning of the Sabbath day. We’ll go to church on Sunday, but before the preacher is done, our thoughts will drift to mowing the lawn, or the shopping we need to do, and a hundred other things on our ‘To do’ list.

I wonder how many people truly rest and relax one day a week? How many people are there who have never done it? With so many things to help make each minute of every day as productive as possible, it is hard to imagine taking a whole day off.

When I look back at the olden days when things seemed simpler, businesses actually closed on Sundays. Amazingly, things actually got done just as fast, and sometimes even faster back then. And there was no computers helping manage every minute of every day, seven days a week. They were more productive with 6 days a week then we are now with 7 days. Makes me think God knows something we don’t.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Ecclesiastes

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