Holy Two Face Batman!

I’m sure if someone didn’t know me personally, but made decisions about what manner of man I am from my social media postings and blogs, then who I am and who you think I am would be painted with two different brushes. While the truth is, who you see before you in this blog and on all of my social media posts is one and the same guy, obviously if you were to sit down with me over a cup of coffee and we discussed the very same things I write and post about, you would probably think I was not the same man who wrote them. Mainly because of the difference between reading what someone says, and actually listening and having a conversation with that person.

As a matter of fact, this very subject came up over a lunch conversation with my bride and a friend today. People are constantly getting upset with things people post online, and usually what the upset person gets aggravated with isn’t even what the author intended. Without being able to hear the inflection in a person’s voice, or see the intent within their eyes, it is hard to actually understand what they are saying.

It’s like why punctuation is so important when you’re writing something for people to read. For example if I write, “Let’s eat grandma.” versus, “Let’s eat, grandma.” even though I use the very same words, without putting that little comma behind the word eat, it turns my words into a heinous act. Hearing how someone says something is like putting the comma in your sentence; it helps to get your point across.

One thing I’ve seen so much of over the past few months is how many people are giving us all a piece of their minds. And while I am all for talking about what you believe, I have to ask myself is this really worth the effort I am going to put in before I post it? Does this mean I get it right every time? No, absolutely not, but this shouldn’t keep me from sharing my thoughts and ideas. Instead, if I end up posting something I should have taken a little more time seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit about instead of plowing ahead, I need to own it and make it right to anyone I’ve offended.

Now this brings up a whole other thing, in today’s society, we have people who get offended at every little thing out there. And as a fifty-six year old man who gets up each and every day and spends my entire day outside doing things I don’t really want to do in order to feed and provide for my family, I don’t have a lot of patience for anyone who gets their feelings hurt and needs a special room for coloring and petting puppies to help them feel better about themselves. (Too much, too harsh?)

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:37, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” So understand when I write, post or say something, it will always be the same. Now you may not like what I have to say, and you know that’s okay. Nobody ever said life was about getting everyone to agree with you. But one thing you will find out about me is these things I believe, I believe because of what I’ve found in the Scriptures. I have a basis for what I talk about, and I would hope you do as well. Again, this is not to say I’ve never made mistakes before, but I do always own them, as I would hope you do as well.

To wrap this blog up, I hope you understand everything I say will come from the place of letting my yes be yes and my no be no. No wishy-washiness here, no just repeating what other people say without owning it. I’m going to own each and every word or picture I share, you can believe this, and if it turns out I offend you, then don’t hesitate to tell me. Because I can’t make it right if I don’t know I offended you.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”

Today is the 244th birthday of what has been called the greatest nation on earth. I don’t know who actually coined this phrase, but I do whole heartily agree with it. Being a sometimes student of history, I found it interesting to read Patrick Henry’s speech to the second Virginia congress today. Something spoken 245 years ago still has truth in it for today’s America.

So many protesters and rioters (and I know it’s not all of them, but these are the ones who seem to have the airwaves now) have claimed they are on a mission to change America, and this is the new war to be fought. It seems the way they are choosing to fight it however is by destroying our past. Ironically, Patrick Henry spoke about this in his famous speech. I loved the following paragraph so much I felt it needed to be added to my blog.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided,” Henry said, “and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.

I am appalled at what I’ve seen on television in the past several weeks. Truthfully, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought to see this. Protestors tearing down statues and working to rewrite our nation’s history. Before I go further, I do not think everything that has been done in our past is good or should be glorified, but I do believe it is part of who we are as a nation. I don’t glorify my own sordid past, but I do remember it so I don’t repeat the things I am ashamed of. If I just pretend they never happened, changing the narrative, I’m doomed to repeat my past mistakes. And we, as a nation, if we are not careful will fall into the same trap. As the old saying goes, “If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.”

One thing I admire about the protestors, the real protestors, not those who are being bussed in and paid to agitate the crowd. (Nothing new here either, the Pharisees did the same thing to Jesus, look it up Mark 14:55-60), is their zeal to see change happen. This is a good thing, and believe it or not is not something new to this current generation, there has always been people who wanted to see change happen.

Most of the dialogue today is about change and how bad things have been for the minority class in America, and I totally agree that in my America everyone should have the same rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in our nation’s declaration of independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Every man, woman and child in the United States should be treated as equals without ever looking at the color of their skin.

As he spoke, Henry held his wrists together as though they were manacled and raised them toward the heavens. “Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty”—Henry burst from his imaginary chains and grasped an ivory letter opener—“or give me death!” As he uttered these final words, he plunged the letter opener toward his chest, mimicking a knife blow to the heart.

Men and women from our past gave their lives for the most part in standing up for what they believed in. Many of the founding fathers of our fledgling country actually died penniless and broken because of their belief in a better way of life for everyone. I wonder how many of those protesting now feel this passion and have this conviction? I mean it is easy to give lip service to your ideals, but when it comes right down to it, are you really willing to die for what you believe in?

I’m not asking those who are protesting for change to actually kill themselves, that would be horrible and no one should do this, and for the record I don’t want anyone to lose their life. But I ask you this, if you are so willing to destroy our nation’s history and change the narrative for your beliefs, are you also willing to lose everything you have in the process? It’s an honest question and one only you can answer, it cannot be answered for you. Happy birthday to the United States of America, and God bless you!

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Are You Compassionate or Just Feeling Sorry?

Other than the weather being absolutely beautiful, today was like any other Sunday for me; get up, make the coffee, read my Bible and then head off to the 9:00 AM church service with my bride. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and truthfully it is one of my favorite weekly routines. Today after church we decided to make our weekly pilgrimage to the Cracker Barrel with our friend Rosie for a little breakfast. The food and fellowship is always great and it too is another thing I look forward to each week.

As we were enjoying our breakfast today, I noticed the hostess seat an elderly man at the table next to ours. He was there dining alone, and as we were almost finished with our meal I thought it would be odd to ask him to join us. But as I watched him, the Holy Spirit on the inside of me began stirring my heart and I felt as if God was telling me to buy the man’s lunch. When our waiter came back to freshen my coffee, I asked him if he would add the man’s meal to my ticket, which he did.

We went about our morning, talking a little longer than usual when I noticed the man asking our server about his check. They talked for a few minutes, and then I saw him stand up, pull out his wallet and place a few bills on the table. I thought he might have said thank you or something (even though I wasn’t looking for that from him), but he stepped away from the table and left the room.

Our waiter came up to me a few minutes later with another check in his hand for me, apologizing as he explained when he told the gentleman someone had paid for his meal, he adamantly demanded the young man bring him his check, that he was quite capable of paying for his own meal, thank you very much.

Now he didn’t make a scene, but it got me to thinking, why wouldn’t someone receive the blessing for what it was, an anonymous person just wanting to do something nice? The way I figure it, God is going to bless me regardless because I was obedient to do what He spoke to my heart. But did the gentleman look at it as pity? Because as I think about it, it was compassion which made me reach into my wallet to pay for his lunch.

There’s a difference between compassion and just feeling sorry for someone. The way I like to look at it is this, feeling sorry for someone is realizing they are in need but not doing anything about it. Compassion sees someone in need and then moves to effect change in the situation. I felt compassion for the man sitting alone, and decided to do something about it. I mean I could have just sat there and thought, “Poor man.” and never did anything to effect change in his life. The fact he didn’t want to accept the change is on him I guess.

I always want to move in the area of compassion more than just feeling sorry for things I see. This doesn’t mean I’m great at it, believe me there have been plenty of times where I have overlooked opportunities because of the inconvenience or cost of them, but I do strive to do better every day. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did this? I’m going to try and do better, how about you?

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

What Does It Mean To Be A Man? Part 1

“Be a man!” “You’re the man!” “Fight like a man!” What does it really mean to be a man? I’ve heard it said, and said it myself before, you may be male by birth, but you’re a man by choice. For too many years there has been this unspoken thing about what it means to become a man that the world has foisted upon us. When you have your first alcoholic drink, you’ll be a man, once you start shaving, you’ll be a man, when you bed your first woman, you’ll be a man. But honestly nothing could be further from the truth.

Being a man is a choice you make each and every day of your life, sometimes hour by hour. But before you can make that choice, you have to know what it really means to be a man, and what the job description entails. This is something which has been lost and not passed on to boys from their fathers in many, many years. For whatever reason, fathers have failed to teach their sons how to be men, and when movies and television came along, boys were shown what the world said it mean to be men so naturally because of the vacuum left by their fathers, they began to follow this instead.

Men were created first by God, and Adam, the first man was placed in the Garden of Eden and given a job; to cultivate it and name all the animals. It was while he was in the process of naming the animals he noticed every one of them had a counterpart, but for him there wasn’t one to be found. God put him to sleep, took a rib and made Adam a helper in the form of the woman Eve. When he woke up, he had a wife and a new job; to be a lover, leader and provider. He was to love his bride, lead her and provide for her. And this is what it really means to be a man. If you are going to be a real man, then you’re going to have to work these three things into your life as well. To not do them, is to not be a real man, plain and simple.

One of the most exasperating things I see, are guys who treat this role in their lives with disdain and selfishness. They live by the mantra of I’m going to get mine and the heck with the rest of you! Selfishness is the enemy of manhood. In the next few blogs I’m going to talk to you about what it really means to be a man, and I hope if you see yourself lacking in any way that you will make the corrections necessary.

It’s time men stood up and took their God given roles back, be the men the world needs and stop being like Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up but lived only for himself.

 

 

I Should’ve Worn My Steel Toe Boots Today

One of the things I love about God’s Word, is how it will let you know when you’ve missed the mark. As I sat listening to my Pastor teaching about the many fruits of the Holy Spirit, it occurred to me how much I was not walking in them. Ouch! God spent most of the morning stepping all over my toes; reminding me of all the times I had missed it with my boss last week.

Now one of the really cool things about God is even when He’s showing you where you’ve missed it, He does so in a way that reveals His desire for you to reach your full potential. He doesn’t do it in a way which makes you feel bad about yourself, but challenges you to do better.

As my pastor listed the nine fruits of the Spirit, it dawned on me I had missed using the first one…badly. Love is the first fruit and honestly if you get this one right, the other eight pretty much fall into place.

What does it actually mean to love however? I know a lot of people think of the mushy, hearts and roses, I love you stuff we are inundated with at Valentine’s Day when this word is used, but really this is more of a by product of love, and not actually love itself.

Scripture gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It says;

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails.”

First off, in order to be sure I am walking in love, I have to ask myself a few questions; am I being patient and kind? Do I get jealous? Am I boastful, proud or rude? Do I demand my own way, am I irritable? Do I keep a list of who’s done me wrong and go over it again and again? Do I rejoice at injustice, or when truth wins out? Do I give up and lose faith? Am I always hopeful, and endure (without complaining) through every circumstance? Do I fail?

Honestly, I cannot answer these questions in a positive way right now, therefore it is evident I have not been walking in love. It’s a sad reality to face, especially at 53; you’d think I’d have this one figured out by now. The good news is though, I can make changes today and begin learning how to walk in love, changing the trajectory my life has been on. It won’t be too long until I won’t need my steel toe boots in church any more…

Living for Jesus and taking Him at His Word daily…