Life May Not Be Fair, But It Can Be Good

“It’s just not fair!” the boy cried, “Why is this so hard?”
The father stood there in silent anguish wishing he could remove the pain he heard between the sobs. However, he knew the truth and knew no words he could convey to his child would help.

“I do what’s right and good father, and what do I get for it? Nothing!” Balling up his fists, the young man began pounding the pillow under his head. “They’re all out to get me! That’s what this is, they want me to fail!”

Laying his hand gently on the boy’s head, tears forming at the corner of his eyes, he said a silent prayer willing some of his own strength towards his upset child. Tensing up at the touch, he flopped over onto his back and pulling his head away from the hand screamed, “Aren’t you going to say anything? Aren’t you going to do anything? Why are you taking their side? Why do you hate me?”

With compassion in his eyes, the father said, “Son I love you more than anything. I have given everything for you. One day I hope you realize how much I sacrificed in order for you to have the life I want you to have.”

“Whatever! Get out, just leave me alone!”

Looking over his shoulder as he left the boy’s room he said, “Son, I do love you.”
How many times have you been the young boy in this story? Have you ever screamed at God about life not being fair? The truth of the matter is this; life isn’t fair, and it never has been. Since the Garden of Eden and the fall of man, life on this planet has been hard . Yet for some odd reason, Christians feel they are entitled to an easy life once they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And nothing could be further from the truth.

In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this life you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jesus said this to his disciples, not to the sinners of the world. If he tells us we’re going to have trouble, then why do we act so surprised when it shows up? Could it be because in our efforts to add numbers to our churches we fail to tell them the whole truth? Are we guilty of painting this rosy picture of life as a Christian and in the process set up people for failure?

Being a Christian doesn’t mean living a carefree, easy existence. It means bringing the light of the Gospel to people in dark places. People are watching us; they face the same challenges we do, and notice when we overcome them. I’ve been asked numerous times, “How did you do it when things got hard?” And my answer is always the same, through the Word of God. The Bible is the solid foundation upon which I stand. This doesn’t mean I always understand how, but I don’t really have to understand how God works, just that He does.

Having a good working knowledge of God’s Word will help lead, guide and direct you when life gets difficult. It’s like having a bank account; if you want to use your debit card to buy things, then you have to have made some deposits into your account. You wouldn’t whine and complain to the bank about not being able to buy things, if you had never made a deposit at the bank. Then why do you complain to God about how tough things are when you never put anything into your “spiritual” account?

Listen, life is going to be tough, get used to this fact. But no matter how tough it gets, you can overcome everything life throws at you with the Word of God. But you will have to make an investment by reading your Bible every day and doing what you read in it. With the Word of God firmly rooted in your heart, you will be able to face the challenges of life and overcome whatever it throws at you.

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Who Changes Your Mind?

“I should’ve done more!”  “I could’ve done more!” “What could I have done to make them change?”  “I should’ve said more!”  “I should’ve loved more!”  

These are all thoughts which have run through my mind at one time or another when it came to situations I’ve had in my relationships with people. These thoughts usually come during a time where things aren’t going the way I think they should, or had hoped they would. For many years I tried, (unsuccessfully I might add) to get people around me to see the error of their ways by trying to get them to live by my convictions. It took several years, and many arguments for me to realize the impossibility of this.

I really came to understand this when people would try to get me to make changes in my own life by telling me what I needed to do. I found it very aggravating when they didn’t agree with things I felt were okay in my life, and would try to force me to change. They were never able to get me to see their convictions as my own, and consequently I came to the realization I couldn’t change anyone else’s convictions either. This was one of the most freeing in days of my life too. It meant I no longer had to try and police the lives of those around me, and was finally able to focus on my life and what I was doing.

In James 4:17 it says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” Look closer at what it says here, it is sin to know what YOU ought to do and then not do it. James is not telling us to pay attention to what others are doing, he is telling us to focus on what we ought to be doing. This is where I was missing it, and where so many other people miss it too. God never called anyone to point out the mistakes or missteps of others. He called us to follow Him and to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) In plain english this means God wants you to focus on your own walk with Him and not so much the walk of others.

I don’t mean God wants you to ignore the lives of the people around you. He wants you to be a positive influence on everyone you meet, He just doesn’t need you pointing out everything they do wrong. One of the things I’ve learned in 53 years is I already know when I’m doing something wrong and really don’t need it pointed out. Most of the time, I’m already beating myself up about it anyway. The thing which helps me the most, is seeing someone live out what I’m struggling with in a positive way. When I see someone else overcoming whatever thing I’m struggling with, then I know there is hope for me as well.

Truthfully when someone points out what I’m doing wrong and tells me about it, I just want to scream, “Don’t tell me!” like Arthur Spooner from the sitcom King of Queens. I’m sure it’s the same with you too, none of us like to be told what to do. I’ve found out if I’ll spend more time on what I’m supposed to be doing in my life and stop telling others what to do with theirs, things become much simpler. And as the old acronym K.I.S.S. says; “Keep It Simple Stupid”.

Let’s stop pointing out the things other people can do to change their lives, and work on our own. Because I believe when we get our house in order and follow the Lord the way He wants us to, it will cause those around us to do what it is says in 1 Peter 3:15;

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Living for Jesus with an honest and transparent life…

The Thanksgiving I Spent With Jason Alexander

This morning when I woke up I did my usual thing of reaching for my phone and checking in on social media. Lately I’ve been working to increase my presence there and part of this has been learning how to navigate the Twitter landscape. 

While surfing Twitter I came across this tweet from Jason Alexander (George Costanza from the hit show Seinfeld).

I’m a huge Seinfeld fan, made even larger because it’s Thanksgiving and I’ve eaten more than my share of tasty morsels today. This post rubbed me the wrong way, so I did what I usually do which gets me in trouble and posted about how I felt about it.


Now while I didn’t mean this to be a personal attack on Jason even though it was directed at him, it was more of a thought I feel is true and wanted to use my thought to be a part of the discussion. I was really surprised when I checked Twitter a few hours later and found many people were very agitated by what I had said; Jason Alexander being one of them.

Throughout the course of the day I checked Twitter to find many colorful ways of being described by a good number of angry people. And while a great number of the people vilified me, I will say Jason was gracious and articulate about his position throughout the entire experience.

In the spirit of goodwill, I did apologize and was answered back with the following tweet.


While we still don’t agree on the subject, I do feel the man is a class act and I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend part of my Thanksgiving day with one of my Seinfeld heroes.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Make Yourself Great Again

All every man really wants is to have a good life; full of family, friends and happiness, right? he Declaration of Independence states it as our unalienable rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The American dream, it’s really what we all want, it’s just in how we achieve it where differences come in to play.

Some men believe in hard work, making their own way, while others look to the government to supply what they need. And I’m not talking about welfare here, that’s another blog. What I’m talking about is looking to Washington to provide the essential things everyone needs to have a good life; food, a place to live, affordable health care, etc.

What I have come to understand in my fifty-three years of living on Planet Earth is this; if I want something out of life, then I had better get up off of my butt and go earn it. For all the government can do, it is bogged down with red tape and the inability to act quickly and decisively. It’s up to us as men to earn our own way.

With the history of mismanagement, waste and robbing Peter to pay Paul mentality in our government, I am baffled as to why people continue to hold out their hands looking for Uncle Sam to provide for them. Nothing against my Native American brothers, but I think they can attest to the fact of how our government has not helped them out in the least.

Watching the movie Robin Hood, with Russell Crowe a few weeks ago, there was a moment in the film where King John was in a dispute with his noblemen and he sarcastically asks the question, “What, do you want a castle for every man?” to which Robin replies, “Majesty, every man’s home is his castle.” to which every man there gave a loud cheer.

This is where I live; give me the freedom to make my own way in the world. Free me from the shackles of government and let me live as I see fit. I’m not saying I don’t want to abide by the laws of the land; on the contrary, they are there to help us for the most part. All I’m saying is I don’t need politicians to help me have a great life. What I need for them to do is to protect the interests here and abroad.

If people don’t have what they want, and refuse to go out and work for it, then let them do without. Having a government which hands stuff to the people causing them to work less, is like giving your children everything they ask for when they ask for it instead of making them work for some things, or just do without.

This is where American can become great again, giving the rights back to the people to make their own way and get everything this great country is willing to give to them. Only if you want it, stop holding your hand out waiting for it and do what Rocky said to his son, “If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get it.”

There is so much potential for every man and woman to become whatever they want to be and get their part of the American dream. The first thing we all have to do is stop looking for a handout from Washington and look to ourselves. In doing this we truly can make ourselves great again!

Why Is Everyone So Angry?

“There is a way which seems right unto a man, but in the end lies death.” ~ Proverbs 16:25

I’m sure every man has taken a path he thought was the right one, only to end up somewhere he never anticipated. I know I have more than once. It always seems to be during times when my emotional level is extreme I will inevitably make the wrong decision. At almost fifty-three years old, you would think I would have figured this out by now and made some corrections to disregard the choices which lead me towards the wrong pathway.  But I’m nothing if not consistent I guess and am still learning.

Have you ever done this though? Been faced with a situation which emotionally threw you off of your game and instead of taking time to step back from the situation and evaluate it from every angle, you just leapt in where angels fear to tread?

Why is this do you think? Could it be because emotional upheavals in our lives feel as if they are personal attacks on us and therefore we respond without thinking? Or perhaps they are just something which is interfering with what we perceive as our normal routine and we don’t want it upset? Whatever the case, I think it would be good for us (well me actually) to look into this a little closer.

The world we live in is crazy. Have you noticed how quickly people seem to fly off the handle and confront anyone they think is hindering their life in some way? Think about road rage, or accidently cutting in front of someone at the grocery store. It seems to me people are itching for a fight nowadays more than ever.

I remember a time back after the terrorist attacks of 9/11; I had gone home to eat lunch and on the way back to work had decided to drive my wife’s minivan and fill it up with gas. I noticed the line of cars waiting as I pulled up to the gas station; everyone was panicky and the word on the street was all the gas stations would run out of gas soon. As I circled the lot looking for the best line to get in, I noticed a pump had just opened up and maneuvered my vehicle into position to fill up.

As I placed the nozzle into the tank opening, a lady walked up to me and began yelling at me about how I had cut her off and stolen her pump. She screamed about how I had almost killed her kids and should be ashamed of myself. Shocked, because I had actually not seen her at all, I removed the nozzle, apologizing and told her by all means take the pump. She insisted I stay put, but I wouldn’t have it and said, “Mam, I’m very sorry about taking your pump, I didn’t even see you. Have a nice day.” Getting back into my car, I began circling the lot once more.

Telling my wife the story later, it was almost comical to me. It must have made her feel better yelling at me and maybe she was just scared, but all I could think about was how it wasn’t a big deal for me to move to back of the line and let her get her gas. It sure wasn’t as big a deal as she was making it out to be. I think many people feel like they are going to be taken advantage of and instead of letting this happen they attack first before realizing what is actually going on.

What we (I) need to do is to really take a look at these situations from the other person’s perspective first and then make our next decision based on that information. I think it would really save all of us a lot of grief in the long run. I mean after all, are the things we fight about really as important as we think they are at that immediate moment? Probably not. And isn’t it better not to have to apologize for being an idiot?

It Takes Ordinary Men To Make Heroes

“When you talk about combat leadership under fire on the beach at Normandy, I don’t see how the credit can go to anyone other than the company-grade officers and senior NCOs who led the way.  It is good to be reminded that there are such men, that there always have been, and always will be.  We sometimes forget, I think, that you can manufacture weapons, and you can purchase ammunition, but you can’t buy valor and you can’t pull heroes off an assembly line.”

Sgt. John Ellery, 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Division

Valor.  Heroes.  Men.  Three words which described perfectly those who took the battle directly to Adolf Hitler and his troops on June 6, 1944.  These men from my grandfather’s generation are some of my greatest heroes; because when they were called upon, they laid everything aside to defend our nation and its allies from the tyranny and oppression which was trying to take over the world.

Most of these men however did not consider themselves heroes but just ordinary men doing what men do; protecting their loved ones at whatever the cost.  Many gave their lives in order to win this war and we are forever in their debt because of the sacrifices they made.

It has been seventy some years since the end of World War II and a lot of these men have now gone on to their graves.  We are three generations away from this conflict which involved the entire world and look at the men of today.  Now I know a lot of younger men may call me an old coot (I am 52 now) but what passes for men these days doesn’t even compare to men of my grandfather’s generation.

And before you vilify me or say I’m out of touch; I was considered a rebel at one time with my long hair, thoughts and ideas.  My grandfather and I butted heads on more than one occasion about my ideas and hairstyle.  But I’m not really talking about those things even though I think skinny jeans and man buns are ridiculous.  What concerns me the most is what men used to be has slowly drifted away to be replaced with selfishness and men more concerned with getting their own needs satisfied.

I read somewhere that during World War II, many of the soldiers facing death were barely  old enough to buy beer. Yet they joined the military because it was the right thing to do.  Today’s males of the same age cry to social media when their feelings get hurt, and run looking for a safe place to hide.  What has happened to men today?

Okay I realize I just made a general statement about the men of today, I do know some young men who are what men should be.  Yet, if you were to take a casual glance at what passes for men these days, you would agree there are many more guys concerned with their social status, looks and getting what they want out of life than there are men willing to lay down their lives for their families and society at large.

My definition of a real man is one who is willing to lay down his life and who will put other’s needs before his own. It’s not glamorous and most of the time you won’t be in the spotlight but it’s what we as men were created to do. If we will rise to the occasion and put other’s needs before our own, we can make the world a better place, just like the men who fought in WWII did. We still need ordinary men taking their place and making a difference in lives, these are the guys who are the real heroes.

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Part of the Working Dead?

“Time to make the donuts.”  These words were uttered by the Dunkin Donuts spokesman, Fred the baker for sixteen years.  Their commercials showed Fred getting out of bed early each morning and as he was leaving for work he would say this famous catchphrase.  I used to say this when it was time for me to go to work as well, and I think for a while my kids thought I worked in a donut shop as well as the shoe store.

Going to work and doing the same thing day in and day out can be monotonous to say the least.  In a conversation at a graduation party the other night, I was talking with the grandfather of the girl we were celebrating, and he told me in August, it would be his thirtieth year employed by the company he worked for.  He said, “Last week, I was driving to work, like I’ve done five days a week for the past thirty years, and as I pulled in the parking lot, I thought, ‘how did I get here’?”  He said he felt like he was on autopilot; he remembered leaving his house, but nothing else.

Have you ever felt like this?  I call it being part of the working dead.  You’re moving through your work life like a zombie with no real sense of direction or purpose.  You clock in, do your job and collect your pay check.  But before you know it, thirty years have passed and what do you have to show for it, a gold watch?  Do they even give out watches at retirement any more?

I understand as men we have to provide for our family; this should be one of our primary goals in life.  But this doesn’t mean we have to trudge through each day without a little zest in our lives too.  You need to be looking for little things which can bring joy to your work life and revel in them.  It would be awesome to get on a cruise ship any time I want, but this isn’t realistic.  However laughing hysterically when a co-worker hooks a fake snake to another guy who is scared of them can make your day.

I guess to bottom line it for you; you’ve got to find things to help you make it through the monotony of your work life.  Planning big events in life are great and you should, but don’t spend time only waiting for those big events and miss out on the little opportunities to find some joy every day.  Don’t stay a part of the work place living dead, come to life while doing your job. After all, it’s the little things which make life worth living.