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!

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

In Matthew 24:12 Jesus while talking about the signs of the end times before His return makes this statement, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” Well I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but it would appear love is in short supply these days. People just don’t care about their fellow humans as much as they used to.

Social media, which was touted as bringing the world closer together, has in fact driven us all further apart I’m afraid. Something which could in fact impact the Earth in such a spectacular way, has instead become perverted and become a tool used to drive wedges between people. I for one was excited about the internet when it first became popular, and for a time I found a community of believers who understood me and where I was coming from. It was a joy.

I still have a presence in cyberspace, and for the most part I play nice while visiting, but much to the chagrin of my wife, from time to time I have been known to get on my soapbox and share my opinions with the world. One thing I have learned is to not take myself too seriously, and for sure not take the things said to me personally. I feel if you are going to put yourself out there, you have to have thick skin and be able to roll with the punches.

One thing I have noticed however which concerns me greatly is the lack of respect for people which seems to be growing in the world today. This “love of many growing cold” as Jesus said. In one interaction on Facebook a young lady and I were talking about the topic at hand when she posted, “Okay, boomer.” When I read it, I had to look up the definition of what these two words meant so I could understand what she was actually saying to me. Here’s what I found: The phrase “OK Boomer” is a pejorative retort used to dismiss or mock the attitudes of older people, particularly baby boomers.

I try to not be out of touch, or just set in my ways for the sake of being stubborn, but I also think I have a little bit of knowledge just for the sake of having traveled around our sun 56 times. I’m not the smartest fella, but one thing I learned growing up was to respect those men and women who were older than me, not dismiss them out of hand because their ideas weren’t the same as mine. And believe me I thought a lot of older people’s ideas weren’t altogether great when I was younger too.

I get wanting to affect change in society, to want to make the planet better for the next generation. I think anyone who just wants to take and not give something back should be challenged. But the way to challenge the status quo is to talk it out, listening on both sides and coming to a conclusion of what will make things better. Throwing temper tantrums, dismissing out of hand any idea which is different than yours and then just generally disrespecting anyone because of your ideals is just not right. Those who do this need to check the love in their hearts, both young and old.

I know I don’t have all the answers, truthfully no one does. And I commend this younger generation who is trying to make changes to leave the world better than they found it. All I would ask is in the process, see what those who came before you did, and learn the history they lived through. My fear is society will just dismiss out of hand the things we’ve endured in the past, and in so doing will force my grandchildren to live through some of those horrible things because they didn’t learn the lessons.

For the Kingdom and the King, shaom.

Who Do I Look Like?

Every day I look into the mirror, and what do I see? Well first off a very handsome galoot, who only gets better looking with age. Ha! No, every day as I gaze into the mirror to make sure my hair is in place and there are no major anomalies with my face, I also see the man no one else does; the inside man, the part of me which God sees, my heart. This is what God looks at and is most impressed with. I’m reminded in the Bible where David the shepherd boy is called a man after God’s own heart. Oh to hear those words spoken over me by my Heavenly Father.

One thing I’ve thought for several years now, but haven’t really addressed is the current state of the body of Christ as we know it. For years it seemed the church (and me included) was so legalistic. Follow the rules, do what’s right, never let anyone see you have any flaws or mistakes. In other words, be perfect, because Jesus is perfect. Out of this grew the resurgence of the message of grace, and we left the one ditch and ended up in another.

Now everything is okay, we don’t call sin sin anymore for fear of offending someone. It’s as if we’re afraid to speak up because it might hurt someone’s feelings. It’s as if we didn’t learn anything from Jesus, I mean He addressed the sin in people’s lives, but did so in a way they didn’t feel condemned or worthless. He went around helping those who needed the help without becoming like them.

The church I feel has in effect become the world we live in, instead of being different. Truthfully when you watch a lot of ministers lately, can you really tell any difference between them and any one of thousands of motivational speakers out there today? It seems we are quick to try and be relevant to this generation; adopting their style, speech, and mannerisms yet in the process failing to speak the truth of God’s Word for fear the people we’re speaking to might leave to go somewhere else.

Not to dismiss the Covid-19 pandemic and a world in fear, but I have begun to wonder about the people who call themselves born again believers. I’ve heard a lot of them say things which prove they are in just as much fear as the rest of the world. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have problems, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” It should not catch any believer off guard when things like this happen, Jesus told us it would.

Matthew 24:3-14 says,

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world? ” Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

This doesn’t mean things are bad at all, it means we are closer to the return of Jesus than ever before! These are exciting times we live in. I heard a testimony last night from the director of the Tulsa Dream Center, an organization which, has been feeding thousands of people who have been laid off and are in need. He said at the start of the week, their food supplies were gone. Friday was coming and they had no food left to help. Then they got a phone call from company after company wanting to help by donating food. And yesterday when the time came they were able to help feed over 10,000 people. Talk about loaves and fishes.

I believe what Covid-19 has done for many believers is start to shake them awake. They are starting to open their eyes and look into the mirror to see just exactly who is looking back at them. It’s like the I Love Lucy episode with Harpo Marx, click here to watch it. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but maybe we’re just a cheap imitation, mimicking Him to fool the masses, but really missing the point about being Jesus to those around us? Are we the real deal or just a copy cat trying to live our best life instead of bringing the best life to those around us?

For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom!

Stop Beating Them Up

I feel I should start this out with a disclaimer. For most of my life, I have been misunderstood more often than not. I’m not a mean person by nature, I just tend to say what I think quite often without really taking into consideration the thoughts and feelings of others. This is not to say I don’t care about them, because I really do, it’s just in my rush to help people a lot of times my abruptness can come across as mean or uncaring. Honestly whenever someone has called me out because of this type of behavior, I’m always amazed at how I’ve been misunderstood.

Having said this, let me start right here from the get go and say, I’m not out to hurt you or make you feel like less than a person, I really am writing today to help you. I believe if you read my post in the spirit in which it is intended and evaluate yourself, you will be able to see some personal growth in your life. What I’m not saying is I know it all and you don’t, I am constantly learning every day and working to improve myself too, so let’s begin.

I won’t make any bones about it, I’m a born again, Jesus believing, Bible reading Christian and I’m not ashamed to admit it. What I am ashamed of is some of the people who also call themselves Christians and their inability to act decent to people; both Christian and sinner alike. You know the type, they are quick to give you a judgmental glance if you don’t do everything exactly like they do, or talk about something in which they disapproves. And I’m not just talking about they way they respond to people who have yet to believe in Jesus, they’re just as bad when they interact with fellow Christians.

There is a story in the Bible about a godly man named Job who entered into a season of his life where bad things were happening all around him; he lost his kids, his money and his health. Some of his friends came to visit, and by the end of their conversation,  everything was his fault and this is why he was in the state he was in. I’ve met too many Christians who are just like Job’s friends. Some situation arises regarding your health, family, finances, or whatever and they are quick to ask you how your prayer life is, or if you are reading your Bible and praying every day? As if it’s something you’re doing or not doing which has caused the situation. Don’t get me wrong, we can allow sin into our lives and the consequences attached to it can hinder our lives, but not everything that happens in our lives is because of what we do or don’t do.

The thing which irritates me more than anything is someone who sees a fellow Christian struggling and then begins to beat them over the head with their Bible. Not in the literal sense, but they quote Scripture as if it were a club, trying to knock some sense into them I guess. And before you blast me, in my younger days I also did this. I’ve since learned to discern what the person needs and then give this to them. Sometimes they need to hear Scripture, other times they just need to be heard. Learning how to understand what they need is a greater gift than knowing everything about the Bible and yet being unable to connect with the person. It’s cliche to say it, but it’s true, “People don’t care what you know until they know you care.”

In Hebrews 4:12 it calls God’s Word a two edged sword. One translation actually says God’s Word is like a surgeon’s scalpel. A scalpel must be used with great skill, it’s not meant to be used as a blunt object, it must be used with finesse, only then will it bring the healing the person needs.  So let’s lay down our clubs and begin to work at truly helping others, by giving them what they need and not what we think they need.

For the King and the Kingdom!

Stop Trying to Cook a Burrito in Your Crockpot

If there is any area where men miss it in life, it’s in their relationships with their wives. First off, most of the men I meet today are just hooking up with gals and not even marrying them, but that’s a whole different blog for another day.

The men I meet who are married mostly complain about the lack of sex in their lives. Their wives are either not into it, are too tired or just so mad at them they really don’t want to get naked with their husband. And what makes matters worse, is these men are usually their own worst enemies and don’t even realize it.

There are several reasons for this but the main one is probably communicating with their bride. Not talking at them, but to them. Actually taking the time to turn the tv off and listen to what they are saying, without just trying to fix things.

One thing that I’ve learned in almost 30 years of marriage is that communication comes long before the act of sex. I heard it said once that sex starts in the kitchen. Meaning, it’s doing things around the house and talking with your bride which is going to help get her “in the mood”.

Men are hardwired for sex, the wind blows and we’re ready to go, women on the other hand can take a little while to get there. It’s like the difference between a crock pot and a microwave. Both will cook your food, just one does it really quick while the other takes some time. Men are microwaves and women are crockpots.

It’d be like trying to heat up a frozen burrito in your crockpot when you’re starving. You can throw it in there for a few minutes, but it’s going to be icy cold in the middle when you eat it. And who wants an icy cold middle in your burrito?

Men it’s going to take a little while to get her to the place you can get in 30 seconds, so be patient and do the little things around the house which mean something to her. And then take some time to have a conversation with her, listening to what she says without trying to fix it.

Doing these two little things can enhance your sex life like nothing else, only one last word of advice, be sincere and don’t do these things just so you can have sex. She will see right through you and you will not be having sex for a long time.

Remember fellas, we’re in this for the long haul, get to know your wife; what makes her tick and what ticks her off. Learn to do the things that make her tick and not do the things that tick her off and your sex life will get better and better.

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.

 

 

The Little Foxes

In the book of Songs 2:15 NLT Solomon says, “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” I find it very interesting this is in the book about love and marriage. One thing I’ve learned in almost 30 years of marriage, is it’s not the big things that try to make a shambles of my relationship with my bride, it’s the stupid little things. Just like water dripping on a rock constantly doesn’t appear to be doing anything, but over time it will wear away at the rock until it is destroyed. This one thing would change the course of marriages around the world.

Stop allowing the little things to mess up the relationship you have with your spouse. You know what I’m talking about too, those little irritants which eventually become big things which cause the death of marriages. The pet peeves, which to other people are nothing, but to you cause aggravation. I’ll give you an example from my own life. For some reason my bride never puts her seatbelt on until we’re driving down the road. I mean, how hard is it to buckle up before putting the car into gear? But even though it bugs me that she does this, I’ve learned to just put it out of my mind, looking at it as one of those little idiosyncrasies which make me love her all the more. It’s a matter of perspective, much like everything else in life.

Now looking at this Scripture and using the law of opposites we can see if little things can destroy your marriage, then it’s possible that doing little things can also make your marriage better. For instance, I don’t wait for my bride to say something about taking out the trash, I make sure it is done before she has too. I look for little things I can do to help to make her life a little bit better. I’m amazed at how many men gripe and complain about their wives. Getting all indignant when they’ve been asked to empty the dishwasher or do a load of wash. Really? Is it more important to make this a big thing when in actuality it is just a tiny thing which can help you in the long run? After all we all know if momma ain’t happy, then nobody is happy. Right?

Let me write this where the fellas can understand it just a little bit better. If you want to have sex with your wife, then doing little things to make your marriage better will help with this. What woman  wants to have sex with a guy who gripes about having to do things around the house? Doing things for your bride pays dividends unlike anything else out there in the world. And ladies sex motivates guys, it’s the truth regardless of what you think. Maybe you could use this to your advantage, and I don’t mean as a tool to get what you want, but if your husband is making an effort, then do a little something’ somethin’ for him, you’ll be amazed.

Let’s start doing little things to make our marriages better, and stop doing the things which hinder it. After all, most of those little things are really stupid and we shouldn’t give them any attention any way, right?

Living out God’s Word in everyday life!

 

What Will They Say About You?

“It will be as if she never existed…” Tom Hagen to Senator Geary in The Godfather 2

I thought about this line from the movie this morning as I drove past an empty lot on my way to work. You see it didn’t used to be just a lot; at one time there was a house with one of the nicest little old ladies I’ve ever known living there.

Her house was about a block away from my shoe store and she started to stop in and look at shoes before going to do her weekly  grocery shopping. I looked forward to seeing her each week, as I said she was about one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever known.

Driving by where her house used to be made me think about Helen and the kitten my family and I gave her once. She loved that little kitty and once a month without fail she would bring in new pictures of it to show me and my wife. It was as if that cat was her baby and she treated her as such.

I’m not sure what happened to Helen, I left the shoe store and got another job and never saw her after that. I’d heard she moved into an assisted living residence, and wondered at that time what had happened to her cat. 

But it wasn’t until I drove by where her home was and saw the empty lot I began to think about the impact we have on others. My family and I impacted her life by giving her a cat, and she in turned changed our lives by becoming our friend.

I miss Helen and those silly cat pictures. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize how important relationships really are. I think back over my fifty some years on this planet and wish now I would have invested more time in the lives of those I’ve met instead of being so focused on making a life for me and my family.

As you go about your life, remember to take time and make solid relationships with those you meet. They will pay greater rewards than any money or power you can ever gain.

Mabookies On Parade

The picture may not be the best quality picture; after all I used my Redneck photo copier to take it, i.e. I took a picture of a picture using my phone, but it is one of my favorite memories from a time long ago. The three people pictured in this photo are me and my friends Terry and Angel, and was taken 16 years ago while on a mission trip in the Philippines. I added the words “Mabookies On Parade” and had it printed for the three or us. We often referred to it as our “album cover” even though we never recorded any music.

The term “mabookie” came from the remastered version of A New Hope (Star Wars episode 4 which is the first movie, but the fourth in the franchise). In it, Jabba the Hutt referred to Han Solo as mabookie and the subtitles defined the term as “my boy”. Terry and I adopted this phrase and began calling each other by this nickname and it took on a life of it’s own. Later we added Angel to the group; even though she’s a girl she was our mabookie too.

One of the reasons I love this picture is because it reminds me of all the laughs we had together. I know you can’t tell from the picture, after all we were making an album cover at the time and were going for the serious artist pose. But when the three of us got together, there was laughter galore.

It probably helped that we were kindred spirits and had the same quirky sense of humor. There have been very few people on this planet who “get me” but these two did and my life is so much better because of them. I believe if every person on this planet had two friends like these the world would be a better place. I’m truly blessed to have been a part of this cadre of fun loving people.

Terry died a few months ago, taking our trio down to a duo, and while it’s been hard with him gone, Angel and I had the opportunity the other night to get together and watch our favorite movie So I Married An Axe Murderer together. It was so nice to have her there with my family; eating, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It was just like old times and I hadn’t realized how much I missed the good times we all had together.

And as I sit here writing this and looking at this picture I can’t help but thank God He brought these two people into my life so many years ago. They truly have helped to make me a better man, and the laughter they brought into my life I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Thank you Terry and Angel for all you’ve done for me; mabookies for eternity.