Attitude Is King

I remember a time when I was in high school watching our basketball team playing. The majority of the team became frustrated when the team captain refused to pass the ball, instead choosing to showboat and basically play the opposing team by himself. The man had tons of ability, but no leadership skills at all, and it ended up costing us the game. Now the really funny thing was watching him cuss his teammates out afterwards, saying they didn’t know the first thing about playing as a team.

One thing I’ve realized in all my years is that your attitude about things is way more important than ability to do them. I’ve seen men with way more skills get passed over for the guy with a good attitude. Ability is great, but if you’re attitude doesn’t match up you might as well be spitting in the wind.

There’s a story in the Bible about King Saul, the first king of Israel, whose attitude got him into trouble. He was instructed by God, through the prophet Samuel to destroy the Amalekites, and leave no one and nothing alive. Look at this:

“Then Saul slaughtered the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, east of Egypt. He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭15:7-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God said to destroy everything, but look at what happened next:

“When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!” “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded. “It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the Lord your God. We have destroyed everything else.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭15:13-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Saul did not do what God had instructed him to do, in fact he even refers to God as the Lord your God. Saul had the ability, he just didn’t have the right attitude, and it cost him.

“Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! Listen to what the Lord told me last night!” “What did he tell you?” Saul asked. And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?” “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭15:16-23‬ ‭NLT

The sad thing about this story is Saul had the potential to be a great king. He had the loyalty and respect of the people, but he lacked one thing, the proper attitude. And it cost him everything. He was never the same after this, even though he went on to be king for many, many years.

If we are to get ahead in life, we must change our attitude to reflect positively in every situation. This doesn’t mean you have to like every situation, it just means you have to keep a positive and upbeat attitude as you navigate through the various challenges and people you face in day to day living.

So, chin up, look for the good in everything and keep that attitude beaming forth! For the Kingdom and the King!

God Favors the Bold

A while back on a Sunday in the year 2020, (the year was posted for posterity and when read in years to come) my Pastor made the following statement, “God favors the bold!” Today in the message he brought to us, he showed a video where several ministers from around the world were quoting him and thanking our church for standing up and doing things to help people during this pandemic. And with the things we’ve seen, it is a true statement that God does indeed favor the bold.

Since the beginning of COVID-19 and the shut downs, I have been unusually quiet with my posting on social media and writing my blogs. Oh, I’ve posted a few things and written a little, but it has all been for the most part pretty tame. Honestly, this is in most part because I have not really seen what, if any changes I could make with my little presence in the cyber world. My quietness is not because of a lack of things to say though, as I have never had trouble sharing my thoughts, even though many people disagree.

As Pastor Paul spoke this morning, I began to question my reasons for staying quiet, and part of the answer if I was to tell the truth (which I always do) was out of fear of alienating people who follow me.

Pastor’s message was based out of the story in the book of Daniel chapter 3; where the three Hebrew children refused to bow down to the King’s golden idol and ended up being thrown into the fiery furnace, only not to die, but bringing great revival to the land. All this happened because they stood up for what they believed in.

Ultimately in my life for the past several months, I have been staying quiet mostly trying not to make any waves, or make anyone mad. This morning I decided to change all of that. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not going to intentionally go out of my way to make anyone mad or upset with me, but I have decided it is time for me, as a Christian man to stand up for those things I believe in.

Pastor Paul made a great comment today when he said, “Stop limiting your compassion to only those who agree with you.” I want anyone who is reading this (all the tens of you -ha!) to understand my compassion for all mankind is full, and regardless of whether or not we agree on everything I do not hate you, nor do I wish anything but goodness for you. This is another reason I have been quiet; fear of hurting someone.

Let’s just agree here and now how we can have differing views and still be civil. I know I will undoubtably upset you with something I say, but know this is not my goal. Truthfully my goal is to get conversations started, and I’m pretty sure if we agree to disagree, but stay compassionate towards one another this is a doable thing.

Here we go, come on Jesus! I am a Christian man, who believes what is written in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Everything I write is going to be based on my belief in the Bible, this is a non-negotiable for me, but feel free to question my beliefs as I will feel free to question yours; all continuing to remain compassionate towards each other.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Problems Are Only Opportunities In Work Clothes

I had a thought this morning on the way to work, and it involved situations where I tend to get aggravated or irritated in life. What occurred to me, was in these times what really causes these flare up of my temperament is me becoming inconvenienced. It rarely is the actual situation I get upset with, but having my life altered to a reality I had not previously considered happening.

To say we humans are creatures of habit is an understatement to be sure. We like to have things the same; day in and day out. We live for the opportunities of being able to enjoy moments and have them play out the way we think they should in our heads. And anything which causes a disruption is looked upon as evil and something to be conquered rather than lived through.

Now to say at 56 I am just now beginning to understand this could be deemed embarrassing, or it could be looked upon as if the remainder of my life is about to become even better than I could ever imagine. You know if I’m going to go one way, why not go the way of positivity instead of negativity, huh?

When something disrupts my preconceived notion of what I think should be happening, what should my response be? I’ll tell you what it usually is, chaos. In any given situation in my past, my self talk might go something like this, “Well great! Now I’ve got to go and do such and so. Why is it ‘they’ can’t do this for themselves? Why am I always called upon to do these stupid tasks?” When in reality, perhaps I should look at it as, “WOW! They really trust me to get the job done.”

Being inconvenienced in life is a given. After all, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But be of good cheer, for I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” John 16:33. We are called to be problem solvers, not problem explainers.

Recently I have begun listening to a complaint once, then looking for a solution from the person bringing the complaint to me. If they’re either unable or unwilling to devise a solution, and instead continue to complain about the situation, I extricate myself from the conversation. After all, if all we ever do is bitch about problems without finding answers for them, what use are we really?

Complaining about things is easy, it’s actually the default setting in humans. Just like any piece of equipment, the default settings are there to get the system up and running, but default settings aren’t written in stone, you can customize them to whatever you need them to be. Just like I can customize my remote control for instance, I can customize my responses to those things which cause the disruptions in my life. And when I change the way I see things, and begin looking for solutions instead of just griping, then this is when my life begins to be fuller and richer, and as in work, I begin to see the benefits of being a problem solver and not just a problem griper.

Let’s get out there today and be the answer to the problems of the world. In finding solutions to other people’s problems, we actually find our lives becoming more fulfilled.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

It’s Up To You

One of the greatest misunderstandings in the Christian community I believe is learning what God says for yourself. The world we live in today has countless resources from which to choose how you hear the Word of God. Whether it’s podcasts, video series, books, blogs or even attending a weekly church service, no one can say the information is not out there.

Yet for all the information we have at the tips of our fingers, there are more people ignorant of what God has for them than I believe ever has been. Have you ever gotten one of those “forward this” things in order to get God’s blessings? Or been coerced into giving to something because of the smoothness of a speaker’s convincing words? How can you tell what’s real and what’s not?

It takes a firm understanding of what God’s Word says. But not just what it says, but knowing for yourself what God is saying through those words. In the banking world, when they teach tellers how to spot counterfeit bills, they don’t show them any counterfeit money at all. Instead, they show them real bills and what to look for. Knowing the genuine and authentic bills means you will know a fake when you see one.

It’s the same thing with God’s Word. You have to learn the real unadulterated Word of God for yourself, so that when the counterfeits show up you will recognize them.

Ultimately this falls on you and me personally. I mean if someone is teaching the Word of God incorrectly, you need to be able to determine this for yourself. The great news is, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us and He will lead, guide and direct our steps, but we have to give Him something to work with. If you aren’t reading the Bible, (looking at the real thing) what does He have to work with.

In the next series of blogs, I’m going to talk about what God’s Word says. And don’t just believe me because I say I’m right, check out what I’m saying against the Word of God and the Holy Spirit on the inside of you, and see if He won’t take your someplace you’ve never been before.

For the Kingdom and the King! Shalom!

Authenticity

I noticed on the news this morning Hillary Clinton was in a small town diner handing food and drinks to the patrons there. She of course was dressed to the nines and really looked out of place in what she was doing.

The funny thing to me is how people in power doing these types of things must think it makes them look like they’re down to earth people and authentic. But when I see it all I do is roll my eyes and think, “Oh look, another photo op for the powerful.”

In this day and age in which we live, I think one of the biggest things missing is true and honest authenticity. And it’s permeated every area of our lives too. At work the boss tells you how much you’re appreciated when there is a group of people and then doesn’t have the time to even say hello as he passes you in a hallway. At home with your family, you do just enough to get by so you can feel good about yourself as you spend more time on yourself.

And don’t forget your friends, when you focus on what they can do for you instead of how you can help them succeed in life.

I’m reminded of the movie Remember the Titans where Coach Boone has been telling Coach Yoast that he may be a mean sucker, but he’s a mean sucker to every player on the team, not just some of them. He was authentic and real with every player, not just the ones he thought could handle it or were more important to him.

This is what we need in today’s society, men and women who are not afraid to tell it like it is, do whatever it takes to get the job done without caring how it affects them. And this is the bottom line I think, lack of authenticity is at its core selfishness and an unwillingness to be true for fear it will cause you to look weak. And if I’m not mistaken, it was Jesus who said, “Whenever I’m weak then He is strong.” He perfects us through weakness and being real, honest and authentic.

Let’s get out there and be real today!

Come On Guys!

On my 30th anniversary vacation with my bride, I had the opportunity to notice something which has bothered me for many years. While riding buses to and from Disney, many men stayed seated forcing ladies to hold onto the handrails while the public transportation delivered us to our destinations.

On the worst trip home to our hotel one night, the bus was packed and I thought I heard cows mooing in the back, a lady said to her daughters who were standing next to her, “I guess there’s no gentlemen on this bus.” This got me to thinking, is chivalry dead? Are men just selfish and don’t care anymore? Or more likely, are boys no longer being taught what it means to be a man who acts like the knights of old?

One thing my dad did teach me was how to treat a lady. And it has always bothered me when I see men seated while women are standing. It’s not because they’re weaker or anything, truth be told, women are way stronger than men will ever be. You try pushing a person out of your body and then let’s talk. No, the reason to offer your seat, is it is the right thing to do.

Knights lived by a code which governed their every action. Most men today live by the code of “I’m gonna get mine and to heck with everyone else!” This is why you see these boy-men remain seated while women stand.

There’s a knightly code in the movie Dragonheart that I love, and it would be a good one for all men to aim to live by. It goes like this:

“A Knight is sworn to valour, His heart knows only virtue, His blade defends the helpless, His might upholds the weak, His word speaks only truth, His wrath undoes the wicked.”

Maybe some of these words don’t mean anything to you. Words like valour, virtue, truth, but they should. Every man should live his life with valour, virtue and truth. Without these things we are men to be most pitied. Dads, teach your sons well, lead them on the quest of becoming true, chivalrous men in this age of darkness. Do this and they will become shining beacons of hope for the next generation. There’s a great book called Raising Modern Day Knights, pick up a copy and train your sons.

And the next time you have an opportunity to offer your seat, hold open a door or do any other chivalrous act for a lady, do it and you will feel something triumphant rise up inside of you. And you will make this world just a little bit better in the process.

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.

 

 

If I Can Do It, You Can Too!

Do you ever wonder if you actually have what it takes to (fill in the blank)? I know I do, scared-boy1and it’s happened more than I’d care to admit in my fifty-plus years. At times I feel like I’m just a scared little boy hoping his mommy or daddy will come to his rescue. Feeling this way drives me nuts, especially when I’m called upon to either; one, know what to do, or two, need to have the right words to say in any given situation. But I’ve learned whenever I’m feeling inadequate or stress is trying to eat me up, to turn to the truth of God’s Word and things always turn out for my good.

Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I didn’t say my problems magically disappear leaving me with nothing but sunshine and rainbows. No. Often I find myself in a maelstrom, my emotions swirling in numerous directions all at once. It’s in these times I remind myself of the words Jesus said in John 16:33.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

What I’ve learned is, if I stay “in Jesus”, then I too will overcome the world. Notice He didn’t promise to take the problem away, He said you would just overcome it. Sometimes we have to go through the challenges of life in order to find the victory on the other side.

At the time of this writing, I am almost fifty-four years old. And in all those years I’ve had plenty of opportunities to live out this overcoming type of life; some of the storms I’ve been in were easier to weather than others, but regardless of their intensity God has always seen me through and been faithful to His Word. I won’t say those times were comfortable, because they weren’t, but they were useful in making me the man I am today.

I can honestly say without God’s Word to guide me through this life, I wouldn’t have made it through many of the things I’ve been forced to endure. The truth is, I want to share my life and experiences with you in an effort to help you see how you can overcome in life too. God is no respecter of persons, meaning simply, He doesn’t like one person more than another, and what He has done for me, He will do for you too. But let me say it doesn’t just happen because we want it to, we have to do the work so to speak. What I mean is God’s Word works, but only for the person who is actively seeking God and being what the Bible calls a “doer of the Word”.

This life is yours, if you want it. But you have to be willing to follow what God says in His Word. And you can do it too, all you have to do is begin reading the book. And in this day and age, reading God’s Word is easier than ever. With the current technology, you can have at your fingertips (literally) more translations of the Bible than ever before. Youversion phoneDownload the YouVersion app here for your smart phone and you will be amazed at how many versions you will have access to; everything from the easy to read translation to the hardcore study bible scholars prefer. And even if you really don’t like to read, there are several translations which have audio included and they will read it to you.

The bottom line here, or the take away if you will, is if you want the life Jesus talked about in John 16:33 you are going to have to put in the time and effort to learn what His Word says. The Bible is like an instruction manual, it tells us how our lives should be lived. Sure we can figure out some of this life without the manual, but if we want to truly experience all the benefits, we will need a little more instruction. Join me in the coming weeks as we take this journey together and I share how I’ve overcome some of the biggest obstacles in my life, with the help of God and His Word. And in the process it is my hope you will find out that you can do it too!

Living in a story much larger than my own…