ClydeStyle

Healing broken relationships and building better lives – ClydeStyle.

The prodigal son has many children

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There are some people in this world who learn from other people’s mistakes. This is great if you are one of these people because it means you will avoid a lot of your own hardship because you could learn from the lessons of others.

It seems there are not many people with this gift. For the rest of us, we just have to learn the hard way: By using every last one of our senses to experience our struggles. Is it really important that we touch trouble? Yes! And we really have to see calamity up close? Definitely!

Well, it seems as though the prodigal son had many children because his seed is all around today. Many of us keep getting caught up in trials and temptations without having or experiencing a learning curve. And true to our heritage we go way out into foreign territory to do our “stuff” and when we get into trouble we always go to the wrong source for help. Then we stay out there until we land in the pit.

The question of the day is: Why do we stay out there so long when we know that God is looking and waiting for us to return?

I bet you know someone out there right now. You may be the one out there. It’s not cool to stay out there. Don’t  you want to come home? Stop letting your senses dictate what you do and start using the intellect God gave you. His call to all of is this: It’s better back at the palace! Please, come home today!

The Greatest of all time!

I would like to say happy birthday to Muhammed Ali who I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, but his life has been a strong influence on me and I still admire him today.

He is arguably the greatest fighter to put on a pair of boxing gloves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmaHGY7BEog&feature=youtube_gdata_player

When I was growing up in the 70s I remember watching the wide world of sports on ABC with my brothers and my dad and we watched all of the great heavyweight fights from that era. I remember watching sports reporter Howard Cosell go back and forth with the champ and I remember hearing folks say that they argue like an old married couple.

Ali would shout about how great he was and how attractive he was. He would boast about his accomplishments and what he planned to do next. And he would do most of this in the form of a rhyme!

I didn’t understand the psychology behind his actions until I was much older. When I ask myself how many images were on TV that depicted African Americans in a positive light, my answer was not many. Other than James Brown proclaiming that he was Black and proud, how many shows on TV in the 70s brought this before America? None.

You see, if Ali was great and he matched the color of my skin, then subconsciously I had the potential to be great too because we were the same color.

The point is clear: Ali made greatness possible for every minority. The path he lit stayed bright for me and my pursuits. He saved me from a lifetime of hang ups regarding my appearance, my intelligence, inferiority and my possibilities.

I can because Ali could. And I’m glad he took the time to send the future generations a message. A message that I got loud and clear!

Thanks Ali! For me, you will always be the greatest of all time!

Are you really faithful?

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So there is this story about I guy who could teach people how to spin grass into gold. The people could not believe that he had such a skill. The man he taught reacted pretty much like you thought he would. With dollar signs in his eye he spun all of his grass,  his families grass and his neighbors grass into gold. He made tons of people rich with his new gift. And everyone was happy.

What does this story have to do with faith you ask?

We are encouraged by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:6-7 to walk in Christ. And the way Paul says to do it is remember and apply what you have been taught with all thanksgiving.

Do you think that the man in the story was joyous about what he had learned?  Do you think he thought any about the person who taught him? What do you think was his attitude about doing the work?

The point is that when something is a benefit to you,  no one has to make or force you to do it. You do it because it brings you joy.

Our faith in Christ Jesus is based on the gift God gave and the effects of that gift in our lives. As a result, we love and honor the work done by God and imitate it.

This means that the joy and understanding I have on the inside of me will manifest itself in what I do. And by looking at that you see my faith.

So I ask again. Are you really faithful?

So let’s talk about this Sunday thing…

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So today is the first Sunday of 2015 and it wasn’t promised to any of us. What an awesome thing to be thankful for! Clearly we didn’t make it through the last year alone.

Sadly, on this day, some will not seize the opportunity this day affords by worshipping God because he is worthy. That same some will say, “oh, I believe in God but I don’t have to go to church to worship him!” I’m not sure who said this lie first, but make no mistake, it is a lie.

Now I will tell you that God does not want us to do anything that we do not want to do. He will only accept our best and everything needs to be spiritually understood and heart felt. So to know God is to worship God. God’s goodness is what spearheads my praise and honor to him. I praise (worship) him everyday of my life as I seek to live in a way that allows my light to shine so that others will see him working in me. I honor him through dwelling among his people and demonstrating my Christian virtues on them. How do you do that from home?

In other words, if we are to endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace and stir up one another to do good work (Eph. 4 and Heb. 10) am I really ready to give Jesus my standard answer for why I forsake his gatherings?

While you chew on that, I’m getting ready to worship my father in heaven and encourage my brothers and sisters. I know where all the true worshippers will be, and oh I want to be in that number!

A new beginning?

Starting all over again is rough.

When you reach the stage of starting over, it is normally when you realize that you’ve made a mess of things and it’s time to regroup.

Reflection becomes your best friend during this time as you attempt to understand what brought you to this point and how to avoid it the next time.

You know that things can be replaced, but the people…it’s hard dealing with the people. It’s hard to expect someone not to respond with “I told you so” if they actually told you so.

It’s difficult to deal with people who choose not to forget your mistakes and maybe even want you to suffer.

I struggle dealing with this because I know we are supposed to be a Christian nation. A nation who claims to believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as the savior of the body.

But we have forgotten his teachings.

We who claim to be Christians live under a different creed than the rest of the world. We say that we are different, but when it comes to allowing, helping or accepting someone who is trying to change, we struggle.

Despite the fact that Jesus teaches love and forgiveness, to us a thief is always a thief, a murderer is always a murderer, a drug user or dealer stays the same, and a sex offender is just that.

Where did all the permanent categories come from? Why do we only understand forgiveness one way — God forgiving us? Why on earth do we expect a righteous God to be blind towards the way we treat one another?

Dear reader, I pray that you grant people in your life a shot at a new beginning. Shouldn’t we honor God by allowing our neighbors, family, friends, enemies and anyone else we’re not speaking to a chance at a new beginning?

Some day at Christmas

Some day at Christmas we won’t be farmerry-christmas

from making friends no matter what color they are.

We will be color blind and our hearts will see

that God made you and me.

 

Some day at Christmas we won’t be rude

and pass out to everyone who has a need for food.

We will not covet all the things that we see

because we live for him who died on that tree.

 

3142505786_793baeb9a7Some day at Christmas all wars will cease.

Our heart’s desire will be to seek peace.

We’ll take responsibility for all that we do

and make this world better for me and you.

 

Some day at Christmas the deed will be done.

Our lives will be judged by God’s only son.

We lived our lives for Christ and stood in his Grace

and spread love thoughout the human race.

Success vs. Significance

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Growing up in America we are conditioned to pursue happiness which really means success. That success has been the driving force of our wealth-seeking missions in this country. For some, success has defined who we are, it has placed value on souls and it has created some of our most hurtful stereotypes.

Imagine a man without a high school diploma trying to take care of his loving family of five, in the ghetto. Hollywood made a sitcom of it called “Good Times”. Once America was ready to see it, Hollywood produced a show about a successful Black family with the husband as a doctor and the wife as a lawyer and they called it “The Cosby Show”. And today we further celebrate the elevated position of the Black family as they further blend into mainstream American and abandon or struggle not to abandon who they are. Hollywood calls this show “Black-ish”.

Success has been the reward for many other shows (once mainstream America was ready to see it) for gays and lesbians, Hispanics, seniors and Asians. Success in television has led to major corporations (in real life) allowing minorities and women to advance to executive management. The sciences are also benefitting from this success as they are now accepting of studies done by minorities and research from other countries. Success has definitely changed America over the years. In many areas we can claim success.

Significance is a horse of a different color.

We have had great Americans of great significance which we are indebted to today. Innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, political leaders and civil rights activists have all changed this world for the better. You can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if the emphasis was on being significant and not successful. Success is something you do for yourself. Significance is something you do for someone else.

So I’m reminded of the good Dr. Jonas Salk who in 1952 developed the first effective vaccine for polio — he could have decided to be successful with it, but instead he wanted to be significant with it. So despite having millions of dollars because of his vaccine, he settled for the thousands of dollars he already had and when asked who owns the patent for the vaccine he said the people own the patent.

Therefore, to change the world, you have to desire to be significant. You have to decide to elevate others over yourself. You have to be willing to do for others what they can’t do for themselves. You know, sort of like Jesus.

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Covet the best gifts this year

While we are in the mist of shopping and making sure we  get that special gift for that special someone in our lives, it’s always good to reflect on the best gifts we can give.

After all,  this is the season for giving.  And while everyone is in a festive mood – and probably more receptive to hear things during this time of the year, I’d like to weigh in on the best gifts of the year.

Now, of course, there are experts in the retail business who can predict which toys will be top sellers and what line of clothing will make you the talk of the town. There are also specialists in the gadget department that can tell you about the best of the best in iPhones and Mp3 players, computers and Blu-ray brands and, of course, flat screen TVs.

I am interested in other types of gifts. The gifts that I’m talking about are more precious than silver or gold. These are the gifts that change lives. Wait for it … wait for it …

The first gift is love. There are many people living with anger, racism and hatred. These people hurt others because they have been hurt. And you know how misery loves company. If we would give these people unconditional love – for as long as it took – it would change their lives for the better. Only special people can do this. This gift requires you to love the un-loveable and allow your love to cover a multitude of sin. This requires you to love like Jesus.

Can you do that?

The second gift is that of forgiveness. How many people live guilty, waiting to hear those three words – I forgive you? How many of us are holding someone at bay, not forgiving them and making them feel really bad because they did something wrong?  And then we turn around and attempt to celebrate a holiday like Christmas. I wonder if I looked up the word hypocrite whose pick would I see by that word. Giving the gift of forgiveness requires us to forgive like Jesus.

Can you do that?

And finally, the last gift is the gift of your time. It’s always easier to write a check and let someone else to the work. The gift of your time requires you to actually stop living for yourself and give that time and energy to someone that needs it. People like kids that are growing up without a dad; single mothers who are having a hard time raising their kids alone; or a widow or widower. There are many people who are lonely, afraid to be alone and depressed. Image if the last person you knew or read about who committed suicide. Do you think they needed someone they could trust to talk too? Giving the gift of time requires us to give our time like Jesus.

Can you do that?

I’m thinking we would be a stronger nation if we coveted these three gifts. Now, I’m off to practice what I preach!

I’m thankful for…

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving.

This has always been a sore spot for me ever since my second year of high school. That’s the time that I learned about the betrayal and almost destruction of an entire race of people at the hands of the Pilgrims.

Since that time, I’ve learn to find good in a day marked to celebrate their evil. Thanksgiving is somewhat like the Trojan horse. Both involved a festive occasion marred by betrayal and a massacre.

But there is hope.

Instead of thinking about the historic events that make this holiday ugly, I choose to be thankful.

I am thankful that I knew to make the most of my opportunities.

I’m thankful that I didn’t have circumstances like abuse, grief, drugs or poverty to hinder me from seeing the potential in myself.

I’m thankful for all the people who are close to me. I’m thankful for their love and understanding. I’m thankful for their friendship and kindness. And mostly I’m thankful that these people formed a hedge around me to ensure that I  knew I was loved and shielded from hurt.

I’m thankful for my parents. I am what I am because of the parents I have. And even though they were not perfect, they turned me into the best me I could be.

I’m thankful for my race. Despite the tragedy and racism that still takes place, I am proud of the contributions of my race, the rich tradition of the African culture and our resilience. I still pray that more African Americans will come to know this truth. #cutitoutFerguson

I am thankful to everyone who has ever disciplined me. I needed it and I realize how evil it is for others to go around not disciplining those in their scope of influence. Every child needs discipline and one of the problems in our school systems is that they lack discipline.

I’m thankful to every man that has been or who is currently in my life. You have taught me about a very diverse brotherhood that I am thankful for. The closeness, intimacy and trust we share has made me the strong heterosexual man I am today. I am blessed to be able to draw from brothers who are White, Indian, Cuban, German and Black.

I’m especially thankful for every woman who has ever built a relationship with me. You taught me love and respect the right way and made me less of a dog. I learned how to be intimate without having sex and I learned to appreciate beauty.

I am very thankful for the three children I have. They are all little models of me. I’m learning so much from them. They make me a better man.

I’ve saved the best for last. I am most thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. All of who I am and who I hope to be rests in Him. Christ, you represent all for me and I love you with every inch of who I am.

Please take time to share your thanks with the people who have earned it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

God’s eyes

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where we always saw eachother through God‘s eyes? Can you imagine it? Having the ability to look past our faults so that we can see what we can become. God tips the potential scale in us all because whatever we are today, God can make us far better tomorrow.

You ever wonder how he does that? I mean how does the creator of the universe look past our faults? Do you think it bothers him to see us as a fallen creature? Do you think he gets tired of taking the high road and suffering certain things to be so in order to bring about his end? When God said he “so loved” the world. He really meant it!

The bible tells us that it was while we were yet sinners, Christ died (Rom. 5:8). That means that in the midst of our sins and at our weakest point, we deserved death, but God sent his son to die instead. When God created “justice” he knew what he was doing. God would not allow justice to be violated by his love for us. Justice demanded death to the guilty and our God satisfied both — Justice got it’s death, we got our salvation and grace and mercy was born.

Because of this, the New Testament writers remind us of what God did as a method of encouraging us to return the favor. God expects our appreciation for what he has done to show in our actions towards one another. God wants us to look beyond someone’s faults and not only see them for what they can become, but start treating and helping them reach that potential.

It’s easy to hold grudges, keep a record of wrongdoings and alienate someone from your life, but it is the true worshipper who has the eyes of God.

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