ClydeStyle

Healing broken relationships and building better lives – ClydeStyle.

Fixing the disconnect

We have a disconnect between what we know of God and what we see in this world.

All who say they believe in God would believe that all things are possible in him. We would say that God is the creator and controller of the universe. We would agree that God had no limitations.

But almost in the same breath, we will look at circumstances in our lives and we will doubt, fear and totally give up when faced with great diversity.

Equally problematic is that we who are finite speak of things sometimes as if we were infinite. We say how we think things are supposed to be. We strong arm people to conform to our way and we act as though we are in charge.

Well, the only way to remedy this is to surrender what little control we think we have and trust in the almighty.

If I believe that the living God is the creator of the universe and the savior of the world, then there should be a level of trust to match the level of belief I have.

We all need to ask ourselves if we really trust God the way we claim to? We need to ask the follow-up question of do we believe what we know of him?

If we do, then we need to take action. Now. We need to live what we believe and not waste any more time with fear and doubt.

Let’s trust God! It will make the rest of this year a whole lot better and much more prosperous!

What Labor Day is all about

For most of my life, Labor Day was the closing of the weekend that I watched the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon and wanted to see how much money was raised. I had no clue as to what Labor Day really was about or how it got started so I decided to see what the United States Department of Labor had to say about it. This department is led by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

The department of labor says, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

“The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.”

This celebration is supposed to be honoring our country’s labor achievements. In the 40 years I have been aware of this holiday I never knew what it was for. I don’t recall us doing anything to celebrate working, except by taking the day off which seems like an oxymoron to me.

This reminds me of the Martin Luther King holiday. I disagree with children having the day off from school. I would think Dr. King would want more learning on this day. What if in celebration of Dr. King’s commitment to excellence, why not have a marathon of learning. Or even have academic challenges where kids can earn bonds for scholarships. Or maybe it’s a day where the kids who excel in school assist those students who have trouble. Having no class for the King holiday proves we have no class.

Back to labor day:

I think on this day we should have a rally and an incredibly large career fair for those who are unemployed. Maybe we should also have the working class donate professional clothing, resources and their time to spend giving advice to those who are not working. I don’t have the greatest ideas, but I just think we could be doing more with this day. Labor Day could be so much more than it is. Maybe the only telethon on this weekend should be a fundraiser to replace the money given out by each state for unemployment or aid for those not working.

I love the scene in the movie Cinderella Man where the main character is shown giving money back to the welfare office because he didn’t want to have to take the aid anyway. What if this was happening all across the country as people got jobs, they thought to pay some part of the money they received back. This to me is what Labor Day should be about.

The modern miracle of love

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Love has got to be one of the most misused words in our language. It’s been so watered down that we use it for like, lust, greed (as in I would love to have that car or that purse or those shoes), and definitely religious practices.

The scriptures say for us to love one another. It’s not a suggestion. Love one another for love is of God. This means whoever loves is born of and knows God (1 john 4:7).

The same chapter in 1 John gives you the converse and the conditions thereof. If you don’t love, you do not know God for God is love.

If this is to be understood correctly, one must take from this that the result of your encounter with God would give you this quality forever. You would exercise love simply because you now know God and have been born of him.

Please understand that if every so-called church today really loved as this scripture in 1 John 4 teaches, they wouldn’t have the room to hold the amount of people that would come.

Your greatest modern day miracle is your ability to love. Not raise the dead or speak in tongues or heal anyone. First Corinthians 13 says the greatest (of these gifts) is love.

Therefore, we help unconditionally, we never meet strangers and we put expectations only on ourselves.

All we need to do is love like God loves and we’ll change the world.

Can you guess why I told you this?

I get by with a little help from my friends

Everybody needs a friend.

The word friend comes from the Old English word “Freond” and it means to love or to favor. This beautiful word has become so watered down as with the very loose interpretation found on Facebook. In 2005 Facebook coined the phrase ” to friend someone” changing our noun to a verb and look what happened. The word has lost its power. It’s lost its spunk! It’s lost its vitality!! Now this generation goes around calling anyone who walks around bipedal a friend. It seems Facebook has given insecure people a venue to prove their self-worth. They say with a smile, “I have 1000 friends on Facebook!”

Really?

We don’t know it, but we are being robbed of one of the most powerful bonds of our day. Take away the true meaning of the word friend and what kind of place would this world be? Every Fred needs a Barney. Every Lucy needs an Ethel. Every Burt needs an Ernie. Secrets are shared among friends. Loneliness can be destroyed by a good friend. True friends don’t allow suicides. Who else could tell you that you are wrong? True friendship breathes honesty, integrity, truth, solidarity and true love. We truly get by with a little help from our friends.

A true friend can look at you and you know what that look means. Friends allow us to be ourselves when the rest of the world says we can’t. Friends give us a sense of belonging. Friends make us feel like someone gives a damn about us.

So you see, contrary to Facebook’s zeal for the word only, I’m attempting to show you a more excellent way. I’ve noticed that instead of having tons of “friends” online, I have a close circle of people, who I can count on one hand, that I know will run through a fire for me. It’s through that circle that we’ve created trust. My closest friends only know of each other through me. They are not friends, but will do things for each other at my request. To have money, cars, support and love at my disposal whenever I need it is what true friendship means to me. And the coolest thing about it is that I get to reciprocate.

I get to be there when they need me. I get to rush to the bank when they need money. I get to tell them the truth when no one else will. I get to make sure they never spend a birthday alone or never have to worry about being homeless. Their children don’t have to worry about what if something happened to mommy or daddy.

We see this type of camaraderie among police officers, gang-bangers, sports teams,wise guys and military troops. We need a few more folks in the world willing to step up and be a true friend and not a foe. If you don’t know friendship like this, you must investigate why and I promise you will learn something very important about yourself.

Here’s to friendship! May everyone have the chance to experience its purity, truthfulness and honor like I do. So to my bosom buddies, chums, companions, comrades, consorts, partners and soul mates … well, you know.

Must-see commercial

Rewind the Future: http://youtu.be/xUmp67YDlHY

Can you take a hint?

One of the most embarrassing moments in life is when you have been given hints regarding something about you and it doesn’t register.

I’m not talking about the simple things like your pants are unzipped or there is something hanging from your nose. I mean really embarrassing things like you are obnoxious or you dominate the conversation so much that people hate to talk to you. Or something worse like your kids are bad or your spouse is cheating on you.

These things can put us in very awkward positions and it really defines our true friends. I mean after all it’s our real friends who have the responsibility for making sure we are in step. Right?

But what is it that makes us blind to the hints we get from those around us? Why is it that others can see things about us that we cannot see?

There is a blindness that affects our ability to reason and be self reflective. This blindness comes from our inability to keep reality during a reality check. We already dislike when we are wrong. We don’t like when people point out our faults and we really don’t like to own up to any of it. Add insecurity to the mix and we instantly create a disorder.

This disorder I speak about blinds our conscious, not our sub conscious. In other words we know these things are true about us, but the pain of this realization is too difficult to bear. So we lash out in denial and become defensive. We get upset and participate in other destructive behavior instead of just taking the hint.

The hint is actually our help. It helps us to quietly get the information without it being broadcasted all over the place. It’s our last shot a maintaining our dignity and correcting our trouble spots.

Can you take a hint?

I love because I know God

There is a goodness that is overwhelming about the love of God.

In a previous post, I wrote about the modern miracle of love and said that the basis of love was our knowledge of God.

I want to shed a little light on that topic now because I believe there are many who use love as a cover up because their actions say something totally different.

It is impossible to say that you really love, when you hate. You cannot follow Christ, but hate Muslims. You cannot say you have the love of Jesus in your heart and hold a grudge. And you cannot claim that you are a child of God and deliberately cause hurt to another human being.

God’s love is not limited to whether you are Black or White; Republican or Democrat; Christian or something entirely different. We are not the originators of love, God is. That means HE gets to define the concept and those who have experienced it, imitate it.

Did you catch what I said?

We love, because we’ve been loved. Not because we believe the object of the love deserves our love. We love, not because we expect something in return. We love because we know what it feels like and we are now constantly responding to God’s love toward us. We understand why we were the recipients of his love and we pay it forward.

I have a love for humanity because God does!

I love my enemies because God loves his enemies and he loved me when I was his enemy!

I love those who are less fortunate because I see and understand how God loves and takes care of them!

The only reason people don’t love is because they have taken for granted the love God has already shown to them.

The Apostle Paul explains it this way, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.”

It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus on that cross, it was love!

So how are you going to love?

For His namesake

image

America needs prayer. In times of trouble and civil unrest the best thing for everyone concerned is to pray. Most people will not argue that prayer changes things. Well why is it that we don’t think to pray first?

Jesus, when teaching his disciples to pray, wanted them to learn a little something about the God they were praying to. So in Luke 11, Jesus tells a story about a friend who would come to another friend in the midnight hour needing help. The friend in the story would not help because it was too late, everything was shutdown and the family was in bed. Jesus then gives another scenario to this story. He says that the friend in the homeß will not assist his friend in need because he’s a friend. His says he will help because of who he is.

This is extremely significant. My friends, our father in heaven does not respond to us based on how good we think we are. He doesn’t respond because he feels sorry for us. And he definitely doesn’t respond because of the religion we claim. God responds to us because he is God. Remember the 23rd Psalm? He leads me in the paths of righteousness for HIS NAMESAKE!

Since God responds the way he chooses, doesn’t this give us a greater reason to pray. The bible is filled with stories about God responding favorably to his people. Why would we then hesistate to approach his thrown of grace and mercy?

It would benefit this world greatly if just a handful of true believers began to pray for our government, our greed, our peace and our undone condition. If we would stand united in prayer that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven and if we sincerely prayed for God to heal our land, I believe he would cause a condition to happen. This condition would give the world an opportunity to repent of its sins and then healing would begin.

I believe this. Do you?

Problems with the church?

So, having problems at church, huh?

I mean, we know that Christ gave us all a mission which is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. But I’m talking about a church where everyone not only knows the direction they are going, but took a role in planning it and have been praying for it since the conception of the plan.

I bring this up because I have talked with many who feel that their congregation is going nowhere. They feel that “status quo” has been the plan for years and as a result the church is dying. This is a touchy subject because for some reason we believe that we’re not supposed to question the authority of the church for to do so is to question the almighty God. Yeah right!

The church is only going to be as good as its commitment to follow Christ. No one would argue that Christ is the head, but we can’t just measure success by the mere fact that people still show up on Sundays. And I’m not saying that we are all supposed to have a Megachurch. What I am saying is that Christ did not leave his church without direction. There are some clear things that we should be doing so that the world will see Christ in us.

It can’t just be that we say we are Christians, we have to prove it. The only way the bible talks about proving our discipleship is with love toward one another (John 13:34,35). In an age where church splits are more common than mergers; where letters of dis-fellowship circulate more than letters of encouragement; and where preachers are being fired at an alarming rate, it’s no wonder that the church is dying.

It’s like in hospice, we serve families who tell us not to mention hospice around dad cause he doesn’t know he’s dying. And then dad tells us not to mention dying in front of his family because they don’t know he’s dying. Everyone knows, but no one wants to address the issues.

In addition, fear makes it hard for us to respond the way we should. We have been conditioned not to go against the system or leadership even when we KNOW that the leadership or direction is wrong.

Now before you run off and kick in the church doors, understand that you need to be a source of help. It is possible that the folks in charge don’t know what to do. It’s probably the case that they need encouragement and to know that they will not be harshly judged if they make a mistake. It is equally true that they may be arrogant and need to step down from their roles. Whatever the case, the church needs to be moving in the direction to bring about GOD’s result and not man’s.

I suggest the following as a means to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace:

1) Get involved! Don’t be the type of person who comes every now and again criticizing. You want things to change? Let that change start with you.

2) Go to your leadership and tell them how you feel about the things that are going on and let them know that they can count on you to help make things better. Let them know of the high level of commitment you are ready to give.

3) Always speak in fact, not fiction. When things are not going well, Satan has a way of spreading gossip and getting false information out to the general public. Make sure what you are saying is a provable truth. DO NOT bring gossip and hearsay to the leadership.

4) It is never a good idea to have a meeting before the meeting. There should never be any secret meetings unless you are planning a surprise birthday party. People tend to get upset and defensive when they know that secret meetings are going on. Bring everything out at once. All things should be done open and honest before everyone.

5) Make sure that you have scriptural backing for everything you say and do. You need to know and explain truth that is aligned with God’s word. DO NOT go to the leadership with “I feel”, “I think” and “I believe” statements. You must stand on God’s word. Personality problems are not God problems. If there is something truly wrong, then it’s wrong because you have scripture that says it is. Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good!

The gray area in the middle is grace! (Part 2 of 2)

In my previous blog I talked about grace being, ” … the sweet spot where what’s supposed to happen doesn’t and learning occurs.” If we really understand what this means we can effectively examine our roles in these situations to see if we are glorifying God. Imagine in the heat of your anger with your flesh seeking revenge, how you conduct yourself to bring about God’s conclusion is what really matters to the father.

We could always choose to allow our flesh to rule us and begin to pronounce sentencing on our oppressor. Saying things like:

“I want you to pay me back with interest!”

“You brought this on yourself!”

“This hurts me more than it does you.”

We feel in the flesh some type of justification when we have been wronged. That makes it “ok” to be the judge and jury in these cases. God, on the other hand, does not treat us that way. Remember the woman caught in the very act of adultery? (John 8:4). That mob of people felt justified because  of the law. The powerful part of that story for me is that the law made those folks bring this woman to Christ! Was that not the intent of the law? So when she is brought before our king, he challenges us to remember being in her place. An adulterer? Nope. A sinner! All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). If that’s true, then we need to leave the judging to the one who is righteous and assist in making sure God’s agenda is promoted and not ours.

The bible says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He allows for free will and did not create us in his image (giving us intellect) only to take our choices away by making us do his will.

Dear reader, are you holding a grudge against someone? Do you feel worthy to sit in any judgement seat? Can you even punish anyone better than God? Instead of dwelling on what happened, where is the honoring of God for what didn’t happen?

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