Posted in Change, Faith, Forgiveness, Giving, guilt, Happiness, Jesus Christ, Relationships, repentance, Resurrection, society, Success

Letter to God

To my Father in heaven,

It is with love and gratitude that I write this blog in dedication of your devotion to me. You have gone far above the call of duty in being my God. I am in awe of you.

I make horrible decisions at times. Some of my infractions are purposed and I still struggle with negotiating right and wrong. There are people who I have such an issue with that they consume my thoughts. There are people I need to forgive.

And in spite of my stupidity you do amazing things in my life. You make me want to be a better person. You make me want to seek after the higher parts of me. I want to do the right thing, Father, but I am weak.

What I really want to say to you Father is thank you. Thank you for loving me when I didn’t want to love myself. Thank you for showing me the way to the light when I was lost in darkness. Thank you for forgiving me when I am weak. Father, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for saving my soul and for being long suffering with me.

Thank you for another day to praise your name. Thank you that I’m healthy and in my right mind. Thank you most of all for Jesus who made me a partaker of his cleansing power.

I actually don’t want to ask you for anything. I just wanted to express my love for you and say thanks.

Sincerely your servant,

Clyde

Posted in Accountability, Change, Faith, Fear, Forgiveness, guilt, Jesus Christ, repentance

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!

Posted in Accountability, Discipleship, Faith, Free Will, freedom, Giving, guilt, Happiness, helping, Honor, Jesus Christ, Progress, Sharing, significance, Truth

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?

Posted in Accountability, Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Free Will, God, guilt, Jesus Christ, Relationships, Resurrection, society, Taking Responsibility, Truth

Our response to the resurrection

Speaking of the resurrection, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” And then he said, “Do you believe this?”

This is the time of the year where there is somewhat of a unified effort among most Christians to talk about, remember, celebrate and observe Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. It’s like the other time in the year where everyone wants to remember the “reason for the season” and celebrate peace on earth.

I don’t have a problem with these times as much as I have a problem with how we interpret the meanings. Our beliefs should be the center of what we shape our way of life from. If we believe something then our lives should be consistent in that which we believe.

For example, if things like compassion, integrity and excellence are things that I truly believe in, then the people that interact with me should experience these characteristics in me. I should not look down on anyone if I have compassion. I should not make it a habit to lie and cheat if I’m a man of integrity and my employer should not have to speak with me regarding my commitment if I seek excellence.

I’m afraid that too many people celebrate Jesus as a seasonal holiday and have not made the commitment to him for life.

Jesus ends the 26th verse of the 11th chapter in the Gospel according to John by asking the question concerning belief. He simply uses these four words that deserve a response. “Do you believe this?” If he were saying this today it would sound more like “If you believe this, then why …?”

If we truly have been crucified with Christ and now as a result we are living by faith, our works should show what we believe. Faith without works is still dead.

Posted in Accountability, Change, Generosity, Giving, Greed, guilt, Happiness, Health, helping, kindness, Life, Love, Relationships, Sharing, society, Success, Taking Responsibility, Time, Truth, Uncategorized

What if?

Upon occasion I like to sit and day-dream about the world being different. I mean if we as Americans had a different way of thinking. What if we never looked to gain anything from anybody? What if the motivating factor for everything we did had to do with the betterment of humanity and not the financial gain of ourselves?

Dr. Jonas Salk was the person credited for the discovery of the cure for polio in 1955. Two years later Dr. Albert Sabin created the oral version. As time went on and the research continued we began to learn more things about polio all in the interest of science and humanity. These two men lived good lives and neither wanted to gain financially from their work. Dr. Salk, when asked who owns the patent for the polio cure said, “the American people own it.” These two vaccines helped remove polio in many different parts of the world. Within the period of 1988 to 2007, the number of cases was trimmed down significantly from 350,000 to 1,652. 

By 1994, polio was completely removed from the Americas. In 2000, it was erased in almost 36 countries within the Western Pacific region including Australia and China. In 2002, Europe became polio-free. By 2008, only four countries remained affected by this disease, namely Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nigeria. Today, the transfer of poliovirus from one person to another has been widely disrupted. However, wild poliovirus transmissions are still very much possible, particularly in areas with poor sanitation as well as low vaccination coverage.

What if this effort was repeated for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and AIDS? What if the pharmaceutical companies were all not for profits and a successful year for them would be to “break even” with their budgets and not make a profit. What if their sole drive and goal was to make themselves obsolete? What if hospitals were all not for profits with the same goal– to educate people to the point that they never needed to be hospitalized? What if as a country, it mattered to us what we ate, how we interacted with the environment and how we treated one another?

You can’t help but wonder if we, working together, would have figured out time travel, gain the ability to move objects or even learned to fly. We would most certainly have worked out starvation and degenerative diseases. We could even eliminate rich and poor people, make education completely free and enjoy world peace.

And then I woke up.

Posted in Accountability, Beauty, Bigotry, Change, Confidence, Faith, Fear, Free Will, Generosity, Greed, Grief, guilt, Happiness, helping, History, Honor, Justice, kindness, Life, Love, Marriage, Opinions

So what I’m trying to say is . . .

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In January we tried to start the year new.

February was the month to build new relationships or strengthen old ones with the help of cupid. It didn’t work.

In 2013 March brought us the memory of the resurrection as we pondered our relationship with the cross. We felt guilty.

April always fools us. We’re fooled by people and things and we suffer loss of income, respect and dignity.

In May and June we remembered our parents, but failed to do anything more meaningful than a visit. We try, and try and try and there just isn’t enough time in a day. These visit are probably the most sincere things we’ll attempt all year, but we have a hard time going beyond that.

We celebrated our independence in July. The freedoms we enjoy allowed us to over spend, over indulge and over react. We came out of the month with one truth — it’s hotter than hell in July.

August meant nothing to us. Only emptiness and uncertainty wondering what the rest of the year would bring….

September was a reminder that we have to work. We must work for our living and work to pay taxes for other people’s living and work to support our government. The ninth month reminds us that there is no rest from our labors.

October is full of tricks and lies. It lies about the treats because they never existed. And all that’s left is tricks. We live in a world full of unmet expectations and unused potential. The only thing that really happens in the month is that we get tricked.

November we’re supposed to be thankful and in December we are supposed to be at peace. That doesn’t happen either so all we get is tricked.

Sooooooooo,

Dear significant other,

Since I regularly participate in May and June, I won’t April you. I’m December and I’m November so despite what happens in September, October and August, our February will be July. So let’s January!

Posted in Accountability, Change, Children, guilt, Happiness, helping, kindness, Life, Love, Parenthood, Relationships, Sharing, society, The Family

Dealing with the affected of witnessing parental conflict

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Every now and again it’s good to provide information that will bring awareness to real life problems.

The family constellation is in trouble. Even when a family overcomes domestic violence, the effects of the events linger long after the watchful eyes of “little Johnny” can not see anymore. His memory of the incidents stays in the family and not easily forgotten, they affect him years later. These images are burned in his memory forever. This fact sheet will focus on and expose this often forgotten evil and offer helpful suggestions to counselors who deal with this type of abuse.

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Children today hear and see lots of things and unfortunately some of the most beautiful memories are smeared by some kind of abuse. Studies have shown that kids today see a wide spectrum of abuse that becomes hard for them to digest. Abuse such as physical violence, verbal abuse and threats are just a start. Some children have been injured while watching the father wail on their mother or were injured by trying to stop the father from beating the mother. Some, sadly, have taken an active part in the violence. Whatever the means, our eyes take “forever pictures” of these events. Each year an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to violence against their mothers or female caretakers by family members. (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family: Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family,1996)

Researchers agree that most of the violence children see comes out of their own homes. A child’s exposure to the father abusing the mother is the strongest risk fact for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family: Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family,1996). Moreover, in families where the mother is assaulted by the father, daughters are at risk of sexual abuse 6.51 times greater than girls in non-abusive families (Bowker, Arbitell and McFerron, 1988). And then, Male children who witness the abuse of mothers by fathers are more likely to become men who batter in adulthood than those male children from homes free of violence (Rosenbaum and O’Leary, “Children: The Unintended Victims of Marital Violence,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1981)

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When an incident occurs in the home, the focus always centers around the direct parties involved. When mom and dad fight, counseling is between mom and dad. Rarely do the witnesses’ feelings become an issue. Children experience emotional overload during this time and even when the parents seem to have “ironed out” their differences and resumed life, the kids are emotionally “stuck” at the scene of the crime. A survey of 6,000 American families found that 50 percent of men who assault their wives, also abuse their children. (Pagelow, “The Forgotten Victims: Children of Domestic Violence,” 1989). In addition, research shows that 80 to 90 percent of children living in homes where there is domestic violence are aware of the violence. (Pagelow, “Effects of Domestic Violence on Children,” Mediation Quarterly, 1990).

Professionals serving the needs of children exposed to domestic violence should be prepared to provide:
(1) Crisis intervention (i.e., assess for safety; develop a safety plan; file an abuse report; and provide crisis counseling);
(2) Assessment (i.e., assess current functioning, suicide risk);
(3) Short and long-term therapy (i.e., gradual exposure, trauma processing, reduction of feelings of responsibility and self-blame).