Posted in Accountability, Change, Death, Determination, Fear, Free Will, freedom, friend, Generosity, Giving, Happiness, Health, helping, History, judgment, Life, Progress, Relationships, Self, Sharing, significance, society, Success, Time, Truth

We were robbed!

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Happy New Year!

This is the time for reflection and change in our lives and hopefully life’s lessons have taught us well enough that we are heeding the call and understanding what we must do to be better. By heeding the call I mean you are actually listening to your inner reflections on your past and adjusting accordingly.

It seems that for some of us our inner voice is “spot on” with reality and helps us out greatly in our decision making. Then there are others who’s inner voice is wounded and we need a little help to make sure what is said is correct and not detrimental to us.

This is all important because we live among thieves. Thieves are all over the place and we all have a little thievery in us. We all don’t loot or rob people at gunpoint, but what I mean is we steal another persons time, energy and space. We rob people of their joy and happiness and we steal ideas and concepts, friends and lovers and items of clothing like there is no tomorrow. It’s hard to be angry with someone when at some level you are doing the same thing. However, as we mature our thievery should subside. We should not be as taxing on our friends and families and we should be more giving with our own resources.

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So when you evaluate the people in your life, this tends to be a common denominator when deciding who should stay and who should go. As we get older it becomes more difficult to deal with theft. So we excomunicate them from our lives.

To help you with this task of elimination, I submit four categories of thieves. The first is called commensalism and these are the thieves that are like suckerfish who ride along with the shark to grab his leftovers. These fish do not bother the Shark, but they exist and thrive because of the shark. These would be your family, particularly your kids (17 and under) and older parents. There is such an obligation to help this bunch that this really becomes a labor of love. In addtion, you may have brothers or sisters in Christ who you have helped them get out of foolishness in the past and since they continue to get better, you continue to help them progress in anyway you can. This group will burn a lot of your energy but the results are priceless.

The next group is parasitism and these are the folks are flat out selfish. Family is not excluded from this category. These folks do almost everything at your expense. It is their consistent selfish behavior that makes them so toxic that you have to decide how much more you can take. With this group, over 90 percent is them taking from you. It is even possible for you to be in denial of this and allow them to continue.

The next group I refer to as spitefulism. I may have invented this word but the meaning is real. This is when two people are together and their brain’s pleasure center allows them to be so taxing on eachother that both are suffering from the interaction. I have seen these couples in counseling. They have come to me and neither party wants to give up anything. This proves that some people should have never hooked up. How do you stay in a relationship where both people are miserable and neither wants to get help. This behavior leds to eventual self-distruction.

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The final group is mutualism and this is exactly what it sounds like: Both parties benefit from eachother. In this relation you don’t mind giving so that there is no thievery. This can be with a spouse, sibling or friend.

So now you have been blessed to see another year. The longer we live, the better life should get. If life is not getting better, this is the first indicator that something is wrong. Choose this day who will be in your life. Part of our free will is having the choice to chose our circles. Choose wisely my friend. Because although there is not a precise measure of your stress to life ratio, what is certain is that stress is killing you. Not only is stress killing you, but there are already people plotting for your stuff.

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Career, Change, Children, Divorce, Faith, Fear, Forgiveness, friend, God, guilt, Happiness, helping, judgment, kindness, Life, Light, Love, Marriage, Mind Power, Penalties, Perseverance, Progress, repentance, Self, significance, slave, society, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Trust, Truth

Is it really yours?

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You know the old saying that if you let something go and if it comes back to you, then it truly belongs to you? I just wonder how practical the application of this saying would be today. I mean, I think that some of us may have taken for granted the people in our lives. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the importance of people under our jursidiction and we really need a wake up call.

So imagine if you are the boss over a company or you are managing several employees, do you think that if they were released and given another job making the same money, they would stay with you? In the business world we believe sometimes that people get trapped and they don’t have choices. Are we taking advantage of them and treating them horribly because we can? As a leader are you making the environment your employees work in beneficial to them so that they can do the best job possible? Or have you made the place so in your favor that your colleagues hate the company and you? It should not take an episode of “Undercover Bosses” to make you do the right thing. The highest boss is watching and you will have to answer to him.
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Let’s take this a step further and look at the family because I wonder how many children would stay with their same parents. For those of you with children, do you believe that your offspring would gladly stay with you if they had another opportunity. I’m not talking about riches or a bigger house, I’m speaking pound for pound, comparing apples to apples, given a choice would your children stay with you? That’s a hard question for some and not meant to ruin anyone’s week, but we need to take a step back sometimes and see if what we think we are accomplishing is good and for the betterment of the people God has placed us over.

Now for the finale, when you look at your marriage do you believe your spouse would come back to you if he or she had the option to leave with no strings attached? Think before you answer. Do you make your spouse feel that he or she is the perfect match for you? Do they feel God’s full blessing being with you or would they rather be single? Is this even something you can talk about? Has chasing after success in life or bitterness or past failures turned you into an asshole? Don’t look at me, I didn’t say it your spouse may have! I just want you to take an honest look at your situation.
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Life is too short to spend the rest of it with someone who repels you. So before they sneak and talk to an attorney about their options, wouldn’t it be more cost effective for you to have that “come to Jesus talk” with them and say you’re sorry and you want to be better? If you really and truly love the person you are with, you owe it too yourself and your spouse a true confession and a heartfelt apology. Then you would spend your life prioritizing things in order of importance and you would begin with your relationship.

Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says this task is too much. It is just what your relationship needs. Be the leader you claim you are and lead in this effort to make your life better.

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Change, Discipleship, Faith, Jesus Christ, judgment, kindness, Progress, Religion, significance, society, Truth, Worship

Mediocre in the pulpit?

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There is an interesting phenomenon happening in little leagues all over America. Every player regardless of skill or ability gets a trophy. In baseball if you lead the league in hits, RBIs or home runs and another player sat on the bench the entire season, both will get the same trophy.

The reason is because there is a contingent that frowns upon those who can excel. They believe that when a person shines bright that it makes they others feel bad. The competitive edge which was always used as a benchmark to make us all better has been eliminated so that we are now raise a generation of children who will expect something for nothing.

I bring this up because there are jobs where it doesn’t matter how well you do in the job as long as you meet the standard. And then there are other jobs where you cannot take a chance with mediocrity because there is too much at stake.

No one wants a doctor or dentist that barely made it through school. No one wants the new pilot to fly you to your destination. We don’t even want the new barber or hairstylist.

One area where this principle needs to be applied is in the pulpit. Sadly there are conditions that exist where a church has had 30 members for 30 years with the same pastor or minister and there has never been any significant growth.

The larger problem is that the body of believers of the same faith simply mind their own business regarding this situation. There are some who believe that one preacher is just as good as another and as long as whatever he is saying comes from the bible, it’s fine.

Scholastic ability, style and oratory skills come second or third to a nice guy who doesn’t cause any trouble. In the meantime, the congregation is spiritually dying, the younger generation is absent and God is not glorified.

These little churches should merge with larger sister churches to form one church and honor God together. If you are in one of these little churches you have to ask yourself or those leading, why are we here? What are we trying to accomplish? Is there even a plan?

The goal is never to embarrass anyone, but to bring to the social conscious where we are spiritually. Jesus promised an abundant life, not a mediocre life. It is pretty difficult to see God in the plan when there is no growth and our standard for the pulpit is so low.

Posted in Change, Confidence, Faith, Forgiveness, Free Will, freedom, God, guilt, Happiness, Health, helping, Jesus Christ, judgment, Justice, Life, Love, Obey, Opinions, Progress, Relationships, Religion, significance, Taking Responsibility, Truth

Is your church a placebo?

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So we know that the church is the body of Christ and Christ’s kingdom here on earth.

He reigns supreme in this gathering of believers. Some might call it cultish due to the unfeigned faith each member has for the king.

Throughout the New Testament one can find many examples of how the body of Christ functions and relates to head of the body. And from here its even easier to see how the relationship with the head effects the horizontal relationships throughout the membership.

So, things like service, forgiveness, unconditional love, faithfulness, compassion, truth and longsuffering should abound in such places. There is a definite togetherness and sense of having all things in common among the believers. Judgement has no place here, only encouragement to be the best you can be and assistance when you stumble.

A placebo is a measure designed merely to calm, please or pacify another. It is more for a psychological benefit than for any spiritual effect. A placebo church only exists as a method to control. It is only a form of godliness, but it denies the power there of.

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The largest problem with this type of church is there is no spiritual growth, there is no support, there is no fellowship and there is no forgiveness. When trouble comes you are on your own. When Satan attacks you are judged instead of helped.

You stay in this system because it looks right, but it is far from righteousness. So I ask you this day: Is your church a placebo and more importantly why are you still there?

Posted in Beauty, Change, Diet, Faith, freedom, friend, Generosity, Giving, God, Happiness, Health, Healthcare, Life, Progress, Relationships, Self, significance, society, Success, Taking Responsibility, Time, Truth

The importance of my well being

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I understand psychologically that I can not see myself, all I see is a reflection. All of these images I see of myself need help from the people that actually see me. Therefore it is the images I see in conjunction with what is said that allows me to come close to seeing my actual self.

With this in mind, the people who I surround myself with become extremely important. I need for the people I allow in my inner circle to be beneficial to me. I want them to feel that I am beneficial to them, but they have to be able to add value to my life.

If we spend the majority of a 24 hour day sleeping, working, eating and traveling, then that means there is not much time left to make a positive impact.

This means coming home has to be in question. Is my house for me or against me? Am I really replenished while being at home or is my household just adding to my stress?

Is the time I spend traveling during the day beneficial? The type of music I listen to, the people I talk to on the phone and even the ride to work now matter in regard to my well being.

Sleep is one of the most important things you can give to your body. Am I getting enough uninterrupted sleep?

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I also need to be concerned about the things I eat and drink. This has a huge effect on my wellness. I need to seek whole food without man-made additives. It’s hard to do in the US but not impossible.

This message is about how we handle this gift called life and the body God put it in. If you understand that the life you have is only because of Christ, then how are you treating this beautiful gift he gave you?

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, Achievement, Change, Happiness, Jesus Christ, significance, Success

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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