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 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, 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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Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Beauty, Children, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, Generosity, Giving, God, Happiness, Health, Jesus Christ, Love, Parenthood, Perseverance, Racism, Relationships, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Truth, Willpower, Work

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!

Posted in Achievement, Free Will, God, Success, Taking Responsibility

What if there were no mistakes?

When I review my life, I see many colors. Colors which represent the good and the bad. All the good things about my life are the very bright colors – things like the success stories I have, fears I have conquered or the birth of my three children. And then there are the dark colors – things that I regret doing, saying, and falling for. The dark colors represent the times when I was a sucker. They are blemishes that prove I’m not perfect.

I had a thought while I did this review: What if everything that has happened to me was not an accident or a mistake? What if the things that happened to me were my destiny and that a higher power had purposed and set some things in motion to bring me to a certain point? What if the words “accident” and “mistake” were all part of a big conspiracy to make us believe that we had a level of control we don’t really have?

I heard an atheist say once that God, the creator of the universe, was no more than an imaginary friend who we created because we were scared of death and the unknown. He said that everything that has happened was going to happen anyway and because of fear, we invented religion. Religion then gives us something to do when we’re scared.

I believe that there is some truth to what my atheist friend has said.

The truth is that I believe, we have been allowed to believe, that there are accidents and mistakes so as to point blame when something happens. This is not to be confused with things that we cause to happen that were not accidents. For example, another friend of mine lost his job. He started off telling me that his racist boss finally got rid of him. I asked what happened and he said that they made him take a random drug test and the marijuana he smoked last weekend was still in his system. Trying to keep from laughing I said, “So how does this make your boss racist?”

You can probably figure out the rest of the conversation. My friend lost his job because he was careless with it. Smoking illegal substances is a quick way to get fired from most jobs – especially in our economy. Not that it is impossible for his boss to be a racist – it’s still a challenge we face in the 21st century. But even with this scenario, there was a deeper reason – other than stupidity – for him losing his job. When we lose things, there is a lesson in that. For my friend, the lesson was responsibility. More than anything else, he needs to be more responsible. He needs to take responsibility for his actions and stop blaming others. Blaming others is a diversion from learning the personal lessons.

What I want you to see is the beauty of trials and tribulations. I want you to understand the other side of a mistake. The point is that if we take away the concept of a mistake, then we would be clear to see the true destiny in the trial and we could “count it all joy.”

Remember the old record players that required a needle to play the vinyl records? If you are old enough to remember them, you will also remember that sometimes the needle would skip. A CD player will sometimes skip too. And in both cases we would know that either the player or the record or CD needs cleaning. Could I say that the CD or record player made a mistake? Think about it before you answer. Was there a mistake made or is the “skip” just a by-product of usage?

We don’t call it a mistake because we accept that things won’t work properly sometimes and we move on. Why can we not do this with our own mistakes?

I remember years ago when I left one research company to work for another one. The one I was going to was paying me 15K more to leave. I felt unappreciated at the current place, so I left. I worked for this new company for 19 months. I signed off on the construction of the building, I purchased all of the furniture and hired all 44 employees and set this research company up to run like a well-oiled machine. Once that was done, they let me go and hired another person with very little management experience. I have to say, looking back on the experience, that when they let me go it was one of the best things that happened to me. At the time, I thought I made a mistake leaving the other company. I shudder to think that I could still be at that other company, complacent, underpaid and miserable.

It would have been great if I could have taken the word “mistake” out of my vocabulary and automatically thought about the scripture in Romans 8:28.

Posted in Beauty, Life, Mind Power, Pain, Progress, Relationships, Success, Taking Responsibility, Time, Truth, Willpower

Are you wasting the sun?

On or around June 21, what we call the summer solstice takes place. This is when the rays of the sun will be perpendicular to the Tropic of Cancer at 23°30′ North latitude ( don’t worry, I had to look that up too). This is when we typically get the longest day of the year.

While enjoying the sun on this day, I often think about the time I have left on this earth. Now, of course, I have no idea when my time is up, but in my mid-40s I think that I might have passed the half-way point. What I’m getting at is this is a good time to take a look at your life and decide if you like what you see. Everyone makes mistakes and some we are able to live with and some we are not. Some of our decisions have caused us to have other ongoing problems and sometimes we escape with just a warning of some kind. Nevertheless, we take inventory to see what people, places and things need not be in our lives anymore.

The items I’m talking about are those things that would have us waste our time, energy and resources — we’re wasting the sun. Some of us are struggling in bad relationships, going to bad places and continue to give in to our vices. Sadly, there are even some of us who have been wasting the sun for so long that it appears normal.

With 50 percent of 2012 gone it would be well worth it to salvage the rest of this year by dumping these things that drain us. We have to evaluate whether or not it is worth the time. The best way to do this is to imagine your life without the vice. Even go as far as creating a list of things or events that would take place if these vices were gone. I guess it is possible that you could create a list that ends up looking about the same with or without the vices. If this is the case, then you are the problem — and that’s the good news! Change from within is actually easier than dealing with change that involves outside vices simply because there is too many variables on the outside.

Whatever your list reveals to you, be glad because it really is the start of something beautiful — you! Your life IS worth it so don’t waste the sun!

Posted in Achievement, Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, Fear, Free Will, freedom, God, Happiness, Love, Opinions, Progress, Relationships, Religious Freedom, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Willpower

Maturity in Christ

I often hear Christians and non-Christians painting a picture of Christianity in a very primitive state based on their understanding. What I mean is that they are still looking at scriptures and saying what they see instead of what they understand. The problem: When you take what you see in scripture and never look beyond it, all you get is a form of godliness. When you study and gain an understanding you get the form and function.

So for instance John 13:23-24, “34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  This is a very “easy” verse to understand, but what you walk away with will depend on your level of maturity. Some people see the fact that there is a “commandment” in the first verse. This same person that sees the commandment will tell you that Christ commands us to do things. They will then begin to process their relationship with God based on a slave/master relationship.

Maturity doesn’t even see the word commandment. Maturity emphasizes the function of this verse and only sees the love. The mature person does not feel “forced” to love. They don’t think that there is a negative consequence waiting on them if they don’t love. The mature person, based on their understanding, has a heart so soft toward God that the willingness to “do” comes from an inner desire to please God and not a fearful expectation of being punished by God.

Spiritual maturity compels us to forgive, not because someone asked us to, but because God has forgiven us. We love, not because the object of our love makes it easy, it’s because God first loved us. We help one another, comfort one another and pray for one another, not because of a command, but because of what we understand.

Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

There is a serious need for Christians to move on to maturity and stop debating the gospel and start sharing it; to stop scaring people to be obedient and start encouraging people to be.