God is a Father. . .

Psalm 103:13 NIV
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

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Christ said . . .

Matthew 10:34-39 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. [35] For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. [36] And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. [37] Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. [39] Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Can’t be a snob. . .

Matthew 18:1-6 ESV
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” [2] And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them [3] and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. [4] Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. [5] “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, [6] but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Success in really small steps . . .

Here is an excerpt from a famous author, Kenneth Blanchard and his book “The One Minute Manager“; his books were extremely popular during the 80’s and 90’s.  In this book, I came across what is printed below.  I have used this without remembering where I had gotten the concept, but it was triggered when I was having a conversation with my oldest daughter.

It is such a relevant way to accomplish goals and help others get on track to what they want to achieve.  If, I may give an example of where I did use it with one of my children.

All of my children, with God’s grace, are quicker and smarter than me.  However, one child was born with, well, let us just say, stubbornness that makes an elephant look like a gifted compromiser.  She was way old enough to read, but for some reason she would not read or learn to read efficiently.  I banged my head against the wall looking for ways to “get” her to read.  She knew it, just did not want to, so there is a challenge – it was not the technical part, it was the emotional.

At that time, we seemed to go to Barnes and Noble every week, we lived close to it and the movie theater, so once a week; we would go to the Town Square.  I noticed she loved a particular type of comic book, I mean she was fanatic about them.  I wanted to say no, because those were like buying junk food, and I wanted to tell her to buy a “good book.”

It dawned on me early in, that she was reading and loved to read them.  I thought back to things I had gotten into slowly and then all of a sudden, I was up at the expert level because I realized I loved it and/or was good at it.  Therefore, from that point on, she has free realm to buying as many books as she wanted and we could afford.

Before I knew it, she surpassed everyone in the family in her desire to read and her reading comprehension.  She told me once, she was walking through our local park and ran into one of her former teachers, at that time, she was holding a 400 page novel, the teacher was astonished and of course so happy and supportive.

Therefore, whether it is a loved one, a kid on the team, your pet, draw a line on the bottom of the pool and reward for the smallest success and pretty soon, they too will be drenching the firs 10 rows of the audience.

Taken from Kenneth Blanchard’s book: “The One Minute Manager”, pg 45-46

“We use this concept all the time with kids and animals, but we somehow forget itwhen we are dealing with big people—adults. For example, at some of these Sea Aquariums you see ‘round the country, they usually end the show by having a huge

whale jump over a rope which is high above the water. When the whale comes down he

drenches the first ten rows..

“The people leave that show mumbling to themselves, That’s unbelievable. How do

they teach that whale to do that?’

“Do you think they go out in the ocean in a boat,” the manager asked, “and put a rope

out over the water and yell, ‘Up, up!’ until a whale jumps out of the water over the rope?

And then say, ‘Hey, let’s hire him. He’s a real winner.’ ”

“No,” laughed the young man, “but that really would be hiring a winner.”

The two men enjoyed the laugh they shared.

“You’re right,” the manager said. “When they captured the whale, he knew nothing

about jumping over ropes. So when they began to train him in the large pool, where do

you think they started the rope?”

“At the bottom of the pool,” answered the young man.

“Of course!” responded the manager. “Every time the whale swam over the rope—

which was every time he swam past—he got fed. Soon, they raised the rope a little.

“If the whale swam under the rope, he didn’t get fed during training. Whenever he

swam over the rope, he got fed. So after a while the whale started swimming over the

rope all of the time. Then they started raising the rope a little higher.”

“Why do they raise the rope?” asked the young man.

“First,” the manager began, “because they were clear on the goal: to have the whale

jump high out of the water and over the rope.

“And second,” the One Minute Manager pointed out, “it’s not a very exciting show for

a trainer to say, ‘Folks, the whale did it again.’ Everybody may be looking in the water

but they can’t see anything. Over a period of time they keep on raising the rope until they

finally get it to the surface of the water. Now the great whale knows that in order to get

fed, he has to jump partially out of the water and over the rope. As soon as that goal is

reached, they can start raising the rope higher and higher out of the water.”

“So that’s how they do it,” the young man said. “Well, I can understand now how

using that method works with animals, but isn’t it a bit much to use it with people?”

 

My Walk . . .with Christ . . .

I do this posting of God’s word and things like my personal testimony for myself. It started out a year back when I was part of a group and we had devotion every morning, I like the idea of having those moments with God first thing in the morning. I do not get to it in the morning, hardly if ever now, but it has made me feel responsible to myself, to read the Bible, find something in it meaningful to me.

I post these to my Blog and it automatically is poste in my FB profile, which then I copy into my Bible Study group. Again, I do not do this for recognition, or any other self-promotion reasons, I have been doing it because it helps me read the Bible and I feel obligated, responsible, wanting to post every day, if possible. In this process, I noticed my post would be seen by a number of people, I thought how cool. After a year of posts, I think I have received a couple like and a couple comments – very short.

The same with the publically poste blog, too much my amazement, I have been blessed with around 60 followers, not something I even expected and am very thankful for. Yet, I seem to get a few likes, but rarely a comment.  I am wondering if folks actually read the posts. I do not ask that with condemnation, it takes time and patience to open a post, read and then comment. I do not do it every day, every week. I only mention this because I found it interesting. I do not know if anyone is really reading of my words. In addition, in the FB Bible Study group, I was hoping for a discussion, a chat from time-to-time. With that said, if you read them, I hope you enjoy them, if you like them and do not read them; just knowing you are there is comforting alone. God Bless and on with the rest of my story.

I met up with a friend I have known since 7th grade, I met him via swimming, he was considered the best Butterflyer in the county. He was a rebellious person again all society and what it had to offer, he was a staunch mountain man. His conflict was so strong, I was not sure he would make it all the way to adulthood and beyond. While I was visiting him, we were talking about being a Christian and he told me, “Being a Christian is hard. . .” At that time, I did not fully understand what he meant.  However, since I became a Christian my life is not the charter of what society would call success. In fact, most if not all of you would call me a loser, down and out, not invite me over to hang out and have dinner. Moreover, that is ok, that does not change the opinion I have of myself.

In my becoming a Christin and more so afterword’s, my life has been transformed. I am in hopes, that a more harmonized life is available to me, it being in God’s cup for me. As I read the Bible, with the engagement of becoming a better Christian, a disciple, I came across two instructions Jesus had told his disciples. Firstly, before one can truly follow him, there can be no grievances between brothers and sisters. Secondly, one has to give up everything, meaning one cannot place anything more important than the relationship one has with Christ.

I recognized I was still so angry towards the people that were the enablers of me having gone down this very humbling path, to put it lightly. I often would be thinking and in my mind, I would be in court with them on the witness stand and seeing a fearless prosecutor holding them accountable for their words and actions. I realized having these thoughts, I truly had not forgiven them, I was still angry, deeply angry and that anger was the anchor keeping me from where I believe God wants me to go.

Not having anything more important than God, do I? I realized, I did and still do, but to a smaller degree. I love my children more, if God called me and my children called me, I would be frozen, I would not know who to run to first. This is when I had a conversation with God, he asked me:  “Do you trust me?”, I said “of course”, then he said: “Give them to me”  I know I have not done this fully, I have not let go entirely emotionally. An example: I have Church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, I have missed so many Wednesdays and Sundays because I put my kid’s activities in front of my activities with God.

I noticed it is easy for me to put God off, he will always be here. I guess in the same way, when I pray, he can also put off the answer. I am not saying there is a correlation, because God looks at our hearts, but I am betting our actions reflect our heart.

Just recently, I mean just recently, I realized I had to have my own events, just as my kids do and those events are Wednesday night and Sunday morning Church!! I often have to think about my relationship with Jesus Christ as what I would want and expect from my own children and wife. If you are married and you have a time to spend with just your wife or husband, but they keep missing or changing the time, would you feel, they feel the relationship is important? That is putting something before God.

I pray for my Christian Brother and sisters that I have not met and I look so forward to meeting you in heaven. God Bless, I love you!!

 

God Makes Sense . . .

When I look around me, hear and listen to what is happening in our world, I often asked myself the question: “does everyone know we live on the same planet?”  The frustration with the world grew and grew on me and I was even more frustrated because there was nothing I could do and it seemed like nobody really wanted to do anything either.  Yet, there are groups with the focus to: save the whales, save animal abuse, save the water and so on and yet, I am not sure how valid they are!  Why, because it interrupts the goal of those whose focus it is to succeed in getting their power, position, status and money, so it become a political fight, a volleyball game.

I knew God had chosen me, too much of me agreed with what I had read in the Bible and heard in the Church and I knew, when I read the Bible so many years ago at around the age of six, what I read was the truth.  But, my flesh told me I was to try and please the world and that is what I set out to do.

I eventually got myself motivated to go to college and in the process of getting my degree, I also got married.   With grandiose goals in my mind, I was focused on getting a good job upon graduation; however, my plans did not turn out the way I had hoped.   My graduation semester, I went through a divorce, this really blew me away emotionally.  I had put so much effort into getting my degree, his was not what I was expecting in any form and I almost missed graduating.

I have to admit, this was a very telling sign from God!  Because from this point on, not a lot has gone the way “I” wanted it to go.  It seemed like I have been in a rolling mistake ever since.  It reminds me of the comical scene where the actor falls and in an attempt to save himself, he pulls something else down and then reaches out again and it falls or breaks and so on until they finally fall as they were, but left a plethora of disaster in their wake.  I kept on reaching out for stability only it to fall away.

It was not until the end of my 3rd marriage did I finally wake up to God’s call.  I realized, I had been trying to do it my way and my way for the 3rd time has failed.  I realized God had been chasing me for 30 years plus and I kept running from him and kept hoping it would all work out – it has not and has not.

So, as my 3rd marriage wound down, I began my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I bought myself my first Bible and even bought a Bible for everyone in the family, all five children and even a Spanish one for my wife.  I was in hope, that God might be able to save this one last marriage, it was not in his plan.

Each week I went to Church and Bible Study.  I wanted to bring myself up to speed quickly on the meaning of the Bible and all the books, so I bought the books we all know, the Bible for Dummies and Bible for Idiots.  Each week at Church, I’d see people getting baptized and I was envious, they were “True Christians”, something I thought I would never be, I thought being baptized was for the serious religious people – not me.

Three years after I bought myself my first Bible, on May 10th, 2009 I was gave my life over to Christ and was baptized on Mother’s day that year.  I work up one morning and realized, I was ready, something I thought was never going to be for me.

Being a Christian, believing in the Bible, Jesus Christ and God is the only thing which made the world have any sense.  The no end to the universe, the lack of compassion we have for each other, the greed, power and money grab for fame and power.  The explanation of the struggle of mankind, the need for so many self-help books, the hypocrisy between what we say, do and want, it was all in the Bible and the Bible made sense of it all.