"The nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes." ~ Ezekiel 36:23

Sunday, February 14, 2016

look beyond the screen

Not everything is as it appears in a small screen view of the world.  A world view based on social media reflections tends to leave out the most important information available to you.

One of my greatest regrets in this life is that I never took the time to talk to my Dad.  I learned more about my father from his writings than I did from talking to him.  He was an amazing man, with a world of life experience that I missed learning.  He saw life from a perspective that I will never match or taste.  His feet moved across boundaries that no longer exist and his hands touched a world forgotten.  I cry over the missed opportunity to hear his stories in my ears.  I know now, too late, that my own world would have been greatly enriched, had I taken the time to know him.

I spent my youth running from him and his "restrictions", never taking the time to understand him.  My youth was foolish and unchecked by reason.

Don't make the same mistake.

Talk to those with real life experience and listen to their exposition of the years and encounters they had, both the good and the bad.  Every life around you is a treasure trove of wisdom and folly, lightness and dark, vision through another person's eyes and ears.

My character would have been molded and shaped by him in so many positive ways, had I but taken the time to listen.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Things to say

I have a lot to say, mostly to my children, as time marches on.  They're not with me often, and my sphere of influence with them is rapidly closing, or so it seems.

In 62 years I've accumulated considerable experience in this world and desperately need to pass it on.

Life, the world, politics, businesses, God, family, all manner of personal relationships, the list is enormous, and "wisdom" must not be self contained.  That's what parents are for, leadership.

I don't always get it right, though I try.

My social presence is large, but largely ignored, and this should provide the opportunity to speak up and speak out, if they'll pay heed. It's time to wrap it all up.

Girls, if you're watching, listen, consider, and freely discuss with me and your Mom, your friends, and your community,

I love you, not only with earthly love, but increasingly with the love of God.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

is work our ultimate concern?

When, for example, recognition on the job becomes more important than character on the job, is this not a sign that reputation is displacing the love of God as the ultimate concern?

Theology of Work

Friday, July 31, 2015

clean before claim

David had committed adultery and murder.  In seeking forgiveness, he recognized that he needed this spiritual cleansing for himself, and that he would be able to, with a clean heart, minister and witness to others.  When we walk with the stain of sin on us,  our character bleeds through, our walk is tainted and our witness corrupted.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You."  Psalm 51:10-13

If we want to draw people to Jesus Christ, we must first look like Him, live like Him, act like Him, and love like Him.

We rely on His Holy Spirit within us to forgive and guide, leading us to fulfill His plan for our lives, to impact our family and neighbors.  As Jesus walked, so shall we.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

common sense morality has flown the coop

I'm a lone white man with guns.  I once owned a restaurant that flew confederate battle flags.  I'm from the south.  I'm a conservative, Bible believing American who supports and follows the law.

For some folks, out of their fear and paranoia, that's enough to strip me of my Constitutional rights, and condemn me as a racist bigot.  It's certainly enough for my government, which spends more time, money and energy catering to the hysteria than they are willing to spend solving our nation's real problems.

Millions of innocent unborn children have been and are being are murdered in America with the sanction of nine men and women, pompously ignoring the law and bending it to their personal philosophy.  Protecting the demanded "rights" of the vocal minority against the elected will of the majority has become the mantra of these black robed judicial activists, ignoring the spirit and letter of the law.

Common sense morality has flown the coop with the sanction of 535 men and women in Washington D.C..Pandering to the lowest economic classes for votes continues to remain the focus of the Democratic Party, pandering to the Democratic Party seems to be the primary focus of the Republican Party, and the division of the people and pandering to the hysteria seems to be the primary focus of our President.

It's almost time to turn out the lights on the free republic that our Founding Fathers envisioned and died to create.

I call upon my brothers and sisters in the Christian faith to pray as never before and to focus on the mission given to us by Jesus, to love God and love your neighbor.  That love is best expressed in Matthew 28:18-20.  No, I have not been focused here either, but that's got to change, for me and for you.

The future of this once great nation will not be strengthened by engaging in the hysteria, but by engaging in the mission of changing hearts for God.  Stand your ground, pray, witness, and trust God to handle the rest.

 "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” "   Matthew 28:18-20

The Declaration Of Independence

Saturday, June 13, 2015

disagree in peace

From '80 to '83 I was a proud co-owner of one of the most popular restaurants in  Brazos  County, Rebels Restaurant and Bar.  The theme was the South of the Civil War era and the business was festooned with all types of memorabilia: coins, flags, hats, pictures and swords.  We did not celebrate or tolerate any type of racism or bigotry in our establishment.  It was a theme, a decor, a gimmick and we were visited by and employed all types of folks from every race in the area.  Only once did I receive a comment that it was racist, and after a long and pleasant conversation with the lady, we agreed to disagree in peace.

I was proud of that business then and I am proud of our accomplishments now. 
We employed over 75 full and part time people and were a solid member of the B/CS community.  We were all having a good time and enriching each other's lives.

My family and friends, customers and hoards of Aggies wore our t-shirts and hats.  Anyone that thinks I have,  or ever had, a racist bone in my body clearly does not know me.

That being said, I was reminded the other day by a dear friend of a comment our Pastor is reported to have made recently, "Why would any believer (follower of Jesus) fly a flag that offends even one brother or sister in Christ.  I agree.

I count many ethnicities in my circle of beloved brothers and sisters and I shudder to think I have ever caused even one to question my integrity or my love for them.

The Confederacy belongs in the history books, not forgotten, but not used to offend even one.  We look to our past for lessons so that we might not repeat our mistakes.  Let's all agree to live in peace.

This is America and we are enjoined to have a higher ideal.

My beautiful Rebecca reminded me that it has only been two generations since black Americans  were segregated publicly in America, and segregation does still exist today.  Let us not fall to the pandering of politicians, activists, ignorance and pettiness to the detriment of our society or of ourselves.

“For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.”  1 Corinthians 8:10-12 NASB

Sunday, April 05, 2015

The Glory of the Risen Lord

"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.   And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.   While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead?   "He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."  And they remembered His words,  and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest."

"Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.   But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.   But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened."

"And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.   And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.   While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them.  But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.   And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad.   One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?"   And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people,  and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him.  "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.   "But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning,   and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive.   "Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see."   And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"   Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.   And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther.   But they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over." So He went in to stay with them.   When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.   Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight."

"They said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?"   And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them,   saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon."   They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.   While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them, "Peace be to you."   But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.   And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?   "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."   And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.   While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"   They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish;   and He took it and ate it before them.   Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.""

"Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,  and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.    "You are witnesses of these things.  "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."   And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.   While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.   And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, "

Luke 24:1-52

Thursday, January 01, 2015

character matters: honesty


No one appreciates a liar, not even other liars.  Be honest in every word from your mouth; speak the truth in all things.  Avoid exaggeration and embellishment; don’t make more (or less) of yourself or of a given situation.
He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit.  Proverb 12:17 (NASB)
 You are who you are; embrace yourself and allow others to accept you without surprise or disappointment.  Admit your faults when needful; be accountable for your actions without reservation.  Accept the consequences of your actions, good and bad.  Allow your successes and your failures to mold and shape you into the person God intended you to be.

 Honesty is a direct reflection of your inner character.” ~ Kelli Mahoney
 We all desire to be admired and respected.  The people in your life will respect and admire your honesty and will be drawn to your good character.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22 (NASB)
A person who always speaks truthfully does not have to try to remember what he has told someone as his story never changes.  A liar is unusually transparent to others; no one has a memory good enough to hang onto various versions of their story.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright; he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” Proverb 2:6-8 (NIV)

take a look at yourself and then make a change

"The Man In The Mirror" by Michael Jackson

"I'm gonna make a change
For once in my life
It's gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I turned up the collar on
My favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin' my mind
I see the kids in the street
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their need

A summer's disregard
A broken bottle top
And a one man's soul
They follow each other on the wind, ya know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

I've been a victim of
A selfish kinda love
It's time that I realize
There are some with no home
Not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me
Pretending that they're not alone

A willow deeply scarred
Somebody's broken heart
And a washed out dream (washed out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind, ya see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change"

It starts with me.

a fresh start

Happy New Year!

"It's Your Life"  Francesca Battistelli

"It's your life
What you gonna do?
The world is watching you
Every day the choices you make
Say what you are and who
Your heart beats for
It's an open door
It's your life

Are you who you always said you would be?
With a sinking feeling in your chest
Always waiting for someone else to fix you
Tell me when did you forget

To live the way that you believe
This is your opportunity
To let your life be one that lights the way

Every day we get a  fresh start.  Every day when we awake from sleep and put our feet onto the ground, we have a new opportunity to reboot our lives.  Every day we get to make a choice to move forward, to remain in place or to take steps back.

Each of the choices we make provide an oportunity for reflection, consideration and revision. Was it the right choice? Should I do it differently next time? Was it the best I could do? Did I hit the mark in front of me (the mark that honors God)?

"Every day the choices you make
Say what you are and who
Your heart beats for"

We were created for a specific purpose or purposes, with a definite, designed and achievable target. God put us here for a reason. When we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God, we will find ourselves moving in the correct direction.

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, some recoverable and some not.  Some of the choices I made for myself and for my family were certainly not the wisest choices I could have made.  I'd like to go back and fix the outcomes of those unwise choices; sometimes we get that chance, sometimes not.  Choices that affect others may not always be fixable.  Our imprint on the lives of others tends to be indelible.  We can leave broken hearts, minds and bodies in our wake or we can bless others on the paths we cross or walk alongside.  I've done both.

"To live the way that you believe
This is your opportunity
To let your life be one that lights the way"

I want to be the "one that lights the way".  I want "to live the way that you believe".

Every day I get a new chance to make a fresh start putting yesterday behind me and moving forward.

"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  Phillipians 3:13-14 (NASB)

Guided by the Holy Spirit and God's Word, I can begin each day with a renewed purpose and push to achieve that which God has set before me.  I can step onto a renewed path, picking up dropped pieces, pressing forward.