Living through life…

During our lives we all face heartache and suffering at one time or another. Loved ones don’t live as long as we would like them to and when their time is up, we miss them terribly. If our family ties haven’t been as tight with our parents, or our father or brother or uncles, then if something happens to them it may not hurt quite as badly, but we have missed out on a relationship nonetheless. Can we make sure that missing out on a family relationship doesn’t happen? Not really, which is unfortunate, because individual lives change in ways that we can’t know, especially as children.

I lived through a divorce when my parents went through it when I was five and six years old. They went through custody hearings and child support hearings during at least those years and maybe one more. I don’t remember much about those years except for school and the bickering between them on the phone. A young life shouldn’t be subjected to this, but it happens a lot in our country and in many other countries too.

Why am I bringing this up? Because life happens to all of us and it can be good and it can be not so good. The best part about my life, even with the stuff which happened early, was that my grandparents and my Mom were Christians and going to church helped a lot. My mother sang hymns at home and in the car sometimes, so I was exposed to her faith and the faith of my grandparents during a time when I truly needed it.

Life can be tough when you don’t have something to believe in which gives you strength, even though as a young person I didn’t understand the faith that they had or the Bible and the stories in it. I didn’t come to truly get religion and come to Christ until after my son was born. Why did I wait so long? Because I didn’t think that I needed Jesus or rather I thought that I already had Him, but I found out that I didn’t.

Going through the motions of attending church and reading some Scripture and singing hymns makes you “feel” religious, but being religious and being a Christian are very different things entirely. Seek Him out while you have time, today, because you and I are not guaranteed tomorrow.

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Do you want to live?

This is a question that is hardly asked of us in our daily lives. It is one you hear occasionally in movies, which makes it mildly entertaining. What does “life” mean to you? What does “living” mean to you?

Life and living should have the same meaning in our lives every day. But, exactly what kind of life should we all have? The kind that super-star athletes live? The kind that celebrities have with money and fame and all that goes with them? Absolutely not!!

I don’t want a life with all of the problems that fame and that kind of “fortune” brings into your home and your life. Yes, I would like to have a little more money than I have today, but if I were to win a lottery or something like that…I would give most of it away. I would pay bills, build a house with no payments and take care of my aging father in law, but beyond that I would not spend and buy my way into being broke again. I would just give most of the money to worthy causes and to my church.

Living is a process that we all go through. How we live is a reflection of our character. It is that which defines us and makes us who we are. Things and money and houses and cars don’t add anything to your life except stress and more stress. Some of it may bring you a bit of prestige in someone’s viewpoint, but once the money is gone…what then?

Living involves much more than many of us admit to knowing, let alone doing. Living with an eternal goal in mind is real living! This life here will be over far sooner than many people realize and at that point, there won’t be any way of getting back any of what you have lost. The things that you have said or done can’t be undone or unsaid. Just as these words on the Internet are here to stay unless someone creates a worm or program of some kind which wipes out certain undesirable content, the words and actions in your life can’t be fixed just because you want to.

So, how can we live with eternity in mind? By looking forward to a reward which will come when this fleshly shell dies away to reveal the eternal, immortal soul within that will carry on. What reward will your soul receive? Will it be one which welcomes you with love into a life prepared for you in God’s presence? Or, will you refuse the gift which He prepared and offered to you during your life only to be pushed away until next time, until your heart has grown so hard and cold that He isn’t heard from again in your lifetime? Your good deeds, if any, will not help. Neither will sitting in church, refusing to go and ask forgiveness but believing that you are doing your part and God would surely let you in.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior and asked His forgiveness for those sins which kept you away from church and from Him, then nothing has changed. You are still a sinner and one who is unrepentant in their sins, thinking themselves to be holy and good but only to the point that the teachers of Jesus’ time were. Clinging to their “law of Moses” and their favored status as God’s chosen people, and yet denying that their Messiah had come to offer them forgiveness and salvation. Dead “life” is what they had, the same as what exists in the church today. Many sit in the pews today all across the world, thinking that they are right with God and that nothing is wrong. Satan has them all fooled into thinking that they are good enough without Jesus and they will end up in hell just as he does one day and wonder what went wrong.

Living with and through Jesus is the only real living, anything other than that is just a false life, one that is temporary and destined to go to the pit of hell.

Are you in your right mind?

Another way of saying it would be, “Are you out of your mind?!” Many people seem to wonder this about others, but they never seem to ask it of themselves. I wonder why not? I ask myself this many times during the weeks and months of my life, I just never have gotten an answer.

Of course, I have heard that if you answer your own questions then you really are crazy. 🙂 What would you say to someone if they asked you this question? I am not sure what I would say, particularly on some days. We all have days like that so I won’t go into any details. In Jesus’ time, the rulers of the temple thought that He was out of His mind and crazy. Especially when He claimed to be the Son of God, and yet who else could take off on a walk across the Sea of Galilee?

In the business world and in life, crazy and off the wall things happen almost every day. Sometimes we notice them and others we don’t until the day is done and then we will think about some little something that happened and we may get a laugh out of it before going to bed. On some days, it doesn’t take much to get me tickled so that I can’t catch my breath, and most of the time I don’t even know what I am laughing about!

I know, I am weird. But, that is the way that we are all made. Each person has a different point at which they will fall out laughing and it won’t make sense to anyone else and least of all to them sometimes. We have to laugh at ourselves and our circumstances some days, otherwise the problems and worries of the day would be too much.

Give your real problems to God and laugh the others away, then your life will be much easier to bear and every day will be better in the long run. You will feel better too (although I wouldn’t advise doing this in your office).

Have a great year in 2014!

Life today, eternity tomorrow

Living successful today can mean many things to many different people. Some want to make lots of money, some just want to pay their bills off or be able to get a new car or house, some may need the money for medical expenses either for themselves or a loved one. We all have different reasons for wanting to be successful in life, whether you are young or old or wealthy or poor, there is a level of success that each of us would like to have.

How we get to that point in life is just as important as getting there. Would you sell drugs to make the money for your kid’s college education? Probably not. What about some other venture which is immoral, such as a pornographic website? Many people could make lots of money that way, but could your conscience be at peace with it? How many lives would your site wreck in failed marriages or other consequences of people looking at and becoming hooked on the content available on your site? Could you feel good about your money if you knew how much damage was being done by it? I couldn’t.

The Internet has changed a lot of people’s concepts of wealth and news, friendships and relationships and even how we view the world in general. We can get news twenty-four hours a day, we can keep up with our friends and work from almost anywhere in the world (depending on the job we have). In many ways, it has made the world much more accessible and smaller but it has also given us a larger audience to appeal to because anyone can access our sites, anywhere and at any time. So, what drives you in life? Is it money, power, prestige, fame or a combination of them all?

These are the forces that entice people in the world today in one form or another and yet they are all temporary. None of them will last very long. Oh, they will if you are shrewd and cunning but who wants to be that way for the rest of their life? You won’t have many friends if you act that way for long. Some will stay with you because of the money or the fame for a while, but they will leave eventually. Few will be real friends who would stick by you if your money was gone and those are the real friends, the ones that you need in your life. No one can live alone, with no contacts or true friends. It would be an existence which would eventually drive you nearly insane.

What about your own sanity? Physically, we can do many things but when stress and worry get to be overwhelming from the bills that are due or the loss of a loved one or of a job, what or Who do you turn to at that point for help? Many people today turn to the wrong things such as drugs or alcohol to ease the pain or to dull the ache of loss, but these are only temporary fixes.

Temporary fixes are just that, temporary! What about when the buzz wears off and you wake up or come down from it. If my memory serves me correctly, you usually feel worse which also makes you feel depressed even more. My suggestion is to give your life to Jesus and decide to follow Him.

Following Jesus in your daily life is not hard to do and it doesn’t restrict your life either. It frees up your life because you can’t help yourself in this area, on Jesus can change your heart and your life into what He intended for you to be! Once that happens, you will feel it in your heart and soul.

What Do You Think of When You Consider Success?

I have been trying to find a way to make money with blogging and so far all of the “systems” that I have found are just scams. Scamming people out of their money is not an honorable way to make money! A successful life is one that honors God in all that you do. In your life, in your job, in your worship and by life I mean that you need to carry Jesus with you daily. I am not writing this column or post for myself. I am not putting this up just as a rant page! Even though, I tend to get up on a box at times.

A successful life is one that helps others in ways that helps them succeed and in the process each of us will succeed. Lying and cheating people out of money is not the way to go. There are ways to create wealth and be a blessing in the process, but sometimes we have to find those ways. Doing things the way the world and those in it do them is not the way to go! Finding your calling through your service to Jesus and using that calling to make life better for other people will bless you beyond measure.

Those blessings may not be in monetary things. You may not make a six figure income from doing this, but you will live a successful life. It may not be a successful life from the world’s point of view, but in God’s eyes it is. How can we do this? I don’t know exactly. If any of you have any ideas which fit the criteria that I have laid out here, let me know and I will gladly pray for you and I may try it out if I can afford to.

You see, those people who put sites up and say that they were dead broke but came up with a system to make money they did just that! They might help you put up a site and they might just sell you their “secrets”, but then you are on your own. How do you think that you will do with around three billion other web sites trying to get everyone’s attention? You had better have a really good hook or some bait that will drag them in and hook them so that they will buy YOUR product instead of somebody else’s.

My question in the title is specific enough that many people will say “Money!” OK, if you are successful in making money then how else will you be successful? Success has many faces and not all of them are pretty. Money will pay bills and buy stuff but other than that it has little power. With enough of it, you can have a position of power, but the reward always comes down to “your character”. Because money will also cause the REAL person that you are inside to come out regardless of whether you want them to or not!

Make sure that the person which shows up after you are successful is the same person that you are or a better one!

Success in life, necessary?

Is success really necessary in life? To many people in life and business and in any endeavor that they attempt, success is necessary. But, what do you do with it once you have attained it? Do you go out and buy some extravagant item that you couldn’t afford before just to show off? Or, do you take your success and the reward that you have gained from it and make sure that you never get into debt again? Will you help those less fortunate than you have been or will you just forget where you were a few short months or years ago and go on your merry way?

These questions and the answers that come into your mind will tell you something of the type of person that you are. The real you, not the one that everyone else sees at the office or at a bar or even at home. The answers that come into your mind while reading those questions in the first paragraph. The answers which come, without your conscious thoughts in the way. Those are the truthful answers but they are also the answers that many people ignore or push away. Because they don’t want to admit to being so cruel or hateful. Nobody wants to admit that, unless there has been a change in your life that truly changed your character, each of us is selfish and egotistical.

We are, each one of us, this way from birth and nothing that you or your parents can do will change that. It is a sad fact and a blight on our collective conscience. Oh, we can be good and decent folks when we want something or when we think that we will get something in return. But, what about the times when we need something and we can’t do or say anything which will provoke such an action from someone else? What happens when you may be hurting, physically or emotionally, and there is nothing that you can accomplish which might prompt someone to give you what you need or want at that particular point in time?

Your character and the influence that it gives you in circumstances which come up daily, is the deciding factor when it comes to your true success in life. How much you make in terms of money is not it, nor is your promotion at work or anything which you acquire because of monetary rewards. The person that you are inside, where your character is grown and nurtured and pruned is the most important factor in your success in life. How you grow to be that person is dependent upon the culture that you live in as a young person, growing up in the care of your parents or grandparents. Yes, I used the plural of parents/grandparents for a specific reason…because each of us needs both figures in our lives.

A mother and a father, both of whom are present during your growth and development. It has been the deciding factor in the culture that our country finds itself in today because there have been and still are too many families which don’t have one or the other and sometimes both. Children that grow up without the influence of parents who care for them aren’t successful in life. I know there are exceptions to every rule and some people who are will get up and say that it was because of such a fact that they determined to be successful.

Success according to the standard that we use is measured by how big your house is, how much money that you make, etc. In material possessions, stuff, there really aren’t very many successful people in the world. There are far more people who are very UN-successful in terms which most of the world recognizes as success because there are more people living in parts of the world where their life is successful if they can manage to eat a meal two or three times per week. Success is relative because of the nature of success, where you may live, the ability that you have to live and your own drive and character which influences how you live and what you have to do to survive.

God does have some influence in your success because He is the standard by which your character is judged. His influence in your life depends greatly upon whether you have heard His message through examples set by your peers or your parents or from messages through attending church or being ministered to by a missionary in a country where Christianity may be despised and hated. Your compass, moral or not, depends upon the influence of people who have been in your life from your youth and upon their character traits as well. Were they influenced by parents who were God-fearing or were they humanists? All of these things come into play later in life and you may brush them off as the rantings of some person on the Internet, but the point is this: Character builds up, lack of it will tear down. Consider this when trying to find your path through life, wherever it might lead you.

Living well in spite of slavery that still exists!

Many people seem to desire wealth and lots of it. Mainly because it can get you nearly anything that you desire. Depending on how much your desires cost and how much wealth you have, of course, you can truly have almost anything that is available for sale in the world. The really sad and cruel part of this story is that even today, slavery is still prevalent in the world. I know that many will say that it isn’t in the so-called developed countries, but it is. It is hidden behind facades that disguise it so that it doesn’t look like slavery or it is hidden from view altogether, but it is there.

The sad part about this is that we don’t have to have slavery at all. It wasn’t needed even when it was “popular” in developed nations of over a century ago, but it existed because evil existed in their hearts. I say, evil because not only did they treat people as property, to be bought and sold and used as they saw fit, but they also used and quoted scripture out of context to justify do it.

My title is “Living well because **** “, and I know that slavery has nothing to do with living well, but (there’s that word again) people can change and many countries and cultures which used slaves have changed. Yet, slavery still exists. Today, the slave trade is in children and women and men for sex slaves, which to me is even worse than in previous times. I know about the use of slaves as mistresses, but today’s slaves are used by perverted, cruel people (men mostly) who care nothing for their slaves except for how they can used them and abuse them.

Living well in today’s society means finding these people and exposing them or rescuing the slaves that have been taken, against their will, into this life. They did not want it, but they were placed in bondage and all that we see in the news is that some girl or boy child is missing.

Nobody knows where they went or what happened and for many, there will never be any news about recovery or rescue. Everyone will forget about their story and move on after a week or so and they will be forgotten, even today with all of the ways to communicate. What has happened to our society and the people in it that causes us to forget about people and news that are truly valuable as soon as the news is over?

Why don’t we care about each other in the way that Christ wanted us to? Why can’t we at least try to be like Him in our everyday life? Is life that crappy? Is it really that bad to be like Jesus? Yes, in a world where slavery still exists, life is crappy but living for Jesus and like Him makes a HUGE difference in your life and in the lives of those around you! People will see the change in you and in your character and your work ethic. Everything in your life will be changed for the better because of Him. God loves you and He always has!

The subject of this essay, post, or whatever you want to call it is a subject that people don’t want to talk about. Because it is supposed to be in our past and not present in modern times, but it is! The slavery that is present now is more demeaning and cruel than that of over a century ago. Why? Because it mostly involves children being kidnapped and forced into a life of being sex slaves and they end up addicted to drugs just so they don’t feel or care what is being done to them! Yes, the slavery that was perpetrated in America was a crime against humanity, because we are all made in God‘s image regardless of our skin color. But, what is being done by these perverts is worse because it is being done by grown men mostly with young boys and girls, some as young as eight!

I know that I have been writing upbeat articles about how to live and be successful in life, but this needs to come to the attention of many more people than just someone like me and those who read this. If you will forward this to someone who might bring attention to this outrage before it really gets out of hand in our world.

Living well in our culture

The culture that we live in, whatever it may be, determines our focus. What we believe, why we believe and how we believe, regardless of the object of our belief. So, what is your cultural belief? Is it religious or secular? Is it centered around a religion or is it atheistic?

Living well means that we are enjoying life. In what manner we enjoy our life is determined by our beliefs and the morality that we were taught while growing up. There are many who think that as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are enjoying it.

What is your focus in life? Is it materialistic? Do you think that whoever dies with the most toys wins? Especially if they are expensive toys? OK, if that is your belief then who gets your toys when you die? You can’t take them with you and it is for sure that you won’t enjoy them from that point on. What is the point in a person’s life in acquiring more “stuff”, expensive or not, when that stuff can’t help you in life at all!

Yes, some stuff can impress people but today is that necessary? Some people say “yes”, but why? Do you really need or even want some “thing” to impress people about you or should they be impressed with your character and your life? Truly, they should be impressed with you and your character, not what you are wearing or driving.

Stuff, is just like idols from ancient times. We worship things like cars, jobs, and positions even though many don’t realize that we place far more importance in these things than we should. Many times, we look at the beauty of a car, or the salary that we are getting from our job or the position that it affords us in society and we don’t see that we are putting too much emphasis on those and not on our personal integrity.

Is it possible to have integrity in your sales position or your specific job, whatever it may be? Do you check the advice that you give to others with your conscience, your own moral code before you give it? Have you considered that life and health and your job all follow each other? How healthy you are is reflected in your life, but it also affects your job and your performance in that job. If your health is not so good, then it will show in other areas of your life. If you are having problems at home, regardless of the kind of problems they are, they will be reflected in your job and in your health.

Your faith in God can help in all of these situations, whether you have faith in Him will affect all of these situations because He is the source of truth and conscience in our lives whether we admit to it or not. Many of the wise sayings that are accepted in our culture come from God’s Word. They may not be quoted that way and it may not be shown as the source, but much of the wisdom that is in so-called “self-help” books that are so popular has its basis in Biblical wisdom.

His love and compassion for all of us was and is shown through the grace that is given to us each day that we wake up to a new day. We should cherish it as a gift, thank Him for it and purpose to do with it something which will edify and glorify Him in the process. In doing this, our life will be blessed, our job will be blessed, the customers that we serve will be blessed and our stress levels will be far less than they would’ve been. Think about it.

Successful living is like walking

It is true that this is a recurring theme on this blog as well as in life, but everyone wants to know how to do it don’t they? Can you learn how to do this? Yes, but it takes work. It is not something that you can just get out of a box or from an e-mail, and it is not an instant, overnight fix for a life that is out of kilter.

Just like living a regular life, whether that life is one that includes fame and fortune or one that is full of strife, heartache, pain and otherwise unpleasant things which make such a life miserable, a successful life is one lived while doing what you enjoy doing.

But, there is not an instant fix or an easy way of making money like you see in the emails or advertisements. Contrary to the popular sites and so-called “strategies”, instant wealth without work just doesn’t exist. The idea that you can get something for nothing has been around for a long time and many people have fallen for it.

The point is that along with a successful life, your attitude toward that life has to be on point with your dreams and your reality. If you are trying to grasp a life that, in reality, is out of your reach it is not futile but you do need to step back and take a deep breath. I don’t mean that you need to think it to death, whatever it may be, but you do need to look at your situation and make sure of the direction that you are trying to go.

It may be hard or difficult to do the thing that you are trying to do, but nothing that is worth doing is really easy. I know that you have heard that before but it is true. Getting something for nothing just doesn’t happen, except with your salvation. That is the only priceless purchase that you can make with nothing from you. Jesus paid the price, all that you have to do is repent of your old life and tell Jesus that you want a new one.

Taking the first step toward a life of freedom, regardless of what kind of freedom it is, is always the right decision. But, if you don’t take that step, you will never know how it feels! Being free from debt or sin is not easy or quick. Most people think that when you get out of debt, then you will never be in debt again, but unless you have truly changed your spending habits it will happen again!

It is the same with sin, when a Christian is still a babe in Christ, fresh in their faith, your old habits will come back. The sins have been forgiven, but your life hasn’t been reset like a computer! Forgiveness happens from above, the change in your heart and your character is a process that takes time. Time alone with God, time spent studying His Word and lots of prayer. Nothing is instantaneous, salvation is given to you through Christ when you accept Him but the change in you happens gradually.

Like the man in the book, “The Richest man in Babylon”, wealth comes a little at a time and it is the same with a Christian’s life. It doesn’t happen like turning on a light, but it is like building a home. The foundation is laid first, then the framework of the building, then the flooring and walls are framed in, etc. In a Christian life and a business person’s life, success is also gained by taking steps toward your goal, but you have to take those steps. Some of those are easy, and some are difficult but nothing is impossible.

Can we decide to live?

Deciding to live our lives in relation to our dreams and our hopes is something that we should do, but do we do it? Many people look at their lives literally and think that there is no place for dreams or hope in some people’s lives. They just give up on their dreams and stop chasing them. The settle for a paycheck and a job that they hate or dislike and then they feel bitter and resentful because they chose to settle for something rather than going after what they really want in life.

Living requires action in one way or another. You have to get up out of bed, go to the loo and then eat something so you will have the energy to get through your day. Of course you also have to take a bus ride or drive to work, eat lunch, work at whatever job you may have, then drive home and hope you get there in one piece.

We live in a mixed up world, one that is fraught with pain, hardship, loneliness, fear and anxiety which has caused the drug companies to become so wealthy that they dictate to the government what can and cannot be used or advertised as a “medical breakthrough”.

Can we make a true “living wage” without all of those side-effects described above? Yes, we probably can but will it be fulfilling for us? Will we enjoy doing it or will it be just another way to tell someone a lie about something so that they will buy it from us? Will we…can we do this while telling the truth about what we are doing? Can we make a living while letting others know the truth about what we are doing and why?

For many people, the answer would be “no”, simply because in today’s world you can’t be totally honest about what you are selling and why you are selling it. Whether it is a law firm, a construction company, a candy company or a person selling shoes or cars, you can’t be totally truthful with everyone about the product being sold. And when the truth is missing from the transaction, that is when the anxiety and stress start to show up between the seller and the potential buyer.

The only “product” that I can be totally truthful about is something which I can’t sell or make money from and it is my faith in Jesus and the good news about Him! I can be totally honest and truthful about it because if I am not, then I shouldn’t be a writer or a blogger and certainly not a pastor.

Jesus loves us and came to Israel as a baby so that He could atone for all of the sins of mankind, not just His people. He died for all of us and that is the “product” that I have, this is the Truth that is told in detail in God’s Word. It is not a product that can be sold, but must be given away because God’s grace is free to all! How can we use these principles to live successfully? By following the wisdom that is contained in it and using it in our daily lives and our business.

Think about it, pray about it, look up the book of Proverbs and read it because it does have a lot of advice for personal and business ventures and doing it the right way.