Every man should read!

Morning Story and Dilbert

Approximately 15 years ago I was at a friend’s wedding and during the speeches at the reception, the groom was thanking his parents for their love and patience. His emotions got the better of him and tears began to freely flow.

Some at the wedding thought it showed a weakness in Warren. As for me, these words came to my mind (I don’t know if I created this saying or if I heard it from somewhere else), and I am reminded of them everytime tears well up in my eyes: “Tears do not a man belittle – but rather a man they make.”

Women just seem to naturally know how to cry. Their emotions are stirred reading a book, watching a movie, grieving with a friend, experiencing the pain their children experience.

Men have a long way to go in learning, and I hesitate to use it, about their “soft…

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Called by Name!

Do you remember when, if your mother was really upset with you, she’d call you by your full given name?

I remember it well, as a mother–calling my son by his full name if I walked outside and couldn’t see him.

If he did something really stupid and I happened to discover it–hiding dirty clothes, putting a pan he didn’t want to wash under the sink to keep from having to really scrub it–oh yes, I called him by name!

I remember my high school graduation and others that I attended, as well as college graduations–we were called by our full names and it was wonderful to hear our names for doing something positive.

Well, God knows our name–and He calls us to remembrance of His Word, His promises, and what He’ll do for us! In Isaiah 43:1  He reminds us not to be afraid because He has redeemed us and called us by name–we are His!  Glory to God!

He knows the very number of hairs on our head, He knows when we’ve done our best and when we haven’t tried, He knows the moment we’ll come to ourselves and realize we can do nothing apart from Him, and He is calling us by name–right now–to live according to His Word, defend the rights of the poor and the needy, love those who not that lovable, and promote the gospel wherever we go.  He’s called us by our full name–the righteousness of God, worthy of redemption, a royal priesthood, sons and daughters of the most high and we should live the life He has given us to His Glory!  Walk in the name He has called you–faithful servant–and listen for Him to say, “well done.”

Let the Gifts Flow!

“In due season, He gives us all our meat” (Psalm 145:15).

God has given us all gifts–natural gifts as well as spiritual gifts–for us to use to His glory.  When we do not exercise our gifts and hone them to perfection (or at least as close we can get to perfection), those gifts become atrophied, until we recognize their lack of power in our lives.  We must exercise our gifts, our faith, and our bodies.

Think of it this way.  When our muscles rebel from the strain of inactivity when we attempt to use them, it hurts.

When our faith is lacking and we attempt to use it (on big things, but not the little ones), we’re often disappointed with the results.

When we do not recognize our gifts and do not use them, we become bitter and envious of those who do.

Today is Marvelous Monday, tap into your gifts and begin to exercise them and fine tune them so you can use them–“He gives us power to get wealth”–that power lies in our ability to use our gifts, right now.  If we delay, our season is delayed and we have no one to fault, but us.

Exercise your gifts today; encourage someone else to tap into their gift, rejoice with them when the gifts are flowing because we all win–due season–falls upon everyone who is willing to recognize, exercise, refine and do–all that He has poured in us to do.  It is due season, our time right now!  Hallelujah!

Psalm 23 v 6

“Surely your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

We can know with “certainty” (no doubt) that the goodness and mercy of God will follow us all the days of our lives.  This does not mean that nothing bad  or tragic will ever happen to us, but because of His goodness—that endures forever—we can survive and arise every time we get knocked down, stronger each time, knowing God has our back (following can only come from behind).  His mercy—favor that we cannot earn—paired with His goodness is a guarantee that no weapon formed against shall prosper.  Every word of God will accomplish that which it set out to do and we can know—the battle is not ours, but The Lord’s and we are victorious!

Once we know that we are victorious in all things through Jesus Christ, we can live with the assurance that we have access into heaven where we shall spend eternity when our time on earth, in this realm is at an end.  Blessed are those who hear The Word and keep it upon their hearts all the days of their lives.

We must read and study The Word, hear and believe The Word, and then do The Word so that no one who sees us can ever say; they did not have an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Since we are His ambassadors, our conduct and behavior should be a reflection of who He is.

Glory to God for The Good Shepherd who leads us in all things to His glory!

Psalm 23 v 5

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

When we think about “preparing a table” why do we normally do it?

Think about having special guests for dinner.  We put out the best we have in honor our guests—the best tablecloth, napkins, dinnerware, silverware etc.  We pay attention to the presentation of the food and any accompaniments we serve.  We go the extra mile to impress our guests.

Jesus “prepares” to honor us with His very best—in the face of whatever the enemy attempts to do—and basically what we can take from this is:  It takes time to prepare for royalty and He’s taking His time—never mindful of what the enemy might do—He wants the enemy to know—He will savor each moment with us as He prepares the way for us to receive His very best.

He anoints us with wisdom and it overflows into everything we do.  He has said in His Word, He gives us wisdom liberally and will not think poorly of us when we ask for more.

Remember—this is The Great Shepherd—the One who cares for His sheep and He is not willing to see any of us lost or in need.

Joy in the Morning

Life is full of hardships, tragedies, and unexpected twists that bring many people to their knees–leaving them destitute and hopeless.

There is nothing we can do to stop “life” from happening, but we can adjust our responses to those events.  As hard as it may be, we must keep moving forward while we have the opportunity to do so.

When a loved one is hurt in a tragic event–cry, scream, repent and move on. Even though your heart feels like it has been ripped from your chest, given time the tears will mend and you can still rejoice.

When the death of someone you love comes upon them–suddenly–don’t despair even though you may wish it were you–cry, scream, repent and move on.

While you’re watching a loved one’s mind slowly deteriorate–don’t despair–remember the good times, try to help them remember, and even if they don’t–smile, hug them, pray for them, love them, and keep it moving!

If we don’t keep moving when the enemy strikes at our hearts, we allow him the pleasure of knowing how to stop God’s divine plan for our lives and those we could positively impact.  Grieve through the darkness, cry in the storm, repent in the aftermath and when the dawn of morning comes, rejoice in the Lord and know that He has it all in His control!  Hallelujah!

Can You Hear The Crying?

Can you hear the crying

From those who were not born

Their bodies sucked out and torn

Flesh disposed of, never to be worn?

Can you hear the crying

From war bombed countries in Pakistan

Iraq, Syria, and in Afghanistan, or the shores of Africa

Now here, now there—bombs falling everywhere,

Blowing apart countries and hearts of those left behind?

Can you hear the crying

Of those who are starving, poor, and homeless

Wandering the streets, being used and abused

To get a crumb of food to survive, just to do it again?

Can you hear the crying,

Of those whose bodies are shredded by gunfire

From illegal weapons on the streets in every city,

Where the NRA has imposed its goals—weapons for sale

To all—mentally unstable, criminal and more, but don’t check

Their backgrounds, you infringe upon their constitutional rights,

And politicians are blinded by green and don’t see the right of those

Who choose to live without fear of bullets flying with no name attached?

Can you hear the crying

Of mothers and fathers lost and depressed

Unemployment and poverty has no redress

Republicans who have forgotten The Word

They profess to live by, but don’t,

“Defend the rights of the poor and the needy”

Their creed, just legislate laws that are meant for the greedy?

Can you hear the crying

Of children ignored, but not ignorant

Education denied them when poverty reigns

And Republican politicians have often disdained

By cutting funding that could cure the ills

Of society, crime galore for which all complain?

Can you hear the crying

Of seniors who have paid their dues

And worked all their lives and now

Have to choose medication over food,

Just to survive another day of humiliation?

Can you hear the crying,

Of those who have died

And the families who cried

Because healthcare was not available, nor affordable

And politicians, Republicans mostly, denied

Them the right to medical care?

Can YOU hear the crying?

Can you HEAR the crying?

Can you hear the CRYING?

Then do something about it

Or you may be next, crying in vain!

Excerpt-When Money Talks

At twenty-two years old, she thought the entire world was hers to explore at her leisure and nothing was impossible for her achieve.  Today, she was preparing a candlelight dinner for two, complete with a marvelous French Bordeaux.  She had been planning this surprise for her fiancé for days. This would be their last dinner together as an unmarried couple.  After tonight, she was staying in her parent’s home until after the wedding when she could move into his tastefully decorated apartment. She was deliriously happy and excited as she got off the elevator and stood in front of his apartment door.  With the key he had given her, she opened the door and practically floated in as she noiselessly closed the door behind her.  She smiled as she thought about sharing the apartment with him.

The living room was spacious and not a hint of pretension dwelled there.  The white Corinthian leather couch and matching chair were perfectly centered in the middle of the room and were accentuated with matching gray smoked-topped glass tables.  The knee level coffee table sat between the couch and a gray-upholstered recliner while two other tables were sentries at opposite ends of the couch.  The adjacent dining area boasted a beautiful white-topped cherry wood table with matching plush padded chairs.  The kitchen was just big enough to maneuver from the stove to the sink without walking into another person.  The apartment-sized refrigerator was tucked away in the corner which gave the impression of much more room.  Hanging in the hallway were two pictures of a serene village with children playing and puppies sleeping.

A smile played upon her lips as she thought about the master bedroom. The king-sized circular bed with its bronze-colored comforter, covering matching silk sheets had an attached headboard that boasted two built-in shelves filled with books, a radio, and an overhead lamp.  A triple-walnut stained dresser  with a sculpted framed mirror was positioned in front of the bed and to the left in a corner, a large walnut-stained open-faced cabinet held his television and entertainment center.  As she stood surveying the area she could see, she mentally checked off the days.  She sighed wistfully as she turned the corner from the hallway towards the kitchen.  Her head inclined for a moment when she thought she heard a noise and thinking that James had left on the radio in the bedroom, she put the down the bag of groceries in the floor and headed for the bedroom.

The French vanilla-colored carpet beneath her feet was so thick she felt as though she was sinking with each step as she walked down the hallway to the bedroom.  The door was slightly ajar and when she pushed it open, she barely contained the scream that rose from her belly, constricting her throat muscles.  She fell back against the wall and had to use it to support her buckling legs.  A wave of nausea swept over her and almost caused her to faint.  She stood in the room against the wall seemingly mesmerized by the flailing bodies in the bed in front of her.  Her beloved fiancé and best friend Karen were so intent in their love-fest they didn’t hear her come in and didn’t realize she was in the room until she finally allowed the bubbling scream freedom.

They jerked in surprise at seeing at there, with their mouths hanging open, they watched her and saw the horror she felt mirrored in her eyes.  For a moment, they were also frozen into immobility, too filled with guilt to react immediately.  Then, as she approached the bed, James was catapulted into action, attempting to cover them with a tangled silk sheet.

“M.m.mara!  What are you doing here?” he stammered.

Counting on Friends

In the middle of events–whatever they are:  good times, bad times, etc.  we need to know who we can count on–who has our backs!

From the time we’re in school–elementary and beyond–there are people who move in and out of our lives.  Some we develop such an affinity with they become lifelong friends and others–they are acquaintances, affiliates, associates, that are only in our lives for a season.  Some are only in our lives for what they think they can get from us–the moochers, the leeches–you may know some of these.  They don’t hang around long and they only want you to be there for them; they are seldom there for you.

The friends–the loyal persons who are there through disagreements, happy and sad times–the ones you can count on and they can count on you–they are there for the duration and no matter how far away they may be–they still have your back.  Most of us only have a few people like this in our lives or at most a handful because true friends–are hard to find and certainly hard to keep.

There is One–who has our backs no matter what we do, how far we stray or how long we stay away–He’s our Friend we can always count on.  The question becomes then, can He count on us to do what He has asked us to do?  Can He count on us to live the way He wants us to live?  Can He count on us to represent Him in such a great way that all we meet, will also meet Him?  Do we really have His back in what we do?

The Word tells us that in order to have friends, we must “show ourselves to be friendly”.  That does not mean that we become like others, but that others should so like what they see in us that they become like us.  Can He count on you to promote the Gospel and truly represent Him?

Psalm 23 v 4

Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

In the first part of this verse, we understand that David was telling God that no matter where he went, he went with the confidence that God was with him and he had no need to fear. Although most of us are not walking through dark valleys, our lives sometimes seem to have been overtaken by darkness and all of the evil that encompasses darkness. But since we know that God has not given us a spirit of fear, we need not fear anything the darkness has to offer.  We are the light in a world of darkness—set apart so that all men and women would come to know Jesus.

The tools of the trade for a shepherd are indeed a rod and a staff.  The rod he uses to prod the sheep and to protect them; the staff (that has a hook on the top end) he uses to rescue them should they end up in treacherous situations—like falling over a cliff.  Imagine the rod and staff (through the Holy Spirit) that God uses on our behalf.  His Word is the rod that prods us to move forward and as a reminder to deflect the influences of satan. The Holy Spirit is the staff that rescues us when we end up in treacherous places and we are comforted by the knowledge that, “He will never leave us or forsake us.”

If you are fearful of dark alleys or dark days or evil in the ways of others, allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you through The Word and know comfort and love from above.