“You really don’t have a right if you don’t exercise it”

Said my mom.

This is going into the pile of “things I need to think more about.” But there’s something about this statement that rings true. Being the novice politician, political analyst, government strategist, law abiding citizen that I am, I need to do more thinking.


This simple statement could change your career forever

We all have to make choices in how we’re going provide for our families. We have to decide what role we play as a part of a family. We have to decide how we will function and what we will do in our community and society to make a living. But deciding what you should do can be difficult. Some of us want out of our jobs. Some of us want to make more money. Some of us want to do something else but won’t try to because we probably can’t make a living doing that.

As a husband and father I have had major shifts in my thinking. When I was younger I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life. It was such a big question looming over me. What is the one thing I’m going to contribute to society and the world? What is it I am going to decide to do with the rest of my life?

As I look back I realize how naive these questions were. I was assuming that I would stick to that one thing throughout my life. I was also entirely focused on myself and what I could do instead of on one simple thing that has changed me.

It’s obvious

When we focus on ourselves we end up loosing what we’re looking for. The people who try and “find themselves” end up usually more confused and ambiguous about who they really are. Some people think they become these amazing philosophers, and when you read what they write, they not only make absolutely no sense but it also doesn’t reflect the real world or any sort of basic thinking.

Jesus said that if you try to keep your life then you will lose it, but if lose your life for His sake then you’ll find life. Now this is a simple statement that Christians overlook. Jesus is saying that the more you try to gain and make something of yourself in this life then you will lose your life and yourself. If, however, you live for Him, then you will not only have life, but also yourself.

But that isn’t the simple statement I’m talking about. There are profound implications of what Jesus commands Christians to do there, but I am talking about careers so let’s focus in there while keeping in mind that principle.

The Simple Statement

When it comes to careers and picking that “one thing” you’re going to do with your life then you need to keep this one simple thing in mind that will change what you do for a career or what you do in your career.

Here it is: Make life easier for others.

If you want to know what will help you know what you ought to do “with your life,” when it comes to choosing a career, it’s that. It’s making life easier for others. This is what all good business and business practices are about. Making life easier for others. Whether you’re selling goods or services.

Often when people think about what career they want to do, they usually pick something they like, entirely focused on what they want and what they desire. They sometimes think of job security, or what makes the most money, or what could get them the things they want. And you want to know why most Americans aren’t satisfied with their jobs?

Instead of looking at what you like, analyze what people have said you’re good at, and combine those things together with: “What is it that other people need that I can help them with?”

It’s not prideful to think you can help someone with something. It’s called knowing yourself and knowing others. Farmers aren’t prideful. We often think of them as down to earth and humble people. Yet they provide and help tons of people with one major problem: we need to eat.

Sum it all up

So if you want to figure out what you should “do with your life,” and don’t know what it is you should do, and you don’t want to be miserable, then there’s two thing you need to do: You need to give your life up to Jesus Christ and seek to know Him, and you then need to think about what things you can do that will benefit others.

If you aim to produce goods or create services that make the lives of others easier, or aim to work for a company that produces good or creates services that make the lives of others easier, then the possibilities are endless of what you can do, and also you’re never stuck on one career path. Because helping others no longer becomes about just what you can do, but how can you keep making others lives easier. So you may invent an app, and then create a service, and then start a business, and then freelance, and then move onto others things because you see a new need. You see a new way you can make the lives of others easier.

So don’t focus on a career but focus on a type of living. One that seeks to honor God in all things, because He knows what’s best for people, and one that works to make the lives of others easier.

Anybody can implement this. You can remove my religious talk and just listen to the practical things I wrote, but know that Jesus didn’t say lose your life for the sake of others but the sake of him. So you may be able to seek to make the lives of others easier, and many haters of God do, but you still haven’t truly found life.


You Shouldn’t lead by example

I find that the cliche “lead by example” is one that probably needs to die, soon. It needs to be killed, retired, and forgotten. It needs to be buried beneath the deepest floor in the deepest part of the ocean.

You may be wondering why. It’s because I don’t know what it means.

Over the course of time, old phrases get used so much they become meaningless. The phrase might be used in a way it was never meant to be used and so it begins to fall flat. Flat like old soda. It has no fizz, no punch, no kick, no life. And I believe “lead by example” is one of those phrases.

I once used the phrase to tell someone that all they could do about a certain person in the situation they were put in is lead by example. What did that mean in that situation? What does that even mean?

If someone is going out destroying their body, you don’t “lead by example” by not destroying your body. They could care less what you’re doing. What you need to do is stop them from destroying themselves. You don’t lead by hoping someone will follow, you lead by action.

When I look through the Bible, I don’t find leaders who merely did things that were good examples. The reason why they’re good examples is because they did what needed to be done in the situation they were in. David didn’t merely lead by example. He didn’t just sit there and tell himself “I’m not going to kill Saul, and hopefully my men will follow my example.” No, David decided not to kill the Lords anointed, and he stopped his men from doing the same. He not only lived out his beliefs, he made sure those around him also lived it out.

Jesus didn’t just respect the temple and hope the people would see his example and respect it as well. No, Jesus made a whip and made them respect God’s house. He threw out the wickedness. He forced his beliefs upon people.

Of course this can be taken too far, and obviously I’m not saying that Christians need to go around forcing people to do what they want them to do. We have differences in thought about the way we ought to worship, when, how, and the way we should organize church. We shouldn’t force others to do what we believe they should do.

However, when it comes to “leading by example,” we have to stop pretending that being silent is going to get people to follow our example. We have to stop pretending that just seeing our good example will make people follow. If you don’t want people to follow your example, then don’t do what you’re doing. And if you don’t want to lead people in doing your example, then don’t think you’re leading by example. You’re being an example, but you’re not leading.

Joshua and Caleb were great examples. But neither of them lead the people of Israel for another 40 years.

Don’t abuse the word lead by thinking it means just doing good. Be an example by doing good. And sure, maybe you’re the first to do the good that ought to be done. But that’s still not leading, that’s just being the first. Sometimes it’s the third or fourth person who starts doing that good who becomes “lead.”

A better reason for doing good, for continuing to do good, is not because someone may follow or notice or it may change someone. A better reason is because Jesus told you to do so, and it is better to follow Christ than to lead people.


Why I haven’t written as much

Over this past week I’ve skipped out blogging more than I want to. In the beginning of this year I’ve made it a goal to post as much as I possibly can. This led to a daily posting and then to a six day posting. This made me post about 90 or so blogs in the past three months.

The number has dropped this past week because of a few things, which no-one may care about but I’ll write anyways because it’ll make one post. In fact, because I’ve been reading and studying quite a few things that I haven’t posted about I may just end up posting about those things.

Anyways.

I’ve made it my goal to save up a certain amount for things my family needs. My wife stays at home with my son and I work full time as a massage therapist. My wife stays at home because I am taking a crack at a new business my parents have started up, because we believe this is what is right, and because we are able to do it.

The business my parents started is Freight Brokering. I’ve been doing that for the past four months. I have also recently started my hand at copywriting. Thanks to my aunt and something she said I began research into this field. As I did, I realized I could do it. This led me to seeking work in this field, which I have obtain some.

So now, I’m working a few different things. If we count each project as a separate job (even though it all can be labeled, “freelance” work) then I am working about four jobs. All a way to image forth this reality: I’m not able to write for this blog as often as I wish.

Now, in being open, I must admit as well that I do entertain the idea of maybe one day blogging full time, providing good content and information on Christianity and life. I started creating a Patreon, but I am holding off on that now. Perhaps one day I’ll selfishly ask people to donate if they so desire, but for now I need to simply work.

Which leads me to my conclusion: I’m still going to try and produce at least four or so posts a week. However, I’ve made peace with myself knowing that perhaps for a time I won’t be able to blog. This is all well, because the aim is for these other jobs to take off so that I may perhaps quit my massage job. In doing so, I can work more normal hours and perhaps spend more time in providing free content.

For now, I’ll just have to settle for the fact that blogging daily may hinder me from what I need to do, even though blogging for me is helping me achieve what I want to do (write fiction and Christian non-fiction). But that’s okay, because I’m writing in other capacities at this time, so though I’m not blogging, my writing is still being sharpened. I thank God for this. He guides us, and I pray that I’ll make the wisest decisions.

I also have no fear in my decisions because I know the love of Christ. He is a good teacher and He will not fail at accomplishing His goal of making me holy and blameless.


On Fighting with my wife

Something I’ve been reflecting on is the arguments I get into with my wife. I wrote previously that sin is our problem. However, I also want to add something that must not be ignored.

Fighting with your spouse may be the very thing God uses to edify and change you into a better man or woman. As Christians, if we believe God uses all things together for our good, then that includes our fights with our spouses. That includes our disagreements.

What this means is that we need to look at our fights as information gathering. In a fight, there is much that is demonstrated. Our sin, where we disagree, what we each think and believe.

God will use our disagreements to help us mature. We must use them for that end. This is why I thank God for my fights with my wife. I don’t thank God for the sin in those fights, but that sin is revealed and disunity in particular areas is brought to light. As a husband, these fights reveal to me where I must think through if I am wrong or right regardless of how I feel. If we do disagree then I need to lead us through the necessary steps in either coming to an agreement or in choosing to walk together in a way that doesn’t undermine one-another.

Often in fights both parties need to seek forgiveness for their sins, but that’s not all. Both also need to listen and reflect, using these opportunities to grow and mature and see if there is truth to what is being portrayed, even if we don’t like how it’s being portrayed.


How Fear is Holding You Back

It grips you like nothing else can grip you, holding you down, pulling you back, restraining you. It shames you, telling you how you can’t do it, how you’re going to mess up.

Fear’s claws grips the heart. It prevents you from doing things that you should be doing. Fear is a feeling of something terrible may happen: in a situation, in a circumstance, with a friendship, with the government, with your job or your home.

1 John 4:18-19: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (ESV)

We often fear things because we don’t want to deal with them.  In 1 John, John in chapter four discusses the judgement of God and how we have confidence for that day, because our confidence is that we know God and He abides in us as Christians.

As 1 John 4:18 demonstrates, fear has to do with something that is going to happen to us. Punishment will happen in the future. Judgement from God is going to happen to all of us. If you’re consumed with the judgement of God then you are missing the love of God. If you fear His judgment, then you don’t know His love.

But what about all other circumstances in life? What about our other fears? I believe the principle still applies. Fear is being consumed with something that may happen and dreading it. We might fear speaking in front of people, probably because we fear what others think and believe that they may judge us (which they will). We might fear the market crashing and loosing our jobs, probably because it can happen and we don’t know how we’ll care for our families. We might fear war, or people breaking into our homes, or spiders, or messing up.

What fear comes down to is focusing on what may happen or can happen or will happen, and getting a sense of helplessness or hopelessness. Yet, as Christians, we should know about the judgement of God and also not fear it because the judgement has already happened for us on the Cross. Jesus Christ has taken our judgment. We know God’s love and we meditate and focus upon His love and His goodness and His acts.

Fear prevents us from doing things we should or ought to do because we don’t want to be in a situation or circumstance that we feel we can’t handle.

As Christians, we need to focus upon God’s love and what He has done and what He tells us to do, and this perfect love will cast out our fear.


What do you like

So there’s more than a dozen of you who follow my blog, which I am very thankful for. So I thought it would be nice to ask you guys what you like reading about? I have tons of ideas and 114 drafts. So I have plenty of ideas but no idea what you guys may like.

Please, answer the quick poll below.


Pomegranate Juice

My wife kinda dared me to write about pomegranate juice. Well, okay, it wasn’t a dare. It was more like, “here’s something that you can’t write about because it’s so random and silly.” So I accepted her challenge and raised her orange juice.

The most interesting thing is we have a pomegranate tree. I don’t know if you’ve ever opened up a pomegranate fruit, but pomegranate fruit is the weirdest kind of fruit. It looks like little pomegranate purple alien pods lodged into the sides of a yellowish-white mountain climbing on-top of one another. You soon quickly realize, looking at this fruit, that it would take hundreds of these fruits to make a few cups of pomegranate juice.

Perhaps hundreds of our pomegranate fruit. However, the extraction process of these little pods of fruit must be difficult. And difficult is a good thing. I don’t know why we shrink back from difficulty. Why do we want easy lives? Why do we want things easier?

Have you ever wondered why God would make a world that He knew that would fall and have to be redeemed, and freely made the world that way so that He could do all the work that He determined to do?

If we want to be more like God, perhaps we should be taking on a few more difficult things than we do. I certainly enjoy a good glass of pomegranate juice, and I’m glad that someone went through the trouble to do that for me.


When Motivation is Gone

If you’re like me then you find it easier to do things when you’re motivated to do them. It’s much easier to write when you’re motivated to write. It’s much easier to write a blog about something you’re passionate about. It’s much easier to do your work when you like your job and the people you work with are encouraging. It’s easier to train up your children in the admonition of the Lord when you’re motivated to do so.

The problem is, motivation is something that comes and goes, but life continues on. So how do we deal with this fact of life? How can we learn to do things even when we’re not motivated?

Maybe I can help answer these questions.

Face the Facts

The truth is that we do hundreds, if not, thousands of things every day that we’re not motivated to do. When we wake up, even if we’re not motivated, we all get up and get ourselves ready for whatever day we’re about to have. You aren’t motivated to turn the key in the ignition of your car. Maybe you’re not motivated to get dressed, or eat, or even go to work. Yet you do all of it. Daily.

If you’re like me, then, when you start doing something, you start forgetting how you feel and you focus more on what you’re doing. You see, the reason that we even think about motivation in the first place is because we’re not doing something. If you were doing something, you wouldn’t be thinking about how you felt.

We need to start thinking about how we feel, why we feel, and take our emotions and let them be information for us. Our feelings tell us where our hearts are at, and our hearts can be redirected. If you ever read through the Psalms, you will find that often the Psalmists feel one way and then command their hearts or souls to feel another way.

Can we do things without motivation?

I think we try to find a way out of doing things, and so we let our hearts direct us instead of directing our hearts. We’ll take any excuse we can get, and we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel of excuses when we “just don’t feel like” doing something.

This is why some people are procrastinators. They’d rather wait until the last minute when “motivation” suddenly comes rushing in. But what’s going on there? What’s happening when a student waits till the last minute to write his essay?

What’s going on is the student is letting circumstances motivate him instead of causing his own motivation. What’s going on is we’re letting circumstances control us instead of being mature and taking control of our time.

So how can we learn to do what needs to be done even if we’re not motivated? I think there’s only two options:

  1. Do it without motivation.
  2. Motivate ourselves and do it.

We either learn to motivate ourselves or we do it without motivation. And the way we learn to motivate ourselves is the way we get motivated usually: 1) Through our own thoughts or 2) By the words of others.

I know you’ve experienced it before where you started thinking about something and it motivated you. You’ve also experienced it where someone was talking and it motivated you. Motivation comes through words, calls to action, or someone speaking to you about what you should do and encouraging and telling you that you can do it.

Motivation is powerful and can help us in doing things. But we don’t need motivation to do things. However, we can learn to call and stir our hearts into motivation.

But why spend time getting motivated when you can just do what needs to be done?


Make it Clear

The most effective way to get things done is to know what you need to get done. The most effective way to do well is to know what it is you want to do well. The most effective way to change is to know what you want to change into. The best way to learn to do anything is to learn from the best.

The most effective, best, and sure fire way to be somebody in this world, is to know the God of this world and play your role in it, regardless of what that role is. God is the one we all ought to seek to obey and listen to. In the end He will judge us. Regardless of our social status in this life, God judges justly. His decrees are righteous, and His ways are pure.

For the Christian, this means that how accomplished we are in this life may mean next to nothing for God. Meaning: You can be rich, and have done little for God. You can poor, and have done much for God. You can be rich, and have done much for God. You can be poor, and have done little for God. Your economic situation does not define you, nor does it tell God how great you are.

We must remember that God made everything for Himself. Even if many people don’t like what God has wrought, God is the only wise. He is pleased and He needs no one’s approval. And He owns it all, and He gives it all to His children.

Christian, remember that even if you are spending countless hours with children, and are struggling to see the meaning, that God judges not on how many people you touch but how faithful you are in the role He has called you. Remember that God isn’t judging you for not having your own home, or for wanting your own home. What God is doing is beckoning you to remember His words, His precepts, His commandments, and His righteous wisdom.

Read His word. Know what He says about His children, what He says about you, and continuously seek to know how God acts so that you can imitate Him. Make these things clear in your mind. If you want to be more like Christ, you need to know what Christ is like. If you want to aim to do what God desires, then look in Ephesians at how God defines you.

We need to know what God says of us, of what we are, and we need to live according to what He defines us as.

Know this definition. Have a clear vision. Have clear insight. Pray that God will help you.


Why Religion isn’t just

Most people believe something that simply isn’t true. It’s a modern thing, springing from the soils of philosophical movements from a few hundred years ago. It permeates everything around us. Sadly, many Christians believe this dangerous idea.

That belief is this: Religion is only a personal and private matter.

Philosophy from which it grows

The philosophy that this thought stems from is the enlightenment. During the enlightenment, spanning from 1600’s-1800’s, was a move away from corporate, into the personal. It’s focus was proving all things through reasoning, the mind being the center of the philosophical reasoning.

There is much good to learn from this movement. But there is also much that we should wipe off from our shoes after trekking the waters of the enlightenment. Wipe off that belief that man is the judge of all things.

No such thing as neutral ground

As Christians, we must always ask ourselves, What does God say about religion being personal and private? A quick glance through the Bible will show you one thing: Your beliefs have consequences and faith in Christ means bowing to Him in all spheres of life. Which means you must bow to Christ and obey Him in your interactions with non-believers, the way you vote, why you vote, how you conduct yourself, how you handle money, how you speak, what you do for work, etc.

What faith in Jesus Christ does is cause you to live a completely different life. Your faith cannot be kept to yourself because your life must change in every possible way. The Father does not give the Holy Spirit only for Him to be ineffective in accomplishing His work. Meaning, when God changes someone, that person is changed and can never go back.

Abraham, when He heard God tell him to go, Abraham went. That affected every relationship he had. When Moses was told to go, Moses’ became a leader to many, and was ridiculed for trying to save the Israelite’s from Egypt.

The fact is that we all know beliefs are not an intellectual exercise. This is why in America people are up in arms against Christians. They know that Christians who believe the Bible must follow the Bible.

As Christians, our interactions with everyone will change. If our interactions are suppose to change, then our religion has ceased being “personal and private.”

If someone tells you that religion ought to be “private and personal,” they are saying this:  we don’t want your religious beliefs to be imposed upon us, but we are okay with our religious beliefs being imposed upon you. Someone saying this to you are in effect saying that they want you to believe something that they believe. Who’s religious beliefs are personal and private now? Definitely not theirs because they’re telling you to shut up and listen to their beliefs and obey their beliefs, and to keep yours to yourself. To which I usually respond, “hey man, that’s just your belief, so stop imposing your belief upon me.”

If they’re imposing their beliefs upon you then it should be fairly obvious: they don’t actually believe that religion is only a personal and private matter.

Conclusion

So, my Christian brethren, rise up. Don’t be afraid from speaking the truth. Don’t fear the schemes of the enemy. Don’t let the world impose their beliefs upon you. Don’t fall into the snare and trap of the devil. They want you to be quiet and hush up because they fear your beliefs.

And the world ought to fear the God who will one day judge them.


Why My Wife and I Don’t get along

It’s true. We don’t get along. Well, at least sometimes. Usually when one of us is tired, or hungry, or cranky, or as my wife says, hangry. Except this isn’t really entirely true.

You see, when I’m tired or hungry around others, I’m quicker to watch my tongue and check my heart. I’m a little more ready to squash how I feel and do what is right. But, when it’s just my wife and I, I don’t pay as close attention to my words, and I don’t check my heart as quick. I’ll let my feelings well up more and I’m quicker to lash out or lash back.

There’s a word for this, it’s called sin. The truth is our sinful nature is what causes us to not get along. I want what I want, and she wants what she wants. Or, I want what she has, and she wants what I have. It’s a mess.

I think James sum’s it up quit nicely:

James 4:1-3

[1] What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? [2] You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. [3] You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (ESV)

The only way we deal with this is by learning to love one another. Which basically means thinking about the others need over and above our own. It means wanting to spend every ounce of your strength diligently seeking to obey the Lord, and that often means loving your spouse in such a way that you expend yourself for them. As you do it, you find that you have a never ending supply, because God has given you a well, not a tank.

Praise be to God that we have seen it modeled for us in Jesus Christ. So be filled with the Spirit, be constant in prayer, and continue meditating upon God’s word.