Just Another Day…

It was just another day. I remember getting up and going into work like any other day.  I worked for a local collection agency and a good portion of our business was done on the east coast.  I walked into our building and immediately a co-worker says “they attacked the Twin Towers, they think it’s Bin Laden”.  Bin Laden? That was the first time I had ever heard that name.

In an instant our lives can change.  On September 11, 2001 our lives changed. 3000 dead, 3000  families directly impacted and countless individuals in-directly impacted.  The way we travel has changed, the way security in America is handled has changed and the way we view people has changed.  Wow…

I wish I could say that this tragedy made us stronger as a God-fearing nation.  But the truth is it really hasn’t.  Right at first everyone was open to prayer and the term “god” was thrown around in places that normally we would never hear it.  But today it’s business as usual.  America continues to fight to remove God from our schools, government builds and government agencies.

How is it that even people who aren’t really followers of Jesus Christ turn to him in times of need, but forget him as soon as things get better?  This is not a new practice. In days of old the Israelites would turn to God in desperate times but go back to their wicked ways after he would deliver them;

10 After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.

11 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the images of Baal. Judges 2:10-11 (NLT)

You see,  like the Israelites we Americans don’t learn from our past.  Did you know that the original school text-book in America was the Bible?  You probably didn’t know that because you were never taught that. I’m not saying that we can stop crazy people from doing crazy things. I’m just saying that we never know when disaster will strike, so we need to be prepared for it.

We can’t always prepare physically for tragedy.  I mean, no one was prepared for 911.  But spiritually we can always be ready and we owe it to our children and our children’s children to train them up in the ways of the Lord.

The bible says;

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”                                                                             Romans 8:28

Believe it or not there has been good that has come from 911.  We have watched a nation rally to re-build a city, we have seen and heard testimonies of great selflessness and acts of courage.  And many of the families have turned their lives to Jesus Christ. You see, no matter what, God will get the best out of the worst.

As for us who do believe, all we can do is be the hands and feet of God, ready to be used to show the world his love, grace and mercy.

Let’s choose not only to remember our past, but to learn from it.

Are you ready?

TRUTH

In times of despair we have opportunity for greatness.  I just watched the news and I saw houses burning and flames over 300 feet tall. It seems that a gas line exploded and a whole neighborhood in San Bruno California went up in flames.  Sometimes life gets serious very quickly.  I don’t know what you believe but I’m sure the families of that disaster would appreciate your thoughts and prayers right now.

One minute we’re planning  our future and the next second we are faced with disaster. What would you do in this situation? When disaster strikes will you be ready?  I don’t know if any of us could seriously answer yes to this question.  We all would love to think that we are prepared for hard times. But are we? This reminds me of a story.

There was this man named Noah who began to build an ark. He built and built for over 100 years. All the people thought that he was crazy because he told them that a great flood was coming and that water would fall from the sky.  The people ignored him and they kept living their lives as usual.  You see in the days of Noah it had never rained before, so when he warned them that water would fall from the sky they scoffed at him.  I mean, what would you do?  I probably would think that he was crazy too.  Well the day came when the ark was finished and the rain began.  It rained for forty days and forty nights. The entire earth was covered with water.  Only Noah and his family survived.

Here’s the point, we can go our entire lives hearing the truth but never believing it.  So if we don’t believe it, does it change? Does truth change?  One thing is certain,  time can’t change truth. Truth is truth.

For those families in San Bruno the truth is their lives will never be the same.  Some have lost everything that they own. Others have lost loved ones. You see in life there are no guarantees for tomorrow.  We have never been promised that we will live to see another day.

So what do you believe and are you willing to die for it? The truth is that there is a God that created you. He loved you so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for your sins and for mine. If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior then you will one day be joined with him in paradise forever.

That’s the truth. Now what are you going to do with it?

Cheating Never Pays

Okay, so they took Reggie’s trophy.  According to Yahoo Sports the Heisman trust will strip Reggie Bush of his 2005 Heisman award.  The Heisman Trophy is given to the best college football player each year.  In its 75 year history it has never been taken back from a player.  Hmm… I find that interesting.

So am I to believe that Reggie Bush is the only player in 75 years to ever cheat and win the award? Probably not. And did the money that he received give him an un-fair advantage on the playing field?  Probably not.  You have to understand something, I am a huge USC  Trojan football fan. I believe that you can investigate every college sports program and find something that would disqualify them.  I mean everyone does it, everyone in college sports cuts corners or takes a little side money.

Think about this, these students are between the ages of 18-22, with enormous amounts of talent.  From the time they ever started playing sports they’ve been treated differently, they’ve been allotted certain privileges that not everyone gets.  So what do we except them to do.  The colleges are making millions because of these athletes and the athletes in some cases can barely afford to eat on a weekly basis. Now I know that the student gets an education worth thousands of dollars. It’s not like they receive nothing in return for their performance. I get all that.

But the truth is this; “Cheating never pays”.  Just because everyone else is doing it is no reason for us to do it.

You see, the world will always teach to “look out for number one”. But as a follower of Jesus Christ I am taught to;

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Philippians 2:3-5

Our attitudes should be the same as Jesus.  Jesus left perfection to come down and show us how to live.  And knowing how painful it would be he still gave his life for you and for me. Wow. How amazing is that?

I know that everyone doesn’t believe that. But for those of us who do, we can’t allow the world to determine our actions. We have got to stand firm on the Word and the principles of God.

You see what Reggie Bush did was hurt an entire nation of fans, teammates and peers, all because he was looking at himself and not considering others. And sure you can say that he was trying to help his family, but his big payday was coming, his family was going to be alright.

All together it’s a sad day for sports, hopefully we’ve learned;

Cheating never pays!

Cutters…

Did you know that 1 in 10 American teenagers secretly injure themselves and 80% of those are girls?  Why is this? Why are we living in a nation that has so many problems with our youth? What have we done to promote so much depression and despair?  As a father it is my job to protect my family and to provide them with every opportunity to succeed.  Hey men, dads, have we forgotten this? Have we forgotten our roles as men?  The mans role is to lead, to provide, to protect, to train, and to love their families.  I’m not saying that women can’t do theses things too, I’m just saying that as a man I am responsible for the welfare of my family in every way.

According to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield Missouri:

50% of first marriages end in divorce, 67% of second marriages end in divorce and 73% of third time marriages end in divorce.  There are other polls that show anywhere from 41% to 50% of first time marriages in America, ending in divorce.

WHY IS THIS? How is it that we have allowed society to sell us a big bag of lies, that says “if you don’t like it, get a new one”? Isn’t that what we do, if things are hard or if they don’t end up the way we think they should then we just quit and move on to the next thing.  What ever happened to working through our hard times, persevering?  WAKE UP American parents! Our children need us to make good choices, because they are trying to deal with our mess on their own.

One of the ways that our children deal with pain is to cut themselves. Cutting has been around for many years now, it is a practice that is very popular with youth between the ages of 11 and 26.  Cutting is when a person uses a sharp object to make small cuts in their arms or other body parts. The arms are the most popular area because they can easily cut them and they can easily cover them from view.  The act of cutting is usually accompanied by depression.  People use cutting just like addicts use drugs or alcohol.  It’s a way to release pain and stress.  I see students all the time with covered arms or scarred arms.  You see, these young people are dealing with all of our stuff, they are screaming out for our attention, our love our care. They need their moms and dads affection and assurance. In some cases cutting is an early sign of suicidal tendencies.

Signs of Cutting:

  • Withdrawal from family
  • Isolation
  • Always wearing long sleeves
  • Not allowing you to see their arms
  • Outbursts of anger or rage

Young people aren’t equipped to deal with divorce, and unstable relationships, they aren’t equipped to deal with abusive parents or selfish parents. If our children can’t turn to us for help, who will they turn to? In most cases they turn to other young people or to people who will give them the attention that they desire and need.

Please don’t think that I am saying that unstable parenting is the only cause of cutting. Our children can have the best parents in the world, parents that show them love, attention, affection and provide them with all the things to be successful in life. Parents that have a great relationship and a very strong marriage, and still they can get caught up in cutting. It could be the effect of a relationship at school, or a mental disorder. There are a lot of things that can cause a youth to cut, but we as parents need to recognize the signs.

As parents we are responsible to provide our children with love, attention, discipline that leads to healthy growth and emotional stability. We aren’t always gonna make the right choice because none of us are perfect, but we need to consider our actions before we do them. I’m not saying that you will never go through a divorce, or that you won’t have kids out-of-wedlock, I’m just saying be responsible when making choices that will affect your children, they deserve our best.

Helpful Tips:

  • Ask your child how they are and really listen to their answer
  • Spend time with your children
  • Find a common interest
  • Seek council of a professional that deals with cutting
  • Be open and honest with your children

Personal Note:

I have devoted my life to Jesus Christ and I have found that as I allow Him to lead me, the choices I make get better and better. Hey parents you’re not alone, there are plenty of good resources out there to help you raise your kids. And remember that Jesus loves you and He wants to help you in every area of your life, give Him a chance today.

Resources

Focus on The Family

Parenting.org

Mom Sense