Reset, Reflect, Refocus

Welcome to 2017.  I know I’m a few days late, and it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’m looking forward to this year being a year of amazing things.  2016 was a 2016 of a year, but like all the years that came before it, it had its ups and downs.  It’s all in how you want to look at the year you just left and the year you are going into.  We are 9 days in as of today, and if you are reading this, guess what, you are alive and have the internet.

I challenge all of you reading this to change YOU this year.  You are the only thing that YOU can control.  I titled this post: Reset, Reflect, Refocus for this main reason, we are 9 days into the year, and many of us have already forgotten the resolutions that we made, or didn’t make, or life has been life already these 9 days in.  So my challenge to you is to wake up everyday and reset your mind again.  Wake up with the attitude that today is gonna be a good day.

Reflect every night and everyday about what God did for you during that day and the day before.  Can’t think of anything?  Are you somewhere warm and dry?  Did you eat?  Did you find a parking spot at the mall?  Look back not only on the previous day, but on your previous days, months, years.  Look back at your history book with God.  The last time your electric was about to be shut off but wasn’t, the last time your car was running on fumes and you coasted into the gas station, the last time you were in the drive through and the person in front of you paid for your meal.  When was the last time you did something for someone else?  God, provides for us, not because we give to those we don’t know, not because we deserve it, not because of our actions, not because we are or aren’t “good” enough.  God provides for us, because he loves us.

As we start out this year refocusing on what is actually important, we can make the best out of our lives and situations.  Refocus your life, and check your priorities.  Make sure that you know why you are doing what you are doing, and that you haven’t just become a cold machine, that goes through the motions of life.  Look back on what you have been through, and figure out what you are going to let God do to improve the life’s of those that love you, and those that don’t even know you yet, through you.

Sometimes life is about taking the sourest lemons life has to offer and making something resembling lemonade…

Senselessness and Ignorance

The past 3 days have been extremely painful to look at the news and to look at social media.  As if the senseless deaths of 3 people, wasn’t enough to turn you stomach, the fighting amongst people posting and trolling, has made me need to just go bang my head against a wall.  Anytime things like this happen, you are going to have people become irrational, people are going to be scared, people are going to need to vent.  But seeing posts that start calling others names and belittling the original poster or others commenting, how is the world is that even going to be productive or constructive.  

ignorant

adjective

1.lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned:

2.lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact:
3. uninformed; unaware.

4.due to or showing lack of knowledge or training:

What I want to vent about here is the senselessness of what has happened over the last couple of days in Baton Rouge and Minnesota.  No I don’t have all the facts, but I have seen multiple articles and the videos, and have been sick to my stomach all day over this.  What I don’t understand, is the abuse of using lethal force is these situations.  Self defense/Fear for your life has a fine line.  Writing this as a Black Belt, I was always trained to know that there was a line for self-defense.  If I were to get into a fight and knock the other person down and control them until someone comes, that would be fine.  If I were to knock this person out and then continue to hit them while they were on the ground, I have crossed a line because, I am no longer in danger.  This is based on the assumption that there are no weapons also.  And I won’t lie, weapons make things go to another level, but what we have seen in the past couple days, while these men were carrying guns, neither appear to have been reaching for them.  I wasn’t there,  I can’t talk to that point, but what I can say is that 2 men were killed in front of people, one in front of his fiancé and a 4 year old.  This is the one that tears me up the most.  There was a 4 year old girl in the back seat.  This man told the office that he had CCDW, and had it on him.  He was reaching for his license when he was shot 4 times.  The officer’s voice in the video that the fiancé started is panicked, while she remains calm.  This is senseless.  

Baton Rouge, a father is shot multiple times after being already put on the ground.  6 shots into someone that is already down.  Senseless.

I have friends and family in law enforcement, I do not envy their job.  In this line of duty, you know that you are putting your life on the line, you are sworn to serve and protect.  Where are the stun guns, tazers, or wounding shots. And I know that for every story like these there are 9 more stories of police officers doing good things, but at the end of the day, even one senseless killing is too many.

Now, as I’m writing this, we have vigilantes in Dallas, shooting police officers.  Violence breeds violence.  Eye for an eye tooth for a tooth no longer works.  We have to realize this at some point people.  What is this solving?  Nothing at all.  We just have more dead people, more fatherless children and husbandless wifes.  

Matthew 22:36-40New International Version (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Racism, ignorance, and lack of good ol common sense, is tearing our country apart.  America once, the land of opportunity (for some), has shown itself in the recent years as it’s true self.  A country of power hungry priveledged people.  A country where the bullies get their way.  A country where if you don’t like something or someone, or you like someone’s something you just take it from them.  This ignorance has been a staple of our country for years, we all think about WW2, and Hitler rounding up all of the Jews, but what about our own country, rounding up all Japanese Americans or those that looked Asian, and putting them in internment camps.  No the government didn’t mass murder them, but still they were forced to give up their homes, businesses, everything with no choice.  

To all of you who have gotten you panties in a wad over the last year with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and been offended because you feel that All lives matter, it’s not that anyone is saying that there is a difference in the value of one life to another.  It comes down to those are the lives that are being ripped away in such public ways by senselessness, that it can’t go unnoticed.  The best comparison that I have seen on this was in a comment today comparing BLM to Breast Cancer Awareness.  Is breast cancer more important than another cancer, no all cancer sucks, all lives are precious.  

When are we as a country going to get it.  We have to push for change.  Change in Government, change in laws, change in priorities, changes in standards.  I get freaked out more and more all the time to think about what we will become as a country.  It’s not about stricter gun laws, and who can get guns.  Violence is going to happen when people don’t give a ______.  It could be a rock, a gun, a knife, a fist, it doesn’t matter.  As long as there are people who care, there is hope for this world.

Married Mondays – Save it for Your Marriage

Welcome to another Married Monday.

Over the past few weeks, things have been very busy with life and work.  That’s the reason for no posts recently.  But it has given my time to really refresh and think about this post.  Reading through posts different places I decided on this weeks title – Save it for your Marriage.

  
We hear this many times leading up to getting married, or while you are just dating.  But outside of keeping certain things until your married, I want to talk about keeping some things inside your marriage.  I’m not talking about being faithful, that is a given.  I’m talking about what we share, what we publish out on social media.

We live in a time that everything we do, we feel the need to let everyone know where we are and what we are doing.  Now don’t get me wrong, social media is great, sharing your love and the things you do together, it’s great, but does it matter.  Are you breaking away from special times to post things, are you breaking away to post just to make people jealous?  Are you posting as a facade?   Why do we feel the need to post about every aspect of our lives?  Now don’t get me wrong, the “I have the greatest wife/husband, because …” post are nice.  But if the only time you are letting your spouse know that you love them or how you feel has come because of your friend’s, sister’s, cousin’s, nephew’s, grandson’s, uncle’s recent post that was re-shared from last month, that’s a problem.  I know I have said this multiple times over the past few months of doing this, but You must continually make an effort to let your spouse know how you feel when no one else is going to know that you told them they are wonderful.  It shouldn’t matter that others know how you feel about each other, as long as you both know.  If you both know and act like it, people are going to know just by seeing you.

  
The other thing that I want to encourage is keeping things private.  Not just if you have a problem, putting the other person on blast online, but have special things that are just for the two of you.  When you can go out on a date.  Find a new restaurant, and never take the kids there, find a new hobby or something that is for just the two of you.  Find something that will bring both of you joy, and keep it for yourselves.   Face it, the moment you take your child to a “fancy” restaurant, it is going to loose its draw for you as a couple, or you will start to feel guilty going there without them with you, maybe.

Take the time to focus on things that just the two of you do.  Maybe it’s 30 minutes that you get together at the gym, maybe it’s 30 minutes that you spend doing devotions together, maybe it’s that specific night per month that you go to a different coffee shop/restaurant, or that one day during the week/month that you meet for lunch.  Make plans for these things, and see them through.  But here comes the hard part, don’t tell anyone about it.  Don’t post it, don’t spend time getting the perfect selfie, save the moment in your minds.  Spend the time tech free, focus on each other, and keep it private.  Have special things that are just for the two of you.

So that is my challenge to you, what can you do that is just the two of you?  Can you go without telling everyone else your business?  See if you can, and see what happens.

Married Mondays – Noisy Reruns

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Hey everybody, welcome back to Married Mondays.  This week I want to talk about how things used to be.  You know back when you started dating or when you were still living in the honeymoon phase of your marriage.

In our marriages, when life gets in the way, we tend to look back at how things were.  We talk about the “remember whens”, and the “we used to…”We talk about the times from our past, and then we become like Dora, “I liked that too.”  This is where it stops, we talk about what used to be and don’t do anything to bring a spark back.  We get caught up in the noise of our daily lives, and just stick to viewing our lives in reruns.

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So my challenge to you this week now that Valentine’s is over, find some other way to show your spouse how much you care.  Don’t rely on just a couple days of days each year to show them how you feel, make everyday a special day.  Pick a random day to relive a day you often talk about.  Make sure you block out the noise that is daily life.  Focus on each other, focus on a remake not a rerun.

 

Married Mondays – Family

 Welcome back to another Married Monday.  This week I decided to go a little different.  Up to this point, I have kept it about just being a couple.  But for most of us, at some point after marriage comes, kids.  Let’s face it, we all have families, and they are always there.  We grow up and build our own families.

We build our families as we grow as a couple.  We are an example to our children, we show them what a family is.  We hopefully show them a strong happy marriage.  Your relationship is what will show through as you raise your family.

As much as I have talked about making time to be there for each other, we must make true time for Family.  In America, we see so much of a decay in the value of the family, the family gets bogged down with the stuff of life.  We have to go to this practice, and this appointment.  We have to go here and there.  At the end of the day we have only a few hours or maybe even minutes together as a family.

Find ways to do more together as a family.  Don’t rely on the annual summer vacation, or spring break, to be your only time devoted to each other.  I’m writing this after spending just a normal weekend at home, but some stuff that I wanted to do didn’t happen, and it was a blessing.  Having the time to spend with the wife and the munchkin, that I didn’t expect to get, was the highlight of the weekend.

So I want to challenge all of you, beyond spending time just with each other, and building your relationship as a couple, keep up with your family.  It’s easy to focus on one or the other.  It’s easy to concentrate on just family, it’s easy to focus on just your relationship.  It takes work to balance both.  It takes work to balance, a relationship, a family, a job, a career, a social life.  When you step back at the end of the day, and look at what is most important, I hope that you make the right choices.

Married Mondays – Dig a little deeper

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Welcome to another Married Monday everybody.  I apologize now to anyone reading this with kids, as you now have a song from The Princess and The Frog stuck in your head.  If not you do now.  Or maybe I brought up a bad memory of 2 days ago when you had to dig a little deeper just to find your car.

Where I’m going this week, is that we need to take our communications to another level.  Many times we know that something is bothering our spouse.  Over time we learn their tells, we know when something is off.  Too many times we get caught up in our lives, we get caught up in doing things to take our minds off of things, we work to get away from things, we leave work to get away from things.  But it is when we get home, when we try to veg out, when we don’t really want to get into what is going on outside.

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If you or your spouse are they type that tends to shut down and veg out, when you’ve had a rough few days, don’t shut them out.  When you see this start happening in your marriage, go ahead and give the other person a little time to relax open up on their own.  But don’t let too much time pass.  Knowing the other person, you can tell when things are just off.  It’s at this point, if they aren’t opening up, you have to start digging.  Use your words wisely, and dig carefully.  Not because of what you will uncover, but to continue to be thoughtful, because no matter how long you have been together, sometime things are just hard to explain.  Sometimes we will shut down and not really know that we are doing it.

Dig deeper whenever things feel off.  It is your responsibility to dig.  It is your responsibility to call the other person on their BS, when they aren’t fully saying what is going on.  When you dig, and explain what you are seeing, the release will be better for both of you.  You are a team, you are there to help each other through whatever is going on.

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So I challenge you this week, to watch, to dig, and to keep each other accountable.  Keep each other lifted up.  Keep each other communicating.  Be there for each other and listen to each other

But I’m not a very good person

So in contrast to my other post,But I’m a Good Person,  I want to flip things around for you a little bit.  Again along the lines of Grace being for ALL not SOME.  Many people feel that they have too much baggage for God.  Too much wrong in their past for God to love or to use them.

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So I wanted to give you a list of jacked up people in Bible:

Let’s start here:

Matthew 1:1-2, 6

1The [a]record of the genealogy of [b]Jesus [c]the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham [d]was the father of Isaac, [e]Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of[f]Judah and his brothers

Jesse was the father of David the king.  David was the father of Solomon by [h]Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.

Abraham — Yes, Father Abraham, didn’t believe God could make good on His promise of having a son, because his wife was barren.  Had a son with a hand maiden.  After his wife got pregnant, he sent off the hand maiden and her son.  So here we have an adulterous dead-beat dad…

Jacob — Ever heard the story of Jacob and his brother Esau.  Twin boys, Jacob was momma’s boy.  Manipulated his brother into giving up his birthright.  He also with the help of his mom, tricked his dad Isaac who was dying and going blind, taking his brothers family rights, and making his brother his slave.  To the point that his brother Esau wanted to kill him.

David — David was a great man of God.  He was a loved ruler of Israel.  But verse 6 above says a lot.  David had Bathsheba’s husband killed so that he could be with her, after he got her pregnant while her husband was away at war.

Genesis 9:20-21

20 Then Noah began [j]farming and planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent.

Noah — Builder of the Ark, after the flood got drunk and naked.

Exodus 2:11-12

11 Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their [c]hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he [d]looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Moses — Leader of God’s people out of Egypt, Holder of the 10 commandments;  was a murderer.

Joshua 2:1, 8-9

1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and [a]lodged there.

Now before they lay down, [b]she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have [c]melted away before you.

Rahab — One of a few women in the bible with her own story.  She was a harlot.  She protected the Israelite spies in Jericho.

Are you feeling any better about what is in your past yet?  God has used murderers, drunks, prostitutes, tax collectors, and cheaters.

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No matter what your situation is, no matter what you have done in your past, no matter how ruined you feel that you are, God can and will use you.  All you have to do is listen to Him, when he is calling to you.  He is waiting on you to call out to Him and ask for His grace and forgiveness.  He is waiting on YOU to say, Lord I know I’m a sinner, and that I am far from you.  I want you in my life.  I want to receive your forgiveness and grace.  Lord please forgive me and come into my life and make me new.  Use me Lord, to reach those around me that are far from you.  Clean me Lord and restore me.  I know that it is only though you that I can be saved.  It is only through you that I am made whole.  Thank you Lord for making me whole and saving me.  Thank you for your grace and your love and your mercy.

Remember that Grace will always win…