Indivisible

My wife Lucy is 48 inches tall and I am a towering eight inches taller. We belong to an organization called Little People of America. Often we are referred to as “little people” but that is a misnomer.  We are simply people who happen to be little.

“What’s the difference,?” you might ask.  On the surface it may seem the same but there is a difference…a BIG difference. We know many folks who are short statured and they focus on the fact that they are little. We choose to focus on the fact we are people. Size is a physical description but that is not our identity!

In our country today, we have many groups who hyphenate who they are. “I am Afro-American” or “I am Mexican-American.”  The list can continue forever….”Italian-American,” “Irish-American” “Afghan-America,” “Iraqi-American.” These are all people who came from different backgrounds to the United States of America for  the same reason….a better life! It seems today that our states are still united  but our people are not.

Americans are unique in that we are not defined by what we look like or where we came from. We are defined by our attitude; of where we are going and who we are becoming.  Being short or tall, black or brown, having a different culture or language, physical strength or weakness does not define us! Outside circumstances do not  define us! In America we are free and we define ourselves!

America is a country that cannot be defeated by outside forces and so evil has wormed its way inside. It tries to separate and divide us through our physical differences for it knows that when our spirits unite we cannot be defeated. Causing us to identify ourselves as minority groups, evil tells us that we must fight against the “conspiring majority” and teaches us to fear each other. We are told to vote for what is best for our cause, not what is best for our country.

Not too long ago I saw over 1000 American flags displayed by an organization called Flags 4 Freedom and it made me think of the lives that were sacrificed so you and I could be Americans without any splintery hyphens. Their lives gave us the right to respectfully disagree and to responsibly live together, embracing our unity and honoring our diversity. Those flags reminded me of a pledge I used to say every day at school. Perhaps we should say it every day at work.

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I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands
one nation under GOD,
indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all

The Examination

There are so many things that we are told throughout our life that we assume to be true. Some are partially true or could be true in one set of circumstances but not another. We often have a tendency to generalize and that’s how stereotypes begin to form.

In our world there are societal watchdog organizations that make sure we don’t say the wrong words because they know that words can, not only hurt someone’s feelings, but can also create an atmosphere that would deny people education and opportunities. We go to great lengths to stop the antics of bullies on the playground and in the boardroom. Our culture understands that words can build or destroy people and yet….Do you and I examine the words we say to ourselves?

In GOD’s Word, we learn that both death and life rest in the power of our tongue (Prov18:21).  Even skeptical scientists agree that plant life responds to sound. There is heated debate over the thesis of Dr. Masaru Emoto that water respond to our thoughts. It is widely accepted that our thoughts and words create conditions within our body. We recognize a common source of ulcers in the human body is mental stress. Doctors tell us to manage our stress levels in order to lower our blood pressure and  positively handle our health.

What if we managed our mouth to manage our life?  What if we stopped saying things that we don’t want to happen?  If we don’t want to be broke, let’s stop saying “I’m broke!” Let’s start by doing a quick scan of the thoughts and words that pass through our mind and lips.

What we feed our mouth enters our minds and often becomes a belief then we speak what we “believe!” Let’s examine what we want….most of us want Freedom, Abundance, Good Health and True Love. It may take different forms for different people but those are the root desires of just about everyone. Let’s start focusing on what we want. Let’s

JESUS tells us (in Mark 11:23) that whatever we ask and do not doubt but believe in heart that it will come to pass, it will be done for us. Let’s say the things we want  with no doubt… as if they are already an accomplished fact. At first, it may seem uncomfortable and cumbersome. You’ll look at a wallet that appears empty and say “I am grateful GOD is blessing me with money to pay my bills and take good care of my family.”

At first you may feel like you’re  fibbing to yourself but remember, you are doing exactly what JESUS told you to do!  Here’s His plan….You say, you believe, He provides!

Your intelligence may be telling you this is all too simple. Do my words really have any power?  Can what I say change my life?  The answer is a resounding “YES!”  Take a moment and think about the sports world. Joe Namath said he “guaranteed” a win in the first Super Bowl…and he delivered!  Mohammed Ali said “I am the greatest!” and became so. Look into the political arena. Our forefathers declared freedom before freedom was won. President John F. Kennedy said we would land on the moon nearly eight years before we did!

What works for one will work for all. GOD is no respecter of persons. Listen as He whispers to you right now,
“Speak what you want, child. I am here to help you. You are the greatest!”

Expect!

I have heard many different definitions for Faith during the years. Yet although I understand the concept of Faith, I have had a hard time getting  a clear picture of it. Scripture says we all have “a measure” of it. JESUS tells us we just need a little….”a mustard seed” size Faith will get the job done.

Many rely on their Faith as a last resort. “I don’t know what else to do. I just need to have Faith.”  Uncle Ernie was diagnosed with cancer and “we have to pray and just have Faith that GOD will heal Him.”  I started to look at my own attitude when I pray. Often my prayers are disguised wishes.

You and I know GOD is able but the questions that looms in the back of our mind is….is He willing? We’re excited and thankful when a request is answered in our favor. It appears that we are surprised that GOD actually heard us and acted to fulfill our petition!

In the Book of James chapter 1:5-8, we are told that a double minded or doubt filled person is not in the best position to receive from GOD. When we pray, let’s expect GOD to deliver what we want or something better!  Expectation is another word for Faith. What I expect from GOD tells me what I believe about GOD.

JESUS Himself tells us that when we speak, and do not doubt in our hearts that what we say will come to pass….it will be done for us! We can expect GOD to come through!

Here’s a little exercise to strengthen your expectation muscles:

Pick one or two things that you would like GOD to help you with. Make it specific. Write it down like it’s already happened. Something like…. “Grandpa is healed of diabetes.” Post it up…someplace like the refrigerator door or a bathroom  mirror…..where you can see it often. Start thanking GOD for the work in progress and expect to hear good news!  Don’t stop expecting until! Doubts may enter you mind but don’t let them come out of your mouth!

Expect GOD to come through!

 

 

 

 

 

We Rarely Hear About….The Good Lawyers

I am so grateful for the people behind the scenes who are always working to protect our freedoms….the quiet ones that we hardly every hear about.  Not every soldier carries a gun because not every battlefield is a military confrontation. Not every fight is a physical one.

Scripture (Eph 6:12) tells us that our battles are not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil. In today’s world, the battlefield of right and wrong is often fought in a business boardroom or in the court of justice.

There are men and women today who have gone to school and dedicated themselves to become God’s Special Forces on the legal battlefield.  They  mull through oceans of paperwork, read the fine and tedious print and file motions and briefs on our behalf  to uphold the Constitution and safeguard our rights. Our gladiators for Good, not only have to be smart, but they must be thick skinned and willing to work for less wages than their corporate counterparts. They have the knowledge of the world in their minds, the good of the people in their sights and the Word of God in their heart. Deborah Dewart, a lawyer from North Carolina recently wrote:

“Liberty, life, and law – all are at risk in American today. That’s why Liberty, Life, and Law Foundation was established – to defend religious liberty, the right to life, and other vital principles of law that undergird the U.S. Constitution.

There are multiple threats to religious liberty: Obamacare’s contraception mandate imposed on religious employers who must finance employee health insurance; efforts to ban religious expression from the public square (even short invocations); laws and policies prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination. It has been almost 40 years since the Supreme Court manufactured a “right” to abortion—dismantling the right to life recognized by the Constitution. America’s basic legal principles and protections are seriously at risk today. Liberty, Life, and Law Foundation is here to help by participating in the crucial legal battles of our time.”

Sometimes we need to stop and give thanks to GOD, not just for the life we have, but for the people who are working so hard to see we keep it!  Pray for Deborah and attorneys like her who are doing their best so you and I can enjoy the best…a free America!

2013 – The laboratory

What is it that you see?

What would you like to see?

How would you like this next year to unfold?

Most of my friends live in one of two camps. There are those who make resolutions and goals with the best of intentions and then suffer because they give up on them by about mid-March. There are others who never make goals or resolutions because they have already decided they will not keep them; rather than go through the pain of failure, they don’t try.

I must confess I can admit to spending many years in both camps. This year I’m taking a different approach. I’m looking at the next 365 days as a laboratory and I’m gonna experiment with stuff! I’ve already decided how things are going to go.

Some things are going to be stunning successes! It’s in those times I will laugh, be filled with joy and have fun. Some experiments are going to be dismal failures. It’s in those times that I will remember Edison, the Wright Brothers, Jonas Salk, Robert Jarvik and Bill Gates. These were men who dismally failed over and over and over again. They missed more than they hit. I will learn from my failures as they did from theirs and my knowledge will expand and my life will increase!

The constant AND variable in every experiment I run is…. me! Science has shown us that all of nature grows and expands toward Light. Everything unfolds and grows upward as it praises it’s Creator.  When I raise my thoughts to higher ideals, when the words of my mouth are used to encourage GOD’s children and when the work of my hands is used to lift people up, the results in my laboratory must improve.

In the next twelve months, even if I fail twice as much as I succeed, I will be batting .333!! Good enough for the 2013 Hall of Fame! So 2013 is a year dedicated to learning, fuller expression, increase and growth….I sincerely hope you will join me in the laboratory. It is a place  of guaranteed success; a place where every mistake leads to a great discovery!

 

 

GOOD Comes

Do not be deceived by evil. It is Good that permeates and dominates the world.

Viktor Frankel‘s body and mind were tortured by the Nazis but they could not conquer his spirit and out of the evil inflicted came “Man’s Search for Meaning.” It is a book that has positively and inspirationally impacted millions of lives for the Good.

Columbine High School was visited by evil and people perished yet the survivors of that atrocity have given us insight and procedures to protect millions children and teachers. Crippling evil inflicted on a few yielded Good for many.

The horror of 9/11 brought our nation to its knees. We slowly and painfully rose to our feet again, put our minds and spirits to work and developed creative ideas and a resolve that resulted in security measures, not only for our own country but for the Good of  nations around the world, preventing many similar attacks. Once again the heartbreak of a few prevented the destruction of many.

When evil attacks it is vicious. It’s intent is to kill, steal and destroy. The pain is real and neither justice nor revenge can numb the agony or restore life. I remember when my own son died at 22 months of age. The heartbreak was nearly paralyzing. I remember feeling angry and powerless. I cried our to GOD in rage and He replied. “If you wish to honor your son, live well.” I pondered that over and over and finally realized that focusing on loss, hurt and pain would make me a bitter, angry man. Was that a legacy that would honor my son? Through the tears I decided to be grateful for the time we got to spend together. When thoughts of “should have’s” came into my mind, I would remind myself that destroying my life would not return his. Others need my love. I tried my best to be strong yet there are still times that a certain sound, smell or song will take me back to that horrible moment and open the wounds of a broken heart. Yet….Good prevails.

 Now evil has struck a crushing blow to the small community of Newtown, Connecticut. Brutal. Senseless. Unnecessary. Barbaric. People cry out in anguish and excruciating pain “Where is the Good in this?”

I assure you: Good will come. It always does but it takes time to move us farther away from the horror. Now is our time to pray for our family in Newtown and cry out to GOD for them and with them. When our tears are exhausted and our strength is gone, we will hear Him whisper….

“Honor your children. Live well.”

 

 

 

Cash & Carry

Debt is always hot topic. Perhaps because it’s a vice of both the government and the governed.

The current talk in our capitol is about the “fiscal cliff” and whether we need to adjust our budget to accommodate our spending or regulate our spending to fit the constraints of our budget.  Budgeting is something that we haven’t embraced as a national or personal habit. Just as everyone seems to have an opinion, nearly everyone I know also seems to be wrestling with a “fiscal cliff” of their own. Everyone, except Olivia.

Lucy and I  recently took a series of nine classes through Financial Peace University. Its main thrust is to guide you on a path to get out of debt and into a place of financial stability. Changing your financial behavior changes your financial results. It’s racist; you learn to hate red and love black!  It’s an excellent course and we plan to take it again.  Olivia, however, doesn’t need to take it….she has managed to avoid debt her entire life! Her methodology is simplistic: Cash & Carry!

The benefits of her method extended beyond the obvious. You only spend cash; no slick plastic (no credit or debit!) to make you feel affluent and important. You feel the crinkly green paper pass through your fingers and you stop and think before you buy. You only buy what you can carry. No shopping carts. You walk to the local market. This way you get exercise and if someone walks with you……you talk to them!

I remembered growing up in West Philly and we lived the Cash & Carry method. We went to the market on Woodland Avenue every day or two but we bought only what we needed, got exercise and developed friendships. I look back now and wonder why I ever changed what was working.  More importantly, I think it’s time to get back to the basics of Cash & Carry.

Starting right now….credit is not a strategy and debt is not an option!

Not for  you and me…. and not…. for our country!

 

 

 

 

8:42 am @ St.Luke’s

About six months ago I had the blockage in my left carotid artery removed. This morning is the first appointment of  three that I have with doctors for a post-op check-up. I arrived early at St. Luke’s in Overland Park, KS for my appointment and decided to hook up to their wi-fi and get some work done. That’s when she interrupted me.

The voice over the intercom  asked for my attention and then began to pray. She thanked GOD for our many blessings and asked His protection over our day. It only took a minute but it made me think how thankful I was….

  • to be living in a time when arteries can be cleaned like pipe under the sink
  • to have a place to go where people devote their life to caring for people like me
  • to have clothes on my back, food on my table and a roof over my head
  • to have love in my life (GOD, Lucy & you)
  • and…..
  • to live in a land where we can and do publicly acknowledge GOD.
It was brief moment that stirred my spirit and reminded to be thankful. May your day be filled with such moments.

Thankful To

This is my favorite time of the year. For the next six weeks or so, we live in a season of gratitude! It is a time we realize we are privileged to live in America.

“Thank you” fills the air like confetti at a soldier’s homecoming parade. This is a time in our American culture where we reflect on our blessings, rights and benefits.  This is a time when we gather in our homes and become humbled by our good fortune. True, some have more money or possessions than others. There are those who are in better health than others. This has been the case since the beginning of time in every culture. In America, however, there can be no doubt that we live in great affluence and privilege.

This is our season to be  thankful for and to be thankful to.

Let us be grateful for, not only the basics of life (a roof over our head, clothes on our back and  food on our table) but for the many things we often forget about. (the ability to see and hear and think and feel and to have love in our life….not to mention a smartphone or Ipad).

The world sees us as independent people but that is not true. We are an interdependent people. We depend on each other. Everything we possess or think or feel or say has been affected by other people; friends, family, church, employer or colleagues.

We all have someone to be thankful to. This season we will hear people say they are thankful; some for their circumstances, some for their health and others for their relationships. When you press them to find out who they are thankful to, you will hear a myriad of answers from Grandma, to Uncle Bill to Professor Miller. If you listen beyond their words and look into their heart you will see the Source of all Goodness and Gratitude and you will know they are most thankful to GOD.

We all have Someone to be thankful to and we are most thankful….that He loves us.

 

It’s About America

The election is behind us and the future is before us. What kind of future is up to you and I!

We can argue about homosexual marriage, legalized marijuana and abortion all we want.  We can have heated debates over  the jobless rate and  health care. Argument and debate are verbal hamsters running in cages that give us the illusion that we are accomplishing something.

We can’t fix everything all at once so let’s start somewhere. I’d like to offer a two step plan that will help get us back on track.

1) Honor GOD. Regardless of what religion you follow, GOD is recognized as the Author of all that is good. If we want our future to be good, GOD needs to be in it. The character of a country or an individual is determined by what is inside. What motivates us masters us. The choice is yours and mine.   Greed or generosity?  The need to be right or the need to do right?  Bravery or bravado? Sincerity or spin? Character or cash?

When GOD is the center of our thinking, we draw to ourselves the characteristics of GOD: honor, truth, integrity, courage, generosity, kindness, love, patience and peace. Are these not the things we want…for America and for ourselves?  We want to be known for these virtues and we want our children to have them as well.  We can. It begins by honoring GOD. Speak of Him often. Acknowledge Him. Imitate Him.

2) Eliminate debt! Everyone knows the one who lends has more power than the one who borrows. Our national debt is over $16,239,600,000.00….a staggering amount BUT…..not more than we can handle when we first admit we have a problem and then say “No More!”

In order to help America get out of debt, you and I need to make the first move. We need to teach our government leaders and lead by example by removing debt from our own lives.  Automobile manufacturers, department stores and electronic centers make the bulk of their money from, not the sale of their product, but from financing! The borrower is slave to the lender. We are Americans! We were NOT  born to be slaves!