There is no easy road in life, no "safe" decision to make on the road to success. Every choice we make has some level of risk.
What kinds of things do you want to be remembered for in your life? Do you want to be remembered as the one that went with the "group think" mentality, a team player that never took risks in order to do the right thing? Or do you want to be remembered as the one that stood out, made waves, and became an innovator?
I don't have all of the answers, I simply have ideas, some of which I act upon in order to do what I believe is best for me. I do not believe in living my life for someone else - they don't face the consequences of my actions on my behalf, so why should I live my life by someone else's rules?
I realize this way of thinking and acting may not make me a popular person, or win me many friends. That's ok. I don't expect it to. I simply want to live life by my own set of rules, and as long as I'm not breaking any laws, I can deal with that just fine.
While I strive to live a good life, I am far from perfect, and make a lot of mistakes. My focus in this matter is not my mistakes, but, rather, how I get back up and recover from those mistakes. The Bible verses and bits of wisdom are reminders for me to remember what I need to focus on in order to live the best life I possibly can.
I enjoy the comfort of the familiar as much as the next person, yet every now and then, I crave adventure and new experiences. I have to ask myself if this experience I crave will make me a better person before I pursue anything - whether it's new and unfamiliar, or old and comfortable.
I remember an old friend of mine, who I lost touch with in 2016, and lessons about life he chose to share with me. Never be afraid to express compassion and love to those you choose to remain close to in your life, if you love them at their worst, imagine being a part of their lives at their best. The effort is worthwhile and has it's own rewards.
In reaching out to others, I understand and accept that I am ultimately responsible for my personal and professional choices. I am not looking for a comfortable or easy way out. That kind of thinking is not found in the character of one that overcomes any obstacle.
Alexander Scourby read a passage from the Old Testament warning us not to follow and adopt the things God finds to be an abomination, and instead accept the blessings God determines fit for us in our lives.(Deuteronomy 6, 7, and 8)
Not because I am perfect, but because I am human and make mistakes quite often.
My views on religion, family, life, politics, and generally aggravating people must amount to something. All races and cultures have their problems; I hope I give you something to think about here.
Dissatisfaction became disbelief when the Christian churches I attended could not agree with one another in regards to doctrine, practice, and lifestyle.
I forged my own way, and right or wrong, it is mine.
Has this world we live in really advanced beyond that of our ancestors? If you take away all of the illusions of modern technology and the luxuries we all enjoy you will find that we all behave fairly similarly to those common cave dwelling nomadic ancestors. How often have you wondered the reality of our final destiny? Maybe not often enough. Perhaps the idea of growing old to wither and die is too perplexing to deal with. Everything eventually becomes food for the worms anyway.
We leave this life pretty much the same way we entered it; wrinkled, helpless, and kind of funny looking. The
reality of life is this: our lives are not our own although the responsibility for the crappy situations we often find
ourselves in belong entirely to us. Try as we might, there is no way to turn back the cruel hands of time.
Revenge is bittersweet, as the babe of the high school cheerleader squad will eventually become old and decrepit. So remember that when fantasizing about the things that could have been.
As we wander through this vast world of ours, some of us will stop and ponder the meaning of life and death. What are we doing here? Is there a final destiny, which we all have in common, after our bodies are buried in a ceremony, which we may never witness? Some people believe that there is reality to the concepts of Heaven And Hell and that if we do not live according to the wishes printed in an ancient and often misquoted manuscript, we are condemned to eternal torture and separation from GOD himself.
What do you believe to be true? Keep in mind, that regardless of your personal beliefs; we cannot live our lives over again. How then, do we as humans have the audacity to play GOD? If we were meant to create clones, then there would have been an identical human being born at the same time with the sole purpose of being our supplier of non reject-able spare parts. After having said that, I now feel extremely sheepish.
Bear this in mind; I am not against life saving medical research, provided it is for the sole purpose of healing and promoting long life. Just be sure not to confuse healing with playing God. Remember the story of the ancient tower of Babel? They were a rather proud people who thought they could build their tower up to Heaven.
Their perceptions of who they really were in contrast to God was and still is was clouded. Are we as a nation, guilty of similar crimes? Here is a sobering thought; the hands God created for us have been intended to heal, yet we spend most of our lives holding grudges and being overly judgemental, hurting those we meet. Some of us who are of certain political persuasions seem to think that we are above reproach. We as a modern society have created certain liberties for ourselves that cloud our sense of fairness. Have any of us ever realized that they are not above the final judgement of God Almighty? Probably not. Those, which create and enforce the laws of the land, should also be prepared to live by the same. We are all equally guilty of breaking some laws. Not everyone has been caught or confessed to everything.
I prefer to be left alone, only leaving my home for important appointments, as I value my privacy. My world is my own, and like a wolf, I am territorial and loyal to my own. I hope they can make this world a better place as I prepare to leave this world as I entered it - corrupt and looking for a Messiah. My voice to the outside world is a very quiet one, requiring stillness, and meditative patience. Though I may communicate strong words to you, I do so with love and dignity. I never desire to be harsh or vindictive towards anyone, and wish peace towards those who read these words with an open mind.
I sometimes stay awake, dreading the outcome of what our world has become and what the future holds for our children. I have my problems like everyone else, and still dress much like everyone else - I still cannot put my pants on with both legs at the same time.
Most of my adult life I have done what is commonly referred to in some circles as Church Shopping. I believe that God is entirely too big to fit in one religion and that we should be open to the ways He has reached us since the beginning of time. I believe that religion is man's way of trying to reach God and completely misses the point of why we are here. Don't get me wrong, church services are an important part of a believer's spiritual life and should not be ignored. But bear this in mind, neither should one participate because they feel forced to - it's all a part of individual free will. Just be humble and do what is right - we will all answer to God at the end of our life's journey.
The most difficult decisions for me were the ones that brought the biggest changes for me in my life. I've learned that if you don't take chances and fall down on your face every now and then you'll never learn how to get back up. God allows the low moments in our lives to be used as a tool to teach us how to appreciate the things that really matter.
Some of you may wonder, where do I stand in regards to my personal beliefs? Good question. Get to know me, and then you may understand why I take the stance I do. All religions have dealt with corruption somewhere in its history. Yes, even Christianity!
Am I a Christian? I identify as one, though I have changed my opinions and feelings considerably, since I first became a believer, regarding the church. Yes, I am saved and baptized.
Please do not make assumptions regarding my personal beliefs. Why have I had so many misgivings and questions regarding my personal faith? Too much has been taken from me. I have witnessed the lives of my friends, neighbors, and family members change on a seemingly endless roller coaster ride, sometimes on a downward spiral, and as a result, I question God every day. I know He does exist, yet I do not know why I have to witness people suffering. Where is all the love disappearing to? I suppose it's proof of how my faith gets tested.
Does anyone really pause to think about the man or woman they see on the street, who may appear to not know what proper hygiene is, or stumble from what may have been a life wasted on drinking? Please don't turn a blind eye to them and pretend they do not exist - they are human, different only in their outward appearance and circumstance. Make the time to witness to everyone.
I met a few folks while living on the streets who taught me hard lessons about compassion.
One gentleman, whom I knew only as Paul, was a former schoolteacher who fell on hard times after losing his job to a situation that was beyond his understanding by the time I met him.
By the time I met him, his mental condition was so bad due to a series of personal circumstances that he barely seemed to know what reality was. Curiosity got the best of me as I befriended Paul. I learned that he was an extremely brilliant man, who still retained an intelligent mind. He simply fell into a depression due to a substance addiction, that most folks were too scared to go near him. I admit, he was a bit of an odd fellow - he had a way of making a person feel uneasy, though he was rather harmless in fact he was extremely friendly.
I was introduced to another fine gentleman whose name was Mr. Sturgis. He taught me about hope and inspiration in unlikely places. I got to know him slowly over the years, and he had a quiet optimism about him. It was rather subtle, though when he talked to you, you were treated with utmost respect, as if you were the only person left on earth.
That was a rare quality indeed. I hope I get to meet him again. If not, I'll miss one of the greatest friends I have ever had. Thanks for the Bible stories you exposed me to, Mr. Sturgis. You helped reinforce the values my family taught me as I was growing up.
I do not care what brand of religion you claim to believe in. While I identify myself as a Christian, I refuse to follow any single religious dogma and prefer to find the truth in the source of what makes us human. There is far too much church shopping, and wardrobe comparison going on for me to feel like I belong in any particular denomination. Bear in mind that my gripe deals with man-made religion, not a relationship with the Risen Savior.
At one point in my life, I felt a calling to become a church pastor. This was felt most strongly while I was homeless. I witnessed many things that opened my eyes and would further shape my character and reinforce what I was raised to believe in.
What was I raised to believe in? Simply put - treat your neighbor exactly the way you expect to be treated, no matter who they are or what they look like. I was also taught about the value of humility. No single human being is better than any other, no matter what the powers that be try to teach us. We all have our own unique set of gifts and can contribute equally to making this a better world.
Pastors, I have a bone of contention to pick with you. If you expect to win people over, and only cater to specific groups of people (such as convicts and ex-convicts), how can you profess to follow the example of Jesus Christ? As Christian Believers, we are called to make our very lives a Living Testimony.
Whether you are aware of it or not, my point is this: all of us are prisoners of our own sinful humanity and none are perfect. So, with that bit of logic, shouldn't you encourage your entire congregation to find even that single lost sheep that may be trying to find their way back - even if they're not associated with the legal system's definition of an ex-convict? You have so many out there waiting to be reached and brought into the fold, and a short amount of time to find them.
I am single minded in my purpose and desire to leave this world a little better than I found it. I am a Christian, not perfect, or better than anyone else. I am simply set apart and different in my focus from what this world deems fitting - succeeding at all cost, no matter the consequences. That self centered mindset is not for me, and can only pave a lonely road as one gets older. I prefer to walk a path of Christ centered living, even if it means I walk alone for a time. I move forward in my faith with the knowledge that Someone will be waiting for me at my Final Destination.
I can definitely vouch for the power God has behind the scenes in my life. Sure, I could rattle on about how I've managed to live through what I have and come out a winner, but without Someone propping me up when I'm about to fall, I wouldn't be where or who I am today.
Sometimes God uses people in our lives we normally wouldn't give a second glance to, in order to get our attention and wake us up when we need it. Pay attention to circumstances around you and never take anyone for granted. Life is too short and precious and you can't take material gain with you in the end.
I have seen things - even as an unbeliever - that indicate the coming storm that will catch us if we remain sleeping during our church services.
What are your treasures in life? Do you take comfort in the temporary materialism of this world, or the permanent righteousness based on the examples Jesus provided?
Do not be deceived by the sweet words and lies from this world, but rather, hear the words of truth and listen. Don't just listen to the truth, but also do what is right - not for the approval of this world, but for the ministering of His followers and winning the souls of unbelievers. If you want to win an unbeliever, be a living example of what Jesus expects you to be. Don't just talk the talk. Walk the walk as well.
Even if it means standing alone and apart from the trends and traditions of this world, do what is right. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow or even their next breath.
I am but one man, not perfect by any means. I struggle with some of the same temptations everyone else does. This does not give me an excuse to live a one day a week life of Holiness while sinning the other six days of the week.
Going to church and singing the right songs does not make me a Christian any more than having four tires and an engine makes me a car.
I have made my decision and stand by it.
Are you willing to accept the consequences of your own personal decisions, or are you going to do something to change the road you are traveling on in life. The choice is entirely up to you. I cannot and will not make it for you. I am not here to pass judgements or make myself out to seem like a better human being than anyone else. I am simply setting myself apart to live for what I believe is right.
I struggle just like any other human being on this planet, fighting battle after battle - sometimes against forces and thoughts that only I am aware of. I don't speak often regarding what those battles are, or what I go through in order to best deal with things. Sometimes I do things that simply don't make sense (even to me) and I fall flat on my face more often than I am willing to admit to. Without God providing the examples which I need to live by, I would have no goals to strive for beyond a mere existence in this world.
It is so easy when our own lives are cushioned and sheltered from anything we deem hostile to ignore what it is that makes us human beings. Whatever happened to [The Golden Rule] and common sense? This video may have been a social experiment of sorts, but I can tell you first hand. There is a point to this. Stop living in your sheltered cone of existence and do something to help someone. Not for your own satisfaction or fame, but because it needs to be done.
For those concerned about being scammed in one fashion or another, or those that have nothing better to do than point fingers and compare one way of life to another - political, economic or spiritual - all of that is pointless when it comes to survival and being decent people. Let God sort it out.
I am not standing on a soapbox or behind a pulpit. I have lived a life of homelessness. It reinforced the values I was taught as a young boy. Where or how I grew up doesn't matter. What matters, is how I apply what I was taught. I choose to leave this world a better place than I found it if at all possible.
What will you choose? Would you follow the crowd and do what's popular, or will you choose to live as decent human beings, looking out for everyone no matter the circumstance or point of view? Regardless of your personal decision, your life is your own and not mine to judge. We are called to love the sinner (remembering that we were once weak and sinners ourselves), but hate the sin (this is very important not to be caught up in hypocritical judgement over one another, or in the sinful lifestyle contrary to our professed beliefs in God).
People here in the United States have complained to the media when a white cop takes excessive action against any minority and play the race card. Justifiable in certain situations, and very understandable - provided innocence can be proven. Sometimes the cop is guilty of excessive action, other times it's justified when the suspect is out of control. There is no way to know the truth without having personally witnessed every incident. I've become friends with a few police officers, and they certainly do not have easy jobs.
However, this is what I am raising an objection to; why play the race card when your own behavior makes everyone else of the same race look bad? Remember the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. the next time you play your popular rap music with racist lyrics, and really listen to what is being promoted. Are they the values an intelligent human being should share if they're trying to improve the quality of their own life as well as those around you?
The next time an opportunity comes up and you are hearing this destructive garbage being played, think about how this reflects on your own character if you enjoy the song and have no problem with it.
If one group of people is not allowed to behave in a racist and destructive manner, then it should apply to everyone, not just a select group of individuals. It's no wonder our country is looked upon by some foreign countries as a cultural cesspool and a joke.
Overall, I still think the United States is the best country in the world, even if some of the people that call themselves Americans don't know how to behave respectably.
While I have been focusing on rap music and racism as the topics of discussion, it also applies to everything - music
as well as behavior. If you want to promote something, then I'm all for it. Just don't bring society down with you.
It's not right to single out a single group and say that everyone in that group is destructive. It's the few bad apples dragging society down with them. Don't be one of those bad apples. Your character will show through your own behavior and what you allow others around you to promote. If you raise objections and those around you ignore you, then walk away from the toxicity. God has bigger plans for your life.
Not every song with racist terms or profanity is meant to cast life in a negative light. Sometimes you find a gem like this one from Within Temptation, featuring Rap Artist Xzibit - And We Run. I believe this has a very strong message about achieving goals while facing nearly impossible odds.
While not a fan of profanity or vulgarity, I can see where some think it's needed to express a point when they cannot find the correct words or for shock value when nobody is paying attention.
If you truly wish to impress me, impress me with honesty and the truth for a change. Don't deceive me with sugarcoated fairy tales that have happy endings.