6 Blessings of Growing Old

Today is my birthday. I am 47, three years shy of the big 50! We all want to stay young, including me, but there is a blessing to growing old. Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory.” I don’t have much gray hair, but the truth is still relevant. Growing old has it’s benefits. Here are 6:

  1. Wisdom. The older you are, the more situations you have faced, making it easier to navigate decisions, obstacles, etc.
  2. Perspective. You understand that life is not about what kind of clothes you wear, what you drive, or how much money you make. Life is about relationships with friends and family, and of course the most important relationship of all, the one with God.
  3. Appreciation. You appreciate the little things in life like the laughter of a child, a hot cup of coffee, a peaceful walk in the park, or better yet, going to bed early!
  4. Serving others. You see the benefit of passing on knowledge and life skills to others. Life is so much bigger than yourself. It is about preparing and helping the next generations to come.
  5. Confidence. I am way more comfortable in my skin, if you will, than I was twenty years ago, even five years ago. Aging helps you realize that its ok to be you. Some people will like you, that’s great. Some people will not like you, that’s ok, too. Life is not about blending in, but rather living the life God has for you, being who God has created you to be. There’s only one you, be that one!
  6. Glory. Every day you age is one step closer to eternity. I am one day closer to being at the feet of Jesus. People say that problems, etc. is better than the alternative (death). No, it’s not. The best thing that could ever happen to a Christian is to leave this world behind and enter eternity. Hebrews 11:16, “Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

4 Ways to Handle your Problems

The War on Terrorism Problem Pile | cloakeynotes

When it rains, it pours. I’m drenched! For the last five or six weeks I have been in the school of testing.

  • Both of my cars were towed in the same week. Lori’s needed a new computer and radiator, mine is an electrical problem. It’s been at the mechanics for over a month and is still not running.
  • I took my daughter to the dentist and she needed a root canal and three cavities filled.
  • My swimming pool was filled with algae and I couldn’t fix it, so I had to take several days to drain it and refill it.
  • It took me over three times, over several weeks, to get a travel visa for a trip I’m about to take.
  • Now, as I write this, my wife and two of my kids have the flu.

This has caused a tsunami of financial stress, along with physical, mental, and emotional fatigue. All the while I have faced the challenges and demands of pastoring a church, leading them through a renovation, and preparing for a major trip overseas. I say this not to be pitied, but to encourage you. If you are going through a tough time, you are not alone. Not only that, you can get through it. Here are four things that have helped me endure these issues (though not perfectly I admit).

  • Prayer: Seeking God increases when trials come your way. Hand it over to God. It is a reminder that He is in control.
  • People: My family and church family have encouraged me. They have also prayed for me. Just sharing with a few of them has been helpful. Again, it is a reminder that you are not alone and people care for you.
  • Perspective: My problems are fierce, but not serious. Nothing has been a matter of life or death. Nothing has happened that will adversely affect me forever.
  • Praise: God seems to show up more in the hard times. I have definitely felt His hand upon me, using me of late. When I am weak, He is strong. Also, I can praise God because there have been an abundance of blessings of late, too.

Do you have some problems you need to handle? Try the 4 p’s. Is there a loved one facing a slew of issues? Encourage them with these 4 p’s. Never forget: God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Jumping to Conclusions

It’s good to jump. A jump shot is great for basketball. A jump rope gets the heart pumping. Hurdle jumping keeps you limber. Jumping to conclusions; however, is not ideal. Have you jumped to conclusions, only to be wrong? I was reminded of this recently. People hear something, quickly gather their opinion, and act like it is the gospel truth. Not only that, they post it online, and if you disagree, you are in the wrong. We are quick to speak and slow to hear. James 1:19 tells us to be “Quick to hear and slow to speak.” Gather the facts. Understand all perspectives. See the big picture. It is better to take your time and be right, then jump to conclusions and be wrong.

I Want to be Brain washed

Brainwashing – How society is controlling you | Badboy Lifestyle

We are being being brainwashed constantly. People and agencies are shaping our thoughts, decisions, and entire being for that matter. Who wants to do this? It’s a long line: The government, Hollywood, the media, and the internet, to name a few. I want to be brain washed. Not by these entities of course. We need our brains washed and cleansed by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Having our brains washed by God is not God manipulating us for control. It is not us following like good robots. It means our brains are stained with sin. Our minds are filled with sinful, selfish, and dark thoughts. Even the best thoughts and intensions are tainted. Paul, in Romans 12:2, writes, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This verse reminds that to follow God, we need our minds washed, transformed, and renewed. “Lord, my brain and thought life is jam packed with sin and selfishness. Clean my thoughts. Make me more like You.”

How to Start Reading the Bible today.

8 Reasons We Don't Read the Bible - Bible Study

The Bible is the best-selling book of all times.

It’s a life-changing masterpiece.

The Bible is actually a collection of 66 books. It’s approximate 750,000 words can overwhelm the reader.

Many people start reading at the beginning in Genesis. Then they next read Exodus, then Leviticus, and they start getting bogged down.

If you’re new to the Bible, I recommend another approach.

Here are 3 Options to Get you Started

1. Read the Gospel of Mark

Why Mark? Mark tells the life and ministry of Jesus. It’s written like an action film. The word, “immediately” is repeated throughout. It’s also the shortest of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

2. Read the Proverbs

What are proverbs? Short sayings of wisdom.

“A penny saved is a penny earned,” is an example of a proverb, though not in the Bible. The book of Proverbs is a collection of proverbs, short sayings of wisdom. It teaches about friendships, money, and decision making, to name a few.

Proverbs has 31 chapters. So, on the 1st day of the month, read Proverbs 1. On the 2nd day, read Proverbs 2 and so forth. You’ll have read the entire book in one month.

3. Read Genesis

The Bible is a collection of books, but it ultimately points to one story, or truth. God has created us to know Him and follow Him. Though we’re rebellious and disobedient , God sent Jesus to restore us.

Genesis starts the story. It tells us about creation, Noah and the Ark, Abraham, and Joseph, for instance.

Are you new to the Bible? I recommend Mark first.

Then maybe try Proverbs or Genesis. If you’ve read those try Romans, James, or the Book of Psalms.

2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

4 Daily Questions to Communicate better with your Spouse.

Modes of Communication: Types, Meaning and Examples | Leverage Edu

Communication is key to a successful marriage.

I’ve been married 26 years, but it’s still a struggle for my wife and me. Even when we communicate, life’s so busy, we tend to forget what the other person said.

My wife and I try to have a weekly “meeting.” We sit down, look at the calendar, and talk about life. A weekly meeting, for us, is not enough. It’s need to be daily. My goal is to daily ask my wife these 4 Questions.

1. How full is your bucket?

If the bucket if full, your spouse is ok emotionally, physically, mentally, etc. If the bucket is empty, your spouse is tired, weary, anxious, or discouraged. Your spouse needs extra attention. Maybe both your buckets are empty, leading to agitation and conflict. Find ways to refresh together.

2. Is there something about money we need to discuss?

Money is a sore subject for many marriages. Take the opportunity to discuss what’s needed for the week, upcoming expenses, bills, etc.

3. Is there anything about the kids we need to discuss?

As a parent, you’re bombarded with the daily flow of info. Homework, practice, events, etc. are overwhelming. Be on the same page with your spouse about events, needs, discipline, etc.

4. How can I help you today?

You desire help from your spouse, and you’re irritated when nothing happens. Take the initiative and you be the helper. Maybe your spouse wants to help, but doesn’t know how. Questions like this help you tend to one another’s needs.

James 1:9, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

How do you help someone that’s depressed?

How To Help Someone With An Alcohol Problem - Carus Recovery Center

It’s not easy helping someone that’s depressed.

I know this firsthand. I’ve both had depression and helped others with their depression. So many people are depressed, so it’s a skill you need to know.

Unfortunately, this is an area people get wrong, even with good intensions.

People often say the wrong things to the depressed.

Here are a few things you need to avoid saying:

  • #1 Suck it up and get over it
  • #2 You are too weak and emotional, toughen up
  • #3 Your life is great, you have no reason to be depressed
  • #4 If you just had enough faith, you would not be depressed in the first place
  • #5 You’ve been like this awhile, isn’t it time to stop

Maybe you have said, or thought, something like this, maybe not. How do we help our depressed friends and family?

Step 1: Don’t judge them

They are not less of a person because they’re depressed. Great leaders, inventors, writers, etc. have dealt with depression. I am a pastor, and I too have dealt with depression.

Step 2: Don’t smother them

Depression often drives one into isolation. This hurts the depressed and their loved ones. Encourage them, don’t badger them. Don’t constantly ask how they’re doing. Don’t harass them to tell you why they’re depressed. Let them know you love them and are available when they need you.

Step 3: When they do talk, listen

Maybe they just want to share their feelings, and they don’t want a lecture on how to get better. Maybe they just want to know they’re not alone. They probably don’t need you to give 5 tips to get better. They probably just need you to be with them.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

How to Unite in a Time of Division, especially with those different than us.

We live in a time of division

People are tying to create rifts, or further the rifts, between colors and classes. We’re different, but we’re really the same.

I’ve been blessed to visit several places. From Eastern Europe, South East Asia, and Western Europe to name a few.

People are different.

Languages are different. Customs and diet are different. How someone look can be different, too. Other nations have different needs than we do in America.

People are really the same.

It doesn’t matter what country you’re from, or what you look like, we’re basically the same. We have problems. We have good days and bad. We love our families and want the best for them.

You can connect with people different than you.

I’ve stayed in homes of total strangers on the other side of the world. They’ve treated me like family. I’ve played and laughed with children from orphanages in Asia. I love them like my own children. I’ve broken bread with red, yellow, black, and white.

Yes, we’re different, but we are all part of the human race.

Maybe you’ll never travel abroad, but there are a variety of people around you. Stop focusing on how different you are. Yes, we can celebrate differences. Let’s not divide because of our differences. There is so much we can learn from one another.

We are all part of one puzzle. The closer we are together, the more beautiful life will be.

Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

Your Phone is a Two-Edged Sword. Does it primarily help you or hurt you? Know the difference.

Are Smartphones Killing Our Conversation Quality? | Live Science

Smart phones can make you smart. Smart phones can make you dumb. They help and they hurt.

How they Help: You –

  • Can fix something after watching You-Tube.
  • Can connect with people via Social Media.
  • Have a GPS at all times.
  • Use apps to battle stress and anxiety.
  • Use apps to enhance your fitness goals.
  • Learn from podcasts.

How they Hurt: They can –

  • Distract us while driving, making it unsafe.
  • Become an addiction. We suffer pain and anguish without our phones.
  • Hinder relationships. Instead of eye contact, we stare down at our phones.
  • Lead to anxiety while looking at social media, the news, etc.
  • Prevent us from truly disconnecting from school, work, etc.
  • Lure us from deep thinking and reading articles, books, etc.

I remember life before the smart phone. It’s hard to imagine life without it now. My smart phone, in some ways, has made me smart. It some ways, it has made me dumb.

How can we assure the good outweighs the bad?

  • Track your screen time. It shows how much time you spend on the phone and what you use it for.
  • Put the phone away when you’re with someone. It’s hard to connect with a person while checking texts, notifications, etc.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone next to you, unless you’re awaiting an emergency. You don’t need to check it in the middle of the night.
  • Get away from your phone periodically. You can take a walk without it. You can go to the bathroom with it. Be detached and embrace the world in front of you.

How do you keep this delicate balance? How has the phone helped you? Hurt you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

James 1:5, “ If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Life Lessons from my Father

5 Valuable Life Lessons to Learn From Quality Management

My dad was and is my hero. He’s been gone thirteen years now, due to cancer. It’s said time heals all wounds. That’s not true. The longer he’s gone, the more he’s missed.

Here are 5 lessons he taught me, whether by what he said or how he lived.

1. Treat Everyone with Respect

Dad was kind to everyone; red, yellow, black or white. He owned a small printing company and everyone was an important customer, whether it was a $5 job or a $5,000 job. Even when they wronged him, he treated them with kindness.

2. Love your spouse

He and my mom were married 44 years when he passed. If he were still alive, it would be 57 years. I never once saw them argue. I’m sure they did, they just didn’t do it in front of my sisters and me.

3. Spend time with your kids

I’ll forget the times he took me hunting or fishing. He taught me how to drive and “stay in the ruts’, on the backwoods’ roads. Dad worked crazy hours to provide for us, but he made time to be with us.

4. Save your money

Dad sometimes bought nice things, but he would rather save it then spend it. He taught me the value of both the dollar and how to acquire it through hard work and determination. One investment he always made was in people, giving to those in need.

5. Trust God

Dad was a man of great faith. He prayed, read the Bible, and went to church. This was the bedrock foundation of everything. Dad has passed on that baton. Today, I too am a man of faith, a pastor at that.

I would not be the man I am today without my dad.

If your dad is still alive? Be thankful. If not, what lessons did he pass on to you?

Proverbs 1:8, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction.”