Suffering

I have always heard that suffering is good for the soul. I don’t know about you but I don’t like pain. It is funny because I have a high tolerance for pain. When I was young, wasp would sting me and I would feel no pain. As I got older, I broke my big toe and couldn’t move for ½ hour for the pain. But afterwards I walked around. I still feel it when it rains. Physical pain hurts at the onset but then fades as time goes by. It is still no fun. But there is a pain that doesn’t go away. That pain is spiritual. So, what am I talking about? The 1st time you were betrayed by someone. When a girlfriend or boyfriend dumped you. When someone deliberately hurt you, it smarted with pain. You have heard the saying; I would have rather taken a beating then to suffer heartache. That pain doesn’t go away with time. Even if it is not thought about for a time, it is still there. That pain can shade your judgement. And you may not even remember why. It stays with us for a lifetime. There is only one way to get rid of that pain. You must have a change of heart. And there is only one person who can give you a change of heart. That is God Himself. There is no other way. And all you have to do is ask.

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What you believe is calling

People believe. It is an important part of our lives to believe. When people find a truth that they perceive, they believe. It may not be true at all, but they believe. Did you know that your heart is the most deceptive thing you own? Man, believes whatever is right in his own eyes. Even half-truths can be as deceptive as a lie. You should check and double check to prove a truth. Therefore, scientist don’t publish theories until they are proven to be true. Faith is a belief. It too should be tested. Faith in the beginning is more hope than belief. It is what motivates us to believe in the 1st place. If you don’t test your faith, when trouble comes your faith will fade away. The apostle Paul wrote about this very thing. He said, one says that he has faith and the other says he has works. Paul said, you will see my faith by my works. So faith to become belief must be put into practice. I have seen too many things work by the hand of God not to believe. The 1st time I prayed, I asked God to do something and He did. And He has never stop. So what do you believe in? I ask the question because what you believe is calling you.

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The Gift of Music

There is nothing in this world that moves me like music. Since an early age, I have had a singing voice and perfect pitch. Every time someone would be singing and step on a note, it would make me cringe. In both elementary and high school, I sang in a choir. When I was in the 8th grade, the school was forming the bishop’s boys choir. The director wanted only sopranos. My voice hadn’t changed yet, so I tried out. my younger brother also tried out. He made it and I didn’t. The next year, I joined the high school choir. I had the highest voice in the choir. I could hit high C. Then my voice change and landed on tenor. In college, I went into communications. After I had worked for a Christian radio station. I was the music director. I would listen to all the music that came into the station for airplay. That was one of the best jobs I ever had. Listening to music all day long. My favorite music is A cappella. This is where the voices of the people that carry the melody. One of the best examples of that is the song “Carol of the Bells”. Music is what stirs your heart. Because it rings true in your heart. No matter what kind of music you listen to. Do you know why it is true? The reason is very simple. It is because God instituted music. It is a spiritual thing. But there is a song that I am waiting to hear because I will be part of that choir. The song is called “song of the redeemed”. When it is sung, it said that the angels stop and listen to that beautiful song. It is because they can’t sing that song. Because we are the only ones who sing about being redeemed by God.

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The Gift of Hospitality

I like to cook. Since my youth, I have studied and cooked my way through all kinds of food. My mother as dear as she was, couldn’t cook. I should say she cooked for my dad. And all he liked was meat and potatoes. I started watching cooking shows on TV. My mom was a school teacher and didn’t have much time to prepare food. We were raised catholic and didn’t eat meat on Fridays. Mom fixed pimento and cheese sandwiches. I can’t stand them. To this day I don’t eat pimento and cheese, ever. As I developed my skill as a cook, mom would let me cook the evening meal. Dad, when he knew I cooked, would say he didn’t like. When he didn’t know I cooked, he loved it. So, mom and I didn’t tell him for a long time. My skill improved steadily. I can cook most anything and bake also. When my wife and I were 1st married, she was glad I could cook because she didn’t. She has come a long way and learned how to cook. But I can cook rings around her. Food has always been the core of family life. My grandmother would always ask me if I was hungry when I went to her house. Because no one was going to leave her home hungry. She lived through the depression and raised a family. They didn’t have much but always shared what they had with anyone. Mom and her sisters learn it. That heritage I learned from my family is that the gift of hospitality is about giving to those in need. And I can still out cook my wife.

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Times and Seasons

I was looking at today’s newspaper and saw a recipe for Hanukah. And it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. This year has gone by in a twinkling of an eye. Seasons were given to us to tell time. I’m listening to the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas”. It makes me lonesome for my parents. My years have all been counted by Christmas. My birthday is in December. I would get clothes for my birthday and toys for Christmas. My mother and her sisters would have Christmas with all our families at our house. My mother and her 2 sisters had 9 boys. So when we would get together and everyone got a present. As our family grow, we were limited to one present per person. I miss those days. All the boys would go outside and play. The moms and aunts would gather in the kitchen to prepare the meal. The men were in the front room talking. As we got older, we would all gather in the front room to watch football. When the meal was ready, we sat at several tables. There was always enough food to feed an army. And there was plenty of desserts. After we finished eating, we cleared all the dishes and food. Then we would get the card tables out. we would split into groups of 4 to play hearts. We would get together for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. We did this until we were grown men. My sons are grown now. And we still try to get together for the holidays. We started inviting people who were alone for the holidays. Our little house was always full of people. Because the holidays bring such strong emotions, we didn’t want people to be alone. Share your holidays with someone. Don’t let them be alone and remember times and seasons.

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Testing

As we grow, we learn. All through that learning process, we are tested. We are tested to see if we learned the material. Test aren’t fun, but very necessary. The process is to prove that the information is valid and worth learning. You know what is the funny part is, that we carry all information we learned with us even into eternity. Whether we use it or not, it is up to us. An educated person is far more valuable than not. It is why this country stresses the point of education. Once we leave our formal education, we figure we don’t have to do homework or test. O contraire, it is only the beginning. Our formal education is training for the rest of our life. But it seems that the older we get the harder the testing becomes. And the more we need to use the knowledge we’ve learned. One of the biggest test I ever faced was when my 3rd son contracted spinal meningitis. He was only 6 months old. I never felt so helpless in all my life. He had to go into intensive care in the hospital. I had no insurance and $170 to my name. Everything I had learned and believed came into play. Was I going to stand and believe and trust God or was I going to turn away? The doctor told my wife and I that if he lives, he will probably be a vegetable. My wife stayed at the hospital. I went home to see about the other children. There was a peace that come over me that I could sleep. The next morning, the insurance we applied for came in the mail. There were no immune shots for spinal meningitis back then. He was receiving massive amounts of antibiotics. Every day they would test for the meningitis. On the third day at the hospital, the doctor came into the room and announced to us that there was no spinal meningitis in him. The doctor said I know that he had it. he couldn’t understand what had happened. My wife and I did. God healed him. My son suffered no ill effects from the virus. He is now 30 years old and doing well. That test could have defeated me. It could have destroyed all that I learned and believed. But I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.

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Contemplating my Mortality

I always thought that I would live forever, when I was young and the world was before me. I was 40 years old before it dawned on me that I wasn’t 18 years old anymore. I have always considered myself a young man, even when I passed the 60-year mark. As the bible says a person who is 100 years old is still a child. And I still think of myself that way. But the reality is that I am reaching the sunset of my life. No one wants to die. We all want to live forever. I have goals I want to accomplish and there is still not enough time left. You pay your money and you take your chances. I decided on all the things that I did in my life. No one forced me to do what I wanted to do. My father died before knowing my children. I have one grandson, who I don’t know very well. My wife tries to prove her independence, but if I left it would devastate her. And my sons still need my guidance. And I want to go home. This world isn’t my home. This world is temporary and will disappear in the end of time. So, what do I do? How long do I live? It is still up to me when I go home, barring any accidents or disease. I have walked with God for most of my life. I have done what He asked of me. Now I want the reward He has promised me. Yet I don’t want to leave. But I know that soon it will be time to go. I will be extremely happy and sad about that. You see I am caught between the two. So, I contemplate my mortality.

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The Stain on your Soul

When we begin life, our soul is pure and free. We don’t have discipline or structure but we are innocent. We prize that innocence above everything else. We protect our children so that they can be innocent as long as possible. We make sure that nothing is said or done around our children. We want to give our children that opportunity to have a choice in their lives free from this world. Then tell me why does the world try to destroy that innocence as fast as humanly possible? We learn by example. As we see and hear, touch and taste our way through life, we learn. There is nothing that escapes our memory. If it is seen or heard, we will evaluate the information. Then we store it to use or not at an appropriate time. We look at TV and see the cesspool that it is. There is very little that is worth watching let alone the cable channels. Hollywood is as occult as any satanic worship. It is rare that they have produced any worthwhile movies. There might have been 5 in the last 10 years. There are 1000’s of movies made every year. And what all this does in to produce a stain on our souls. That can’t be washed away with water, booze, drugs or sex. And the stain produces violence, war, disease, famines, droughts and every evil that plagues mankind. The only that the stain can be removed is by the washing of the water of the word of God. And that is it. There is no other way to get rid of it. Only God can remove this stain from our heart. And the only way is for you to approach God and ask for forgiveness. When you accept His offer, Jesus will come to live in your heart. And you will be free from the stain.

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The Lamps of the Soul

No one likes to reveal to just anyone who they are. They want to keep their secrets to themselves. It is more appealing to others to see a mystery. And try to find out who the person really is. It is what attracts people to each other. Too much of a mystery makes people afraid that the person might be evil. Evil only attracts certain kind of people. But did you know that people wear on their sleeves who they really are. It is like a beacon flashing in their face. It is the most amazing thing that people are so transparent. Just like you can see through your skin, you can see a person’s heart. You can’t see everything but you can see who the person basically is. What is more interesting is that people try to hide who they are with clothes, attitudes, money, alcohol, or even sex? But who they are shines through every time. It can’t be hidden with anything on this earth other than death. So how do you see who a person really is? It is much simpler than you think. Every part of your body is connected. The physical and the spiritual are connected. And there is a pathway between the two. Our heart is spiritual. It is who we are. And our physical body is connect to our heart by the life of God. That direct pathway to our heart is our eyes. This is how we gather our information about life along with our senses. But what people don’t understand is that our eyes are a mirror of our heart. They reflect out of us who we are. And if they are filled with light the whole body is fill with light. Because the eyes are the lamps of the soul.

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Contentment

Contentment is being satisfied with who you are and what you have. In today’s world this seems like a tall order. Everybody is pushing to get the latest craze. If it isn’t a new phone, it is a new watch, phone, and a computer put together. Then there is the new car syndrome. If your car isn’t 6 months old or less, you haven’t succeeded. Let us not forget clothes. If you don’t have the latest clothes, you just can’t go out of you house. And if your house is not up to date, Lord have mercy on my soul. There seems to be a driving need to acquire things. We must acquire bigger things or better things or our life isn’t worth living. That idea is a total lie straight out of the pits of hell. It is an idea to make you discontented with your life and everyone and thing in it too. Do you remember when one toy at Christmas was a real blessing? Or do you remember going to get an ice cream cone with your family? I can remember going with my family to get a cold mug of root beer. It was so much fun and I was with my family. Your life is what you make it. If you don’t participate in it, it still goes on without you. That is even sadder than being greedy. Take back your life and be who you are supposed to be. Don’t let everybody else tell you what you are supposed to be. It is for your self-worth and inner peace that you need to do this. Don’t let the world dictate to you what is important to you. Stand up and be yourself. For as God has said that contentment and Godliness is great gain.

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