Remember back in 1994, when Tanya Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, allegedly hired a hooligan to attack Nancy Kerrigan? Tanya and Nancy were ice skating champions and rivals in the ice skating rink, competing for distinguished titles. Allegedly, the hooligan rushed up behind Nancy and struck Nancy's leg with a baton, just above the knee. The attack's objective was to injure Nancy in such a way that she could not compete in the Nationals or the Winter Olympics, thus getting rid of the competition.
The above scenario reminds me of what the Democrats are doing right now, getting rid of the competition. I mean, they are now in charge of leading the country. Joe Biden is in, Donald Trump is out. So, I asked someone, why are they (Democrats) continuing to impeach Trump? The answer was so that he would not be able to run for the presidency in the following term. Oh, so, the democrats must be afraid that if allowed to campaign for the presidency's office, Trump will win. I see it because, much like the Harding/Kerrigan case, the democrats are eliminating the competition.
I wish I could encourage the democrats to do such an excellent job of running the country that people will WANT to re-elect them.
As a business person myself, I know that if I do an excellent job of serving my clients, they will be so happy, they will hire me again. And, they will tell others about my service and those people will hire me. I don't have to worry about the competition. I don't need to break anybody's leg. I don't need to slander and try to take them out.
In May 2020, the National Association of Realtors reported 93,795 REALTORS® in the state of California. Since our license allows us to work in the entire state of California, I can say I have virtually 93,795 competitors. Do I have time to compete with everyone? No. I don't ever think about what others are doing in the industry. If I do not do a good job, then my client might fire me. They certainly will not hire me again, even if we close a successful transaction. My assurance in being re-hired; in other words, winning again is to do an excellent job. My motto is, "Do such a good job in representing your clients that they won't even think about hiring someone else… ever!" That's how I, virtually, eliminate the competition. I don't need to break their leg.
So I ask this question, why are the Democrats wasting time getting rid of the competition when all they need to do is concentrate on doing such an excellent job for the people that we won't want to elect anyone else, ever? If they would buckle down and spend the money, time, and effort on serving the American people, the people will be happy, and the people will vote for them, and the Democratic Party is likely to be elected again with ease.
Do a job that is so amazing, people will think twice about voting for anyone else but you!
Forget about the competition. Stop wasting time trying to break your competitor's leg. If you do your job right, there is no competition. If you do your job right, no one else will stand a chance of winning against you. Think about it!
There is no need to beat people at their game so long as you excel at your own game.
Well, that's me thinking out loud again. I hope you all have a wonderfully blessed day.
© Marlene Bertrand 2021 All rights reserved.
The most important thing I did in 2020 was turn off the television and stop watching the news. If there was any information to be heard, it was because family and friends would contact me and tell me what they heard on the news that day. No offense to those who shared the information with me. I mean, what with all the fake news and propaganda, news reports seem irrelevant to me.
I was watching Supergirl on Netflix the other day. Kara Danvers (A.K.A. Supergirl) presented a story to the editor for review and publication. The editor refused to publish the story, explaining that Kara needed at least two credible sources to back the story. Kara (as Supergirl) was a party to the story about which Kara had written. Kara tried to convince the editor that Supergirl was credible enough and no other source was needed. But, the editor held fast to his decision, explaining that he would not publish a story that could not be verified, going on to say that readers are entitled to the truth and just because Supergirl said something happened, doesn’t mean it happened. He needed another source, and he needed evidence. I applaud him for looking out for the readers’ best interest.
We all know Supergirl on Netflix is a fictitious character, and the Netflix story is pure entertainment. That episode entertained me, but it also left me wishing it was true to life.
In today’s world, some (I did not say all) reporters are not honestly reporting accurate information. I proved it to myself one day, which prompted me to stop watching and reading the so-called news. One day, I watched three different reports of a video recording of a single event. One news team edited the video to show extra scenes. A second news team edited the video to show the video with extracted scenes. And a third news team did not appear to edit the video at all. This prompted me to question which version of the video is correct.
I am just an average person. I do not have the expertise to discern what is real and what is not valid, and because of that, I just turned off all interest in receiving the news altogether.
No More News
It has not affected my life a single bit. I do not watch the news, and my life goes on as well as intended.
From what I hear from family and friends, the world is in chaos. Rioting, looting, burglaries, business shut-downs, deaths from COVID-19, death from murderers, death from suicides, and the madness is never-ending.
I hear some of what is happening in the world as family and friends call me and share what they feel is important to know. They share how reports affect them. They are sad and dismayed as they share and my advice to them is that they stop watching the news. Most of the reports are probably not real anyway.
Friends, sadly, I have developed a harsh heart with regards to news reporting. I believe most news reporters strategically design the news to create divisiveness among the people anyway. And, quite honestly, the plan is working very well. We have become a divided nation. What will become of us all in the future if something does not change?
No Soap Box
I am not going to stand up on a soapbox and tell people what to do. I believe people naturally know what to do. They don’t do it. I think everyone, whether they admit it or not, has a plan. Even I have a plan right now. What is my goal? My goal is to get people to stop relying on the news. My plan is to get people to go back into their hearts to determine what is real and not real. Throw everything away and rely on your gut feelings. I believe people inherently know (whether they admit it or not and whether they do something about it or look the other way) what is right and wrong.
Let Go and Let God
The best part about knowing what is right and wrong is that you don’t have to do anything about it. All you need to do is rely on the Lord to set things straight. Ask Him, and He will take care of things on our behalf.
Here’s the thing, I am only a human being with human reasoning and human strength. The Lord is All-Powerful. He has a power that I can never imagine. Now, listen, I don’t mean to sound like I am sitting by idly and doing nothing; I will do my part to help. But, here’s the thing - I do not worry about whether or not I can make things right. I do not worry about things of the world because, when I think long and hard about it, I know the wrath of God is more powerful than the wrath of me. I believe if we ask Him as a collective nation, the Lord will hear us and act on our behalf.
It is a challenging world in which we live. Even the strongest people we know have mental breakdowns, and some are even committing suicide. I do have a heart for them. As easy-going as I am and as tough as I am, I feel the sting of evil as it vies to take over the world.
I do all that I can to make sure evil does not win my mind and heart. So, when things get tough for me, I rely on passages in my life guidebook (the bible) to carry me above and beyond the multitude of strife that plagues today’s environment. A few passages help me realize I am not in control of the world, and I am not the one who needs to worry about how things are in the world.
Here are the verses I use to help get me through each day.
Psalm 34:17 – 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
This past year has been a tough one. Nevertheless, we survived. And we shall continue to stay. So, goodbye, 2020. Hello, 2021! We are not afraid of what lies ahead. We’ve got the power of the Almighty behind us. So, 2021, bring it on!
© Bertrand 2020
My favorite song, often sung around Christmas time but is very appropriate during the entire year, is the song called “Mary Did You Know?” The lyrics ask Mary if she knew her baby boy would one day walk on water, heal the sick, cause blind men to see, bring the dead back to life, and most importantly, deliver her and all of us from sin.
Mary was an obedient woman. She was a virgin woman, engaged to be married to Joseph, and knowing anything was possible with God, was grateful to submit to God's command.
We can read about Mary’s obedience in Luke 1:28-38--
28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
The story of Mary’s obedience brings to light the idea that our only objective in life should be to be obedient to God because extraordinary goodness comes from serving and obeying.
The lyrics include a stanza that says, “When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.” Sit and ponder that for a moment!
Mary was very aware that she was giving birth to the Messiah. I can’t possibly compare how Mary felt giving birth to her baby boy to how I felt giving birth to my baby girls. I know I was the happiest mother in the world, holding them, loving them, kissing their faces. They were precious to me then, and they are dear to me now. I am a very proud mother. My children have accomplished great things in their lives, and I am as proud as a mother could be.
The final line in the song puts the entire piece in perspective.
And, now, as I think out loud about how Mary must have felt about the accomplishments of her child, baby Jesus and the man He had become, I am overwhelmed when I hear the final line in the song, “That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM!”
I think about the time when Moses asks God what to tell the people God’s name was, God says for the first time, His name, "I AM."
Exodus 3:14 --
14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I SAY I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
Our God is all-encompassing and self-sufficient. God’s name is the name above names. God is infinite. He is sovereign over our lives. The truth is, He Is Who He Is. And, there is nothing more to be said about it. He is the great I AM.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let us remember the love our Father sent to us in giving to us Our Savior, the one who would lead us to eternal life in the goodness of our Father.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Or, as a dear friend prefers to say, “Happy Advent Season!”
“Advent” derives its meaning from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” The Advent season is a four-week period before Christmas that celebrates the anticipation and coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Whatever way you remember this time of year, remember Jesus is the reason for the season!
© Bertrand 2020
There was a time in my life when I wanted to be a wedding officiant. I’m serious! I went online and got ordained. You can call me Reverend Bertrand if you’d like (smile). I set up a website where people could sign up for me to officiate their wedding, I started blogging about weddings. I even have a dress (uniform) that I would wear to conduct weddings. Friends, I went the whole nine yards for this wedding officiant endeavor.
There is something about weddings that fascinate me. And, no matter whose wedding it is, at the moment the bride and groom begin to say their vows, I begin to cry. I wondered how awkward it would be for me to preside over a wedding and then all of a sudden break out sobbing. It always happens during wedding vows. As I analyze it, thinking out loud, I realize there is something about the sacredness of committing oneself to another that gets deep inside my soul to a level that breaks me apart in a way I simply cannot control.
Commitment to Love
We commit to a lot of things in life. We commit to our jobs. We commit to projects, family, friends, and a whole slew of things in life. But, when we commit to love, I mean, when we truly commit to loving, then we commit to the greatest element on earth.
Our Creator says this in 1 Corinthians 13:13.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Love Wins Out
Sometimes, we lose ourselves to love. In fact, when we truly love someone, we lose ourselves in love. I ask now, “What is it that you would not do for love?” I know people who have done the craziest things for love. Yet, I don’t judge what people do for love, because I know that love can be overwhelming and love can cause a person to do things they never imagined they would do otherwise.
Our Creator created us to love. He created us to love one another and so by the very essence of our being, love always wins out. You can run from love, but in the end, love will find you and engulf you and when that happens, while you can deny it to the world, you cannot deny it to yourself.
I want to point out that I am not talking about the love of things. I am only talking about the love of people.
Think about the love a mother has for her child. From the moment that child is born (and often before then), there is nothing in the world that a mother would not do for her child. This kind of love makes them inseparable. It’s kind of like the love our Heavenly Father has for us.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. --1 John 4:9-11
And, what about the love between a man and a woman? Have you ever met someone who makes your heart flutter, who awakens butterflies in your stomach, who is constantly on your mind, who you think about all day and dream about all night long? Have you ever met someone who makes you tremble just because they look at you with eyes that say, “I love you.”? Some call it passion. I call it love and I ask, “Who would run from that kind of intense love?” And, if you did try to run from it, you would be living a life of denial. And, how long can a person live with unrequited love, penetrating their very existence to the point they feel like they are going to burst if they don’t let it out soon?
If you are fortunate to know this kind of love, then you know there is no way you can escape it. If love has entered your heart, love will win out. You might as well give in to it. Or, if circumstances warrant that you are not able to cater to the presence of your love, then at least recognize it, respect it, and learn to live with it in whatever way you can, because you were created to love and, like it or not, love will not go away, no matter what you do. Remember, you were created to love.
Whether it happens in a flash, like love at first sight, or it is developed over time, love is a gift to be cherished. Allow love to happen and then treat it like it is the most valuable treasure you will ever own because it IS the most valuable treasure you will ever own.
What Happened to the Wedding Officiant Business?
Oh, in case you are wondering what happened to my wedding officiant endeavor, let me share that I gave up the thought of conducting weddings simply because I knew I would be overly emotional during every ceremony, placing the attention on me. I felt it would not be fair to the intended. After all, this is their moment and the last thing they need is an overly weepy minister presiding over their wedding.
Today, as I was tending to one of my favorite plants, I started thinking about how this plant, when left up to my care, almost withered and died. Why? It was simple. I was not taking care of it the way it needed. I would give it water only when I saw it withering sadly in the dark. And I never fed it any kind of nutrients. What’s worse, I rarely opened the blinds to give it the sunlight that it obviously craved.
Originally, when I brought this plant home from Home Depot about a year ago, it was a young plant in a 4” pot with a couple set of leaves. I must have thought it would grow all on its own because I really didn’t pay much attention to it. After a while, seeing that I was not taking very good care of the plant, my husband took over the chore of nurturing the plant and soon the plant began to thrive.
Relationships Need Nurturing
The pitiful-looking plant that you see here is a plant that was left in my care. Because I did not nurture it, it died. In the same kind of way, this is what can happen in a relationship that is not taken care of.
Like the plant, if we do not provide relationships with the love they need to survive, they could dwindle. And, before we know it, we have a relationship that needs lots of mending to be brought back to life, or worse, we have a relationship that withers and dies.
It is not easy being in a relationship, but like plants, relationships need nurturing. If we love someone, we will have a natural desire to give them all the love and attention they need to survive.
Give Without Expectations
Like the plant, in a relationship, it is best to give without expectations of receiving anything in return. A plant cannot do anything for us but live, yet, if we take good care of the plant, it will give us beauty, not to mention other life-enhancing benefits, such as helping to clean the air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen.
Let me stop right now to remind you that I am not a relationship counselor and I don’t pretend to be one. What I share here are merely my opinions. I am just thinking out loud about my life and the relationships I have had and how I perceive them.
Givers and Takers
In my limited life experiences, I have come across people who are givers and takers.
In order to live healthily with each type of person, I had to first determine whether I was a giver or a taker. I feel I am more like myself when I give than when I take. So, I am going to say I am a giver. If you know me well and if you think differently, please tell me so. I need to know.
Let’s look at the relationships of givers and takers (from my perspective).
Givers take joy in doing things for others.
A giver's life mantra might be, "What can I do to make your life better?"
Take heed that if you are always the one who gives, and your partner receives but never reciprocates, then this type of relationship can be disheartening. I feel that when you give, it is best to give without the expectation of receiving anything back in return.
When you give without the expectation of receiving that is one thing. But, if you give to someone who expects to receive, in other words, when you give to a taker, then you set yourself up to live a life of disappointment and sorrow. Why? Because when someone takes something from you, they are reaching beyond that which you have given. Please don't ask me to explain my rationale behind this thought. As I am thinking out loud, this is just how I feel about such things.
If you wish to continue in this type of give and take relationship, then a change of attitude might be helpful. You would need to learn to give without the expectation of receiving anything back in return. At the same time, you would need to find alternative ways to refuel your life engine (your heart), because it takes effort to give, so in order to keep from burning out, you would need to find a hobby or something that refuels (brings joy back into your heart) so that, as it is your decision, you could continue to give.
When you are in a relationship where you only think about yourself and you are thinking only about what your partner can do for you, and you take what you can get, then you might be a taker.
A taker's life mantra might be, “What have you done for me lately?”
If you take, but rarely or never give, then you might be someone who feels constantly dissatisfied with your partner because continuously taking from someone continuously drains that person to the point where they no longer have anything left to give.
Givers and Givers
This is the most ideal relationship. If you are a giver and your partner is also a giver, then it is almost like being in heaven on earth. You both say please and thank you to each other. You both constantly seek to serve the other. When you give, your partner receives, but at the same time, your partner gives and then you become the receiver. It presents a glorious relationship. To me, it is the ultimate and most sought after relationship of all.
What the Bible Says About Relationships
In a relationship that is nourished, where each partner is receiving what they want, need, and desire in life, both partners win. I like the following bible verses because they remind me of how a relationship can be cultivated best.
1 Peter 4:8
I believe the above verses apply to all relationships, whether the relationship is a friendship, courtship, marriage, or even a relationship with our Father God.
Love has a tendency to reciprocate itself. Right now, I am speaking purely from experience. When you give love freely, and when you are in a relationship with someone who healthily receives what you have given, that love is likely to be returned in a greater proportion than what you have given.
Give love and it is most likely your partner will give love back to you. When love is reciprocated, your partnership will likely thrive and grow into a beautiful relationship that can be relied on and be cherished for a lifetime.
If you want your relationships to thrive and grow, you need to spend time nurturing them. Do not ignore the needs of those you love and cherish. Give and you will receive in abundance of what you have given.
After reading my article titled, Mislabeled, a very good friend of mine, Sindi Claypool, shared a very heartrending story about her experiences with racism, or reverse racism as we normally refer to it.
Sindi has given me full permission to share her experiences. I pray that the message of her stories sink into the hearts of readers and that they will understand how racism affects people on both sides of the table.
A true story as told by Sindi Claypool
Some people call it reverse racism, but racism is racism. Reverse racism would be love and acceptance no matter your skin color.
When I was 16 I heard about a history class that I hadn’t yet taken. It sounded fantastic. It would tell me the bits of history that I had never heard before and, being a history lover, I was super excited to sign up for the class.
When I sat down in the class I did see I was the only “white” person in the class, but I didn’t really register that this would be a big deal. I mean, it was Black History, I assumed black kids would be very interested in their own history.
When the teacher entered the class and sat behind his desk, he looked up and I saw he was startled, surprised, when his eyes met mine. He asked me, “Do you know what class this is?”
I said, “Yes, Black History.”
“Why are you here?” he asked.
“To learn Black History.”
“Why?” He asked.
“Because I believe there is a big gap in the history I’ve learned so far and I want to learn the rest.”
“How many people here want this student to stay?” No one raised their hands.
He looked at me poignantly, “Do you feel like a speck of salt in a pepper factory?”
“I feel like the only white person, but I’m okay with it if you are.” I replied.
“How many want her to leave?”
Every hand went up.
So I left.
Three years later I was in the hospital and I saw a girl from school. I asked her, “Hey, aren’t you Brown Sugar from Vanden High School?”
She said, “Yes, but my real name is Cheryl.”
I said, “I always admired you, you were, are, so beautiful and talented.” Her nickname was from a dance troop and singing group she was in at school, very popular in the 70’s.
“I admired you too, you were so fearless in school.” I thought she meant the several fist fights I got into. “I mean, you sat in that class and took all that hate and still wanted to learn about our history. I wish I hadn’t raised my hand. I think it would have been awesome if you had stayed.”
We spent the next 24 hours gabbing like school chums and young mothers stuck in a room together. I never saw her again, but I was grateful for all those conversations, especially that first one.
Here is another true Story as told by Sindi Claypool
My neighbor and good friend was a deaf white girl with bi-racial children. We became good friends really quickly, me knowing a little sign language and her an avid lip reader. We both had 3 children around the same ages so there was also that in common.
I took her to town one day to go grocery shopping. We were in line when she remembered a forgotten item. I took her baby while she ran back to get the item.
While she was gone some old white woman walked by me and gave me such a look of disgust. I actually looked down to see if my boob was hanging out or something! She was judging me because I was holding a half black baby.
I guess I thought we were living in an enlightened age because I was shocked! I had to bite my tongue. I was fighting with my angel, I wanted to give her a big piece of my mind. However, I know when you give a piece of your mind, you lose a piece of your mind and they gain nothing.
I asked my friend if she saw a lot of racism because of her kids. She rolled her eyes and signed “much, much”. It really hurt my heart. I almost cried. She had to hug me, console me for the hurt done to her daily.
Open Your Hearts
After reading Sindi’s stories, I hope the hearts of many would open up as people realize we are all God’s children. Our Father’s greatest gift to us is love and one of His desires is that we love Him, of course, and that we love one another.
John 15:12 says:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
I am thinking that in actuality, we are all brothers and sisters. We have the same Father, which makes us a family. And as a family, we should look out for each other and take care of each other in the way a family should.
Today’s Video: We Are Family (WSM Compilation Edit)
Artist: Sister Sledge
Writers: Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards
Licensed to YouTube by: PEDL, Sony ATV Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing, Warner Chappell, LatinAutor - Warner Chappell, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc., UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, SOLAR Music Rights Management, and 7 Music Rights Societies
My mind started reeling at the recollection of a conversation that happened about 33 years ago. The conversation started with a young black male labeling me to be a racist. In that moment, I had to tort back with, “You’re calling me a racist? Really? I am a black woman married to a white man and you are calling me a racist.”
It is not the first time I have been mislabeled, and while I have moved on beyond previous character labeling botches, this one sticks with me. Why? I don’t know. I think it is because it kind of hurts my feelings that someone would think I, Marlene Bertrand, judges people by the color of their skin.
To continue with the story let me say, this black man said yes he was calling me a racist because I did not marry a black man, and so by default, I am racist against black people. Well now, doesn’t that just beat all? Isn’t that stretching the concept of racism just a little too far? I mean, really?
Today I am thinking out loud about racism and what it really means.
What does the dictionary say about racism?
I went to Dictionary.com for the answer. Here is what it says:
"A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others."
Given the definition of racism, I am pretty sure I am not a racist person and I thought sharing with my accuser that I was married to a white man would secure my standing. It did not. This man was determined to take his accusations to the grave, maintaining that I was a racist to my own race. How am I to walk away from this racism argument a winner? I admit, I had to look at him sideways to see if he was pranking me. Was this a joke? No, he was serious. Sadly, there are people like him everywhere.
People throw accusations around like they are a piece of penny candy. Penny candy is cheap and anyone can afford it. I call people who go around accusing people of this and that, Accusation Artists.
What is my definition of an Accusation Artist? To me, an Accusation Artist is someone who, without legitimate evidence, and relying on nothing more than their own gut feelings, without rhyme or reason, randomly accuses people of things.
I think it’s unfair to lump everyone into a group accusation based upon the color of their skin so that suddenly, everyone with that skin color represents all the people of the nation who have that color of skin.
Don’t people know that skin color is determined by a person having a different level of melanin in the skin? It is not a basis for classification. It is simply a DNA thing.
But, let me move along with my thoughts.
I have to tell you that I am highly offended by the kind of classification and labeling that suggests that because I have more melanin in my skin that I am destined to be some predetermined person. The truth is, I am a self-contained individual. I do not represent a class of people. I represent me. I do not identify myself or others by their color of skin. I identify people by who they are – individually. And, my experience in life suggests that, for the most part, other people also identify people individually, as well.
Encounter With Racism
Have I encountered racism? Yes. There have been several times I have run into people who did not know anything about me, but chose to disrespect me specifically because of the color of my skin.
Here are two incidents that stand out most prevalently in my mind.
We Are All People of Color
We are all Gods people. Do you think God chooses by color, which He is going to love? I don’t think so, friends. To God, who made us, we are all pleasant in His sight. He made us in multiple of colors and, like any Father, He expects us all to get along nicely.
Let's read Acts 10:34-35
I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
Unless we are God, we have no business judging and labeling people. We are just a bunch of people from all across the nation, of all colors, living in the same world.
Like a bowl of fruity cereal, color does not matter. Each bite is a mouthful of delicious fruit flavor. Friends, we come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, but when we come together for one another, we make up a fabulous nation.
Forget about the past. Burn all of the nastiness, just like my husband and I did with the note some sad individual tried to use to shake up our world. Let us put all the nastiness behind us and start a new, lovelier chapter in our life… a life where color does not matter… a life where color is just another shade of beauty.
So much of my eternal life is dependent on how I live my current life. That’s what I am thinking about today.
Let’s think about it. We make decisions every day. Which do you prefer to drink, coffee or tea? For most people, the decision about whether they drink coffee or tea has little impact on their lives. For others, it is a decision that is more significant than that. And still, others, the decision about coffee or tea is more about whether or not they consume caffeine. For most of us, caffeine is no big deal, but with others, consuming caffeine poses real health challenges. And, there are those who find the decision of whether or not to consume coffee to be an honest-to-goodness religious decision.
Let me digress for a moment to share a little story about a lady I knew many years ago and about her relationship with caffeine and religion. I was starting a friendship with this lady and invited her to come over to my house for breakfast after dropping the kids off to school. She arrived and we chatted as I placed the meal on the table. I asked if she wanted coffee or tea and she said her religion does not allow her to drink anything with caffeine. No problem. I had other beverages for her to drink. But then I started thinking about 1 Corinthians 8:13, “Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fail.” I wondered, since she said it was a religious thing, whether or not I should forgo my morning cup of coffee so as not to cause her to be desirous of a cup of coffee and (for my insensitivity) cause her to fail. I wondered what I would do if she asked for a cup of coffee. Would I remind her of her religious beliefs or would I just pour a cup of coffee and move on? Friends, these are the kinds of things I deal with in my head. In my head, I am all gnarled up and on the outside I am cool, calm, and collected. I hope I am not the only one like this.
Oh, by the way, I poured myself a cup of orange juice. It seemed like a respectful decision.
Most of my daily decisions are not complex; although I do admit sometimes I take far too much time making up my mind about the littlest things. Like… one time I could not make up my mind about what color to paint my nails. I asked a friend and the friend said something along the lines of, “Whatever color makes you happy.” Ugh! That answer did not help. I was vacillating between two colors as I traveled to the nail salon. Finally, sitting in the manicurist’s chair I picked a color. The manicurist began coloring my pinky finger and suddenly, I asked if I could change my mind before she continued. She was polite and accommodating. She wiped off the color I initially selected and finished with the color I ultimately ended up with. This decision was not life-altering, so I did feel comfortable changing my mind, knowing everything would be fine.
But, all decisions are not like that, are they?
Sometimes we make decisions that completely change the course of our life, if not for a short duration, but forever. As far as forever, I am talking about eternal life decisions. I assume everyone knows we are not going to live, as we are, on this earth forever. What I am thinking about out loud is whether or not I will live my ultimate life in heaven. I don’t know why I am thinking about this subject right now, but I am. And, really it is not an end-of-life subject; it is a beginning-of-life subject.
When I was a teenager, a youth counselor once said to me, “Live like you want to get into heaven.” That statement stuck with me ever since I heard it. He said I should take a look at what I’m doing and analyze it. He said, if I think I’ll be doing THAT (the thing I’m doing) in heaven, then it is likely I’m doing alright. He also pointed to the bible and said, “Read it!” He said that is where all the answers are. He said the bible will teach me everything I need to know about how to get into heaven.
But, let me add this to the lesson. If you are a person who claims to be a Christ follower, then the bible is your resource. If you do not claim to be a Christ follower, then you can make up your own rules and live like you want and people like me who are Christ followers should not force you to live like us. Sure, the commission of all Christians is to share with you, with hope in our heart, that you would see what we see and come to the knowledge of the saving grace of God, but you are you and I am me and just as I would not want you to force your beliefs on me, I will not force my beliefs on you. Share, yes. Force, no.
Now, let me say this, although written by human beings, I believe everything written in the bible is the word of God. I believe the Holy Spirit was in the heart and mind of each individual who wrote for the bible and the Holy Spirit directed them as to what to write. You might believe differently, but this is what I believe.
I also believe that I do not have a right to twist the words all around to fit what I want to say or do in life. Remember, I am trying to get into heaven. When the trumpet sounds, and friends it WILL sound, you want to be standing on the right side of heaven. Let’s open the bible to read. 1 Corinthians 15:52:
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
I want to be a candidate who is allowed into the gates of heaven as is promised to those who deserve. Read 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
And so I want to live the way God wants me to live. I am not going to twist His words and I am not going to pick and choose which words I will live by and leave the rest of them read but undone. The bible is my instruction manual and I am going to do my best to live by God’s words.
I am human and because of that, I am not perfect. I am going to mess up… a lot. But, thank goodness, I live for a forgiving God and whenever I fall short of His expectations, I need only to repent and ask for forgiveness. It doesn’t matter how many times I fall, when I ask, I will be forgiven and refreshed each time.
Forgiveness is something we can all look forward to. Why? Because God could not look upon sin, but He loved us so much that He gave us His Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice to stand in our place, to bear the burden of our sins (past, present, and future sins).
So, I say try to live like you want to get into heaven and on those days when you don’t do everything quite right, take a moment to ask the Lord for forgiveness. Then know that you will be brought back to new and acceptance every time you ask. There is no limit to God’s love. It is everlasting.
Heaven awaits us all. Let’s live like we want to get in.
Walls (Live) Fellowship Creative
This is a beautiful worship song. Each time I hear it I am amplified and filled with the goodness of love. Please take a listen and see what I mean.
Why are you voting for that man? Out of fear for my life, generally, I do not openly state publicly who I plan to vote for. It seems like people want to run you over with their car and stuff like that if you plan to vote for someone different than them. But, now that I am truly listening to the candidates, I want to know who people plan to vote for and I am willing to step into the firing squad to let people know who I plan to vote for. If you call me or message me, I'll tell you, but I'm not trying to get my Facebook page shut down (like a friend of mine just did) for speaking my mind.
By now, people have their mind made up. So, now I want to know, "Why are you voting for HIM?"
I am talking about Joe Biden. Why are people voting for Joe Biden? I listen to him and so far the only thing I have heard him declare that he is going to increase the business tax rate to 28% on the first day he is in office. But, what about anything else? Does he have a plan for other things? I'm listening.
Today, my thoughts are few. But, I did run across this little video that sparked me to think about some things. I hope you watch it because I think it will open up your mind to consider why you are voting for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden.
This video urges people to put their pettiness aside and do their own fact-checking. My eyes have been wide opened after watching this video. I hope it opens the eyes of all who view it.
One of the first things candidate Joe Biden pledges to do when he gets into office is raise business taxes to 28%.
That scares me.
I see people overjoyed by this tax hike and I wonder why they are so happy. Don't they know that if businesses have to dish out more money in taxes, it means there is less money to pay wages? Don't they realize they are not going to get a raise because of the decrease in available funds? Don't they know that if it costs too much to do business in the United States, then businesses will go elsewhere and take their jobs with them? So, now where will they work?
The Little Guys
People think the tax hike is only going to affect large corporations that seemingly have an abundance of revenue and could stand to pay more. But, Biden's proposed tax increase affects businesses all across the board.
Think about the small mom and pop company that is barely making it in the local market. They are going to be affected just like all the other companies.
I run a small boutique real estate company and I currently pay out high commission splits with a tiny bit left over for me to keep the business afloat and put a small amount of change in my pocket. A tax increase would cut into the amount of commissions I am able to offer to agents because there would be less money available to pay them, less money to keep the business running, and of course, factor in the fact that I like to get paid too. I am a business owner and I struggle to pay bills like everyone else. This tax increase scares me because it means that I will have less income. And, if I have less income, using mathematical equations and fair accounting, so will everyone else in the company and that bothers me because I enjoy being able to offer higher than average commission splits.
So, when I see people jumping for joy because businesses will be taxed more, I look at it like this -- they are also jumping for joy that employees will be paid less, or at least, will not be getting a raise this year.
Oh, and employees can kiss that little end-of-year bonus check good-by, because that money is now slated to pay the company's higher income tax rate.
I'm just thinking out loud!
Today's Song: She Works Hard for the Money
Artist: Donna Summer
Writers: Michael Omartian, Summer Donna
Licensed to YouTube by: SME (on behalf of Epic/Legacy); UMPG Publishing, AdRev Publishing, CMRRA, ASCAP, ARESA, PEDL, Warner Chappell, LatinAutor - Warner Chappell, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, LatinAutor - UMPG, and 9 Music Rights Societies
I am generally a quiet person, but at times, my thoughts run deep and wild. Most of the time, I keep my thoughts to myself, but sometimes, I feel the need to shout it out! These are just my thoughts and opinions, which may or may not be the same as yours.
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