In Developing Countries;
it is easier to come up with
(if you have the funds for it),
there are many
things that people need
but do not have; indeed
cooked food was the
my mother dispatched
(through us children)
to neighbors, extended family, and friends
as a sign of good will at Christmas time;
watches, shoes, garments, jewelry, dishes, sheets,
pens, books, personal music player, TV, computers, toys, etc.
are all also great
In affluent societies like in the Western World
coming up with the perfect
gift at Christmas
can be a challenge;
because most people use
their regular incomes or
credit cards to buy what they
One option is to buy
or gifts exotic and rare versions
(which can be very pricey)
of things people use on a regular basis.
therefore have to work harder to give the Regular folks
here are a few suggestions of how to give the
The perfect gift takes time
Start early, as early as
listen to everyday conversations,
listen to expressed desires and aspirations
and make a note for
ideas from those conversations. gift
The perfect gift may be an ‘experience’
ideas do not have to be ‘ Gift ‘
they can be
a vacation, cruises, concert, a trip to a destination
museum/zoo visits or theme park rides, air fare, special trips;
time off work, housekeeping, or baby sitting;
an offer of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping;
scholarship, tuition contribution, tutoring,
a special radio station/you-tube, blog post announcement, etc.
The perfect gift should be personalized, customized or handmade;
an autographed book/ticket/music/fan wear,
(from the author or composer, or admired person)
a person’s name, initials or special message,
can be inscribed on
silverware, bathroom set, plaque, musical instrument;
The perfect gift must fit the personality of the receiver
Some people want big
(the amount spent is impressive)
others look for small details
(how rare, how much effort, how much thoughtfulness!)
Some people are visual
others are action oriented, still
others are moved by sound, etc.
.’ Some people like things, others like ‘experiences
Some people want to keep up with their peers
(they get gifts that are popular)
others want to know that ‘they’ are unique
(they get just for them); gifts
How do you know what is the perfect gift?
People usually give the type of gift
that THEY like to receive; use that to guide your
TO THEM! not the other way around
do not give what you cherish
(I once gifted a
to my wife
that she has never used;
it was something I fancied for myself!)
The perfect gift may be what someone tells you they want
or respond if/when you ask. They tell you directly
Some apps make it easy to create a registry for gift requests.
This should have been posted before Thanksgiving Day. All the same,
“Better Late than never,” and on thanksgiving week,
I heard one radio announcer say:
“Thanksgiving is not a day, it is an attitude of the heart.”
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T – THANK and PRAISE God
for all things
and BIG !
And do not forget
the precious people in your life!
H – HEALTH LIFE AND
are things we can all be thankful for
even if we are ill at a hospital
A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE
the beauty of
around you. God’s creation
N – NAME and NUMBER
its a rewarding experience,
including the precious people in your life.
K – KINDNESS and THANKSGIVING
in the heart
are twin siblings in the same home.
S – A SMILE and a CHEER;
want to see it on the face of the deserving?
from the heart
and with a warm
G – GIVING and RECEIVING:
The one exists not without the other
I – ICTUS;
Five Greek letters for ‘
‘: fish Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior:
at least one reason to
V – VISION and VALUE:
“ like when you say
I see and I value what you have done”
I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:
, expressed heart in sincere words
N – NICE and NEW:
Thanksgiving is always
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G – GOOD to GREAT:
become ‘Good Gifts’
when it is received with a heartfelt:
and our Satan fit Sinful Nature
in explaining the evil that is in the World Today?
As a Christian
I learn about the existence of ‘
‘ and of the ‘ Satan ,’ but Sinful Nature I have not fully resolved
how those two (sinful nature and Satan) interact to bring evil in the world.
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(the devil, serpent, tempter, accuser, destroyer, etc.) Satan
Is he present everywhere at the same time?
everyone appears to be constantly being affected or
How is he able to tempt each person individually?
How come he knows what we are thinking?
How come he knows so much
about our individual histories, personalities and weaknesses?
, ‘the devil’
can tempt, deceive, dissuade, discourage, destroy individuals
even as the human population on the earth
continues to grow and
has reached over 4 billion; and if he
can work his evil from generation to generation for thousands of years;
the way some people say he does,
does not that make him a very powerful person
with some attributes like God(!)?
But he is NOT GOD!
This brings us to another source of evil in the world:
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in all of us. Sinful/Evil Nature
A ‘celebrity’ (in the early church) once said this about himself:
(in the first century)
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me,
that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good,
but I cannot carry it out.
For I do not do the good I want to do,
but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
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This is what that
looks like: sinful nature
He(She) is lazy, slow, and a procrastinator.
He(She) lies, exaggerates, and deceives
He(She) is incredibly selfish;
He(She) is greedy, proud, boastful, and self-promoting
He(She) can be lewd, nasty, and insensitive
He(She) is utterly against God
He(she) does not want to submit to God’s rule or to worship him;
He(She) does not like to humble himself before God;
He(She) does not like to pray;
He(She) does not want to read sacred scriptures;
He(She) does not like limits
if the speed limit is 40 mph, he(she) wants to go at 45 mph or
if the speed limit is 55 mph, 65 mph seems attractive to him/her
He(She) lacks self control, prefers excesses,
he(she) does not want to wait or to accept limit on him/herself
whether it’s with regard to food and drink, or
in relation to social interactions,
including sex, and marital fidelity;
he(she) does not want to go to bed or to wake up early;
with regards to words and conversations,
he(she) can be mean, insensitive, inconsiderate, gossipy, and crass.
He(She) is never satisfied, always wants more.
He(She) works against the interest of the person in whom he dwells;
the excesses of the sinful nature may cause
disease, physical harm, crime and punishment;
auto accidents, fire, financial ruin,
ruined relationships and broken families,
loss of face and status, loss of power, etc.;
but this does not stop him or cause him to change direction .
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I believe that
is in every human being;
it can be conditioned/tempered by
parental discipline and personal experiences;
Christian (religious) conversion and education, and by
custom, and the laws of society;
is a “he/she” because
it is a part of but
not the totality of who we are as individuals
because he(she) appears to operate by ‘reason’ and ‘persuasion’
to our minds and/or to our will
(See Paul above in Romans 7.15-25);
as individuals we have still have the ability
TO MAKE A CHOICE
the persuasion of what the sinful nature wants and what
commons sense, conscience, laws of society, and the dictates of our faith, tell us.
(Personally, I refer to this sinful nature as
). “THE BEAST” Bring a community of people together
with this sinful nature and its tendencies,
we then have endless possibilities for evil,
NEXT POST: BRINGING THE TWO TOGETHER:
SATAN, OUR SINFUL NATURE, AND THE PREVALENCE OF EVIL IN OUR WORLD!!
I ADMIT IT!!!
I have had a lot of questions that have plagued me for a long time
about pain, suffering, evil, and God!
I have seen (first person) or heard and read about
Christian men and women (young and old)
faithful to Jesus Christ,
active witnesses for Christ,
righteous in their lifestyle choices,
selfless in service to others,
regular and authentic worshipers,
loved by all, and then
fall ill and die,
drown at a Church outing or swimming in a home pool, or
killed in gruesome road accidents, sometimes
while out or soon after evangelizing, or
while going about their normal business;
leaving behind grieving
(sometimes young) families,
congregations and the church at large,
while their ‘less worthy’ and sometimes criminal compatriots
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I have read about
how about five million Jews
were killed in the second World War;
two hundred thousand people
were killed during the Tsunami in Asia in 2004,
how hundreds of thousands (including many innocents) were killed during
World War I, World War II,
Genghis Khan Wars, Alexandra the Great wars, Roman Empire Wars,
wars of Independence in US, India, Nigeria, Pakistan,
in South America, Africa, Asia, East Asia, Europe,
in civil wars and terrorist plots all over the world, etc. etc.
I/We have seen TV/Video clips of infants and babies
struggling with cancer and other horrible diseases
that adults find it difficult to cope with, much less little children
born with birth defects
(blind, deaf, without limbs, joined with other children etc.)
I/We have seen the crooked and the unrighteous
get rich and powerful
by engaging in ruthless, unethical, and evil schemes, swindling their customers, investors, and society as a whole,
beat the system instead of paying for their crimes,
appear to continue on with their lives
after destroying the lives of others
including family, trusting friends, and associates.
I/we have also seen
the poor remaining poor
the sick remaining sick
the rebellious child remaining rebellious
the marriage not becoming healed
even after a lot of prayers!
PAIN, SUFFERING, AND EVIL, GOD! QUESTIONS?!!
I CAN NOW SAY THAT I HAVE ANSWERS THAT SATISFY ME AND I WANT TO SHARE THEM WITH YOU.
I believe in a reality
that is governed by observable and verifiable laws
of science operating within God’s creation.
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I believe that scientific laws and discoveries are valid
for ALL human existence
including those of the children of God(!), that is,
the laws of
gravitation, motion, thermodynamics, relativity, atomic energy, mathematics, statistics, chemistry, physics, electromagnetism, etc.
I do not accept evolution
I cannot rule out evolution by divine design.
Denying the laws and verifiable discoveries of science
on the basis of so-called ‘faith’
is a futile endeavor because
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I believe and accept the scientific advances behind modern technology
that have revolutionized human existence in the fields of
agriculture and food production,
medicine and fighting disease and illnesses,
communication and transportation,
astronomy and even (sadly and unfortunately)
GOD PUT THEM THERE (!!!)
to be discovered for human use!
I also believe and accept verifiable theories and observations of the social sciences
concerning human nature and human interactions:
the quest for power,
how and why people attain, keep and exercise
the quest for possessions including
the universal principle of scarcity,
(human desires and wants are unlimited but resources are),
the economics laws of demand and supply,
the quest for pleasure, Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, etc.
are valid because
GOD PUT THEM THERE!!!!
I believe that God is therefore the greatest scientist;
the greatest, physicist, mathematician, astronomer,
molecular biologist, surgeon, sociologist, etc.! God is above, over, and beyond all of his creation.
I also believe in the writings of the Bible
It is a revelation of an otherwise
How else can we know the God
who is the origin, and is over, above, and beyond the cosmos?
This revelation gives meaning and purpose to life.
It is ultimately the only viable answer
to the question:
“What is the meaning and purpose of life?” Think of God as the
Unlimited Energy that birthed everything
(energy appears to be one of the main constants in the entire cosmos)
but which/who is also a
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I believe God wants men to live within the natural order of creation
FOR THE MOST PART(!!),
that miracles of the dramatic kind
are rare occurrences and
designed by God to be so(!),
because he wants us to live by faith(!!)
and because he wants us to live
within the scientific (natural) laws of his creation!
GOD PUT THEM THERE!!!! Neither Abraham, nor Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Paul, Peter, or James
discovered the aerodynamics in order to build an airplane, nor did they
discover penicillin, the microscope, electricity, the Periodic Table, DNA, X-rays, Quantum Theory, or the connection between smoking and cancer;
gun powder was discovered by the Chinese, and
Archimedes had to discover the buoyancy principle because,
THAT’S HOW GOD INTENDED IT!!!
So child of God
don’t give up on dramatic miracles, but
don’t wait for them either.
It is God’s will that you live your life in obedience to him
with or without miracles.
that you can be sure of is this: ONE MIRACLE
LEARN, UNDERSTAND, AND USE
the laws and principles
that God has put into his creation,
and seek his favor, and
YOU WILL MEET YOUR GOD GIVEN GOALS.
THAT’S HOW GOD INTENDED IT!!!!
LET’S DO THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS!!
Next post: how the perspective above helps us deal with the problem of evil and suffering!!)
How do you know he/she is the One with whom you can have
a long lasting, mutually fulfilling, and happy relationship?
Physical Attraction: What you ‘see’ in the other person says
‘Go ahead, he/she is the one!’ This means that their
looks, fashion sense,
body type, posture and manner of walking
showing self- confidence, humility, focus, …;
attitude and presence,
voice and manner of speaking, etc.,
will meet your individual threshold/preference
for physical attraction,
throughout the relationship.
Ignoring this is why I believe that
(the TV show)
‘Married at First Sight’ does not appear to work well
especially without the necessary cultural history and
without a network of supportive and influential family dynamics
Western Culture emphasize/glamorize this far too much
there other equally
or more important factors
Shared Core Values and Approach to Life
You observe that you share similar views about
the most basic things you believe about life:
God, faith, and prayers,
money, life and death, family,
friends, science, the law, culture,
‘Go ahead, he/she is the one!’
‘ BEHIND THE SCENES‘ Real Life Experience(s) say,
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‘Yes, Go ahead, he/she is the one!’ ‘Behind the scenes’ experience concerning
earning and spending money,
interactions with siblings, parents, relatives,
co-workers, bosses, detractors and opponents,
(how he/she treats them is how he/she will treat you eventually);
leisure and entertainment activities,
loss, illness, heartaches, and outstanding joys,
‘Go ahead’, he/she is the one! However remember
people can and do change.
Sound Logic and Reasoning Confirms it!
my last post Use Your head to guard your heart
Your heart can guide you
but not against objective facts and logic.
Remember, you are committing yourself to
seek that person’s happiness without precondition
in the hope that they will do the same for you.
“Buy a stock the way you would buy a house. Understand and like it such that you’d be content to own it in the absence of any market.”
“Enter a long term relationship the way you would buy a house. Understand and like it such that you’d be content to own it in the absence of making any profit off it.” Why have a brain if you do not use it to make important decisions in life?
If sound logic and reasoning say
“Go ahead, he/she is the one”
. He/She is the one
What about ‘chemistry,’ ‘instinct,’ ‘live in the moment’ or ‘take a risk’?
‘ is mutual physical attraction and a shared approach to life,
(see above), unfortunately,
will not be enough for the long haul.
You would not invest in the stock market solely by instinct;
you need additional information to inform your ‘instinct’;
why then would you invest your life based solely on instinct?
‘Live in the moment’
Only if you have only one moment to live.
Take a risk
Would you jump out of an airplane
without a parachute and/or
without being reasonably sure it works?
We can do this; Let’s do this!!
Note: I apologies for the gap between the last post and this, Apologies for the gap between the last post and this. My excuse? Life Happened (Work, car crashes in the family, etc.). Email me your questions at email@example.com
Fulfilling, loving, mutually satisfying, meaningful, and long lasting relationships boils down to one thing:
both partners in the relationship, without pre-conditions and with 100% sincerity commit themselves to make the other person feel
safe, loved, happy, accepted, appreciated, understood, and
Be “…like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” [Apostle Paul]
To do this requires
(from both sides),
(psychological, social, and emotional);
children are innocent and beautiful to behold
but they can also be incredibly selfish, foolish, insensitive and unstable;
‘man-child’ partners, and ‘baby-girl’ ‘diva’ personalities
find it hard to focus selflessly on others, and
often ruin the chances for long term happy relationships;
because trust, and vulnerability,
to love without pre-conditions is risky, and
to open up to real love means to open up to deep hurt;
those who hurt us the most and
those we hurt the most,
are the ones that are closest to us;
they give the most happiness and/or cause
meaning open and effective communication
willingness to speak
about your fears, wants, and feelings
in a way that your partner can understand
without being pushed away(!), and
willingness to ‘listen’, and
willingness to learn(!)
the ability to forgive and overlook your partner’s fault(s):
(a generous spirit/heart);
‘The teeth and tongue will get in each other’s way sometimes,’ and
it’s not pleasant when they do, but
they must find a way to work together
for the greater good of the body(!)
(in this case the relationship);
An ever growing record of hurts in a relationship
will crush it.
Let your relationship be like a room,
a pleasant place where you both like to relax
and savor each other’s company; one
that is swept clean daily,
of the dust/dirt
(hurts of past days, weeks, and months),
whose windows and doors are constantly open
“When Somebody Loves You Back”
(Teddy Pendergrass )
It’s so good lovin’ somebody;
When somebody loves you back
To be loved and be loved in return
It’s the only thing that my heart desires
Just appreciate the little things I do
Oh, you’re the one who’s got me inspired
Keep on liftin’, liftin’ me higher
We can build a world of love, a life of joy
Make our goal each other’s happiness
I will do for you anything that I can
Oh, everyday I wanna do a little more
Do a little more, just a little bit more
Said now 70-30
Talkin’ ’bout a 50-50 love, yeah
You Can Do This, Let’s Do This!
Note: I have been married 36 years, with 4 grown children, and have spent 30 years in ministry including counselling many couples, at all stages of their relationships. You can say I have been ‘around the block’ a few times.
Email me your questions on relationships and I will answer them as best as I can.