Category Archives: Life Skills

Questions: Pain, Suffering, Evil, and God!

I ADMIT IT!!!

  • I have had a lot of questions that have plagued me for a long time

    • about pain, suffering, evil, and God!

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  • 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
            • live on!
  • I have read about 

    • how about five million Jews (‘God’s people’)
      • were killed in the second World War;
    • how over 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!

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 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.

NEXT POST!!!

I believe in Miracles and …!

I believe in a reality

  • that is governed by observable and verifiable laws
    • of science operating within God’s creation.
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Photo by Jakob on Pexels.com

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 BY CHANCE but
        • 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
      • GOD PUT THEM THERE!!!
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Photo by Cecu00edlia Tommasini on Pexels.com

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,
    • manufacturing,
    • communication and transportation,
    • entertainment,
    • astronomy and even (sadly and unfortunately)
    • warfare, because
  • 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
        • dominance over others,
      • organizational behavior,
      • group dynamics;
    • 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 UNKNOWABLE God.
    • 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 PERSONAL being!
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Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Pexels.com

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.
  • The ONE MIRACLE that you can be sure of is this:
  • 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!

Seriously,

  • 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
        • to support it.
  • Western Culture emphasize/glamorize this far too much
    • when there other equally
      • or more important factors
        • to consider.

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,
  • all say ‘Go ahead, he/she is the one!’

BEHIND THE SCENES‘ Real Life Experience(s) say,

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
  • ‘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,
      • all say ‘Go ahead’, he/she is the one!
  • However remember
    • people can and do change.

Sound Logic and Reasoning Confirms it!

  • Please see 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.
  • Warren Buffet: 
    • “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.”
    • Me :  “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” then
    • do it, He/She is the one.

What about ‘chemistry,’ ‘instinct,’ ‘live in the moment’ or ‘take a risk’?

  • Chemistry‘ is mutual physical attraction and a shared approach to life,
    • (see above), unfortunately,
    • will not be enough for the long haul.
  • ‘Instinct’?
    • 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 reach4himwdray@gmail.com

What Makes Long Term Relationships Work? Really!

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
    • cared for.

Be “…like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  [Apostle Paul]

To do this requires

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  • maturity,

    • (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;
  • trust, and vulnerability, because

    • 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
            • the deepest pain;
  • open and effective communication meaning

    • 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(!)
      • from the other person;
  • 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
          • to allow sunlight and
            • fresh breeze through.

“When Somebody Loves You Back”
(Teddy Pendergrass [1979])

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
Now 60-40
Talkin’ ’bout a 50-50 love, yeah

More tomorrow!  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.

 

 

The Minimum Monthly Payment Trap 2!

In my last post, I told you two ways your loan balance can continue to increase.

Even when you are making your minimum monthly payments, 

  • if you miss your minimum monthly payment, and/or
  • whenever you are allowed to pay less than your minimum monthly payment
    • your loan balance may continue to increase.
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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Other scenarios in which your loan balance will continue to rise:

A ‘debt relief’ program promises you can make ‘smaller payments’

  • than the standard/reasonable minimum monthly payments, and
  • used by some unscrupulous lenders to trap you
    • into perpetual debt.
  • Some government and/or education loans repayment plan are also
    • income driven, i.e. based on
      • how much you earn not
      • how much is required to pay off the loan
        • in a reasonable period of time.
  • Example 1: you owe $25,000, at 15% annual interest rate computed on the balance each month
    • The minimum payment is 2% or $500.
      • “That’s too high”,  you say,  “can you help me?”
      • “Can I pay $200 per month please?”
      • Sure”, the lender says, “just for you!”
      • What you may not realize is that
        • $200 does not cover your monthly interest ($314).s
        • The difference ($314 – $200)
          • is added to your loan balance
          • (the interest has been ‘capitalized’)
            • which continues to earn interest.
  • Example 2: The Education Department Income Driven Repayment Plan (IDRP)
    • provides relief to people allowing them to make payments
      • based on how much they earn
      • on loan balances that earn interest each day
        • until the to total balance is paid off.
    • As above, you may be making all regular required payments
      • but your actual loan balance could be increasing!!

You make regular minimum payments but

  • if the interest rate is high and if
  • the loan balance is continually earning interest,
    • your loan balance will continue to increase; in fact
    • the loan balance will double approximately
      • every 70/(interest rate) years
        • according to the ‘Rule of 70’:
          • an amount that grows at the rate of ‘x’ per period
            • will double approximately every 70/x periods.
      • Example, a credit card balance of $25,000 at 15% annual interest rate
        • will double every 70/15 = 4.7 years (4 years and 8 months)
        • If you make every minimum required payment of 2%,
          • The balance will double every 70/13 = 5 years and 5 months.

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Note: 

  • Some credit card loans will have lower/higher interest rates.
  • Some loans (some mortgages, car notes)
    • have interest calculated over the life of the loan.

Final Take Away

  • If possible, avoid loans
    • for which the interest rate is calculated frequently
      • on the outstanding balance.
  • Make sure your minimum payments at least cover your interest
    • in each period.
  • Make sure your minimum payments covers some of your principal each time
    • If not the make additional payment to cover
      • paying down your principal.

Please follow Reach Ministries on twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (coming)

Email me at reach4himwdray@gmail.com

You Can Do It!  Let’s Do This!!

The Minimum Monthly Payment Trap!!

As a general principle, debt is bad unless

  • It’s an investment debt, examples of which are,
    • education loans in an area and, in an amount that makes economic sense
    • a mortgage,
      • a loan to purchase a house or real estate,
        • for which at least you have a real asset to sell off later,
        • it can be viewed as a form of saving at the least;
        • you may be able to build equity over time, and thereby
        • to increase your net assets position; or
    • an asset that will produce returns
      • greater than the cost of servicing the debt,
        • i.e. your earnings on the asset is greater than interest paid on it;
      • for example, a business or some form of an investment instrument
        • that produces an additional and an ongoing stream of income.

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Long Term Loans,

  • credit cards, education loans, business loans, mortgage loans etc.
  • even for ‘good investment loans’ (debt) have one trap:
    • the ‘Minimum Monthly Payments’ trap.
  • ‘Minimum Monthly Payment,’
    • is the amount you are required to pay on your outstanding balance
      • at regular periods (usually monthly, but also quarterly, yearly, etc.)
      • over the life of the loan;
      • meant to at least cover the interest on the loan.
    • But it may not cover your total monthly interest,
      • which means the amount you owe could be increasing
        • even while you are making regular payments!
  • When you take out a loan, your loan balance
    • which is your total debt on the loan,
    • continues to earn interest,
      • by the day, month, etc. depending on the loan details; it may also
    • increase when you fail to make a payment
      • because you get charged a penalty for late or non-payment,
        • which is then added to your loan balance!

 If your minimum payments do not cover the interest,

    • in each period,
    • the unpaid interest is usually added to your outstanding balance
      • (this is called ‘capitalization’ of the interest)
      • that is, it’s like you took a larger loan in the first place;
    • future interest payments may be calculated on
      • the unpaid interest plus the original balance (‘principal’);
      • which is now the new and higher ‘principal’,
      • therefore your debt is growing, even as you are making
        • regular payments towards it!
  • Example, say you hold a balance of $25,000 on a credit card/loan
    • at 15% annual interest rate computed on each month’s balance, you must pay
      • $3750 per year in interest (25,000 x 0.15) or
      • $308 – $312 per month (3750 /365 * 30 days; or $3750 /12 months) or
      • $500 per month if the minimum payment required is 2%
        • ($25,000 * 0.15)
    • If you miss one minimum payment,
      • the $500 may be added to your balance of $25,000
        • at the end of the period
        • to become $25,500.
        • Your annual interest at 15% is now
          • $3825 per year (25,500 * 0.15) or
          • $314 – $318 per month (3825 /365 * 30 days; or $3825/12 months) or
          • $510 per month if the minimum payment required is 2%
      • Additional fees (penalties) may also be added to your loan balance.
    • If on the other hand
      • you are in financial difficulty and ask for reduced payment
        • that is less than your interest payments,
          • say you want to make a $100 payment,
          • instead of the minimum payment of $500
        • you will be paying less than the interest payment
          • (of $308 – $312 per month);
        • your outstanding interest may be capitalized
          • i.e. added to the initial balance of $25,000:
          • which is $208 – $212: the difference
            • between your monthly interest
              • ($308 – $312) and
              • the $100 you paid
          • will be added to your balance;
          • other ‘late penalty’ or ‘non-payment’ fees
            • may also be added to your balance
          • other ‘finance’ or ‘financing’ charges
            • may be added to your balance and
          • the total loan balance will increase.
        • Then what looks like a relief (less than the minimum payment)
          • turns out to be bad for you in the long run

There’s more. Check back tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and (soon) on YouTube;

Email me at reach4himwdray@gmail.com

Believe! – 2

Some Basic Truths For Meaningful, Happy and Successful Life

Believe that:

  • There is a God Almighty

    • He is
    • He sees
    • He knows
    • He loves
    • He will judge
    • He is sovereign
      • (owes no one any explanation, and is
      • free to do whatever he wills,
        • with his creation)
    • He is Holy but he is also merciful
  • You are Special

    • One of a kind
    • In a good way, despite or because of
      • what you did in the past
      • what someone did to you in the past
      • your DNA profile
      • where you were born
    • You have something to say, to give, to contribute, to do
      • in this world;
      • a legacy to leave behind,
      • a mission to accomplish, and
      • a dream to fulfill.
      • Your life has meaning!
    • You are of infinite value
      • to God who loves you and died for you
        • on a cross!
      • to those who love you
        • mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, siblings, bff etc.
        • You add meaning, joy and happiness to their lives.
        • For those who may not ‘love’ you,
          • They are not looking at your true value.
          • They are looking at something other than
            • who you really are!
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  • Things can and Do Change

    • Other opportunities will open
      • Closed doors may become open
      • New doors will open up
      • ‘Doors’ can become walls or
      • ladders may be provided to scale walls!
    • People can change
      • Friends can become enemies
        • and vice versa.
      • Bosses can become subordinates
        • and vice versa.
      • Doubts can become trust
        • and vice versa.
      • Opponents can become team-mates
        • and vice versa.
    • Miracles (impossible ‘coincidences’) can happen
    • New methods, medications, procedures, approaches will be invented
      • making it easier to get where you want to go in your life!
  • Reality, Facts, and Truth Rule in the Long Run

    • There are no ‘alternative facts’
    • Opinions, feelings, emotions, loyalties change, facts don’t
    • Evidence based choices are best
    • Respect True Scientific Discoveries
      • God is the ultimate scientist
      • They are foundation to practically all human achievements 

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  • The Other Side of Life Will Be Different

    • All tears will be wiped away;
    • No more sorrows, sickness, death, or evil,
    • No more scammers, swindlers, thieves, liars, sociopaths;
      • Those who (we) think they ‘got away with it’
        • will not escape the ultimate justice,
          • guaranteed by God!
    • If you have invested in it!
      • I recommend Jesus to you, Personally!
    • Don’t think there will be need for ‘Faith’
      • Faith will become sight
      • It will be like the Garden of Eden all over again!

Follow Reach Ministries on Twitter and Facebook;  Contact:  reach4himwdray@gmail.com

YOU CAN DO THIS, LET’S DO THIS!