Tag Archives: Life

How to Give the ‘Perfect Christmas Gift’

In Developing Countries;

  • it is easier to come up with gift ideas,
    • (if you have the funds for it),
  • there are many things that people need
    • but do not have; indeed
    • cooked food was the gift that
      • 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 gift ideas.

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
          • need or use regularly.
  • One option is to buy
    • high-end gifts or
    • exotic and rare versions
      • (which can be very pricey)
      • of things people use on a regular basis.
  • Regular folks therefore have to work harder to give the perfect gift;
    • here are a few suggestions of how to give the perfect gift.

The perfect gift takes time

  • Start early, as early as September;
    • listen to everyday conversations,
    • listen to expressed desires and aspirations
    • and make a note for gift ideas from those conversations.

The perfect gift may be an ‘experience’

  • Gift ideas do not have to be ‘things
    • 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)
  • monogrammed items:
    • 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 gifts just for them);
  • 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 gift giving
        • TO THEM!
        • not the other way around
        • do not give what you cherish
          • (I once gifted a hat 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

  • They tell you directly or respond if/when you ask.
  • Some apps make it easy to create a registry for gift requests.

 

 

Thanksgiving (An Attitude of the heart!!)

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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Photo by nappy on Pexels.com
  • T – THANK and PRAISE God

    • for all things BIG and SMALL!
      • And do not forget
        • the precious people in your life!
  • H – HEALTH AND LIFE

    • are things we can all be thankful for
      • even if we are ill at a hospital
        • or in bed!
  • A – APPRECIATE and ADMIRE

    • the beauty of God’s creation around you.
  • N – NAME and NUMBER

    • your blessings,
      • 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?
      • Just say, “Thank You!”
        • from the heart
        • and with a warm smile!
  • G – GIVING and RECEIVING:

    • The one exists not without the other
      • every time you say,
        • “Thank You!”
  • I – ICTUS;

    • Five Greek letters for ‘fish‘:
    • Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior:
      • at least one reason to “give thanks!”
  • V – VISION and VALUE:

    • Nothing says:
      • I see and I value what you have done” like when you say
        • “Thank you very much,”
          • from the heart.
  • I – INSIDE and OUTSIDE:

    • A thankful heart, expressed outwardly in sincere words
      • belong together.
  • N – NICE and NEW: 

    • Thanksgiving is always that
      • and much more.
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Photo by Panos Sakalakis on Pexels.com
  • G – GOOD to GREAT: 

    • ‘Good Gifts’ become ‘GREAT GIFTS,’
      • when it is received with a heartfelt:
        • “Thank you.”

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Why I (As a Bible Believing Christian) Cannot and Will Not Be Voting for Donald Trump (2!)

In my last post, I argued that

  • the perceived benefits of the Trump presidency
    • from a biblical perspective,
      • are temporary and earthly, not eternal.

Now: The continued Trump presidency

  • from a biblical perspective, will be
    • damaging, and
    • of eternal significance
      • for the Church, for America, and for the world.
  • Under the Trump Presidency
  • Truth/Facts/Reality and our attitudes towards them have suffered.
    • The Trump administration is “An Administration of Lies.”
      • The president is a proven, pathological, and an unrepentant liar.
      • His supporters repeatedly offer “alternative facts”
        • to explain the administration’s actions and statements.
      • Getting more people to believe a ‘narrative’
        • (by retweets, ratings, polls, ‘likes’, ‘going viral’, soundbites, etc.)
        • in modern America
        • is now more important than the facts and
        • has been exacerbated by an administration
          • that peddles lies, obfuscation, spin and/or misdirection.
    • Truth is a Biblical and Christian ideal.
      • Truth is eternal!
      • Deceivers will be eternally punished.
    • Truth is reality and reality is truth.
      • Science deals in facts and objective Truth;
      • without truth and objective facts,
        • normal living is not possible;
          • to live in alternative reality is insanity, and
        • the progress of human civilization is hampered.
      • Justice for all depends on establishing
        • what is true and what are the facts (evidence!).
  • The Image of God
    • present in every human being;
      • (along with a sinful fallen nature) that is,
    • everything that is noble, pure, selfless, and admirable in man suffers.
    • Instead of the image of God:
      • humility, selflessness, love, harmony, peacefulness, self control, patience, gentleness, holiness, mercy….
      • Trump models the sinfulness of Man:
        • pride, narcissism, hate, division, quarrelsomeness, short temper, impatience, meanness, ‘fight back’, vengeance, impurity and indecency….
    • Trump undermines our common human dignity by 
      • choosing to divide instead of bringing people together
        • in order to harness political power.
  • The Direction and Fate of the World May Change Forever
    • The Bible predicts that history is marching towards the ‘End Times.’
    • America is the only economic, military, and cultural superpower.
      • Trump has stated he acts based on his guts instincts
      • Trump who appears willing to take unnecessary risks
        • (economic, military, cultural, political)
        • without strategy or clear planning;
        • he can therefore plunge the world into an ‘end times’ scenario
          • predicted in the Bible.
        • This can also weaken America from within.
  • America as
    • a moral beacon in the world,
    • ‘the city on a hill that cannot be hid’
    • a clear voice for universal human rights,
    • model of freedom of the press, and as
    • a model of human dignity,
      • will be lost forever;
        • making the biblical ‘end times’ scenario that more certain.

So count me out, I will not be voting for Donald Trump in 2020!

Why I (As a Bible Believing Christian) Cannot, and Will Not Be Voting for Donald Trump!

All the benefits of my Vote for Donald Trump Appear to be
Material, Temporal, Earthly

  • More Conservative Judges

    • Inasmuch as I want a society
      • where conservative values are respected, this
    • pertains mostly to America, not the Kingdom of God,
      • when judges are appointed
        • by both sides
        • solely for partisan control of the judiciary,
          • and it will ultimately corrupt justice
            • for everyone, forever (!);
    • will not prevent the ongoing moral decay of humanity
      • predicted in the Bible, as we move toward the end-times!
    • Deuteronomy 1.16:  “‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him.” 
      • That is, justice must be blind to even the closest earthly affiliations.
  • The Possibility of Overturning Roe vs. Wade

    • Inasmuch  as I am pro-life
      • (in Church and personal life
      • and I will work to reduce abortion in society
        • in other ways other than using the force of law)
      • I am also pro-choice (as a matter of law in society), and
    • inasmuch as I will like to reduce abortions in the US,
      • the church will do a better job to impact society for God
        • by modelling selfless, holy, and cross-bearing lives as people of faith,
        • than to try to wield the corrupting tools of political power
          • to force social change; that is,
      • making abortion illegal
        • constrains action by force of law, it
        • does not change people and
        • is only a temporary fix, to the eternal problem of the
          • sinfulness of man, and it
        • does not address immorality within the Church itself;
      • I also have hope that God has a plan even for unborn babies
        • as I believe he does for infants who die early!
    • Matt. 18.10:  “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
  • A friend of the (mostly white) Church in the White House

    • is temporary, of this earth, not the kingdom of God
      • if the Church cannot criticize that ‘friend’,
      • if the Church must always praise that ‘friend’,
      • if the Church must explain away, excuse, and lie (‘spin’),
        • when that ‘friend’ lies, divides, and is unrepentant of
          • deceit, meanness, pride and boastfulness, narcissism, and adultery,
        • and thereby abandon its basic mission to a lost world:
          • faithfully proclaim the truth and will of God
          • that we must be
            • true, loving, meek and lowly, selfless, and faithful to the wife of our youth, welcoming, be wronged instead of wronging others, give vengeance to God instead of always ‘fighting back.’
    • Faithful prophetic witness
      • to powerful (and sometimes corrupt) political leaders (kings)
      • is clear in the Bible.
        • It usually involves truth, rebuke, courage, and great risk:
        • Samuel (Eli), Samuel (Saul), Nathan (David),
        • Elijah (Ahab, Jezebel, Ahaziah), Elisha (Ahab), Micaiah (Ahab)
        •  Isaiah (Manasseh), Jonah (Nineveh),
        • Jeremiah (Zedekiah), Daniel (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar),
        • John the Baptist (Herod)
        • Jesus (Pilate), Peter (Sanhedrin);
        • the Early Church (the Sanhedrin); and
        • Paul (Agrippa).
        • It is never a cozy relationship as the one we see between
          • the White House and white evangelical American leadership.
  • Strong Economy?

    • As good as that sounds,
      • a strong economy is of this earth, not eternal
      • Mark 8.36: “What does it profit a man [nation]….”
    • What if
      • (as the signs are beginning to show, and
      • as Donald Trump continues to gamble
        • with the economy and
        • with the livelihood of millions of Americans,
        • using trade wars),
      • the economy takes a downturn,
        • as is expected every now and again?

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  • Strong Immigration Enforcement?

    • This excites those
      • whose primary concern is America
        • not the Kingdom of God,
      • who may be driven by
        • lack of knowledge and compassion, fear, distaste, and/or
        • indifference towards
          • those who are different, who are weak, and destitute;
      • who have forgotten, who ignore the fact,
        • that the Kingdom of God is all tribes, tongues and nations
        • that everyone ‘came from somewhere else’,
        • that the Bible overwhelmingly teaches love and welcome
          • for the weak, the widow, the fatherless, the alien ,strangers (!)
        • that Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus were themselves refugees
          • to Egypt from political violence!
    • Matthew 24.44:  “Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’”
    • Revelation 7.9 “…from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb….”
  • Strong Military and National Defense,

    • pertains to only America, not the Kingdom of God;
    • is material, temporary, and earthly.
    • Ephesians 6.  “For we do not wrestle not against flesh and blood…”
  • Second Amendment Rights

    • Is only of this earth, and temporary,  and
    • when promoted unreasonably and at all cost, it
      • UNDERCUTS THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS:
        • selfless love,
        • sacrifice,
        • give instead of taking life,
        • “turning the other cheek”,
        • “Nevertheless, let your [God’s] will be done not mine”
          • not my right(!)
          • [Jesus!]
      • lacks any sound biblical and theological support.
      • Matt. 16.24: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
        • The choice between a gun and the cross is easy
          • I CHOOSE THE CROSS!

Next PostWhy a Vote For Donald Trump has Negative Long Term/Eternal Consequences for America and the Church.