“Where is Your Bucket?”

In my response to those of any political party or any affiliation to a group or groups who desperately oppose one another after our much disputed Presidential Election, I would offer the words of Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech given in 1895 on September 18th.

His words were directed primarily at newly freed African American Slaves and the South which in some part included the white population, but in my opinion he was speaking to the America as a whole. The country had just gone through a devastating Civil War and healing was needed in every corner of the nation, regardless of the color of one’s skin.

Our faith in God will and should always be the most important aspect of who we are as a people, but more importantly we should also try to understand that we may not always be able to control the people or circumstances around us. However, what we can control are those things we are responsible for as citizens of a community.  The healing takes place in the smallest of them and begins with the hard work that is ours to do, a helping hand and a smile.

Mr. Washington was telling us then to put our differences aside and simply work together for the greater good, thereby, improving our own station in life. He never promised easy, nor has God for that matter when it comes to what He has called us to do for His Kingdom.  So I will leave you with the story and some words from Booker T. Washington that I hope will bring things into some sort of perspective for you if you are struggling to move on, forgive, befriend or simply get back to some sort of normal in your life.

A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, “Water, water; we die of thirst!” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time the signal, “Water, water; send us water!” ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: “Cast down your bucket where you are”— cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.” (Harlen, 1974)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/

Louis R. Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 583–587.

Advertisements

“Hallowed Be Thy Name”

How serious are we about this line in the Lord’s Prayer?

Using the name “God” or “Jesus Christ” in any manner that does not address either or give glory – it is considered blasphemy. This also includes your shorthand texting acronyms or using it as speech.

Do you agree or disagree?

Before you answer I want you to consider how you answer this question when asked; “Do you consider yourself a Christian or an Atheist?”

Before you answer with Atheist, I would ask this: “Why do you use the name of someone you don’t believe in?” If you say it doesn’t matter and I can say what I want, I would offer this.  If you are using the name of “God” or “Jesus Christ”, it tells me that your lips say you don’t believe, but in your heart you know He exists.  As a Christian I see you using the name of “God” in vain is your way of rebellion against the God you know exists.

Let’s be clear here; I do not see someone using the name of God in vain as a way to give glory, but what I do see is an opportunity for a Christian to bring God’s glory to that table. So the next time you hear someone using the name of “God” or “Jesus Christ” in vain; ask them why they prefer to use those names to curse.

At the end of this short bite on blasphemy I would ask you – the Christian, this; have we forgotten the line – “Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? Don’t forget, He is coming back to bring judgement and a sword.  We are the stewards of His Kingdom here on earth so it seems to me that many of us who claim the title “Christian” need to punch in

“At the Front Door”

How many times have you been at the “Front Door”?  The “Front Door” being that of a loved one, a friend, a stranger, school, work, etc.  Now ask yourself this; “How excited was I to be at that Front Door?”

Throughout my own life the “Front Door” has taken me to many places; each one a new story waited regardless if I had been through that door many times before. Within some of my memories I can still see my hand grabbing the door handle to open the door and enter the structure it happened to be attached to.

As I think through all the “Front Doors” I have been through, none excite more than going through the front door of Heaven, but until I get to that door, there are two that I look forward to opening; my own home and the home of my mother.

So now that you know which “Front Doors” I cherish you might think that I will ask you which “Front Doors” are important to you, but that would be too easy.  My question to you is; “Why are these front doors important to you?”  As you think about why, also think about how many times you have been through the “Front Doors” you love the most.

Regardless of your answers know that God is the one responsible for those “Front Doors” you cherish the most.  However, he is also responsible for those that challenge you and make you a better person.

 

I hope you never open the “Front Door” the same way again!

The Koi Fish Christian

 

 

“Today is Mine”

Today I read a story,

Today I shed a tear,

Today I am happy,

Today I am blessed,

Today is here.

The story I read this morning brought back memories of my own past, along with the thoughts I grew up every day.  Who am I?  Where do I come from?  What was my mother like?  Did she love me?  Why did she choose life for me?

These and many other questions used to rattle around my brain growing up, but there was always something steadfast in my life and that was my knowledge of God.  From a very young age I always had a sense of God, but never knew the true meaning until I went to Sunday School as a child.  It was like; “yeah, I know who God is.”  It was never a question, it was more a matter of fact for me.

However; for some children the same cannot be said.  Some of these children who were given up for adoption did not know God or know the love He offered because of adoptive parents who either did not care or were abusive.  For them my heart to this day still aches.

It is for these children, even today that causes me to share my own story of being separated from my mother at birth and our eventual reunion 46 years later on my birthday.  In this and many other adoption stories there is a story of hope and strength.

The story I read today reminded me of how God can take care of children even when the parent is not able to.  For those like the one in the story, they were cared for by loving parents who did they best they could with what they had.  Regardless of the things like food, clothing and a roof to live under, the one thing that a child must have is love.  Without it, all other things do not matter.

For those of us saved through our mothers, who in their condition chose life for us because they had hope; a hope for a child that they knew they could not properly care for even though they loved them.  For this we will always be grateful, because somewhere deep down they knew that there was something greater for us to do.  Whether they believed in God or not; it was His plan and not their own that put us where we are today.

So for those whose story includes adoption; never give up hope nor your will to live each day as a gift from God and your mother.

Today is now,

Today you will succeed,

Today you love,

Today you are loved,

Today is yours.

 

 

“The Milestone”

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

As parents we go into the responsibility of raising children with many doubts and fears. What if I do or say something wrong that scars my child for life or maybe I disciplined them too hard; will they learn from the experience? Will I forget my own childhood and become a parent we all don’t want to be? These thoughts and many more run through our heads before they are even born; and so begins the adventure.

Before either of my children were born I had a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and knew that He was with me from a very young age. I felt that as a Christian raising my future children with the knowledge of God and a faith in Jesus Christ would help me get through the challenges a father may face when raising children. I must admit now that my wife was with my children much more than I because of my job during their younger years, but as they grew into teenagers I was able to help guide them through some of their toughest years.

Going back to the birth of my first daughter It was God who I turned to first when an emergency during her birth caused her to be placed in ICU for nine days. That first night of her birth I offered up my life to save hers if it were necessary and God chose for both of us to live and grow together. For this I will forever be grateful because she has grown into a fine young woman with a strong will and of good moral character. Above all she has also learned to know and trust in God through Jesus Christ.

My youngest daughter was born with a twinkle in her eye with her own unique spark for life. It was obvious from the moment she was born that she was going to be her own person with a free spirit who seeks out nothing but the best in people. One trait that she has is the ability to bring out the best in people. For some in her life they have been held down by either others or themselves and she has helped them become more than they thought possible. Yes, some might have not followed her as they might should have, but nonetheless she continues to be a light for others. This daughter too trusts in God through Jesus Christ and understands that through Him we have strength.

As a father who understands the world around us and the hardships we can face I learned as the girls grew older that it was my responsibility to prepare them for this world by being a good example and teaching them what I knew of it. Knowing that God must be put first, this was my first goal and although it was my goal both girls would have to choose God of their own free will and so they did. As the days, months and years go by I am able to tell by their actions and in conversations with them that they are both women of high moral character and have become someone to look up to.

Along with all the things we want for our children there is one thing that I worked the hardest on it was that my children would not be burden on society, but a positive influence on it. As with any of our children each is unique in their own way and we love them equally for it, thereby strengthening our connection with them. As adults we are already fortified in our beliefs and way of life, but for our children it is all new and now it is their turn. As they and of course we grow older we may actually disagree on things as they start to learn and form their own opinions. Some of these disagreements may simply be those times where we learn about each other, but it never means that our love for them is any less. It is actually then that we should love them more because in some ways they may actually be seeking guidance, but are unsure of how to ask for it.

This much I do know; when your daughter writes a letter thanking you as parents for being a positive influence in her life because of everything we did to help her grow, it not only melts your heart and starts the water works going, it also lets you know that as a parent you were successful. However, as the years passed by and they became a young adult the whole “Successful” thing kind of fell by the wayside as you realized that it was more important to have a strong and loving relationship with your child instead of some milestone that was met in your life.

Thank God for children and most of all for His own Son who He gave for our sake.

 

The Koifish Christian

“Build Your Road”

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Each day we roll out of bed and make our way (half awake) through the house to start our day.  First it is to the coffee pot or in my case downstairs to let the dogs out of their kennels so that they can start their day.  I must admit seeing their wagging tails does perk me up a bit.  As far as this scenario plays out I think you know the rest, because eventually I get into my vehicle and head to work.

As that day begins each decision we make no matter how small builds upon the path we are on.  For those who believe in God we believe that no matter our thoughts, it is He who guides our feet.  Now this does not mean we walk around like zombies waiting for the next message to come down from God and then act upon it.  This merely means that for us there are little clues or even large ones that help guide our feet; the rest is up to us to make the right decisions.

When I look at the things I decide to do, each one is a pebble to be placed in front of me that will create the road I walk on.  Some pebbles are bigger or smaller, but each one nonetheless causes the road to be built.

For some people the decisions they make will be some of the hardest of their lives and it might seem like that pebble they have to place down in front of them weighs a ton.  Regardless of its weight it must be put down; we are the builders of our road and at times we will have to ask for assistance.

If you find that the pebbles to be placed on your road are too heavy, know that God sent down a stone that is the bedrock your road is being created on.  Jesus Christ is that foundation and with Him all things are possible.  Knowing this we must also see those times when we are too weak and must ask for help; it is okay.  This is exactly what God expects from us because He has already directed someone to be on your path to be that blessing.  Allow them to be the instrument God has intended them to be by receiving the blessing God has intended for you through them.

So think for a moment about all the pebbles you have laid down to build the road you are on today.  Is it wide enough?  Is it smooth enough?  Does it have a lot of curves or is it simply straight?  Is it built on flat land or in the mountains?  Whatever the attributes of your road; no one road is perfect.  Each are unique to the builder which makes them all the more interesting, thereby making the travel on them a wonderful adventure with God.

Don’t worry about the width of the road too much because God will always make sure that there is enough room for someone to walk on beside you and behind you.

Have a great day builders!

The Koi Fish Christian

 

“Rolling Up Our Sleeves for God; it’s not a fashion statement”

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

I am going to make this one short and sweet.  Jesus Christ has called us to service by asking for our lives if necessary and there are many who truly live their lives for Him.  Giving up our lives is much easier said than done when you think about all the things we have going in our lives.

If we had lived during the time of Christ I wonder if many of those He encountered felt the same?  I know that we do have an example of the prince who could not leave his wealth or those who Jesus challenged when He spoke of giving up their lives for His sake.  With both of these examples I think it is very obvious that we today in our “modern” time are no different.

We are to be working in God’s Kingdom now, not later, so how do we start?  First we believe, then we love, then we roll up our sleeves.

Praise God for all that He has given both great and small!

Here is a link to a great discussion concerning God’s Kingdom.

“Kingdom of Heaven on Earth?” at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAKOfGZ3a8U) from Apologia Studio & Radio (http://apologiaradio.com/)

Thankful for Life

Very nice. Truly the reflection of a “Mother’s Day” that just keeps going.

itsawonderfilledlife


Sixteen years ago, on a cool Thanksgiving Sunday morning, I pushed and you emerged, as we were physically separated … by life.

Today we celebrate you, your life. Though you are are a gifted young man, we do not celebrate because of what you have done, we do not even celebrate because of what you will do. We simply celebrate that you are, that you live, that you have life.

As the youngest in the family, you are like the caboose that leaves every station last, that feels the twists and the turns with the greatest force, that enters every town after all the rest. It was after you grew too big that the onesies in the nursery cupboard were put away, after you viewed and smudged the picture books, they were handed down to younger ones, soon you will be the last to use the coveted ‘L’ as you…

View original post 322 more words

“Castle Trust”

Tags

, , ,

Today was one of those days where everything just seemed to be off a little for me.  Not sure that I have put my finger on quite yet, but with God’s help tomorrow will work out a bit better.

Towards the end of the day of course as per my usual routine I was getting one my lovely headaches and it was giving me fits as I was trying to focus on the printed documents in front of me.

Of course when these headaches come on I get a little short with people and I do my best not to offend anyone or say something that might be taken the wrong way.  If you happen to be the recipient of one of these times I will apologize now and in advance as it is never anything personal.

One comment I made today concerned the idea of trust and how we talk to people.  I might be wrong here to some people, but in my experience talking with someone is relative to the amount of trust I have in them.  Simply saying that we “have” to talk to everyone might miss the mark as it relates to human interaction and relationships.

Do we just blurt out everything to everyone or do we pick and choose who we tell what?  I think in every instance our communication does come down to a level of trust.  This trust also has differing levels as it pertains to friends, family, coworkers and the people we work for.  I do believe that in every instance there is opportunity to grow and develop lasting relationships or ever increasing level of trust.

Speaking for myself I created some defense mechanisms early on in life based on a few things.  One of them was the fact that I was picked on from a very early age because of my weight.  After years of crying myself to sleep as a kid I started to grow callous towards people as it was obvious that I could only trust a small circle of people.  Now I see some of these same types of people in my daily life and automatically my defenses go up.  Many times it just happens and I don’t even notice it until I recognize that person within me that puts on the mask of callousness that in fact might push people away.

Even now there are some whom I have not allowed myself to trust, but this from my perspective is probably normal.  I have to chuckle because now with everyone having their noses pressed to a smartphone who really cares anyway?  The social aspect of our society seems to have slipped a bit from what some of us are used to, but the element of trust must still exist.  I would even say that it is more important now than ever as it concerns the online environment.

At the end of the day I will always do my best to find a reason to trust someone, but the second I am given a reason not to it will take awhile for me to get back to that same point we started at.  Some might call this a fault, but I call this a mechanism.  A mechanism created by an environment that never took the time to find out who I was as a person.  Either way I am working to improve in this area and look forward to every opportunity to trust someone new or regain the trust once lost.

For all of those whom I trust I am deeply grateful for that trust which means that you took the time to get to know me as a person and I truly hope that I have done the same for you.

May God bless you and may you always know that for Him trust was given the day He gave you His Son.

“I’d Like To Put The Moon On Lay Away Please”

Tags

, , , ,

Today is my wife’s birthday and with this comes the normal; “don’t get me anything” and “don’t remind me of how old I am”.  Actually, if I could I would give you the moon, but since it is out of my reach and made of cheese I don’t think you want me taking that dangerous of a trip along with the fact that too much cheese is unhealthy so I will have put it on “Lay Away” for you.

What I would rather do is tell you “Thank You” for all that you do for our family.  You always put us first and at times we have to argue with you to do something for yourself.  Along with that “Thank You” I will make a promise to do more to help you whenever you ask and even if you don’t.

In my eyes God has provided me with a wife who is my best friend and the woman who owns my heart.  We were soul-mates before we even knew it and with a little work on God’s part we were brought together and have been ever since.  For this gift I will always be grateful beyond any comprehension of the word.

Through the years I missed many of your birthdays and since we can’t get those back I want to cherish and be there for as many as God will let me have with you in the coming years.  So this is not about your birthday, even though it is a great day, it is about simply having one more day with you.

Happy Birthday Honey; I love you with all of my heart and soul!!!

Praise God for His wonderful gifts!!!