Reality, Biblical Correctness and GQ

I ended my post called Don’t believe Phil…or me either published on January 9, 2014 with the recommendation,

“If you really want to understand what Phil Robertson believes get his book unPhiltered, which was published after this article and controversy.”

IMG_20150711_113402.242 (3)I recently finished reading unPhiltered by Phil Robertson myself and am glad I followed my own advice. I enjoyed it so much I decided to share a few details about the book as well as provide a postscript to the GQ article controversy that encouraged me and I hope will do the same for you. I made the picture of his book black and white because Phil still believes, as I do, right & wrong as well as good & evil still exists. The fact that popular culture does not subscribe to this belief has no bearing on that truth.

Love God, Love Other People

If you want an executive summary of unPhiltered here it is:

Love God. Love one another.

Everything Phil Robertson believes and says flows through this filter. It is an amazingly simple, yet profound, summary of what Jesus Christ tells us, as Christians, to do. Phil is not the source for this thought or philosophy. It is a very concise paraphrase of what Jesus said in Matthew 22:34-40.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The Way Phil Sees It

The subtitle of the book is “The Way I See It” and that is what you get; Phil’s opinion, wisdom and common sense formed in 28 years BJC and 40+ years AJC. This is not his life story. If you want that Happy, Happy, Happy is the book you need.

unPhiltered is presented in three sections, Personal Lifestyles, Hot Topics, and Faith. It is written in a conversational style as if you were sitting with Phil at his kitchen table listening to him describe the way he sees life and making a pretty good case for you to come around to his way of thinking if you are not already there. I found myself agreeing with his views and common sense and think many of you will too.

It is, as the title alludes to, unfiltered. Don’t be fooled by his appearance and slow talking Southern demeanor. Phil Robertson is a very wise man.

Personal Lifestyles

The topics of Spiritual Dieting, Money, Social Media, Family, and my favorite in this section Biblical Correctness are covered in this section.

He starts with a quote from the preface of the first edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1828 by a man named Noah Webster.

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from, vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Phil believes this statement is true and does his best to live according to the precepts in the Bible. He captured my sentiments exactly when he said,

“The way things are going, it’s okay to have an opinion in America, as long as you don’t offend anyone and don’t quote the Bible.”

Biblical Correctness

Phil has decided to be biblically correct instead of politically correct and I think that is a wise decision. Here are a couple more highlights from this topic that give you a flavor for his perspective. These are even more true today than when this book was published.

“Biblical correctness has never changed. Conversely, political correctness is constantly changing and evolving. There has been a constant erosion of biblical correctness in our country. Political correctness is constantly morphing into a dark maze of nonsense. It keeps getting more and more nonsensical.”

“Today’s truth is based on what is socially acceptable, and biblical correctness has somehow become hate speech.”

Hot Topics

In section two Phil discusses Politics, Race, Entitlements, Government and Gun Control.

Gun Control

On the topic of gun control Phil points out murder is sin and has been so “2,700 years before guns were introduced. You can’t blame sin on the device one uses; you blame the person committing the sin.”

“Trust me, the murder rate in this country would drop dramatically if we started to love God and love one another. It is the solution to all of our country’s ailments, as well as the ailments of the entire world.”

There he goes again – love God and love one another. I told you that is THE central theme in how Phil sees the world.

Sin Control

“It was a love problem when the law was written – do not murder – not a weapons problem. It is a love problem now. We need sin control and self control.”

Faith

In this last section the topics are Intelligent Design Or Blind Chance, Good VS. Evil, Sin, Death and Good News.

In this last section the first chapter, Intelligent Design Or Blind Chance, Phil makes a solid case for why evolution does not make any sense and is not supported by the “evidence” evolutionists claim exists. He knows this subject very well and makes arguments you could use in discussing this subject with others too.

Sin

In the chapter on Sin he covers the GQ article interview and his description is not too far from the one I provided in my blog post Don’t believe Phil…or me either published a little over a year and a half ago. That was encouraging to me and proved the old adage even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then.

He encourages you to read the source, the Bible, for yourself as I did.

“The gospel is the same, Jesus is the same, and the response is the same. I’m not saying anything that you can’t document, read, and verify on your own by simply picking up a Bible and reading it. I strongly suggest you do.”

GQ Article Controversy Postscript

In the aftermath of the GQ Article controversy and Phil’s suspension from Duck Dynasty you will learn how Phil felt about the whole situation and might be surprised. You will also be reminded God is always in control of every situation. He can and often does use the most unlikely situation for His glory. He did that again with this situation.

Phil gives two examples of people who learned about the GQ article controversy and, as a result, now have their eternal reservations confirmed in Heaven. Their lives were changed forever by what many only see as a controversy or even hate speech. You will have to get the book to learn the details. These are just two examples at the time he wrote the book of people who actually visited White’s Ferry Road Church in West Monroe, Louisiana, where Phil worships and teaches a Sunday School class. I am confident there are many more both before and since who have made similar decisions Phil is not aware of. God knows and the people whose lives have been changed forever know and that is all that really matters.

In light of this controversy and A&E’s response to it Phil’s perspective is probably not one Hollywood would share or promote but it is true.

“Who would have ever thought that Hollywood, through a reality TV show, would be financing the gospel being preached all over the United States and world?”

Good News

In closing here are a couple more thoughts from the book that most who condemn Phil for his beliefs ignore or refuse to understand. They are not unique to Phil Robertson but are shared by all who believe and live as Christians.

“I condemn no one, and you don’t have to judge anybody. Just go forth and tell people about Jesus. The power to save people is in the story. Just tell the story.”

“Just remember this–even if you hate me, I love you anyway. So does God.” 

Check it out for yourself

There is no way I could really do justice to this book here. I only scratched the surface. I hope I have shared enough to generate some interest and you will get your own copy and read it for yourself. Click here and order unPhiltered online or pick it up at your local book store. If you do I am confident you will be glad you did.

It might even make you Happy, Happy, Happy!

Until next time…

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George Bailey or Bill Gates?

Are you rich?

In one of the most beloved movies of all times “It’s A Wonderful Life” ***spoiler alert*** Harry Bailey, George’s brother, says George is the richest man in town because of the life he has lived and the friends he has.

Forbes Magazine says Bill Gates the richest man in the world.

These are obviously two very different definitions and examples of being rich. Which one do you align more closely with and which would you like to be if you had the chance to choose?

If you are honest you would probably say, like me, I could be George Bailey with Bill Gates’ money, but could you really?

Matt Ham explores exactly what it means to be rich in his new book, Redefine Rich. Redefine-Rich-front-667x1024He might just help you redefine what rich means for you. Through personal stories and experiences from his life, he reminds us of some important life principles.

How do you define rich? Does the world’s definition of riches leave you feeling empty?

Redefine Rich will help you ponder these questions and will either give you a new perspective or remind you of one you once had that has slipped away.

Books don’t always have to reveal something new in order to be entertaining and enlightening. Often they are just reminders of something we already knew or help validate what we already know. If you can identify with any of the experiences or stories the author describes it can be life altering for you. Redefine Rich can be just such a book for you.

Matt digs deeper than the surface question of “Are you rich?” to “Are you living richly?” which is a question you may have never considered.

There are many passages from the book I have highlighted in my Kindle Notes. Here are just a couple.

“This book isn’t about finances. This book isn’t about death. There are many books on both subjects. This book is about our choice. A choice to live richly.”

“Can we all live a life abounding in desirable qualities? Can we all live richly? If so, what would that look like?”

As the author says, this book isn’t for everyone but his ground rules are.

1. You can live a rich life.
2. It will not happen by accident.

The thing about books is, as the old saying goes, “You cannot judge a book by its cover.” Covers can be nice, pretty, disturbing or awful but you can only judge a book by what is inside the covers and you can only do that by opening it and reading it. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Redefine Rich and open it and read it. I believe you will be richer for making that decision.

This could be considered another spoiler of sorts but if you have read this far probably not,

“A great, wonderful life has everything to do with being rich, and being rich has very little to do with money.”

You can also check out Matt’s blog here http://mattham.com/blog/

Until next time…

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Size 13 Footprint

I received a Father’s Day gift this year from my son, created with “encouragement” from my wife. I have received many Father’s Day gifts over the years and I am sure many fathers have received a gift similar to the one I am writing about today.

However, I suspect few have received one in the same size as the one I received. You see, my son is 18 and has a size 13 foot.

Fathers Day Card_20140615

This gift marks a milestone for us. You see, this is our youngest child who is now away in college leaving us at home without children in the house for the first time in 27 years. We are quasi-empty-nesters. I say quasi because we do still have two children in college so they will be back pretty regularly until they finish college but they are gone now more than they are here and that will likely be a permanent condition.

We are now living in the second half of Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will stay on it.” TLB

For the most part, we are done with the first half of this verse. He is now older and free to make most day-to-day decisions on his own. We will now have to sit back and observe to see if we really did teach him to choose the right path.

I am as confident as one can be when looking into the future he will make wise decisions. Does that mean he will make wise decisions every time the first time? Of course not. That is how we learn the most and gain wisdom – from our mistakes and unwise decisions. As long as he keeps learning and not repeating the same mistakes then those experiences will just become learning opportunities. I do hope he can learn from our mistakes too so he doesn’t have to make the same ones we did.

Will we worry? Of course we will. If I answered that question any other way I would lose all credibility.

Will we pray? Absolutely! We will Pray without ceasing as we are exhorted to do in I Thessalonians 5:17. I think many parents really heed this exhortation when their children leave for college or move away. It is nothing new for us to pray for our children. The focus of the prayers just changes over time. I hope our praying will outweigh our worrying but I am sure the balance of those scales will move back and forth as we grow. We are still learning too.

Our prayer for all our children includes but also follows the more familiar Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. 

Proverbs 3:7 says, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

This prayer will work in all situations for all of us.

Until next time…

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Time With Mom

Mom&Dad_1999 (2)I spent some time with my mother tonight.

If you don’t know me then you would say, “It’s Mother’s Day. Of course you did.”

However, my mother went home to be with the Lord 14 years ago yesterday. So now you are probably thinking, “How did you do that?” or “This guy is warped and needs help.” I wouldn’t argue with that thought myself. I am a little warped and can always use help.

Faith – Hope

My faith gives me a hope and assurance I will see all of my loved ones, who know the Lord as their personal Saviour, again, either when the Lord returns or when we die, whichever comes first. When you have someone close to you, such as a mother, father, or other family member or close friend die then that gives you a much more vivid view of and connection with Heaven. At least that is how it worked for me.

When I sing or hear songs about Heaven I have a real connection now because I “know” someone there. Of course I knew Jesus as my Saviour before she died and He lives there but this is a little different.

When I remember things I did with Momma that brings her back to me in a sense. It is just a memory but it is a good memory.

Good Memories

That is what happened tonight. To give you a little background here, when we were growing up on Sunday mornings in our house, while we were eating breakfast and getting ready to go to church, we always had the Gospel Music Hour (not sure if that is that is really the name of the show or not but that is not that important for my purpose here) on the TV. The two groups I remember as always or at least regularly being on that show were The Florida Boys and The Dixie Echoes.

Well, tonight we had the privilege to see The Dixie Echoes in our church and I was thinking about Momma. I know she would have loved it and it brought back good memories for me just thinking about how she would have loved it. It felt like she was here with me – in spirit anyway. It also reminded me of the time we did get to take her to a Gaither Homecoming concert in Tallahassee. Good memories.

Do It Today!

So, as you have probably already heard or seen on some commercial on TV or Facebook post, if your mother is still with you here on planet earth take time to go see her or call her today. If you didn’t get that done today, do it tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that…etc.

If she is no longer here on planet earth I hope you have some good memories of her to think about today and you share the hope that I do of seeing her again one day.

If you have questions about how you have this same hope I have please visit Peace With God or ask questions in the comments.

I do miss Momma and know I will see her again one day. Thanks to The Dixie Echoes I was able to spend a little time with her tonight. On that subject if you do get the chance to see The Dixie Echoes take it. You will not be disappointed.

Until next time…

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Pizza and Cheesecake

(Pepperoni Pizza and Plain Cheesecake)

How many times have you either been part of a group or the person responsible for feeding a group when pizza was going to be the main course?

If your experience is anything like mine, “too many to count” would be the answer.

A slice of pepperoni pizza from Blondie's in B...
A slice of pepperoni pizza from Blondie’s in Berkeley, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think about some of those times when you asked, “What kind of pizza do you like?” Again if your experience is like mine you will get responses like, “I don’t care”, “Anything but anchovies”, “The works”, “Everything but onions”, etc. Sometimes you will hear “Pepperoni” or “Just cheese” but it is often as an afterthought. These are not the real exciting choices or the big stars.

Sound familiar? Well it does to me.

Pepperoni Pizza

However, I have noticed this over the years, and I have done many years worth of research on this – I have eaten a lot of pizza – that when the pizza arrives it is often the plain pepperoni pizzas that are the first to disappear. Why is that?

If you haven’t noticed this before the next time you have pizza with family or a group pay attention and see if you observe the same thing.

Plain Cheesecake

Similarly, if you are a fan of cheesecake and have ever seen a Cheesecake Factory menu you know there are many different variations other than the plain cheesecake offered. Often the last one chosen in just the original plain cheesecake.

Plain cheesecake slice
Plain cheesecake slice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to admit I have not done as much research on this…yet…but my theory is if you are at a family or group gathering and have a plain cheesecake and some other variation – chocolate, toasted marshmallows s’mores galore, Godiva chocolate, pineapple upside-down cheesecake or any of the hundreds of other variations – the plain cheesecake will be the first to disappear. Why is that?

I Don’t Know

I wish I had some wise answer as to why this phenomenon occurs but I really don’t. For me and my tastes the pepperoni pizza and plain cheesecake are my favorites so I know why I gravitate toward those when they are made available to me and probably why I notice this phenomenon more than others might.

However, why so many others who seemingly do not prefer these plain or basic choices at least in what they say but do end up participating in making them disappear first I really don’t know.

Tortoise and the Hare?

Could this be another variation on the traditional tortoise and the hare fable – slow and steady wins the race or is that a stretch? The multi-faceted pizza and cheesecake selections would definitely be the more glamorous, flashy, ostentatious, or speedy choices representing the hare. Pepperoni pizza and plain cheesecake would certainly be the less glamorous, mundane and slow choices – the tortoise. Yet, in disappearing first the tortoise wins the race again.

What do you think?

I don’t know if that analogy fits or not so I am hoping you can help me out with this quandary and comment with your explanations or reasoning as to why this occurs or if your experience differs from mine please share yours.

Thanks for stopping by and getting a glimpse of what goes on in my head and please help me clear it up if you can.

Until next time…

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I don’t run marathons…however

I have never run a marathon, never really had any desire to. To me running is not fun or something I want to spend time doing. However, I do know people who have run marathons and half-marathons and I am amazed by their drive and persistence in accomplishing this feat.

I was reminded of this again this morning as I saw some tweets on twitter about the Walt Disney World Half Marathon being over today. This brought back memories of last year at this time when we were there.

My wife, Sharin,  completed her first half-marathon.2013-01-13 05.07.44

On the next day my daughter Amy, running with her friends Meggie and Anne, completed her first marathon.2013-01-13 12.45.48

I am still amazed and in awe of these achievements as I know they are far from easy and often painful and discouraging. The thrill and sense of achievement one feels after achieving this feat should never go away.

If you have completed one of these events and have lost that feeling of pride in your accomplishment, go back and think about all the sacrifices you went through to get there, days you did not want to get out and run, days when you were unable to run due to a nagging injury your doctor recommended you rest until it got well, days when it was raining and cold, or both, and you ran anyway. Look at any pictures you have of you with your medal after you finished and just be proud of what you accomplished.

Regarding those tweets I found myself congratulating people I didn’t even really know. I have followed @runDisney on twitter since last year and saw the posts and just felt like congratulating them. They deserve it. That is the thing I wanted to emphasize with this post. Even if you, like me, have never even considered running a marathon or half-marathon I encourage you to go watch one. Find a spot near the finish line and just watch. I guarantee you it will be something you will not soon, if ever, forget.

You will see all different types of people and all different types of stories. Everyone has one. You will see young people, middle aged people, and older, seasoned, people. Seeing them push through those last few steps and yards to reach the finish line will inspire you. Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cry. All will make you cheer and by doing so you can share in their accomplishment.

If you are considering running either a half-marathon or marathon I read a book recently called You Can Go the Distance by Bruce Van Horn. I recommend this book to runners and non-runners alike. You will probably learn many things about how to prepare and run a marathon. You will also learn many things about how to run this marathon we are all running called life. One of the quotes from the book makes this point, “Marathon training is like life; it requires that you train in all conditions for all situations.”

I am not going to suggest or recommend you start preparing to run a marathon since I have no direct experience or desire to do so myself. If you are considering it though I say go for it! You will be glad you did. If you are looking for a good first marathon experience check out http://www.rundisney.com. Disney does know how to make anything fun and interesting and they don’t disappoint with these events.

If running is not your thing, I do understand that. I do recommend you go watch one sometime though. It will change your perspective for any future marathons you see in the news. Find someone you know training or running one and go support them.

Congratulations to all runners running this weekend or if you have run and completed one of these in the past. Be proud of your accomplishment and use the lessons you have learned about running and yourself in all other areas of your life.

Until next time…

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Shopping Can Be Fun

Jaclyn Smith_StanJust reminiscing a little bit today about what we were doing a year ago and a few things I learned.

I am sure most of you have your own stories about shopping – good and bad. This is one shopping experience I was fortunate to participate in one year ago today and it was a good one (Understatement #1).

Shopping can be fun!

It started on November 23, 2012 when I entered a contest on the Sears/Kmart Shop Your Way Rewards web site. The contest said,

You could win a trip to LA and a shopping spree with Jaclyn Smith!

I enter contests regularly and often. I figure someone has to win these things and it might as well be me. Of course that doesn’t always happen but I have learned that I don’t win every contest I don’t enter.

No-Brainer

Of course I had been a fan of Jaclyn Smith for many years. I think I was in junior high school when Charlie’s Angels was one of the most popular shows on TV and I suspect most boys my age were fans. She is one of the most beautiful women in the world. It would be before Christmas and we did need to do some Christmas shopping,

It seemed like a no-brainer to me.

To say I was surprised when I received a phone call on November 27th telling me I had won would not be accurate. I was shocked! (Understatement #2) After talking with Sharin for about 2 minutes we decided we would go after we confirmed the details and this was really real. It was one of those moments when you think, “Is this really happening?” or “This is too good to be true. It can’t be happening to me.”

Alabama to LAX

Well, it was really real and on Monday, December 10th we flew from Alabama to LAX, drove to the Hilton Los Angeles Universal City, which is located at the entrance to Universal Studios. After checking in and getting settled we walked around Universal City Walk and had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

You might be thinking, “You were at Universal Studios. Why didn’t you go to the park?” Well, we had already planned to drive to Disneyland while we were there so we were saving our energy and our money. Our original thought was we would go on Monday after we arrived but we decided to wait until Tuesday, after our shopping spree, since we expected that would not last much longer than the allotted hour. That expectation proved to be false in the best sort of way.

Exceeded Expectations

Well, Tuesday arrived and we arrived at the Kmart a little before 10:00 as planned. Everything that happened after that was both surreal and real at the same time. Never having spent much time with a celebrity, (Understatement #3), we were not sure what to expect. We expected it would be an enjoyable once-in-a-lifetime experience, of course, but the time would be limited according to the itinerary. We were wrong. It was an amazing day, far beyond anything we could have expected. Here is a link to a short video Kmart created. We did get the Christmas tree mentioned in the video.

Jaclyn Smith Christmas Tree_2012-12-20 02.50.08

Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

I know this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Jaclyn. I mean really, how often does she get to meet a couple from the other LA (Lower Alabama) and go Christmas shopping at the Burbank Kmart with them? I expect this was the first and last time, thus, the once-in-a-lifetime description fits. I am sure she would agree. She did say “it was a highlight of the season meeting the two of you.”

Shopping Couple from LA_IMG_1423 (2)

In case you were wondering, it was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.

What Did I Learn?

I knew that Jaclyn Smith was a beautiful woman. I learned that Jaclyn Smith is a beautiful person.

I was reminded it takes a lot of people working behind the scenes to make an event like this work and look effortless for those participating. There are many that deserve thanks for this. Kim, Leah, Shana, Amanda, Rena, and Clarine – you all made us feel special and made our day special. Thank you all again. To the local Kmart folks – Mark and Victor – thank you again for your Southern (California) hospitality.

USA_JACLYN SMITH
The St. Jude Christmas Bear Ornament

While watching Brooke shop for the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital I learned Kmart is their number one retail supporter. That was fun to watch too.

I learned that shopping can be fun, especially when you are pushing the buggy (shopping USA_JACLYN SMITHcart for anyone confused) for two of the most beautiful women in the world and they are doing what women do while shopping – talking, laughing and having fun. It was definitely a win-win for me.

I learned that Jaclyn Smith is a prophet. On the autographed photo she signed before we went shopping and shown above she said, “I know we will have fun today.” She was right!

After the shopping was done

Probably the coolest part was after the shopping was done – her commitment was complete – she invited us back to have lunch with her, Rena, and Clarine, her team. She did not have to do that. She could have just used the down time to relax but she chose to spend it with us. That was special and will not be forgotten.USA_JACLYN SMITH

We ate lunch and just talked for probably an hour or more about kids, pets, new cars, etc. – just life like most people talk about. She was concerned about her new car that her husband was driving that day. She is a breast cancer survivor so she talked about that and the importance of the annual exams. We talked about Sharin’s upcoming Disney Half-Marathon in January as well as the Ability First Stroll and Roll event she was planning to participate in to support children and adults with special needs.

I learned Jaclyn Smith is a very nice down to earth person, mother, wife and humanitarian in addition to being one of the most beautiful and gifted models and actresses in the world.

You don’t have to fly to Los Angeles and go shopping with Jaclyn Smith to have fun shopping. Although, if you do ever get this opportunity I highly recommend it (Understatement #4).

It is the Giving Season

When you are shopping and looking for that perfect gift enjoy the time with the person you are shopping with and imagine the joy you will receive when you see the recipient open that gift. When you receive a gift remember that joy you received and accept any gift you receive with gratitude and allow the gift giver to experience that joy as well.

I just saw a quote from Andy Andrews about giving that fits well here I believe,

“Giving is an unbelievable action that continues to produce returns that are unexpected in nature.”

Just a note

If you look at my profile picture and the smile on my face you now know why I was smiling so much. I was having a good time shopping!

 USA_JACLYN SMITH

And, just in case you were wondering, we did make it to Disneyland too.

IMG_1453

IMG_1443

Until next time…Happy Shopping!

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 12/11/2013

 

 

Un-Thanksgiving

Since this is Thanksgiving Week I thought writing about the holiday and some things I am thankful for would be appropriate. I expect this will be the only blog post on that subject this week so it should really stand out…NOT.

Anyway, I talked it over with all three of us (me, myself and I) and that that is what we decided to do.

The reason I distinguish between the Thanksgiving holiday and giving thanks I see those as two uniquely different events that intersect at this time of the year. It is really nothing other than my peculiar perspective at work again I suspect.

Thanksgiving – The Holiday

I don’t expect and have really never seen, except on TV or in the movies, everyone or really any one giving a grand Thanksgiving speech on what they are thankful for over the past year. It just hasn’t happened that way in my experience.

I do enjoy the holiday, getting together with family that we don’t get to see as much as we would like and eating turkey and dumplings and sweet potato (not pumpkin) pie. I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving and expect will have more after this week.

If you are expecting secret family recipes here then you will be disappointed. I know of none. My role has always been the consumer in this situation, not the manufacturer. Someone has to do it and it is a role I have practiced for many years. I believe I am pretty good at it. It is one of my callings. How would it make all the cooks feel if there was no one there to eat what they had prepared?

The First Thanksgiving…and a few more

I remember our first Thanksgiving together on my side of the family at Aunt Edna’s. Sharin and I were dating at the time. When it was time to eat I got up to go eat as I had always done. I had not mentioned to Sharin that it was our tradition for all the men to eat first, then the women because I had not given it a second thought. It was how we had always done it so I assumed everyone did it that way. Well, Sharin explained to me later that was not true. We did survive that Thanksgiving and 30+ since that one as we will celebrate 30 years of marriage next August. It is one we often talk about at this time of year though.

I have many good memories of Thanksgiving with Sharin’s family. Her mother would be cooking cakes and pies for days and it was always a fun time getting together with the entire Clark family. I miss those a lot. She enjoyed getting ready for Thanksgiving, probably only second to Christmas. We had turkey & dumplings, lemon pie, and later sweet potato pie when she learned that was my favorite. I was, after all, her favorite son-in-law (for those who might not know I was also her only son-in-law).

They were differences in the way our extended families celebrated Thanksgiving but there were also many similarities. Both had turkey, dumplings and lots of desserts. Both included getting together with family and catching up as well as naps in the afternoon before we would go back for leftovers. We had to rest up to get ready to eat again.

I Miss the People

I miss those times because of the people that are no longer with us. We can and will eat regardless of what day it is but it is the people that I miss the most, my parents and grandparents, Sharin’s parents and grandparents. We will see them all again one day but I wish we could see them here this Thursday.

Now, we are at the stage of life where we are excited to have our children who are not living with us come home and spending time with them. That is the highlight of the holidays now for us. The eating is necessary and still very enjoyable but it is secondary. It probably always was but we are now wise enough to realize that truth. We get together with brothers and sisters and their families as we continue to grow. We are expecting to add at least a couple new members next year.

Thanksgiving – Giving Thanks

The giving thanks part of Thanksgiving is done and having the holiday itself provides an emphasis for all to give thanks. I believe that is a good thing. However, giving thanks should be something we do on the 364 Un-Thanksgiving days every year as well.

Here are some of the things and people I am thankful for

* My Salvation – I thank God for the gift of salvation, sending His only son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to live and to die in my place and then to rise again and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven and lives in my heart.

* My family that I have been blessed with – Sharin, Sarah, Amy, Rachel, Thomas and Tyler. To borrow a phrase from Dave Ramsey, I am doing much “better than I deserve.” I am thankful for that.

My Family
My family on a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom

* Salvation for my family – I know that when we are done passing through this place call planet earth we will see each other again in Heaven. I look forward to seeing parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and others who are already there and then those that will follow after I am gone. This is the hope and promise we have as Christians.

* My extended family – Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, In-laws, Out-laws, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews – too many to try to name but I am thankful for having them all in my life.

* Friends – I am also blessed by many more friends than I deserve both old and new friendships that have just begun this year. Thanks to all of you for being part of my life and allowing me to call you friend.

* Health – I have been blessed so far on this journey called life with good health.

* Job – I am thankful for a job that helps provide for my family that I actually enjoy. I know many do not have jobs in today’s economy and many that do don’t enjoy the jobs they do have.

* Freedom of expression to be able to live, worship, and express our thoughts, ideas, and opinions. This is something we, as Americans, often do take for granted. If we continue to do that we might wake up one day and realize they no longer exist.

* YOU – If you are reading this I am thankful for YOU for taking the time to stop by here and read the thoughts I assemble here from time to time.

I could go on for quite some time but I think you get the point. I am blessed far beyond anything I could ever earn or deserve. I am thankful for these blessings on Thanksgiving but also on every other day of the year as well.

I am reminded of the old hymn Count Your Blessings written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you, what the Lord has done! If you are not familiar with this hymn or if you just want to here it now you can click Guy Penrod and he will sing it for you.

One of Zig Ziglar’s quotes also fits here I think, 

and by far, the most life changing.

Zig Ziglar_Attitude of Gratitude
Zig Ziglar – Attitude of Gratitude ~Ziglar.com

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Un-Thanksgiving too!

Until next time…

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Do You Like the Bible?

Do you like the Bible?

I didn’t ask if you read the Bible or if you believe what the Bible says. I asked if you like the Bible. Think about that for a few seconds.

I recently discovered an author and speaker, Keith Ferrin, who suggests that many of us don’t really like the Bible. We read it out of an obligation or habit but we don’t really like it, not really. If that doesn’t apply to you or if you are completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus Christ through his love letter to you, the Bible, then there is no reason for you to read any further.

However, if you would like to see maybe a different perspective on this subject that might revolutionize your regular reading of God’s Word and your relationship with Jesus then you might just want to read a little further. It will only take a few minutes and it might just change your life.

I think I know what you are thinking, “Not another book about how to read or study the Bible!” I was skeptical myself as I do believe God’s Word will teach you what you need to know if you will spend time with it. If you were thinking that, just stay with me a few minutes and hear me out. By reading this far you did say you are not completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus and your study of His word, the Bible.

10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believing It’s True Is Not Enough)  was the original name of the book when this post was published in 2013.

Since I wrote this post the book title has changes but the content is still the same. It is now called How To Enjoy Reading Your Bible. It is a short book. I read it in one evening. However don’t let the length fool you. There are ideas – tips – in this book that make a lot of sense to me and I plan on trying some of them myself.

I fall into that second category I described above. I do regularly read the Bible. This year I have been following a plan from YouVersion Bible App and it has helped me to regularly read the Bible. I know I have benefitted from this. However, I don’t believe I am where I should be in really liking the Bible as Keith describes in this book and in my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I definitely do think there is room for improvement.

I have often thought about memorizing scripture but have used any number of excuses to not really act on that thought. What translation do I use being one of the questions/excuses I use. The Watch The Whole Movie chapter will help me with this. In this chapter, he says,

 He suggests reading whole books of the Bible instead of one chapter as many of us do. Once you have read the whole book a number of times you will understand what the book is about, the big picture, then you can go back and dive deeper on a chapter or verse or passage. You will also have memorized some scripture by following this tip.

I am not going to go through all of the tips here but will list them to give you an idea of what you will see in the book. I will show you a couple of ways you can get your own copy below.

Here are the chapter titles:

1 Remember Why You Are Doing This

2 Set Your Expectations Really High

3 Have a Strategy

4 Watch the Whole Movie

5 Learn from Your Shampoo Bottle

6 Raise Your Voice

7 Read Alone

8 Don’t Read Alone

9 Go on a 60-Day Adventure

10 Take Two 4-Month Challenges

I do want to highlight one more chapter here. In Chapter 1 Keith builds his case for the purpose of and hope for this book. Here is an excerpt quoted in blue.

If our time in God’s Word was primarily relational, instead of informational, then it would have a significantly higher probability of being transformational!

Is there information in Bible? Yes. Do we learn some things about God in His Word? Yes. Does spending time in the Bible lead to a better understanding of God, His will, and His ways? Yes, yes, and yes. 

But the context of that information is the relationship. The umbrella under which all that information sits is the relationship.

So…how do we keep the focus on that relationship?

And so begins the journey.

Let’s review. If you have read this far then you have admitted to yourself that your reading and study of God’s Word is not what it should be or what you want it to be and there is room for improvement. So is it worth an evening reading to see if there is a tip contained in this book to see if there is something here that will help you? I cannot answer that for you but can and do suggest it is worth a couple of hours to find out.

I would love to see your comments either now or after you have had a chance to read How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 11/09/2013

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