Growing Into “Self”
January 2, 2016

When a child is delivered a few questions asked by most parents are: Is it a boy or a girl; does the child have ten toes and ten fingers; does the child look more like the mother or father; is everything else alright, etc.  From birth children require a conductor that is dedicated to developing the growth ability of the child physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.  The lack of proper food for example will lead to malnutrition and possible starvation.  The joyful parent(s) who take the child home into a highly charged environment of hostility, fighting, streaming, physical violence will cause the child to be on edge, withdrawn, tense, angry, and even attempting to always please others in an attempt to avoid future exposure to emotional abuse.  Children come home with their parents from the hospital equipped with an empty social canvas eager to be developed.  Social interactions such as parental smiles, parental touch and time spent with the child, parental protection of the child, parental interactions one with the other all contribute to healthy socialization of children.  Every child has the potential for spiritual development.  Worldwide children possess an internal will to be in alliance with a power beyond self.  Children may also learn to fight against the belief that there is a God who is sovereign or children may learn to falsely advocate on behalf of an equality of multiple gods.

No child has grown into self without the assistance of others.  The “others” of choice for children are their parents.  The “others” of choice for child development is not left up to the child to select.  Growing into self without assistance is like the parent who attempts to only rely on self and no one else in life.  Growing into self might produce an undeveloped or a properly developed individual.  Below are a few questions to consider when attempting to determine how you have grow.

  1.  I have little to no problems trusting others
  2. I socialize with others because I enjoy being around people who accept me as I am
  3. I have a high amount of empathy for others
  4. I serve God because he loves me not because of fear
  5. I love others because I learned love from people who loved me

Each of us can grow up to be a bringer of blessings and goodwill into the lives of ourselves and others or a mis-user of both the goodwill and blessings of others.

The self we are is known by the fruit of our existence.  Are you willing to chance asking others who really know you to honestly share with you what the see and areas of growth that you could continue to grow more complete?

Luke 2:40,52

The Year Ahead….Never Measure It By The Year Gone By
January 1, 2016

Exactly 365 days ago I made several decisions, which are also known as resolutions. that to a large degree have been adhered to as I approach 2016.  Most people who are successful in making improvements throughout the year have the following mindset:

  1.  A clear understanding about why they should change
  2. A plan that at least is a blueprint mapping the path to change
  3. A support system that holds one accountable
  4. An attitude that being knocked down isn’t to be seen as defeat
  5. A belief system which allows for incorrect decisions

When 2016 opens its door in just a few hours, walk through them with an optimism that a setback is never to be accepted as failure but an opportunity for reflection, restructuring, and returning to the task that you are resolved to master.

Charleston….Where It Began, Where It Ends?
July 10, 2015

The Country over 150 years ago looked like this:

Civil War map shows line for Union and Confederate States + Fort Sumter

The first shots of the Civil War were actually fired in Charleston, South Carolina.  On December 20, 1860 South Carolina became the first state to secede from The United States of America based upon its adamant defense of slavery and it’s insistence upon “states rights” to rule itself which translates into making it’s own rules in all matters regardless of how such rules would impact the life of others.  Read for yourself what the South Carolina Assembly wrote for their justification to secede:

“We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the right of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.”

As early as 1861 The Citadel Military Academy ordered cadets to fire the first shots of the Civil War on a Federal ship attempting to enter the harbor in Charleston.  Ironically it is the Citadel that to this day, July 10, 2015, continues to fly the Confederate flag in South Carolina.  The Citadel had a history of training those recruited militia individuals who were fighting against The United States of America.

The American Civil War (1861–1865), among other names also known as the War Between the States, was a civil war in the United States of America. Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America, also known as “the Confederacy”.  This new “Confederacy” led by Jefferson Davis also had it’s own flag….The Confederate Flag.  Those Southern States were see as traitors against the United States of America.  

The Civil War remains the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of 620,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. Ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years of age died, as did 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40. Victory for the North meant the end of the Confederacy and of slavery in the United States, and strengthened the role of the federal government. 


It becomes clearer why even today so many Southern States are opposed to the role of the Federal Government.  The Federal Government now as was during the period of The Civil War seen as “The Federal Union” which was against the rights of South Carolina and Southern States who advocated slavery and state rights.  These Southern States had a deeply held financial and self serving agenda for wanting to have a Confederacy:

As of 1860 the percentage of Southern families that owned slaves has been estimated to be 43 percent in the lower South, 36 percent in the upper South and 22 percent in the border states that fought mostly for the Union. Half the owners had one to four slaves. A total of 8000 planters owned 50 or more slaves in 1850 and only 1800 planters owned 100 or more; of the latter, 85% lived in the lower South, as opposed to one percent in the border states.

Ninety-five percent of African-Americans lived in the South, comprising one third of the population there as opposed to one percent of the population of the North, chiefly in larger cities like New York and Philadelphia. Consequently, fears of eventual emancipation were much greater in the South than in the North.

The Confederate Flag in the eyes of individuals who know the history of Slavery, States Rights and why Southern States seceded from The United States of America is a clear sign of ongoing rebellion against the government of The United States of America.  The bigger message communicated by the Confederate flag is it’s image of an ongoing rebellion and protest against The United States Federal Government for its role in abolishing the enterprise system set up by the Southern States to maintain a financial system funded upon the product of crops, slave trade, and formation of a political and religious system deemed right in their own sight.

Alexander G. Downing enlisted in the Eleventh Iowa Infantry on August ...

All American citizens should rejoice together that what was the symbol for “rebellion”, “treason”, “disregard for fairness”, “disregard for godliness”, “disregard for remorse” and “disregard for one nation united as one” has finally been removed from the public view in South Carolina.  The paramount next step is much more challenging.  How do you remove those things held within the hearts of people that may still be inside of them?  The external flag was a manifestation of the internal heart of those who over 150 years later desired that it not be removed.

USA Flag Flying

“Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked, “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.  But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you.  For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.  Matthew 15:16-20

 

Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church Shooting Impacts All Of Us
June 18, 2015

Almost 40 years ago I began preaching the gospel of Christ.   What happened last night in Charleston, South Carolina at the Emanuel AME Church touched me dearly.  Weekly, preachers, pastors, bishops, ministers, elders hearts are made glad to see individuals assemble midweek after a long day at work, challenges with health and so many other day to day matters.  My heart dropped as I prepared for bed at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday night following a great day serving God.  I had an excellent evening of fellowship at our 6:00 p.m. church meal, being blessed by a wonderful 7:30 p.m. study on the topic “Masters and Servants” only to arrive home and on the 10:00 p.m. news to hear about a church being targeted as the sight of a mass hate murder.

The Emanuel AME Church is considered the mother church of the AME churches in America.  It was reported that 9 of the 13 people assembled to pray and study the Word of God and encourage each other was killed by an individual who entered as a wolf among sheep.  The gunman, just like a wolf among sheep,  had no regard for anyone or anything except their own self serving desires.

The common ground for every place of assembly in the United States is not what the religious positions were of those inside the Emanuel AME Church, but rather the fact that it was a place of assembly for those who believed in the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  The common ground is the embrace of Jesus as the one Lord of the Christian community and for that purpose were they assembled on last night together.  If this could happen to Emanuel AME, it could also happen in any place of worship in the United States.  It’s my prayer today that collectively we can all rally around the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in support of God, Christ the Holy Spirit and the desire they had to learn more about God’s will for their lives.

Every person in the entire world who embraces the deity of Christ and the Sovereignty of God should grieve and embrace and support the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in time of their grief.  Rejoice with them who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Media Drives Fear or Calm Outlook In Time of Crisis
May 20, 2015

Perception is the view embraced by others of events, people, behavior and outcome.  Have you noticed that the news stations aren’t looping over and over again the shootout that happened in Waco, Texas which left 9 people dead and dozens others injured?  I even saw one major news anchor on television this morning biking from Boston to New York with very little said in studio about the Waco blood bath.  When the events occurred in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland the media labeled the events as “CRISIS”.  The media made sure the camera’s kept rolling and interviewing people without knowledge of what happened and almost for entertainment purposes interviewed individuals who honestly were an embarrassment to the community.

About 170 members of rival motorcycle gangs were charged with engaging in organised crime after a shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, that killed nine people and wounded 18. The crowd of suspects was so large that authorities opened a convention center to hold them all before they were arrested, police said. McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. Peterson set bond at $1 million for each suspect. He defended the high amount, citing the violence that quickly unfolded in the shopping market that was busy with a lunchtime crowd.  McLennan County Sheriff’s office have distributed the booking mugshots of the people arrested… (BBC)

Koreans fearful as Ferguson riot escalates

The Baltimore Riots Cost an Estimated $9 Million in Damages according to Time Magazine

The focus in times of unrest is indeed to make the public aware of what has happened while at the same time reassuring the public that they are safe and the “Crisis” does not define the city, community or citizens in the area.

The manner in which both the media and police approached Waco is commendable.  It will be great when the media and police commit nationwide to taking the same approach of respect and reassurance of safety to everyone in each community in America?

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God….Romans 13:1

 

Domestic Violence – It’s Clearly A Crime – Just Not Clearly Defined In Legal Circles
September 8, 2014

Intimate partner violence includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. This report presents trends in intimate partner violence by sex, and examines intimate partner violence against women by the victim’s age, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, and household composition. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.

Take a look at this video and decide what type of crime is being committed?  Is it simple assault, attempted murder, a felony, or a misunderstanding?  Depending upon the officer, the prosecutor, who the person committing the action is or who the individual on the receiving end of the action is, determines how the incident is handled.

http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_ekaflcqq

Females living in households comprised of one female adult with children experienced intimate partner violence at a rate more than 10 times higher than households with married adults with children and 6 times higher than households with one female only.

Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.

According to The U.S. Department of Justice in a July 1996 National Institute of Justice report to Congress under the Violence Against Women Act:

Within the criminal justice system, data collection is complicated by the division of
responsibilities across many independent entities—law enforcement agencies,
prosecutors, courts, and corrections. Although some local jurisdictions have
established integrated criminal justice information systems, most criminal justice data
are fragmented along operational boundaries. The continued difficulties in obtaining
complete and accurate criminal history records were cited as one indicator of the
inability to track individuals as they move through the criminal justice system or
recidivate for subsequent crimes.

The U.S. Department of Justice 1996 report revealed another eyeopener:

Multi-jurisdictional—multiple State and local agencies
Because of victim and offender mobility, agencies increasingly must be able to share
information across State and local boundaries. There are several Federal and regional
efforts under way to either provide mechanisms to do this or to encourage the
development of these systems. Achieving this goal will take time, however, and many
technical and organizational obstacles will have to be overcome.
One situation where this has been identified as a serious problem is with court
protection orders because officials outside of the originating jurisdictions generally do
not have ready access to the information required for enforcement. In addition,
policies and standards for issuing court protection orders can vary from area to area, making enforcement across jurisdictional boundaries a complex issue for local authorities.

The absence of a national definition of domestic violence causes irregularities in the
inclusion/exclusion of more informal relationships such as current or ex-boyfriends/
girlfriends, roommates, and cohabitants.  For example, Michigan and Kansas
have added a box on their crime incident report forms that officers must mark to
indicate whether an incident was domestic violence related. Other States (e.g.,
Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin) have separate forms for reporting domestic
violence. The special domestic violence report form enables States to collect offense specific
information that may be more difficult to include in a general crime incident
report form. Use of a separate form, however, does carry the physical and
psychological burden of additional paperwork, which increases the likelihood that
officers will fail to complete or submit a report.

Because domestic and sexual violence victims can face possible reprisals by the
offenders, a heavy burden of embarrassment, and other repercussions, obtaining their
cooperation can be extremely difficult for law enforcement and other agencies. The
act of reporting domestic violence and some sexual violence incidents may be
considered by victims as a last resort or as a way to make an irreparable break in a
relationship. Consequently, the victims may perceive reporting as an admission of
personal failure that they cannot face or believe is avoidable.
Additionally, the problem of adequate training of personnel in handling these cases
often was cited in the project panel discussions and survey responses. As many
jurisdictions are recognizing the seriousness of these offenses, new laws and policies
are being adopted, which in turn may require time to train all relevant staff in new
procedures and to fully implement them.

For all the above reasons, under reporting of domestic and sexual violence can be
more of a problem than for other types of offenses. Although efforts can be made to
overcome some of the factors hindering accurate reporting, some barriers may never
be completely surmounted given the nature of these crimes and the social and
behavioral issues involved.

Because identifying domestic violence crimes may involve consideration of a criminal
act, the relationship between the victim and offender, and the offender’s motive for
committing the act, properly classifying cases can be more difficult than for other
types of offenses. For example, a crime incident that would normally be considered a
property crime (e.g., a burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, or vandalism) could be
classified as a domestic violence incident if the perpetrator’s intent is to harass or
intimidate the victim. This may require the investigating officers to go beyond the
facts initially presented for a complaint to its possible underlying circumstances.
An additional complication for data reporting is that some States have not mandated a
specific domestic violence offense with which to charge an offender. In these
instances, the offender is charged with another offense, but his case may be flagged as
a domestic violence case for reporting purposes. Other States have broader family
violence statutes that include domestic violence.

As early as 1930 the Uniform Crime Reporting System has been in existence and all states contribute data into it in one form or another.  The UCRS was not mandatory however.  In 1980 the FBI replaced the old 1930 UCRS with the National Incident Based Reporting System NIBRS.  The new NIBRS is not mandatory for states to enter data.  Whether it’s the old UCRS reporting or the newer NIBRS reporting system, neither system has a clearly defined category for Domestic Violence under Category A or Category B Crimes. 

Time has come for our communities, schools, churches, businesses and families to demand that individuals who commit domestic violence be held accountable for their behaviors.  Men are to honor women as vessels of high value.  Women are to esteem men as one who is her point man or one who is willing to go before her.  Behaviorally, whenever domestic violence presents itself, it is certain that someone is functioning below God’s expectations.  There is never a time when domestic violence should be accepted or explained away in a civilized society.

God Is NOT DEAD….Now That’s One Worth Seeing!!!!!
April 7, 2014

What would you do if you were faced with the following dilemma:  In order to insure a 30% raise, or to increase your potential for landing the career promotion of your dream just say publicly “God Is Dead”.  What would you do if you were promised by the most desired (finest, cutest) bachelor or bachelorette in the entire world that not only will they go out with you, but they would love to marry you after you say publicly “God Is Dead”.  Finally, what would you do if you were promised perfect health, endless access to all the money you will ever need in your entire lifetime and that of your children’s children if you simply say publicly “God Is Dead”.  Once again I just returned from watching another movie.  The movie I saw today was God Is NOT Dead.  A freshman college student choose to stand in the Power of God’s might against an atheist professor who assured a class of 80 students a 30% grade advantage if the would simply write on a sheet of paper three words and sign their name and then turn the paper in to him.  The three words were, “God Is Dead”.  Any person refusing to follow the professor’s directive would likely fail the class.  One student who held faith in God as a Christian refused to sign his faith away and was under threat of failure in class, his girlfriend of six years left him.  Another young lady who was Muslim was caught by her family listening to the Bible on her cell phone and was beaten and thrown out of her families home.

 

Wallpapers

The only thing that made the above individuals different from their peers was their internal understanding of the power inside them through the power of God through Christ.  The difference the individuals made by being examples of power ultimately lead a movement inside many others to unleash the power that was already inside them.  The movie did an excellent job conveying an attitude that power is activated by each persons faith.  The movie did an excellent job conveying the message that once power is understood and embraced, indeed one is capable of doing all things through Christ who keeps powering them.  There are many other scenes in this movie where individuals were being robbed by the bank robber of their soul.  The bank robber is always the devil and he was dressed to the nines in deceptive clothing of education, corporate power, importance in the eyes of people.  For two hours the theater was captivated by watching the power of God work through people operating in their purpose calling doing battle against character after character operating outside their God given potential attempting over and over again to discourage individuals by making withdrawals after withdrawals into their soul.  The ending of the movie was so uplifting.  When a person walks in the power of God’s might they not only are growing closer to God personally but also may be the example of power to others causing them to allow God to power their life.  This is not just a feel good movie but rather a movie that challenges individuals to unleash their best work every day even as stated by Todd Henry author of Accidental Creative and Die Empty.  This movie was almost like watching onscreen today’s sermon about The Baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:13 – 17.  Jesus understood his purpose and would not allow anyone to talk him into a shortcut or bypassing the path to purpose.  Are you living life before the world in a manner that cry out God Is Not Dead?  In your work world do you conduct yourself in a manner that cry out God Is Not Dead?  In your dedication to prayer, worship, study of God’s Word do you model a message to those you are in touch with that God Is Not Dead?  When was the last time you invited a person to come and worship with you in order for them to experience assembling with others who serve The Living God who is Good All The Time and All The Time He Is Good.  Invite three people to come with you this Sunday to experience The God Who Is Not Dead….that is unless you have signed the piece of paper and passed it in that has made a statement to those in your circle that your God is not able. 

1.  You show God is not able by never talking about how he has delivered you

2.  You show God is not able by not encouraging other to try him for themselves

3.  You show God is not able by not making Him a priority in your own personal life

This movie is a must see. Why?  Because God Is Not Dead.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
April 3, 2014

Gunshots, sirens, screams, fights, body bags, fear, anxiety, worry, drug abuse, inability to focus are contributing things normally linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).   Imagine being exposed to such an environment day in and day out for weeks, months and God forbid years.  According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders there are at least 5 Criterion that must be met in order to diagnose PTSD:

1a.  Symptoms follow exposure to an extreme traumatic stress inducing event where the individual directly was impacted or witnessed events involving death, critical injury, threat of physical harm or threat of death.

1b.  An individuals response to events such as those in Criterion 1a are of intense fear, helplessness or even horror and agitated or disorganized behavior in younger children.

2.  The intensity experienced in 1b of fear, helplessness, horror, agitation and disorganized behavior resulting from exposure to events must be a persistent re-exposure to the traumatic event(s).

3.  The over exertion of energy to avoid stimuli associated the the initial traumatic event and a numbing of general responsiveness

4.  There is an abnormal and persistent increased arousal in the here and now that is not in line with what is happening presently.

5.  The abnormal expression of 2 – 4 above must be manifested in a person for at least on month.

6.  The abnormal expressions of an individual must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of daily functions. 

Surprisingly it is easier for individuals to determine that individuals who have gone off to war and returned might be acting differently than it is to make a similar determination of individuals in the general population.  I recall as a boy hearing my parents talk about men who had fought in World War 2 and Korea who weren’t the same as before going off to war.  The general term used to describe the changed behavior was “shell shocked”.  Men that I grew up with went to Viet Nam and some came back very agitated, anxious, paranoid, fearful and even addicted to drugs.  Over the past decade ten’s of thousand men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been impacted by road side bombs, direct gun fights, rocket propelled grenades and suicide bombers.  War is an incubator for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and when our men and women return home they as well as family and friends truly hope everything will be as normal as it was before they were deployed.  The sad reality in far too many cases however is that war is an ongoing traumatic theater for the duration of one’s deployment.  

Traumatic events according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are not restricted to combat in the military.  Violent personal attacks such as sexual assaults, physical assaults, robbery, kidnapping, torture, imprisonment or even automobile accidents may also cause PTSD.  Children and adults in communities around the United States of America are experiencing PTSD and are many times dismissed as being socially maladjusted.  The communities where gunshots, murder, robbery, street violence exists daily, both young and old, black and white are living in exposure to the possibility of becoming victims of PTSD.  When such individuals leave the stress inducing environments of their upbringing, there is the misconception that they are able to function in a more stable work environment, a more stable community, a more stable church, a more stable marriage or more stable social settings free of the stress inducing traumatic pass.  Without any warning and regardless of where a person might find themselves,  something may trigger inside a person and they will actually experience anew the same emotions as what happened in the war zones of Iraq, Viet Nam, or even where one grew up. 

Children who were raped or constantly exposed to domestic violence and or neglect, or constantly lived in fear or witnessed chaos, might easily experience undiagnosed PTSD as an adult.  What happened at Fort Hood Texas on yesterday must be studied from the soldiers history not just based on his apparent state of mind on the day of the event, but what was his complete history from childhood, to marriage, to becoming a soldier, to the experience in Iraq and the impact of his most recent move to Texas.

Do you know individuals whose behaviors appear to be very unpredictable or agitated, suspicious of others in a manner that does not seem to bother most other individuals? 

 

Noah The Movie…..NOT REALLY
March 31, 2014

Did you know that Noah was protected by giants called “Watchers”?  Neither did I.  Did you know that a direct ancestor of Adams son Cain ten generations after Cain went into the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that only Noah and his wife and his three sons and the wife of Shem were the only people to enter the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Shem’s wife bore twin girls while in the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Ham murdered that descendant from Cain while on the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Methuselah prior to Noah beginning building the Ark gave Noah a seed to plant and all of a sudden trees sprang up to provide wood for the building of the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that just before the flood Ham went looking for a wife and almost got her back to the Ark but she was killed?  Neither did I.  The just released movie Noah is an absolute mockery to Old Testament History.  I now understand why this movie wasn’t recommended for children.  My 10 year old grandson would have been as frustrated as we were after sitting through distortion after distortion after distortion through the entire movie.  Oh, I almost forgot, did you know that Noah’s two other sons Ham and Japheth had no wives when they landed on dry ground and exited the ship?  Neither did I.  Did you know that prior to Methuselah’s death he healed Shem’s wife of her inability to bear children?  Neither did I.  That is until today when I saw the movie Noah starring Russell Crowe.

Noah’s Ark no kind of escape planBuilding Noah's Ark

 

I have never been so dumbfounded by a movie in all my life.  Even my wife who has accused me in times past of picking holes in movies just to be critical walked away as frustrated and disappointed as I.  When the movie ended people of all races and probably all religious backgrounds were completely silent.  A better description would be shocked, bewildered, puzzled, feeling tricked, feeling as if the movie makers used the name Noah to trick Godly people into the theater.  This movie was an absolute mockery to the Genesis account of the life of Noah and the great flood.  I would say under normal conditions for you to go and see it for yourself, but in this case I suggest you send the cost of your ticket to a homeless shelter, or donate it to a cause at a local school, or put a few extra dollars in your churches contribution plate.  This movie was terrible.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  Except to take time and read Genesis chapters 6 through 8 for yourself to see if any of the things that I saw in this movie are found in the text.

 

Taking A Bribe Will Require A Lifetime To Pay
March 11, 2014

I have always been intrigued by the wisdom and sometimes the ignorance of older people.  As a child born to parents who were 54 and 43, I could never escape being around individuals who for the most part were the same age or even older than my parents.  By age 19 I landed a job working with W.R. Grace in downtown Memphis, Tennessee.  W.R. Grace back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s was one of the top 5 chemical companies in the entire world.  The world headquarters for the company was located in Manhattan, New York.  The Memphis offices was the major accounting center for the world operations and was located in the elite 100 North Main Building.  My office area was located on the 14th floor where the company comptroller, payroll and fixed assets employees were.  On floors 15 through 18 other operations were located included the Chief Operation Officer’s staff.  The main lobby was spotless and each morning the hallways were filled with professional and political people whose offices filled the 36 story building.  The fourth floor had a cafeteria and many shops that sold almost anything that a person might need.  There was a custom jewelery store owned and operated by Mr. Carlos.  In fact the name of the store was Carlos Jewelery.  Mr. Carlos would sometimes stand in the doorway of his very high end store and just smile and watch people throughout the lunch hours.  Numerous times I would stand and look at the many custom designed jewelery crafted by Mr. Carlos who always kept what I called a coal miners light on his head.  As time went by, Mr. Carlos took me into his store and began talking to me about how to look at diamonds and what was considered a great stone compared to just a typical stone with little or no clarity.  There were days when Mr. Carlos would point out various local Memphis politicians to me who had offices in the 100 North Main Building or they would be going to the offices of individuals for various purposes.  Mr. Carlos was affiliated with what appeared to be every organization of substance in the state of Tennessee.  Mr. Carlos was active in his Jewish religious order.  Mr. Carlos belonged to the Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Carlos was well connected to every political power group in the entire state of Tennessee.

irs.jpg “In the name of earthly position one might forfeit their character”

One day a certain political figure whose office was in the 100 North Main Building walked by Mr. Carlos’ Jewelery store while he and I were talking.  This was a well known person in the African American business community that walked by.  This was a locally elected government official that walked by.  This was an individual that I had rode the elevator with and had only said good morning to that walked by Mr. Carlos’ store that day.  Mr. Carlos and I both said hello to the individual as he walked by, but it was what Mr. Carlos said to me afterwards that I never forgot.  Mr. Carlos said to me, “young man the person who just spoke to us will never be an effective politician and will never make it to the national political stage unless he does exactly what others tell him he can or can’t do.”  I was speechless and Mr. Carlos quickly explained why he said what he did to me.  In one sentence Mr. Carlos simply stated that the politician had “taken the hat”.

Royalty Free Stock Photography: Glittery hat filled with money “Everything that glitters isn’t necessarily good for you”

Mr. Carlos explained that in almost every circle there are “money hats” designed to ensnare individuals.  Mr. Carlos told me that he cautioned this politician not to be enticed by “the hat”, but he took it anyway.  Sadly according to Mr. Carlos, once you take the hat with the hundreds of thousands of dollars you also have taken all the good and bad intents attached to those who put the money into the hat.  Mr. Carlos described the hat as being so sinister that much like Judas Iscariot, once you have it in your hand and discover all of the corruption attached, you can’t give it back even if you want to do so.  My elderly 54 and 43 year old parents by example instilled in me to owe no man anything except to say thank you.  As a person who is continuing to learn to walk by faith and not by the many promises and offers of people each believer should try the spirits of people before falling for the potential entanglements of what is in that hat.  Do not become enticed by what is offered that you give up the greater gift of what you currently possess as did Eve with Satan.  Do not sell your soul out for evil like Esau forfeited his birthright. Jesus put forth the challenge this way, “what does it profit a man to gain the entire world and lose his soul or what will a man give once he has lost his soul to get it back again?”

Have you ever considered selling your soul in order to gain popularity, wealth or fame?  How did that story end for you?