The Faith of One…

or just his own beliefs…

Halves or Quarters?

Posted by onemansbeliefs on June 5, 2009

Many years ago the Mrs. was making me a salad for dinner and she was almost done, but there was one final detail that needed to be ironed out.  She asked me if I would like the boiled eggs cut in half or quartered.
 
Before I get to my response let me explain some things about salads at our house.  They are not an easy way to avoid cooking meals.  They are creations which involve great amounts of time and effort.  Preparation time can easily reach into the hours (so grateful the Mrs. does much of this).  I’m not talking about wimpy salads like egg, tuna, 3 bean (relax, I like these, but they have no place in this blog) or even that party favorite , the dreaded 7 layer salad (too Martha Stewartish).
 
The 2 versions of salads that dominate in our house are lettuce and pasta.  These creations are very similar in design and construction.  In fact, they are identical except for 1 ingredient.  The 2 interchangeable items are romaine and fettucini.  The remaining constituents are chosen for a number of reasons including taste, color and texture.  Allow me to list some of these here (in no particular order): red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, garbanzo beans, green peas, water chestnuts, broccoli, spinach, boiled eggs, cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, dark red kidney beans and a ground up mixture of almonds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds (it adds a nutty flavor and is healthy (the Mrs. choice)).
 
Should we be having the pasta version of this dish, we make the pasta the day before.  It is cooked, covered with generous amounts of ranch dressing and allowed to cool in the refrigerator over night.  The next day all the items are mixed together with additional ranch dressing for flavor and as a gluing agent.  All this takes time and effort, but is well worth the end result.
 
Okay, back to the question about the boiled eggs.  The Mrs. was just about finished with the salads and she asked if I would like them cut in halves or quarters.  I responded halves.  There was no effort on my part in formulating a response to this question.  If she asked if I would like them in quarters or halves, I believe quarters would have been my answer.  A few minutes later, I received the salad and the eggs had been cut in quarters and placed nicely in the dish.
 
It seems that the Mrs. and I had a failure to communicate.  Sure, we used words and understood what each was saying, but the final product failed to represent what was expected.  When asked, she stated the salad was more aesthetically pleasing with the eggs in quarters and she didn’t think I would mind.  I didn’t.  However, this got me to thinking about details.
 
Luke 12:6-7 “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore: Ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
 
It has been said that God is in the details and I believe this to be true.  If details are important to him, they should be important to me.  The Mrs. and I paid attention to the details where the salad above was concerned, but failed elsewhere.  We failed to consider each other.  I failed to think before answering a question she posed to me.  She failed to honor the answer I gave.  In some marriages this would be enough to start divorce proceedings.
 
This one insignificant moment in our lives has been a great learning experience of us.  It has given us a perspective that has made our marriage even better.  In this case, which is more important, the salad or the one making the salad?  Simple?  Maybe.  However, I believe that if more people had learned this lesson early in their marriage they would still be married.
 
The Mrs. and I continue to enjoy our moment of halves or quarters and are extremely grateful that we learned this over a couple eggs and not over a weekend with strippers and cocaine…
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It’s All About Me…

Posted by onemansbeliefs on May 3, 2009

A number of days have passed since I learned about Senator Arlen Specter’s decision to switch party affiliations and the anger his decision created has subsided. I wanted to write something earlier, but I was having difficulty understanding why his betrayal of the Republican Party and those which voted him into office would bother me the way it has. It’s not like this is the first time a politician has left his party and/or his people, so I was not sure why I felt the way I did.

Okay, anger is a bit much, it was more like irritation, frustration and/or disappointment.

Thinking about this over the last few days I kept getting the image of a person that commits adultery. It seems like a stretch, but hang in there. This man ran for office as a Republican and now, in midstream, has switched to the Democratic Party. This could give the illusion that he was elected on false pretenses. I have heard the opinion that he was voting Democratic anyway so no big deal and I might agree, but that was not the reason for his changing suits. He changed parties so he could win re-election. This only days after stating that he would not be leaving the Republican Party. One could conclude that his actions were based on selfishness and the number one tell-tale sign of selfishness is lying…

This is where I have a problem with what he did.

He was elected to serve those which voted for him and the last time I checked there is no place for selfishness in serving. Yet, he put his own interests above the interests of the people which put him in this honorable position. He willingly entered into a relationship with his constituents and then breaks their trust to satisfy his own personal agenda. This is where, I believe, he is no different than an adulterer.

Confession Time: I, at one time, was given to acts of selfishness…

However, as I grow older (and I hope wiser), I have come to believe that selfishness should be eliminated from my life. I exert lots of effort to remove “me” from any situation which I find myself involved, be it home, work or social gatherings. In fact, with “me” removed I find more joy and peace in every place I go. Why have I come to the decision to remove selfishness from my life? I’m glad you asked…

Let me give you two examples…

1. Isaiah 14:12-14, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

2. John 4:34 “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

I have made the decision to do my best to resemble the one who came to serve and not the one who came to rule. I understand there are those that choose not to believe as I do. Therefore, I offer you two other examples.

You can be like Senator Arlen Specter or you can be like…

ME!!!

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The High Ground of Moral Authority…

Posted by onemansbeliefs on April 22, 2009

I’ve heard a number of times over the last few days about the high ground of moral authority that the United States needs to be on as an example for the rest of the world. This phrase, moral authority, has most often been in the discussion about whether the United States has committed torture during interrogations. The President of the United States saw fit to release documents that describe the interrogation process and there are a number of people who believe that these tactics are, in fact, torture…

If one agrees that the processes described in these memos is actually torture they would also agree that we have been torturing some of our own men and women in the military. Just for fun, I am including the following definitions of torture… This is just so we have a basic understanding of what torture is (please don’t ask what the definition of is, is).

Torture – the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty. Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion. Extreme mental distress.

In looking up the definitions of torture one notices the adjectives extreme, severe and excruciating. These do not mean run of the mill, but denote something that is extended far beyond the normal standards. So the question is did the United States of America order and approve the torturing of the terrorists in custody? Some say yes… It’s these people that are concerned with how the rest of the world views the United States. They argue that water boarding is indeed torture as defined by the international community, or at least the United Nations. Funny thing is, the United Nations has yet to define terrorism and/or terrorist.

When I think of torture I am reminded of the cruel things the Japanese did to our servicemen in WWII. I think of what the Vietnamese did to our servicemen during the Vietnam war. I think of the beheadings and disembowelment that Islamic Fundamentalist committed against our servicemen in the Middle East. I believe even the most irrational thinker would agree that these are not the same things. However, lets just say they are… Should the United States be involved in torturing individuals that have been capture in the (don’t hate me) “The War on Terror”?

Back to moral authority… This is the mantra those opposing the Bush doctrine of interrogation have been chanting the last few days. They state that the U.S. has the moral obligation not to torture. They believe that maintaining a moral authority is the best way to fight and win this war. Okay… Lets find out what we are talking about. What is the definition of moral?

Moral – of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical. Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character.

I would say, the act of doing right over doing wrong. That’s simple, but the easier it is for me the better I like it.

If doing right over wrong is the way to go, we have to establish what is right. This begs the question, how do we know what is right? What do we base right on? Some base it on this…

Bill of Rights – Amendment VIII – “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

In my opinion, this is a stretch. As far as I can tell, the above refers to those who have broken the laws of the United States. Not those who are trying with all their might to destroy the United States and its people. It would seem to me that there is a big difference between the two.

I think those claiming the United States must maintain a moral authority are not interested in doing right. They are interested in making others look wrong. I believe this because these same people and their voices are silent when it comes to taking the high ground of moral authority and defending the rights of an innocent and unborn child. That’s a different rant…

Here’s what I believe… In a time of war, you do what is necessary to win the war. I would site the following examples… The firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo… The use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki… It is after the fighting is done and the enemy has been defeated when the high ground of moral authority becomes applicable. It is when our enemy has admitted defeat and surrendered that we should do what we have done in the past, extend a hand and help rebuild…

Our current enemy has yet to be defeated and surely has not surrendered. Therefore, the right thing to do for our country and its citizens is to kick him in the mouth as many times as it takes to make him quit the fight. Even better, we could force them to listen non-stop to those who proclaim the United States needs to take the high ground of moral authority in the “War on Terror.”

That would be worthy of pay-per-view…

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What Love Did…

Posted by onemansbeliefs on April 9, 2009

I’ve been pondering for a number of days about what I should write in celebration of the resurrection of my Lord and Saviour. I’ve had different ideas about the subject and thought about the ways to approach the subject of Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, the words would not come and I couldn’t get beyond the title. As it turns out, even the title has been forsaken for the one you now see.

So, I’ve decided to use the words of the Bible to share what Jesus did for me.

Isaiah 53:3-5 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Isaiah 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”

Hebrews 9:12, 34 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

Matthew 27:29-31 “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.”

John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”

Psalm 16:10 “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

However, there is good news…

Matthew 28:5-7 “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

I have heard many ask, “Why would a loving God sacrifice His own Son for us?” Those people do not realize they are answering their own question.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

This is where Love comes in… He did this while I was still his enemy!!!

Romans 5:8 “But God shows and clearly proves His love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

As I celebrate this weekend…

I will remember what the Lord has done for me…
I will remind others that He has done this for them…

I will be eternally grateful for what He endured; that I could become a child of God…

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Be Still…

Posted by onemansbeliefs on March 19, 2009

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like more and more things are happening each day. It could be that I’m just hearing about them due to the availability of tv, internet, radio, newspaper and watercooler. Each day being bombarded with hundreds or, perhaps, thousands of stories which are capturing the attention of those that report the news. Normally, this is a good thing, because *wait for it*

I like to know things!!!

I don’t have to tell things. I just like to know things. It’s odd, but knowing things makes me happy. They don’t even have to be important things, just things.

For instance, I went to a Kinks concert a number of years ago and while waiting for the Davies’ brothers, I noticed someone in the crowd. I thought I recognized this person, but wasn’t sure and not knowing started to bother me. While getting refreshments this person was in line right next to me and I apologized for bothering them and before I could ask the question they confirmed my suspicion. It was Joe Elliot of Def Leppard. I was just happy knowing and now I could focus on refreshments. On a side note: He ask me a question and we talked about 15 minutes. Nice guy.

Sometimes just wanting to know things has it’s drawbacks. With all the information delivery vehicles available I can go into information overdose. It is then I need to take a different approach. At times like this I take the advice of Psalm 46:10…

“Be still, and know that I am God”

I grab my Bible and determine to know (to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty) God.

And each time I do, I find that He is the God of:

Hope – Peace – Patience – Consolation – All Comfort – Love – All Grace – My Righteousness – My Salvation – Glory – My Strength – My Mercy – Heaven

I also find that God (the Lord) is:

My Rock – My Fortress – My Deliverer – My Strength – My Buckler – My High Tower – My Shepherd – My Light – My Shield – Good – My Defence – Upright – Great – Judge – Merciful – Gracious – Slow to Anger – High Above All Nations – Righteous – Good to All – Full of Compassion – Faithful – LOVE

Doing this reboots my brain (so to speak) and sets my priorities in order. It helps me focus on what I truly need to know and unlike previously mentioned things, this I like to tell.

There is one more thing that God is and I believe it is the most important thing to me…

He is my Heavenly Father….

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Just Words?

Posted by onemansbeliefs on February 11, 2009

Hope and Change…

These are the words that have been hammered into our heads for the last two years. Over and over all those who chose not to support our previous President have spoken these words. Hope and Change. These are powerful words and they were used effectively. Numerous individuals were indoctrinated with these words and came to believe that Hope and Change was the only alternative.

We were never given details of what Hope and Change would bring or how it would come to pass in our lives. It was as if, said enough, this would bring about the Hope and Change of which was spoken. However, Hope and Change are merely words and they by themselves fall short of bringing about the hope and change that was encouraged by so many.

Hope – To wish for something with expectation. A desire accompanied by some confident expectation. Something that is desired.

Change – To be or cause to be different, alter.

Sadly, the something or the desire in Hope and the different in Change were never defined or explained by those that were championing these words. Hope and Change were simply stated as not being President Bush or his policies. In order to accept the Hope and Change as presented by the harbingers of Hope and Change one must believe that President Bush and all he accomplished as President are wrong. This is a belief that I will never have or present when discussing our previous President. This does not mean that I concur with each and every decision he made in regards to all the situations presented before him. I do not, but I do believe he thought his actions were in the best interest of the United States of America.

It might be just me, but Hope and Change are not the words that I heard for the past two years. Each time the words Hope and Change were spoken, I heard…

Hate and Fear…

Hate all things Bush and Fear that all things he did will remain. The words Hate and Fear are just as powerful as Hope and Change, but with one difference. Hate and Fear can be void of rationality and this makes them both dangerous. I believe Hate and Fear require an action without an intelligent thought process. One example is the executive decision to close Guantanamo Bay, or Gitmo as it is readily known. President Bush created it; hence it is wrong and must not be allowed to continue.. Our President has signed an order and Gitmo will be closed in one year. This decision has been made without knowing how it is to be closed. Without knowing where those that are held in this secure location are to be sent. Without knowing how to determine the guilt, innocence, punishment or release of those held.

This kinda reminds me of the joke where a stranger asks an old farmer for directions and the farmer says, “You can’t get there from here.”

The thing I find odd about Hate and Fear is that it makes so many people happy. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with making them feel better about themselves. Again, an irrational thought process. I may not have all the answers, but there is one thing I can do…

I can Hope those that Hate and Fear will Change their ways…

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I Know For Certain…

Posted by onemansbeliefs on January 19, 2009

I’ve been wanting to write something for sometime now and no subject has been working for me. There are lots of things going on in the world, the Estados Unidos and in my life. But, I’ve been having difficulty trying to put words on paper, so to speak… I just find that all the major events of the past month or so have an element of sadness to them (at least for me) and that makes it that much harder to write about them.

Don’t worry!!! I’m not falling into the pit of depression. I’m too happy for that. 🙂

Perhaps, it’s just the way I’ve been looking at things…

Take the situation in Gaza. I find it hard to believe that people can take the side of a terrorist organization and condemn the Israeli government for defending itself. Yet, the nations of the world are doing just that. However, the sadness I feel (is not for the nation of Israel, they are more than able to take care of themselves) is for the mindset of those that wish to destroy Israel and those that support them in their cause. To me, it’s completely irrational and yet it is widely supported. *takes a deep breath and moves on*

We get a new President tomorrow and (as much as I would like to hope) it seems that this President has already laid the groundwork for his inability to get things done. Hope and Change were the words of the campaign, but now it appears that it will be harder and take longer for either to take affect/effect (I type you decide). I certainly thought the Bush Bashing was over, but it seems it will be lasting longer than I expected. Hence the sadness. Silly me.

What have I been doing to combat this sadness?

I have been opening my Bible and reading more than I have in recent times. I have been encouraged to study different topics and get a better understanding of what God wants for me. It’s working too… I can spend just a few minutes in the Word and the cares of this world cease to be an issue for me. I start to look at each issue and approach it from the direction and attitude with which God would have me to and I know for certain…

It will all will be okay.

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Merry Christmas and all that Jazz…

Posted by onemansbeliefs on December 24, 2008

I wish to start out by wishing all that read this a Merry Christmas…

I choose to say Merry Christmas during this time of year, because it has always been Merry Christmas to me. All my life it’s been Merry Christmas. I knew nothing but Merry Christmas until I got older and then I noticed that others were saying other things such as Happy Holidays. During my pre-Christian days I was fine with either. Now, as a Christian, I still am.

I believe this season is about me celebrating my Lord and Saviour.

However, I also believe that I should be celebrating Him and what he did for me everyday of the year. Christmas and Easter should not be the only days Christians acknowledge the One that gave His life for them. That being said, who am I to be telling others what they should be doing or what they should believe during this time?

No need to answer. It’s not my job, my mission or my destiny to tell others what to believe.

I believe the Bible is my handbook and it tells me how I should live. It does not tell me that I should tell others how to live their lives. I should be a witness for my Lord. My life should be an example of what Jesus has done for me. There should be no need to preach to others about what I believe, they should be able to see it in how I live my life.

So Merry Christmas to all…

and if you prefer…

Happy Holidays…

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Off The Menu

Posted by onemansbeliefs on December 4, 2008

I present a word of warning for those of you that plan on inviting the Mrs. and me out to dinner and have a tendency to get embarrassed by the action of others.

The Mrs. orders off the menu…

Having been with my lovely bride for over fifteen years I have yet to see a menu that she doesn’t deem worth of tweaking. The type of restaurant does not matter. Italian, Chinese, Indian, fast food, slow food, vegetarian and even vegan. No cuisine is safe from her adjustments. Some major (cream sauce for red), some minor (pine nuts for mushrooms), but these changes are necessary. Chefs have taken years to perfect these dishes. However, my wife has the uncanny ability to make them even better.

I believe this is genetic, yet I lack the funds to have any scientific study take place.

Anyone know where I can get a grant?

That being said… I am her equal opposite…

I do the same thing at home.

No “all in one” meal is safe. I will add anything and everything to Hamburger Helper, Chunky Soup or any other heat and eat dinner. The reason of this post (other than getting an invitation to dinner) is to let you in on one of my favorite adjustments.
It is my favorite food of all time…

Macaroni and Cheese…

Start with 2 boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese… Yes, it has to be Kraft and it must be the original… Not spirals, Sponge Bob, white cheddar or any other kind of Kraft… Has to be the “Cheesiest.” I have tried using generic and the final product is just not the same.

Cook macaroni to desired taste and drain.
Add 1 stick of butter and delicious cheese packets and milk.
I do not measure the milk. I just add until it seems right. However, I am cautious about adding too much. After all, it is easier to add than remove…
Mix together over low heat…
Now for the kicker…
Add 1 bag of 8oz shredded cheese. Not just any cheese… It must be of the Mexican variety… The one with 4 different cheeses… There is no restriction on this cheese, it can be any brand (although, the Kraft brand makes the mac & cheese extra smooth).

No need to thank me as I have already received your thanks in advance…

While typing this post I remembered an unusual thing about the Mrs.’s off the menu affliction and must amend the above. It seems the more expensive the restaurant, the less likely she is to make adjustments. So any invitations should be to really expensive places…

To save you the embarrassment, that is…

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Maps Are Good

Posted by onemansbeliefs on December 3, 2008

A few years ago the Mrs. and I were in Atlanta with her brother and his wife. My brother-in-law was driving, I was riding shotgun and the ladies taking the chauffeured positions in the back. We left an event and being unfamiliar with the area we got lost. The area we were in did not seem to be the friendliest and there was a consensus not to stop and get directions. No need to worry though, we had a map in the glove compartment.

Now I do not wish to boast on myself, but I have mad skills where map reading is concerned. I also do well with blueprints and schematics, but that’s another story. Anyway, I locate some street signs and determine from the map the direction we need to go in order to get to our desired location. I relayed this information to the driver. Problem solved…

Not so fast. My sister-in-law determined that the directions I gave were not in our best interest. She believed that going in a different direction was better. How did she know? Did she have personal knowledge of the area? Did she have a map? Did she have some information of which we were not aware? So many questions and frankly answers to none.

My brother-in-law is now in the hot seat. He has to make a decision that is going to affect/effect (I type you decide) our immediate future. Should he take the information that is on the map as reliable and choose to follow its direction or does he listen to what his wife believes. Sadly, he’s screwed either way. To make a long story short, I put the map away and we drove around for about another hour before making it back to our hotel.

Before you start laughing at my brother-in-law you must know that I was in that driver’s seat for most of my life. Not literally, but figuratively…

I was taking direction from the world on how I should live my life and not from the one who created me and life itself. This decision had me driving around in circles and getting nowhere. My God provided a map for me and I chose to ignore it for many a year. His map for me and direction for my life is in His Word, the Bible. Thankfully, his patience for me knows no ends and he was there when I finally asked for help.

I’ve been following his directions for over 1o years now and have arrived at a number of destinations that He prepared for me. Those destinations include…

Peace… Love… Joy…

I’m grateful He has more for me and with His help I won’t miss a single turn.

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