Posts Tagged With: God

The Priceless Population


As a society it seems as if we value just about everything as it ages. Things like…

Wine(Paul Masson “We will sell no wine before its time“) There seems to be a general belief that when it comes to wine, older is definitely better. People have paid out extraordinary amounts of money to own rare and highly sought after spirits.

And houses: Although most houses fall into the “decrepit” category after 100 years (or less in some cases), there are still many houses (even older) that are considered “vintage” and sell for a premium, especially American Craftsman Style homes if they have all or most of their original “built ins” or have been designated historical landmarks.

And of course, baseball cards: One of the most expensive baseball card in the world is one from 1909 that was sold for a staggering $2.8 million!

Now, while I certainly think all of these aged-collectables are nice, the most notable and surprising exception to inclusion in this time-established ranking of seniority… is people.

It’s really sad to me that as people get older, instead of treating them with respect and dignity, many of them are treated like a nuisance. An inconvenience at best. We cast our elderly aside like yesterday’s newspaper. Maybe good for recycling, but more likely to be used as lining in bird cages. Where is the honor many of the aged among us so rightfully deserve? When did we become so careless with our ancestry?

I’ve purposed to simply record conversation with my older relatives, especially my parents. I sit and ask questions about a bygone era that shaped the people they eventually became. People who fell in love, got married and gave me life. I realized a long time ago that there is so much to be learned from their lifetime of experiences. I learn about our country’s history from a first-hand accounting of events. I learn about the transformation of what constituted entertainment. And I learn about our community both large and small, as well as its victories and its defeats.

So just remember, by the grace of God, we’ll all get old eventually. Make the time to give your elders the time and attention they deserve. Because the hearts of this extraordinary population, and the wisdom-laden information they provide are in a word… priceless.

Categories: family, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sugar Coat


I’ll be the first to admit when I don’t understand something. I think everyone suffers when you pretend to understand something you don’t. Usually, I’ll go to the source to try and find out whatever bit of information I’m missing so that I’ll have everything I need on which to base my opinion. If I’m unable to go to the source or the source proves unreliable, I just leave well enough alone. It’s not that I can’t have an opinion, I just don’t think my opinion is any more credible than those who formulate ideas about what an actor is really like, based solely on the roles they play.

Seems silly.

That being said, I’m trying to understand something… how is it that people somehow find a way to make everyone a hero? We make horrible decisions and must deal with the consequences. Nevertheless we will still find a crowd of people rushing to console and defend someone under the guise of being a “real friend”.

I don’t need friends like that. I need someone who will tell me point blank, “Riis, that was wrong.” or “Riis, you need to apologize.” or even “Riis, you messed up bad. Either you make this right or you suffer the fallout alone because I can’t support this kind of behavior.”

See… give it to me straight. Don’t sugarcoat my feelings or pity my shortcomings with silence. I will never grow that way.

Let me say that again…

Don’t sugarcoat my feelings, or pity my shortcomings with silence. I will NEVER grow that way.

Growth is invaluable.

Growth is sometimes painful.

Growth is necessary.

I can’t live without growth.

But I can live without the sugar coat.

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond Measure


One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that it is not within my ability to convince anyone of God’s existence. That responsibility falls to God alone. However, for those who are searching for God or searching for answers, I make myself available to them so that in the end they might discover Him and His truth, as I know it, for themselves.

That being said, I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God was born of a virgin unto man and died for the propitiation of our sin. More specifically, I hold to the Trinitarian Pentecostal Reformation viewpoint. What does this mean? I believe in the triune Godhead: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. I believe that salvation is a GIFT from God, the acceptance of which is a prerequisite to avoiding hell and complete and utter separation from God. No, I do not believe “once saved, always saved” in the sense that you can claim Christ and then live as a heathen. However, I do believe that if you are chosen by God, he will keep you unto eternal salvation with a heart that abhors a sinful lifestyle and strives to be pleasing to Him in all that you say and do.

Someone said to me, “Omnipresence is impossible.” [It is entirely impossible for any created being to be in more than one place at the same time, let alone everywhere.]

Not necessarily. A God all-powerful enough to create the laws of physics and time by which mankind is limited would not Himself be confined to them. I come to this by the simple belief that if He created them, He could also un-create them, and is therefore not bound by them. Especially if it is the creator of the laws themselves.

They also said, “Omniscience is impossible.” [It is entirely impossible for any created being to be all-knowing.]

Again, a being that exists outside of our frame of reference and delineation of time wouldn’t necessarily be confined to the laws of it. To me, any being that could or should be referred to as a god is by definition not subject to His creation or the parameters within which His creation now exists.

Finally, they said, “Omnipotence is impossible.” [It is entirely impossible for any created being to be all-powerful.]

I think we come up short when we attempt to define God by the limitations of mankind. Impossibility, in this regard, is simply stating that man is entirely incapable of an action. Therefore it is impossible. But NOT for God. BECAUSE He is God. His ability to do things that man can not is further proof of His deity.

Needless to say, this all presupposes that we define “God” in the same way. And there is a great majority, Christian and non-Christian alike, that do not.

There can be no consensus if we don’t agree on basic points such as who “God” is or is not. If there are no absolutes then there is no foundation upon which a debate can be established. And MY God is more complex than our finite minds can comprehend and therefore is beyond defining.

Actually, the truth is that to attempt a definition would be using the wrong terminology. You wouldn’t ask someone to “define” their mother. You would ask them to “describe” their mother.

So I will describe God as I have come to know Him…

He is the Creator of all things. A divine, incorruptible, perfect and just being who is capable of both infinite mercy and incredible wrath. He exists outside of time and resides in eternity. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is, therefore I am.

Here’s what I say to those who believe that God doesn’t exist because He can’t be “proven” to exist. To insist on the nonexistence of a deity who is supernatural, simply because nature and its laws cannot measure Him seems rather conjectural. Would your expectation of any god who was all-powerful be that his/her/its existence can only be substantiated by their creation?

In my opinion, to say that only a being that can be proven by the parameters of science can be god is to negate the very attributes that would make Him god-like in the first place. Mankind doesn’t possess the tools nor the capacity to measure God’s supernatural attributes. In the end, if He is not omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent (and therefore immeasurable), then He is not God.

In regard to God’s measurability, I simply refer to my previous post on LOVE… while we can certainly demonstrate love, we cannot measure its depth or variations by any benchmark or standard of behavior established by mankind. Nor does everyone define it the same. Yet, we know it exists.

Categories: personal, religion, theology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Just an observation…


Most of us, if not all, would agree that we can demonstrate the existence of love even though it is intangible in and of itself. Our relationships reflect it. Our behavior is motivated by it. Certain types of love even have financial implications. But it cannot be held in your hands, bought from a store or traded on the stock exchange.

Yet, we know it exists.

Nevertheless, we cannot accurately measure love’s depths or variations by any benchmark or standard of behavior established by mankind. For we have seen both the most beautiful and horrendous things occur in its name. There is no way to anticipate its affect from one person to the next. Nor does everyone define or describe it the same.

Yet, we know it exists.

Some people embrace it. Others fear it. But we never question its functionality or how deeply embedded it has become in our everyday lives. We accept that it is because of the preponderance of evidence that supports it. And when I think about all of these things, I come back to the same simple conclusion…

God is.

Categories: personal, religion | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Gentleman’s Curse?


There’s an old adage (or aphorism? I never get those right) that goes “nice guys finish last”. It’s the belief that being nice is a terrible liability when it comes to things like romance or business. We’re told that girls prefer bad boys over gentleman. Or that in order to have any success in business, you have to be aggressive and shark-like with a “take no prisoners” attitude.

Crazy thing is, for most of my life I believed that statement to be a load of crap. And by “crap” I mean “an often repeated untruth that slowly becomes accepted as truth simply by the sheer volume of people who choose restate and quote it as fact”. But come on, there couldn’t possibly be any drawbacks to being considerate and full of compassion, right?

Wrong.

Like I said (only a short two paragraphs ago), there was a time I believed that to be true. That is, until I better understood the reasoning and truth that underlies this oft-quoted saying. Which is to say that I watched as the truth of it manifest in my own life. I finally understood that there was more substance to this than I originally thought. Having been a participant (victim?) of this truth, I have since dubbed the phenomenon the “Gentleman’s Curse”. Let me explain…

I’m pretty sure I’m what some would call a gentleman. There are at least a handful (read: 2 or 3) who could attest to the fact that I am patient, generous, transparent, chivalrous, and emotionally supportive. These are all traits generally associated with being an overall “nice guy”, if you will. **DISCLAIMER: I don’t describe myself this way simply to toot my own horn, but to provide the basis for what follows next. What follows next is that I’ve come to whole-heartedly believe that sometimes (and only sometimes) being nice was the worst choice I could have made. My “nice guy” nature has contributed to some pretty awful outcomes and circumstances over my lifetime. I know that sounds terrible. But as I’ve also learned over the years, the truth isn’t always pretty.mr nice guy

See, the thing is, it’s not that I can really help being a “nice guy”. It’s in my nature to be this way. My overall personality, typical responses and individual inclinations are hard wired into the fiber of my being. The problem is that some people can often be perceived (and at times, accurately so) as a bit of a softy or even a pushover. People take advantage of the fact that they know you probably won’t behave in ways that would make them feel awkward, uncomfortable or afraid.

Still, I don’t want this post to come across as all “bah humbug” about being nice. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be nice or even that I need to change who I am. I’m saying that I am exactly who God created me to be. I am fashioned by His hands and He is a master craftsman! I am neither a mistake, nor am I a failed or aborted process. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And with that understanding and acceptance, comes freedom to not feel pressured to be anything other than who I am.

I am NOT the one to rail on Time Warner Cable over their gouging practices (6 month undisclosed customer retention pricing that tripled in cost and won’t go down unless I call and complain). However, I AM the one who understands that as I love my enemies, bless them that curse me, do good to them that hate me, and pray for them which despitefully use me, and persecute me, God will bring both vindication and justice. I find rest in that promise.

Potters-ClaySo I will continue in my “nice guy” ways with the power of the knowledge that what I originally thought was a curse, was actually… a blessing. 🙂

Categories: commentary, personal, religion, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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