Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Kiddo, I don’t get it. I complain about all the crap on the news; yet I spend at least 2 hours a day reading or watching it. I don’t like what I see on TV; and who knows what kind of [CENSORED] you have seen or read on the internet.
I complain about how far downhill we as a country have come, but I don’t do anything about it. I try to block out how hypocritical and self centered I am while I just sit there on the couch playing games on my Ipad,
Nothing will change without action.
I recently told you there are a lot of “good people” still left in this country and that is the truth. Heck, I would even consider myself in that category these last few years.
The problem is that good people who don’t do anything are useless.
What difference will it make if I complain about something but never act to change it? You think someone else will fix it?
We tolerate too much in this country. I just #HopeMySon that It isn’t too late. I hope it won’t be long before I get so sick of it all that I get off my butt and act.
Sorry bud. I’ll keep trying!
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Son, I am friends with a lot of really “good people” here on The Face Book. My friends have a wide variety of opinions and beliefs about what should or shouldn’t be done with this country, and who should or shouldn’t run it. There is one overwhelming thing I’ve noticed that runs through them all however……..THEY CARE!
I guarantee you I could get them all in a room and we could be amicable and talk through our differences. We could agree to disagree and still like each other. Sure, sometimes frustrations can get the best of us, but you can’t hide a kind heart.
I think we are going to be ok. There are way too many good people out there. (Especially them Chandler folks!)
Don’t just surround yourself with people who agree with everything you say.
You will find out in life you won’t learn anything that way.
Love you buddy!
Son, my dad/your grandpa sure is corny; but one thing he taught all of us is to love our country. By the time you get to be grandpa’s age, you might not be allowed to fly the flag in this country. Please try to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Grandpa will never forget what happened on this day 14 years ago, and neither will I. Please try to make sure you NEVER forget!
History repeats itself?
Hard to not see the similarities between what I just read about in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel & Daniel and what is happening today. Today,in Michigan, there is a temple for the Devil and they have now set up some huge goat idol downtown, This is happening in our country! You can’t turn on the TV without seeing murder and hate everywhere.
It would be a pretty depressing time if my faith wasn’t so strong. If there wasn’t a book that tells me what is going to happen and how to avoid it; I might be worried. If I didn’t have my eyes open and my heart full of trust in his plan, things would be different.
How long do you think the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is going to be patient with this country, this world?
“See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers. Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine. Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows”. Isaiah 1:21-23 NLT
IT DOESN’T TAKE WEEKS
God doesn’t use a certain number of weeks to determine if a baby is an actual “person! He knew us before we were even the size of a peanut.
Son, we are killing about a million unborn children in the USA every year. Since 1973 over 50 million abortions have been performed in the USA.
I wonder if any of them might have been your friends if they were given a chance to live. Maybe some would have been the next great leader, pastor or humanitarian. We will never know.
God must be so ashamed of us right now! Please, please Zach, don’t follow in our footsteps!
You are EVERYTHING to me son!
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”. Jeremiah 1:5
Son, I am sure you have heard by now about the county clerk who was arrested for not complying with the law to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Here is what Martin Luther King had to say about it:
“Some of our critics complain that our non-violent method fosters disrespect for the law and encourages ‘lawlessness.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Civil disobedience concludes that the non-violent resistor in the face of unjust and/or immoral law cannot in all good conscience obey that law. His decision to break that law and willingly pay the penalty evidences the highest respect for the law. … Thus it is, when the non-violent resistor refuses to cooperate with a law that is out of harmony with the laws of God and the laws of morality, he must break the law—but in so doing, he practices civil disobedience and accepts the penalty, thereby practicing moral obedience and transforms the jail into a haven of liberty and freedom.”
My boy, do you think it is a coincidence that not long ago others in government positions broke the law and were not arrested? Just one example is those who issued marriage licenses before the law was changed. They cited their conscience and belief in what is wright and wrong as to why they disobeyed the law. These are the same reasons the county clerk cited. Why do you think things were so different for her?
Zach, whether someone believes gay marriage is right or wrong; without “civil” disobedience our country wouldn’t be here. Respect everyone’s opinions and beliefs, even if you disagree. Never demoralize or belittle someone just because they think differently from you.
Stand up for what you feel is right, but do it in a peaceful, civil way.
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT
Very proud of my brother. He put Baltimore and Ferguson and so much of what is wrong with our great country in perspective. Way to go Benjamin Watson, TE for the saints. Now that we know the root cause of our problems, what are we going to do about it? (See Benjamin’s insight below).
We have major problems as a nation. Yesterday Ferguson burned. Tonight #Baltimore burns. Tomorrow it will be another city in our homeland. Watching the coverage I’m hearing yet another version of a nauseatingly familiar narrative. Violence by police reciprocated by violence by the community, reciprocated by violence by police reciprocated by….
It seems fruitless to continue to analyze, condemn, and respond to these dreadful episodes. “Frustration, anger, tension boiling over, upset and unfortunate” are words we hear from Baltimore residents. When it comes to law enforcement, race, poverty, education, immigration we always talk about fixing “broken” systems. We resolve to legislate for education, job creation, and systemic overhaul. These are helpful and definitely needed BUT we have done all of these things ad nauseum and look at us!! Without a change of heart these attempts fail us. So what can we say? What can we do? Systems are broken because people are broken and if systems are fixed without hearts being changed the result will be a legalistic attempt that will lack long term results. Our problems are wholistic and common to the human heart. Hatred, prejudice, exploitation, pride, self righteousness, secrecy, and rebellion, manifest itself in the explosions we’ve seen over the last year, the last century, and the last millennia.
Tonight I see so much entrenched pain without remedy. Most are handling it without violence while a few are committing the unacceptable.
Tonight I see young children, asking like my daughter did earlier, “What’s happening daddy”, in desperate need of parents to walk them through these disturbing scenes.
Tonight I see “smoke,” but we must address the fire. The response that we are watching is just “smoke” from years of hopelessness. After each situation the more I am convinced that the love of God for our fellow brothers and sisters who were created in His image, is our only hope for reconciliation. But the only way we can even see him that way is if God illuminates our view and changes our thought process. I’m not talking about holding hands and singing. Love is an action that compels one to treat another with dignity and respect even if they don’t deserve it. It pushes for education and opportunities for those in poverty. It gives identity and self worth. It administers justice without abuse. It honors authority and promotes peace. It is not weak, but strong for what is right!
Tonight I see a brokenness that only Christ can give us the wisdom and power to mend.
We pray for every disaster that happens to us. Bombings, natural disasters, cancer and outbreaks. What we’ve seen in our country lately deserves that same attention. Our attempts to fix this have fallen short.
We, and most importantly, the body of Christ, must stand for justice in all areas, for all people. We must set the standard for the correct way to treat people.
Tonight I pray for the pastors, leaders, police and community of Baltimore.
Tonight I #PrayForAmerica.
Son, I love you so much! I am so incredibly proud of the young man you have grown into! We are at a big crossroad in our country and in our towns. The decisions we make over the next 10 years will either make or break us. Will we continue to choose hate over love? Will we continue to stay silent about how we really feel because speaking out and taking a stand is too much work? Will we start practicing what we preach? Will we start to give with glee instead of “it’s all about me, me, me”? Will we learn how hope works, or will we continue to be too afraid to leave our house? Will we take advantage of the time we have with all these great generations and figure out a real plan for our future?
I have grown immensely. My eyes are wide open. My mind is sharp.
Money. People want to give. People don’t trust where their money is going when they give. Our federal programs spend over half of what we give them on things that don’t reach the people in need. How do they know where our money should be spent? Bring it back local. I have an idea…
A rallying cry. Americans are scared. We need something to believe in as the resurgence of super hero movies and the surprising increase in “Christian” themed films demonstrate. We obviously don’t realize how much we can do together; because we grow farther apart every day. I have an idea…
Not alone. How do we get out from in front of our electronics and see what is happening in our world? How do we stop ourselves from going down the road where we lose almost all interpersonal communication? How do we let others know they are not alone? I have an idea..
Growth. They only thing growing is our technology, our waste lines and our debt. Our federal government is leading by a great example. What can we do to stimulate our brains and train ourselves to learn? How can we turn that learning into growth? I have an idea…
Big things are ahead my boy! Let’s start kicking our journey into high gear!
Woke up this morning feeling already defeated.
Dreamt all night I was starving, and how I felt cheated.
I woke up to hunger pangs all throughout this body of mine.
“There is no way you will make it”,my brain decided to chime.
I went to a quiet space and decided to pray.
“Lord, you are powerful, can you help me this day?”
As soon as my eyes opened a sense of joy filled my soul.
I didn’t even glance at the lucky charms in Zach’s cereal bowl.
How amazing is He who knows exactly what I need.
He took away my desire to open the packed fridge and feed.
“So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” (Ezra 8:23 NLT)
Son, in my spiritual walk I started to read up on Lent. It is known most commonly out here as the 40 days (not including Sundays) before Easter when Christ arose from the dead. It is a time to fast and bring one closer to God. Although there is no mention of Lent in the Bible, there are stories in the Bible when 40 days and 40 nights worth of fasting occurred. There was the 40 days and 40 nights Christ spent in the wilderness being tempted by the devil; devoid of any food or water. Moses also spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mt Sinai without food or water while he spoke with God and received the 10 commandments. When the prophet Elijah escaped from Jezebel he traveled 40 days and 40 nights without anything to eat or drink.
I have also been studying up on fasting after reading about it so many times in the Bible. I even heard our pastor talk about it a few Sundays ago. Nowhere in the Bible does it say fasting is something you are “required” to do, but the effects of it when done right, are something we should all “want” to do. There are many wonderful stories of fasting in the Bible, and the main purpose is to help us focus on worshiping and getting closer to God. Fasting isn’t always giving up on food and water. The Bible also tells us fasting can include giving up anything you find is taking up time that could be devoted to God. Different religions fast from different things over these 40 days of Lent, but the main reason is to get rid of stuff you normally spend or waste time on and devote that time to worshiping, reading the Bible, praying, and helping others.
Well, how can that be a bad thing? Fasting is a way to bring us closer to God; something I have been striving for over the last 2 years.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. It ends the Saturday before Easter. (Sunday’s don’t count). I am going to fast. To kick it off I am going to abstain from eating food for 2 days. I am also going to give up my games. No more poker, blackjack or bingo. Neither will be easy, but I plan to replace these hours per day with prayer, Bible study, and helping others less fortunate.
The biggest event in Christian history is only 40 days away! What better way to prepare than by abstaining from things that get in the way of worshiping Him.
Lord, please forgive me. I am sick, and although that is not an excuse, I feel like I am about to lose it. If I hear another person compare my faith to that of these barbaric monsters I am going to explode. I know even those ISIS fools are your creation and you have told me not to hate. I can’t help it right now, I hate them. I hate that our president used these scumbags in the same sentence as Christians. I hate the fact a young beautiful soul from my own state was killed by these wicked people when all she was trying to do was help others. I hate that we haven’t done anything about it.
No one can ever justify this type of behavior, and no one can ever compare what they are doing to to what Christians are doing. Those people who honestly think Christians are just as bad, I feel sorry for. Hopefully Lord, you will open their eyes someday as they are truly lost.
My heart hurts Lord!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.
Son, in the past on days like this after a whopping Republican victory, I would have bragged and gloated for hours. Now, I just wish someone (I don’t care which party) would get it right. We shouldn’t have to keep going through these cycles. One party takes control, screws it up, then the other party takes over, screws it up and so on and so on.
I think it comes down to the fact we really don’t know these people until they get elected and we see how they work with others. We don’t really know their agenda until they get in office, because campaign promises have become a joke. Campaigns are about popularity contests and how good you are at throwing others under the bus. They are not based on merits or proven successes.
Do all Democrats want to give away the farm and support people who don’t deserve it? Are all Republicans rich white people who don’t care about anything but money? That type of thinking is what contributes to people voting for the wrong candidates. Instead of voting party lines we need to elect the right people. How the heck do we do that though? We know more about Snookie and Honey boo boo than anyone running for political positions.
Zach, your generation is going to have to figure this out if you ever expect to get our country back to the “UNITED” States of America. Compassion, kindness, generosity, integrity and teamwork are what we need in our political leaders. Let’s try to figure out who has these traits before election night two years from now.
Love you boy!
Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? (Amos 3:3 NIV)
Son, I know it’s not fun doing something you are not good at. I know you have heard me tell stories about what a natural athlete I was. I didn’t tell you the story about my volleyball days when I was called the giant or baseball tryouts where I was one of the only kids to hit the baseball from the pitching machine because I wanted to brag. I told you because I want you to know you have it in you. I passed it down to you. It’s there, but you have to practice to bring it out.
It was tough for me to see you cry this morning because you had PE and you don’t know how to hit the softball. I wanted to go to PE with you and show those little punks that they are wrong for teasing you. But, then I thought about it. How could you be good at any of these sports when you never wanted to play any of them? You never wanted to go out with your dad to play catch. Heck, our basketball hoop hardly ever gets used. You can’t expect to be good at something you never play.
I am sorry the kids are making fun of you, but you can change that. For one, you need to not let it get to you. Laugh at yourself; that always worked for me. Two, let’s get out and play some ball. I guarantee you will like sports once you get better at them. If you don’t try, you have no one to blame but yourself if you don’t get better.
You are a natural athlete. The balance and skill it takes to ride that skateboard is much more than the skill it takes to hit or shoot a ball. I tried for years to ride a skateboard but I never got anywhere close to as good as you are now. You have the height and length I never had. I was the smallest kid on almost all of my teams. I sat on the bench in 9th grade basketball at a school that only had about 50 kids. You don’t have anything holding you back but yourself.
Maybe it is my fault for not pressing you to play organized sports. I didn’t want to push you, but maybe I should have. You might have appreciated it now.
We can change it all. Let’s play this weekend. Love you my boy!
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
P.S. I asked my Grandpa Bruno to help you today. I think either he or my Grandma Landis is going to be there with you today. Let me know how it goes.
Mom and dad, I figured out the plan you had for raising me. I figured out why you didn’t say much when I was 18 and ran as fast and as far away from your house as I could. I know why there wasn’t some sort of intervention to force me back into church or lectures to get me to straighten out in my early twenties.
You did what God wants you to do as Parents:
1. Love your kids enough to let them go
2. Love God enough to trust him in the hurt
3. Love your kids enough to never give up hope
4. Love your kids enough to maintain communication. (Mom, thanks for this).
5. Love your kids enough to celebrate a reconnection.
Thanks for doing your best to raise me with strong Christian values, then letting me go to experience life on my own! Thanks for having trust in God’s plan for me.
I love you both!
“Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God. Sin is like a jail cell except it is nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem any need to leave. The door is wide open until one day time runs out, the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late”.
Son, I can’t believe it took so long for me to see the movie these words above came from: “God is not dead”. I can’t believe I didn’t get this movie for your birthday, as it would have been a gift you could use for many years to come.
Times like those in the movie are here right now. What will you decide to do?
I love you son!
Your mind is very powerful. It can be programmed to think or do whatever you want it to. Be very careful though, it can be extremely difficult to de-program or re-program it if you wait too long. The longer your brain is programmed in a certain way, the harder and longer it will take to change it.
Feed your brain with good stuff every day. Be very consistent.
We have a problem in this country because the balance is off. We are being fed more bad depressing sad stuff than we realize our brains are taking in. What little good our brain consumes is way overshadowed by the negative.
Our brains are working fine, they have just adapted. When you feed your brain with crap all day, you are going to act and feel like crap all day. However if you feed your brain with THE WORD, even just a little each day, your brain will have something nourishing to eat and it will thrive and grow.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Son, when I get hard on myself for sitting at home all weekend, it is because this is what I am missing out on. This weekend I got to see some really old friends. Some I have not seen in at least 15 years. We were able to help a few people, and we finished it off with a great birthday dinner with the family.
I’ll take that over poker any day!
Son, thank you for always going with me, and never ever complaining about it. You are a great kid, destined for great things!
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
Son, I wrote this poem when I was 25. It’s strange, but now that I think about it, this was right about the time things really started to go well for me with that tall drink of water you call your mom. I am sure there was a reason I wrote this poem. I would bet anything that if I dig through my pile of papers I call my book, I will find something bad that happened right before I wrote this. I probably quit my job or just got in a fight with your mom. Those are the two things that could stress me out enough to get me to write back then.
That is how I operated. I only sought HIM when I needed HIM, it wasn’t every day like I am trying to be consistent doing now. I was right about everything in this poem. I just wasn’t ready at the time to live my life that way, especially on a daily basis.
Love you my boy!
Sometimes it is hard to understand God’s plan,
especially when our loved ones are snatched from our hand.
Losing a child is never something we expect to go through.
The pain and guilt of the loss can be unbearable too.
“Everything happens for a reason” is something I usually would say,
but that isn’t always enough to get you through this tough day.
I am heartbroken to think a man I so respect and adore,
would have to go through this tragedy and suffer even more.
Mi familia suffered a huge loss, but there is one thing I know.
You will all pull together and the love and support will overflow.
Nana and Tata were there to meet Briar as he went on to that magical place.
I can see them now, greeting him with a hug and a smile on their face.
“mijo, we are here”, I can hear them say as he reached them in the sky.
“You will love it here, and we will always be nearby.”
I know a little poem like this won’t take away the pain you all feel.
But I do know when you sense him near you, that it is so very real.
Tio Alex you will see him again, but until then you can say;
anything you want to him as he is not far away.
I love all of you so very much, please know you are in my thoughts every day and in my prayers. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you.
And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
I love you Martha I wish I could be there today.
You were an amazing woman who I looked up to in every way.
Your kindness spread to others and you were always full of glee.
What great memories I have with you, Dan, and me.
Remember the time Tommy and I spent the weekend at your house?
Dan bet us that we couldn’t live off pizza and nothing else.
We all loved to go swimming in your awesome pool.
Your pond with the fishes we all thought was cool.
You were always so happy when we would come over to see you.
I regret that it wasn’t very often, and it had been more than a year or two.
I know Dan was there to meet you as you passed on to that special place.
I know you are not alone, and you still have that incredible smile on your face.
You were a very special lady and one who had a big impact on my life.
I am so glad that you got to meet Zach and my wonderful wife.
If I could be like you in just one way,
it would be to mirror your generosity in every day.
Someday I will see you again, this I know is true.
Until then I will try to live my life to be just like you.
Thank you again for all the love you and Dan gave so many of us! I love you Martha, say hi to Dan for me!
Son, I have run out of steam. I have rid myself of almost every stupid thing I did in my life by writing to you about it. There is still plenty more to teach you, but I don’t think you are ready for it yet.
I have been able to successfully post over 100 different stories or videos for you on my revamped and organized website http://www.thereishopemyson.com. When you are ready to read them, they are there. You know that. I understand an 11 year old has better things to do than read his old man’s advice, but I do know it will come in handy when the time is right.
It’s not that I have grown tired of writing, but there is only so much advice I can give you. You will have to learn a lot of it on your own.
I have an idea of how we can reach more kids with our message of hope. I think all of the recent writing I’ve done for you was just to get me warmed up for what is next.
God is telling it’s time to take it to the next level, I am excited to see what happens next!
“I’m just floating through life waiting for the wind to come and carry me to the land of what I’m capable of.”
Son, I wrote this line when I was in my late 20’s. It is very easy to float by in today’s world. Make sure you are giving it your all every day. If you don’t, you may wake up one day 20 years later and realize you haven’t accomplished squat!
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Son, remember when we talked about how other kids who get in trouble a lot may have issues at home or something else that is behind their behavior?
Always try to remember that. Please watch this quick video.
Son, here is a sort of riddle for you. Can you guess who or what “she” is?
-she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
-She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
-Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
-Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
-She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
-Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
-embrace her, and she will honor you.
-She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.
Let me know if you find out, it’s OK to have others help you.
Son, some days are tough, it’s hard to find motivation. The good news is that there are far fewer of these days than there used to be for me.
Remember it is up to you to decide how your day is going to go when you wake up every morning. If you feel cruddy, your day will be cruddy. You can program your mind to snap out of it. Think positive, look around at all the good things in your life.
Also, it is not good enough to be a positive person on the outside. You have to feel it inside too. I did that for 20 years. You can fool others, but you can’t fool yourself.
Love you boy !
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Son, today at work we discussed umbrella coverage. Umbrella coverage provides an extra level of protection for people when disaster or accidents happen. It goes above and beyond what most auto or home policies will cover and gives people that additional security.
I just kept thinking about how we have the ultimate umbrella: God’s grace! He covered us by sending his son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. No matter what life throws at us, we are protected. Just like accidents that can’t be avoided, we also can’t avoid sin. But thanks to God’s umbrella of grace we can be repaired and made whole!
I love you son!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
I knew I needed some help. I was close to giving up on my dreams. I was losing all hope. I had no clue what I was going to do. I was lost and afraid.
It all started with church. I dropped any pre-conceived notions I had about what I thought church should be like. I made only one goal: GET TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY.
Remember how we used to sneak in the back door to avoid having to talk to anyone? Remember how we used to sit way in the back row?
Remember how I used to just stand there dreading the music in the service? Remember how afraid I was the first time I posted a Bible verse on Facebook? Remember how worried I was about what others might think?
Our journey started with one thing: going to church consistently, and going with an open mind and open heart. Here we are, 10 months have gone by. Look how far we’ve come.
I love you son!
Hebrews 10:25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Son, forgiveness is a hard thing for most of us even when the offense is small. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to forgive someone who killed your son.
Revenge never feels as good as you expect it might.
1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Son, Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of NYC has said and done some things in the past that have made me and others mad, but this one just makes me sad.
Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
Son, it’s not “if” there is a God……there “IS” a God! There also is no fast track to heaven, we each will be judged or “interviewed”. You don’t get to heaven by good deeds alone, you must “BELIEVE”.
I am telling you this because the ex-mayor is in the public spotlight, and we can’t let others think he is right. Look at the bible verse below, it makes it pretty clear for us.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!
Happy birthday to my great and patient father!
You could have just given up on me and said: “why bother”.
I hope I am as patient and wise with Zach as you were with me.
I hope he sees how much I’ve learned, even though most of it just hit me.
Thank you for dragging me to church and for Ricardo’s after.
Thank you for grounding me, and for all of the laughter.
I could not have asked for a better role model than you.
I bet you wish I realized this back when I was 22!
Anyway, thanks for being such a great dad!
I promise to never again make you mad……hopefully!
God’s law as written in the Bible says we are not to judge. It is said very clearly in many books of the Bible that we will be judged by God for judging others. It is a BIG no-no!
You know I will always stand up for religious freedom, but I will not support this new bill in Az. I think we should be more concerned with God’s law about judging others, and less concerned about protecting people who break his law.
Son, you have to look for wisdom, and sometimes the answers are not easy to find. Always try to improve and learn.
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:1-11
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 the commandments, “you shall not commit adultery,” “you shall not murder,” “you shall not steal,” “you shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
Son, this verse is great because it simplifies what God is expecting from us. Ten Commandments, all broken down into just one: “love your neighbor as yourself”. Think about that. Think about how Jesus lived by this example, even when he was being persecuted, beaten, and crucified. This message that God loves everyone, and that we should also, was the central theme of the Christian church that was first formed not long after Jesus arose from the dead.
Jesus taught his followers (apostles) many lessons that they would preach and spread to “Jews and Gentiles alike”. As they traveled spreading the word, the apostles were run out of town after town. They were persecuted wherever they went. They were jailed and beaten many times, but they never gave up. They never stopped telling others about Jesus, their faith was strong! They traveled far and near, teaching the message to everyone who’d listen. Although they had to escape and travel in secret many times, the message of Jesus and his teachings continued to spread. The Christians were growing and growing in numbers.
Those were exciting times, the formation of the Christian church! It’s awesome to hear how the message of Jesus spread and how even died-hard nonbelievers came to believe. One of the greatest apostles was a guy named Paul. He was recruited by the Jewish priests when he was only a few years older than you are now. They saw something in Paul, so the head priest became his mentor. Paul had a love for the Bible, but he did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. He hated Jesus, and anyone who followed his teachings. Paul used to go house to house rounding up Christians to beat them and put them in jail. This was after he had raided their churches. But, Jesus opened his eyes.(literally and figuratively) Paul ended up telling thousands about his story and how he came to follow Jesus. He led countless to Christ.
Do you remember early on when I told you we were in for a battle, but we were not in it alone? Do you remember me telling you that we can’t win the war without help? Well guess what? We have the same help those apostles did, and look what they were able to accomplish! They didn’t have cars, planes, or the internet to help travel and spread the word. They had their feet, and the worn out sandals that barely covered them. They had paper and something to write with.
Here we are now, living in Chandler, Arizona. It is over a thousand years later, and thousands of miles from where that first Christian church began. We’ve heard about Jesus. We are part of a Christian church. Amazing!
Love you my boy,
Son, you have seen a lot of ideas and different items on this cork-board over the years. It used to house business or work ideas of mine, photos, and inventions you and I want to someday try and make. Mostly it held ideas of stuff I wanted to write about. It had suggestions and possible book titles. I even took a few stabs at writing a pitch about my book or movie and pinned it there.
This time it’s different, do you want to know why?
It’s because this time those 3X5 cards are not just empty ideas on the cork-board.
This time I actually have a very rough draft to go along with them!
Son, this is why I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with you yet today. I can’t stop writing. I have some good stuff for you, stay tuned……
Son, please watch this before the big game. Faith, Family, Football! Very encouraging to see these talented athletes from the Broncos and Seahawks talk about how they use the bible and how they put God first. They have read the verse below:
1st Corinthians 9: 25 “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
I know you would have been happy to see 3 generations of Bruno boys spending time together. We miss you grandma and grandpa Bruno!
Setback: “A problem that makes progress more difficult or success less likely.”
Son, setbacks are part of life. We will experience many on our journey. Sometimes setbacks are the result of something you did or failed to do. Other times delays can happen from things outside of your control.
Most of my setbacks were self-induced. It is hard for me to blame them on anything or anyone else. I think you will find that if you are really being honest with yourself, there is almost always something you could have done to change the outcome.
For example, when I was first laid off about a year ago, I blamed everyone but myself. I blamed that darn Obamacare. I blamed our new VP, I blamed the company. I was mad at anyone who voted for our President, despite my warning that it could eventually lead to me losing my job. After the dust settled I realized it was all my fault. I didn’t want to be there. I wasn’t working as hard as I could have. If I really wanted to be in control of my own destiny, I would have done anything I could have to impress our new company leadership. I would have shown the value I bring when I am operating at 100%.
Well, this month I suffered another big setback in my quest. I had all the tools, but I left them sitting in the toolbox instead of using them. I lost sight of my mission. I stopped writing and haven’t been going to church. I had to almost force myself to pray every day and I didn’t open the bible all month. I haven’t offered one piece of advice to you since New Year’s Eve. I spent countless hours in front of the TV and playing poker online. Everything I was doing to help you was gone.
Doubts started to take over. I found myself questioning God’s plan for me, and the stress was creeping back in.
“Maybe writing isn’t what God wants me to do.”
“I am a failure”
“I am letting you down”
“Maybe God wants me to be broke”
“How can I help you when I can’t even help myself?”
“I only have 56 days until my job ends, what am I going to do?”
These are the things that I thought about this month. What a change from where I was. I know the path I should continue traveling down, but I stepped off of it once it got a little rocky.
Here is how it happened: I stopped going to church. I stopped reading the bible. I stopped praying every day. I forgot I needed God’s help. Church is so good for me! When I don’t go, the devil gets a little more of an opening to get in and affect my plans. I realized it is impossible to see the signs God is giving me when my eyes are shut. I wasn’t consistent.
Now I look at the month of January 2014 as a learning lesson for me. There was a reason God wanted me to follow this detour. He wanted me to remember how easy it is to get off track. He wanted to show me how a day away can lead to a month, a year, a decade….. I went dark last month, but I refuse to let it carry on any further. The devil thought he had it easy with me over the last 20 years, I will prove him wrong. I will make his life more miserable than it already is.
Son, remember setbacks and delays are going to happen. They only turn into failures when you don’t pay attention to how they happened and learn how to avoid them. Don’t let them get you down, and try to remember all the good you have done. If you think all hope is lost, it probably will be. Give yourself credit for realizing your areas of improvement, because a lot of people don’t even look for theirs.
When you get in a slump, act. Don’t sit still waiting for it to pass. Analyze how it happened, and figure out what you can do differently to avoid it next time. I am back, but who knows how long it will be before I endure another month like this. All I can tell you is I will try my best and be consistent with the things I know will keep me on track. (Church, prayer, faith, hard work, determination) I didn’t do any charitable giving, and I didn’t share God’s wisdom with you or anyone else. Maybe that is because God knew the person who needed the most help this month was me.
Now I feel great! I can’t stop writing. I feel incredibly good about myself again. I am confident God wants me to continue teaching you these life lessons. I feel lucky that even a fool like me is worthy of God’s love. I will be patient and I won’t question how long it will take to accomplish our plan. My eyes are wide open again!
I love you son!
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Son, it is stories like these that you need to remember when it starts to feel like all is lost, and that you are on our own. Remember there are great people out there, more than you know. It is people like this that will help us on our journey.
Son, this little girl had more faith than many of us do. Her trust in God’s plan for her is bringing comfort to those she left behind.
Son, another year has passed. You turned 11, and I am back to being in the same age bracket as my little sister. I know she can’t be that old, so I must still be young. Your mom got a few more grey hairs this year, but probably not from aging.
Here are some of the signs and events from this year that stick out:
I got laid off from work. I was very happy when it happened. I stuck it out while I let go of half of my team, some of who were long time friends. I didn’t have to tell your mom I quit another job! I was proud of myself, but now realize it would have been much easier to endure had I put my trust in God and his plan for me. He helped get me out of that situation, but he gave me many lessons to learn from.
It wasn’t the best of years financially, but it made us start to appreciate what we have. Isn’t it weird how being a little tighter on what we spend makes you more grateful for what you do get? Do you think it is just by chance that your mom’s sales quadrupled last year?
I started a new company. I was going to teach insurance licensing classes and work with your Aunt in an office she rented downtown. I learned that being a business owner is not what I’ve been called to do, but I did get to spend some extra time with your Aunt. That was worth it!
I ended up not applying to become a Navigator for the new Affordable Care Act. I was going to seek a grant from the federal government to help people enroll and understand their health insurance options. I am thankful, because that would have been high stress (especially with all the glitches) and more like a business owner that I knew wasn’t for me. Instead, I ended up getting a job helping people do the same thing except without the stress and with more time to keep writing.
I applied for many manager and supervisor positions and I didn’t get one call. I was even turned down by an auto insurance company (my niche) that is still hiring like crazy. All because the plan for me was to be in the job I have now. It is a job that I can really help people and sometimes even get paid to write. It was not in God’s plan for me to go back to those high paid, high stress management jobs. He had other plans for me in 2013.
We started going to church! This is what started everything going in the right direction for me. Because I went to church, I started receiving the messages I needed about living my life like it is my last day. I heard about how to not be embarrassed sharing God’s word. I learned to be a better person, but one humble enough to understand I have a long way to go. When we miss church on Sunday I don’t feel as good and my writing suffers. Coincidence?
We started doing some charity and volunteer work this year. Who knows, this may be the start of some charitable organization we run someday. I have more plans for us this year. Although we made a good start on Christmas morning, we must continue our efforts throughout all of 2014.
I got my faith back, and you are starting to find yours. I finally figured out the help I needed was there for me all along. I just needed to ask, and have faith God would deliver. It’s been nothing short of amazing what he has done for us this year! He gave a man who did nothing but stress over the future his hope back. He showed me the plan he has for me, and helped me realize why my life has gone the way it has. I am no longer worried about tomorrow, but more focused on today.
I am writing every day. Sure there are some days when I don’t get as much done, but this is the longest stretch I have ever been on. I feel like the words are just coming to me. I am content knowing I have shared with you some of my regrets and thoughts on the future. I am hopeful my words will resonate with you and help you avoid some of the same mistakes I made. I plan to keep telling you my lessons and showing you by example.
Outside of marrying your mom and watching you grow up, nothing else will ever make me feel as fantastic as when I am doing good and helping others. I learned this from watching your grandparents, and you experienced some of this on our Christmas day mission.
I’ll let God guide us, but we are not going to sit on the couch waiting. I don’t know exactly where God is going to take us, but I do know we are on the right path! The fact I am so happy and stress free means I am where I should be. Right now, this is what God wants me to be doing.
My resolution is to continue to feel as good as I do right now!
I love you son. I am so excited to see what we can accomplish in 2014!
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.