Monday, April 27, 2009

The First 100 Days

It's an Obama-nation.

I'm really bummed-out. Dissapointed. Disillusioned. Sad for so many people. And surprised. Mostly surprised, by people I know who are so out of touch with reality - out of touch with life, real life, and the world we live in (as bad as it can be). I see them everywhere, talk to them, listen to them on the news and talk shows, and read them in the papers. They're even in the family, in the blood (so to speak) - which is most bewildering.

I find myself now only feeling sorry for the person speaking or writing on the success and jubilation of the first 100 days. There is true euphoria - everywhere! I'm more cynical than ever. Where others see 'success' and 'victory', I see absolute failure and defeat. How can this be? How do you tell someone they are living in a different paradigm, another un-parallel universe (slightly tilted)? There are two polar opposites working in American politics today - yet it goes far beyond politics alone - its color, faith, economics, race, liberty, motivation, moral conduct, joy, fear and hope - polar opposite views on everything.

The local paper yesterday listed the first 100 day accomplishments of Obama: Guantanamo, Torture, Stimulus, Bank Rescue, Auto Rescue, Embryonic Stem-cell research, Greenhouse gases, Iraq, Afghanistan, Budget, Health Care, Muslim Relations & The Changing Washington Culture.

So for every so called 'success' - I see complete and absolute failure. And its not just me seeing it, I'm not deluding myself. This is how bad it is: everything is upside-down, everything. Those who are to blame, are praised. Those who are to be praised, are blamed. What was right is wrong. What was wrong is now right. What was un-holy is holy.

I had grand plans of detailing line-by-line all of the atrocities of the new administration during the first 3 months of occupation. ("Atrocities" is a word I picked carefully here - make no mistake.) But I can't do it - just read the paper and listen to the media. You'll hear whatever it is that you want to hear.

But OK - take heart! And remember that as a believer, and praying that God's will would be done, Obama won. Then, if you are brave enough - read the Old Testament - and be very afraid. Then, read the New Testament - and have hope. The books of Revelation, Ezekial, Jeremiah & Danial have new meaning and insight. Watch Israel. Watch the Muslim world. Watch the Communist world.

And sit back on the porch at Starbucks, with a grande drip, and watch it all unfold right in front of you. Exciting times.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Don't Be Afraid

Who isn't afraid? We fear everything: sickness, lack of money, losing our jobs, speaking in public, getting fat, getting old, what we just said or didn't say. We fear for the people we care most about - fear that they will be hurt, in an accident, or in a bad relationship. All kinds of fear. Fear can paralyze us. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear keeps us from sleeping soundly. Fear distracts us from our jobs, our school work and our relationships.

Fear is bad. Fear is killing us. Fear takes everything good out of us - robbing us of real life.

That's why the Bible talks about it so much - maybe more than anything else, from cover to cover, we are advised: DO NOT BE AFRAID! Because He knows what it can do, how it hinders us and keeps us back from what we are intended for. The only thing we're told to fear is "the Lord" - but that's a different kind of fear, it's more like respect - like electricity, don't fear it, just respect it, honor it for what it is. If we feared electicity we'd never turn on the lights.

A couple of my favorite motivational sayings are: 1) "what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?", and 2) "do one thing every day that scares you". Easy to say, hard to do. But it's always worth trying, everyday, for the reward it gives us.

In 1 Chronicals David says "do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you". And in Mark Jesus said "Don't be afraid, take courage, I am here". And in 2 Timothy Paul reminds us "for God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline".

If nothing else, be reminded everyday that Fear can have a very negative impact on your life - so knowing that - attempt to do away with it. I'm a bad example of someone trying to avoid fear, because for one reason, I love horror movies - the scarrier the better (I always end up going alone). But actually these aren't the things that make me "fearful". We all have different fear buttons.

We could do some pretty sorry things if we had no fear - so some aspect of fear is good. BUT - what could you do, what would you do, if you weren't afraid? How much more productive and influential could you be? What ledge would you walk out on? What risk would you take? Where would you go? What mountain would you climb? Who would you talk to?

How great could you be, if you weren't afraid?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Power Washing

I have this old fence (I've mentioned it before) - maybe 10 years old, I'd guess. I got some pricing on building a new one, but wow, it's way out of line. So first I put in the new posts (with a little hired help). See, the posts were the only things needing to be replaced really. Took out the old posts, did some grinding (alot of grinding) to get all the old nails out of site - smoothed it out nice. But it still looked ugly and old.

Then, this past weekend I rented this high pressure / power wash machine from the hardware store. See, the pickets are what you see mostly, and if you really looked at them, you could tell there was enough substance down under the quarter inch of dirt and crud, that if I could just clean them off, I'd find some real fine and solid cedar down there. Pretty stuff.

I was right. It took a total of 24 hours, doing nothing but spraying high pressure water over each piece of wood, to remove the garbage that had collectted over the past 10 years. The Texas sun, wind, rain, dirt, exhaust fumes, bugs, chemicals, freezing ice, chlorine, oils, sap from trees, rusting nails, squirrel's and bugs running rampant over you for years - had all robbed the beautiful complexion from my cedar wood fence.

It hurt - it still hurts - it took a long time. It took 3 days. I was up and down ladders, in the mud, out of the mud, dirt flying everywhere, dirty water bouncing back and soaking me, the sheer power of the 2,500 psi's and 5.5 hp motor knocked me over (literally), the constant noise. I changed cloths a total of 6 times. I was doing 'circa de sole' (sp?) moves to get every angle, every inch of wood, in some tough unreachable spots. I'm bruised and I wasn't the one getting attacked - the fence was being assaulted by a high pressure gun - every square inch - a relentless, persistent "cleansing" was going on. I could almost here the fence shouting - PLEASE STOP!

OK - I've bored you to death. But here's my point: don't we get that way, over time. And we need to be cleaned up, before it's too late. Get power washed - my fence looks new - I mean NEW. It's what Jesus does for you. It may hurt a little - when you're being stripped of all your dirt, your pride may take a beating. But after it's over, and you're clean, you can breath and you're free, like new. You can stand there tall and firm, and watch the sun rise and set again.