I Don’t Pray Anymore

This morning began with me thanking God for just all that He does for me and my family. For loving me even though I’m not that best child to have. Then I told Him that I feel like somethings missing in my days. I don’t have the motivation that I used to. Mostly to do with work and personal, creative projects. It’s like I want to do so much, but there’s no motivation there. I felt a bit unhappy at that moment. But it quickly turned around when I thought, “why”. I am beyond blessed in my life. Never wanting or needing anything in any area of my life. I think about the wrong I’ve done in my life and how I stray away from Him and I start to feel so unworthy of everything that I have. How could He still love me, even though I’m continuously doing wrong? Tears are streaming down my face as I just sit there and realize that I have nothing to upset or sad about. Nothing. He is sufficient. He is enough. He is my provider. He is my everything.

Then there is silence between Him and me.

Then moments later, as I’m still driving to work, a thought comes to mind. I really need to pray for this friend, because of X reason. Then another friend comes to mind and I say, I need to pray for them too because of X reason. Then another person, and another person. And start to realize, I don’t pray like I used to. Not even for myself. I don’t pray like I used to before I started my daily work projects. I don’t pray over my day at work. I don’t pray over my team, my co-workers, my company. I don’t pray anymore. I don’t even realize that I’m crying again until I come to that last thought. I pray for my family and protection, health and great days, but that’s where it ends. I used to pray for pretty much for everything in my life.

Everything that I have overcome, done, achieved is because of God. So when did I stop praying to Him for everything that I am doing or will be doing? Why? And maybe that was more Him asking me than me asking myself.

I’m grateful that even when I don’t expect something to be spoken to me, He does it anyway. He’s pretty amazing like that. I hope and pray that one day if you already haven’t, get to experience Him in that way.

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Michael Jordan & Jesus

I would like to start off by saying that I’m no pastor, minister, preacher, evangelist or deacon. I’m just a normal person that tries his best to follow Christ and His teachings. So please don’t assume that I’m speaking from a scholarly level. I read my bible and these thoughts and comparisons come to my head at times. Now, with that being said, I can start.

I’m going to try and not write a novel here, but no promises. Just the other day a family member mentioned to me that a younger person told him that Michael Jordan is overrated and that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the NBA players of today. Being people who grew up watching Michael Jordan play, I couldn’t help but laugh. When he told me the age of this person, it made more sense as to why he had this opinion. To be clear, I don’t really watch much of pro basketball anymore, really since Jordan retired. There are several reasons why, but none of those have to deal with this matter. Now I could go on and on about why that has to be an ignorant comment but I’m not going to do so here, just to help keep this from getting out of hand.

This morning I was reading my bible and as I was reading 2 Timothy Chapter 4, I came across this verse:

4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

And as I read this it sort of dawns on me that we are living in that time right now. I see more and more how people push away the Bible and its teachings. I feel like the further we get in our days the more and more this will continue to happen. I know you’re thinking, “What in the world does this have to do with Michael Jordan?”. Maybe not directly related to Jordan himself but the idea of someone who has a slight disconnect, mostly because of time, that it becomes untrue or they prefer to believe what’s right in front of them at that time.

You see someone who is much younger knows about LeBron James, about Stephen Curry, about Kevin Durant, James Harden. They know about Rusell Westbrook and Kawhi Leanard. Why? Because it’s what they see right in front of them, right now. There’s no disconnect because it’s the current events happening in front of them. But if you mention Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Magic, Wilt, Kareem and of course Jordan, they may know the names but they don’t know the talent. They don’t know how some of those players changed the game of basketball. To people who watched MJ play, he is and probably will always be the G.O.A.T. And again we could go into a list of reasons why most of us feel that way.

In the same manner that as our generations are getting older and the new generations have come, they start to see the Bible as just stories or myths. Those “stories” you would hear about at church as a kid, or from a friend. If no one is there to really teach you and explain to you the truth of the Bible, then we start to lose the reality of it. We start to lean on what we hear otherwise and what we hear now. I would imagine that from the moment Jesus died and rose again, that this started to take effect. As time went on and the first accounts started to die off, people started to believe less and less. At least those that were not taught or brought up in that truth. And a lot of it is our fault as believers. In the very next verse, it says,

5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

We should be the ones helping to educate our children and those around us about God and about Jesus and the life He lived and gave up for us. We are starting to see the consequences of not doing those things. Don’t believe me, just the previous chapter in 2 Timothy 3 these are the opening verses:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Tell me that isn’t looking more and more like today’s society. You don’t have to look far to see it all happening right now.

Most people say that the Bible is just accounts written by people and we can’t trust that it’s the truth. Well if that’s the case should we throw out our history books? What are they if not for accounts from people who witnessed it. I don’t remember having video footage of so much that I learned in our History classes. Jesus existed, it’s been verified by several Jewish and Roman historians. The research is there if you take the time to do it. The accounts that are in the Bible are from witnesses to what He did in His life. And there were many other witnesses there as well. But I’m not here to try and convince you of anything. That’s not up to me. It’s not my job to debate or argue someone to Christ. That’s not how it works.

I think this all made more sense in my mind, but it’s something that I just had to put down into words cause I felt led to. My mind can be weird at times, and I’m sorry if this, in any way, confused you. God Bless.

Level 72

Today my dad turns 72 years old. That number seems unreal to me. Not because it’s a high number, or because the years have flown by, but because my dad doesn’t look or act like he’s 72. When I was little I thought 72 was really old and you were most likely bedridden, in a wheelchair or having to use some sort of walking aid. But I was little so I could be off by a little bit. Regardless, that’s not my dad, he’s always working. He’s been retired for years now, but he refuses to stop and kick his feet up for too long. Maybe that’s the old generation that I’m seeing. The generation of hard work and keep pushing no matter what. Sometimes I look at him and I’m just amazed and how strong he looks and I pray that I took can look and feel that good at 72. But that’s really just a very small piece of it.

I could probably write on and on about my dad and the amazing man and father that he is, but I frankly wouldn’t have the time. There’s so much I could say about him, but if I could sum him up in three words they would be “Loving”, “Worker” and “Wise”. Those are the three things I think of most when I think about my father.

He’s always there when I’ve needed words of wisdom or guidance. Being someone who grew up with little and has made such significant advancement in his education, career and overall life, I really do make it a point to listen to his words. He’s a part of that generation that’s not very tech savvy right now, but as I kid I remember thinking, “There’s nothing my dad can’t fix“. I’m just glad I can help him out now when he’s trying to figure out the tech stuff.

I don’t know many people that are hard working like my old man. It’s like he never stops. There are times when I get tired just watching him go. But it’s like he doesn’t know how to stop. He’s like a machine. Maybe it’s because he’s had to work so hard throughout his life, he’s really never known much else. My father came over from Mexico with his uncle and I remember him telling me stories of working fields when he first came. To think that he retired being the safety manager of a global company, well I think that speaks for itself.

But the one thing that I admire most about my father, is his love. I don’t think I ever went one day without feeling his love. He loved me enough to discipline me, to get me on that straight path. And even though at that time I hated it and didn’t understand why my friends didn’t have it better because they did what they wanted, when they wanted, I do now. And I thank God every day that he was on top of that. He’s done so much for his families over all of these years, but for some reason the one thing that sticks out to me the most was his career change. You see when I was little I didn’t get to see my dad much. He worked at Ben Taub Hospital and usually worked nights, which meant he slept during the days. There were times we couldn’t go outside and play because we couldn’t make noise for fear of waking him up. He loved his job. It was exciting for him and he’s always loved the medical industry/field. He still talks about it from time to time and I can tell that even now it still excites him. But there was one problem, he wasn’t seeing his family and they weren’t seeing him. I can imagine that it must be a difficult decision to make a change doing something you enjoy. But I can also see that if that choice was because you weren’t seeing the people you loved most, what’s the point. I don’t know where my dad would be right now in the medical field had he stayed there, I wonder that a lot myself today. What I do know is I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be where I am right now had I had to miss out on the time that he gave to his children and even now as adults with our own families. I’ll never forget that. Ever.

So today my old man levels up to 72. I say level up because for one, I’m a gamer, and two because though his body has aged, he’s wiser and more awesome as the years have gone. I admire him so much. I think it’s pretty safe to say that all his kids do and so do many around him. I pray that one day my children will be able to say the same about me.

I love you, dad. Happy Birthday.

Overwhelmed

This morning started off like a typical morning as of late. Wake up, change and feed the little one, wake up big brother and get him started on his change of clothes and breakfast. Then I get ready, kiss all my loves goodbye and make my way into work. I get the music going as it helps with the 40 to 45-minute drive in. About half way into work, a song comes on by Big Daddy Weave. It’s one that I’ve heard multiple times and I really do like it a lot. For those of you that know the artist, you can see now where my title originated from. I’ve heard this song so many times before on my playlist and thought today would be no different than those other times. I was wrong.

As I was singing along with the song something hit me and hit me hard. It was like the words overcame me and just opened up something inside me. By the time I hit the second verse, the tears started.
God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God
And all that You’ve done is so overwhelming

 

“All that You’ve done is so overwhelming”.  That hit me and just sat heavy on me for a bit. There are a lot of things going on within our family and also in our individual lives. Things we’re struggling with and things we’re so so happy and excited about. But when I lift my head up for a moment, out of that mega cloud of life, I just see the fact of how extremely blessed we are. How extremely loved we are and how undeserving of it all I am. The tears just kept coming as I kept thinking about Him and how He loves me so much. How every day I fail Him and I stumble and fall and sometimes even just find myself HATING me. But not Him. Never. His love is beyond my comprehension and it hurts my brain when I try and grasp it.

All of that was just flooding my head and the boom, my mind clears and I can just feel His presence. This is something that I’ve felt before, and it’s so hard to explain, but I feel Him. My whole entire body starts to tingle and I get goosebumps and my heart feels like it’s going to explode out of my chest of just pure love and joy. It’s like you are feeling every wonderful sensation all at once and right then at that very moment I just want to do nothing but give Him one BIG HUG. I hear the words in the song that only amplify this feeling right now.

You are Glorious, You are Glorious
Oh God, there is no one more Glorious
You are Glorious, God you are the most Glorious

I know most people hear the word “overwhelmed” and think of something negative, which is natural because that’s how we hear it most. But this time, I was overwhelmed by God and His perfect Love and Grace. At this point, the tears are just flowing, uncontrollably and I’m not even sure if anyone saw me at any of the stop lights but I’m not really caring about anything like that. At one point I thought maybe I should have pulled over.

There’s no real message from me here today, and I’m sorry if you were maybe expecting something enlightening. It was just an experience that I wanted to share and try my best to put into words, even though I already know that they won’t do it justice. It’s something that I pray that everyone could experience just once because it is a most incredible experience. But I will leave you with the music video to the song by Big Daddy Weave.

 

God’s Love For You

I think as a child of God one of the things I struggle most with is feeling worthy of God’s love. I’m like that one son that knows better but yet still stumbles here, and God is always there with opens arms ready to hug me and love me as He always has.

But I worry that one day, God will say, “ENOUGH! I’m done with you. You don’t listen to me! You don’t love me enough to be good, so I can’t love you anymore”. The death we know is when our body stops working, but TRUE death is separation from God.

The other day I was reading my bible and I came upon these verses that filled me with joy and reassurance.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

If none of those things can separate me from God’s love, then surely the stumbles that I deal with every day can’t as well. I hope that if any of you feel this way, you read this and realize that you too are loved by our creator and there’s nothing that you can do that can change that.

The Great Debate

It astonishes me… no, it saddens me the support I’m seeing for either Hillary or Trump. How did this even happen? How did these two become the front runners of both parties? I’ll tell you how, there is either something severely corrupt in our system, or there is something severely wrong with WE THE PEOPLE. I find it hard that I would see so many supporters for Bernie or Ted that these two would some how come out as the winners for their parties. And I’m so tired of hearing the excuses for supporting both, because they’re all so shallow.

Trump Is Racist
Yeah, I’m pretty sure he is. But if you think for a minute that Hillary isn’t, then your head is deep underground on that one. You have one that’s open about it, and the other one is keeping it all tucked away.

Hillary Is A Liar
They’re ALL liars. They’re politicians, they will lie and spit out just about anything to get in the office. It’s how they all work. Only some people’s lies and mistakes have caused the lives of people, but I’ll leave it at that.

We Can Get A Woman In Office
This woman? You want a woman in the office so bad, you want to vote her in? The thought and argument itself is pathetic just as those who wanted Obama in the office because he was black. How about we get the BEST QUALIFIED person in our lead seat? I see the same stuff in the workplace. People being hired because of their race or gender or who they know. What ever happened to the days we hired the person that we thought was the best for the position and would get the job done right?

Trump Is PRO AMERICA!
Trump is PRO MONEY. When have you not seen this dude talking or bragging about money? We all need to wake up a little more to see that most politicians are in it for personal gain. If you could only see the money big corps are putting into their pockets behind the scenes, you would understand a little more.

A Vote For Third Party Is A Wasted Vote
Is it? With that kind of mentality, it is. Everyone seems to truly believe this, so they don’t want to vote third party. Because if you vote third party you think it will be wasted. Imagine for a minute that people would get over that mentality and vote third party. We would get to see one of two things. You would either get to see the absolute power that each voter truly has, or you would get to see how absolutely corrupt this system is and how it was all rigged to begin with.

You have absolutely EVERY RIGHT to vote who you want to vote for. Please do. If you ABSOLUTELY think that either Trump or Hillary will be the best, then by all means, vote for them. All I’m asking is that you not vote for someone because you hate them a little less than the other person, because that’s what it seems to be as of late. “I hate Hillary and her supporters so much, I’m gonna vote for Trump! I hate Trump and his supporters so much, I’m gonna vote for Hillary.”

This is what our nation has become, full of hate. We hate the other side so much, we don’t even bother to see the side we’re supporting. We fail to see that we are doing the exact same thing the other side is doing all along and we all lose.

LOVE Like A Child

The other day I was at Reno’s school/daycare picking him up and as I gathered his things, he was still dancing and playing with the other few children there, still waiting to be picked up as well. I love watching them all play and act silly with one another as they usually do at this time of day. We usually get there toward the end of the day, and only a few kids are usually left when we arrive, so it’s usually free time for them to dance and play.

When I grabbed his things I motioned and called to him, letting him know it was time to go. He walked over to me, still smiling from his play time. “Are you going to say goodbye to your friends?”I asked him.

He turned and waved and let out a little “buh-bye” as we walked away. But then he stopped, and turned around and ran over to them and gave each one a hug. Not one of them hesitated as he made his rounds to them individually. My heart swelled with joy.

And for the moment that seemed to slow down just a little bit I thought to myself, “What happened to that? What happened to that love?”

I honestly believe that their love is the love we should follow. There are no boundaries or segregation that they set for one another. The love of an uncorrupted child is as pure as it comes. What would this world be like, if we all loved that way?

It reminds me of when the disciples asked Jesus who was the greatest in his Kingdom:

18 
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

-Matthew 18:1-4