Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Core Problem in America


by John Evans

IS THE MOON A SUN? I overheard the Moon and the Sun having a rather contentious conversation. The Moon was saying he was as good as the Sun. In fact he was angry with those that kept saying how wonderful the Sun was, how bright, how essential to life. He demanded the same respect. 

The Sun, trying to be diplomatic but still  replied: “No one is saying you aren’t bright and beautiful. You are an impressive satellite circling around the earth. But to be a sun you have to be a shining star.”

The Moon pouted and said, “You’re wrong! I can be a sun too. Just because bigoted people think we’re different, just because they labeled me a ‘moon’ and you a ‘sun’ doesn’t mean I don’t deserve the same respect you get.”

The Sun, somewhat surprised, responded, “But dear Moon, as a sun I create energy, give off light, make life possible. That’s what suns do. You simply can’t do that. You can’t create energy. You can only reflect the light created by a sun. All moonlight is reflected sunlight.”

“That’s just more of your prejudice, Sun. I demand that you call me a ‘Sun’, just like you. I refuse to be a second class heavenly body any longer!”

“Would it be O.K., Moon, if we created some term that would be acceptable other than ‘sun’ because ‘sun’ has an age-old meaning that just doesn’t describe you. There are some pretty fundamental differences.”

Now the Moon got really angry. “You know, Sun, there are laws against hate speech. Your refusing to acknowledge that I am no different than you is just based on your irrational prejudice. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’ll get the U.N. or some government to pass a law that says ‘All bright heavenly objects are suns,’ and then I’ll be legally recognized as a sun. I can do it, you know. All I have to do is threaten to call them “Intolerant” and they will do anything I ask.”

“Maybe so,” replied the Sun, “but you still can’t produce light.”

MALES AND FEMALES MAKE FAMILIES: A family begins when a male sperm merges with a female egg. There is no other way! When male and female gametes merge a baby can be born. There is no other way! It is true children can be abandoned, shuffled around, adopted, adults can live together in any number of combinations, laws and regulations may expand, contract, redefine. But only a male sperm merging with a female egg can create a human.

FAMILIES ARE NOT CREATED BY GOVERNMENTS: Families existed before governments, before countries, before civilization. They will exist long after all governments that now exist have faded into the forgotten past. One hopes that when a male and female unite to create life that every worthy and noble instinct will come into play to provide for, nurture and protect the children of that union. Human babies must be cared for. That is done far better by a family than by any other institution. No human lived to puberty without at least basic physical care provided by others for many years. Human folly and sometimes unavoidable tragedy—physical or emotional— may require that other than the natural parents step in and provide that essential care. Fortunately, adults other than DNA parents can love and care for children when natural parents are unwilling or unable to fulfill what, to most of us, seems the most basic, normal parental roles. They can, in the best way, provide a family. How fortunate that so many are so caring.

THE WORD: We live at a time when many want to use the words for “marriage” and “family” to describe other relationships. A most extreme example is Mafia murderers describing their criminal combinations as “families.” They hope to impart some acceptability, some legitimacy, to a relationship that, in fact, is destructive of families. Like the Moon’s demands, it is not unusual for those seeking legitimacy to hijack words, words imbued with the greatest respect, and to change their meaning in the hopes that by changing the definition of the word they can change our perception of reality. We cannot expect our legislatures and courts to prevent it.  But redefining a word, whether done by legislatures, courts, voters or tyrants, cannot change the most significant, core, reality of all human existence: every human exists because of the union of a male and female. “Marriage”, at best protected by tradition, law and the finest human instincts, is the most essential of all relationships—the one that produces humans. It deserves, at least, a word of its own.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We Need a New Level of Thinking

As people we tend to just ride the waves of ease, especially in America. We have some significant challenges ahead of us. We will not solve those problems with the same level of thinking that got us here. We need to repent. We need to redirect our thinking and change our lives or the government is going to change them for us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Independence Day - 6 - Final in Series

We covered all the reasons why our Founding Fathers wanted independent from the Mother  Country, here is the close of our Declaration ...

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Wow! Check out the stuff I put in bold ...
1. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Now that speaks to our day. Think, then act on that prompting. A Prince who acts like a tyrant.
2. Representatives of the united States of America Remember who is speaking here. The sitting Congress at the time - see what they say next ...
3. Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions our original Congress is appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world; that would be God. Today? Think real hard on this one.
4.  these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States the operative words here are 'United Colonies' meaning they are independent but United; and then they say of 'Right' they ought to be 'Free and Independent' - 'States' ... think, if the Mother Country didn't have the 'right' to interfere before 'God' why does the Federal government today have that 'right'?
5. as Free and Independent States again they reiterate 'free and independent states'.
6.  to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do this is important; the 'independent states' can do 'all other Acts and Things which Independent States my of right do'. Think. They are laying out the foundation of what would become the greatest and most successful nation on earth.
7. for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, who did they reach out to for support of their Declaration? They sought the protection of 'divine Providence'. Why? Because they believed that God had a hand in the creation of the first country on earth to recognize the rights of the individual and not the right of the government. Why did America become the beacon of hope to a darkened world? Think. It has everything to do with the inspired documents of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights and the character of the men behind them.
8. we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. What did these men pledge to deliver our Declaration of Independence? "Their lives - their fortunes and what, 'our sacred honor'. What kind of honor? Sacred honor. These were men far superior to anyone in leadership today.
As we close this review of a sacred document, the Declaration of Independence, think about it and what it has meant to the world at large. Our declaration and the Constitution of the United States of America changed the course of the world. It was unquestioned for just over 150 years of world leadership and then the attacks began. And as those attacks have increased in both volume and intensity, we see where we are today. You be the judge.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Independence Day - 5

Missed yesterday but we continue with the reasons for seeking independence here ...

18. For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

19. For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

20. For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

21. For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
If you watch carefully you will see this is happening in America right now.

22. For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
Executive Orders are currently being used to rewrite laws around Congress as we speak.

23. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

24. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

25. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
Our current Administration currently supports regimes around the world who state their intent on our destruction as a country and our way of life.

26. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. 
Think Fast and Furious and our current Attorney General

27. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Our current leader is the Divider-in-Chief and chief supporter of Islam, by their own words our stated enemy
We will conclude the declaration tomorrow. The twenty seven reasons listed in the past three posts are the reasons our Founding Fathers declared our independence and became the greatest nation on earth. We have enjoyed the fruits of the independence they declared. We are currently losing that independence.
For a better tomorrow ...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Independence Day - 4

We'll continue with the reasons for declaring our independence ...

8. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

Think about what is happening?

9. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

Think Obamacare, the Supreme Court and many lower courts.

10. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

Think Czars and an Attorney General who defies a contempt of Congress order.

11. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

Watch for this as planned in Executive Orders.

12. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has actually done the opposite.

13. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

Think treaties with the United Nations in violation of our Constitution.

14. For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

Coming soon.

15. For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

Think our Attorney General, Fast and Furious, Benghazi.

16. For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

Think his treatment of our Allies around the world.

17. For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 

Think Obamacare for starters ...


More reasons our Founding Fathers had tomorrow ...

For a better tomorrow ...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Declaration of Independence - 3

The last two days we've been talking about the foundation principles of the Declaration of Independence that this great country was founded on. Now lets look at the reasons stated in the Declaration for the need for independence. Its very interesting when you apply it to what is happening today ...

1. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    Think about that for a minute. He (England) refused the application of laws for the public good.

2. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    Think about that one.

3. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. 


4. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 

      Does that happen in DC? Does that happen in Congress between the parties.

5. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

      Ummm? Sound familiar in today's world?

6. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

      Are our states exposed? Think immigration?

7. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

     Is the opposite happening today?


If we are to become better people we have to face reality. We are needed in this world. We cannot change that which we do not acknowledge. Think about it as we approach 'Independence Day'.

For a better tomorrow ...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Declaration of Independence - 2

In the opening paragraph we learned that declaring our independence came with a reason and was founded on a basic belief in a God who had blessed us. In paragraph 2 we read ...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world."
There are some real important things in here. Lets look ...

1. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator" - What? Once again there was the belief that we have a Creator. Not evolution or science but a Creator who granted us certain rights. What are they?
2.  "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happines"s.-- That seems to say that our Founding Fathers believed every individual is granted rights to life (think Abortion here) Liberty and the pursuit (not guaranteed) of happiness. No other country in the world ever had such thoughts before.
3. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, "-- Whats the purpose of government? To secure our rights as a people Created by our God. Pretty plain to me. And who does the government get its power from? The governed. That was the intention and plan of our Founding Fathers.
4. "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness" -- Umm? And what do we have a right to do if the government infringes on those rights? Abolish it and go back to the beginning. Ever hear that spoken of before?
5."Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security".-- They're telling us to not throw off the government at every whim, but, if Despotism should arise - thats another matter. Think about this one.
6. "Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world." -- Our Founding Fathers did not take these things lightly. They did not declare their independence on a whim. They took the time to debate, argue and come to the conclusion that their rights were being taken away by the Mother Country.
Tomorrow we'll get into some of the reasons they did what they did and in the process created the greatest nation the world has ever seen.
For a better tomorrow ...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Declaration of Independence

As we approach our nations founding celebration let's take a look at the document worked out amongst the thirteen original states. We'll look at it in parts and see what can be learned and how it is important to each one of us today. Evil things are happening in our country that will dramatically impact America, you, your children and grandchildren.

The important thing to know is that God had more than a hand in creating the greatest and most free nation on the earth, he showered the not only the founding Fathers with rich blessings, he blessed the early founding settlers who were committed to Him. He blessed our nation beyond belief as we became a beacon of hope and faith for millions of people around the world. We can learn much from what is written in the actual declaration. It has everything to do with our becoming better people.

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Note in line one and two they are specifically talking about dissolving our relationship with England. They are dissolving it because they desire 'separate and equal' station which is afforded us by what? By the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God to which entitle us. (And all men I am sure). They conclude this section by saying they feel compelled to declare the causes for the separation from their Mother Country.
You see, they were men of honor, commitment, courage and dignity. They didn't revolt from the Mother Country without much debate, thought and consideration. They felt compelled to seek a new political direction for the sake of what God entitled them.
Tomorrow we'll look at the next paragraph and work our way to the reasons for the declaration. I believe you will find them enlightening in view of what is taking place in our country as we speak.

For a better tomorrow ...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Choose Who You're Around

If we're going to become better people its important we spend time with better people. Remember, we have the power of choice.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Do Something for Someone

May we seek to set an example each day and in our own small way make the world and our country a better place.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What We Do Everyday is What We Believe, All the Rest is Just Talk

        Think about that statement. What we do everyday is what we believe, all the rest is just talk. What does that mean to you? What we do, our actions each and every day is what we truly believe. We can say what we want, but what we do is who we are.
Think about it this way. Imagine two circles. In your mind or on paper label one, words and the other, deeds. Our words are what we say we believe. We all say a lot. We love America, we’re Christians, Catholics, Jews, Atheists, Goths, we love our kids, our spouse, you name it. We tell people that is what or who we are. All those things go in the circle you labelled ‘words’.
Now each day we get up in the morning and we take action. We get up, interact with our household, go to work or school, come home, more interactions, recreation and we go to bed. All the actions you took that day comprise your behavior and result in what we’ll call your deeds. What you do everyday, your behavior, is your deeds. They go in the circle you labelled ‘deeds’.
Now you have two circles. One full of your words, the other full of your deeds. Your circle full of words is what you say you believe and probably intend, plan or would like to believe. The other circle, your deeds, are what you actually do everyday and when you act on something that is what you believe.
As you look at your circles how big is the gap? The gap is the difference between what you say you believe, your words, and what you actually believe, your deeds. How can we become better people? By bringing our circles together to the point that we have only one circle. When you look down at them they are one. When you do, your a person of integrity.
Apply the look in the mirror test. Think through one day in your life. What goes in the circle for words; what goes in the circle of deeds. Be honest. Look in the mirror and decide how far apart your circles currently are and make a commitment, day by day, to become a person of integrity. Become a person where your circles get closer and closer, your words and deeds are coming together, and one day, they’ll come closer and closer.
As you embark on this journey think it through. Lets look at a few examples. Say you call yourself a Christian. Do you have a church? If not why not? Don’t deal in excuses, deal in reality. Be who you say you are? There’s an old adage, ‘If you were accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to prove it?’ Think about that. It applies to whatever you say you are.
Most people are employed, they have a job. That makes you an employee. Your paid to deliver a result everyday that makes your employer better, makes them money. If they make money they keep paying you and grow. Does your performance at work match what you tell your boss. Or do you spend time away from the boss talking trash about them or the company.
Words and deeds. We say, we do and then we should look in the mirror and decide. How did we do? Words and deeds. Make them match.

For a better tomorrow ...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Amazing Grace in a New Way

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Choose Your Attitude, Choose Your Way

Viktor Frankl speaks from personal experience. A survivor of the German concentration camps. Each of us has a choice in every circumstance to choose what we may do, how we may feel and how we might respond. Never forget that is a gift from God. Use it wisely!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Who Are We?

In 1 Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 17 we read,  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Even if you're not a Christian read on. Theres a message for everyone.
What does it mean to be 'in' Christ? What does it mean to become a 'new' creature? What does it mean that 'old things are passed away'? And what does it mean 'all things become new'? Lets take a brief look at what it might mean and the implication for each of us.

What does it mean to be 'in' Christ? Christ is Christianity. He epitomizes good. He is the ultimate example of living and dying for others. If we are 'in' Christ we must try and live as best we can by His example. Do we?
What does it mean to become a 'new' creature? None of us can match the daily behavior of the Savior of mankind, Christ, but we can try. We can get up each day and become new in our behavior towards others. The battle in life is not that I might become better than you; the battle in life is that I reach my potential in Gods eyes. What did I do with what I was born with? That is the opportunity we have to become better, to become new.
What does it mean that 'old things are passed away'? As we change our behavior we leave the old behind and we become a new person. We can not move to a new destination without leaving the old. I have a close friend from my Nam sniper days who spent twenty years riding with a bad biker gang. He went through three wives and many bad things but today he has been married for twenty years, is a business owner, raises expensive horses and has put the gang long behind him. How did he do it? He sold everything he had where he lived, moved across the United States and started over. He told me he had to leave his old haunts and old friends behind or he could never change. His 'old things' passed away. Yours can too.
What does it mean 'all things become new'? When we choose to change the way we are and actually implement those changes in our lives, we can become new people. My friend surprised us all by becoming so much more than we would have ever given him credit for had we not seen it with our own eyes. You can become new, in Christ by making the changes in your life that emulate Christ example.

Who are we? In the end ... we are who we choose to be. Whether you believe in Christ or not, you can become new. You can choose to put the old you behind and become new. I believe we should follow Jesus Christ, you are free to believe as you will. Becoming better is open to all of us. Each new day is a new beginning. Each choice is a change for change.
In the end we are as we behave. A saying I love and committed to memory is, "What we do each day is what we believe, all the rest is just talk". What believe shows each day in the choices you make which results in behavior people ultimately interpret as you. You decide.

For a better tomorrow ...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Improving the World by Improving Ourselves

Think about that. Each of us has the opportunity to improve the world each day with each choice we make. The question is ... will we?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Time to Act

We’ve talked about becoming better by realizing we each live with a circle of influence and a circle of concern. We then learned to have the drive to change we must find our own burning platform. What drives you to change, to grow and be different than we are today? Hopefully, you find your motivation to become be A tter people and work to make a difference in our nation, our work and our families.
We live in difficult times in our nation. We can and should look at our problems as being caused by two different reasons. First, if you’re a God loving person you understand that as a nation, as a people in this nation of America, we have collectively turned our backs on God. The second and equally important reason, which even people who reject God should see, is that we have turned our backs on the principles that made this nation exceptional for many years. Both of these reasons spell doom for America.
How serious is our situation? Why is it time to act? Lets briefly look at three recent headlines reflecting the changing values in leadership.

  1. Benghazi: Whether help could have arrived in time is irrelevant, it wasn’t sent. This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with character. In the recent hearings before Congress it is clear our leaders lied to us on a jugular issue. Truth no longer matters. That is unacceptable.
  2. IRS is used to spy on groups opposed to our President: Will we ever know how widespread this is? Probably not. Again, forget politics, our leaders used a government agency to put pressure on opponents. Our leaders acted deceitfully and another recent example of a lack of character. That is unacceptable.
  3. Government seizes records from the Associated Press: Will this be brushed under the rug? Probably. But do not miss the implication here. The first amendment addresses freedom of speech in our country. When the government seizes the records of the press regarding leaks that were unfavorable to the President, that speaks of power and privilege beyond what our founding fathers envisioned.

So what does this have to do with our becoming better people? Everything. The time is now to work in your circle of influence being driven by the biggest burning platform of all, America’s impending demise. We need to be people of character even if our President, his aides and most of Congress aren’t men and women of character. If we believe America to be the greatest nation on earth, founded on doing right, founded on the principles of honesty and integrity, then it is time we act in a way everyone can see it.
There are a few simple things I believe would help and they’re all well within your circle of influence.

  1. If you’re a religious person then live your religion starting right now. Make sure if believe in God and/or His Son Jesus Christ there is enough evidence in your life to prove it.
  2. If you fall in the category above then make sure you pray to your God morning and night. Not only for your families but for your country.
  3. When you see events happen like i described above that you speak up. With the Internet today it is easy to write Congress, your representatives in both the House and the Senate. Also, write your Governor. The key to our better future in this country, if there is one, will be found at the state level not the federal level.

Three simple things we can all do everyday. If you have no interest or think you have no time, then its simple, you’re part of the problem and not part of the solution. The time to act is now. Every single day we drift further out in the sea of oblivion. We may not be able to turn the tide and return the ship called America to port ... but we’ll never know unless we try.

For a better tomorrow ...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Key to Your Future

Each of us must look in the mirror every now and then and have a stop kidding myself day ... where are my present practices taking me? In that answer lies the key to your better future!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Putting the Circle of Influence into Action

When I first heard of the Circle of Influence I was working for Frito Lay. I'd just taken a position that moved us from Dallas to northeast PA where I would be in charge of several logistics locations. One of our locations was based in south eastern New York State. It was a problem child for the company.

Before leaving Dallas for my new assignment my bosses bosses boss called me in for an early morning meeting to discuss the problem. He told me that the particular site in New York had been having union elections for the Teamsters every year for the past four years. It was costing the company over a $100k a year to fend them off. His message was simple. "Kugler, I don't care what it costs me, never have another union election again". That was pretty straight forward.

My Dallas boss gave me some parting advice. He said, "Call Stephen Covey, he'll advise you on how to do that". At the time I hadn't heard of Stephen so I checked him out. At the time Stephen was getting $10k a day to come and advise so I opted for his number 2, the late Blaine Lee. He flew up to meet me the next week.

Over breakfast I explained my 'problem' and Blaine listened intently. At the end of breakfast he said, "Do you know what your problem is?" I said, "No, thats why you're here". He took out a new napkin from the table and looked at me, as if to say, 'hope you can take this?. He drew two circles. A large one and a smaller one inside the large one. Then a painful, life changing lesson began.

He looked me in the eye and asked, "tell me once again why you have union elections every year". So I began my littany of what were excuses. I said our rotten HR (Human Resources) department always rides in on their white horses and saves the day creating Pavlov's Dog for next year. I told him of HR's lack of support for logistics and their lack of interest in logistics until something happens. I went on and on and on as I had all during breakfast.

Each time I told him one of my many excuses he would put an X in the outside ring. After some time of my ranting he stopped and said, "You see these X's?" I said I did. He said all those problem you describe are interesting but not relevent. He taught me that while each of those things may be true, which he doubted, they weren't relevent because I had no control over them. I was not working within my circle of influence.

Then he forced me to answer for what I could do. What was in my circle of influence? I would answer and for some time there was another X in the outside cirlce. Finally at his urging as to what I could do to have a better relationship with our HR folks I said, "Eventhough they do not come to our driver meetings on Saturdays I could have minutes of the meeting and take them over, sit down and review them". I finally got an X in the inside box. I began that day to learn. It was a painful lesson.

Blaine said to me, "You're the problem". He meant just not me but prior logistics management at that location because we always saw the problem as being 'out there' and not in our control. That single lesson I took to heart. Over the next four years we did not have an election and my relationship with HR locally and in headquarters was changed completely. Where there was no trust there was high trust. And you know what, the only thing that changed was me!

Each of us needs to apply this lesson to our present circumstances. Each of us needs to look in the mirror and be honest about what we have been doing about America's problem. What role did we have to play in America's current demise. For instance, the fact that we have a Congress full of elitist who think they are above us ... is interesting, but not relevent. What is relevent is what we can do about it. What is in your circle of influence?

For starters did you vote in the last election for Congress? Did you support the opponent of the elitist in your area? Do you pray every day, morning noon and night for this great nation? Those are all things that are in your circle of influence where we can make a difference and not an excuse. If we want to be ready for the new America ... we must learn to operate every day within our circle of influence and become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Remember, one person can make a difference. If it is to be ... it's up to me!

For a better tomorrow ...

Do You Want Solid Relationships?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

We have the Power of Choice - Use it Wisely

          We've talked about being the change, we've talked about changing from either inspiration or desperation and we last talked about finding our burning platforms. In this post we're going to learn about the diagram below. This is another skill I learned from the late Stephen Covey. It is called the Circle of Influence - Circle of Concern.
           It is based on the idea that each of us are blessed with the power of choice. That means that we are not animals and bound by instinct; but people, born of God and blessed with a mind that can choose between one direction and another. So lets use a simple example. Say you plan an outing with your kids. You've been working hard, haven't done much with them or your spouse and you plan a big hike and camp out and everyone is excited. Friday comes and you hurry home, start packing and the downpour begins. Your spouse comes out and tells you its forecast that its raining and cold all weekend. You have a choice.
            Lets say you just go off. You're mad, the kids are clearing out and your spouse is trying to keep the peace. You decide without talking to your family the trip is off and you'll do it another time. You just let the kids down and lost several points with the spouse. In this example, look down to the bottom left corner, you're that little red circle in the middle. You are highly reactive and have little influence on your family or those around you at work or otherwise. Why? Because when you choose things you have influence over, the red area, you gain more influence in your life. When you choose things in the white area, circle of concern, that means choice in that area are things you're concerned about, the weather, over which you have no influence.
             Now lets see what happens when you take a totally different approach. The same situation happens and you come home, the spouse tells you the miserable forecast and with a smile on your face, you take the crew inside, explain whats happening and right on the spot you facilitate a discussion of other things you could do together, go away to a motel with a pool, they'll figure it out, and everyone is happy and impressed and your stress level is near zero. What's the difference?
          Look to diagram 4 in the bottom right. You become a person who recognizes that you have no influence over the weather, nothing but concern, but you do have influence over making new plans and making your family happy. You'll see that a person operating in diagram 4, bottom right, will continue to make their circle of influence larger and larger as you don't have fits, blame others for your problems or give up. You become a person of influence. You are proactive not reactive.
          The other two diagrams simply illustrate where the majority of people operate. Probably 10% of the people you meet are purely in diagram 3, really reactive. I'm guessing 40% of the people are in diagram 1, with some influence but not much. They are the followers. Then 40% of the people are in diagram 2, have a balance of choosing for themselves and complaining why the cannot get it done.
          If you want a life of less stress and more influence over where you end up, then you work to operate in diagram 4. Become a person of influence. Become a person who chooses their direction and doesn't just sit back and complain. We live in a world of whiners. We live in a world where people want anyone to solve their problems except the person they look at in the mirror everyday. When I learned this principle from Stephen, I went from diagram 1 to diagram 4 over the course of the next year. And I assure nothing changed except me. I will cover that change in detail in my next post in a few days.
           Really take this to heart as you contemplate exactly how you want to change to make America a better place. We can complain all we want about Congress, which had a single digit approval rating in the last election and we voted over 85% of them back into office. Somebody is saying one thing and doing another? If we are to hope to make a difference for America we must be proactive and not reactive. We must become the change we seek in the world.
          The next time you see your school, community or state making a decision that takes us further away from our nations founding fathers and our God centered values that made this country what it was, you need to work in your circle of influence and make a difference, make your voice heard not just by what you say but by how you live and what you do. This simple concept can change your entire life. Ponder it and pray about it and act on it. Become a proactive person. Become the positive change we need in the world.
          For a better tomorrow ...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Starting Right

If you're going to change and you're a believer, all change starts with prayer. We talked about looking in the mirror and being the change you wish to see. To be that change you must acknowledge that God is in charge, not you. It's about knowing He is in charge of this world, not us. Its about perspective. We are told throughout the scriptures to pray often.

Start each day on your knees and don't start by burying the Lord with your needs. Ask how you can be an instrument in His hands to make the world a better place. How might you use the talents for which you are blessed to do good in the world. Its not about getting what you want. Its about becoming all you can in His hands to make His world a better place to live.

If you aren't praying now you should start. Start with a morning prayer and work towards walking with a prayer of thanks in your heart, a knowledge of God in your head and work for the good of all with your hands.

Monday, April 22, 2013

You Want to Become Better? Discover Your Burning Platform

We've been talking about the need for change, now we need to get serious about it. We just experienced another terrorist attack on our land of America. As I write this post I just heard about the Canadians foiling a plot to blow up a train traveling from Toronto to New York. Is terrorism over as our President proclaims? You be the judge.
We've talked about change coming from inspiration or desperation. We learned that 80% of change comes from desperation. At this point in America's progression we still have a choice. The window of choice is rapidly closing. So what did you decide? What is your reason for change? Let me tell you a story.
The image below is a burning oil platform off the north shore of Europe. I first heard this story in a book by Daryl Conner called Managing at the Speed of Change. He was addressing why people change. As Conner told the story, there was an oil platform fire on the north shore in the dead of winter. When it was all over there was but one survivor.
He was being interviewed from his hospital bed he was asked why he jumped into the icy waters below. As it turns out a rescue boat had arrived but in the smoke and fog the survivor was unaware of its arrival. He thought he was all alone. Yet, he jumped from the burning oil platform to the icy waters below.
In answer to the interviewers question he said, "I looked at the fire and the fog below, knowing the waters were icy and I chose uncertain death (jumping into the fog covered ocean below) over certain death (staying on the burning platform)". Do you understand that choice? He did not know if he'd live by jumping but he knew he'd die by not jumping. He had to change.
We American's who believe in this country and God have to change. We as a society have behaved ourselves into this situation by turning our backs on God and being complacent about our freedoms. We have to change as individuals. We are on a burning platform and many American's don't even know it yet. If we do nothing we are just going to enjoy ourselves into oblivion. History shows us where our behavior takes us.
Decide now what your burning platform is ... we're moving on from here learning to become better people together. We can move on and change if our why is big enough.

For a better tomorrow ...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Choose How Your Day Will Go

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.
My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'
This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'
He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people
at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. I don't let people who makes up lies on others bother me.
Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so ... Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't. 

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a garbage-free day!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Someone Who Cares - Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

I had a good friend, an over the road truck driver, who no one would have ever believed, who lived this very thing and for years not only had breakfast, but he went and read to his wife every single day. Click th elink below. He was love as this man is ...
Someone Who Cares

A Personal Example - Inspiration or Desperation?

With this post I want to hit the reason for your change again. Changing requires, well, change. Why do we change. Let me give you a real, live example of how I began to change in life.

In the 5th Grade I did a book report called, 'The Story of the US Marines'. From that time forward all I wanted to be in life was a Marine. In February of my senior year of high school I was sworn in as a United States Marine. They called it the early entry program. Two weeks after high school graduation I found myself in Parris Island, SC and was not happy about my decision.

While I detail this in my book, 'Dead Center - A Marine Snipers Two Year Odyssey in the Vietnam War', I'll share the short version here. I was raised in a small town by essentially four women. My older sister, my Aunt, my Grandmother and my Mother. They did not adequately prepare me for boot camp.

Within two weeks I'd disobeyed an order and wound up in a place at the end of the island called the Special Training Branch or STB. I was a member of the Corrective Custody Platoon, or more affectionately, a Shitbird. The Drill Instructor in charge was maniacal. There were no Officers around so he did what he pleased and it wasn't pleasing to us.

One day I decided to leave, go AWOL. I'd had it. I was apprehended at the main gate by a couple of military police, handcuffed and sure I was heading to the brig. I hadn't eaten in just over three days and drank swamp water the whole time. I had a scorpion bite and was sick. I was also sure I had ruined my young life because of my decisions. I was desperate.

I was taken to the brig, then surprisingly, after the MP's made some phone calls, I was put back in the truck and driven back to STB, at the end of the island. They were taking me back to my maniacal Drill Instructor. I was sure he would kill me on the spot.

He did take me before the others at STB and humiliate me, said I was a bright and shining example of what you look like when you try and get off 'his' island. He also had me confirm for everyone that Parris Island is indeed an 'island'. Which it is, I can confirm first hand. I had yet to learn to swim so thats how I ended up trying to do an end run around the main gate.

Them something strange happened. My crazy Drill Instructor took me into his office and threw me on the floor. As I sat in the corner facing him he said, "What the f___ is wrong with you kid?" Before I could answer he said, "You haven't eaten in three days. You lived off swamp water. Hell, I'm a Force Recon Marine and I don't do that!" He then became human.

He went on to tell me that I could do anything and he would show me how. If I would walk out that door and commit to following every single order he gave me he would stand up for me and I wouldn't go to the brig. In my despair I was inspired to change. Now I was also scared out of my mind by this guy, but he was the first guy who I felt cared about me in my life. It ignited a flame that burns to this day. I could do it. And I did. I went on to become a great Marine and lead scout-sniper teams for two years in the Vietnam War. I used everything I learned from my maniacal DI throughout my life.

I changed because of desperation. I saw my young life slipping down a dirty drain. Then events like the one I described changed me and ignited a fire in my that drives me to this day. As we look at America, at our relationship with God and for those who believe, Jesus Christ, what is our reason for change?

Throughout the coming week you think about what got us here and how you need to change. This step is critical ... none of us are perfect. We all need to repent daily. Then we need to recommit and go forth stronger than ever. What is your reason for change?

For a better tomorrow ...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Whats Your Reason for Becoming Better?

Last post we talked about becoming the change we wish to see in the world. In this post lets assume you want to change, you want to become better. That's great! Whats your reason for becoming better? All change is driven by a reason, whats yours?

There are only two reasons people or organizations change. One is inspiration, the other is desperation. You're either inspired to make changes in your life or, you're driven to change your life by the circumstances around you. The illustration above is a graphic of what I'm talking about. In image 1 on the left you see inspiration. In image 2 on the right you see desperation.

The dictionary says inspiration is a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul. Our founding fathers were inspired when they created America. There is much written on that subject. The sad thing today, based on my lifetime of changing and leading change in organizations, is that less than 20% of change is by inspiration.

The dictionary says desperation is the state of being desperate or of having the recklessness of despair. Have you ever felt despair or seen someone in a state of despair? Recklessness is a good word for how people act in the midst of desperation. Most personal change happens around events. Events like birth, death, divorce, weddings, new jobs and the list goes on. The event either wakes us up to the need for change, or forces us to change.

In America today, we are witnessing the implementation of someone else's vision that is very different from that of our founding fathers. Their vision has been permeating our society for many years. It has simply gained momentum in the past few years. It is also a vision that does not include God.

The reason someone else's vision is taking over is because you and I and millions of other Americans have been asleep at the wheel of freedom. Speaking personally, I've been off enjoying the American dream all the while it was being taken from me. How about you? Remember what I said in the last post. Look in the mirror and be honest. What can you do differently? If America turned its back on God, what role did you and I play? The answer for me is sobering.

If we're going to be ready for the New America coming or even hope to change it, we have to change. Before we can change we have to know why we are changing. I've heard it said, if the 'why' is big enough the 'how' is easy. Thats true. But I can tell you that the 'how' this time is not going to be easy, but we can be ready and make a difference, if our 'why' is big enough.

Right now someone else's vision of America has become our desperation. But in our desperation we'll find the seeds of change. We'll find those seeds in our commitment to this great Nation,  or perhaps our God, or even His Son, Jesus Christ, or all three. One of these three, or even better, all of these three, must be the fuel of your inspiration or you won't sustain your interest in becoming better.

In the bible, in Proverbs 29:18 it reads, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he". God made it clear we should be people of vision. People of vision lead their own lives, they don't follow others. They become the change they wish to see in the world. Our challenge right now is to decide how big of a problem we were in getting us to this state; then commit to be the change we wish to see and become part of the solution in getting ready.

For a better tomorrow ...   

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

My goal with this post is simple. To share the idea that the reason for the problems in America can be found by looking in the mirror. We are all responsible for the demise of our great country. We will therefore find the solution starts with the person we find in the mirror.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world". Never has that statement been more true than it is for us living in America today. As we look around we see an America most of us aren't happy with and don't recognize. And if you're like me, you've spent a lot of time complaining about what 'they' are doing to my country.

Here's the big news ... there are no 'they' only each of us. We say God has been taken from America, He is no longer allowed in our schools and court rooms and public places. We have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves where we were while that was happening? Were we being the change we say we want in our country? Were we protecting that which we say is so important to us? Were we walking our talk or were we just talking the talk?

As we start this journey towards becoming better people we need to know that the only one responsible for our actions is the person looking back at us in the mirror. If we're going to become better people and follow God and help our great nation it begins with each of us, as individuals. It begins with us 'being' the world we wish to see.

Look in the mirror and ask yourself, if you believe in God, are you the change God would want to see? The proof is in our behavior, not our words. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, if you are an American patriot, are you a walking example of patriotism and loyalty to our great country? Remember, the proof is in our behavior.

When we are upset with our Congress, remember we elected them, for years in most cases. When we are upset with our local school board we elected them. If you didn't vote through the years then look in the mirror. If we go to church for the social aspect and say we get nothing out of it, look in the mirror. The late Stephen Covey taught a powerful principle. He said, 'you cannot talk yourself out of a problem you behaved yourself into'. We must behave ourselves out of this problem. As we become better people, living and standing for common values, we will have a better country.

When Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world" I think he was talking about behavior. Because anytime you think the problem is out 'there', that very thought is the problem. Gandhi did not say 'they' are causing the problem. He was a man who lived what he said and ended up giving his life for what he believed. He was committed. Our founding fathers and pioneers were committed. If we are going to be the positive change America needs we will have to be committed to 'being' the change we say we want to see in the world. There is no other way.

For a better tomorrow ...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Becoming Better

Hi Everyone

My new blog is called, Becoming Better. No politics here. No whining. No preaching a particular religion. Just a singular focus on the person in the mirror. How might you and I become better people. The world needs more people who live by the commandments of God and the message and gifts of Jesus Christ. My hope is that we can learn together.

We need to place our power in the eternal laws of He who sent us. God does not change His standards to fit in, be popular or politically correct. As a result, we live in a world that no longer believes in Him. We live in a world that is educating, spending and texting itself out of existence. We live in a world where money is more valuable than people and power more important than principle. There is only one answer, God. We need to do a better job of living like we know it.

The battle in life is to overcome ourselves. The battle in life is for each of us to fulfill the potential placed in us by the God who sent us. The battle we face can be won by learning and following God. The battle in life comes down to one key question. The question is not, am I a better than you? The question has always been, am I better than I was yesterday? Better is in relation to keeping the commandments of God. As we do, the rest will take care of itself.

We must realize that each of us are spiritual children of a loving Heavenly Father. We must realize we were created in His image. We must realize that each and every one of us are unique individuals. In all of time there is no one like you. There never will any like you. We're all on a journey and each step of that journey we have choices to make. We get better by making choices that get us one step closer to God.

So come along for the ride as we share thoughts on becoming better people. I don't know where this all may lead but I do know its a journey I must take a this point in my life and I know it will be worth it if I can help but one person along their journey of life. I'd love your feedback and your support in helping more and more people find a better way.

I close this first post with one thought ... What we do everyday is what we believe. All the rest is just talk. What does your behavior say you believe? Mine says I need lots of work.

For a better tomorrow ...