The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Time


I guess if anyone knows how limited our time is, it would be me. I’ve told some of you this, but everyday I can’t help but wonder if today is my last day on this planet. I’ve learned this is something most people go through after heart surgery.


Whether or not I’ve had heart surgery doesn’t really matter because the truth still stands that this could be our last day on this planet. We don’t know if it will be through illness, an accident or murder. How we may die has multiple questions that we don’t know the answers to. I think after we reach our 40’s we overcome the invincible feeling and come to the realization we’re mortal.


Believe it or not this is not about death, but about living. How are you living? I’m not talking about if you think you’re a good or bad person. Are you living? Are you living through someone else? Are you wasting your life? I know that I’m the worlds worst at wasting time and we/I have so little of it. Many go to work, shop, take care of kids, prepare dinner, eat, watch a few minutes of TV or check email and hit the bed. The time we do have we find ourselves wasting it on the internet looking at what other people are doing and the same thing could be applied to TV. We do this on a day to day basis and one day we wake up and realize we’re 40 or 50 and wondering where the time went.


We put so much value on the many things we feel that have to be done today. What if you were to die today, who would take care of those many things on your list? Either someone else would or they just wouldn’t get done. All of us are expendable. The next question is what’s important to you. Screaming at your spouse or children or spending quality time with them. We better take advantage of the time we have left.


As much as I know we all need to be eternally minded I know it’s difficult to think of something abstract. I like to ask the question; what do you think you’ll be doing 500 or a 1000 years from now. Stop a moment and think about that. Will you be in heaven? If so, what will you be doing there? Do you know for sure you’re going to heaven? If not, this would be the utmost priority on your list.


We place so much value on the short time we have on this earth. How much can we accumulate, places we can travel, things we can do all while the clock is ticking.


Imagine for a minute that you’ve been offered a perfect job overseas, but there are a few prerequisites to the job. You will not get any pay once you get there, however for every dollar you send over there it will be multiplied a million times in a special bank account. You can’t take anything with you and you don’t know when you will get the opportunity to go. What would you do? Would you sell everything you could to send money forward or would you be skeptical and hold on to everything you could?


The choice you make right now will determine your happiness on this earth and your riches to come. Are you investing in eternity or yourself and the short time you have left on this earth? I’m not just talking about money.


"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” Matthew 6:19-21

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Orange Juice and The Toothpaste


Several years ago my wife and I led a support group for boot campers. We tried to create an environment of learning and not teaching. We would use anything we could think of to create examples and drills that were easy for me and others to understand. We did one called the orange juice and the toothpaste. I got this idea from personal experience many years ago when right after brushing my teeth and went to the frig and got a glass of orange juice. Needless to say, right after I brushed my teeth the orange juice tasted nasty. I thought something was wrong with it or it had spoiled so I threw it out and wasted an entire jug of Sunny D over a false perception.


If you haven’t tried this then I would suggest you do it to get the full affect. This was a perfect illustration concerning what anger and bitterness does to us. It changes our perception. Then everything in life is tainted and we can no longer see the truth nor do we even want to hear it. We can’t enjoy the juice (life) no more because our perception has now been distorted. So we can either continue pouring out and disregarding all the juice that comes into our life and wasting the time and money or we can deal with the toothpaste. (Anger and Bitterness)


I have worked with so many people over the last six years that had the stupidest husbands and the lousiest wives. Neither one could seem to do anything right. Once they got rid of the anger and bitterness they could finally see how messed up their perception had been. It slips in so easily and slowly and will continue to grow until we face it and deal with it.


So, how do we deal with it? Most of you know the answer to this. The answer is forgiveness. Many people want to hang on to their anger because they feel it gives them purpose and reason to live. Some think it gives them strength, power and control. The honest truth is that is does exactly the opposite. Many people don’t want to forgive because they don’t understand what real forgiveness is about or how to do it. As many of you know it was one of the highlights of your life when you experienced true forgiveness. As I’ve heard before, anger and bitterness is like drinking poison trying to kill someone else. Just a reminder…God will not forgive us if we don’t forgive others. I don’t know about you, but I definitely need forgiveness from God daily.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Big 4

What is the Big 4? You have probably heard these are the topics you are never to discuss at work. What are they?

Politics
Religion
Money/Finances
Sex

Why are these big no-no’s? Because they know this will do nothing but cause arguments and dissention. For many years I’ve told several people that my wife and I had absolutely nothing in common. I learned recently this wasn’t true. We have very few similarities, very rarely do we like the same things, she’s black and white and I’m gray, and our personalities are completely opposite. So, how did we manage to stay together for almost 30 years and counting? Believe me, we had our problems and were near divorce at one time and it was one of the big 4 that was the cause of the problem.

All of us have a desire to marry our opposite. Why? Because we have a need for them to feel in the gaps. What if you’re not married? This is where you find friends to help you. You may be disorganized and your spouse is very organized. You may be a people person and your spouse sees people as a nuisance. Your spouse may be high strung and you are very laid back. I need my wife’s detail consciousness and her organizing abilities because I have neither one. She needs my calmness and peace for the times she’s stressed. I could go on and on. This is a very brief look into the personality types. I will be doing another seminar May 23rd.

Even though my wife and I weren’t much alike in many of our interest, we were very much in agreement over the Big 4. This is where most marriages split up. It’s usually over politics, religion, money or sex. Many times these values are not even considered in a life long relationship. I have seen over time that many of these problems are usually at the root of divorce. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 This is a principle and warning of danger ahead. Unequally yoked definitely fits in the Big 4.

The goal is unity; to be of one mind and a place of harmony. For the most part I knew that my wife and I had the same values and beliefs on about everything. Therefore it wasn’t a source or contention or conflict. We have had things in the past, but fortunately God helped us work through them. We had to get past the feeling of wanting to be right.

Not long ago I was able to see in clarity the purpose of marriage from God’s point of view. First of all, the only thing our children have in their life to see God is their parents. (Scary huh?) If this perception is screwed up and distorted, then they will have a distorted view of God. It all goes back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis. God does not possess neither the masculine or feminine aspects of man and woman, but both of them. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 When a man and woman are joined together in marriage it is supposed to be a picture of the completeness of God. Not a picture of one lording over the other, but as I heard once, the picture of a dance. Like the fellowship and union He has with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are of one mind. When a couple is dancing in harmony with one another, you cannot tell who is leading.

My wife and I have had to learn to work with our strengths and not fight with our weaknesses, which is what we did for a big part of our marriage. I’ve learned that I not only need her, but I want her to complete me. I continue to choose her daily over my desires and others. I also have to choose God daily to continue our relationship moving forward.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What is Security?

I’ve asked many women over the years about what was really important to them in life. Each and every time security would be around the top of their list. This is not just a woman thing because I’ve noticed it in everyone. We all have our ways of trying to have security from locks on our doors, cars and lockers to trying to have a nest egg for raining days and emergencies.


I will not disagree and say these things are prudent, but to think we can provide genuine security for our lives is a fa├žade if not even foolish. There are no guarantees. We do the best we can to protect our children, our homes, finances and other possessions, but can we really? The Bible says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21


Many turn to finances to provide the security they desire, but at any given time the money could vanish a lot faster than you earned or inherited it. We do all we can to protect our children, but any given moment they could be taken from us. There’s a possibility that America could become a third world country in the future. Then many say, our government would never let that happen. This is when we start putting our faith and trust in the almighty government.


I spent many years in fear of the future. The Great Unknown! What’s to become of me and my family? How will we survive? What about medical needs? Will our priorities change from getting the kids to soccer practice to, is there any food? I really used to ponder a lot of these questions to no avail. It had neither happened nor was there anything I could do to fix it. This has not happened in my lifetime and it may not. I could be dead by tomorrow.


All any of us can do is deal with today. Our imagination can be a fun companion or a cruel taskmaster. Even when we imagine the future, do we imagine God is already there or is it something we go at alone? Do we have expectations either good or bad? Expectations themselves are dangerous and will usually lead to disappointment.


There have been many women who feel forced into a marriage due to fears and the need of security. Once all of us accept there is no security outside of God and He is all we ever need, then this is where we will find genuine security. Have you become focused in tunnel vision? There is a whole big universe out there to see and if I focus on my 401K and see how much money I’m losing everyday, then I’ve missed the point. So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34