124 – God the Chastener

God chastens and chastises His children because He loves them. Like well groomed lawns and gardens are clipped and watered, God rears His children with boundaries, rules, rewards, and punishments.

Punishments make us cry, as do any hardships, deserved and unfair alike. If we cry from punishment guiding us to accept what we can’t control—including God’s decisions about how He wants us to live—then when the normal troubles and hardships of life come our way we won’t be disheartened.

Life has its challenges. The path requires effort to travel, overcome, finish a project, or dig through a mess to find gold—just the effort itself can lead us to tears.

If our parents punished us for being disobedient as children, we are not only obedient and self-disciplined to more formidably face our challenges; we won’t cry as much when tall challenges might otherwise wear us out.

God is the perfect parent, which means that He will spank us and put us on lockdown, of course to train us in self-control, but also to de-sissify us. His rules and desires on how we should live are, of course, incredibly brilliant, wonderful, ultra-desirable, and so good that no one could possibly have a better idea than His morals from above.

But, even the wisdom of God’s morals aside, just giving us pain to toughen us up is what any loving father should give.

The last thing a child needs is to get bit by a mosquito while crossing the street, lock up from the pain, and thus get run over by a car. Having thick skin is part of living a safe life. Good parents don’t pamper their children so much that the slightest hiccup leaves them emotionally undone.

Strength to bear hardship also means we’re strong enough to help others with their burdens. When someone near you has trouble, you may need to carry a double load; you may need to take a bullet or get whacked with a falling log to save someone. Your strong spine could save someone’s life.

Our own hardship is no license to “chasten” everyone around us. God Himself chastens His beloved because good fathers chasten their beloved children.

123 – Paying for Appreciation

Pay for things. Make others pay you for things. Work for money. Pay what work is worth. We only value something as much as we pay for it. Don’t train people that you or they are worthless. Handouts make people dependent and eventually they die from weakness. Help, but helping a chicken hatch will kill it.

Sometimes we don’t have money, but we can always pay with effort. So, work for things, whether you are rich or poor. In His wisdom, God hardcoded this into our programming: If we don’t work a thousand hours for only one hour of pay, we just don’t understand money. Working for money is the only way to “pay” for money, “earning” it.

The more you work for money, the more you will understand it. You don’t want to stay there, working hard for very little. But, many people remain there because they never learn about money, so God keeps them there to keep teaching them. If God meets your needs as you work too hard for too little, He is making you rich in wisdom, which is more valuable than money.

Don’t get into judging yourself or others about why who has how much. Try to earn and understand as much as you can, then God will give you the perfect suit for your needs. Even if God makes you dirt rich, that also is intended to teach you some kind of valuable lesson, such as the dangers of laziness and monetizing inflated confidence.

Whether you’re rich in wisdom or rich in gold, God wants you to use your riches to help others. That doesn’t mean becoming the all-saving charity who solves problems by dolling out what on one appreciates. Only Jesus can save the whole world. Whether you help someone by giving them money or wisdom, don’t make it cheap; make them appreciate it.

Don’t just tell people all the wisdom you know; give them some pointers—something to ponder—and then let them work for it by having to ponder it. That will keep your friendly distance, staying out of their personal space. People will respect your wisdom if you make them earn your respect for theirs.

122 – Triple Check

Mom often said, “It’s not what you know, it’s what you think you know that ain’t so.” Life will sneak up on you less if you live by this rule: Two points make a line; three points make a truth.

Accidents happen closest to home for a reason: We assume more things the closer we get to home. Never back up without looking—in your own driveway especially. This is also for a reason: Babies might crawl in your driveway without sending prior notice, especially our own.

Things sprout legs, move, then drop their legs before you can notice. Earthquakes and lightning strike unannounced. The IRS might seize your rubber ducky, so don’t take a bath before at least verifying it’s there. You know a door is closed not when you hear the latch click, but when you try to open it. Tap your pocket keys before closing locked doors. Never turn right without looking left. And, never trust a turn signal until the driver is committed to the turn. Whenever my father saw a dent on the driver’s side door he’d say, “See that, son. That’s what you call a ‘clue’.”

Don’t be like the son who wouldn’t talk to his father the rest of his life after receiving a Bible instead of his dream car on his 18th birthday—only to open the Bible 30 years later after his father died to find a check inside for the price of the car when he was 18. His mistake was not that he held a lifelong grudge without opening the Bible first, but that he should have checked each page thrice.

Ask your friend before begrudging or forgiving; maybe you should be thankful. It happens with possessions, accounting, relationships, and even God. Everything moves except God, yet we still don’t understand Him. It’s not God we need to verify the truth about, but our ever-shifting misunderstanding of Him. There is no reason in the universe, plasmaverse, underverse, or oververse that every fact shouldn’t be checked three times. However offendable, expectable, dependable, predictable, or routine your routine is, triple check. Remember that “assume” is a compound word and that double checking just isn’t good enough.

121 – Case for Capitalism

Every good thing gets counterfeited and exploited. The devil’s greatest game is to convince people that he is Jesus—that wicked men might ease their guilty consciences and that good men would blame Jesus for the devil’s mischief. So it is with economics.

Populist ideals are no way to devise a working economic strategy.

Socialism is proven by repeating history to be the populism of economics, mainly because it is a pioneering financial philosophy trumpeted by those who were neither financiers nor pioneers. The first known experiment in Socialism arrived with the Pilgrims of 1620, imposed by aristocratic European investors upon the pioneering Pilgrims who abandoned Socialism in order to save their starving people. As if one failure were not enough, Socialism became one evil exchanged for another when the impoverished masses overthrew the heartless aristocrats of Russia, again ending with the same failure where basic needs are always in short supply. Socialism is history’s most predictably repeating failure. Even today, some theoretician seeks to establish an experimental commune with compelling theory as evidence, presenting none of history’s everlasting failures to learn from.

The Pilgrims finally escaped Socialist starvation and a dying population when everyone’s survival became no one’s responsibility but his own. Everyone “rose to the occasion”; the colony had a surplus of goods for the first time and was finally able to pay back its aristocratic investors only by breaking their Socialist bylaws. When Governor Bradford settled with those investors, the deaths of more than half of the colonists at the hands of their Socialist bylaws surely came up in the negotiation.

Early America was founded on this new experiment—that individuals are responsible for their own work ethic and their own corresponding results. Neither aristocracy nor investors nor society have any right to claim the credit for another’s hard-earned labors. Each one is a steward of one’s own capital—one’s own property. That self-responsible, self-reliant, freedom-based economic philosophy founded the Northers colonies that defeated Southern slavery two centuries later. It was called “Capitalism”. Ever since, disenfranchised aristocrats have sought to commandeer the very Capitalism that defeated them while Socialists blame true Capitalists for the evil deeds of aristocrats who are anything but.

120 – God the Vindicator

God does not allow any crime to go unpunished. In human terms, a crime may evade human systems of justice, but they do not evade God.

If we repent of sin, God will forgive us in our relationship with Him and in Eternity. This gives us a fresh start each day where God is concerned, which is liberating, empowering us to press forward. But, we still must do restitutions—work to clean up whatever mess we made in the natural universe during our life on Earth. It wouldn’t be loving toward others if we didn’t clean up the mess we repented of making.

More importantly, time wasted sinning is time better spent building up value that matters in the eyes of Heaven—things that God congratulates rather than forgives. If one’s life only surmounts to forgiven sin then one would enter Eternity with nothing.

These balance out in the end, including the vindictive need for punitive acts of justice and revenge. Someone who hurt you may repent, clean up his life, and start contributing to make life valuable for people—preventing others from the same destructive path. However and whenever God punishes others, we always find it just and beg for His mercy on them.

But, for the unrepentant—for the people who care nothing for others or for justice, who commit heinous crimes against humanity—their day in court with the Lord God Most High is indeed coming.

God punished Cain for murdering his brother, a curse and guilty conscience that followed him the rest of his life. The world, full of wickedness and murder, was drowned in the flood of Noah’s day. Babylon’s economy never regained its investment for the Tower unfinished. Egypt enslaved Israel and did not recover the bruises of a wrathful God. The defiant generation of Israel died in the desert. Satanic human-sacrificing cultists in Canaan were rightly slaughtered by Joshua’s army. Enemies of the judges suffered humiliating defeat as did Saul and his family.

When God wielded evil nations to punish Israel for sin, they too were decimated—Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.

In the end, Revelation predicts indescribable vengeance on unimaginable wickedness because nothing escapes God’s vindication.

119 – Judge Each Situation

A dad is too busy dealing with adult babies in the world to remember every errand his family assigns to him. He deals with a complaining boss, parents, students, and customers to both buy the ketchup and build the pantry to keep it in. Try to be understanding if he doesn’t remember where you didn’t tell him where you decided to put the ketchup.

While dad is working, mom is chasing away the dust and moving the laundry that never ends, all while feeding the children who can’t be left alone lest they cause bring apocalypse prematurely. When you get home, thank mom that the house is still standing, thank her more if it’s clean, and bow at her feet if there is food to eat. But, it’s hard to do that unless you hold off judgment before you give each situation a thorough look.

I once told two brothers, “There is a very easy way for your parents to have more energy to be kind, understanding, and never make mistakes: Get rid of you two kids, then they will always be well-tempered, calm people. But, your parents have two growing problems: you and you. Don’t forgive them for loving you. Instead, love them back.”

The problem with being ungrateful for family, friends, neighbors—and everyone—isn’t gratitude, but prejudgment. Don’t criticize another man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.

There are no “easy” decisions in punishing, firing, hiring, or relocating. We can’t throw people away for being sinners, not in families, relationships, nor the workplace. Big mistakes need demotion and diminished stewardship, but we remain useful to someone as long as we breathe. Man-made morals would have us either ignore all mistakes or punish every mistake without mercy. God’s morals are that of redemption: Every punishment must be educational or there is no benefit.

God chastens us because He loves us. When we do what is wrong, we need less responsibility to do less harm, pain to remind us not to do it again, instruction so we can understand how to do better, and there are never easy answers to make that process works. After all, only God is the perfect Judge.

Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 6:37-38

118 – Message via Cosmos

God will approach us with individual, routine guidance. Sometimes it’s a warning, other times it’s an encouragement. He might speak to us through a feeling or “sense” of an idea.

God also likes to talk to us through people. He will send a friend, coworker, classmate, cousin—and He especially likes to deliver messages through people that happen to irritate us most, right at the time they deliver the message. Those people probably don’t know that God’s using them to deliver important truth for our lives. To them, they are just getting something off their chests or bubbling over with some frustration we stirred in them by our recent action. But, for us, their words may be remarkably relevant to the situation in our lives, especially in light of recent events.

God can, and does, use anyone for this—some passer-by on the street, a drunk guy at a bar who doesn’t know you and everybody thinks is a fool, but his words address a riddle in your heart that you went to bed with the night before. He’ll send a teacher, supervisor, student, subordinate, spouse, ex, parent, child, older or younger sibling, or whomever we least want to listen to. He even uses billboards or other events in life. God spoke to Balaam through his own donkey and He spoke to Jonah through a crew of sailors.

Don’t look for it; it will find you, especially when you don’t expect it. It will never stop happening, no matter how old you get, no matter how much you grow in knowing God.

When God sends messages to us through such means, He makes a few presumptions. The messenger neither needs nor earns any “credibility” kudos for delivering the message, and may or may not even know that a message is being delivered at all. You’re expected to get the message and are responsible for understanding it. And, God may not tell you how to obey His message, only the results He expects. He’s already told us how.

God has revealed many things in His Word already, also through life. Every prophecy or message from the cosmos presumes we have read God’s Word and paid attention.

117 – Case for Goverance

Management has different levels of altitude. The higher the altitude the bigger the picture and the smaller the details appear. From the lofty skies, roads look like maps rather than journeys and cars look like ants among indistinguishable colonies. Eventually the people and even entire cities disappear, being replaced by mountain ranges, oceans, deserts and plains.

Every level has its perspective and its range. Some cameras are held by photographers on the ground, others are flown by drones, others orbit from space. It is not the role of the cameras from space to perceive where a painting should be hung on a wall because cameras from space can only look straight down. Moreover, the camera in orbit can see many more details; it would be wasteful to use a camera that sees the big picture for matters that anyone on the ground with eyes can handle.

Governance is a level of management like any other—with diligence, skill, format, and time requirements. But, it’s work is done by few and is understood by even fewer. Still, it is vital.

Mountains and forests, oceans and plains, even deserts and glaciers have their benefits and value. They are painted and defined by the wider view—the bigger picture—they are decided by the seat of governance.

Governance, in practical terms, occurs at the board level of an organization, but the principles of governance carry down even to the janitor with nothing below him but the floor. The executive term is “policy”; the courtroom term is “precedence”; the business term is “big picture”; the artistic term is “broad brush”; the Biblical term is “governance”.

God is the “Governor” of creation. He sets the plains and hills while we harvest resources, sow, eat, and build upon His Earth. Just the same, rules from the top set the table and prepares the courses, but each individual decides how to eat, bite by bite.

Governance is vital. Governance decides the grand picture. Someone must sit at the helm of the greater wheel. Sweepings changes must be made and, while some changes must disrupt, a wise governor knows both the evils of too much ado about something and death by soothing poison.

116 – God the Repayer

When something gets taken from us, God pays it back from His vast wealth. It doesn’t matter how it was lost. Whatever we lose, God can give back and restore a thousand times.

Even sickness, injury, or death of a loved one—God can heal any infirmity, any injury, and whether not or later, God is the resurrection.

God does not “replace” what we lose, he “repays”. The original is still gone. No one can replace a lost loved one, but God brings us new friends and family to fill the space left by whoever isn’t around anymore. Our new family members are just as filled with life and the need for our love as whomever we lost.

God told Israel through the prophet Joel, just before the punishment of Babylon’s invasion, that He would restore the crops that the locusts came and ate. After Job humbled himself before God, he received all his wealth back two fold and started a new family whom he loved very much.

Everyone experiences loss in this life sooner or later. No one dies without God’s approval. No harm comes to us without first passing through the approving, loving, guiding hands of our Father in Heaven.

Even before God takes something away from us—or allows it to be taken away—He already has His plan to restore it to us. Our role in repayment is to seek Him, to grow our hearts to be more loving, and to understand our humble circumstances, no matter who we are.

Jesus described God the Father as a keeper of a vineyard. Pruning is a painful part of healthy growth. Just as a seed must die before it can sprout, just as winter makes trees grow their roots deep in search of water, God takes things from us as part of His master plan for us to become mature and strong in wisdom, skill, knowledge, and love.

We don’t always live in seasons of loss. Sometimes God calls us to be His instrument through which He repays what was taken from someone else. Whatever season you are in, never focus the greatness of loss, rather fix your eyes on God who repays.

115 – Charm, Wit & Tact

Never fall for the motto of the Georgian rhetoric psychopath, “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” It’s why you say it.

Tact and charm begin with genuine live in your heart. Without that, all other advice on charm and tactfulness will only make one come across as a deceitful snake. However, once you have love…

Some things are obvious, evident. Those are things you should never say because, well, they “go without saying”. If you state the obvious, people will think something is wrong with you, either that you are hiding something or don’t know about life or are just trying to flatter.

Other things must be said. Especially in English, we communicate with the assumption that we all expect new ideas. If one person knows what another person mans to say, there is no point in conversation because there would be no progress, whether in exchange of ideas, technology, business growth, or anything else worth discussing. When you do indeed need to conmunicate an idea, provide enough detail that people know what you mean. For example, don’t overuse pronouns to a point where the listener doesn’t know where the pronouns point to. My mother would often say, in many occasion, “I know that you know what you are talking about, but I haven’t a clue. Start over, but don’t begin with the word ‘they’.”

There is a time to presume what is evidently self-evident and a time to state the idea that no one considered; know the difference. This is a knowledge you will never stop learning.

You can say almost anything if you have a twinkle in your eye and a sheepishly childish grin in your face. When wrong or in those times you accidentally step on toes, be humble. When you cause an injury, own it. When you don’t, be the Good Samaritan who helps someone else’s victim.

When you must confront someone, twinkle, grin, and be the large, gentle giant in charge. If people love your results, and you break neither skin, bones, nor feelings, it won’t matter which silly protocols you may have to break. You don’t even need to smile if you have enough love.

1 Corinthians 13