Making a Difference

difference, clueless, community, christianity, life, We all want to make a difference. Some of us want to make a difference exclusively for ourselves: more money, nicer house, vacation home, BMW 7 series. Nothing wrong with that— except for the “exclusively” part.

Some of us want to make a difference on a local playing field—literally; coaching a sport, serving the elderly, providing meals for the injured, etc. We care about our friends & neighbors.

Fewer of us want to make a difference in the world arena. We become the shakers & movers of world change. We may hold public office and be in the public eye or we may operate under-the-radar, making a difference on the sly. But we keep the world safer and less prone to self-destruct.

The challenge of this EMPulse is obvious.  In what ways are you making a difference in your neighborhood, your community, and the world? Notice the question was not Are you making a difference? Why? Because you are not the one who should provide the answer. The people around you should respond. As for making a difference in the world, giving from your bounty (not from whatever is left at the end of the month) should be a priority. But have you ever sought an audience with Theresa May, Michel Temer, Justin Trudeau, Enrique Peña Nieto or Xi Jinping? Some of us need to do that to make a difference.

Kent Julian, on his BLOG Dream to Do, suggests 7 traits of people who make a difference—

  1. Hard (& smart) worker
  2. Consistency and Perseverance
  3. People-Person
  4. Truth-Teller
  5. Problem-Solver
  6. Lifelong Learner
  7. Delivers the good

If you show evidence of any of these character traits, then you should already be making a difference. Add significant time in Prayer to that list and you become a lethal weapon in the hands of God.

If you do not exhibit any of these traits, why don’t you? Are you afraid of something, or self-absorbed? Or is personal gain that central to your life? Really?!? Isn’t making a difference worth a little sacrifice?

Do you really want to hear our Lord say to you “Depart from me, I never knew you… .” (Matthew 7:23).

We all need to make sure we are making a difference somewhere.

 

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

Gary

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Facebook Rant

twitter, rant, trevin wax, Gary, davisAlthough this post from Trevin Wax is two years old it still deserves consideration, especially during this month of being thankful. Too many of us are full of rage and rant; some express it behind the wheel of a car, others, through their RANTs on FaceBook, instagram and twitter. When Christians RANT…, it goes to prove just how wide the division is between “us & them” really is.

When you look at your friends list, are you only seeing people who agree with you? People who will pat you on the back every time you say something? Maybe its time to think about the people who stopped being “friends” with you, or the people you have unfriended. Challenge yourself to be love-able to someone you don’t agree with today.

Unlike Jesus, we have lost the ability to walk among people who disagree with us and love them. Sad.

Gary

A Quiverful of WHAT?!

gary, davis, josh duggar, Duggar, Quiverfull, Christian, TLC

How should we respond to the sexual actions of Josh Duggar when he was 14…, 13 years later?

            One such response was titled A Quiverful of Shit. What, pray tell, is Quiverful? Its resource is from Psalm 127, Christian Bible. Look it up. Quite a large number of Americans adhere to the Quiverful ideals of male dominate families, the bread winners, wherein the wife’s job is to bear children, manage the household exclusively, and never working in a fulfilling job outside the home, produce even more children, and homeschool the kids to adulthood. That is her God-defined role in life. Any higher education beyond high school is superfluous to her primary obligation to bear children and raise them. Really!?!

What bothers me is that this family portrays themselves on TV as the perfect, Christian, American family—a role model for the rest of us to emulate. They admit they have problems, but don’t we all?!? But there is never any evidence on their TV series that they have these problems; just an admission that they have them—that’s it. Dirty laundry issues.

            Being portrayed as the ideal Christian family is the real problem. Do other Americans’ actually share their values? Actually, yes.

            Does it seem possible that in the 21st Century there are families that esteem The Little House on the Praire ideal? For one, the Praire ideal wasn’t ideal. It was hard work, not to mention dangerous at times. The head of the family more than likely worked in his fields nearby nurturing or harvesting his own crops or tending to his sheep/cattle. The Quiverfull Movement has captivated vast numbers of followers due to their emphasis on a self-sufficiency ideology to remain free of any and all external influences. Take NO government assistance; teach your own children so they are not tainted by other children, and never, EVER, borrow money from anyone. Live as if you are independent from any involvement in “the world.” Total self-reliance means total separation from normal society.

            Question— Had you grown up in this kind of environment, as did the Duggar girls and their brothers, would you have known right from wrong? Of course you would. Basic human decency & respect are common to us all; whether we choose to follow it is another issue. That being stated, teenage obsession with exploratory sex is a powerful drive, not something easily overcome. I cannot brush aside Josh Duggar’s actions when he was 14; but I cannot condemn him for them either; not given our present society’s over-stimulation of sex no matter where you turn. Teens cannot be protected from that.

            What I condemn is this entire Quiverfull concept of agrarian family values that should have died with the incursion of industrialized society. Their values are certainly not Christian in any way. They are about a chosen life-practice that the Duggars and others believe is the right way to live. They are all about control and male dominance. Sorry, perfect Quiverfull Duggar family, your Christian values are not Christian. That are a façade of deep, genuine Christian faith. Your faith is simply fake.

            Your faith seems an attempt at conservative values that are impossible because of our basic nature. Josh is under fire for what he did in his adolescence. Would any of us have fared any better?

            It certainly is not genuine Christian faith.

            Finally, it seems a tragedy that there seems to be no regard for the sisters involved. Did we have to open up these old, deep scars, bleeding across the entire social media scene? Incredibly callous.

Dr Gary Davis, President

Partly Innocent

Gary, Davis, Judge, Christian, Condemn, Innocent, Pure            The Christian process of sanctification, being drawn by God from darkness to brilliance, is a life journey. Yet far too frequently do we judge those who are lagging behind, or who struggle with the same thing year after year. We tend to condemn them more oft than we do forgive them.

Therein lays the puzzle. God has forgiven them yet we continue to pronounce and enforce our own Christian judgement upon them. So…, God may have forgiven them, but we do not? Well, not yet at least. They need to prove themselves worthy of our approval, not just God’s; then maybe we might consideration restoration.

Think of the innocence of a young child—so pure and blameless; so simple in their outlook on life; impressionable, formative in their earliest days. So what impressions do they have of our Christian lives? Do we come across as Holy, Righteous, completely Moral and Upright? I doubt it; but that is the image we want our children to aspire to. Adult Christians can more easily hide their true selves.

The problem with that is that we often fake our righteousness, our faithfulness to the cause of Christ. Want proof? Easy. What percentage of your income do you tithe? Have you been completely pure in your devotion to your husband, your wife? Ever lust? Or maybe you simply judge those who don’t measure up to your standard of outward Christian faith. Quietly, of course. Until there comes a time when you just cannot hold back from sharing something you saw on Facebook or twitter about so&so. Bless your heart!

Our children are certainly partly innocent. In contrast, we are partly guilty. This is not meant to be a condemnation— rather, it is an obvious fact of growing toward maturity in Christ. In the end we must all rely on Christ’s grace and mercy alone.

So the next time you are in a sharing mode, think again about your own stance before the Throne of Grace. Recall that you are still partly guilty yourself. You are, like me, a work in process. Seeking that great day when you find your own sin disgusting.

One finger pointing out the sin in another’s life: three fingers pointing back toward yourself. Remember?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye,

and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

~Matthew 7:5

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

(PS, And if you need a reminder, here’s some wisdom from a toddler. )

Centenarian

Florence Davis-05                Today, March 16th, would have been my mother’s 100th birthday. She exited this life just two months shy of her 98th birthday, January 19, 2012. She lived a valuable and influential life, teaching prisoners, caring for the poor, and moving among high ranking governmental officials, even Presidents.

But her real value was at home, to my sister and me as “mom.” Just mom. We did not know her in her other, more public roles; nor did we know our father, Earl Carlton Davis, as the founder of our present-day mega-ton maritime industry. For us, he was just “dad.” Never mind that he drank with Presidents and stevedores alike, and ran the gamut from the FBI to the Mafia members. He was, at home, just dad.

Now that they are both gone, my sister, Carol, and I reflect on their lives often. What they gave us was immeasurable.

Dad gave me his horrible sense of humor; a malady I suffer even to this day. My mom simply mixed up the punch-line with the joke. We forgave them both for these gifts years ago.

My mother’s consistent tenacious character has formed my character in deep ways. It is hard for me to let go, to give up, or quit. My dad passed along his toughness to fortify my determination.

My dad’s meanness taught me how not to be a father. Although, I’m not that sure I was that great of a father anyway.

Dad’s congenial character taught me diplomacy. I learned to compromise and still get things done right. That was an art, his art, and I am glad I’ve inherited so much of it.

But it was my mom’s personal Christian faith that most informed my early years, teen years, and throughout college & graduate school. Though I had my father’s personality, I definitely had my mother’s faith. She rarely passed it along to us through words; rather, it came to us through her attitudes and actions; and through prayer— lots of prayer. She was the embodiment of Jesus Christ Himself for us! Her prayers even drew dad back to God, through years of disappointment & anger.

Has there been someone in your life who has had a rich, deep impact on you? Thank God for them! Get in touch with them. Thank them yourself, before you miss the chance.

We kids are a dumb lot, often unable to see the love and care of those closest to us. It’s probably time we tuned-in a tad more and appreciated what God has given us.

Thanks mom, for everything…, & Happy Birthday!

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Putting a finger on Dignity

Dr, Gary, Davis, compassion, character,  genuine, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, dignity, respect, What exactly is dignity? It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is. Some people attach it to position or authority; some to rank or leadership. Others tie it to a civility in a situation gone chaotic. Still others will automatically attribute it to old age and longevity. One’s physical stature may come into play as the respect shown a tall man or statuesque woman. Some beauty projects dignity as well; but not all beauty.

If you would aspire to be one considered to have dignity, allow me to proffer 10 considerations.

  1. Be honest with yourself about yourself. Facades taint dignity.
  2. Be forthright with others, with respectful graciousness. Crass openness is offensive.
  3. Always be considerate of the rights and needs of others. You do not need to win to be right.
  4. Steep yourself in humility before the God who created you. We may be at the top of the food-chain on this planet, but the universe has many surprises in store for us.
  5. Take on the deportment of a servant, especially if you are a great leader of industry. This must be genuine, flowing from deep within your being.
  6. Take on a heart of compassion. Express it tangibly. [James 1:27]
  7. Hold others in higher esteem than yourself.
  8. Do not take yourself so seriously; or your position, or those who laud your accomplishments.
  9. “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” [Romans 12:18]
  10. Do not sit in judgment over another unless you are paid by the state to do so.

Genuine dignity is the blending of inner character and external action, without façade, without pretense, seeking only personality integrity and the betterment of others. BE who you have been designed to be without affectation. As we say around here—

Honor God, honor people…, make a difference.

THAT is indisputable dignity.

‘Nough said,

Gary

I like my closet

Some days you just don’t feel like getting out of bed. We’ve all been there. The pressures of life weigh in on us so heavily that we lose the strength to face another day. This is especially true around the holidays— gifts to be bought and wrapped, meals to be prepared for the imminent arrival of guests & family. Added demands upon our already frantic lives.

Some of us, yea verily even extroverts, oft seek sanctuary in our closet, whether figuratively or literally. We retreat to a place of momentary safety, a hiding place, where no one can find us. We seek silence, solitude, serenity— commodities sorely lacking in our present pace of life. [Buddhism has a lot to teach us on this subject.] Large companies are scheduling team-building retreats for their managers and department heads; Christians have been going on spiritual retreats for years; Muslims fulfill one of their Five Pillars by making at least one journey to Mecca during their life-time.

There are at least two kinds of closets. The first kind is within us, holding things private, things which are best kept to ourselves. The other one holds us. It is a place for us to gain perspective and strength, to find solace for our soul. It may be a literal closet, or a place of safety—a friend’s home, a favorite bar, a winter hike through snow, a time of reflection, a rich conversation with a confidant over a wee dram of Glenmorangie. [Note: a roaring fire often aids in melting our resistance to search within.]

So as our lives continue to accelerate, make sure you go into your closet often, to your place of escape, to remind yourself who you really are. To be properly equipped to grapple with the daily barrage of activity and information that assaults us, we all need those times of retreat, wherein our focus must be on refurbishing our spirit, building our character, and finding rest for our soul. And may God bless and honor those who have created a closet for me. I’m ready to go in…, how about you?

Closing the door now,

Gary