Middle Age Ramblings

Where I Share My Thoughts On This Journey Called Life

Archive for the category “Success”

Free College

President Obama announced yesterday a proposal to give free community college to anyone who is “willing to work for it”. The specifics of the program at this point are vague. It is proposed that students who keep up a 2.5 GPA and are making progress to complete their degrees in a 3 years or less could receive this help if the state the community college is in opts into the program.

This is because the Federal Government is going to pay 75% of the tuition and State governments would pick up 25%.

This program is modeled after a program began last year in the state of Tennessee. About 58,000 of the states roughly 62,000 high school seniors have applied for the program. It is my understanding that the Tennessee program is funded by Lottery monies.

There were no specifics given in the Presidents announcement about how this program would be funded. I would be interested in finding out how many billions of dollars this is going to cost the taxpayers, you and me.

I fear that this might be another unfunded mandate handed down by the Federal government for the state and local governments to bear the burden of.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any problem  with assisting children from underprivileged families in order for them to get an education. A good education, if the individual applies what they have learned, is the best way for a person to change their lives and break the cycle of poverty.

However, just guaranteeing an education doesn’t guarantee a job in the field they get their degree in. There are people in this economy who are under employed. Meaning they are working in a field that is not what they studied, and are making less money  because there are no jobs available in their field.

I know young adults with degrees who are working jobs making $8-9 per hour because there were no jobs available in their chosen field. They should be making $22,000 to $25,000 per year at least based on estimates.

I fear this is another in a long list of education programs, both Democratic and Republican, design to “improve education”. However, government has been largely unsuccessful at improving education. That is why we have so many failing schools and failing students. While I don’t have any answers for this problem, I don’t think another bureaucratic program is the answer because most of the money will be spent on the bureaucracy created to run the program and very little of the money will actually get to where it is needed.

I have rambled on this a good bit and I appreciate you sticking around to read all of it. As I said I don’t have any good answers for our education problems, but I know that the government solutions have not worked before. Maybe this one will, but I doubt it

I am certain this program will create much discussion on both sides. Please share your opinion below about this new idea of the Presidents. I look forward to reading them.

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Rainy Mondays- A Good Day To Do Nothing

I think I’ve written about this subject before, but this is one of those days that I just can’t pass it up. It has rained all morning here in North Mississippi where I live and work. Just a lazy kind of day. There’s not much going on here at work either and that makes it even worse.

Actually, I’m usually pretty tired on Mondays. I attend a small church in my home town. As with most small churches, Sundays are extremely busy. I teach a class of adults ranging in age from close to 30 to my age, I’m 55.  Then during worship service I play bass in our praise team and sing. We use a variety of music in our church from the great hymns of the past, to some of the new worship music of the present.

After church there is lunch at my mom’s house, I’ve written about that before in a post titled “Sunday Dinner”. I do usually get a short power nap in before going back to church for praise team practice, and Sunday night services.

After church on Sunday night, our 2 daughters, their husbands and children all come to our house for Sunday night supper. Our 3 grandsons, ages 4, 2 1/2, & 6 weeks are something else. It usually turns into a 3 ring circus before we are through. My wife and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

By 10 PM, I am ready to fall into bed. Monday mornings, come way too soon for me. Today is no exception. I am just having trouble getting motivated to do anything. I’ve got a project to complete this afternoon so I guess I’ll put a stop to my complaining and get on with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy serving in my church. Sundays are such a blessing from God. But it makes for a long Monday.

 

Learning To Trust

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in my Christian walk is learning to trust God in all situations. Not a blind trust, but a trust developed through experience. Yet, I need to be reminded constantly of the Father’s consistent working in my life.

I remember many years ago when my children were younger, we went through a tough time with my job. I was working for a major furniture manufacturer when business took a downturn. It got so bad that we were only working 3 days a week. I was out looking around our small town for  a second job and wasn’t finding one. I finally realized that God was trying to tell me to trust Him. To be patient and rest in Him. It was amazing to watch God work through other Christians and sometimes in ways that I couldn’t understand to meet our needs.

Proverbs 3:5-6 became very important in my life because of this season in my life.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do  not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. ESV

There are times in our lives though that we don’t think about past victories and we fail to remember how God has helped us in the past. Maybe we should follow more closely the commands that God gave the children of Israel when he told them to teach the children in their household the truths of God’s law and the way God helped them get to the promised land.

It’s difficult to learn to trust God completely. In our culture, individualism is encouraged. There is pressure to look out for number 1, ourselves, and not think about others. We as followers of Christ, must learn in these difficult days to trust in God for all of our needs. We must realize that God, not the government is the source of all we have. It’s difficult to learn. I’m still working on it, but god is faithful to remind me daily of all He’s done for me. I just have to listen.

Please share some of your experiences in learning to trust God in the comments below.

 

It’s Hard To Slow Down

Saturday with Friends and Family  028

I’ve been trying to slow down. Between work, church, and other activities I have  found it very difficult to do this. Even though I have felt that God was leading me to do this for my own good, I have found it difficult to do.

However, I have to slow down now. I have battled the Shingles for about a week now. The pain is bad enough, but the fatigue has been horrible. I have slowed down this week.

Since I work from home, I am able to leave the office several times a day and get some rest. I had gotten to the point where I would work all day, help my wife fix diner,  then after dinner go back into the office and work until 8:30 or 9:00 at night.

Now I leave my office in the back of the house at 4:30 and I don’t go back to it unless there is a deadline on a job that I am about to miss.

I actually take time to rest now and I don’t work on Saturday, which used to be an every Saturday occurrence.

We live in a society where many people are driven to excel to the point of pushing themselves to exhaustion. I have done this for a couple of years.

Through these experiences, there are a couple of things I am learning to do.

1. I have to learn to say NO!

Learning to say no in a nice way is important. When I get several thing pulling me in different directions, I have to learn to set priorities and say no to the others.

2. Make extra time during the day and the week to rest.

God took 6 days to create this universe and then rested on the 7th day. This wasn’t because God was tired, He was setting the example for all of us to follow. Our society moves so fast, and stays so busy that it is difficult to make time to rest. I know some people who claim they cannot just sit around and do nothing. I would suggest a hobby that is not stressful to do. I have found hobbies to be very restful.

Maybe some of you have other suggestions on how to slow down your life? Please leave a comment with your suggestions.

Love Cares For Others

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18 NKJV

This is one of those verses of scripture that prompted my last post, “Old Bibles”. I was reading in 1 John 3 and the Holy Spirit kinda hit me and said, ” Pay attention!”

I had not underlined this verse in my Bible even though I had underlined several verses around it. I read this verse a second and third time. As I thought about this verse, god began to show me that while I talk pretty good about the Christian faith, I do after all teach a Sunday School class of young adults, sometimes I have a problem with application of what I have read.

How many times have I walked past someone with a need and didn’t stop to see if there was something I could do? or how many times has someone asked me to pray for them and I say that I will, but then forget to follow through and pray?

Father, help me to realize those opportunities to serve, to be your hands and feet. Help me to stop and listen. Help me to show others that you are a God of love and compassion. Amen.

 

Old Bibles

I was looking at an old Bible that I used several years ago the other day. I noticed as I thumbed through, that I had underlined several verses and even whole passages in that Bible.

As I read, I noticed something. The passages I had underlined were all good, but they were also very positive . I read some of the passages I didn’t underline and ouch! That hurt! I realized that the passages I had not underlined were more convicting than the passages that I had underlined.

I guess I need to be more careful when I underline passages in my Bible. Maybe I should ask myself the question, Why am I underlining this passage? In what way does it speak to me or in what way does it attract my attention.

Is there a promise to claim? Is the passage pointing out some sin in my life that I need to correct? I came away from the experience with a different attitude about underlining verses in my Bible. I still underline, but I make sure that it’s nit just the good stuff I underline, but also the stuff that points out things I need to correct.

 

If you’re a person who underlines or marks verses in their Bibles as they read, have you paid close attention to the verses you are underlining?

 

 

 

It’s Been A Crazy Week

Well it has been a crazy week. It all started last Friday afternoon when I got a call from my wife about three in the afternoon, which is odd for her. She told me she had just been laid-off from her job. That could have bummed me out, but all of a sudden a peace came over me and I knew in my heart that everything was going to be okay.

Things were pretty normal over the weekend. I still was not in crisis mode over this change that had come to our lives. My wife had a job interview on Monday, and we were very hopeful.

Then the bottom fell out as far as my work. Deadlines were looming and I couldn’t get anything accomplished. Then the computer system went down! This went on for two days! I was stressed out!

I have read all of this stuff about turning your problems over to the Lord. Let Him handle your problems, your stress and , your crisis. Let me tell you, that’s easier said than done.

The tough part was trying to not allow my wife to worry. In the meantime, she got a call offering her the job she had interviewed for earlier in the week. That was great! it took some of the load off my mind, but I still had not been really worried about her work situation. I knew it was under control. Nothing else was working right.

This has been an exhausting week. I’m glad it’s over. I’m also glad I made it through and didn’t hurt anybody. You see life happens and when life happens to a follower of Christ, we are automatically under the microscope. Everybody wants to see how we’ll handle the situation.

I didn’t do so good this week. Don’t be so surprised. If more of us who follow Christ were honest and open about our sins, maybe, just maybe the world could see less of us and more of the Jesus who saved us, and who continually picks us up and cleans the mud off of us when we fall.

Please share your experiences below.

 

How To Read The Bible More Effectively

In my last post, I talked about three things you can do to help you live a more focused life. The first thing I mentioned was reading the Bible every day. I thought in this post, I would give everybody some things that has helped me down through the years with Bible reading and study.

I know there are many Christians who attend a church from time to time, but who never pick up the Bible and read it. If you are a person who does that, you are missing out. There is no way you can find God’s direction for your life without knowledge of the truths in the Bible.

Some of you are going to say  that you don’t have time to read. I have found out that I don’t need to miss my time in God’s word. I have become convinced there is more to this life than just sliding through life barely getting by. the only way to be truly successful in life is to find your place and direction for living from the Bible.

Let me give you some ideas of mine that will help you as you begin to read your Bible each day as part of your plan to find direction or focus for your life.

1. Pick up your Bible and read it! I know that seems redundant, but read it! You can’t learn these truths by osmosis.

2. Schedule a definite time each day to read, preferably the same time each day. If you have to schedule it into your calendar or planner do it. Whatever you have to do to get the habit of reading the Bible daily started.

3. Pray before you begin reading. Ask God to open your mind to see the truths found in His Word.

4. Meditate, or think about what you are reading. Engage your mind into the process.

5. Keep a journal in which you write down the reference for that day and some of the things you observed out of the passage you read.

6. Keep it simple at the beginning. Don’t think you have to read a chapter or more each day. Sometimes I just read a small section of a chapter or some days even one verse.

7. Review what you have read several times during the day. Meditate on what you have read.

If you have never been a daily Bible reader and you don’t know where to start, let me give you some suggestions.  If you need some thing practical and down to earth, try the book of James. If you want to learn more about the life of Jesus try Luke or John. If you are looking for practical advise for life, try the book of Proverbs. In fact, one thing I like to do in Proverbs is when we start a month that has 31 days in it, I like to read a chapter in Proverbs everyday.

That gives you a few suggestions on how to read the Bible. I’m certain there are many other suggestions that others may have.

What are some suggestions you may have for reading the Bible more effectively? Share them in the comments below.

 

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