Lessons Learned

...but with God, all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

Contact: (224) 372-1683 |  paul@paulnarang.com

Here are some lessons learned from 23 years spent in the Corporate (Fortune 500) world; 7 years spent as an Entrepreneur, 8 years of Bible Studies, and 6 years spent in politics in the United States:

1. Politics plays an integral role everywhere; in the corporate world as well as in business. Pick a side and stick with it. By all means develop friendships on both sides of the aisle, but be firm in your convictions and in your positions with regard to various issues. Do not vacillate. Know where you stand on everything from abortion, to healthcare, to stem cell research, to public housing, to the capital gains tax, to foreign policy. Develop unambiguous positions, and people will respect you for your unwavering beliefs. As Winston Churchill used to say "You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life." I have always known that I will either die of sickness an old, happy  man or from the gunshot of a Muslim jihadist.

2. Pick a very good mentor, and choose them carefully. They should be someone who has risen further than you in their career and / or business goals, and someone you trust and look up to. Make a point of meeting with them at least once a week to review progress and goals. Having a very good mentor is absolutely essential and indispensable. There is no harm having more than one mentor. One of my earliest mentors and brother, Gary P, continues to guide me routinely on various topics important to me. [KLove Reference: Friend of God (Phillips, Craig and Dean) Whom Shall I Fear - God of Angel Armies, Chris Tomlin, Jesus Loves me (Chris Tomlin) ]

3. Religion plays an integral role, more so even than race. Your religion can help or hurt you in many ways. It can be the biggest blessing or the biggest curse in any given situation. Beware especially, if you are not one who follows the “book” (The Bible) for you will not get far without the word of the Lord, unless you have a PhD and are very well connected. You need to be either well educated or well religion’ed (or be a complete genius and very lucky, like Gates or Ellison) You can do well with one or the other, but you will only get so far without both. The utopia is someone with a PhD who understands and respects the word of the Lord, is politically well connected, and has a very good mentor, for they will get very far in life with that combination. Remember that Christians and Jews rule the western world. If you want to be massively successful, know the Word of the Lord, for without it, you won’t get very far.

4. Never start a business with less than $10 Million in initial funding. A poorly funded business is a recipe for a life of struggle. Never risk your own money. Always find a good Venture Fund, tap a Billionaire friend, or seek to do a Fortune Corporate carve-out. Never, ever ever ever finance your business with a loan. This is the absolute worst way of financing your business, even worse than risking your own money.

5. Always start a business with good and well-reputed business partners. Choose your partners very carefully. Pick a team to go into business with, and pick them carefully. A good team will make you successful from day one.

6. Try and stay within the corporate umbrella of an existing Fortune 500 company if you know and trust it’s upper management. If you are of the entrepreneurial bent, try and seek out entrepreneurial opportunities within the Fortune company, such as developing new products and services within the corporate umbrella, and spinning them off into a separate division or taking them public with the funds of the Fortune company. If you don’t trust the upper management of the company to do right by you, keep your entrepreneurial efforts completely separate from your Fortune 500 employer and quit your job when your business can easily pay for at least the next two years of your annual salary with ease.

7. Realize that Christians and Jews do business differently. Know the difference. Respect both, but know the difference. Realize that Republicans and Democrats do business very differently, and value what is important, differently. Know the difference. Have a good mentor who knows the differences and can guide properly.

8. There is no substitute for excellent products, services, and excellent customer service. Make excellence the norm in everything you do; in work, in business, as well as in life.

9. Never build a business or client relationships based upon a partner’s ethnic origin, religion, gender or color of skin, for if you are not careful, those factors will overshadow the excellence of your products and services, and your brand will suffer as a result. Yes, these factors can sometimes help in marketing, or in creating connections where none exist, but do not make them the focus of your business. Always build your business on excellence and on superior client relationships.

10. There is no substitute for a healthy and happy family life. Cherish your family while you have it, for they may not be there tomorrow. Make family your priority over career, business, hobbies, or other priorities. If you are married (I am not) do not live separately from your spouse for any reason, if you wish to keep your marriage. This can lead to a loss in fidelity, other problems in the marriage, depression, or even death. The extra little bit of money is not worth the risk.

11. Always live within your means, stretching and conserving where you need to, and put something away every paycheck for a rainy day fund.

12. Stay humble, no matter what you are able to achieve, who your friends are, or how much money you make. Warren Buffett lives in the same home he bought in 1958! Keep your perspective and your head always bowed low to the Lord in reverence.

13. Realize that there are all sorts of people in the world, coming from different backgrounds with different beliefs and experiences. While remaining true to your own values and standing your ground with what you know to be true, respect those you come across, and give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Be firm when you need to, but do not jump to conclusions in dismissing another’s position. Remember that you can respectfully disagree while maintaining a civil discourse.

14. Always research your facts thoroughly prior to debating a political adversary. It is better to refuse a debate than to be ill-prepared. It is political suicide to represent a position which is not factual, or which you know little about. When questioned about something you don’t know, it is ok to say that you will research the issue and get back with someone, rather than throwing out an inaccurate or poorly researched answer.

15. There are sincere, unconditional friends who will help you in any way they can, even when you are down on your luck and own and make very little money, and then there are the kind which will help you only when you are flush with cash and living large. It is very important to know the difference, for the first kind you can go Tiger hunting with, but the second kind may try to use you as bait for the Tiger when push comes to shove. In my experience, race, religion, gender, national origin and politics play very little role when it comes to finding out who your true friends are --- the ones who will stick by you no matter what, in good times and in bad. There are also those who will be your friend when it is advantageous for them to be, and then drop off when they are done with you. I know many in this category. Be careful with such kind because the world is full of such people.

16. Each State and every region within the United States has its own unique and very special characteristics which cannot be substituted by any other within the nation. Know what each State has to offer which the others do not, for location will generally determine the type of success or failure you will experience and the type of life you could be expected to live.

17. The politics within each State are very unique. It is critical to know the politics as well as the politicians of the State you live in, and what they stand for. It is also critical to know the industries, the specific companies, and their CEOs, which call your State home.

18. Politicians (Republicans or Democrats) political powers, powerful people in your field, or other C-Level execs may try to lay claim over certain aspects of your career or your life. They may try to claim preeminent domain over that part of your life which they introduced you to, or helped you develop in some way or another. Don’t let them do that! Don’t let anyone try to “own” you, or parts of your life. Your life is yours, especially your personal life. Your skills are yours. Your knowledge is yours. Unless they are paying you millions of dollars a year and make you sign a non-compete agreement for a limited term, you are allowed to use your knowledge and skills in whatever way you wish, wherever you want to! If you work for a company, stay loyal to them as long as you are employed by them, but by all means realize that when your employment with them is over, or when you are “unemployed”, or “seeking employment” that nobody “owns” you at that point in time. What you know and what you are capable of doing, are yours! The only preeminent domain I recognize is that of the United States of America, for it gave me everything I know, have, love, and own today.

19. It is extremely important to communicate effectively and not to make assumptions based upon what you see online. I owned a set of domain names at one time called olahou.com, .net and .org  which in Hawaiian means “recovery from disaster.” As early as 2007, I had often thought about starting an IT BC/DR consulting practice. A friend thought it had something to do with Islam, which I have never practiced and downright hate! (For reasons why, see section titled “On the Issues.”) Needless to say, I let the domain names de-register and expire!!! Be careful when pulling names for use from domestic or foreign languages. Making assumptions is BAD; becoming the victim of assumptions is even worse!

20. Do not let others define who you are, or make assumptions about who you are. Define yourself. If needed, set up a web site such as this in order to do it. State clearly what you believe in, and what is important to you. You work hard over a number of years to build up your personal and professional image and reputation. It is your personal brand. Letting others define who you are, is one of the worst things you could ever let happen to your personal and professional image and brand. Do not let others make incorrect assumptions about you, for if you are not careful, it can destroy, ruin and bankrupt you. It nearly destroyed me between 2008 and 2009. People made incorrect and rampant assumptions and speculation about me during those years. Some defined me as Brazilian, some as Chinese, some Hispanic, some Canadian, some Democrat, some Gay, some Pagan, and some even Black! None of these were true!!! Nobody ever speculated that I was Muslim, because they all knew how I felt about (overwhelming hatered toward) some Muslims, especially my vehement and overwhelming dislike towards radical Islamists bent upon destroying western civilization!

Nobody should be allowed to mess with your personal brand and image! By stating clearly that I am a 38-year old Christian, Republican, single, American male I was able to regain much, if not all, of my credibility in 2010. If anyone has any illusions about who I am, they should see the “Core Values” tab on my web site.
21. Anyone who tries to make any sort of connection between your personal life and your work life violates the Constitution of the United States of America. People’s personal lives are their own business, especially concerning their marital status (single / divorced / married) or who they choose to date or marry. I can understand there being exceptions such as when dealing with “Top Secret” DoD or military projects concerning national security. Otherwise, anyone telling you that there may be a connection between someone’s personal life and their work life, is in clear violation of your Constitutional rights. Who someone chooses to date or marry is their own personal business. If they choose to remain single, or divorced, is their own personal business as well. It is illegal, immoral and unethical to question someone’s personal life, or to deny employment to someone based upon their marital status.

22. From my experiences in 2008 and 2009 I have gleaned that most people will simply sit back and watch you make the same mistakes over and over and over again, and not tell you what you are doing wrong and why. Or worse yet, they will watch you suffer repeatedly because of someone else’s mistakes, or someone else’s false assumptions about you. They either don’t know, or cannot help, or don’t want to help, and they’d rather be outside spectators than get involved and help. It is those who truly care about you that step forward to explain things to you, especially the “why” and ways to improve or fix what might be going wrong. Never take for granted those who help or those who care, or those who take the time to stop and listen and give good advice, for they are like precious diamonds and must be treasured with everything you have, and thanked with every pour in your body!

23. There are dumb idiots in this world who are completely devoid of common sense. I call them the STUPID crowd. They take every word you say or write literally, without applying the filter of common sense to it. They are unaware of what an analogy or a metaphor is. They don’t know when to read a statement and take it literally or when something is being spoken in as a simile, a metaphor or an analogy. Some people don’t take things literally when they should. Some people take things literally when they shouldn’t. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! Your God-given intellect is one of the most precious things you possess. Beware people who choose not to use their God-given common sense! Some either don’t possess it, or if they do, they don’t use it. Use extreme caution when dealing with these types of stupid people. Only a fool fails to apply common sense to what he hears or reads. Example, I love the American way of life. Of course I do. I love America. It is the greatest nation on earth. I would gladly give my last drop of blood for this great nation if called upon to do so. Yet, I do not care for Avon, ACN, Amway, NutriLite or any of the Multi-Level-Marketing companies out there because they ask me to rope in other people and make salespeople of consumer goods and services out of them. Because I do not care for Amway, does that mean that I do not care for the American Way of Life? A stupid, dumb, crazy idiot devoid of any common sense who takes everything literally will say yes. Hello STUPID crowd....! Anybody who has any common sense and knows me well enough will know that I would rather spend my time, give my time, energy and effort to the Church and to help recruit people to be disciples of Jesus Christ rather than recruit them to become salespeople of dogfood, soap and dishwashing liquid detergents. Now, if someone wanted to recruit me to sell military fighter jets, Lamborghinis, Rolce Royce engines, or naval destroyers, that would be a different story altogether....! Another story about dumb idiots: There are some people (I do not know who) that believe that the only Churches in the country are in Illinois; that the remainder of the USA does not have any Churches. Wake up stupid people! There are good Churches all over the country! A good Church finder directory can be found here:
http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/churchandministry/churchfindertool.aspx Yes, while everyone has their favorite home Church (mine are in Illinois) should the Lord call me to go elsewhere, I will find a Church nearest where I move to and attend there. Cease this endless stupidity people! The love of God does not imprison you or make you captive to Illinois. It does not restrict your freedom. It frees you. Jesus liberates! The love of God gives you wings. It is not supposed to be a restricting experience. It is supposed to be a liberating experience. It gives you the choice to go anywhere you want and the support structure when you get there...! There are thriving Christian communities everywhere....! If I wanted to move tomorrow, or wait until age 68 and retire in Florida or Arizona or California or Texas or even Hawaii, I would not have to worry about not finding a good Church there. Or a thriving Christian community...! There are good Christians everywhere! Praise God...! The STUPID crowd also believes in STUPID subroutines, which states that a specific action ALWAYS follows another specific action. While this may be true as observed in Science and Mathematics, it has no place in human life or human affairs. Humans are not only emotional beings but learning, self-correcting and improving beings. We do not always follow a fixed and specific patterns or course of action. If this were so, it would be impossible to change the nature of human beings and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, or change someone’s bad habits, or unlearn bad traits and replace them with good ones. Humans are changing beings with the ability to change and alter their behavior, generally for the better. Pastor Bill Hybels tells the famous story of going to his attorney for incorporating the Willow organization some 37 years ago. His attorney at the time laughed at him, and chuckled about his ability to change the hearts and minds of people. He told Bill --- people never change. You are on an impossible mission. Yet after thousands or tens of thousands of hearts, and lives have changed, and people having come to saving Grace in Christ, it has been well proven that lives can, and are able to be changed. The STUPID crowd is also the Show Me crowd. I have never gone a week without attending Church Service or tithing very generously. I tithe more money to Churches every year than anyone else I know. Yet the Show Me crowd in Illinois insists on knowing where I went to Church and want to verify that I did indeed tithe that week. If you tithe from a different bank account than you usually do, you are hosed. If you tithe at a different Church than you usually do, you are also hosed. If you tithe at a different branch of the same Church you usually go to, and you are hosed.

24. There are some nuts (really crazy, demented and downright insane people) out there in the universe who think that you can travel back in time --- to a specific month or year. They conveniently ignore Edwin Hubble’s Redshift observation of an expanding universe and thereby forward movement in time, Steven Hawking’s work on the subject,  Arthur Eddington’s cosmological arrow of time or Theory of Relativity, or Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. Fact is, that I do not personally believe that one can travel back in time to a given month or year. Time which has elapsed has elapsed and cannot be changed or brought back. There is no scientific basis to going back in time. Nor is there any Biblical basis to it. However, redemption or absolution or forgiveness of past sins can be obtained through the mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and while one cannot travel back in time, one can spiritually be “born again” to a new spirit in Christ. Indeed there is absolutely no way or manner to travel back in time or to become a “new” person. I would like to meet the crazy nut case who originally came up with the idea of time travel, and give him a piece of my mind. While I do not believe in revenge or in cursing, and do not generally use swear words, I might have a few choice swear words to use on them. As someone famously said, you cannot change a person’s beginnings but you can change how the remainder of someone’s life is lived.

25. Loyalty in the Corporate world is extremely important. Remain loyal to the company you work for. Remain loyal to your boss and to your reports. Loyalty up and down the chain are absolutely critical for the successful running of a good organization. If you feel that there is a conflict between your values and the values of your company or your boss, it is better to resign in honor than to betray your company or your boss or your reports. Loyalty is critical, and this point cannot be overstated. A good company will generally go to great lengths to foster loyalty among their ranks.

26. I am a Christian. I am in Christ and belong to the Body of Christ. I obey the law of the land, as well as Biblical law as I am taught at Church. I obey no law which reverses what is spoken, read or otherwise written, and do not condone any law which does.

27. Corporate America can come up with many excuses and many months of delay if they don’t want to hire someone. To do the right thing, all it takes is for a hiring manager with a budget to pick up the phone, call the candidate and say --- you’re hired! When can you start? Red tape is a lame excuse for not doing the right thing. When a good manager hires, he or she looks at the entire resume and an individual’s contributions over their entire career. They then try and determine what kind of a contribution the individual will be able to make to their organization. They generally do not do keyword searches or look for specific skills.

28. As I was seriously considering a particular course of action, Warren Buffett’s advice to me on April 28, 2010 was “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently...” God Bless him for that timely piece of advice. I got the message loud and clear, and in time to avoid some well deserved egg on my face. Needless to say, I did not pursue that course of action! Good reputations are built over a long time, but can be ruined overnight. God Bless the GEICO gecko!

29. Age does generally make people wiser. A 60 year old is generally wiser than a 40 year old, and a 40 year old is generally wiser than a 20 year old. As one grows older, one tends to learn from their mistakes and people tend not to repeat their mistakes. Adversity generally tends to accelerate the accumulation of wisdom, and enhance aging as I feel it has done with me during the 2008-2009 timeframe. Adversity also has a way of bringing you closer to God and strengthen your religious faith and beliefs, as it has done with me. I feel closer to Christ now than I ever did in the past.

30. Buy everything with cash. If you cannot afford it, do not buy it. My parents lived their entire life without having a single credit card, auto loan or mortgage. If they wanted to buy something, they paid for it with cash,  or wrote a check for it. If you cannot afford to pay for something in its entirety, do not buy it. By all means have a credit card or two if you want to, especially for emergencies, but pay them off completely at the end of the month. Buy a home with at least a 50 percent down payment. My parents paid for their home with cash. Most people in my extended family saved for their homes and paid for them with cash. Similarly with automobiles. If you can afford only a $10,000 car, then buy only a $10,000 car. When you can afford to pay cash for that $60,000 Lexus GX450 you’ve always wanted, then by all means get it! Financing is the quickest and easiest way to throw away your money. As my good friend Scott Walker says, “don’t spend more than you have.” If you are as fond of high-end living as I am, figure out a way to MAKE more money so you can spend more and still have some savings in the bank. Remember, there is nothing wrong with having LOTS of money! Money is a good thing. Run as far as you can from people who tell you otherwise!
This principle (#30) only applies to your personal life. When it comes to businesses and corporations, the economic law of “Opportunity Cost” overrides this principle and this rule doesn’t hold true any more. This principle holds true with Government spending but with Government taxation, the principle of making more money doesn’t apply. Governments should not be run with the idea of making money, but with the idea of providing the best possible service to its constituents.

31. Never lose your temper. Losing your temper is a sign of weakness. Always maintain your calm, no matter what the circumstance. This is absolutely critical for a gentleman. Just remember --- when you lose your temper, you lose and the other person wins. If you must vent, go to a gym and take it out on a treadmill or a punching bag there. This sort of self-control is mastered over time, with practice, with prayer and for Christians, through communion and through the Holy Spirit. It is absolutely critical in getting ahead. Never let anyone bait you into losing your temper. It is not worth it! Soldiers are an exception. I would expect our military to be forcefully angry and aggressive towards our enemies on the battlefield!!! It is their job to be!
[The day I posted this --- May 12, 2010 --- I had several people try to bait me into losing my temper. They did not succeed. However, it reminded me of their sheer lack of tact and common sense. ] 

32. Always dress one notch above what is expected of you in any given circumstance. Be shaved and showered, well dressed, as well as looking, feeling and smelling good. This is especially important in the business world.

33. Never conduct personal stuff at work, no matter your rank or your seniority. Keep a marked distinction between your work life and your personal life. Whether you own your own business or work for a large company, keep your personal life out of the workplace. Never use work facilities for personal business. This includes any use of work computers, phones, time, or anything else. If you must conduct personal business during work hours, leave the premises, do it on your own time, and use your own equipment to do it with.  Make this a rule, and stick with it. 

34. As an extension of #33, never discuss religion or politics at work, unless of course you happen to be a pastor, priest, rabbi or politician, or if it somehow has a direct impact on your work or your business! If you are friends with your coworkers, take personal conversation out of the office, or do it over the lunch hour or late in the afternoon after others have left the office. Most personal conversations do not belong in the office.

35. Never criticize someone behind their back. Always give them an opportunity to defend themselves. When criticizing someone in person, always tell them what they can do to improve or to change their approach, attitude, behavior, action or plan. Empty criticisms without suggestions for improvement are akin to taking someone to the doctor, the doctor saying --- yes, there is something wrong, but not prescribing anything to fix the problem. This note is related to No. 22. It is also not enough to mimic someone’s incorrect actions without telling them that there is something wrong. It must be remembered that when people truly care, they take the time to give good advice, especially when they think you are doing something wrong. When this is done in a spirit of love and caring, it is considered agape love. Conversely, the appropriate response to criticism is silence. If you are fairly criticized and you believe the criticism is justified, apologize on the spot and reassure the person criticizing you, that you were wrong and that what you were criticized for, will not repeat itself. If you are unfairly criticized, stay silent and walk away. Chances are that unfair criticism stems out of one of the following: misdirected anger, political vengeance, retribution, or animosity, or someone simply having had a very bad day and taking it out on you. By criticizing them back, you are showing your weakness and not being fair on them, or yourself. Walk away and give the person doing the criticism the opportunity to calm down. Chances are that once they have calmed down, they will come back to you later and apologize.

36. Always give more than expected to your work, to your friendships, to others; in work, in play, in relationships, in philanthropy and in religion. Be a net GIVER and not a net TAKER from others.

37. This is an addition to section 33. Never mingle personal assets with business assets, tangible or intangible, even if the business belongs to you. Never lease or buy something for your business or company which you might work for, and make any kind of personal use of it. Stay above reproach on all vagaries of ethics at all times. This goes for things as small as magazine subscriptions. If you believe you are going to make personal use of it, buy a personal subscription.

38. Fidelity in marriage is absolutely critical. A breach of marital fidelity is a breach of the biggest and the most important promise a man and a woman can make to each other. Do not get involved with someone you don't believe will be able to fulfill this most important and sacred oath. Once married, never breach this trust under any circumstances. While I was married ( I am now single / divorced / widowed ) I was completely faithful to my wife, and if I marry again, I will do the same, and expect the same from her.

39. The world around us can sometimes be full of noise --- noise we do not understand, appreciate or like, but as long as one has inner peace, nothing should be able to disturb you. This peace comes with understanding of God, and of the true nature of the world around us.

40. As long as your core values are sound, your intentions honorable, and you stand with God, there is nobody who can oppose you! "If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?" Romans 8:31

41. I am a devout Christian who loves his Christian as well as his Jewish brethren. If you've got a problem with that, go jump in a lake! As a Christian, I try to do everything In Christ, and all through Grace. I have been fighting a religious war of miscategorization against unknowns for as long as I know. No, I have never set foot in a mosque in my life. The only reason I would ever come close to a mosque is to destroy one if I could. I am sorry to say, but this is how much I dislike Islam. Yes, I have been to a synagogue but only to consult with the Rabbi in relation to my study of the Old Testament. I go to Church every week and I would have to be really sick or in a hospital to not go to Church any given week. 

42. There are some things in life beyond one’s control. Situations may develop, or hardships may appear in your life due to circumstances beyond your control. 2008-2009 were two such years for me. Your attitude towards what happens to you, along with your faith, is largely what will determine weather you sail through the situation or face even greater difficulties. You can stay positive in your attitude, accept your situation and find ways to overcome the challenges , or you can be bitter about it, complain, moan and whine, and not get anywhere, but dig yourself into a deeper hole. Do the former, for you be rewarded a hundred times over for your efforts, attitude and perseverance. Do the latter, and you doom yourself.  

43. This is an addition to item No. 10 above. There used to be an old saying which went like this: “The family which prays together stays together.” Another similar saying is “The family which eats meals (typically dinner) together stays together.” There is a lot of truth to this. Time spent together as a family, is important time. When you separate a family --- for whatever reason --- you open yourself up for bad things to happen. Love is a precious and tender thing, and too many people now-a-days do not value family time. If I ever marry again, this will be something which will be extremely important to me. 

44. While we are all the Body of Christ, each church, denomination, and congregation or parish generally lends itself to either the Hawk philosophy or the Dove philosophy. The core values of what is preached remaining the same, each tend to borrow bits and pieces from different parts of the Bible. Remain cognizant of the differences, for it will impact your church experience, and likely what your pastor or priest teaches you at sermon time. Willow Creek is an Acts 2 Church and while Pastor Bill Hybels claims to be a political independent, all who know and have attended that Church for any length of time, know that it clearly follows a Dove philosophy. My old local Church on the other hand, the Chain of Lakes Community Bible Church was clearly a Hawkish Church. While both excellent Churches, the focus of both was vastly different and the teaching styles and emphasis of both was vastly different. I have attended services at several dozen Churches and noted their teaching styles and content, which vary vastly. A visit to a local Zionist Church clearly told me that it was a Hawkish Church while a visit to a South-side Chicago congregation told me that it was a dovish Church. Visits to Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Baptist Churches all gave me a taste of the teachings of those congregations. Other local churches such as Harvest, the Chapel, Christ Church, New Life, and many others each can be placed into the Hawk or the Dove columns.

45. Each region within the nation has regional pride. Each State has State-related pride, which is associated with their sports teams and mascots, their companies, their favorite foods and drinks, their favorite recreational activities etc. Know the culture of where you live, work or visit, because not knowing it will put you at a serious disadvantage. Many adjacent States have fierce Inter-state rivalries such as between Wisconsin and Illinois. Know these. Understand these. Acknowledge these. Political forces within a given State are generally more influential than political forces from outside that State. They are so powerful as a matter of fact that they can generally trump political forces from other States within the Union. I have been a victim of this phenomenon twice in my Corporate career. Know what political forces are at play and act wisely. While firmly standing your ground, do not burn any bridges and do not make any enemies. Speaking of political influence, dollars spent In-State are generally more influential than dollars spent in a different State. There are always exceptions to this rule. Unless they belong at the Federal level, most politicians are only able to effect change and influence decision-making within their own State and to a limited extent, within adjacent States. Over the years I spent so much money on the Florida GOP trying to get a job down in Florida, all of which amounted to absolutely nothing because my primary residence (domicile) was in Illinois. Same goes with Wisconsin. Between 2008 and 2014 I poured thousands of dollars into Wisconsin GOP coffers. I helped run a campaign office for Governor Walker’s first run for Governor in 2009-2010. Then when the recall election was held, I once again opened up my wallet to support him. I had lived in WI between 1993 and 2005. I moved back down to Illinois after 2005. However, after 2005, whenever I wanted to move back up to Wisconsin, the jobs were simply not there. I resolved that I was either going to live in Illinois for the remainder of my life, or move somewhere South where it was much warmer, such as Florida, California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Arizona or Texas. Here is the lesson from all of this: When wanting to move from one state to another, common sense will tell you to secure a job in your destination state prior to moving there because you will have a steady stream of income once you get there. In practical life however, politicians or Churches in your desired destination state can do nothing for you unless you have first made your move to the destination State and established residence (changed your driver’s license) to the destination State. Where there is not a will for people to come to your assistance, they will not. No matter how much you scream and holler and tithe and give to political parties in those states, and jump up and down, nothing will make a bit of difference if there is someone powerful sitting somewhere monitoring all your communications and nullifying every job interview you ask for in the background. Regardless, any employer from any State within the 50 United States can simply call you, email you, use a recruiter, use LinkedIn mail, or any other means  to contact you and extend a job offer to you regardless of where you currently live. A good thing to do (unless you know the employer personally) is to get the job offer in writing before quitting your current position. Another really easy way to move is an intra-company transfer where you stay with your existing employer but move to a different State where they already have an office. Or simply negotiate a permanent work-from-home arrangement with your company’s Human Resources office. There are perils to always working from home, and those will be discussed elsewhere. However, that is also one way to live in a different State, or establish residency in a different State.

46. Each county within the nation is largely either a Democratic or a Republican stronghold. Remember that where you live directly impacts not only your lifestyle, but also local politics. As an example, Lake county in Illinois is largely Republican whereas Cook county is largely Democratic. Know the political power structure of where you live, work or visit! In Wisconsin, Milwaukee County was largely Democratic while Waukesha County was largely Republican.  

47. Beware insincere people, flatterers and those who sugar coat bad news. I’d rather hear the brutal truth --- good or bad, and accept it in God’s grace than hear insincere flattery, role-playing, cowardice  or acting of any sort. I respect the truth and those who have the guts to tell it the way they see it.

48. Always THINK before you hit “send” on that e-mail message! Every communication you send out is a reflection of your personal brand. When communicating something important or sensitive, save a draft and think about it for a while. Return to it when you are convinced that the message, tone, audience and timing are correct. Never send out an e-mail message when you are angry, distraught or upset. Calm down and think things over before hitting “send.” Always use an electronic spell checker even if you are a walking Webster’s, and avoid the use of the blind-copy feature. 

49. Along with a mentor, it is absolutely critical to have a very wise and knowledgeable life coach. This person must know absolutely everything there is to know about you and your life. This person can be your pastor, priest or rabbi, or an older person whom you trust completely, can confide in, and meet on a regular basis in order to discuss your life and help you achieve your life goals. Your confidence in this person is key, and so is their wisdom. I partially attribute my suffering over the two bad years of my life (2008 and 2009) to not having such a person in my life, and on the occasion that I had the opportunity to avail of such a person’s time and wisdom, I did not make it a point to meet with them often enough to make this useful to me. Indeed I have not so far been fortunate enough to have such a person in my life, but hope this will change sometime in the near future.

50. If you are fortunate enough to find true love, and to be in true love, treasure it with all your heart, for true love doesn’t come along every day, and doesn’t happen easily. Don’t let go for anything in the world, for it is the second most valuable thing in the world, right after love for God and Faith.

51. Have a system of stating, defining, and refining short-term and long-term goals. Check progress against short-term goals on a weekly basis and against long-term goals on a monthly basis. Do this along with your mentor and/or life coach as relevant. Refine your goals, priorities and target dates, and make sure you always stay on track. There is no shame in asking for, or tapping outside or external help in meeting your goals. After all, the accomplishment of extreme dreams sometimes takes dream teams!

52. Around the time of World War II there used to be a saying “Loose lips sink ships.” It is as true today as it was back then. Eliminate excessive gossip and chatter from your life. Silence is indeed golden. This should not stop you from giving advice if you are a mentor or a coach, selling your product if you are a salesman, or giving speeches or addressing audiences if it is a part of your job to do so, but realize that unnecessary conversation can lead to all sorts of unnecessary pain and trouble if you are not careful. The higher up the Corporate, Government or Military ranks you climb, the truer it gets. It got General Patton in trouble. It got Tony Blair in trouble, and I am sure that history is riddled with hundreds of other examples where people got into deep trouble because they couldn’t keep their big mouth shut! This is most critical if you work in the Defense Sector or in the Armed forces, for lives may depend upon your keeping your mouth shut. [A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. Proverbs 20:19]

53. There will be many willing, and some even keen to give advice, however very few qualified to do so.  Indeed my own extended family has some people who think they are know-it-all’s and try to judge, second-guess and Monday-morning-Quarterback the heck out of every decision. Be respectful and hear what such people have to say. Ten percent of the advice might even turn out to be useful! Let the other ninety percent go in one ear and come out the other. Realize that you are ultimately responsible for picking your own mentors and life coaches, and for making your own life decisions, right or wrong.

54. The world is not responsible for your happiness --- you are! Build your life on a strong foundation of Faith, good and deep friendships, and unshakable character and integrity, and absolutely nothing will be able to take your happiness away from you. [“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Matthew 7:24-27)]

55. If you work in the Information Technology field, do not be a long-term contractor or a long-term consultant! The illusion of making more money as a contractor is just that --- an illusion. As a contractor you give up not only job security, but also educational and career advancement opportunities, and longevity benefits. If you are a contract-to-hire resource, aim to sign on board as planned. Always give your 110% (or more than your very best effort) to the company you work for! When a company is good and has a long tradition of honoring and recognizing it’s employees, it becomes your extended family of sorts. At most organizations employees are treated better than are contractors or consultants.

56. It is critical to remain cognizant of the image you portray and the way you live your life, for it will shape the legacy you leave behind when you are no more on this earth. Live an impeccable life so nobody may be able to throw stones at you, or question your motives or values while you are alive, or after you are deceased.

57. Everyone --- and I mean absolutely everyone --- has something or the other in their past that they are not proud of. If you think someone is perfect, it is just that you don’t know what they are hiding!  Nobody is without sin --- not one! [“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)] It is critical to forgive others, even sinners, as long as they walk away from their sin and sin no more. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:11)]

58. Those who are TRUE Christians and know the Word of the Lord well, know that our time on this earth will pass in the blink of an eye! There is an eternity waiting for us with the Lord in Heaven. It is extremely easy to be fooled by the material attachments of home, money, job, business, politics, power, prestige, ego, achievements, and even relationships such as spouse, child, parent, sibling, friends, etc. and our ego helps us in maintaining the illusion that these things truly matter. However, Christ said: “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] This is a lot easier said than done --- I myself struggle quite a bit with it, and indeed, there are important roles and  responsibilities here on earth, and nobody should give up their responsibilities or their life’s dreams, but remember that we live in view of Eternity with the Lord! These things don’t matter there. While doing the best we can here on earth, it is important to maintain a level of graceful detachment.

59. Now, if despite your best efforts and intentions, life gives you lemons, make lemonade out of it! Make the best out of every situation --- good or bad, work hard, and make sure that you state your intentions, priorities, values and goals clearly.

60. With all due respect to my friends who are Black or Chinese or Filipino or Russian: I am not Black nor Chinese nor Filipino nor Russian. I have never pretended to be Black or Chinese or Filipino or Russian. I have never married, dated, or been in a romantic or intimate relationship with anyone who was Black, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Muslim or Russian! Forgive me please, but over 90 percent of my friends are white, and less than 10 percent are anything else! I have only ever dated white women, and this isn’t about to change. Much hoopla has been made over the years about the Chinese girl from Minnesota I flew with from Chicago to Tennessee during the 2006-2007 time period. Sorry to burst your bubble, but a flight together with someone does not qualify as dating. There was no romantic or physical attraction, not even a kiss. My ex-wife Jennifer (married 1993-2000; now remarried) was born and brought up in Chicago, IL and was very white, thank you very much. My business partner, best friend and confidante Mary (2000-2007) who passed away [died, deceased] on July 9, 2009 [May the Lord Bless the soul of this Catholic Nun Novitiate] was very white and she was born and brought up in San Diego, CA to very wealthy parents, Charles and Barbara Morgan who were Mormons. Mary later converted to Catholicism where she spent several years at a Monastery before leaving to pursue a 25-year long Information Technology career working at companies such as BP, Alabama Gas Company, Walt Disney World (Where she operated the computers that lit off the fireworks every night,) Hewlett Packard, Unilever, Northwestern Mutual, Lockheed Martin, Fidelity National Information Services, and others. Coming from an extremely wealthy family, and fond of living large (she was often compared to Martha Stewart) she could not get herself to take the vow of poverty which was expected to become a Fully vested or ordained Nun. [Reference His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and prior Popes] While still alive, Mary expressed to me that she wanted me to find someone much younger than her, and remarry after her death. I still have a letter from her written to me from Brooklyn, New York in 2007 with those words. If she knew that eight years after her departure and six years after her death I was still single,  she would be rolling in her grave. Honoring the deceased does not mean clinging on to them forever. It means that you honor their memory, but you move on with your your life and make a new life with someone else. 

61. Only a fool opens his mouth to argue with another fool! If you hear a fool talk (and you will know when you do) keep quiet and let them finish. When they are done talking, simply walk away without arguing.

62. Equal and opposite reactions belong in someone’s world, but they don’t belong in the world of the religious. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:8 - 3:17]

63. In the matter of Charity, be as generous as you possibly can, but give first preferences to Charities and Charitable causes affiliated with your Church or Synagogue. [“Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'” Matthew 25:34-45]

64. If I kept a record of wrongs done to me since 2005, it would fill a book twice the size of my Bible. However, I am a Christian, and I try forgive everyone. It is what Christ taught us to do. Besides, the deeds of those who have gone out of their way to do good to me, could fill ten books the size of my Bible, so I try and always look on the bright side.

65. It is wrong to assume that someone is engaged to be married unless you see an engagement ring on their finger. It is wrong to assume that someone is married unless you see a wedding ring on their finger. Assume not, for assumptions lead down a strange path. Conversely, it is wrong to approach a woman with a ring on her finger with the intentions of befriending her for the purposes of establishing a non-plutonic (dating) relationship. It is all right to make friends with married opposite sex as long as it is for plutonic purposes only. NEVER steal another man or woman’s spouse. It is bad behavior at it’s best and ADULTERY at it’s worst. On the same token, it is wrong to steal another man or woman’s  boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance or fiancee. When approaching a member of the opposite sex for dating purposes, ALWAYS VERIFY that they are single and unattached. Remember the golden rule. Would you want someone to come along and steal your boyfriend or girlfriend, fiance or fiancee from under you? So why should you assume that it is ok to do the same to someone else? Do not assume. Ask if they are currently unattached and only pursue a relationship with them if they are.

66. In my experience, the best friendships are formed between two like-minded couples who enjoy socializing and spending time together and, if they have children, spending quality family time together visiting with each other.

67. It is a risky proposition to date anyone at your workplace. It can lead to strange and unexpected complications. In the best case, it can lead to finding your life partner, marriage, and happy ever after, but in the worst case, it can lead to false accusations of harassment and immediate termination. Unless you own the company you work for, most people would be well advised not to take the risk. If you do decide to take the risk, let the lady do the asking out and take all the risk. At every step of the way, let her lead and him follow, and keep clear documentation of the fact. As the relationship and trust level builds, the fear will erode and the joys of 24x7 togetherness, including driving in or commuting in to work together, will replace the fear, doubt and anxiety. You will experience a level of togetherness which many married couples rarely enjoy. When it is present, as it was with Mary and I at Northwestern Mutual where we first met, then worked and dated for five years, it can be nothing short of complete Bliss. In the same vein, never compliment a lady in the workplace about how good she looks, or how beautiful she is, even if your intentions are completely honorable and you are just doing it to cheer her up or make her day. It will always backfire on you and you will end up looking really stupid. As a rule, kindness is not repaid with kindness. It is often repaid with anger, wrath, cruelty, and punishment. Life is not fair. People are generally not kind. You can choose to either harden your skin and your soul or you can go read “The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr Kent M. Keith” on my Favorite Quotes page.

68. It is a myth that you can “work your way up” the corporate ladder. You can generally work hard your entire life in the corporate world and not get anywhere. The secrets to getting to the top in the Corporate world are an experiment that I begun to undertake in 2010. Hard work is only a fourth of the equation. The other three parts will need to remain a secret for now. If I gave away all the secrets now, I would have no edge over anyone else, now would I? Why then have I not achieved my own Corporate ladder climbing goals by now? It is because I got distracted by my search for a good wife and let my personal life sabotage my Corporate strategy. I do not regret doing this however, as being happily remarried is one of my life goals.

69. The best communications are done in person, and face-to-face. There is absolutely no substitute in the world for in-person communications. I have believed this for many years now. Run as far away as possible from people who would communicate through third persons or through other people. These people do not wish to take responsibility for what they wish to communicate. Those with the courage to stand behind their words, communicate in person. Imagine if you had to go to Church through computer or television every weekend, or have a third person narrate the Pastor or Priest’s sermon every Sunday? What a lousy experience that would be! Or worse yet, if you could never see or speak with your husband or wife? How would that work out? It wouldn’t, now would it? No, just as long distance dating, and long-distance marriages never work out, nor does communication which does not take place in person. It is a second or third-rate substitute for actually being there and meeting someone! The best personal and business meetings are done in person, making direct eye contact with each other. No, I was not paid by an airline, a car-rental or a travel company to say this. I have believed this for many years and will continue to believe this till the day that I die! Being physically present is so vitally important that I cannot overstate it. It is important when dating. It is important in a marriage, for your spouse and kids. It is important for the husband or the wife to know that their spouse is right beside them through thick and through thin. It is important for the kids to know that their mom or their dad will be right there with them through that tough soccer game or that grueling spelling bee competition. It is important when closing that sales deal --- looking your prospect right in the eyes and giving them the confidence with a firm handshake that you will keep your end of the contract. It is important when affirming your friends --- being there for them in their hour of need, or in their hour of glory, whichever it might be --- to support them when they host their first art exhibit or their first charity event or their first silent auction or their ninetieth concert. To be there to support them in their sickness or when they run a marathon, or when there is a birth, a marriage or a death in the family. It is important to be there for the family on Thanksgiving dinner and on Christmas Eve. Similarly, it is extremely important for a mentor to be hands-on, to be there in the same room, to communicate in person, to be present. To simply be there. To summarize, it is important to be present. It is important to simply BE THERE!!! Physical presence makes, or the lack thereof breaks many human relationships. If it is important, be there in person...!

70. It is the height of foolishness to assume that intelligent people repeat their own mistakes, or make the same mistakes we made in the past. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it! Man is a constantly learning being. We learn partly from our own mistakes, but hopefully also from the mistakes of others, and know which actions and behaviors lead to bad outcomes and which ones lead to good outcomes. We generally avoid repeating those actions and behaviors which lead to bad outcomes and repeat or replicate those which lead to good outcomes. Those who are wise, learn from other authoritative sources as well, such as the Holy Bible. To assume blind repetition is to be a fool.

71. If you make a mistake, own up to it right away and apologize. Then try not to make the same mistake again. You will find that people are a whole lot more forgiving this way than if they find out without your telling them.

72. Men of God grow and learn from other Men of God. It is the way of the Word and has been for generations. Become a Mentor Leader for others who might want to learn from you, and learn from those who are wiser and have had more learning than you. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. [Proverbs 27:17”]

73. Remember that Christians and the Jewish people are extremely fortunate to know the Word of the Lord. The Torah sefer was written between the 10th Century BCE and the 6th Century BCE and is the Authoritative Record of Creation of the Universe and is the Word of God as handed down to Moses and to the Israelites. The Jewish people are the chosen people of God. Christ was born into a Jewish Family. He came to redeem us of our sins. We are forgiven because of Christ. Those who know Christ as personal Lord and Savior are truly Blessed!!! Have mercy upon those who do not know the Word of the Lord, or that He sent his only Son to die upon the Cross for our sins. Give the ignorant every opportunity to know and learn the Word of the Lord and to receive Christ as Lord and Savior; however, do not do this with idiots or fools, for they will scoff at you, and do not try this at your workplace, for unfortunately, our society can sometimes value political correctness more than the Truth of the Word of God.

74. Knowing the Word of the Lord, and learning it well, is a life-transforming experience. Once you know the Word of the Lord well, you will be transformed forever! You will never look at the world the same way again! Once you have studied and read the Bible as many times as I have, your entire world view will change, and you will look at the world through transformed eyes. I can sincerely say that my study of the Bible has taught me more than any number of PhDs or worldly texts would have.

75. Some may criticize or misunderstand your intentions or motivations. I have certainly received my fair share of criticism over the years, as do all people who become famous for whatever reason. I discovered in 2010 that I had become somewhat famous, and could no longer go anywhere without being recognized by someone or another. My guess is that the fame was due to my work in the political field in 2009 and in 2010, and also due to this web site, with write-ups in magazines and on other web sites. Many articles and write-ups have been flattering, but there has been plenty of mudslinging as well. If you are a true man or woman of God, and sincerely believe in what you stand for, you simply learn to develop a thick skin, and move beyond the criticism.

76. When it comes to marriage, it is true that a believing Christian man or woman should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever as the consequences can be unpredictable, undesirable, or even disasterous. [“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-17]

77. When it comes to romance and love, and choosing a life partner, people can choose to obey their heart (emotions) or their head (logic.) If the heart and the head say the same thing, you have a winner! If you allow the heart to override and overrule cautionary warning signs that the head might be sending out, then you may find yourself unhappy, or in a situation you do not want to find yourself in, over the course of your lifetime. When it comes to picking a life partner, always choose carefully!

78. Practice forgiveness on a regular basis, as it forms one of the founding pillars of our faith. Keep no grudges against anyone, for it hurts the person who keeps the grudge. We have been taught by Christ  to forgive those who have wronged us. [“Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22]

79. This is a repetition of #59 and #64. Despite being the best Christian you can be, you may sometimes be wrongly persecuted. Roll with the punches and always remain in prayer for the right things, for the right reasons, and always giving thanks to God. Remember that Christ suffered first, and suffered the most for all our sakes so we may have eternal life. ["If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. [John 15:18-20]

80. Always make God a priority in your life. Everything else is secondary --- family, work, play, hobbies, desires, goals, and anything else. God must ALWAYS come first in your life. ["Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37-38] Although always  remain cognizant of the commandment “Honor thy Father and thy Mother”

81. Your spending habits say a lot about who you are!!! While it may be easy to recognize that a check written to a Church represents that you are a Christian --- Almost twenty percent of my take home pay goes to my Church every year. When I become more financially comfortable, this will become twenty five percent of my take-home pay. A check or a donation made out to a political party, candidate or PAC is also clear in what it represents: your political leaning, left or right. An additional Five to Fifteen percent of my take home pay goes to the political candidates of my choice every year. From my long history and dealings with both political parties, in my case my choices will very likely be Republican candidates, but that choice is unique to each individual. However, spending at various stores may not be so easy to recognize. How can you tell if your local Home Depot, Brooks Brothers, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Crate and Barrel, Bed Bath and Beyond, Williams Sonoma, or Joseph A. Bank is owned or managed by a Jewish or Christian person, or by an unbeliever? Are these owned by a Republican or a Democrat? An American or a foreign conglomerate? Difficult to say, isn’t it? How do you know which moving company or car dealership is owned by who? Who can you go to in order to find this information? Having a good mentor both at work, as well as outside of work, is absolutely critical!!! You should give your time, talents and treasures to what you believe are the right causes. Search and Seek out companies to do business with which are owned by fellow Americans, and preferably by Christians or Jews. You may wish to narrow it down to your political party of preference as well. Sometimes, how you spend your time or your money, cannot be helped. Have a pure heart and the right intentions, do what is right in your best judgment, and leave the rest to God. I have been continuing to re-align my spend with (a) known Christians and (b) with known Republicans. This will continue well into the future. I continue to seek out vendors who are Christian and who are Republican.

82. There are people whose work is strategic in nature and those whose work is tactical. With few exceptions (such as brain surgery and airline pilots) those whose work is strategic in nature are better paid, more well respected, and are able to wield much more power and influence than those whose work is tactical. The CEO of that Fortune 500 who strategically plans business goals and revenue targets for the next quarter gets paid many times more than the machine guy on the factory floor whose job it is to systematically churn out widgets. I am not saying that the guy on the factory floor is less important, just that he is much more easily replaceable than the CEO who earns tens or hundreds of millions of dollars per year. My dream job is that of Thomas Crown of the movie “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Pierce Brosnan who plays Thomas Crown is able to buy and sell entire companies at will. His business is involved in Mergers and Acquisitions. His role is entirely strategic and his tool entirely numbers and finance. Being able to buy and sell entire companies at will and without a care in the world about how to run those companies is the utopia in playing Ruler of the World. Short of winning the lottery I cannot see how I would ever land that dream job. I will settle for setting my sights on a C-Level position at a Fortune 500 instead. I know that position is certainly attainable for me during my lifetime.

83. There are millions of Americans who are single, divorced, widowed, or otherwise live, work and play without a “significant other.” Some who are widowed, grieve for a period of time before they are able to continue living their life, and perhaps date again years later. Some who are single or divorced, prefer to remain single until they meet Mr. or Ms. “Right” --- the one they feel would be the right person to last them the rest of their lives. Respect the rights of these people to remain single if they wish to, and help them find the right life partner when they are ready to get involved in a relationship again. Whatever you do, be supportive, and do not discriminate against these folks for being single! Realize that we live in a society which is shaped by, and for married couples. It is not only the accepted thing to be married, but in many circles of society, a required thing in order to gain a certain level of recognition, status or position. Certain exclusive clubs admit married couples only. Most churches have congregations which are 90+ percent married, which is a good thing to have, but puts single people looking to meet other singles, at a significant disadvantage. It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a “single” person to get elected to public office. It is the way it is designed, and unfortunately many times our society does not look kindly upon single people. Having struggled with singleness myself since 2007, I am actively seeking out my life partner, but in the interim, my heart goes out to all the other single people out there facing loneliness, rejection, and even downright discrimination for being single. Having suffered immensely since 2007 because of being single, I sympathize with you! There is hope out there for you, and hopefully even someone who you might fall madly in love with, and marry! Keep cheerful, stay in good spirits, and look to Christ to carry you through the loneliness and sadness of being alone.

84. If due to your hectic lifestyle, or for whatever other reason, there is time to learn, memorize or master only one book, it should be the Bible --- The Word of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” [John 1:1]

85. At work, always do what your boss tells you to do, no matter what. You may or may not always agree with what he or she has to say, but do it nonetheless. The chain of command must always be respected, else there will be chaos within the organization! I have been extremely fortunate to have good bosses over the years. If you do, count yourself blessed, as I do. This principle is drilled heavily into those who work in the Military. Following the chain of command is critical, else men die on the battlefield. Similarly, following the chain of command in the Corporate world is critical, else projects get derailed, deadlines slip and the work with the highest priority doesn’t get done.

86. Those who love you and sincerely care about you, never cut you down in public. They raise you up to Glory!  This is true especially if they are your Christian brothers. If they are your mentors or Christian brothers, they guide and encourage you, and if admonishing is needed, they do it in person and in private. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. " [Colossians 3:15-16] "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another." [Romans 15:13-14]

87. Those who boast, display arrogance, lack humility, or believe that they are capable of earning or obtaining anything without divine gift or intervention are sadly mistaken. Just as all things are created by God, all blessings are poured out from above. "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it have been given him from heaven” [John 3:27]

88. There may be people who will insist on hurting you or in harming you in one way or another. If you are a Christian like me, you can be bitter and angry against them, or simply know that their just reward awaits them in heaven, or in hell! It is not for us to judge, but for the Lord of the Universe --- the Lord God Almighty. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. " [Galatians 5:22-23]

89. Assuming authority / taking charge in any given situation can be a double-edged sword. Under the right circumstances, it shows initiative and leadership. Under the wrong circumstances, it can be construed as many things, including over stepping your bounds, or worse. When in doubt, always refer to point 85 about following the chain of command.

90. Companies can hire or promote anyone to any level for any reason. Similarly, companies can fire anyone for any reason. It is the way of Corporate America. Get used to it. It is the way it is. It can work to your benefit, or to your detriment. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either simply ignorant or uninformed. There are levels of Grace that companies show to their employees which may vary with the organization, your tenure there, and the level of contribution you made there. While working for Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee, WI my tenure and level of contribution as well as that of the team I led there was so high that the company gave our entire team an unwritten promise that we could work there for as long as we wanted, up and through the time that we retired. It was an unwritten promise. Just as we had saved the company millions of dollars and performed work in-house which outsourcers were bidding tens of millions of dollars to do, NML promised in return to look after us and keep us  employed for the remainder of our working careers. Most of the team was rather young and we all left and scattered after a few years, but this 150-year old company, Northwestern Mutual Life quietly kept looking out for our best interest long after we left their organization. It is indeed the best company I have ever worked for. Another company which showed Grace was Blue Cross Blue Shield for which I worked for four years. I made several strategic mistakes while there, and despite working really hard for four years, getting very good annual reviews, decent merit increases and excellent bonuses every year, I found that I could not climb the proverbial Corporate ladder there. I had to leave there for a management position elsewhere in order to eventually be promoted and resume my “Corporate Climb.” Again, remember that companies can promote for any reason and push someone down and out for any reason. When they want to promote someone, all their work magically gets done by others, and the credit goes to them. They are shown to be of a super hero caliber, having done all this work. They are then given promotion after promotion until the company is satisfied that they are in the correct spot. I witnessed this in action several times through my 23 year IT career, and even participated in it by doing the dirty work and helped some people who were on the “fast track” up the corporate climb, giving them all the credit for the work I did for them and helping them up the Corporate ladder. Some of these individuals today are Managing Directors and Vice Presidents at the companies I worked for. On the other hand if a company wants to demote or fire you, or impede or slow down your corporate climb, they will generally create a recurring problem in the environment or a configuration mismatch or delay a critical project and find a way to hang it around your neck. I have seen this happen as well in my 23-year career. It is not pretty when this happens, and certainly not fair, but it does happen, even in today’s day and age.    

91. You may sometimes wonder why people irreverent to God, blasphemers, attackers of the Church, the secular elite, and so many more who have absolutely no connection to God seem to be able to do well in life, and sometimes even do financially so much better than you? Stop wondering. The life of a true Christian is lived sacrificially for the Lord. If glory is achieved, it is done so because God wants you to achieve the glory. If riches are achieved here on earth, it is because God wants you to be rich and wealthy. Yes, a lot of people who do not have God in their lives do very well for themselves financially, but will they ever be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven? Will they ever spend eternity in Heaven? Will they see God face to face?

92. There is a very special place in hell for those who wrongfully accuse a righteous man. There is also a very special place in hell for those who proclaim an innocent man guilty. The greatest damnation however, is to wrongly accuse a God-blessed and chosen Christian man or woman of faith, of doing something they never did. False accusations are the most damning and damaging of all things.

93. Every powerful person has enemies. His or her enemies gain a stronghold against him or her by knowing their weaknesses. I have known men to use the weaknesses of their close friends and brothers against them. It has happened to me and when it happens, it is a very sad thing. The root cause is always politics, power, money, dominion and wanting to control someone else’s actions. There is also a very special place in hell for these people, especially if they are Christians. I have also seen Christian men who have gone to extreme lengths in order to uphold, carry, support, encourage and take the arrows for their brothers in Christ. Hence we must be careful of who we are dealing with. For the most part the likelihood of a fellow Christian stabbing you in the back is low, but entirely possible. ”But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” [Matthew 5:22]

94. In life you can meet people who are “uplifters” or “downers.” The uplifters cheer you up, they lift your spirits, they encourage you, they tell you that there is nothing you cannot do if you put your heart and mind to it, they re-invigorate and inspire you, they give you strength and courage, and they help you achieve your goals in life. They are generally cheerful and positive people. Then there are the downers who bring you down, tear you up, point out everything that is wrong with you, rip you to shreds, why you will never be able to achieve that goal, or worse yet point out in public why you are not good enough or what your faults are. Stay away from these negative people because they will suck the life energy right out of you. Surround yourself with people whose outlook in life is positive and those who are encouragers and motivators and uplifters who help you visibly and behind the scenes. Those are your true friends. Do you have friends or even family members who are downers? Stay away from such people.

95. There is a tremendous amount of discord and bickering between Churches in the United States. This is sad but true. The rift between Catholics and Protestants can be extremely wide and this is very unfortunate especially as we are one Body of Christ and will have to give account to the same God after we die. Even within the same denomination, it is not uncommon for Churches to bicker, fight, name-call, accuse or lower the stature of another body of believers, be downright mean to, or even do evil things to another group of believers. I have even seen discord and argument between two campuses of the same parent Church...! We are all the Body of Christ and as the Body of Christ we are called to live in peace and harmony with one another, regardless of which Denomination or Church we belong to. The worst part of all of this is the fact that some denominations won’t even recognize congregates from other denominations as being Christian even though they may have gone through all the rights and rituals of their own denomination. Some Churches within one denomination won’t acknowledge the Baptism of other Churches within the same denomination. How will we answer God about all of this after we die and we are standing before Him? Oh, I didn’t treat him well because he belonged to a different Church across town? Oh I didn’t treat him well because he was Catholic? Oh I called him by his pre-Baptism name because I wanted to stick a dagger in his side and twist it? Oh I didn’t treat him well because he was from a Bible-based Protestant Church? Oh I treated him like a Jew instead of a Christian because sometimes he goes to that Bible Church up North. Oh I didn’t treat him well because he goes to Lutheran Church? Really? Seriously? Is this what Christ died for? Then, if you attend two Churches, you will be MOCKED by one or the other, and treated at one like the WORST the other has ever treated you. It is a bad situation folks. Churches need to rise above human nature and see the good in others that Christ wanted them to see. This is not yet reality. I wait for the day that this does become  a reality. The bickering between Churches is BAD. There are famous Pastors we all know who will not talk to each other because they believe the other denomination or the other big Church has it wrong.

96. You may come across a time in your life when you feel bullied, harassed, unjustly persecuted and even crushed, especially when you cannot pinpoint exactly where the attacks are coming from. This is generally an indication that Satan has a foothold on your life and you are fighting a fierce spiritual battle against the forces of evil. The time period when such an attack happens can be limited or lengthy. It is important to find out why Satan is attacking you and what is making you the target of his attacks. Toward that end, analyze what changed in your life. Who came in or out of your life when the attacks began? Did you change jobs or companies? Did you start a new hobby? Have you started associating with someone you did not in the past? Do you know if they are a believer? The best things to do when under Satan’s attacks are: (a) Pray hard for Satan to leave you alone (b) Analyze the person, actions or situations that first triggered Satan’s attacks and try to graciously back out of that situation. (c) Tell a Pastor you trust what you are going through and seek wise counsel (d) if Satan’s attacks persist over a long period of time, leave the geographic area if you are able to. Get away. Move to a different State if you can. Change jobs and employers. Change your residence. Find a good job and a good Church elsewhere in a different State half the nation away and MOVE! If you are stuck and unable to find another job outside the State wherein you live (I have been fighting a fierce Spiritual Battle since 2007 in Illinois and have been unable to move anywhere else to a different State) then your only choice is to stand your ground and fight. There are Spiritual Weapons available to fighting this fight. Use them. There are resources available. Do not fight this fight alone. (a) Learn all you can about being in Spiritual Warfare with Satan. There are MANY good books written on the subject. Read them. All of them. (b) Most Spiritual attacks will come from the outside, from non-Christians, as they will be much easier for Satan to manipulate, however, remember that it is very possible for Satan to use other Christians to unwittingly do his dirty work and attack you. It happens. Forgive them for they know not what they do (c) Develop a very strong sense of focus. Let attacks fall off your back as water falls off a duck’s feathers. Ignore unwanted license plates or car types on the road, ignore or delete attack email messages, or messages from people trying to scare you or give you irrelevant bad news. Learn to ignore people trying to Spiritually attack you with their words. Focus inward and learn to ignore, delete, shut out, and keep out of your mind anything which will serve to demean or lower your self-esteem, attack you in any way, shape or form, detract you from your goals, or serve Satan in any way. In brief, develop a keen and sharp sense of focus and learn to shut out and tune out anything which does not accomplish your goals and does not have the Bliss of God attached to it (d) Learn to meditate and pray upon the Word and Names of God. Do this often. Develop a daily routine of rigorous prayer. Develop the instinct of praying spontaneously, especially when attacked. (e) Go to a Church with a very Strong tithe. (f) Develop a tight knit group of Christian friends you can trust with your life and go Tiger hunting with. Keep these friends close and communicate often with them. Go to Bible Studies with them. Satan is less able to attack two or more Christians working together to ward off his attacks. Remember, if you are stuck in one place like I have been for the past ten years, learn to become strong and fight Satan. Focus inward, and learn to ignore the world around you. 

97. Before you join a new organization, find out through the interview process (a) What their annual revenue is (b) How many people they employ (c) If it is an IT organization, how many people work specifically within IT and when did they perform their last hardware refresh (d) If you are single, do they have a Cafeteria or restaurants within the building or campus where you can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner? Joining a tiny organization with less than $500 Million in revenue and less than 1000 people working for them is generally never a good idea unless you like working for startups. I have come to the conclusion that I’d rather work for a large Fortune company than a startup any day, however, that is a decision that everyone needs to make for themselves, individually. Similarly if you are single and do not cook, joining an organization without a Cafeteria or restaurants in the building or campus is generally not a good idea. You will either be starving over half the time you are there or be forced to drive out for lunch every day.

98. Beware of politicians who try to twist your will into their own. Remember that God’s will is sovereign and that no politician can thwart or circumvent God’s will. Many get into office drunk with power and an ego matching that of Caesar’s. Remember they are all subject to God’s will and were put there by the LORD GOD almighty to do HIS will. Their authority comes from God. [He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, Where are you from?€¯ But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you? Jesus answered him, You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin. John 19:9-11] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be  upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore Isaiah 9:6-7]. €¯Nowhere is this truer than in the United States where the LORD determines who wins elections and not the electorate. As a chosen priest of the LORD I know this to be especially true.

99. Politics brings out the worst in people, including falsely accusing other people of things they have never done. In my case, I found out that it brought out some really damaging accusations from some unknown entity in the past, going back to the 1990s. Are these accusations credible? No. Are they true? No. I would think that if these were true, there would have been a criminal case against me with a real accuser and a real victim and a real prosecutor and a real judge and a real jury. The fact that everything was fabricated in someone’s imagination for the sole intent of damaging my reputation should give all decent people cause to stop and think for a moment. What if someone out there in the ether was falsely accusing you of something which purportedly happened over a decade and a half ago in the 1990s and it was obviously never brought up then because it was completely untrue and there was no victim and no police report and no arrest and no crime committed and no evidence to suggest that any crime was ever committed. How would you react to it? If you did not know the source of the accusations, who would you go to talk to in order to clear your good name? Have you been there? Jesus knew what it was like to be there.  [When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.[Matthew 5:1-11] By the time I wrote this, I had become close friends with numerous Governors, Congressmen, Village Mayors, and several police chiefs and knew a lot of people in law enforcement. I considered hiring a police detective to figure out where the false accusations were coming from, but then decided against it. It wasn’t hindering my career as far as I could tell, and I decided to put this off unless it became a real problem. I do not want to dwell on the negative, and more importantly, spend time, energy and money on something which wasn’t hurting me.

100. There will always be someone ready, willing and able to criticize you. Let the criticism flow off your back as water flows off a duck's back. If Bill Hybels had listened to all the naysayers and criticism by fellow Pastors when he was starting Willow Creek, you would not have had a grand Willow Creek Community Church today with a weekly attendance of over 25,000 people and over 4,000 people being Baptized and coming to faith in Christ each year. Do not give in to the criticism because if you try to keep everyone happy, you will never be able to achieve any of your goals. Be sure that on your way to the top, you will be viciously condemned, criticized, categorized, pigeonholed, cursed at, abused, thrown stones at, misunderstood, crushed and downright pulverized. You may also be judged by what happened decades ago and is no longer relevant. It is the way of the world. Do not give in to the criticism and the naysayers. You are better than them and their criticism. Keep your chin up and keep moving forward. [Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-16]

101. People in general are not looking to be nice to you. This is not a utopian world. My experience has been just the opposite. They want nothing more than to stab you to death and leave you dead on the side of the road. To them you are nothing but competition, sucking air on this earth and competing with them for limited resources. I have had this happen to me many times. For dumb idiots out there who do not know the difference between a literal statement and a metaphor, I am speaking metaphorically. There are good and bad people everywhere. Scriptures caution us to be wise, especially where it concerns outsiders (those who do not believe in the God of the Bible) . [Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone Col 4:5-6] and [Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. [Matthew 10:16] To give you an example, thousands of people know about my struggle with loneliness and the fact that I have had extremely poor success with dating in Illinois. I lost my wife to a job in New York in 2007 and she succumbed to a stroke in 2009. I was left all alone and seeking to re-marry. The number of people who actually cared enough to introduce me to one of their friends or relatives as a possible dating or marital match between 2007 and 2014 (a seven year time period in which I helped tens of thousands of people with their needs, tithed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and helped the Church, various causes as well as politicians with many hundreds of hours of volunteer work) was less than a handful. Thousands of hours of praying to Jesus on my knees for a good lady to call wife, how many people truly cared? Not many. How many simply walked away and did not give a damn...! Too many.

102. I was born in 1972. I would be looking to find a mate in their late 20s, 30s or 40s. No older. Recently I have been handed a deluge of older women to pick from. With sincere respect to my friends who are older, I love you and respect you with all my heart and am willing and able to spend lots of time with you, and it is true that wisdom comes with age, but I do not want to be in another situation similar to my relationship with Mary again where I outlive my mate. It is a sad situation to outlive your mate and the love of your life. They say that the ideal mate should be half your age + 8. So for me, that would be someone 29 years old. On the upper end, they should certainly not be more than 8 years older than you, so no older than 50 years of age. Besides, I would really like to have kids (hers from a previous marriage and/or ours together, if the Lord so desire.) In fact the older I get the more I desire to have a child or two of my own flesh and blood. I do not believe that it is inappropriate for a Pastor to date and marry. Indeed most of my friends who are Pastors are happily married. If a Church tries to give you a false choice between Jesus and marriage, RUN the other direction. They have some sort of hidden political agenda to keep you single. There are plenty of singles-friendly Churches out there who understand the desires that singles have to be married. Neither God nor Jesus ever stated that a Christian should not marry. Indeed the Bible says in Genesis: “Then the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:18-25 Do I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ may have been married? Perhaps. Fragments of the Dead Sea Scroll discovered recently indicate that perhaps He was married. We do not know about this in absolute certainty one way or another. There is nothing in the New Testament which precludes or counter-indicates that. It is something I believe we will discover as more ancient fragments of ancient texts from the Biblical period are dug up and discovered.

103. Success breeds jealousy. For the most part success breeds jealously and jealous people,  except for the ones who are your true friends. Many a mansion dweller or Lamborghini owner has experienced stares of jealousy. People are jealous of others as they climb the Corporate Ladder or as they succeed in life, gain a new stature, position, power or authority. This is the rule. The exceptions are those who sincerely love them and want them to succeed in life. Those who truly love and care are proud of the success and spur their friends and brothers on to even greater success. This is a part of the universal law of human nature. It is what it is, and cannot be helped. As you climb and gain power, authority, wealth and influence, expect this to happen. As Christians we ought not to be jealous of anyone, regardless. This is easier said than done but should always be true. I have had this happen to me many times, the most recent of which was in October 2014. The moment you start to climb, gain power or authority, someone will always be ready to find a fault or a weakness and try to pull you down. These are NOT your genuine friends. A genuine friend will always applaud and celebrate your success. You will know instantly who your genuine friends are and who are faking it the moment you start to achieve success. Your genuine friends will applaud your success and try to help you achieve even greater heights. Those who are faking it will show signs of jealousy and will want to find flaws or weaknesses in your personality, character, or something in your past to attempt to bring you down. This is an irrefutable litmus test of true friendship.

104. Show unconditional love to those you meet. It is very easy to give conditional love. Unconditional love is much harder to show. Yet as Christians we are called to show unconditional love to all. [ But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you. To him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also. Give to every one that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for even sinners love those that love them. And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much. But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful. And judge not, and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: release, and ye shall be released: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 6:27-38 ]

105. The exception to #104 above is my dislike of the Muslim faith. I have never been to a mosque and the only reason for me to ever visit a mosque would be to destroy it. The overwhelming hatered of the west taught at these places is disgusting. In the Arab/Israeli conflict, the Palestinians use Mosques to hide weapons and to harbor terrorists.

106. If you are a single Christian and want to know who you would be most compatible with as a mate, there are several quizzes which are good indicators. ChristianMingle.com has a quiz called The Compass which is a fairly accurate gauge of your compatibility with your prospective match. So is Dr. Gary Chapman’s five love languages quiz. Do you know what your love languages are? Mine are, Quality Time Together=12; Physical Touch=8; Words of Affirmation=4; Acts of Service=4; Receiving Gifts=1. I would highly recommend all Christian singles read Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages book. I would also recommend married couples read this book if they want to understand their spouse better and improve their marriage. Another good book to read would be Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five languages of an apology. Both excellent books. Both will increase your chances of success in dating and in marriage.

107. A good friend and guide tells you not only what is going on, but why it is going on, whether it is good or bad, and if it is bad, what to do to fix it. Good friends do not let each other make mistakes. They preemptively protect their friends not by limiting their friends’ choices by prearranging certain outcomes, but by explaining all choices to their friends and then letting their friends make an intelligent, well-educated and well-informed decision. In all cases they help their friends reach their stated goals and objectives.

108. I have over a thousand LinkedIn and over a thousand Facebook connections. In addition, I have over 2,000 contacts in my personal address book. Remember that not everyone who you meet is your well-wisher or friend. Not everyone you connect with wishes you well. Not everyone in your personal address book is your friend. Know who your true friends are and always give them unconditional love. Always support their goals. Always support their ambitions. Always lift them up to glory. Always praise them. Know the difference between acquaintances and true, genuine friends. A true friend will never harm you, only help you. They will never turn their back on your hurt or your problems, your difficulties, or whatever else you are going through. He or she will always tell you the truth. He or she will always love, respect, support, encourage and glorify you. He or she will always be there to rejoice in your happiness and to comfort you in your sadness. Such is the nature of a true friend.

109. As a follow-up to 10 and 43, FAMILIES SHOULD ALWAYS BE KEPT TOGETHER, never separated. This includes dating relationships, fiancé and fiancées as well as married couples. Long distances rank alongside infidelity as the leading cause of breakups and divorce. Long distance relationships do not work out, period. It is absolutely imperative that a husband and wife live in the same home after marriage. In fact this was so important to our elders that there is Old Testament scripture that states that a husband and wife not be separated for ANY reason for at least the first full year after marriage. Husbands were exempt from going to war and from other civic responsibilities for the entire year after marriage.

110. It has been eight years since Mary left for New York and six years since her death. Every day during those six years I have been in prayer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ about giving me a good Christian lady to call wife. Yes, I have been extremely selective (she must be American, white, good looking, Christian, and the list of criteria has been a long one.) Yet after six years in prayer about this, I still wait patiently. A good mentor would tell me why I am waiting. Is God busy creating that special woman for me from scratch? Why is God taking so long? Is there something God wants me to do before He will fulfill this desire of my heart? Why is it taking so long for him? None of my mentors have been able to answer this question to my satisfaction. Some day after I am remarried to a nice Christian gal, I am sure I will look back and understand why, but I sure don’t understand right now, and the waiting has become excruciatingly painful.

111. As a follow-up to 57, 64 and 78, practice unconditional forgiveness, even to those who have wronged you. Do not hold grudges. I was very tempted to hold a grudge against certain people, but then I realized that the only person I was harming in doing so was myself. Do not hold a grudge against anyone. Nobody. Let go and let God. If someone has wronged you, God will avenge the wrong done to you. By all means avoid those people who have wronged you so you don’t become a victim of their wrongdoing towards you, but surely forgive others as God has forgiven you your sins. God is all seeing, all knowing and all feeling. Do you not think that He knows how badly you hurt? He feels our pain when we hurt. When we are treated unjustly, He knows. NEVER take matters into your own hands. “'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution” [Deuteronomy 32:35] and in the New Testament, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” [Romans 12:19] God does avenge those who wrong you. I have seen HIS vengeance and wrath in action many times, and at least twice in response to wrongs done to me. He does see. He does know. He is all-knowing and feels your pain. He will avenge those who wrong you, right here in this lifetime....! When this happens, it is tempting to gloat or laugh, but this is never a time to rejoice. It is a time to see the LORD’s great hand in action and stand and bow in reverence.

112. More characteristics and traits of a true friend: They will be vulnerable with you. They will be truthful with you. They will invite you to their home (unless of course they are embarrassed to show you where they live) They will introduce you to their immediate and extended family. When they invite you to their home, they will always feed you. There is an entire two hour sermon I once heard about how Jesus always fed those (individuals or crowds) who came to listen to him. And when even was come, the disciples came to him, saying, The place is desert, and the time is already past; send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food. But Jesus said unto them, They have no need to go away; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. And he said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass; and he took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. And they all ate, and were filled: and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And they that did eat were about five thousand men, besides women and children. [Matthew 14:15-21] and “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.' His disciples answered, 'Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?' 'How many loaves do you have?' Jesus asked. 'Seven,' they replied, 'and a few small fish.' He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children."[Mark 8:1-10] and Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.[Matthew 26:26] They will feel hurt when you hurt, feel joy when you are happy, and sad when you are sad.  They will want to help you achieve your goals and will always appreciate your help and participation in helping them achieve their goals.

113. The Word of God (The Holy Bible) is a transforming book and being transformed from a casual Christian who doesn’t have an intimate relationship with Jesus and the Bible to one who has a very close relationship with Jesus and His Word, is an earth-shattering, colossal life-changing event. It changed my life entirely between 2007 and 2009. I went from being a “casual Christian” to a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ within that span of two years. The person I was prior to that point evaporated and a new person emerged, fully clothed in the Spiritual Armor of God and clothed in the Righteousness of Christ ready to be presented blameless to God the Father. Prior to 2007 I was not a “bad” person. I never drank frequently, never did drugs, never smoked and did not have any vices per se, but I was not living a Holy Christian life for the Glory of God, as it should be lived. The time period between 2007 and 2009 fully immersed me into the Word of God. Between 2007 and 2010 I saw powerful miracles only God Himself could do. I believed. I read the Bible cover-to-cover almost ten times, and was transformed as a person by what I read. I was Baptized into a Christ follower, never to be the same old person prior to that. The change was irreversible, irrevocable, and the single greatest transformative event of my entire life. Since my full conversion I have seem so many miracles performed by the hand of God that I am convinced beyond any doubt that He reigns supreme, that His Word (the Holy Bible) is Divine and God-Breathed, and that He is indeed the Triune God --- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are all three separate but also all equal. Having communed with, having spoken with, and having felt the presence of all three at different times over the past seven years, I can tell you first hand that there is no experience quite like it....! No experience quite like the presence of the Holy God.  I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that He rules the Universe and that the Sun, the Stars and the Planets are held in their orbits by Him. He gives life and He reigns supreme throughout the Universe. Nothing happens without His infinite wisdom and knowledge. He has called everyone to believe. Those who do not believe do so at their own peril. 

114. My life can pretty much be divided into three parts thus far --- my lost, dismal and abysmal childhood prior to 1991, which I’d rather completely forget, the time period between 1991 and 2007, and that after 2007. Between 1991 and 2007 my life could be defined as very successful, very happy, completely secular, non-religious, non-practicing Christian, very unwise, very wealthy, full of material wealth and surrounded by creature comforts, large homes, in-home theater systems, $10,000 chandeliers, marble tables and $15,000 pieces of artwork, living the high life with lots of luxury travel, lots of luxury cars, very arrogant, puffed up, and full of myself, not powerful, not influential, no political connections at all, very comfortable, well-defined, stable, full of good friends, and always with a loving spouse or mate. My life after 2007 can be defined as very religious, wise, very humble, very simple  living with just the basic necessities of life, knowing Christ intimately, devout Christian, politically very well connected, powerful, extremely influential, having God abundantly in my life, living for Christ, somewhat successful, not happy but not sad either, not wealthy at all --- just getting by paycheck to paycheck, and very lonely. Like the potter’s clay, God had to break me and knead me and get all the  air of arrogance out of me. This He did between 2007 and 2009 when I lost the woman I loved, and all the material possessions I held dear --- over $1 million in material assets. He ground me down into a homeless, jobless, and penniless man. It was then that I discovered Christ deeply. Like Job in the Old Testament, through all the turmoil I clung to the Cross with everything I had. He then proceeded to build me up into His own image, living through and for God. I slowly rebuilt my life, and in the process gained numerous political connections throughout the nation, and eventually gainful employment again in 2010. Over five years after having everything taken from me, I still live simply and frugally, and I am very grateful just to have gainful employment. I learned the secrets to power and influence and saw miracles only someone very close to God could see. I dived deeply into scripture and saw that I had been missing some very fundamental facts about life that only the Word of God could teach. I was Baptized into the Body of Christ and became a new creation. [Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Cor 5:17]

115. If you have been a Christian for a long time, chances are very good that you tithe generously. You know that giving to the Lord is important. If you are also involved in, or know about politics, you know that every dollar you spend is a right leaning, left leaning or neutral dollar. Similarly every dollar given in tithe is a right-leaning, left leaning or neutral tithe depending upon the Church or Parish you attend. Know which way your Church leans: Left, Right or Center and adjust your tithe as well as your political contributions accordingly. In any case, nothing (time, talent, or treasure) given to God’s Kingdom is ever wasted. The county wherein you tithe matters as well. If you live in Lake County and tithe in Cook County as I have done for a long time, your tithe is only half as effective as if you were to live in Lake County and tithe in Lake County, or live in Cook County and tithe in Cook County. I have had my reasons for tithing in Cook County, but this is generally not a good practice. For maximum effectiveness, tithe in the same County where you live.

116. Social media can be a very effective tool to portray your emotions as well as to share ideas with friends and acquaintances. Be careful however, in who you connect with. You have a choice to accept or reject each connection invite. Choose carefully. I have declined hundreds of LinkedIn invites from people in Africa, China, Ukraine, The Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, and other places I have absolutely no desire to ever visit or have any dealings with. Choose your network and your connections carefully. As a rule I only connect on LinkedIn with people within the United States, and generally only other Christians on Facebook. I used to have a Twitter account but I disabled it. I didn’t really see any point to it. Pick your network very carefully. Groom your network and cull your dead connections. Routinely validate that the people you are connected with are folks who are willing and able to endorse you positively. Stay away from people who bring you down or have the potential to talk negatively about you. Avoid those people. Cut and sever those connections, both from social media as well as in real life. Choose WHO you network with. Quality is more important than quantity. It is better to have ten CEO-level connections who will endorse you at the highest levels than connections with fifty grunts. Pick and choose your network very carefully. Let no negative connections  remain. It is said that one bad apple ruins the entire barrel. So it goes with friends and acquaintances. One person spreading lies or falsehood behind your back about you on the social media networks is more dangerous than a vandal or a robber in person. The first is a coward and spreads lies and deceit and does not have the courage to confront you. The second, while equally wrong and misguided, at least has the courage to confront you in person. Both belong in Hell, but the first kind will get there quicker.

117. For a week I took down my website to redo --- a makeover of sorts, thinking that nothing bad would happen in that timeframe to make me re-consider. Within that week’s time, Satan attacked! The US signed a massive (BAD, unfavorable) trade deal with China, I was pestered and heckled by idiots from overseas wanting connections on LinkedIn, and all sorts of other nonsense happened. Folks jumped to inaccurate conclusions that I had abandoned my Christian faith, and all sorts of other bullshit --- all because I took my website down for a week...!!! I have to shake my head at how clueless people really are. Out of desperation I put my website back up the way it was before I took it down. I will have to design a new website and put it up before I take down the old one. (shaking my head at all the idiots out there...especially the ones overseas...!)

118. There are certain people who never learn from their mistakes. They continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again. Only a fool returns to his folly. The Bible puts it this way: “As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is a fool that repeateth his folly.” [Proverbs 26:11] When you make a mistake and learn an important life lesson from it, but continue making the same mistake over and over again, you are asking for trouble. There are some people who never learn from their mistakes. They never change. They never grow. They never believe. Wisdom eludes them. They continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, but that expected outcome never materializes. Some people go many years trying the same thing over and over and over before giving up and trying something different. Such is the outcome of the works of a fool. It is best to put as much distance between them and yourself. If you know someone in this situation, WALK AWAY. It is best to walk away from a fool than to continue in his or her presence. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” [Psalm 1:1] If you are that kind of person or know someone in this situation, the best advise to give them is to do whatever they can to break out of whatever rut they might be in. To remove their blinders so they can see. How many times did Jesus have to tell the Scribes and the Pharisees that He was The Christ, the Son of God? How many miracles did He perform before them, yet they did not believe. No, some are not Blessed with the eyes to see or the ears to hear or the heart to believe. It is best to let these people alone and walk away. They will eventually believe. “But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed. And Jesus said, I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” [Mark 14:61-62]

119. When you truly love someone, being faithful is easy. It requires absolutely no effort. The thought of being with someone else doesn’t even enter your mind. This kind of love, to be nurtured, requires a mutual, reciprocal commitment between a man and a woman, generally in the context of an engagement or marriage, and living under the same roof. One man. One woman. With God as their witness. Living, loving, caring, and doing life together. It must be requited love and not unrequited love. A mutual commitment to love and to cherish each other forever and ever. One-sided love, or love which is not reciprocated, generally does not last long and is not the kind that can withstand the test of time. Love must be mutual. Love must flow from the heart. Love must come naturally, and cannot be forced upon another. Love must always cherish. Love must always try to take the initiative to deepen and strengthen the relationship. Love must flow both ways. It must always consider the needs of the other before their own.

120. I am a man of simple words. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I do not talk in code, or cryptically. I am the first to admit that there are many who are more intelligent, wiser, shrewder, more powerful, stronger in mind, body and spirit. What I do have however is purity. Purity of mind and purity of heart. The ability to love that surpasses all other loves, and the Love of God and strength through Jesus my Lord and Savior and through the Holy Spirit. I do not need to be strong in my own strength, when He (Jesus) who lives within me is the strongest person who ever was and will be.

121. Those who try to make other people jealous, will, before long, burn in a pile of jealousy themselves. This is especially true of Christians. The LORD does not approve of this kind of behavior.To consciously try to make another person jealous is not only wrong, it is a detestable character trait and one which the LORD sees as a great sin. If someone tries to make you jealous, repay their cruelty with kindness, their hatered with love, their low road with your high road. Remember, the LORD sees what is within every man or woman’s heart, including their intent, good or bad. ”For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13

122. Have you ever been judged because of who you dated or wanted to date? Ever been a strong Democrat who fell in love with a Republican and all your friends suddenly dislike you because they think you are dating a stuck-up, arrogant, hardhearted jerk? Or a strong Republican who fell in love with a Democrat and now all your friends think you are suddenly a traitor? Or been a Catholic in love with a Lutheran, or a Methodist in love with a Baptist? Or a Presbyterian in love with a Unitarian or a Mormon in love with a Jehovah’s Witness? Or a mainline Protestant in love with a Lutheran? How have people reacted to this? What did they say that hurt your feelings? Ever feel rejected or dejected because of this? Disillusioned? Alone? Torn because your heart wants to love but you are afraid of how society at large will treat you because of it? There is a saying for all of these:  “Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes before you go about judging people.” In Christ’s time it was unheard of for a Jew to sit and eat with gentiles. It was against society’s norms. Jews simply did not associate with the gentiles because they were considered “unclean” and therefore unworthy of associating with the Jewish people, and especially unworthy of associating with the learned Rabbis, Scribes and Pharisees. Christ changed all that, and set an example of how to love without regard to clean or unclean, sinner or saint, short or tall, fat or slim, balding or with a full head of hair etc. Regardless, in our society today you will be figuratively crucified or stoned to death if you are a strong Democrat or a strong Republican and you even attempt to date someone from the party across the aisle. You will face massive backlash, injury, insult, persecution, boycott, bad performance reviews, fired from your job under false pretenses, banning or chastisement from the Church you attend, attempt to relocate you or them to a different State and put distance between you and the person you want to date, and sometimes even death threats if you attempt to date someone from the opposite political party or someone from a different denomination. Bottom line: avoid it wherever and whenever possible. Stick with people from within your own (a) political party and (b) religious denomination (c) State of Residence if you want a smooth relationship. Not doing so will surely result in a world of hurt, as I experienced three times. Bottom line: it is not worth it. The consequences can, and always will be devastating.

123. Have you ever pre-judged a person with a disability? Only to find out later that their IQ was higher than that of the rest of the people in the room, or that they could paint, sing or play the piano better than anyone else around? Or that they received that disability because they were serving our country in a combat zone in a war overseas? Prejudging someone because they are perceived by society to somehow be “less able” or “less capable” than the rest of us is wrong. Indeed the greatest test of any society is how it treats those least able to care for themselves, the most vulnerable, the least able to do anything for others in return. Even Christ said “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

124. Give without expecting anything in return. This is easier said than done, but very true. When you give with expectation, you are likely to be disappointed. Give without expectation of anything in return, and you will not be disappointed when nothing comes your way in return. Then when God surprises you and heaps His goodness on you, you will have a reason to be joyous and celebrate. The greedy person asks “What have you done for me lately?” The kind person asks “How may I help you with your goals, and what are you trying to achieve?” The greedy person denotes earthly currency. He or she will die with a large bank account but will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, nor will they be able to take their money to the grave with them. Naked they were born and naked they will die. The second type of person denotes the eternal currency of heaven -- love and kindness. They may or may not become rich in this lifetime, but they will surely inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

125. Where there is a will, there is a way. There are a MILLION reasons why something cannot be done, but perhaps those reasons are why there are so many NAYsayers in our society today. It takes one optimistic YAYsayer (or Yes-sayer) to see that there is a way, and to make it possible for something good to happen. Remember, all it takes is one determined person to change society for the better; to make a difference in someone’s life; to decide to CARE instead of to look the other way. Who are those people in your life who have made that difference? Who are the people who have impacted your life in such a profoundly positive manner when the rest have chosen to look away? Have you thanked them lately? Who are the people in your life who decided that you were important enough for them to invest in your goals and in your dreams and in your desires?

126. ALWAYS treat people with kindness and respect. Always give them the benefit of the doubt. Always be good to people. Don’t judge people harshly. Remember the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

127. If you find yourself underdressed for an occasion, find an excuse to excuse yourself from the event and leave. It is better to leave than to stay in that situation, embarrassed that you did not “get the memo” about the appropriate attire for the event. Refer to #32 here.

128. No honest, good man is spared troubles and tribulations in this world. In fact, my observation is that the more honest, sincere, kind, generous, good, and God-loving a person is, the more he or she is tortured and tormented in this world. It is the way of the world. Get used to it. The troubles will end when we are with Jesus in Heaven after our death from this worldly realm. Not sooner. 

129. There is nothing more attractive to a man than to have the woman he loves show interest in him, and be attracted to him. There is nothing more attractive to a man than for her to take the initiative to ask him out. For her to take the initiative to call, to text, to visit, to initiate contact; for her to drive to his home; for her to ask him out on dates. For her to invite. For her to ask him for his time. For her to need him; for her to want him. For her to want to spend time with him. Men, do not chase after women who are not interested in you. You will never gain happiness and satisfaction, and you will waste precious time, money and resources chasing someone who does not value you. Also, do not accept the advances of every woman who flings herself at you. Choose carefully, and prayerfully. Ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you in making the correct choice in life partner. It will be one of the most important choices you will ever make.

130. Men like self-made successful women, but they also like women who they are able to groom, nurture, grow, create, carve out, and sculpt into successful masterpieces.

131. The old must give way to the new, especially in the believer’s life. To look back to a time prior to Adult Baptism is not a wise idea. Jesus himself said “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” [2 Cor 5:17] and “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”[Rev 21:5] The reason that this is so important is that a Christian’s life begins at Baptism. People who do not understand this, have no way of relating to someone who has just undergone Adult Baptism.

132. LOVE is spelled T - I - M - E. Quality time spent on the man or woman that you love, and the children you love, (if you have kids) is the best investment you can ever make in life. See #43, 66 and 129 for more on the subject of spending quality time together.

133. Unless you are laid off or fired, (which is generally beyond your control,) never voluntarily quit a job before accepting an offer from another company. Unless the person making you the offer is a family member or a best friend, it is a good idea to get the offer in writing before putting in your two week notice. Never leave a workplace without providing a proper two week notice. Doing so leaves a bad impression in an employer’s books. Honor all employment contracts and signing bonus stipulations and agreements.

134. Never criticize or cut down people in public (unless they are Muslims, and then it is ok to slaughter them anywhere.) If you want to rate or describe the negative attributes of someone, or correct or chastise someone, do it in private, behind closed doors where only the two of you are present and privy to the conversation.

135. Beware of people who withdraw their love from you on a dime. This manner of love is never sincere or permanent. Genuine love is described by 1 Corinthians 13 and does not vacillate, change, or vary. It does not turn it's back on you. It is always sincere, always faithful, never changing, never fickle, and cannot be altered. It is like God's love - constant, patient and unchanging. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” James 1:17  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

136. A man's character must so resemble that of Jesus that his wife must respect him as she respects the Lord. A man's character must so resemble Jesus that his kids must honor and respect him not only because he is their dad but because they see Jesus in him. The character of a gentleman, a husband and a father must always be above reproach.

137. Women are like wine. It is not the quantity of the wine that you drink but the quality. A gentleman learns to discern between cheap wine and fine wine. Similarly, a Christian gentleman must learn to distinguish between a gentle lady and a tramp. A Christian gentle lady is an asset to her man, not a liability. She is described by Proverbs 31 and the more refined and well educated the lady is, the greater a treasure she is to her husband. A lady who is Pastor’s wife material is treasure indeed and very rare. A gentle lady must be well mannered, and not an easy lay, wanting after a man who wants an engagement and a marriage --- a long term commitment, not a roll in the hay. She must be willing to love, honor and OBEY and to say “I do” to be with her husband for the remainder of her life. In my case, she must also have a very good command of the English language (good spelling, grammar, the use of proper punctuation etc. ) My criteria are elaborate but the bottom line is that I am looking for a lady, not a tramp.

138. The prosperity gospel is a myth. Nobody ever got rich by embracing the Christian way. I have never missed a weekly tithe since 2007 yet I make less money today than I did before I began tithing. No, you do not tithe because Joel Osteen tells you that you will experience abundance (with sincere apologies to Pastor Osteen who happens to be a personal friend.) You tithe because the Bible instructs you to. Give faithfully without any expectation of reward or return. It is what God commands us to do.

139. If you sincerely love someone, tell them that you love them. The three words “I love you” are the simplest three words in the English language, but they can do so much. They can make someone’s day, they can change a life, they can alter a relationship, they can give a dying person a reason to live, they can save a relationship on the rocks, they can save a marriage, and those simple words can do so incredibly much....!

140. I have come to the conclusion that two very important things make this world go round: Money and Love. You cannot do without either, and you can never have enough of either. They are both absolutely critical aspects of life, as important as the oxygen in the air that you breathe or the water that you drink. Of course Jesus takes precedence over both, but rating the importance of everything for the moment, and setting religion aside for the moment, those two take the prize for importance. 

141. It is okay to walk away from people who do not fit in your overall life plan or structure, especially if they are not Christians. You are not bound to them for eternity and you will not see them in Heaven.

142. He or she who does not love children and would not lay down their own life for theirs, is not sane. Children are the most unadulterated form of pure love there exists in the universe. Even Jesus loved the children “but Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14€¯

143. Unless you are a member of the US Military using approved SECCOM gear, the NSA, the FBI or the CIA, you do not have secure telco (Phone, data or Internet) connections. All communications within the United States are monitored, and many are tampered with, for non-intelligence (illegal) purposes. The worst (and most hacked) connections are those which are not point-to-point, such as internet connectivity or voice grade VoIP provided by consumer grade commercial Cable television companies such as Comcast or Time Warner. Public WiFi connections are also not secure. Comcast Business Class internet and Comcast point-to-point Communications which lay a dedicated circuit right to your Demarc are much more secure than the consumer-grade internet or VoIP service provided by them. So is Verizon Fiber-to-the-Home which is offered in certain locations around the nation. If you are a home consumer and cannot afford or do not wish to pay for business class service, your best bet is DSL service or internet-over-broadband using a mobile hotspot.

When you are employed by a private company or are a subcontractor for a private company, and are using that private company’s network, you can bet that they monitor and record that piece of your communications traveling over their network. While this is a fiduciary requirement in some (such as the financial) industry, it is becoming a more common practice in other industries as well. If you are connected to, or somehow using your employer’s network, always assume that your communications are being monitored. While it is legal for your employer to monitor your work phone and work computer and work laptop etc, it is illegal for them to monitor your home phone or your personal cellphone or your personal computer. In general if a service is being paid for by your employer, it is legal for them to monitor it, however, if it is paid for by you it is illegal for them to monitor it. Same goes if you are employed by a government agency or a university. It is legal for them to monitor work-issued equipment, however, it is illegal for them to monitor your personal phone, computer, laptop, etc. 

The three major cellphone providers, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T are generally more secure than the cable providers and less prominent carriers like Clear and Cricket, and cheap VoIP providers like Vongo or Vonage. In Illinois however, illegal wiretaps are rampant, both for landlines as well as among cellphones. Heck, this is the State that sends it’s own Governors off to prison. If you want secure communications (and away from Illegal wiretaps) do not live in Illinois, use GSM (and not CDMA) technology for voice, use one of the major cellphone carriers, and use cell encryption technology as sold by Western European (particularly Swiss and German) companies. There is the potential of Illegal wiretaps no matter which State you live in, however, your risk is lower in certain States and more in others. Privacy is more important in certain States and less so in others. Choose carefully. Your connection is only as secure as it’s weakest point. If privacy and secrecy are important to you, both parties in a communication channel must use the same encrypted cell technology with a rotating or changing encryption algorithm which changes every 10 seconds or more frequently. The mirage of cellphone and internet security by Canadian and US Companies is just that --- a mirage. Truly secure communication technology for the consumer is only sold by the Swiss and by the Germans. Many Corporate CEOs and boards who are technologically astute use this technology in order to protect their Corporate intelligence assets from Corporate espionage. It is not commonly available within the United States, although it is not illegal to use this technology within the United States. Among commercially and publicly available cellphones within the United States, Apple does the best job in ensuring consumer privacy in that they claim not to have the ability to intercept calls or view private data on a cellphone, even if requested or subpoenaed by one of the surveillance agencies, however, keep in mind that even the Apple company (as does every other cellphone company) DOES occasionally spy on it’s own consumers. Again, unless you are using approved SECCOM equipment, always make the assumption that your communications are monitored, and use the appropriate precautions. All cellular signals are susceptible to be intercepted, and unless you use cellphone encryption, you are opening yourself up to eavesdropping by non-legitimate parties. Landlines are generally more secure than cellphones, however, even those can be intercepted.

144. Classism and the class system does exist within the United States. It is subtle and present. We are the only nation on earth which provides an easy transition from one class to another. The “lower” class is generally considered to be a household that makes below $50,000 per year, the “middle-class” is one which makes between $50,000 and $250,000 per year and the upper class is any household which makes over $250,000 per year. Generally it is not uncommon for adjacent classes of people to interact with each other, but less common for the lower class to interact with the upper class unless it is in the context of a public place such as schools, colleges, places of worship, public social events etc. There are always exceptions.

145. Generally there is an inverse relationship between hard work and the class level that you are in. The lower class blue collar worker generally works the hardest, doing gruesome manual labor in construction or other trades and professions, followed by the middle class where white-collar workers work hard but not as hard as their lower class counterparts, and as you reach the upper class, the amount of hard work necessary to maintain that level decreases. At those levels you simply work “smarter” not harder, and you are able to delegate all the hard work to someone else --- generally your subordinates. You play a strategic role and leave the tactical work to someone else. At that level, envision yourself to be General Patton commanding the Third Army against the enemy forces. Your role becomes strategic in nature and you are no longer the individual soldier digging trenches or carrying the bayonet doing the fighting. Life in Corporate America for the average white-collar American worker hasn’t gotten easier over the years; it has only become tougher.

The prevailing Corporate culture in different companies generally dictates how hard someone has to work in order to “get ahead” in their careers. I have worked at companies where nobody was ever laid off, and an average amount of hard work was good enough to get promoted. Raises for well performing workers topped 10 percent per year and annual bonuses were through the roof, while the worst performers were given no bonuses and no raises but were not laid off or fired either. I have also worked at companies where there was a constantly prevailing threat of imminent layoffs, and no amount of hard work was enough to gain recognition and applause. Morale was low and employees were constantly wondering if they would be the next to get the axe.

Those who inherit wealth are generally in the top five percent of wealth in the nation, and it is not uncommon for them to never work a day in their lives. I once met a group of expert day traders in New York who worked from 9am at the ringing of the stock exchange bell to about 9:30am when they would wind up and liquidate their positions for the day, and spend the remainder of their day on the golf course. They were rich beyond measure, but only worked a half hour each day; indeed their inherited money, as well as their stock market technical prowess and know-how made it such that they would only have to work a half hour each day. President Bill Clinton makes between $100,000 and $750,000 for each speech he delivers. He has made $105 Million delivering speeches around the world after his Presidency. How much time do you think he spends preparing for each speech? How much hard work goes into preparing those speeches? Not sure, but many people take years to make as much as he makes in a day. Former GE CEO Jack Welch makes between $175K and $350K per speech. During his time as CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates’ fortune swung wildly depending upon the stock price of Microsoft, and on good days, his net worth could go up as much as several Billion Dollars a day without his moving a finger. Many stock, bond, options, commodities and futures traders have Million-dollar profit days, and many writers live for years on the commissions based off their book sales. Many writers, composers, patent holders and others only work hard during the composition of their original work, and then the residual income from the patent or the book or the piece of music or artwork provides income for them for years to come. They work “smarter” not harder for their money.

146. In order to transcend the class barrier, and to move up from one class to another, a man or a woman or a household must do several things: (a) Tithe. Make sure that the first and the best are given to God. (b) Get out of debt. Pay off all credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, boat loans, student loans, etc and be completely out of debt (c) Save money for a rainy day. Make it a habit to save ten percent of your paycheck for a rainy day (d) Get an education. The equivalence between pay and education level cannot be understated. Get as many degrees and professional certifications as you can possibly get. Also get as much work experience under your belt as you possibly can. Go to night school to finish that MBA, or to get a PhD. or that next professional certification that you need to get. (e) Invent, write, or create original work of some sort, patent it, or copyright it, then sell it. If you are good, the residual income will last you many years. (f) Inherit money and then invest it wisely. Most people who get rich do so because they were left money by a dead relative and they invested it in a risk-averse mix of investments: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. In general however, the fact is that it takes money to make a HUGE amount of money, or to get ahead in that: In order to get an education, you need money for tuition, books, and for the time you take away from work; to invest in the financial markets, you need money as well. Again, it takes money to make a whole lot of money. Many people who are in the lower class of society get stuck there for decades or even generations because there is nothing and nobody that comes along and gives them that helping hand that gets them to the next higher level of society. Same with the middle class. The middle class has forever been told that the way to get to become the upper class is to work hard, save and invest wisely. I once knew a very talented sales executive who made very good money but was clearly in the middle-income bracket. He worked hard for his country in the military, enjoyed his job, went to Church religiously, and saved all his life to retire well. He skimped on vacations, lived in the same tiny home all his life, drove the same car for 15 years, and led a relatively frugal life. He gathered quite a nest egg on which to retire. Unfortunately he had a stroke at age 59 and died. So much for enjoying his middle-class life and hopes for a good, comfortable retirement...! Nothing he did was wrong, but he did not get to enjoy his hard-earned retirement. Had there been more time and money for him to enjoy his life while he worked, and less worried about retiring comfortably, he may have lived a better, longer, and happier life.

147. Cleanliness comes along with Godliness. It is also a function of class. Generally the higher a person’s class, income and education level, the neater and cleaner they tend to be, but not always. A person of lower class steeped in poverty can generally be easily identified by a massively messy automobile or home. A messy automobile is a sure sign of a person who is struggling in life. The two cleanest homes I have ever seen belonged to two people I personally knew and loved very much. They are both in my past. Their clothes were washed or dry cleaned every day, the sheets on their beds changed every day, the towels in their bathrooms changed every day, their homes picked up, dusted and cleaned every day or every other day, and not a spec of dust could be found anywhere in their homes.

148. There is a difference between a man and a gentleman. There is a difference between a woman and a gentlewoman. Begin your education in how to be a gentleman and how to be a gentlewoman by reading these books: http://www.brooksbrothers.com/mens/accessories/books-audio/0554,default,sc.html for men and http://www.brooksbrothers.com/womens/accessories/books-audio/0555,default,sc.html?lid=topnav-menu for women.

149. Men who do not bring home the bacon generally do not earn the respect of their wives. Men who are unemployed over long periods of time, or those who are plain lazy and do not work, find it very difficult to earn the respect of their wives. Similarly, men who work full-time generally have certain expectations from their wives who do not work full-time, in order to respect them on a long-term basis, such as doing a greater proportion of the housework, or looking after the kids, etc. When both spouses work, housework and child rearing responsibilities must always be shared between the spouses, or a housekeeper be hired. Generally, marriage is a give-and-take proposition, and requires a lot of hard work and constant positive communication between the spouses. In any good relationship or marriage, communication is key. Communicate, communicate, communicate! When spouses are both Christian, there is a common and very solid foundation to build one’s relationship on. The house is then built on solid ground. When spouses are unequally yoked, as in one being a believer and one not being a believer, it can create a lot of problems in the marriage in that there is then not a common foundation (solid ground) for the marriage to rest upon. It is a house built upon sinking sand.

150. Things happen for a reason. There are times when fervent prayers don’t get answered. I have gone many years praying to be remarried, but God has been very slow to answer. Yet I continue to pray for my future bride every day, in hopeful expectation that some day, God will eventually grant the request. When life disappoints, don’t give up. Increase the knee-mail. God will eventually listen and Bless you. It is easy to lose hope. Waiting endlessly results in the loss of hope and the loss of hope results in despair and discouragement. Yet, sometimes we just have to trust that God is at work behind the scenes to bring about the best possible scenario for the fervent and patient believer.

151. Good health is extremely important. When you are sick, nothing else really matters, and life does not appeal, and all you can think about, is getting better again. Do not ever take good health for granted. Do something about maintaining and keeping that state of good health, because once you lose it, it is a much bigger effort to regain it. It is much better and easier to prevent problems than to fix them once they have happened. Regular exercise along with a cessation of any bad habits, is critical. Bad habits can mean different things to different people. For some, it may mean quitting alcohol or tobacco. For some it may be something simpler to give up, such as a sedentary lifestyle sitting in front of a television in your spare time and going out and hitting the gym to get some exercise. For me, it is a sad and sorrowful addiction to chocolate and sugared drinks like Coca Cola and Mountain Dew. Those are my weaknesses and I know it. I have tried to quit many times but keep going back to them. Again, it is much easier to maintain good health while you have it, than to try to regain it after you have lost it and are diagnosed with a serious or a chronic illness. Fortunately for me, I am still relatively healthy, and have time to quit my bad habits. Others may not be so fortunate. Treasure your good health because without it, the world becomes a dull place and nothing else matters.

152. This is an addendum to number 38: Fidelity in marriage is absolutely critical. Not only is marital fidelity absolutely critical, it cannot be overstated. When a man marries a woman, HE agrees to COVER her under ANY and under ALL circumstances. It is a covering; a protection; a trust that cannot, and should never be breached under any circumstance. To any men who are thinking of getting married I would say this: if you are not capable of being faithful to your wife, it is better not to get married than to marry and run around being unfaithful. You should absolutely RESPECT, LOVE and CHERISH the woman you are about to marry, else do not marry her. The same goes for women who are thinking of marriage. Are you marrying the right man? Is he completely, absolutely, passionately, and single - heartedly in love with you? Would he do absolutely anything for you, including give up his very life for you if the need arose? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then do not marry him. Keep looking. Do not settle for anything less than the absolute best. You are worth it. If the answer to all of these questions is YES, and if he completely and absolutely adores you and dotes on you, and his face lights up when you enter the room, then undoubtedly he will stand by your side through thick and through thin. Go marry him, and live a happily ever after life....!

153. The most important thing for a man and a woman to do in a relationship or in an engagement or in a marriage is to communicate, and to communicate regularly, positively and effectively. One of the biggest reasons for the breakdown in relationships or marriages, is a lack of communication between the husband and the wife. I cannot overstate that daily (or even hourly) positive and effective communication is one of the keys to a healthy and a happy marriage. When a marriage breaks down, and a couple goes to a marriage counselor, over half the job of the the marriage counselor is to make the couple communicate effectively between themselves, including making the man and the woman’s needs and desires known to the other, and to negotiate and garner agreement between the two in order to bridge any gaps that might exist. When a couple knows how to effectively communicate their needs, wants and desires in a relationship, and knows how to navigate their differences in order to bridge any gaps, then they don’t need outside assistance in their relationship. Again, the key is regular (preferably at least once a day, if not more) positive and effective communication. This cannot be overstated. Generally those couples who eat dinner (or at least one meal) together every day, go to Church Services together, go to Bible Studies together, and pray morning and night together, stay together the longest. Effective communication means keeping in direct communication with each other under any and under all circumstances. Famous Military generals, traveling executives and businessmen deployed overseas are known to have kept in touch with their wives at home by calling each other every day and praying with each other over the phone every day. Again, marriage is hard work, and it takes good communication to make marriage work, but in today’s day and age, the availability of inexpensive voice and video calling world-wide ensures that nobody has an excuse not to stay in touch.

154. This is a follow-up to No. 86, 94 and 134. Never EVER cut down or criticize or ridicule your spouse in public. When you do that, you are (a) criticizing yourself, as a married couple is effectively two physical bodies (one when making love) but one legal and one spiritual entity (b) exposing your weaknesses to the world. A married couple becomes one entity for all intents and purposes, and exposing the weakness of that entity (family unit) to outsiders is never a good idea under any circumstance. If anything, you should always praise and lift up your spouse with genuine (not flattery) praise. If and when the world attacks you, your spouse needs to defend you under all circumstances, and have your back. It is very easy to stand by your spouse when everything is going well, much more difficult when things are not going so well. However, a spouse that doesn’t stand by you in times of adversity and attacks by the outside is like a deserter in the Army who runs away scared when the enemy attacks. You can have all your discussions and debates and arguments in private when nobody else is around and nobody else is listening. When confronted by criticism from the outside however, the husband and the wife must ALWAYS stand together in unison and speak in the same voice conveying the same unified message.

The loyalty of a Christian man or woman ought to be First Jesus, then Family and then Country. (God, Family, Country) The order of this loyalty cannot and should not be breached. So my loyalty is first to Jesus, then to my future spouse (and kids) whoever they might be, and then to the USA. God, Family, Country - in that order.

155. Why do ordinary people carry guns and choose to go to target ranges to practice their shooting skills? (a) In order to protect their Second Amendment right to bear arms (b) In order that they might be able to protect their family and their loved ones in case of an organized attack as a result of war or as a result of rioting, or heaven forbid, from their own government is it were to become a dictatorship and the dictator were issuing illegal orders against the civilian populace or (c) for personal self defense against being mugged or robbed or raped or threatened in any way. Most sane people do not use firearms to intentionally hurt other people. A firearm is a tool just like a hammer is a tool. It can be used for good or for evil. Just as a hammer can be used to crack open a person’s skull just as easily as it can be used to hammer in a nail and hang a painting, a gun can be used to do target practice or protect the innocent just as easily as it can be used to harm someone. It is a tool, and by itself guns are harmless. When they come into the wrong hands, it is then that problems arise.

156. Should you suddenly die tomorrow and be standing in front of Jesus and the Judgment Throne of God, would you be able to claim a God-honoring life with no regrets? What would you have done differently while still alive? Can you still do that while you are here on this earth?

157. Have you ever seen the tail wag the dog? I have. Have you ever been in a situation where you do not call the shots but you have to be there and do what you are told even though you may not like it because you have no other choice? Perhaps your paycheck depends upon it. Perhaps your job. Perhaps your promotion. Perhaps your boss wants you to do it. Perhaps your circumstances do not permit a different course of action. How have you dealt with it? With Grace or with anger, dislike and hatred? I deal with this problem all the time. Even though I am a Pastor, I deal with Indians and other heathens at work all the time because the Information Technology arena is filled with them and you cannot avoid interacting with them. I wish I could simply wave a wand and make all of them disappear or make all of them believers in Jesus, but I cannot. They bring with them different religions, and a language and culture that is different from most of us. There are foods they avoid eating and they have their own ways of deciding if you are someone they like or not. They have been a big pain in my working life for at least the past ten years and have done absolutely everything they could to try to make my life miserable. The way to interact with these people is not with anger or dislike or hatred, but with tolerance and with Grace. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith,  meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” [Galatians 5:22-23] Indeed we are called to be lights in this broken and lost world. We cannot and should not judge them, that is for God and for God alone to do. Instead we can be lights to them and speak to them of Jesus right where we sit. Take a risk sometime and speak to one of them about Christ. You never know, it might just change their world. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:19-20] We can begin by making disciples right in our own communities, in our own workplaces, in our own back yards, in our own towns and villages, and among our own colleagues at work. Be nice to them, but do not let them bully you, and certainly do not let them impose their own wrong and warped Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or other non-Christian views upon you. It is sad but true that most of us Americans cannot differentiate between Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Farsi, Arabic, Shinto and other non Judeo-Christian names. We cannot tell the difference between Shiite and Sunni Muslim. While all of these religions are equally flawed and clueless about the one true God of the Universe, YAHWEH, and Jesus, the only way to the One True God, some of these religions represent benign views and are easily persuaded to arrive at the truth, while others represent hostile adversaries such as Islam which is bent upon destroying western civilization as we know it. Knowing the difference between these religions and what each of them represent is key to the exercise of Christian Apologetics. Winning converts is a tough job, but you cannot debate someone from a different religion if you do not know what their religion teaches.

158. Do you have a deep-seated sense of resentment against someone? Or a deep-seated sense of betrayal or hurt or pain lingering from years ago that you can’t seem to let go of? Or a deep feeling of having been wronged? How can you go about fixing this? It is crucially important to let this go so you can move on to the future and enjoy it fully and in it’s entirety. By holding onto that hurt or that pain or that grudge or that sense of having been wronged in some way will not suddenly change the past, however, it will prevent you from fully enjoying the Blessings that God has prepared for your future. Remember, by holding onto that which hurt you, you are only hurting yourself. Let go and let God. You say, but where is the justice in this? Who saw that individual or that organization hurt you deeply or be uncaring or unsympathetic to you? Does it really matter? Not really. Injustice happens. It has happened to me, it has happened to you, it has happened to everyone at some point in their lives. The key to know is that our God is an all-knowing, all-seeing God and He is not insensitive to what we go through here on this earth. He is a God of Justice. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. [Psalm 89:14]. Never, ever, try to even the score yourself. Do not take matters into your own hands. It is not ours to fix or to judge. ”Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. [Romans 12:19] Forgive others for their errors and for their mistakes and for their carelessness, just as we have been forgiven for the many wrongs we may have unintentionally committed towards others. Remember the vast Grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How many times have we been forgiven for things that we may have done wrong? Many. When asked by Peter, how many times does Christ say we should forgive others? ”Then Peter came up and said to him, Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?€¯ Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. [Matthew 18:21-22]

159. Confess your sins. This is so very important to do if we are to maintain a right relationship with God. There is nothing that can separate us from God sooner than unconfessed sins. If there is one thing that God cannot look upon, it is sin. ”The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” [Psalm 34:15-17] and “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? [Habakkuk 1:13] When Christ was on the Cross bearing the burden of all of mankind’s sin, past, present and future, at that moment, having become sin for us, even Christ had to ask if God His Father had forsaken him. Christ had to cry out to His father in Heaven...! ”And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani, that is, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [Matthew 27:46] Of course God, had not forsaken Him. However, our Holy God has a problem with sin. We are therefore called upon to CONFESS OUR SINS. There is no shame in confessing our sins. We are ALL sinners saved by Grace. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23] And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. [Mark 10:18] The original Greek word for sin (hamartia) is an archery term  which literally mean “to miss the mark” The Bible says that ”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9] If you have some sort of addiction or problem that you are wrestling with it is right to confess it to someone, preferably a Pastor or a Church Elder or Deacon. If you are struggling with drug, alcohol, pornography or some other kind of addiction, it is right to confess it and get right with God. Do not bear that heavy burden on your chest. For many years I have had a list of Church pastors that I have confessed my sins to on a weekly basis via email. My weakness (and I am very glad to say that I no longer suffer from this) was sexual intercourse before (outside of) marriage. I would enter into romantic relationships which would turn intimate within days or weeks, and before we could stop ourselves, we would find ourselves in bed together. I would invariably be riddled with guilt and shame for not waiting until there was a ring on her finger, and then have to sheepishly confess my sin at week’s end to a “Board of Pastors” who were my accountability partners. However, I was always truthful in confessing when I had gone wrong. What was worse was when the relationship did not work out, we would both have committed that ultimate sin of sexual intercourse before marriage. Apostle Paul warns us against sexual sin: ”Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's”. [1 Corinthians 6:19-20] While regular (or even daily) sexual intercourse after marriage is not only expected, but encouraged for a happy and healthy marriage, it is not something God approves of prior to marriage. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.” [1 Corinthians 3:16-17] How do you redeem yourself from that situation? It is through Grace and only through the Grace of God that we are cleansed from all our sins and unrighteousness. All we need to do is to confess our sins, repent (have a sincere heart about this) and then turn from our sin and not repeat it again. In my case, the LORD forgave me, and I swore a solemn oath that I would remain chaste until the day that I was married. My to-be wife would wear White on our wedding day. I have remained true to my oath and will continue to do so.

Do you have unrepented sin in your life? If so, that is what could be separating you from God’s love. If this is the case, I would encourage you to confess your sin, whatever it may be. No sin is too big for God to forgive. Then repent with a sincere heart, and turn from it. Promise never to repeat the sin again. Read God’s promises again ”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9] However, we must confess our sins. That is the first step toward receiving Grace. We cannot be forgiven if we do not confess our sins. The Psalmist says ”A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah  [Psalm 32:1-5] Praise the LORD. He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. The Psalmist goes on to say ”The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. [Psalm 103:8-12] Once He forgives us of our sins He is the one who remembers them no more. I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. [Isaiah 43:25]  I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. [Isaiah 44:22] For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. [Hebrews 8:12]

160. Men or women ... are you a highly selective dater like me? Choose who you date very carefully? Then do not give false hope to those who don’t meet your criteria. By egging those people along, you are being cruel to them. The worst thing you can do is to give false hope to someone, only to take it away from them by dumping them a few days, weeks, or worse, months later. I have been on the receiving as well as on the giving end of this equation. It results in heartbreak, any way you look at it, and in the end, someone’s feelings end up getting hurt. So don’t do it. Unless you are absolutely sure of the person you want to be with, don’t string them along. State plainly that you are not interested in dating them, so they can move on, and so you can move on.

161. How will you know when you are truly and genuinely in love? When being away from the one you love results in a deep heartache and a deep sense of longing to be with them again, and in their presence again; to hold them, to hug them, to caress them, to kiss them, to speak with them; When you feel complete in their presence and incomplete without their presence. When you consider the other to be an extension of your own being, your own self, your own mind, body, soul and intellect. THAT is when you know that you are truly and genuinely in love. It is a beautiful feeling, and nothing in the world quite compares to it. 

162. One of my early Christian mentors (Pastor Kerry Bauman) had this to say about marriage: The end result of a Christian marriage ought to be holiness not happiness. Happiness then becomes a product of the joy of Holiness together in the worship of our Divine God. He urged me to wait for the correct, God-Loving wife to come along rather than to rush into relationships which would result in unequal yoking with a non-Christian wife. K-Love Reference: Everlasting God (Strength Will Rise) Chris Tomlin.

163. Don’t marry the person you can live with or tolerate. Marry the person that you can’t live without...! Someone you love so much that you can’t imagine living life without them. That would be the right person to marry.

164. As a follow-up to #30, never get into financial indebtedness. If you have to borrow money, always pay back your debt on time. This means paying your mortgage, rent, utilities, auto loans, and college loans, on time, or ahead of time. Always know your credit score and review all three credit reports on at least a semi-annual basis. Always make more than the minimum payment on any credit cards so you are not stuck in a revolving cycle of paying only the interest. Never use loan sharks like payday loan services. If someone is charging you an interest rate above twelve percent, they are gouging you. Try to refinance to a lower rate and exit that loan as quickly as possible. If you find yourself in extenuating circumstances (job loss, death of spouse, critical illness or something else) over a period of time where you cannot pay back your loans, do not fall into the trap of paying exorbitant fees. Hire a legitimate Christian debt consolidation service in order to consolidate, reduce and service those loans. Also, remember that there is a legal statute of limitation on every loan. The length of time a loan can be collected varies by State and this is governed by State Statutes. This time for credit card loans in Illinois is generally 5 years but varies by State. What this means is that under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, creditors can no longer come after you for moneys owed to a credit card company five years after the date that the debt first became delinquent. Remember that by law, the bad information about any delinquency could still stay on your credit reports for up to seven years after the date of first delinquency. There is another scam prevalent and being perpetrated these days by the Russian mafia, and even corrupt politicians hiring law firms to go after individuals with old unpaid debt. The law firms attempt to collect the debt and the payments from the debt line the pockets of the mafia and the corrupt politicians. Do not fall into this trap. If this happens to you, notify Federal authorities immediately, and do not co-operate with the collection agency. As a rule, deal only with the originator of a debt in order to ensure that you are not being scammed. So if your loan originated with Citibank, deal and negotiate only with Citibank. Make your payments directly to Citibank and not to a third party. If your loan originated with Wells Fargo, deal only with them. Make payments to them only, not to anyone else. When you purchase a new home, especially if your down payment is below twenty percent, you are often required by law to buy PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance. This is necessary to cover the lender as well as you, in case you find yourself in extenuating circumstances (job loss, death of spouse, critical illness or something else) over a period of time and are not able to make your monthly mortgage payments. This is a good product to have. It is also a good idea to cover all your debt (including auto and credit card loans) with some sort of insurance coverage which makes the payments for you in case of extenuating circumstances. The little bit extra you would pay to cover you in case of a default is absolutely worth the peace of mind.

165. If you are a Pastor or a Clergyman, do you know why your parishioners really attend Church? Generally there is more than one reason why people will attend Church Services. The primary reason most people attend Church services is to worship the Lord. Secondary reasons might be varied. Some of those reasons might be to (a) Learn more about the Bible and involve themselves in Bible Studies (b) Involve themselves in Christian Community (c) Involve themselves in Missions work (d) Learn more about doing Finances God’s way (e) Business Networking with peers (f) Find mentors (g) Find golf buddies or hobby partners (h) Find friends with similar interests (i) Find a mate or a spouse (j) Developing their musical or theatrical talents or other gifts. (k) Other reasons. Do you know why the people who come through the doors of your Church attend there? What are they looking for? What are the deepest longings of their soul? What brings them to your Church? If you don’t know what brings these people to your Church, how will you be able to retain them? What is your retention strategy? What are you doing to ensure that the needs of the people who attend your Church are being met?  Find out what your congregants are looking for before they walk out the door and never look back.

166. T R U S T. This is a five-letter word, and so very important, however, when broken, it takes time and effort to heal. Trust is like a thread. Like a thread, when it is broken, it can be rejoined but there is now a knot where a seamless thread used to exist. Be very careful before breaking someone’s trust, because repairing it can take time, be difficult, or be absolutely impossible. Over the years many have broken my trust. Some I have forgiven and trusted again. Some I have chosen to walk away from and never have anything to do with again.

167. For as long as people have been on this earth, there has been the presence of gossip, lies and character assault and defamation. What can you do about it if you are the unfair victim of this? Nothing,especially when you don’t know the origin. What you can do is to pray for the person spreading falsehood and hope that they come to repentance and stop. Stand strong in the knowledge of your own salvation and your relationship with Jesus Christ. Indeed it is all that you can do. No human power is enough to defeat gossip or lies spread by Satan. What you can do is to stand strong against the attacks of the evil one. Only confidence in yourself, and your relationship with Christ, and knowledge and confidence in your own salvation, can help you. Others may continue to lie, spread falsehood, and throw eggs at you. Let them. Be prepared to suffer and to die for doing no wrong. The Bible verse for this is "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." [Matthew 5:6] and ”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” [Matthew 5:8] and "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." [Matthew 5:10] Your knowledge of your innocence and righteousness should be enough to stand strongly and powerfully against any attack by the enemy. "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to withstand, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness," [Ephesians 6:13-14]
The victory has already been won...! It was won on the Cross in Calvary nearly two thousand years ago. The enemy has already been defeated.

168. A lot of Christian marriages fall apart because wives do not realize what it means to truly submit to their husbands and husbands do not realize what it truly means to love and respect their wives as themselves. The rate of divorce within the Christian Church is almost as high as the rest of the general population in the United States. However, research has shown that the marriages of those couples that pray on their knees together morning and night on average have a much stronger and longer marriage and a far smaller divorce rate.

169. Is your love towards your friends and your family a solid, stable, unchanging love, regardless of their circumstances, or yours? Is your love like God’s love --- like a Rock --- unchanging through the ages, or does it vacillate and vary depending upon who they are with, or who they associate with or who you are with at the time, or how much money is in their bank account, or yours? If your love is  anything like God’s love, it should be solid, stable, unchanging, not varying, and should be something they can rely upon at any time. Did Jesus not treat Jews and Gentiles the same? Saints and sinners the same? Men and women the same? Regardless of who they were, the love that Jesus showed was the same. His love did not vary. His love did not end. Nor should ours. [“Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Cor 13:4-8]

170. Is a small pay difference causing you to be rejected by your love interest? Is money the problem? In the year 2000 when I first started dating Mary, I was making $130,000 a year whereas she was making $180,000 a year. Regardless of the pay difference, she embraced me and loved me with open arms and with a full measure of her love and devotion. She took me into her lavish home fit for royalty while I was still living in a very tiny one-bedroom upstairs at my friend Glenn’s home. I owned almost nothing while her home was outfitted with over a million dollars worth of high-end furnishings. She did not complain that I was living in cramped quarters and owned nothing and therefore did not deserve her luxurious home. She did not complain that I was making $50,000 less than she did. Within a year my pay rose to $150,000 and hers rose to over $200,000 per year. I was able to purchase my first home in the Brookfield, WI area in the year 2002. Eventually she would go on to make close to $300,000 and I would go on to make over $200,000 per year. Until the day that she had that fateful stroke and was hospitalized, she made more money than I did. Never ever did she Lord it over me, or make me feel inferior that I made less than she did. We always made all our decisions together. If love is genuine and true, it does not care about small differences in pay or where or how you live. It is unconditional and true. In sickness and in health. For better or for worse. Yes, we were together until death did us part. Remember, we are not assured that money will always be with us; however love needs to be treasured and cherished forever and ever. Mary moved to Brooklyn, New York in 2007 and passed away (died) in Brooklyn, New York in the year 2009. While she is gone, the memories we made together will live on forever. How does your prospective spouse measure you? Does he or she see the potential in you and accept you for who you are, or reject you because you don’t make enough money? What happens then if they lose their job, or fall ill and are unable to work? If the only worth you see in a prospective life partner is their income-earning potential, then you are missing the meaning of marriage entirely.

171. Are you attending more than one Church regularly? Don’t. Are you dividing your tithe between two or more Churches? Don’t. You will never be able to gain traction at any Church if you do. Each Church will think that you are robbing God by not contributing the maximum amount. Become a member at your primary Church and give to them the full tithe and even more if you are able. Dividing your tithe between Churches will bring you nothing but misery. Beware that two campuses of the same parent Church sometimes do not account for tithes designated for the other campus. So pick carefully because there is massive division in the body of Christ. If by circumstances you are compelled to attend a different Church on a given Sunday, do not deprive your primary Church of the full and maximum tithe.

172. If people who are in Christ Jesus do not practice the art of forgiveness, wherein is Grace? The presence of Grace and the ability to forgive in a person's life determines the amount of peace they will experience. The ability to forgive is a critical determining factor in every human relationship. If you are not able to forgive, then you will not be able to move on from past hurts, injuries, wrongs or disappointments. What did Christ teach us about forgiveness? ”Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” [Matthew 18:21-22] The word brother here is used in a generic term but applies to both men and women who are the body of Christ. As Christians we are to forgive each other. 

173. It is said that silence is golden. True, in certain circumstances. Proverbs also says that a fool opens his mouth and proves his foolishness. Silence in front of strangers is good. Silence when you don’t know something about a subject matter is good. Silence is indeed very important, however, silence has no place in a relationship between a husband and a wife, a fiancee and a fiance, or a boyfriend and a girlfriend. Relationships require direct communication as well as positive affirmation. Dr. Gary Chapman’s five love languages book deals directly with this matter. It talks about the five love languages - Quality time together, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and the Giving of Gifts. He also stresses the importance of direct, in-person communication in relationships. ---- EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, if not CRITICAL.

174. We are extremely fortunate that our God is not human, and does not have the failings of a human being. God looks at the intent of a human’s heart, not the results of his actions or the outcome thereof whereas men of the world look at results, and not intent. ”For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12] God looks at the human heart and the human mind. He knows what our thoughts and intentions are or were in every circumstance, pure or impure, just or unjust, wise or unwise. God does not judge us or categorize us or place us in rankings based upon the results of our effort or the outcomes of our actions. He is all about pure Grace and pure Love. His love is unconditional and never-ending. It is not a meritocracy. You cannot earn it. Your effort cannot win it. Your money cannot buy it. It is freely given. It cannot be taken away. “For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast” [Ephesians 2:8-9]. Men may try to rank you or try to make you feel inferior to someone else, or ascribe a certain monetary amount to how much you are worth. Banish the thought. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your willingness and active participation. The Lord God almighty says, you are my precious child bought with the precious blood of the lamb. Your Father is God Almighty, the creator of all of Heaven and Earth. You are the brother or sister of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. How could you possibly be inferior to anyone else? “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” [John 1:12] The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” [Romans 8:16] “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will” [Ephesians 1:5]

175. In continuation of #104 above, is your love for others a conditional type of love, or is it unconditional love? Most people in this world go around treating others with a WIIFM approach, which is to say, What’s in it for me (WIIFM) Indeed most of the business world works this way. However, we as Christians are called to love others unconditionally. We are to love without holding any expectation of any kind from others whatsoever. How do you love others? Do you love because you expect something in return? Do you even love those who can do nothing for you in return? Indeed, this is the way that we were loved by God. “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die --- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us [Romans 5:7-8] Indeed there was nothing we could do for God, for we were not even born then, yet Christ came to the earth to die for our sins --- past, present and future. How much more unconditional can love get?

176. Refer back to #103 regarding the topic of jealousy. Jealousy is a cancer which can enter into your life by the works of Satan. It is a tool used by Satan to (a) make you think that you are less of a person than someone else and (b) to make you begrudge someone else for what they have -- a better job, a better house, a better car, a gig that came through for them but not for you, millions someone else made but you could not, and the list goes on and on. Do not be fooled. It is exactly that --- a work by Satan to distract you and make you less satisfied by your circumstances, and not by God. It is designed by Satan to rob you of your joy. God has no part in bringing about Jealousy. He is a good God. God is always good and all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Do not fall prey to jealousy. Read #174. God says that you are not inferior to anyone else. You are chosen and adopted to be the son and daughter of God. You are a child of the most High God. Your eternity in Heaven is secure and was reserved for you when you prayed for Jesus Christ to come into your heart and into your life. Let nobody fool you. You are chosen, redeemed and even sanctified -- anointed. You are not inferior than anyone else.

177. Love where you live. Honestly and genuinely care for the community wherein you live. If there is a reason you don't absolutely love where you live, then move. Do not live in an area you do not love for it will rob you of your joy. Run for office if you can, proclaiming boldly your love for the community. If you currently live somewhere you don’t want to live and are bound by external circumstances, a job, a relationship, or even political pressure to remain there, then make the best of a bad situation until you are able to move to the area where you do want to live. State clearly that you would like to move and pray fervently for God to open up a path for you to move. Do not dislike, hate or begrudge the community wherein you currently live, for it is what is nourishing and providing for you. When you do move, thank God for making a path for you to move. Then, love the community where you moved to, with all your heart.

178. Never act on a draft copy of something you read. If Joe writes something and marks it as a draft, and Bob reads it and acts upon it without waiting for the final to be released, then Joe revises it to change material facts in it and releases it, who is the bigger fool, Joe for not safeguarding the draft copy or Bob for acting on the draft copy? I am not sure. In any case, (a) safeguard your draft copies, and (b) never act on a draft copy of what you read. Wait until the final is released because material facts may change between the draft and the final release.

179. Most Republican Pastors I know are generally pro Second-Amendment and support gun rights. Some even own guns, and enjoy deer-hunting, going to the target range, and even have Concealed Carry licenses. Pastors who are Democrats are generally anti gun rights and do not generally support the right to own or carry firearms. It is a difference in philosophy.

180. If you choose to learn how to fly a plane, pick your instructor wisely. Make sure he or she has many hundreds or thousands of hours of flying time under his or her belt. Make sure they have flown for a good long time before they teach. Pick wisely. A good instructor will save you a lot of grief and teach you vital life-saving tips and tricks.

181. NEVER EVER compromise your integrity, your core values or your ethics under ANY circumstance. It may not bite you in the short-term, however, it will come back to bite you at a later point in life. There are things for which a person can have situational ethics, or “soft values” which may change according to a given situation, and “core values” which can and should never change. Your core values are what define you as an individual. Never ever compromise those values.

These are some of the many lessons I have learned over the past 20 years, which are worth sharing. There are many more, and as I think of them, I will add them to this list. I may soon be separating this section out into three parts --- management lessons, religious lessons and life lessons. K-Love has been following my story for at least six years, if not longer. They have associated several songs with particular people and situations in my life. It is an immense Honor and a Blessing, but it reminds me that I live my Christian life under a lens of intense scrutiny. The songs referenced have to do with particular people and situations mentioned. Recently I have also started being covered by Christianity Today, Men of Integrity, Pastor Resources, and Focus on the Family.

Nobody should have to learn these lessons the way I did --- through the school of hard knocks! A good mentor is more precious than all the Gold and Silver on Earth! I have been searching for a good mentor since 2007 but have yet to find any one person who can adequately cover the entire spectrum of questions I have, ranging from technology to business, economics and finance to M&As, politics to the art of influence and power structures, leadership to management, religion to history, culture to philosophy, and everything in-between. Hence, I now have several mentors who have helped me in my journey towards greater understanding.

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Contact: (224) 372-1683 | paul@paulnarang.com