Posted in bible


Control Freaks, micro-managers – everyone knows one. Whether it’s your boss, your Father-in-law or your room mate, you may find yourself frustrated and perplexed with how to cope.

First of all, Control issues belong to the would be controller – not you. Don’t let them make their problems become yours.

Controllers are relentless due to deep insecurity.
Many lived in chaotic, toxic families where they had no say in anything. They often grew up feeling helpless.
Controllers will do anything to have at least the illusion of omnipotence. Controllers will wear you down if you allow them.
Often, they earnestly believe they are being helpful or efficient.

One problem with controllers is they think their way is the only, best possible way to get things done.

Some controllers make everything a matter of Life and Death. They spin far fetched but deadly scenarios. You have to wonder if they believe it or simply use these ‘What If?’ scenarios to manipulate people.

“I just want you to be safe/healthy!”
“This is the most efficient/effective way!”
“Don’t you want the best for our (family/company?) “

Controllers can’t be controlled.
If you suggest an alternative to them or poke holes in their rationale, they will accuse YOU of being the control freak!

There are lots of inappropriate ways to respond, if it’s a stranger you might be tempted to rudely put them in their place. What if the Controller is someone in authority? What if it’s a loved one? We should treat everyone with compassion and respect.

Matt 22:39  'love your neighbor as yourself.'

If YOU were the Controller, how would you hope to be treated?

Show them why what they do is inappropriate.
“I feel disrespected when you insist that I do _____ a specific way. Will you give me the freedom & dignity to do things my unique way?”

When you link their behavior with the effect it has on you, they have to stop trying to sell their way. They are forced to think about how you feel.
Speak calmly (even if you don’t feel calm!) Make eye contact. This should be done in person if possible, sometimes you may need to send them letter so that you can get a word edgewise! A written letter is better than a text message.

Maintain boundaries.
When they cross the boundaries (and they will) react calmly but firmly. Let them know that you appreciate their concern. Assure them you will take their input seriously. Remind them that you reserve the right to do something a different way – your way. Inform them if they get overzealous and begin trying to force their will on you, that you may need to take a mental health break away from them. This can be a few minutes or a week. This isn’t punishment but your way of maintaining your dignity and peace.

Every single time they try to take over the event planning or ‘help’ you make a minor/major decision calmly  hold up a hand and call a time out. Remind them of the boundaries you established. Thank them for their concern but tell them you are just fine.

Disengage and recharge.
Stop the  conversation  right then and there.  Tell them you need to leave. Don’t fall into a text argument. Ignore those text notifications!
If it’s a supervisor, be extra respectful and take a short  mental health or bathroom break.

Staying out worldly calm is important – especially if you dealing with a male Controller. They are more inclined to dismiss emotional responses as an over reaction.

Consistency is key, they may NEVER see the Light. If they know you won’t argue or give in,  they stop micromanaging out of expediency. By treating them  respectfully, you give them room to apologize if they see your point of view. Be respectful to gain respect.

Arguing is pointless, micromanagers are too in love with their way. Often, they can make getting their way sound reasonable. No lawyer can win versus a determined Controller!

Finally, if you find yourself being held accountable by someone as a micromanager or controller… Listen to them! Don’t dismiss their objections.
It’s fine to present your point of view. The problem is when you won’t take “No thanks.” as answer. If you keep ‘explaining’ why your way is best, you devalue the other person. If they tell you “Fine, you win!” You didn’t win and neither did they!

Micromanaging or controlling behavior damages professional and personal relationships.

Posted in bible

Tips for spiritual growth

2 Timothy 2:15 King James Version

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

For anyone wishing to grow spiritually I have a few suggestions.

1. Do the things God has already told you to do.
If you know that He wants you tithe, just do it. Stop trying to talk yourself out of tithing.

If He told you to join a Spirit led, Bible based church – don’t sit at home watching church – join!

Obedience to scripture helps you to understand scripture better. Often math makes more sense as you do the equations. Bible truth is the same. You see patterns and eventually the why behind the rule.

Obedience to God helps you to recognize His Voice.

2. Study as if you expect your pastor to ask you to preach. Study as if you have to explain it to a child. The struggle to understand the Bible is like lifting weights, your faith can’t help but grow. God will reveal Himself to you and you will find it more enjoyable.

I teach Sunday School, I run an informal Men’s Bible study and I lead a church small group. I never get tired of sharing with others. Each time that I ‘plateau’ I increase my challenge. I added Bible devotional at the family dinner table so that I’m forced to read scripture and listen to God daily. My family is expecting something so I am motivated!

3. If you have a blurry view of God. Get in a small group or Bible study. He will come into focus! The discussion will challenge your assumptions and surprise you with revelation. Anyone can get lost in a mega church. A small group setting is less threatening and more personal. You will find opportunities to try out spiritual concepts and get helpful feedback in a ‘safe’ place. The Church started out as small groups meeting from house to house. I strongly recommend this!

Posted in bible, childhood, humor, religion

Good point!

I describe scary or dangerous moments in my life to illustrate God’s faithfulness and protection. My Sunday School kids love these stories. One kid frowned, raised his hand and observed, “You went through alot of stuff Mr James!”

I admitted, “You have a point.”

Posted in culture, current events, political

Freedom of Speech 1880

Plea for Free Speech in Boston
June 8, 1880
Frederick Douglas

Boston is a great city – and Music Hall has a fame almost as extensive as that of Boston. Nowhere more than here have the principles of human freedom been expounded. But for the circumstances already mentioned, it would seem almost presumption for me to say anything here about those principles. And yet, even here, in Boston, the moral atmosphere is dark and heavy. The principles of human liberty, even I correctly apprehended, find but limited support in this hour a trial. The world moves slowly, and Boston is much like the world. We thought the principle of free speech was an accomplished fact. Here, if nowhere else, we thought the right of the people to assemble and to express their opinion was secure. Dr. Channing had defended the right, Mr. Garrison had practically asserted the right, and Theodore Parker had maintained it with steadiness and fidelity to the last.

But here we are to-day contending for what we thought we gained years ago. The mortifying and disgraceful fact stares us in the face, that though Faneuil Hall and Bunker Hill Monument stand, freedom of speech is struck down. No lengthy detail of facts is needed. They are already notorious; far more so than will be wished ten years hence.

The world knows that last Monday a meeting assembled to discuss the question: “How Shall Slavery Be Abolished?” The world also knows that that meeting was invaded, insulted, captured by a mob of gentlemen, and thereafter broken up and dispersed by the order of the mayor, who refused to protect it, though called upon to do so. If this had been a mere outbreak of passion and prejudice among the baser sort, maddened by rum and hounded on by some wily politician to serve some immediate purpose, – a mere exceptional affair, – it might be allowed to rest with what has already been said. But the leaders of the mob were gentlemen. They were men who pride themselves upon their respect for law and order.

These gentlemen brought their respect for the law with them and proclaimed it loudly while in the very act of breaking the law. Theirs was the law of slavery. The law of free speech and the law for the protection of public meetings they trampled under foot, while they greatly magnified the law of slavery.

The scene was an instructive one. Men seldom see such a blending of the gentleman with the rowdy, as was shown on that occasion. It proved that human nature is very much the same, whether in tarpaulin or broadcloth. Nevertheless, when gentlemen approach us in the character of lawless and abandoned loafers, – assuming for the moment their manners and tempers, – they have themselves to blame if they are estimated below their quality.

No right was deemed by the fathers of the Government more sacred than the right of speech. It was in their eyes, as in the eyes of all thoughtful men, the great moral renovator of society and government. Daniel Webster called it a homebred right, a fireside privilege. Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come in their presence. Slavery cannot tolerate free speech. Five years of its exercise would banish the auction block and break every chain in the South. They will have none of it there, for they have the power. But shall it be so here?

Even here in Boston, and among the friends of freedom, we hear two voices: one denouncing the mob that broke up our meeting on Monday as a base and cowardly outrage; and another, deprecating and regretting the holding of such a meeting, by such men, at such a time. We are told that the meeting was ill-timed, and the parties to it unwise.

Why, what is the matter with us? Are we going to palliate and excuse a palpable and flagrant outrage on the right of speech, by implying that only a particular description of persons should exercise that right? Are we, at such a time, when a great principle has been struck down, to quench the moral indignation which the deed excites, by casting reflections upon those on whose persons the outrage has been committed? After all the arguments for liberty to which Boston has listened for more than a quarter of a century, has she yet to learn that the time to assert a right is the time when the right itself is called in question, and that the men of all others to assert it are the men to whom the right has been denied?

It would be no vindication of the right of speech to prove that certain gentlemen of great distinction, eminent for their learning and ability, are allowed to freely express their opinions on all subjects – including the subject of slavery. Such a vindication would need, itself, to be vindicated. It would add insult to injury. Not even an old-fashioned abolition meeting could vindicate that right in Boston just now. There can be no right of speech where any man, however lifted up, or however humble, however young, or however old, is overawed by force, and compelled to suppress his honest sentiments.

Equally clear is the right to hear. To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker. It is just as criminal to rob a man of his right to speak and hear as it would be to rob him of his money. I have no doubt that Boston will vindicate this right. But in order to do so, there must be no concessions to the enemy. When a man is allowed to speak because he is rich and powerful, it aggravates the crime of denying the right to the poor and humble.

The principle must rest upon its own proper basis. And until the right is accorded to the humblest as freely as to the most exalted citizen, the government of Boston is but an empty name, and its freedom a mockery. A man’s right to speak does not depend upon where he was born or upon his color. The simple quality of manhood is the solid basis of the right – and there let it rest forever.

Posted in childhood, culture, humor

Happy Father’s Day?

This morning my daughter Naomi comes into the room smiles and says “Read this.”

She hands me a stack notes all on fancy card stock. I smile and begin to read…

These aren’t Father’s Day notes as I assumed. These are good-bye notes from her classmates!

I laughed at myself for assuming.

Naomi is very distraught because this is her last year at the exclusive Ellis School for Girls.

So it’s time to be Dad and discuss her friend’s notes and what each classmate means to her.

Happy Father’s Day guys!

Posted in childhood, humor, Random thought

Kids stuff

Third grade Belmar Elementary School. I can’t remember why but angry girl wants to fight me.
She walks up to me screaming and  starts ‘punching’ windmill style. She doesn’t even touch me.
I take a step back. I push up my thick glasses and sniff. “You’re not very good at this.”

I walk away shaking my head. The girl yells; “Come back, I’m not done fighting you!”

Posted in bible

Journey Through the Coronavirus

Wed 31st I feel like I’m coming down with a flu.
Thu April 1st. Snow! I take off part of work. I sleep alot. chills.
Fri April 2nd fever 104.3 zero appetite and zero energy. I sleep alot. chills.
Sat April 3rd  fever 101.4 body aches, stomach ache. stuffy nose. I sleep alot. chills.
I get the nasal swab. They go to the back of your skull! Just walking to the center leaves me winded.
Sun April 4th  fever 103.2 I watch Easter service at home alone. 1st time having a fever for 3 consecutive days. I’m exhausted. When I say chills, I mean shivering, cold-to-the-bone chills.
Mon April 5th fever 100.7 my Covid-19 test is positive.

The feeling in my bones that something is seriously wrong can’t be ignored. I ask all my family and friends to pray for me. Nicole is deeply concerned. She must have a flashback to caring for her late father. I am determined to beat this. I’m not getting any special medication. My grandmother and aunt are hospitalized with Covid-19.

Nicole somehow manages to provide me 100% attention while taking care of the household, doing my chores and her job. Wonder Woman indeed!!

I can feel the prayers of the saints lifting me up. Although I  realize this is a serious illness, I refuse to be intimidated.

After 2 1/2 weeks I have a raspy voice but I am feeling more like myself. I experienced EVERY symptom and I was miserable. I survived as did 2 aunts and my 96 yr old grandmother. God is awesome.

Posted in childhood, culture, religion, science

Sunday School #PiDay2021

A fourth grader asked me to explain #PiDay2021 to the class. His classmates weren’t getting the connection between today’s date and the value of Pi. Talk about going off topic!

I didn’t mind, we often discuss Astronomy. Archeology and pop culture. What is of interest to them is of concern to Jesus.

I try to connect the Word of God to their hopes, fears and worries. Kids appreciate when I take their school & family situations and show they can apply biblical principles to make things better.

We need to make the Kingdom of God relevant to our kids. We must show them how much He matters in our day-to-day lives.