Friday, February 29, 2008

Jericho Just Keeps Getting Better

It just keeps getting better every week. Check out a preview of Episode 4, which is scheduled to air next Tuesday, March 4, 2008, at 10:00 PM Eastern and Pacific.

I'm telling you, folks, this show is a must see. And unless CBS does something to extend the season, the Jericho team only has four more episodes to prove themselves.

Tune in.


Quote of the Day

"There are times when parenthood seems nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you."


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Indy Immigration Reform Passes the House

From the Indianapolis Star:

House OKs illegal immigration bill aimed at employers
By Dan McFeely
February 28, 2008
The Indiana House voted 66-33 this evening to pass an illegal immigration bill that cracks down on employers that knowingly hire undocumented workers.
The bill also requires the Indiana State Police to take the necessary steps to start enforcing federal immigration laws and provides funding to make that happen.
It also includes funding for the Indiana attorney general's office, which would investigate written complaints made against employers.

Hispanic leaders have been joined by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and other business lobbyists in predicting dire economic consequences if the bill causes thousands of illegal immigrants to leave the state.

Similar legislation in Oklahoma and Arizona has prompted thousands of illegal workers to leave those states.

READER: my thoughts on immigration

Thanks to Tara for the Following:

Thoughts From A Reader Regarding the Indiana Immigration Reform Currently in Debate:

I feel that we need this law. Where I live it is like spanish has now become the primary language.  Also people talk about how Americans will lose profit in their businesses once the bill is passed and I say that is an excuse because they can pay American people to the job but they fill that they don't have to pay us for the work that we do.  There is plenty of American people that is hurting for work but companies over look this because they feel that we are not worth their money I guess.  That is not fair at all.  Our government should have never let immigration get as bad as it has.  I think that us Americans are going to end up in another civil war to protect what is ours.  Thank You for your time   Tara

Thank you, Tara, for taking the time to join the discussion. Clearly, something must be done to get immigration under control. We are a country founded on immigration -- just ask the Native Americans -- and the influx of new talent and skill to our country will always be an important part of our culture and success.

However, we must control that influx in a way that every person in this country is here legally and pulling their own fair share of the load. It takes money to run a country, and those that are here reaping the benefits of Freedom and the American Dream owe it to everyone to make sure that they are paying their share of the cost that maintains that Freedom and makes that Dream possible.

In addition, the cornerstone of any civilized society is communication. This is the framework behind the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis. This is also why one of the first targets of the modern military in a conflict is communications. Destroy the enemy's communications, and he cannot organize an effective defense against your attacks.

This is not to say that illegal immigrants to our country are enemies. Far from it. They can be productive members of the society. But to be members of the society they must be here legally and pay their fair share as well as adapt to our standards of communication. Unwillingness to do either or both of the above should result a quick ticket out of here.

What we need in this country is a means to ensure that all immigrants are legal and that they can assimilate into society -- which means communicate in our language. In order to have that, there must be a repercussion for those who fail to comply. That's what immigration reform is. First, stop illegal immigration at our borders. Second, pass tough requirements for legal immigration without amnesty. And third, enforce those laws on new immigrants as well as those who are here now, both legal and illegal.

Again, thank you Tara for your well-thought input.


Quote of the Day

"After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say "I want to see the manager.""



I turn to several sources every morning when doing my daily devotional. I don't just pick up a book, read, write down a few things, and call it done. I look through a devotional Bible and several online resources, first. Some mornings, even though I might find a passage that speaks to me, it's difficult to translate into my own words just what I feel the passage is saying. Some mornings, I guess, when a long day before, or the lack of sleep, or just the stress of day to day life, makes it just a little harder for me to focus on what I would say about what God is saying. This morning is feeling like one of those mornings.

When all else has failed me in my devotional, I pick up the Bible, close my eyes, and just flip open to a page, and read. Today I share with you what I read, and a brief prayer, and hope that it speaks quietly to you.

P: Lord, help me to find in Your Word the guidance and direction I need along my path each day. Help me to live as an example, and to find comfort in Your Word when challenge arises.

Send feedback to Joe by email, or by calling 206-600-4JOE.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This Should Be Interesting

From the Indianapolis Star:

Mellencamp, Stephen King collaborate
Associated Press
February 27, 2008
ATLANTA -- Creating a Broadway musical can be scary enough. Even more so when it's script is penned by horror master Stephen King. King, who has written numerous best-selling novels, has written the script for "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," with music by John Mellencamp.

The play will open at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre in April 2009, with the object of getting it ready for a Broadway run. The Alliance, which announced the project on Tuesday, described it as "a sultry Southern gothic mystery with a blues-tinged, guitar-driven score."

The story is set in the fictional town of Lake Belle Reve, Miss., and centers on the deaths in 1957 of two brothers and a young girl and the legend that grows out of the tragedy. Peter Askin, whose New York credits include "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," will direct.

The idea for the story was Mellencamp's, and came from a story he heard years ago in his hometown of Seymour, Ind., said Alliance artistic director Susan Booth.

Read more from Billboard, and Playbill.

Joe's O's = Cholesterol Magic

With all of the hype surrounding cholesterol, and the fact that I'm just not getting any younger (I'll be 40 this year), I've decided that it's time to start doing a little something about my health. I've already done the following:

1. Cut out most soft drinks, with the exception of Coke Zero;
2. Pretty much eliminated fast foods;
3. Cut out almost all in-between meal snacks;
4. I eat an apple every day.

So far, so good, right? But there's more I need to do. We've all seen the commercials about Cheerios having the ability to reduce a person's cholesterol level. Well, I've decided to take the Cheerios six week challenge. You've probably seen the commercials. But, being the ever frugal grocery shopper that my wife is, she found me a bargain brand of Cheerios.

Introducing Joe's O's. That's right, named after me, the Average Joe American. It's perfectly fitting, don't you think? Joe's O's to get Joe's cholesterol down. I love it! Luckily for me, it's the oats, not any special Cheerios ingredient, that works the magic on cholesterol.

Oh, and I've promised myself that as soon as the temperature in the morning tops 45 on a regular basis, I'm going to start running before work. I haven't done any regularly scheduled running since leaving the Army fourteen years ago. This could be interesting!


Quote of the Day

"When you encounter seemingly good advice that contradicts other seemingly good advice, ignore them both."



Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Isaiah 55:1-5
  • O: God has already provided for us more than money can give.
  • A: More on treasures. As man has made money the currency of life, God has made love the currency of life. By His love and grace He provided everything man needed in the Garden of Eden: fruit, vegetables, meat, all manner of food sources. Man, unfortunately, chose the forbidden fruit, and God took away the Garden of Eden. He did not, however, take away those other provisions. Plant a seed and the earth will yield produce. Take a cup down to a stream and find the refreshment of clear water (it is only in need of filtration now because of our own doing, not God's). And any patient, determined hunter can find meat for the next meal. Clothing is available from all of these sources, with a little ingenuity. This is not to say that we should live like "savages" and shun all modern conveniences. It is merely to illustrate that God has provided, and continues to provide, for those who trust in Him to provide. Upon banishment from the Garden of Eden, God gave man the curse having to toil for his sustenance. We must work for our food. He took away the ease with which we could partake of His provisions, but He has not taken away the actual provisions. Money is a creation of man. It is something that we have created and assigned a value to in order to facilitate easy and meaningful trade. Instead of bartering for how many potatoes this rug is worth, or how many sheep to trade for that, we now have currency in the form of paper money, which has meaning only because man has assigned it a value. If we did not hold money in such high esteem, the richest among us would quickly become the poorest, and those rich in the trust and love of God would be the wealthiest among us in every way.
  • P: Lord, help me to recognize the ways in which You provide, to be thankful for those provisions, and to use them wisely. Help me to avoid the trap of assigning too much importance to money in my life, and to invest my time and energies in the truly important things like God and family.
Send feedback to Joe by email, or by calling 206-600-4JOE.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Book Review: Jesus by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

Book ReviewConsider this man who, by His power, His peace, His simple presence, and His fierce purity, quietly turned the whole world upside down. None other could evoke such joy at His astonishing deeds, such anger at His strange aloofness, such fear when He began to draw the attention of powerful enemies ... and such heartbreak when the inevitable came to pass.

Surrounded by a circle of close relationships -- His mother and her extended family, men and women drawn irresistibly by the light of His personality, the authority of His words, the power of His deeds, and above all, by the depth of His love -- this carpenter from Nazareth moved toward a singular destiny. A destiny He would both fear and embrace. A destiny that would mark forever the lives of those who followed Him.

I have just finished reading Jesus, by Walter Wangerin, Jr., an incredible account of the life, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Written as a work of fiction, told from the points of view of those who knew Jesus best during his time on earth -- his disciples and his mother Mary -- but still true to the gospels of the New Testament. The author fills in the blanks where you may have wondered, yeah, but what about... .
"One of you is about to hand me over. One of you plans to give me away."
The author tells a tale of the Last Supper that makes the reader wonder more about Judas Iscariot than ever before. What motivated him? Why did he do it? Did he really betray Jesus willingly?
"Who, Lord? Who is it?"

"The one," he said, reaching for a flat loaf of unleavened bread, "to whom I give--" he broke off a morsel "--this piece." Dipping the piece in bitter sauce, he handed it to Judas Iscariot.

Immediately two things happened: a wind outside suddenly struck the door hard; and in the ghastly shadow it seemed that Judas smiled. As he took the morsel from Jesus's hand, Judas nodded and winked and seemed to smile a conspiratorial smile.

Jesus said, "What you are about to do, go: do it quickly."
The author paints a very colorful character in Judas Iscariot. We learn more about what Judas might have been like. The author makes every attempt to remain true to the Gospel in his telling of the tale, and in his embellishments upon the characters you've become familiar with.

I'm no Bible scholar, but I was raised attending a Baptist Church every time the doors were open, basically, and have read most of the New Testament more than once -- which is just to say that I am pretty familiar with the story of Jesus ministry as a Man on earth. Still, I have always been very curious to learn more about those who walked with Jesus during his time on earth.

Thanks to Walter Wangerin, Jr., I feel I have had that opportunity.

This book is a must read, and should be required reading, for every one who has a pulse.


Quote of the Day

We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Indiana Immigration Bill Update

An update, from the Indianapolis Star (followed by some interesting comments by Joe):
A proposal to crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants was revived today when the Indiana House of Representatives voted to insert the measure into another bill.

The measure, now part of Senate Bill 345, is ready for a third and final reading in the House by Wednesday.

The House resumed business late this morning when Republicans returned to the chamber after a boycott Thursday night.

But Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, immediately filed a protest to Speaker B. Patrick Bauer’s decision not to hear amendments to the immigration measure.

Despite the tug-of-war over procedure and whether the bill could be amended, Rep. Vern Tincher, D-Terre Haute, the House sponsor for the bill, said he believes Bauer is committed to getting it passed.

Technically, Senate Bill 335, a crackdown on Indiana employers who hire illegal immigrants, is dead. But the proposal was inserted into SB 345, a separate bill concerning the collection of unemployment contributions from Indiana businesses.

Tincher said the amendments contained all of the crucial elements in the original bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, except for language that made it illegal to harbor, transport or conceal an illegal alien, which was removed.

Tincher also said his amendment restored language that said Indiana State Police "shall" enter into an agreement with federal immigration officials. Last week, that word was changed to "may" at the same time $1.5 million in funding was added.

As for a late flurry of Republican amendments offered Thursday -- including the denial of social benefits to illegal residents of Indiana -- Tincher said those amendments are not in play today.

Bosma: decision an ‘embarrassment’

The procedural dispute rankled Republicans, who accused Bauer of not following the rules.

Bauer, the House speaker or presiding officer, ruled that the House recessed Thursday night instead of adjourning, meaning the chamber's business this morning would pick up where it was left off last week.

Republicans argued the House should have been adjourned, so they would have the opportunity to offer amendments to the immigration proposal. Republicans also argued it was against the body’s rules to recess from Thursday until today.

Bosma called the decision "truly an embarrassment to this institution.”

Majority Leader Russ Stilwell, D-Booneville, argued the decision was forced by the Republicans’ walkout and that Bauer acted within the body’s rules.

Bosma said he filed a protest so the historical record would show Republicans objected to Bauer’s interpretation of the House rules.

“I consider this to be a dark day for this institution,” he said.
I was speaking with someone today about the bill, and he mentioned to me that he had spoken with a friend at a retailer who had told him that they had sold out of car towing dollies two times, and the majority of the purchasers have been Hispanic. It was then that I realized that my own store has sold out of vehicle tow bars three times, and again mostly to Hispanics. Are they packing up to leave the state before the bill is passed?



Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
Send feedback to Joe by email, or by calling 206-600-4JOE.

Quote of the Day

"Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."


The Joe Show #63 - Robert Rich

New this week on

The Joe Show
featuring Average Joe American

Episode Sixty-Three: Robert Rich

Free MP3 Download

Open Window, an album by Robert Rich
courtesy of Magnatune

* parting clouds
* corners
* insular
* past glances
* open window
* parallel horizons
* points between
* punctuation

Artist Hotline: (317) 644-6129
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Indiana Immigration Reform

What impact might the new Indiana Immigration Law (currently in the State Legislature) have on illegal immigration in Indiana? Read on...

From The Indianapolis Star:
Immigrations Laws Send Hispanics Elsewhere:

Thousands of illegal immigrants have fled the two states that have enacted tough new immigration laws similar to the one before the Indiana General Assembly.

Since passing their laws, Oklahoma and Arizona have seen declines in school enrollments, a scarcity of construction workers and the sudden emptying of rental homes and apartments. The same, some people say, would happen in Indiana, though advocates of stronger immigration laws say they would welcome the change.

The impact in Tulsa, Okla., was startling to Judy Feary, a principal at an elementary school where 59 percent of 1,000 students are Hispanic. On opening day last fall, 180 Hispanic students did not show up for class at Kendall-Whittier Elementary. ...

"There were lots of rumors going around that they would be arrested and their children taken away. So we did some community outreach, and we had to talk them into returning to school." Eventually, about 100 children were coaxed back, many of them U.S. citizens whose parents are not here legally. But across the Tulsa school district, the enrollment of Hispanic students is down by 257, an unexpected reversal of rising enrollments in recent years.

Whether that's good news or bad news depends on your view of illegal immigration. Supporters of the bill by state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, say jobs left open by fleeing immigrants will be filled by unemployed Americans, and fewer tax dollars will be spent on social services for illegal residents. Critics see a looming gap in the state's economy as workers take their local spending dollars elsewhere.

Delph maintains that his bill, which would crack down on employers that hire illegal immigrants, does not target a specific group of people, but the fact that some who are here illegally might scatter is "part of the intention of the bill."

"You can't have it both ways," Delph said. "If you illegally entered the country, there are consequences. Just because the federal government has chosen not to enforce the law or an individual has skated by for years does not mean that judgment day won't be coming."
Delph also has a message to businesses that stand to lose employees: "There are plenty of able-bodied Hoosiers that need jobs that will be willing to do those jobs at a fair market wage." ...

Statistics from both sides
Indiana, home to an estimated 85,000 illegal immigrants, is not alone in trying to address illegal immigration. Legislatures in 46 states adopted 244 immigration-related measures last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Preserving jobs for Americans is just one factor motivating lawmakers. According to some estimates, the typical Hoosier family pays an extra $200 a year in taxes to fund social services -- health care, education and food assistance -- because of illegal immigration.

Foes of Delph's bill are armed with some of their own numbers. In recent weeks, testimony offered at the Statehouse has suggested that the Hispanic buying power in Indiana is nearly $5 billion a year and that even those who are not legal residents help contribute an estimated $200 million in taxes to local and state governments.

M. Esther Barber, executive director of the Mexican Civic Association of Indiana, told legislators in a written report that Indiana's economy would suffer a 30 percent hit from lost wages, lost business and less taxes paid if Delph's bill passes. Evidence of similar trends can be seen in Oklahoma and Arizona.

In Tulsa, where an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Hispanics have left, restaurants are cutting back hours or closing, and local corporate leaders say many businesses are dealing with a 50 percent drop in business. "I know that many of them have bolted to Texas, California or Minnesota," said Feary. "This kind of reminds me of some of the prejudice we experienced back when we integrated the schools."

Oklahoma was home to about 250,000 Hispanic residents out of a population of 3.57 million in 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Arizona has 1.8 million Hispanics out of a population of 6.1 million. By comparison, Indiana has nearly 300,000 Hispanics out of 6.3 million people.
Oklahoma Rep. Randy Terrill, the legislator who authored that state's law making it illegal to harbor an illegal immigrant, has been quoted in media reports as saying the mass departure of Hispanics is a sign of success.

"It seems to be working pretty well," he told The Associated Press. "What was Oklahoma's problem is now some other state's problem." The immigration crackdowns in Oklahoma and Arizona, according to the Houston Chronicle, have resulted in a large number of Hispanics -- up to 100 people a day -- moving to Texas, home to an estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants in 2006.

Mike Means, executive director of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, said home builders have noticed a 5 percent to 10 percent drop in the number of available workers in Oklahoma City. "We are worried," Means said. "In general, our masonry crews, roofers, bricklayers and concrete . . . it's almost 100 percent Hispanic workers. And a lot of guys are legal. It's been kind of like a dark cloud on things.

"To me, it's a profiling issue. You can't tell by looking at them if they are legal or not. And this doesn't fix the immigration problem. It just pushes it off to another state." That is perfectly fine with Dan Howard, a former Oklahoma state trooper who founded, a Web site that tracks illegal immigration news and views from around the nation, including Indiana.

"The only people that are whining about the shortage of labor now are those who profited off the backs" of illegal immigrants, Howard said. "And now they are no longer able to do so." As to opponents who say the law has resulted in racial profiling and has racist undertones, Howard vigorously responds: "We are not racists. We are not bigots. We have an invasion going on in this country. It may not be armed, but we have the largest invasion on U.S. soil in U.S. history going on right now."

Read more at the IndyStar online.

So what do I think about it? I have had to deal with one confirmed illegal immigrant who was hired by my predecessor. He falsified his Social Security card by creating a Social Security Number that didn't exist -- the sequence of his number was completely invalid. He feels that what he did was not wrong because he was not stealing someone else's identity. I am currently dealing with another likely illegal immigrant at work, hired by my predecessor's predecessor. This person claims to be from Texas and has a Social Security Number issued in Illinois. We have already confirmed that the name, birth date, and Social Security number he provided to us do not match. He, I suspect, has stolen someone else's identity. I'll know the outcome of his status some time in the next three weeks. And then I have one other suspected illegal immigrant working for me, also hired by my predecessor. Though I have no solid means for my suspicion -- his documentation appears to be in order, Indiana driver license, valid Social Security number -- all of the things that the INS requires an employer to check. But there's just something about the appearance of his Social Security card and the fact that the number was issued in Delaware that makes me suspicious. I have some sources checking on it unofficially for me.

I deal with hiring difficulties on a daily basis. It is hard to find good people willing to give me an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. It's hard to find applicants who actually want to work. But you know what? As a patriotic American, I would much rather run short-staffed and struggle with staffing my store than staff it with people who are in this country illegal, stealing benefits from my fellow countrymen.

And if Indiana's Immigration reform bill is passed, then the penalties for having an illegal alien in my employ are much too severe to make it worth the risk. As a patriotic American, without some serious Immigration reform in this country, I might just find it easier not to even hire someone who appears to be of Hispanic origin. That would at least eliminate some of the chance of hiring an illegal.

What are your thoughts?


The Greatest Good

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Genesis 3:1-7, Luke 24:28-35, John 19
  • O: Life can be filled with eye-opening events.
  • A: It can be too easy, at times, to doubt the goodness of God. How many times have you prayed to ask for God's help or guidance with something and didn't ever hear the answer? How many times have you found yourself in situations in life that were quite trying? Times when you felt that maybe you just couldn't go on, and you asked God for strength, and you didn't feel that He was hearing you? It is said that God answers prayer in three ways: yes, no, and wait. It can be very easy, at times like these, to feel that maybe God isn't as good as they say He is. God reveals Himself to us in ways of His own choosing, not necessarily the ways we might want Him to. He revealed Himself to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they might have least wanted to hear from Him: after eating of the fruit from the forbidden tree. He revealed Himself to His disciples when they expected it so little that they didn't even recognize Him: on the road after his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Have you ever considered that maybe the only answers you've heard are the yes answers because that's the only answers you want to hear? God reveals Himself to us in His own ways and in His own time. Such as he did on the cross in the form of His son, Jesus Christ. Which is the barometer by which we must measure God's goodness. Not how He answers this prayer or that. Not what is happening in your life today. But the fact that God loved you so much that He died on the cross for your sins. That, my friend, is the Greatest Good.
  • P: Lord, help me to use my time with You in prayer not to ask for help in areas where I'm struggling, but to ask that You use your divine influence with elected leaders who are making the decisions that may change our lives on earth forever, and to to use Your divine influence with us as we go to the polls to choose who those next elected leaders will be. Help me use my time in prayer to ask that You shower others with blessings. Not that You help me to make ends meet, or land the next big promotion, etc. For I will receive Your blessings through seeing them come showering down on others.
Send feedback to Joe by email, or by calling 206-600-4JOE.

Quote of the Day

"In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination."


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jericho 2:3

Jericho season two, which I personally feel had a disappointing first episode, is getting better and better as the season progresses. You can catch a preview of episode three, which airs Tuesday night at 10 PM Eastern and Pacific, and get caught up on the entire show at, if necessary.

Tune in. This is a show you won't want to miss.



Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Matthew 12:33-34
  • O: We are judged by what we produce.
  • A: It has been said that you can't judge a book by its cover. Often, this is true. How many times have you been in a book store and picked up the latest from a bestselling author because of it's exciting cover design, only to spend a few minutes reading about the book and learning that it's just not what you were looking for? It is similar with people. You cannot assume because a man or woman is living in an alley, homeless, dressed in tattered rags, that they are a bad person, or a failure in life. Likewise you cannot assume that the businessman dressed in his three-piece suit is all good and helpful. Looks can be quite deceiving. But one thing that rarely deceives people is the fruit that we yield. Just as a tree which yields apples is an apple tree, and a tree which yields oranges is an orange tree, a person who yields the fruit of God will be judged by his or her fruit. What kind of Christian is it that does not do the work of God, sharing the word of God and bringing lost souls to the fold? God wants his people to go to all the world sharing the Good News. In the final days, when God rewards His people for doing His work, it is the fruit that we yield by which we will be judged. Are there any apples falling from your branches?
  • P: Lord, help me to live a life for you, to remember and act upon the Great Commission, sharing with others my knowledge of the Good News of Salvation.
Send feedback to Joe by email, or by calling 206-600-4JOE.

Quote of the Day

"Ask a deeply religious Christian if he'd rather live next to a bearded Muslim that may or may not be plotting a terror attack, or an atheist that may or may not show him how to set up a wireless network in his house. On the scale of prejudice, atheists don't seem so bad lately."


Friday, February 22, 2008

A Strong Woman

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Proverbs 31:1-10, 1 Peter 3:1-6
  • O: A man is called to do many things. He is appointed to be the spiritual leader of the house, to be the breadwinner, the protector. Traditionally, anyway.
  • A: It's sad that many women today would argue the role that a man is supposed to have in the family. Many women will tell you that the idea of the man being the spiritual leader, chief breadwinner, and protector of the family is wrong. Many women would say that's a chauvinistic attitude. That's sad, really. Because when a man is in his proper role, and a woman is in her proper role, anyone that's going to be honest with you will tell you that the woman really is the strength of a household. There is truth to the saying that behind every man is a good woman, or however that goes. In today's society, in families that take on the traditional roles, a strong woman in the household is of vital importance. I have told my wife a million times that I'm a Store Manager and she's the Home Manager. When asked by people where my wife works, I always reply that she works at home, and that her job is harder than mine. Raising two kids, maintaining the house, keeping the bills straight, and planning our activities are just a few of the many tasks on her To Do List on a regular basis. My job, though sometimes one of high stress, is basically the same old dull routine day after day. My wife is the First Responder when one of the kids gets hurt, having to take whatever action necessary to comfort and bandage as needed; she is the educator working daily to teach our son to read; she -- like my mother -- is the glue that bonds this family together. As much as I might bellyache about my job, I can truly say one thing -- in the words of Bill Cosby, I've seen my wife's job, and I don't want it!
  • P: Lord, Thank You for the wonderful woman that shares my life. She is truly a blessing beyond that which I could ever deserve. Help me to someday be worthy of such a wonderful gift as her.
Send feedback to Joe by email, or by calling 206-600-4JOE.

Quote of the Day

"I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life."


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Che Obama and the Cuban Flag

O Che can you see?

Fox News cameras recently captured a disturbing image in a Barack Obama campaign office in Houston: that of a Cuban flag with Communist mass murderer Che Guevara's face printed on it. Naturally, Obama's "explanation" was that the volunteer office is independently run, so he has no control over what goes on there.

And that's supposed to make voters want him elected president?

Che Guevara may be fashionable among the nation's leftist college students, but it was Guevara who was "supreme prosecutor" during the show trials after Fidel Castro seized power, overseeing the execution of countless people. Cuba is also still under a U.S. embargo and, last time we checked, is still a Communist dictatorship, despite the fact that Fidel Castro just resigned and may be an ideal pick for the better half of Obama's ticket. Seems the Obama campaign is trying to communicate an idea, even if the candidate himself appears bereft of them.

from the PatriotPost

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I'm going to make just a couple of quick observations about the newly reported John McCain lobbyist scandal.

What's wrong with this picture? Is it that John McCain may or may not have been involved in some way with a female lobbyist? The New York Times (whom I won't dignify with a link) alleges not that John McCain did something politically immoral with this lobbyist, but that he did something personally immoral with her. That his sin was against his spouse and not the American public.

So what's wrong with this picture? Senator McCain denies the allegations. He denies being involved in any inappropriate way the lobbyist in question. He denies having any type of romantic relationship with her.

So what's wrong with this picture? If McCain did do something wrong, that's his business. Does it affect the American people? Maybe. But no more than when "President" Bill Clinton was involved with Monica Lewinsky in the White House. In fact, I would submit that what Bill Clinton did in the White House was more of a sin against the American people because it took place within the hallowed halls of the White House.

So what's wrong with this picture? The media, that's what. I've been watching coverage of this story this morning mostly on MSNBC, and what I keep seeing over and over and over is that the media seems to present this in a light that would have more negative impact than positive on John McCain. They say things that sound somewhat supportive of McCain, but the images that they show are all unflattering images. Both in television and print media, the pictures are of John McCain with a guilty grin on his face, of the lobbyist in an evening gown -- anything they can put on the screen to give us the worst possible impression.

So what's wrong with this story? That we, the American people, allow ourselves to be so influenced by the mainstream media that we would even give this story the amount of time that it took me to write this and you to read it.

Let's move on to what really matters, America.



Examples For Children

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Proverbs 24:33-34; Proverbs 4
  • O: We must diligently live the example that we want our children to emulate.
  • A: Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips. Let our eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. It can be too easy at times to stray off course. While getting back on course can be done -- and sometimes easily -- when you're engaged in the process of raising children, permanent damage can be done when you allow yourself to stray. We must remember that our children are watching -- all the time. They see everything we do, all the time. They hear everything we say. And they repeat our actions. Like a little monkey-see-monkey-do, my 22-month-old daughter mimics everything she sees. Her older brother is her biggest example, and everything he does, she does. By the same token, my son has picked up all that he knows from those around him -- mostly his mother and myself. So we must at all times remember to watch our tongues, be careful what we do and say. Not that my wife and I have a problem with fowl language, but sometimes simple things like talking about a person's weight, or our opinion of something someone else may have done, can become public knowledge when our little echoes run around repeating our very words to the very people we were referring to. In addition, we must set an example in all that we do. My wife is very much frustrated with the obvious lack of modesty most people have today -- especially women. You cannot turn on the television set without exposing yourself -- and your children -- to more flesh than anyone should be subjected to outside the bedroom. But it isn't just on television. Any casual stroll through the mall, or Wal-Mart, or any other public place, puts us in a position to see more than we care to see, and much more than we want our children to see at their age. As a father and devoted husband, I must constantly be averting my attention from whatever the next indecent exposure will be. And I must virtually predict what's coming up and where, so I can avert my attention in advance. I want to model the right behavior for my children, and to openly display for all to see that my wife is the only woman that I have any desire for. Not only must my son see that it's not right to exploit women, my daughter must also see that there is nothing attractive in that type of behavior so that she won't feel compelled to model it herself some day. And teaching those things to them must begin at a very early age. All it takes to throw these young impressionable minds off course is for me to falter in my step for just a moment.
  • P: Lord, help me to lead by example in all that I do and say. Help me to keep my feet on the right path and to show my children -- through words and actions -- what is right and what is wrong. Guide me down the path, Lord, that I may guide my children well.
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Quote of the Day

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Had an unanticipated episode of oversleeping this morning. I hate it when that happens. The alarm went off at 6am, and I hit snooze three times (my alarm clock has a one-minute snooze), then turned the alarm clock off at 6:03, with every intention of getting out of bed. Next thing I knew, it was 6:48.

Out of bed, rushing into the shower, and skipping lunch, I headed off to work through the ice and slush from an overnight snow. It took me twice as long as normal to get to work, of course -- isn't that always the case when you get a late start in the morning? So I didn't have a chance to publish my devotional this morning. But the SOAP will be back to normal beginning tomorrow morning. Please be patient with me.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Indiana Immigration Bill Advances

Immigration bill advances | Indianapolis Star
Democrats make changes; Hispanic critics still hope measure dies
By Bill Ruthhart
February 19, 2008

Businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers would be tried in an administrative rather than a criminal court under one of several changes lawmakers approved to an immigration bill Monday.

The change was among many backed by Democrats, who said they strengthened the bill. But some Republicans argued the legislation had become watered down, with Democrats making mandatory provisions optional. ...

The bill would punish businesses for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. It would require employers to use a federal system to verify citizenship, and, as originally drafted, it would revoke the state license of a business found in violation of the law three times within a 10-year period.

In one of the changes made Monday, House Democrats reduced that time frame to five years. Another change was the inclusion of $1.5 million -- $1 million for the State Police and $500,000 for the attorney general -- to fund enforcement of the legislation. ...

Another major change made by the House committee placed the responsibility of prosecuting employers with the Department of Labor.

Overall, Democrats argued that they made the bill much stronger. But House Republicans on the committee pointed to a pair of changes they said weakened the bill.

As originally written, SB 335 would have required the Indiana State Police to enter an agreement with the federal government that would allow them to enforce federal immigration law. The committee approved a recommendation from Tincher so that entering such an agreement would be optional.

Republicans also didn't like a change allowing the governor to overrule an administrative judge's decision in the best interests of the state's economy. ...

Van Haaften argued that the enforcement provision needed to be optional for the State Police because it's optional for the federal government. ...

SB 335 is expected to move to the House Ways and Means Committee next because the $1.5 million appropriation was added to the legislation. If approved there, it would move to the full House for a vote, which Tincher said he expects to happen.

If approved by the House, the bill would move to a conference committee where members of the House and Senate would work to resolve their differences on the legislation.

Gonzalez, one of the bill's sharpest critics, said she's still hopeful the bill won't make it that far.
"Overall, the amendments don't seem to lessen the fear, the concern that is being felt in our community," she said. "I was very disappointed that it didn't just die in the committee."

The Great Commission

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • Somedays, there just doesn't seem to be much to say. I've read through several online devotionals today, looking for the one that just struck the right cord with me; one that would make me feel like I had something to add to the conversation, so I could share it here. I guess it just doesn't always happen that way. It seems that almost everything I read this morning was about sharing your beliefs and your faith with others. Well, we should all be doing that all of the time anyway, shouldn't we? I shouldn't need a daily devotional to tell me that. The Bible tells me that. That is, after all, what The Great Commission is all about. To spread the teachings of Christ throughout the world. And we must each do our part in that, no matter how large or small that part might be. I long for a devotional of sorts that hits home in a different sort of way. Something that speaks to me on a daily basis about life, and work, and going about things each day. Parenting. Leadership. You know, day to day stuff. I have a couple of resources I'm going to look at and may be using here a little more than the online devotionals that, though they are good, all seem to share the same thoughts. The Good Lord willing, this won't become just another rehash of all the online devotional sites already on the web.
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Quote of the Day

Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Illegal immigration bill moves forward

Illegal immigration bill moves forward |
The Indiana House Public Policy Committee voted this morning to approve one of the nation's toughest illegal immigration bills, but only after making a number of changes to the legislation.

The committee voted 7-4 to pass SB 335, which would punish employers for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.
Among the changes made by the committee was the addition of $1.5 million in funding to help the Attorney General's office and the State Police enforce the legislation. Previously, SB 335 included no money to fund enforcement.

Because the committee added a fiscal impact to the bill, it is now expected to move before the House Ways and Means committee for approval.

Lawmakers also changed SB 335 to apply to all employees. As previously written, the bill only would have applied to workers who worked a certain number of hours within a 12-month period.

The committee also changed the bill to place the responsibility of prosecuting employers from county prosecutor to administrative law judges in the state department of labor.

The bill also would require all employers to use the federal E-Verify system to confirm whether a potential employee is a legal citizen.

Under another change made to SB 335 this morning, the governor would be given the ability to review an administrative law judge's decision to revoke an employer's state license.

As previously written, if an employer was found guilty of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants three times within a 10-year period, the business would lose its state license. Under changes made today, that period was reduced to five years.

While Democrats argued the changes approved this morning made the bill stronger, Republicans pointed to other alterations they say made the bill weaker.

Among those was a change that allowed the State Police Department to choose whether to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the federal government to enforce federal immigration law. As previously written, the bill required State Police to enter the agreement.

Democrats argued the State Police Department needed the option in case the terms of the agreement weren't favorable.

Another change in the bill dictated that the attorney general "may" inform the department of labor's administrative law judges about possible violations while the legislation previously required the attorney general to refer all cases to local prosecutors.

The bill's author, Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, did not attend the hearing. But its sponsor in the House, Rep. Vern Tincher, D-Riley, said he was optimistic the bill would move through the House Ways and Means committee and then pass the full House.

Salvation of Lincoln

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Luke 24:13-27
  • O: On the day that Christ arose, He presented Himself to many people, including two men walking along the road, discussing the tragic crucifixion and how down they felt that their hopes of the Messiah seemed to be dashed. Christ replied, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart...." The continued to tell them all of the stories of him as prophesied in the Bible, beginning with Moses and all of the prophets.
  • A: It sometimes takes great trial and hardship to bring one to salvation in Christ. On this Presidents' Day, we're reminded that Abraham Lincoln was not a Christian when he was elected President; he was not a Christian when he buried his son. Lincoln later told his hometown of Springfield, Illinois, "...when I saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. I do love Jesus." It took the senseless massacre of thousands in the Civil War for Abraham Lincoln to turn to the salvation of Jesus Christ. I was saved at the age of twelve, raised in a family that when to church Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday evenings -- a Baptist church. Several years ago, after the loss of thousands of lives in the attacks of 9/11, my wife and I began attending church again. The tragedy is that, for some, rather than being saved by the tragedy, they are lost in it. What about you? Will you be saved, or lost? Why wait to find out. Why not choose salvation now?
  • P: Thank You, Lord, for salvation. For paying the ultimate price for my sins (and those of my family) so that we may live forever with You.
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Quote of the Day

"On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does."


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beardless Joe

My wife hates it, but I've shaved off the beard. She says it's itchy when I kiss her, and if I don't keep it trimmed neatly, my 22-month-old daughter won't give her daddy a kiss.

So, I shaved it all off. My wife hates it, but my son says it looks better. So, for now, I guess I'm going beardless.

I think I kind of like the look, too. Just a little cleaner, I think.


Presidents' Day at the Museum

The three greatest Presidents in American history were all born in the month of February. George Washington, the first President and "Father of our country" was born on February 22, 1732. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President and "Great Emancipator" was born on February 12, 1809. Ronald Reagan, the 40th President and "Great Communicator" was born on February 6, 1911. Presidents' Day was first recognized in 1880 to honor George Washington's birthday. While is has never been officially declared as a holiday to honor the births of any other Presidents, it is typically seen as a day of honor for both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

To me, the day should be an official opportunity to recognize the three greatest Presidents in American history: Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan.

Tomorrow is Presidents' Day, and we're lucky enough here in Indianapolis to have a Children's Museum that gives free admission on Presidents' Day. We started what can easily become a tradition by taking our kids to the museum on Presidents' Day last year. In addition to several special events scheduled to mark the occasion, my son just loves the Dinosphere! And this year, for the first time, my daughter will actually be able to enjoy the museum rather than spending most of the day in a stroller (she was only nine months old last time).

So, for us, tomorrow is a Personal Day off from work to celebrate the birth of three of the greatest leaders the world has ever known, as well as an opportunity to let our kids have some educational fun at the Children's Museum. If you're in the Indy area and have kids, I encourage you to give it a try. The museum will be open tomorrow from 10 AM to 5 PM Eastern.


Lead By Example

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Matthew 23:1-12
  • O: Jesus told his followers that the religious leaders of their day were more show than go, and that although they must follow their direction, they were not to follow their poor example.
  • A: Basic leadership principles dictate that one should never ask those who follow him to do something that he will not, cannot, or has not done himself. It is imperative to lead by example. As I stated yesterday, our actions are critical, because what we do speaks louder than what we say. Do we rebuke our employees for being late to work, but never show up on time ourselves? Do we drive them as a taskmaster while never doing any tasks ourselves? Have you, as a leader, ever cleaned the restroom? Small things, sure, but they speak big words. In your walk with God, do you go to church on Sunday, sit in the sanctuary, sing and Amen along with the service, then go to work on Monday and use foul language, tell suggestive jokes, and drink to excess during lunch? Do you try to tell people that Jesus saves while all the while living your life like you could use a little salvation yourself? Words are just that, words. We can all use whatever words we like. But they can be very shallow things if your actions don't have a little meat to them. You must live the example that you would want others to follow. Your words only take on importance after your actions have set the tone for what you say. Your words should reinforce your actions rather than contradict them. Are you all bark? Or do your actions have a little bite?
  • P: Lord, help me to lead by example, at home, at work, and in public. Help me to examine my actions before others can to make sure that my actions and words are in agreement and present the best possible example for others.
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Quote of the Day

"My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That's almost $7.00 in dog money."


Jericho Season 2, Episode 2: Condor

With just two days left before episode two of Jericho season two, the suspense is building.

Catch a preview of episode two now.

Then tune in Tuesday night at 10 PM Eastern Time on CBS.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Joe Show #62: Jericho Rises

New this week on

The Joe Show
featuring Average Joe American

Episode Sixty-Two: Jericho Rises

Free MP3 Download

* left standing | american anthem |

* jericho returns | CBS |

* carbon leaf | the war was in color |

* jeremy rowe | in line to die |

* jeff wahl | freedom |

* kevin burdick | america |

* neil brian goldgerg | born in america |

* phil ayoub | white feather |

* ray younkin | america's sky |

* matt stevens | jubilee |

* nico and the known | the cost of freedom |

* shawn cole | in the middle of nowhere |

* chris demarco | unknown soldier |

* john batdorf | all for you |

* rick roark | remember me |

Register to win a free CD prize pack.
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True Confessions

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Matthew 16:13-17
  • O: In the days when Jesus walked this Earth among us, there was much doubt as to who he was. Was he the Son of Man, sent here by God to save us from our sins? Some thought the Son of Man was John the Baptist, Elijah, or someone else. But Simon Peter spoke up with certainty, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
  • A: I was watching the news on CNN last night, and Wolf Blitzer was talking to retired basketball player Charles Barkley. Barkley was announcing his support for Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Interestingly, he said he would back Hillary Clinton if she were to become the nominee -- he just had to vote for a Democrat. And why? Because, in his words, Conservatives are "fake Christians." Barkley is pro-choice, for gay marriage, and against increasing taxes. In his opinion, today's Conservatives are fake because we "want to be judge and jury." He says we aren't forgiving. As much as liberals want to maintain "separation of church and state" -- which, by the way, is not guaranteed in the Constitution -- Religion plays a major role in politics in our country. How many times have we heard the media express their concern over Mitt Romney being a Mormon, or Mike Huckabee being a former Baptist Minister? How many times have we heard the Democratic candidates try to tell us of their religious beliefs (which, by the way, they have to tell us about because they haven't shown us by their actions). It's easy to deny Christ day by day, only to quote Him or one of His teachings when it benefits you. But what of standing strong on your beliefs like Simon Peter? What of speaking up and saying that yes, Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, who came to take away the sins of the world? What would you say if you were asked? Would you confess, or deny? And if you would deny, then how does that impact the rest of your life? Do you "swear to God?" Do you take the Lord's name in vain? Do you believe in Heaven and Hell? Think about it. Feel free to comment.
  • P: Father, help me to be strong in my convictions, to show my beliefs by my actions, to confess you with my mouth. Help me to wear my heart on my sleeve. I want to shout it from the mountaintop, that Jesus Christ is King!
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Quote of the Day

"Never confuse movement with action."


Friday, February 15, 2008

Book Review: Leadership by Rudy Giuliani

Book ReviewMore Leadership wisdom from Rudy Giuliani:

  • A leader should be anticipating all the time.
  • A big part of leadership is consistency -- letting those who work for you and others you lead know you'll be there for them through good times and bad.
  • Part of leadership is harnessing your passions in a way that serves your goals. Another part of leadership is retaining your humanity.
I have just finished reading Rudy Giliani's book, Leadership. It was a very interesting read. Whether you read it for political motivation, for tips on how to be a better leader, or because you're a fan of America's Mayor, this is an excellent read!

Rudy Giuliani was the most successful New York City Mayor in modern times. He took what had been labeled an "unmanageable city" and put sound leadership principles to work to reduce crime, reduce unemployment, and increase pride in the city. He lead the city -- and by proxy the nation -- through the greatest tragedy of our time.

Whatever you might think of Rudy Giuliani -- and there are some issues on which I strongly disagree with him -- he is a very solid and successful leader. This book should be on the short list for any Manager or political leader.

Click here for more excerpts from Leadership by Rudy Giuliani.


Quote of the Day

"Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born."



Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Psalm 119:65-80
  • O: Sometimes God uses trial and hardship to bring us closer to Him.
  • A: Not that it's a form of punishment, so much. Though the Bible is full of situations in which God punished people for sin, we have been given the ultimate forgiveness for sin. Whether you choose to accept that forgiveness is up to you, but God has eliminated the need to punish us for failing Him. Instead, I think, God sometimes withholds His blessings from those of us who may have strayed in one way or another. And the withholding of those blessings can be sufficient that our own sinful acts send us into a state of turmoil. It doesn't seem to take long to start reaping what you sow. If what you sow is evil and wrong, then quite quickly you might find that bad things start coming your way. Isn't it funny how we then forget about the sin we may have committed? But if what you sow is love, goodwill, and obedience to God, He will shower you with blessings. The best thing of all: is isn't too late to change.
  • P: Lord, help me to be more obedient to Your will. Help me to reject the sinful ways of the world that can be so easy for people to fall victim to, and to live my life according to Your plan.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Illegal Alien On The Job


I discovered today something that I have suspected for the past couple of weeks: I have another illegal alien working for me. Yes, I said "another." Just a couple of months ago, it came to my attention that I had an illegal alien working for me that was hired by my predecessor. When I approached the illegal, he admitted to his status, and I immediately terminated him.

The past couple of weeks, I have had reports of suspicions that another employee was an illegal alien. This one hired by my predecessor's predecessor -- he's actually been working in the store for two years now. After receiving the initial report, I asked every employee to voluntarily submit the required documentation to reverify their I-9 forms.

Because the investigation is still in progress -- in other words, I'll be presenting the employee with an ultimatum tomorrow -- I cannot go into details now. But it has been verified that the number on the Social Security Card the employee in question presented to me is not assigned to him. He will be given thirty days to produce valid documentation from the Social Security Administration that he has a valid Social Security number that has been issued to him. Failure to do so will result in his termination for falsifying documentation. I suspect he'll disappear long before the thirty days is over. Of course, should he admit to being an illegal when I confront him, he, too, will be terminated immediately.

I'll give more details when the matter has been fully closed.


Rudy On Leadership

  • Leadership is more important than systems or strategies or philosophy.
  • The first question is always, "What's the mission?" Ask yourself what you'd like to achieve -- not day-to-day, but your overarching goal. Then assess and analyze your resources.
  • Charts allow for accountability.
  • Organizational charts are not simply maps of how things work. When used correctly, they're creative problem-solvers.
  • You've got to impose a structure to bring order to what could easily become chaos.
  • In any leadership role, one must deal with all types of people.
  • Obviously, as often as possible, one should confine dealings to people one trusts completely.
  • Sometimes a leader has no alternative but to deal with someone untrustworthy. The only option is to lock up every detail in the clearest possible language, ensuring it's all written, and that there are witnesses.
  • You've got to know when you're dealing with somebody who won't stay bribed so you can collect your end of the bargain up front.
  • There are some people who should be completely avoided. It's counterproductive to deal with them, and will just drag you down.
  • There are many times in which leaders think they have to deal with someone who doesn't meet their standards, when the reality is that they can't just say no.
[Make no mistake, the author does not literally mean "bribe." If you read the book, you will learn that what he is referring to is that when you make business arrangements with someone, you should make every attempt to work with individuals who will live up to their end of the bargain -- people who will keep their word.] --JOE



Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: 1 Corinthians 13:4
  • O: Love is completely selfless.
  • A: It's Valentines Day. For a man like me, that means that I'm supposed to come up with some special way to show my wife that I love her. For a woman, that means that she's just supposed to be. Really. She doesn't have to do anything special. Valentines Day should be for her, not for me. It's up to me to show my love for her in some special way today. My wife isn't one who takes pleasure in receiving roses or chocolates, or any other traditional Valentines Day tokens. Not that she needs something major like diamonds. Just to be loved. God once gave His children the greatest Valentine of all. His Son on a cross. By sending His Son to die for our sins, He showed us that He loves us in the ultimate way. Of course, though I would give my life for the safety of my wife without hesitation, thankfully, Valentines Day doesn't demand such a major gift as that.
  • P: Lord, help me to show my family today -- and especially my wife -- that I love her. Help me to display my love for her not with chocolates or roses, but with my actions.
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