Integrity – Either You Have it or You Don't

Friends, it gets down to checking your gut. What is inside? Are you dead or alive inside? A tree will easily break when it is dead inside; likewise, a tree will bend when alive and filled with nourishment. When a tree is alive, it will seek light for its canopy. In other words, a live tree will seek to be more alive! In a forest, as a tree seeks life (light), it will become stronger; the weaker trees often suffer stunted growth as their canopies can’t capture as much light. A choice to grow and become more alive takes work; for stunted growth, one only needs to sit there. The question remains: Will you be one to deliver “useful wood”, or will you be one to deliver “trash”? As the saying goes, any dead fish can go with the flow of the stream. What will your choice be? Will you swim against the current found in this fallen world, taking a better less traveled direction?

Do you run a stop light because others do? Maybe you should rob a bank because others do…no? So, I guess it is okay to run the stop light but not rob the bank then. Sounds like you are drawing a line between the two? Who tells you where to draw the line? Is it your own common sense? Frankly, if you subscribe to this kind of decision-making, then I don’t believe you have much common sense. My point is this, you either act on your own integrity or you don’t; there is no “drawing the line” at some artificial point where it is okay to let down your integrity and then pick it up again. Once laid down, integrity rarely comes back.

“All men cheat” is a lie and a most stupid excuse. The question is, do you have integrity or not? Either you do or you don’t…period. There is no such thing as “private integrity” or “public integrity”. If you have integrity then it will show privately or publicly just the same; you can not turn it off and on, if turned off integrity will always fall away. Oh, you may fool people for a short time, but the truth will always come out eventually. You know this is true; the real test of a properly nourished person is what do they do when they are alone? What do you do when no one is looking?

Integrity – Either You Have it or You Don’t

Friends, it gets down to checking your gut. What is inside? Are you dead or alive inside? A tree will easily break when it is dead inside; likewise, a tree will bend when alive and filled with nourishment. When a tree is alive, it will seek light for its canopy. In other words, a live tree will seek to be more alive! In a forest, as a tree seeks life (light), it will become stronger; the weaker trees often suffer stunted growth as their canopies can’t capture as much light. A choice to grow and become more alive takes work; for stunted growth, one only needs to sit there. The question remains: Will you be one to deliver “useful wood”, or will you be one to deliver “trash”? As the saying goes, any dead fish can go with the flow of the stream. What will your choice be? Will you swim against the current found in this fallen world, taking a better less traveled direction?

Do you run a stop light because others do? Maybe you should rob a bank because others do…no? So, I guess it is okay to run the stop light but not rob the bank then. Sounds like you are drawing a line between the two? Who tells you where to draw the line? Is it your own common sense? Frankly, if you subscribe to this kind of decision-making, then I don’t believe you have much common sense. My point is this, you either act on your own integrity or you don’t; there is no “drawing the line” at some artificial point where it is okay to let down your integrity and then pick it up again. Once laid down, integrity rarely comes back.

“All men cheat” is a lie and a most stupid excuse. The question is, do you have integrity or not? Either you do or you don’t…period. There is no such thing as “private integrity” or “public integrity”. If you have integrity then it will show privately or publicly just the same; you can not turn it off and on, if turned off integrity will always fall away. Oh, you may fool people for a short time, but the truth will always come out eventually. You know this is true; the real test of a properly nourished person is what do they do when they are alone? What do you do when no one is looking?

What is Truth? Often it is NOT What the Majority Thinks and We See This Revealed All the Time!

The last 4 posts may have caused some readers to reject the real truth over their own agendas about the environment. It is hard for many to change long held beliefs, especially when the same erroneous ideas are held by so many non-thinking people.

I invite you to join me and stand up for truth instead of personal reward. Stand firm, the pressure to sell out can be great when you are out-numbered. Any dead fish can go with the flow; you do this and there will be hole where you lost that bit of your integrity. Strive for truth over all agendas.

My threefold advice is: 1) To study multiple sources and compare. 2) Pray and listen for God’s voice to open truths; remember you should be working off God’s agenda and not your own (do you seek God’s glory or your own?). This is hard to do because people want to do all the talking when praying; but be quiet and listen to the Holy Spirit. Lastly, 3) come at this in faith as a child and set your sights on the Father; your sole goal in life is to one day hear Jesus tell you, “well done My good and faithful servant”.

That’s it…simple. The search for truth should not be about winning a Pulitzer Prize, or winning a big grant, or the “publish or die” sickness, or receiving tenure, nor making money, or publishing a book. When looking for truth, you should beware of a person’s motive. You need to understand that it is natural for a person to decide on what they want to believe, and then try to support that their belief is actually true. Some are so desperate for position that they will stoop to falsely fabricate their proof. Sadly, I believe this sickness is extremely prevalent in academia and with the scientific community today. As for me and this book, my motive is not for any prize, and I don’t work for any college, company or government where a grant is useful to me. My only motive is to hear Jesus say “well done My good and faithful servant”; it is that plain and that simple.

Real Truth transcends my thoughts, your thoughts, and the thoughts of the so called experts; the Bible has much more depth than we could ever hope or think. Rene Descartes thought he was on to the truth when he developed his thought process saying that at any given time you could be dreaming, so you are never sure if you are awake or asleep. Descartes chose a system he called “Radical Doubt”, which simply says that anything could be doubted because you are never really sure of reality. He said that to test whether you are awake or asleep required using a test that you could dream up, and thus you were unsure of the situation before, during and after the test. This all sounds like Heisenberg’s “Uncertainty Principle”; which said that in particle physics, you can’t measure an elementary particle in order to know about its location and properties because in the act of taking a measurement you change it. You can’t be sure about your measurements and the data that you gathered. Consistent with this uncertainty principle, Descartes “radical doubt” meant that it was always possible that he was actually dreaming, therefore, he said you can’t depend on your senses. In addition, he was suspect of even the simplest math and logic; how would he know if God was gracious and good or evil? Knowing that he did in fact exist in reality, he thought there existed the “logical possibility” that his mind was being controlled by evil instead of goodness; how would he know which is which? Knowing that he was real and existed, Descartes came up with the famous assertion: “I think, therefore I am”.15

Truth is greater than the Roman Catholic Church,, greater any “Descartes thought or definition”, and greater than Martin Luther…please don’t confine God by setting His rules to fit your definitions. The Pharisees thought they knew it all, had all the answers; and how did Jesus speak to the Pharisees? They had the Messiah right in front of them and their own definitions and agendas blinded them and they temporally killed their long sought-after Savior.

Producing Good Shade and Shelter…it is About What is Inside You! Character Matters!

Paul instructed that what was important was inside and not on the surface of a person. What is down deep inside a person is much more important than what you see on the outside. Most will decide about a person based on looks rather than waiting to see what comes from within. As a Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast, I often will travel dressed in black leather, boots and a facial mask if in the winter. Sights some associate with the “one percenters”, the outlaw bikers, but we 99 percenters are a much different breed. My wife and I were sitting on a brick wall at the Harley dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas, viewing a sea of Harleys and their riders gathered for the Arkansas HOG Rally [HOG = Harley Owners Group]. I think it was the first time my wife found herself around hundreds of bikers; we watched the people. Soon 3 bikes backed up in front of us and their riders disembarked loosening their gear, it was obvious they had travel far to find this parking spot. A middle-aged lady soon revealed herself out from under all her riding gear and with the manner of some lost relative just started visiting with us. They had traveled north from Beaumont, Texas to join the Hot Springs biker rally; my wife was amazed how friendly everyone was. We walked through the sea of motorcycles, many draped by their rider’s expensive leather jackets. No one touched anything. Looking at these $400 to $800 dollar jackets just laying there, I wondered how long a leather jacket of this quality would last in a shopping mall parking lot in Oklahoma City. You won’t find any group anywhere that is more friendly, more honest, more hard working, more caring, more patriotic and more fun than HOG people. Yes, the tie is the Harley, their iron horse, but more importantly it is what is inside these modern day cowboys and cowgirls.

Using architecture as a metaphor:

Architects & Owners look to spend the money on what is seen in their buildings; it is their expression, their presentation. Obviously, it is much more fun to think about the “glitz”; often this is what is rewarded in the architectural design award circles. An architect is praised by what you see and not how well the architecture looks over time, or how well it keeps the water out, or how low the maintenance costs are, or how well it functions for the user, or how little waste of resources is created. The difference can be the small details around the windows, the doors, the roofing membranes, the various coatings, the waterproofing, and the sealants; this is what really counts. Oh, I believe in the importance of good timeless design, but it is what is behind the visible surfaces that really matters to fine architecture. A person is just the same; it is what is behind visible treatments that really matters. Furthermore, architecture will not have integrity and vitality unless the “form-giver”, the “life-giver” [the architect] also has integrity. With no vitality, the so-called architecture is only going to be “a building”…just sitting there with no life in it, and it won’t stand the test of time.

Ken Pate wrote an article for the Harley Owners Group’s magazine, “Enthusiast”, entitled “Worth the Ride”. He told of how his wife was so mad when he bought his Harley in 2003 and that she didn’t talk to him for weeks and that she would never ride on it. One day in 2004 she was told she had colon cancer and wanted to go for a ride…on his bike. Soon they were riding all the time, she even got her own trike; they ended up a HOG meeting where they met many wonderful people. Ken said of that meeting, that it was the best thing they did together in 46 years of marriage. Later his wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. The HOG Chapter rallied to help the couple in many ways over the years. When Ken’s wife passed away in 2010, the funeral planned by Ken and his wife included their Harley family leading the funeral procession…maybe 25 bikes they thought. On the day of the funeral, a police escort and 74 bikes led the way! What is a true family anyway, I ask? I would say these folks were producing very good “shelter & shade” benefits by having proper roots and good nourishment. It didn’t matter about politics, money, position, or anything else; it was about caring for one another as a family of humanity.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

I am reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous line, “judge a man by his character and not the color of his skin”. The blood in all our veins is red and all skin colors have bled for this country on the battle field. That makes us all brothers and sisters. The liberals and progressives among us like to divide us into groups, and then pit those groups against each other. We Christians are instructed to love our neighbors! There is no other qualifier. There is no statement about loving those who are like you; you are to love your neighbor no matter what. Your neighbor lives next door to you, resides in the next state, and across many borders. The Bible goes further to instruct us to love our enemies, so how can we possibly ignore an innocent neighbor!

In our land, every local school board and city council hold great debates on the qualification of a potential candidate and whether they are qualified to hold a seat at that table. Sadly, our country elected a completely unqualified man with no experience to be our president simply because of the color of his skin. Furthermore, the country elected him twice which is long enough to have the institutions of government start to fail. We now have the IRS, the EPA, the VA, the TSA, the CDC, the Department of Education, Homeland Security, the Senate, and the Secret Service all failing the citizens of this once great country.

As the Bible instructs us, we must pray for the leadership of this country, and I do; a country once the great hope of the world for peace and goodness…a compassionate country willing to help our neighbors across the great seas…a generous country that gives to others more than any other. The hostilities and warring madness of the Middle East and Africa, breaking God’s commandment of “Thou shall not murder”, are a despicable evil impacting the innocent of the world. Who can stop them now? Our military has been decimated by our own lack of common sense, most of the good commanders have been fired by mis-guided leadership, and the country has lost its faith and heart. As the famous quote goes, “for evil to flourish, good people must do nothing”. Who is going to stand up for our neighbors now?