My cards were maxed out, my credit score was shot!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

No, not that kind of credit cards or that credit score. I am minimalist on credit purchases. For the most part, I have always preferred to hold off until I had the money. Part of that is how I was raised. But, there was a time, shortly after I was married that my wife got several cards. Thankfully, none had high limits, but she shortly had them maxed and with the limited income, we had a mess. We eventually paid them off and closed the accounts, but there were issues with my credit because she had put my name on them and that takes several years to get fixed. Now, I only have 2, one for work that has no balance and another that we use for travel only and I think it has little or no balance. I prefer it that way, not owing a lot of people money.

No, I am not talking about Visa or MasterCard. I mean my spiritual credit cards and Heavenly Credit score. I was not horrible wicked, but I sure wasn’t living right. There were a lot of things going on, finally got to the point that I was spiritually bankrupt. I had been making promises to God, but not following through. Not going to church, not trying to change, despite promises being made, I was not keeping them. Then, it got to that point. And, let me tell you something, I went to God, spiritually bankrupt, full of hurt, bitterness, anger and many other negative emptions. My balance was so negative that by myself, there was nothing I could have done to get out of that spiritual debt.

But, when I went to God, prayed to Him. Surrendered all my spiritual debts, confessed that I was a sinner and that I recognized Jesus as His Son who died for my sins. I asked for forgiveness and mercy. AND HE GAVE IT! What a merciful and loving God we serve.

Spiritually, my credit score was made perfect, all the debts forgiven, written off, immediately. I praise Christ for the mercy and salvation He made available to me, to us, through His death and rise from the grave.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. Matthew 18:27

 

8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

1 Thessalonians 5:8-10

 

Praise Jesus for my salvation from spiritual bankruptcy. I thank You Christ for the mercy and forgiveness as well as all the blessings You give me. I pray that You reach out to those that are still spiritually in debt. Give them the blessings You gave me, draw them to You. Give them the yearning that You have given me. Lord, I pray that You work in my heart to not only remain out of debt spiritually, but to enjoy all the treasures You have for me. I ask You to work in the hearts and minds of family, loved ones and other to draw them to You that they seek salvation or if saved, that You bring them closer. Work in their hearts and minds to show them they do not need to worry, suffer or fear. Give them all the drive to serve You completely. Show them all Your plan for their lives.

Amen

 

Thanks for your time. I hope that this speaks to someone else as well, feel free to share as you feel the Lord leading you. Blessings for all, and I want to remind you to be a blessing to at least one other person today.

 

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The Rest Area

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Today, I had to take about a 3 hour drive, as I was going along I started getting a little tired, wanted to stretch and all, so I started watching for a rest area. This stretch of road is familiar to me but I get there and see that it is closed. Barricade at the drive and a sign saying private property. Then, I remembered that there was something about the state discontinuing rest areas in most places, closing them and selling the property. The justification was that the rest areas were not used enough to warrant the expense associated with keeping them open and it was a duplication because so many truck stops/travelers areas now that people could go there to stretch, use bathroom, etc. I think they closed at least 3/4 of them. I personally prefer the rest areas unless I need gas, coffee or something to eat. They are usually way better landscaped, peaceful unless busy travel time and such. While the traveler centers are busy, packed, commercialized and not really enjoyable areas to walk. Asphalt and concrete, cars buzzing in and out way to fast.

As I thought about that, I thought some about how not only on road trips does one need a rest stop, but how we need them spiritually as well. Going to church, praying, reading the scripture and just praising God. Years ago I was in the place I belonged spiritually. I attended church regularly, read the Bible daily, prayed daily and was active in the church. Then, I went to college (later in life, about 10 years later than typical) work schedule changed to accommodate school schedule and was working weekends all the time. So, no time for church on Sundays, Wednesdays I was usually tired, or had to study. I got myself too busy to find time. Well, really, one can always find the time to read the Bible and pray and spend time with the Lord. But, I allowed myself to get into that mindset. So, I drifted away, slowly at first, then a little quicker. Initially, I felt bad about not going to church or praying, then, less so, then, it really didn’t occur to me that it was a concern. Oh, occasionally I would think about it and tell myself I was going to do as I should, but, then got busy again and that went on, for quite some time. And, that failure to stop at the rest areas, take time for find the peace, comfort and spiritual rejuvenation I needed took a toll. Oh, it wasn’t a quick process, but it happened, as I said, slowly at first, then faster.

I became spiritually exhausted, weary, tired. I tried carrying all the burdens on my own. I had no place that I went for spiritual rest and comfort. I had a void in my soul.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

 

For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. Jeremiah 31:25

 

Yes, I had put a heavy yoke on myself, I had not sought rest or a lighter burden. I was so wrapped up in life that I did not live for Christ. But, now, I found THE REST AREA. I drink from the fountain of His word, I was weary, needing that rest, He replenished my soul. He took that heavy burden and gave me a light burden. Oh, there are times I get weary, tired, feel weak spiritually, but I stop at the rest area. I take time to pray, read the Bible, seek Christ and I get revitalized.

 

Jesus, I thank You for my salvation that You paid for with Your life. For my redemption You earned with Your resurrection. I praise You. Thank You for the mercies and forgiveness You gave me. Thank You for the spiritual rest, the replenishing water of life and the lighter load. I pray You will continue to work on me to make me into the servant You want me to be. I ask You work in hearts and minds of loved ones, draw them to you.

Amen.

 

Thanks for the time. I hope someone finds a bit of good in this that will help them. Share as you feel He directs. And, no matter what, be a blessing to someone.

 

You choose your mood.

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I work with several people. Everyone has different moods, at different times, mostly. There is one guy, Sam, and he, absolutely everyday, comes in whistling, cheerful, happy. Seems to have not a care in the world. Another guy, Mark, is the polar opposite. He comes in, complaining about something everyday. All day long he keeps it up, he complains nonstop. one thing after another. Some of the stuff is sort of reasonable to complain about, but the amount of complaining is always excessive. Other things, no one else seems concerned about, he has to complain about, trying to keep his bad mood bad, and at the same time, making everyone else’s mood as bad as his. Now, they don’t always work together, but when Sam and Mark are both there, watching the struggle is almost amusing. Sam, just doesn’t get phased, Mark will seem to do all he can to frustrate Sam. I have not yet seen it work. But, man, does Mark try. He doesn’t try to cause problems directly, but it is quite easy to see that he wants everyone in a bad mood. Creating turmoil seems to be the one thing that gives him any satisfaction. Sam, well, same aint about to let anybody steal his joy. He whistles, smiles, is polite, pleasant. Well, rarely does he get irritated, but in about 10 or 15 years working with this guy, I could count on one hand when it happened.

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. Psalms 5:11

Sam is an older gentleman, at least 10 years older than me. Retired military, life was not gentle when he was growing up or in the military. Despite health problems, family health problems, typical workplace problems, none of it gets to him. He chooses to be joyful.

And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation. Psalms 35:9

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Psalms 95:1

Mark, is in his 30’s, seems to be healthy, married, no kids, he and his wife both make very good money. Seems he has it made and has no reason to complain. Yet, he does, constantly. If nothing happens before work to make him upset, then he will complain about the parking lot, some of the exam rooms weren’t properly stocked the day before, the chairs were not in the right location. It doesn’t matter, he lives to complain.  He chooses bitterness.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Judges 10:13

Now, a couple things impact their approaches. One, is that some people want to be happy, so look for reasons, others, well, they want to be unhappy and they also, look for reasons to be able to have that mood. Oh, and, Sam, he is a Christian. He has a GREAT reason to be cheerful. I have known that he was since I first met him. While Mark, well, I had worked with him for over a year, and only in the last month found out he is wiccan. Yeah, I pray for him. It seemed to be almost accidental that I found out, he and another of his group were talking and I overheard, as did Sam. Sam, being Sam, said something about were they talking about religion, and asked what church they went to in the area. Mark said he was wiccan and they don’t really go to a church. Sam, then said, “oh, well, then I can understand while you are never happy, I would be unhappy too, except I serve the true God and am saved by His Son.” Mark, just sort of stammered, then, when he saw me kinda smiling, he apparently tried to mock Sam by saying, “You don’t believe in that Jesus stuff too do you?”

WELL……he asked. SO, “Yes I do as a matter of fact. I was raised in church, drifted away from God but am back where I need to be.” I then asked, “didn’t I hear you and Sally talking the other day about how I seem so much different anymore? ” then told him that the change in me was because of Christ, and instead of being bitter and angry all the time like he is, I am in the right place spiritually and know that God has my back and will do all He can to keep anyone from stealing my joy.

AND……..nothing, no response, PERIOD, from him or his wiccan friend. Neither had an answer. Then, Sam had to do it, he said, “yeah, its the way it is, you serve a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and joy, and that is what comes from you. You serve trees and grass, then you really don’t have much to be happy about. So I sure understand your mood all the time. Do you want to hear about the God that can give you joy?” They just walked away. Sad to see, but there has been a seed planted. I helped, a little, but the credit really goes to Sam. I am not yet bold about witnessing, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed, but not yet bold.

So, part of the message is that we do serve a God of joy, love and peace. It is easy to not be angry and bitter serving Christ yet I see many Christians that seem to always have a chip on their shoulders a good portion of the time. No matter how good things are going, they are in a bad mood, looking for a reason to complain about something. And another part of the message is that not only God can help your mood, but one can also choose to find joy and to not let others still the joy. Having Christ and a better attitude about being and staying joyful sure makes it easy to be in a better mood, no matter what others are saying or doing.

Lord, I praise You and thank You for my many blessings. I thank You for bringing me out of the mindset of negativity, that You have given me cause to be joyful. I ask that You continue Your work in me, help me always see the silver lining in every cloud, that little bit of goodness in even the worst circumstances instead of that one tiny negative thing in an otherwise good situation. I ask that You continue to make me want to seek Christ first. I ask that those, like my coworker, that are involved in false religions hear Your truth and recognize that the false gods and the things their religion will provide them nothing but eternal damnation while through Christ they can have life eternal. Help me, and others, be the servants You desire to help people like them. I pray for unsaved family and loved ones that You use me to help them come to You.

Amen.

 

I appreciate everyone’s time. Remember, your mood is a choice, Choose wisely. And be a blessing as you proceed through your day.

Onward!

The sweet smell of mowed hay wafted about, very pleasing to one’s sense of smell. A bee or two droned lazily from the occasional clover, gathering its food. Today was quite warm, with only a faint breeze; it would be a good day to relax or go swimming, but that mustn’t be. The work that soon would come would not be nearly so blissful.
Soon the faint rumbling of an engine could be heard rattling down the road. The long-awaited tractor finally pulled into the drive. Soon, the hum of the baler would begin, and then it gathers up the dried grass in order to form it into bales. The operator set the machine and began driving over the freshly raked hay rows. Bales began to form lines across the field.
20, 50, 100.
We still had a long way to go, the trailer only had that many bales on it. Sweat only began to soak the clothes of the workers as they heaved the 70 pound bales up. Persevere to the end we must!
300, 550, 700.
Finally! The trailers started to look full, and the day was starting to draw to an end. Over six hours of hard labor, roasting in the heat and humidity. Sweat drenched the workers’ clothes now, completely soaking them. Exhausted, they took a short break to rehydrate and rest. Their hands covered in blisters and their clothes slightly torn. Onward! They must finish the job! Even though they feel like dropping down from exhaustion, they have a goal, a purpose, and mission to drive them on. They fought the exhaustion and the pain to accomplish what they set out to do.

The Christian life can sometimes be like this when we feel beat down by circumstances and the pressures of life. Every little thing that doesn’t seem like much, adds up, exhausting us. The pressures that culture creates are enough to crush one’s spirit. Always being encouraged to sin and follow the road that leads to destruction by people who lack understanding of godliness, it can be a temptation to do these things in order to “fit in”. The indecency, the greed, the bitterness, the selfishness…all these things are burdens to us that hinders our walk with Christ.

Often, we develop blisters on our hearts. Blisters of remorse over the things we failed to do, or regret of the things we did. The burning pain sometimes causes us to retreat into a murky bog of self-pity and depression. We must learn to move past this skin-deep pain and live for something greater than ourselves. The pain lasts but a short time, and because we have been washed of our sin in the blood of Christ, we have all of eternity to look forward to. We must endure to the end.

The sensation of our spiritual muscles being exercised does not feel pleasurable either, yet we must allow God to train us to be able to fight the good fight. In 1 Timothy 6:12, we are called to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” We must persevere during our time here on earth and fight against the urge to drop down from exhaustion. Training to fight never will be easy. A good fighter must persevere through much pain in order to be a good fighter; he or she doesn’t become good from sitting on a couch watching television. One must face the trials presented by the coach to gain strength, endurance, and resist the tendency to quit.

Sometimes the training seems dull and boring, such as is the case in “average” people’s lives. The training may come in forms similar to stacking hay, a dull heavy labor without much excitement. Yet, as our Heavenly Coach knows this is necessary to teach us to endure anyway. Some of us are mothers, having to clean up after the family and cook day after day. Some of us are fathers, having to work an unfulfilling job that pays just enough to make ends meet. And yet others are young and just beginning life, studying and working, preparing for the world but seeming to get nowhere fast. In all these things, we are being taught to persevere no matter what, so that our spiritual muscles will develop.

Matthew 10:22- “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

We know from this verse that once we become Christians that there will be many trials to face, but we know from Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” With God as our coach, He knows exactly what we need to work on to become successful fighters. We can endure to the end not because we are strong enough on our own strength, but because Christ is with us and has given us strength in His grace and mercy.
Let us fight the good fight to the end! Pull on your gloves, and live in the strength of God, being nourished in the Word and be built up in love of Christ. Onward! This shall be our cry, for the kingdom of God is near. Pain cannot stop us, nor can the heat from the pressure of the crowds. Onward!

 

 

Thank you for the contribution.

To those who follow or read my blog, the author also blogs. I have gotten acquainted with her and will say that she has a lot of wisdom that many older people take far more year to acquire, IF they ever do.  Please, take time to look at her blog as well. unconqueredfaith.wordpress.com

 

 

Judas was betrayed. I pity Judas.

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WAIT! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? How DARE you say that!

Now, please bear with me and I think you will understand. It is hard to think of anyone in the Bible that is more reviled than Judas Iscariot. There are many that people revile, the Pharaoh when he refused to release the Israelites; Herod when he sent the soldiers to try to kill the infant Jesus; Pontius Pilate when he refused to intervene and stop the crucifixion; the Pharisees that demanded that Jesus be crucified and many others. But, none is more reviled than Judas. He betrayed Christ and was responsible for His crucifixion. He most definitely did, and while that was a horrendous act, it was absolutely necessary for us to have salvation. But, what do I mean when I say he was betrayed and why do you pity him? Judas is more complicated than can be seen at a cursory glance at the scripture. He was a disciple, he was with Jesus every and learned directly from Christ. Yet, he was preordained to betray Jesus and set in motion His crucifixion. Had he not betrayed Christ we would not have the salvation we all desperately need. Oh, had it not been Judas, God would have used someone else to do it. It was an absolute necessity. But, how was Judas betrayed? Why do you pity him? I’ll get back to that shortly.

I have been betrayed at times, by family, friends, co-workers, the list could go on but the fact remains that some of them have betrayed me. I have had people make inaccurate statements about me, some times with some truth but additional information added that was not true; had lies told about me; been stood up by friends, girlfriends, family when planning some event. Those betrayals have resulted in me being less trusting at times than I should be with others. It’s a fact that when trust is betrayed, it hurts. Unfortunately, I must confess that I have, at times, betrayed others. I am not proud of that, but in a variety of ways, I have done so. I seriously doubt anyone alive could say they haven’t both been betrayed and betrayed others.

One incident I remember, I was 14, it was Halloween and I was supposed to meet one of my very close friends to hang out. We didn’t have specific plans, weren’t planning on any mischief, maybe sort of trick or treat (we were not going to wear costumes) a few houses of friends, teachers and such that lived in our neighborhood. We were supposed to meet up at the grocery store about 2 blocks from both our houses. I got there a few minutes early and was waiting. He was not there when we had planned, and about 5 minutes later I wondered if he blew me off. About that time, two guys I knew, one a friend of my brother and another guy, both older than me, that I went to school with pulled up and were talking to me. Asked me if I wanted to go with them. Well, my buddy wasn’t there yet and seeing as I thought he ditched me, I figured okay, why not. And, I got in with them, as we were leaving I saw my buddy and waved, thought about telling the driver to stop so I could get out, but didn’t and off I went. We rode around a bit, managed to get some beer (FYI, I have never liked beer and still don’t.) I pretended to be a big shot drinking beer, hanging out with the big guys. We really didn’t do much other than ride around and I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but was now stuck. Finally, about midnight they dropped me off, about an hour after I was supposed to be home. As I was walking up the drive way, my mom was pulling out and when she got to me, she was crying. She told me that when I was late, she called my buddy’s house and found out I went with these other guys. She didn’t know who I was with, what I was doing, if I was safe or had been hurt. It really upset me that I put her through so much. I got grounded for a couple weeks as punishment for being late and for not being where I was supposed to be that night. Now, I had betrayed my friend, and that damaged our friendship. I tried to repair it, but it was never the same. We eventually drifted apart. The shame I felt and the hurt I caused him had caused me problems. Now, there are times that relationships can be mended, but also times they can’t. A lot depends on the sincerity of the betrayer and the willingness of the betrayed to forgive. It takes a lot more to fix something once damaged than to take care of it properly. I had betrayed him, but not just him, I betrayed my parents as well. And, the longest lasting impact of the betrayal was the fact I betrayed myself. My actions towards my friend, parents and self were wrong. I felt guilt and shame. I disappointed them, and me.

Back to Judas, yes, he betrayed Christ. His actions were horrible, to betray the trust Christ had in him as he kissed his cheek and then accepted his 30 pieces of silver.

14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Matthew 26:14-16

 

20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

Matthew 26:20-25

 

47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

Matthew 26:47-50

Yes, Judas betrayed Christ, so stunning to think that anyone could betray someone that meant so much to them. But, his greed and other human emotions entered and the betrayal occurred.

3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.      Matthew 27:3-5

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Yes, Judas betrayed Jesus for a measly 30 pieces of silver, but he was also betrayed, by the chief priests and more importantly, by himself. He wanted to undo what he did, but it was too late, he suffered terrible guilt and remorse for his actions which was too much for him and he hanged himself.

Betrayal is a tricky thing, it can occur through a variety of actions, but when one betrays another, the effects are like ripples from throwing a stone in the water, they keep going, then when they hit the bank, return to the point of origin. We betray ourselves when we betray another. We carry guilt for that, or we should if we are true Christians and as such, need forgiveness from those we have betrayed, from ourselves and most importantly from God.  No good may come of betrayal. I had some fun that night I mentioned but not enough to override the guilt I felt knowing that I was wrong.

However, through the betrayal of Christ, we have redemption of our sins, our betrayals of God and others. We must ask forgiveness for our betrayals and all our sins. We must confess those betrayals to the Lord and ask His forgiveness. Sometimes like with my friend, the betrayal damages things too severely. Yes, in that case a lot was due to lack of maturity on both our parts, but the blame does rest on me. He may have forgiven me eventually, maybe he did so years ago, but Greg, I apologize for my betrayal and I pray you find it in your heart to forgive me. To any others I have betrayed, I apologize and ask your forgiveness. I will ask God forgive me and to help me forgive myself as well for what any I betrayed.  But, thankfully with Christ, we can be forgiven. God will forgive us.

 

Lord, I worship You in Your majesty. I glorify and praise You. I ask that You work in my heart that I be loyal and true, not betray others for any reason. That You put it in the hearts of any I have betrayed to forgive me, and help me forgive myself for those acts. I ask You to continue to work in my heart that I develop a mind like Christ and that I continue to seek after Him. That I become a more worthy servant and a better emissary of Jesus on Earth. I pray that You work in the hearts and minds of loved ones, that any and all be drawn to You, to salvation and that they desire to follow You. I ask You put conviction in all hearts that they who are not saved seek the salvation You have available for all who recognize Your Son, Jesus Christ, and they confess their sins to You and that we all give themselves to Your will and not our own. Thank You for your mercy, blessings and my salvation.

Amen

 

I hope that this will be helpful to someone regardless of whether betrayed or betrayer. I hope that someone is blessed by my words. I thank you for taking time to visit my blog and read my posts. Have a blessed day and don’t be stingy when it comes to sharing your blessings with others. Be a blessing to someone today.

 

The Pauper

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Have you ever been poor? I have. Not out on the street without a home or food, but definitely pay check to pay check, cheap food, balancing bills, which to pay, which can wait because you can’t pay them all and have money for food. At times, I worked two jobs and my wife worked, because better jobs without specific training or education were hard to find. We got by, the kids may have worn hand me downs or garage sale clothes, the cars we owned were older but ran. We weren’t homeless. In those regards, we were better off than some. But it was a struggle. Finally were doing a little better, I got some training and a job where I made a little better money, she had a better job too. Oh, it was still tough, but manageable compared to before. Then, I went to college and medical school. Student loans at first, but thank God for medical school I obtained a military scholarship that not only paid tuition and such, but I got a small stipend to help with expenses. I had to be what is called a geographic bachelor for the first two years, off to school for a week, home on weekends as school and home were a few hours apart and it would have been worse on the kids trying to move them to where I was in school and my wife had a pretty good job. Well, I shared an apartment with a classmate, cheap, but at least clean. Sometimes, my food for the day was a slice of bread and a can of vegetables or maybe some ramen noodles. I survived, and for the most part, I have not been one that lives to eat, but rather eats to live, so as long as something I was okay. But, in order to help avoid worse hardships on the kids, I did without a lot. Its what parents do. Well, finally done with med school, internship and residency. Income, but had student loans from college. But, at least could get a little in savings for emergencies. Still struggled the first few years but not as bad as previously. Finally, got to the point where income increased, student loans paid off and minimal other debt. Cars were always used (never been one to want to buy new cars and suffer the depreciation) but, had a house payment and utilities and such. Life was at least comfortable and did not have to do without. Gradually, we were able to build up some in savings. Now, still have house payment, utilities, groceries and such, but no massive credit card, car loans, or other debts. I thank God for that. I am not wealthy, but at least I don’t have to worry about how a bill is going to be paid, which I can put off a month or two an which have to be paid or the lights will be turned off and such. I can buy food without wondering if it will result in my having to do without something else that is also needed.

After having been poor and now decent pay, I did not want to be in the position of no money in bank for emergencies. So, I saved money. Not tons, my wife has been very good about making sure not too much gets saved but I guess that is how some are about money. If it is there, she would rather spend it on stuff. I would rather have the money for things I will need, not just things because the store had it and there was money with which to pay. A lot of the different attitudes that she and I, as well as many others have, about money is due to how people are raised. Her dad made good money, but he always had to have new cars or pick ups, expensive suits, her mom had to have expensive dresses. If they bought something, it had to be the good stuff. But, when it came to things like food they always tried to find the bargains. My dad described such people as penny wise and dollar wild. They worry about saving small amounts but throw big bucks away on luxury items. My parents were more conservative with money, bought used vehicles for the most part, not the most expensive clothing, maybe garage sales for some clothes and such. But, we weren’t poor, always had food, clothes, house, bills always paid. Never did without essentials and usually had some niceties. My folks, especially my dad, were fairly frugal. So, I learned to be more frugal, my wife learned from her folks to be the way towards money that they were and that caused issues when we were poor. But, at least when poor, she couldn’t waste it on expensive clothes and luxury items.

Well, seeing as I try to be frugal as well, not nearly like my folks, but more than a lot. I guess one would say I am conservative with money. I don’t love money, but I need it to survive, as I look to the future to plan for retirement and try to get my retirement savings taken care of for that time. Since I was poor I had been unable to save for retirement then, so trying to play catch up on that. However, due to my frugality, concern about future I have been told all I worry about is money, that I love money. No, I don’t love money, in fact, I have simple needs personally and could live in a card board box and be as ok as if I lived in a palace. I need money to pay bills, I don’t love it though.

Oh, there are those that love money, no doubt. Sometimes its the wealthy that love their money. I know some rich people, sometimes they are stingy, they don’t want to lose or use what money they have unless necessary, except when it comes time to try and show off and then will have fancy cars, fancy house, huge parties. All to show off for people what they can do with all their money. Others I have known that were wealthy were not in love with money. Oh, they had a lot in the bank, or lots of assets, real estate and such, but they weren’t misers. Funny thing is, a lot of poor people are more in love with money, more obsessed with money than those that have it. Not just the wealthy, but even middle class that are at least making enough they can pay all their bills if they are moderate with their spending. Houses not huge, no fancy cars, etc. The poor that are in love with money will rush to buy the luxuries as fast as they can, as quickly as they have the money in hand. Not worrying about the essentials like rent and utilities so they struggled till the next payday. Some poor people have learned how to survive fine with limited funds. They buy what they have to and not extras. Money is needed, but they don’t love money.

A couple weeks ago the pastor preached on money. He talked about some of the things I mentioned and that sometimes people, often those that don’t have much money but secretly love it, or some that make good money, but spend it as quick as they can but don’t have money for emergencies, will criticize the frugal. Kinda quoting scripture saying, “money is the root of all evil.” EXCEPT, that is not what the scripture says. They misquote the scripture, maybe because they want it to say what they want it to say, maybe because they never read that particular verse closely.

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

1 Timothy 6:10-11

 

It isn’t the money that is the root of evil, it is the love of it. The pastor preached that loving money was essentially making an idol out of it. Guess what, GOD DOES NOT LIKE IDOLS! I have to admit, I was one that did not read all of that verse, I had read it, but not really, maybe skimmed that part, or because I had always heard the phrase that money is the root of all evil, I didn’t pay close attention to what was written.

This can apply to material things that people want to buy, but don’t have the money saved and will use credit cards to purchase. Now, credit cards used properly are great tools, but if not used properly, can cause huge problems. Many years ago, my wife got some credit cards, used them, made the minimum payments, after a while, she used them more, still made only minimal payments, with the interests rates and such, we were paying almost $100 a month in credit cards and the balances were unchanged. Well, we had to get aggressive about paying those off, and it took several months to do so, but finally did, after doing without some things for a while. But finally avoided paying so much money for ridiculous interest rates on things we actually could have done without. I know people who use credit cards to pay as the month goes along, then when bill due, pay it off. They do it for convenience. Sometimes, they are needful, and paying them off as quickly as possible over a few months is great as well. But, there are some that I know that have multiple credit cards and all are maxed, or near so, and they will make the minimum payments on each. Never getting any paid off. Sometimes, getting new cards because they are literally cannot put more on the cards they have already. Now, compounding their debts and problems. They buy things they don’t need, maybe to try to impress themselves or others. But, here again, revolves around the love of money, the desire to have what they think it can buy. However, money doesn’t buy happiness, it buys items, and those that try to use money to buy happiness are unhappy people. They need God, not more stuff, not more debt. They put themselves in situations where they have to focus on paying credit card bills and lose focus on other things, the credit cards (and money they represent) become their idols.

 

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

 

Any idol is an abomination to God. Money, houses, cars, clothes, jewelry, real estate, food, whatever the case may be is vile in His eyes if anything else is the focus of one’s attention and not God, we have made idols of that thing. But, one thing the pastor mentioned, is that it isn’t just the money that can be an idol. HOW it is used can be as well. I mentioned the man I worked for after High School. He would make some big donations to the church, but, when he did, he expected some sort of recognition. Maybe not in the form of a plaque. But he wanted people to know that he donated, and how much. His donation was not based on the needs of the church, they weren’t from a pure heart wanting to help, the donations were to get attention for himself. The attention was his idol. And, in this case, he loved the money, because of the attention he derived from it. So, definitely fits that the love of money is the root of all evil.

Just had a conversation with a friend last night about retirement and such. He asked if I was saving for it and all. I said, yes, but need more, because I hope to live a long time and don’t want to suffer when I am much older. He made the comment about money being the root of evil. Well, I corrected him, but just seemed like an appropriate post.

Whatever your financial status, how much money and material objects you have, you cannot buy happiness or salvation. That comes from God, through Christ.

Lord, I thank You for my salvation and praise Your Holy Name. I thank You for seeing me through times of financial hardship and blessing me some now. You meet my needs and I do not live in fear of loss of utilities which is a huge blessing. I pray You continue to help me and to remind me to help others, to give to church as I should, and to be mindful not to love the money, or what it might do, so that it does not interfere with my relationship with Christ. I ask You to help those having difficult times financially. To provide for their needs so they do not have worries for food and essentials. I pray that you speak to those that need to know to make YOU the focus, not the money, or what it does, but that we all focus on Christ. Help as all better serve You. I pray You work on my heart so that my desire to seek You grows. That I do all I can to find Christ, find His will and way in my life. That I not allow other things to interfere with serving Him.

Please, draw my family and loved ones to You.

Amen

 

Thanks for stopping by, as I said, came up in a conversation, made me think about the sermon, and had my experiences to add. I hope it helps someone. Don’t forget to seek opportunities to be blessings to others today.

 

I am not a crier, yet, I cried.

Those that know me well, know that I don’t cry, that is not accurate, I do, when I have been through something very painful I have shed a few tears, loss of my parents for example, each time there was tremendous pain. And, while I shed some tears, it wasn’t as many as some others, it didn’t mean I wasn’t grieving, it is just that I don’t show grief with tears as much as many people do. There have been some times of extreme joy, birth of my children for an example of that, where there were just a few tears. Not that I was not overjoyed, but I just don’t cry a lot. For some reason, it has always been uncomfortable for me.

This morning I went to church, I was a few minutes late, they had already served communion but there were a few others, like me, who didn’t get there on time to whom they went ahead and served communion in the back of the church. I hadn’t partaken of communion for some time, so I took the opportunity to do so and as one man was praying, I thought hard about what communion is really about. I prayed silently to the Lord while the other man prayed. I took the bread, his body; I drank the wine, his blood and continued in my silent prayers. As I did so, tears started flowing, not a lot, but yeah, I was crying. I don’t have an explanation as far as being very sorrowful or extremely joyful, other than I felt Christ there. One gentleman asked if I had any needs at that time. Well, we all have needs, no one has a perfect life, but overall, things are pretty good for me now. Then, I thought, I have heard the song, “Help me Jesus” with the lyrics about wanting the healer, more than the healing. Well, I truly want to learn how to seek Him. So, I told the man that I wanted to be better at seeking the Lord. We prayed, the tears did not stop. It was song service and every song touched my heart so deeply. Some were old standards that I have heard more times than I can remember, but others were new to me. But, each and everyone just spoke to me in a way I can’t really explain. Those I had heard before, meant more than I remember them ever meaning. I heard something in the words I had never heard before. The tears continued. I wasn’t sobbing but the tears were flowing and oh, how I felt Jesus with me.

I wrote a couple blogs earlier this week, one about crossing a bridge and the other about he scores. Both contain descriptions of feeling Him give me an anointing. And, today, once again, the Holy Spirit gave me an anointing. I didn’t really go expecting that, I just went to get the chance to worship God, spend some time with the folks there and well, see whatever happened. I had no real thoughts or things that I was feeling a strong need for overall. Some things that have been there, still are and I have surrendered those things to Christ, so I am not worrying about them. He will deal with all things I have given to Him. But, wow, what a blessing I received. The tears stopped for a little bit, then, the pastor started to preach and surprisingly, his sermon was on Acts 2, the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit poured out His anointing on those in the upper room that day. God has a plan, God worked on me a couple mornings earlier in the week, He laid it on the heart of the pastor to preach on that topic today. After a few minutes, the tears started again. I have almost always been able to hold off crying if I really wanted to, or at least keep it to a minimum. But today, I couldn’t have and really did not want to do that. So, the tears flowed. The feelings I had were of full and complete peace, I felt hot and cold, weak and strong, all at the same time. Other feelings that I can’t explain other than things that would normally be polar opposites, completely different, but I felt them all. No words to explain it. I felt no words well up inside me to which I should give utterance, I prayed silently to God. Praised and worshipped God, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I felt, just like it is described in the Bible, pressed down and shaken together.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38

 

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Acts 2:1-2

 

I don’t know what giving I did to deserve the blessing I received today, but it was running over.

 

I worship and praise You Lord. I thank You for Your mercies and kindness. I thank You for the blessing I received today. I pray You keep that fired burning in my heart to better serve You.

Amen

 

It was just an amazing morning and wanted to share.

 

People watching (social dynamics observations )

rowdy-kids-market-80402959-small.jpg

 

I had to go to the market (grocery store for those who don’t use the same term.) I hate shopping, I usually go, find what I need and go. But, sometimes, I take a little time to observe people and their behavior. I do that at work sometimes too, not just take care of the sick person, but watch the family in the room and see how they interact. As I was shopping, I heard something fall and there were two boys, lets call them Sam and Joe, (I thought about Thing 1 and Thing 2 as I read a lot of Dr Seuss when I started reading a couple weeks ago but thought some would think that mean, lol) but one was standing there the other hollering, “mom, did you see that? Sam knocked that stuff off the shelf.” Sam said, “no I didn’t Joe did.” Joe started hollering louder, “NO I DIDN’T, YOU DID!” Sam said no more. Joe kept going on, saying more and more. Sam just picked up the boxes that had fallen and handed them to his mom as he was fussed at for messing with stuff and knocking it off the shelf, he was lucky it didn’t break. Joe got a huge grin on his face. Something seemed off. As I shopped, they were a little ahead of me for a while. You know how that goes? Seems like when I shop, as I go through the aisles if someone is going the same direction, there ends up being a convoy of sorts for a while so you end up ahead of one person and behind another for a while. That happened so I kind of observed these boys, this family, as I shopped. I would hear a commotion and saw other instances where there was a mishap of some sort, Sam always got blamed by Joe, as soon as something happened. Occasionally, Joe would get something, take it to their mom and say, “Didn’t you want this?” Mom would act appreciative and then tell him to put it in the cart. Sam just followed along and if he tried to help, he was told, “NO, that is not what I wanted, put it back.” But THEN, I looked up at just the right time, Joe shoved Sam into one of the aisle displays, this was a stack of macaroni and cheese, Sam fell, the mac and cheese tower came crashing down. One again, the second it happened Joe started hollering, “Mom, did you see that? Sam just knocked that stuff over.” Sam tried to protest, “No I didn’t mom, Joe pushed me.” Mom was livid at this point and told Sam he was not getting anything today. Then added, “why can’t you just be like Joe, he is always so good at the store and you always have to mess with stuff and cause a big commotion.” Sam started to say something, then, you could see the look of defeat so he just said, “Sorry mom.” and tried to pick up some of the boxes. Joe just grinned.

I went to them, said “ma’am, I don’t want to interfere, but that little boy, (pointing at Joe) shoved him into that stack of boxes.” She just kinda looked at me and then the boys. At that point I didn’t need anything more in that aisle and couldn’t get past all the mac and cheese boxes, so I turned around and went on with my shopping. I wondered about those boys, that family, prayed that God work with them. I will admit, there may be more involved than I know, maybe Sam is usually the trouble maker and Joe usually the victim. I saw them and their interactions for but a few moments but it sure looked to be a pattern of behavior that had played out many times before. Sam, innocent of what he was accused, Joe the instigator, loudly accusing Sam of any and all things that happened.

I have seen this with families in clinic as well. Mom busy with tending the sick child while the other children do what kids do. One will sit there playing with whatever toy, another trying to play with the various pieces of equipment, teasing siblings or whatever, but when something gets knocked over or something gets spilled, one will accuse the other often wrongly, but the mom will seem to believe one immediately and disbelieve the other when he denies wrong doing.

My son in law was talking about issues at the factory where he works, there was a problem in the packaging in an area near him. Someone had loaded the bags, well, what became bags, it was rolls of paper packaging that as it went through the process was cut to length, one end sealed, the package filled and then the other end of package was sealed. But, the roll of packaging material was not loaded correctly, they are supposed to load it, run the package part way through to feed it into the machine, cut off a certain amount so the printing on it is centered correctly. Well, someone had failed to cut off the excess so a bunch of the bags had the printing not placed properly. One employee immediately accused the prior shift worker of the problem. Well, that guy was home by then and couldn’t defend himself. The supervisor made a note, said he was going to have the guys supervisor speak to him and they would just leave the current packaging for him to have to refill when he got to work the next day. The one working at the time went ahead and made corrections and finished out his shift. The next day, there was a bit of a commotion. As my son in law tells it, management had done an investigation, the machines record certain bits of information. Keep track of a variety of things, how much has been processed and packaged, how much time the machine is down for service, how much more packaging is there so they don’t run without it in place and who knows what else. But, as they reviewed the information they found that the packaging material had been reloaded, about an hour or so after shift change, so no way the accused employee had been at fault. Then, my son in law added that it seems the one that blamed the other has had a lot of that sort of thing happen, malfunction of something, always someone else’s fault, someone else gets in trouble but had never been caught. Eventually, he was found out. I don’t know what, if any disciplinary action was taken, but the fact that he left multiple victims if you will, in his wake while always portraying himself as innocent was an interesting thing to me.

I got to thinking on that type of interaction. How one person seems to accuse another of any and all type of behavior and actions. They believe the accuser and though one is innocent, they are automatically assumed guilty, because “Joe said you did it.” with the accused, knowing that protesting will not help, accepting that no attempted defense will be successful accepts it and hopes that one day the truth will be seen. With Sam, Joe and their mom, well, I hope I helped and that mom sees the truth about some of the things. Like I said, I may not know the whole situation, maybe I saw Sam on a good day and Joe on a bad day. But, still, patterns tend to be consistent on human behavior.

 

But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

 

Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips. Proverbs 24:28

 

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. Matthew 24:4

 

I don’t know if Joe ever apologized, if he ever confessed to his mom. I don’t know if I only saw an unusual event for that family of if it was a typical thing. I just know what I saw then. I hope Sam is as good as he seemed but also hope Joe isn’t quite that bad. Regardless, I pray for them. If Joe is as he seemed, the child is in for a rough life because all those chickens will one day come home to roost.

But, there is hope, for him, for all, Christ, the Son of God, died that we may have salvation. We have all sinned, but He gives us the opportunity to see the truth, most importantly the truth of His word and for the forgiveness and salvation we need. WHAT A GRACIOUS GOD WE SERVE!

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 3:22-26

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name, please help the family I saw. Help the mother do well raising her children. If not saved, draw them to You. Help me be able to be a better servant, to seek You, to serve You and do Your will. Help me with writing this blog that I use the right words and deliver the messages You wish me to deliver. Give me the Heart and Mind of Christ that I serve You better. Draw family and loved ones, as well as all, to You that those not saved will be and those that are be closer to You. Thank You for the many blessings, my salvation and yet another day to serve You.

Amen

 

Thanks for stopping by today. Getting ready for church, I hope all have a blessed day and find a way to be a blessing to at least one other person today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise the Lord!

jcpsalms118

 

I used to start to wake up, lay in bed, try to wake up, get the fog of sleep out of my head first, get my thoughts to going and then pray. Well, I decided a couple weeks ago that I was going to start praying as soon as I was awake, before even getting out of bed. Seeing as well, sometimes I aint so awake and thoughts are a little jumbled, most of the times it is a simple prayer. I usually pray quietly, God can hear our thoughts as well as our words. Usually just a simple prayer of praise and thanks.

It really has helped me. I still pray more a while later, after fully awake, usually after reading a bit in the Bible but the practice of praising Him before I really do anything to start the day has made my days better. Give it a try. Don’t wait till YOU are ready to pray, offer up a simple prayer of praise and thanks, as soon as you are awake. He allowed you to wake up, praise and thank Him for that if nothing else.

Lord, I praise You and thank You for the blessings You give me. For giving me another day to serve You. Help me be a better Christian as I go through my day and help me be a blessing to someone.

Amen

Just a simple bit of praise and thanks to start the day. I hope all have a blessed day.

ABANDONED and alone!

kresge

When I was about 4, maybe 5, my mom, brother and I were in the Kresge’s in town. It was the precursor to K-mart and sort of a department store or dime store type place. Well, we went through the toy department and I saw something I wanted, I seem to think it was a toy horse, but I can’t recall for certain, but I wanted it bad. I was told no, and in typical 4 year old fashion, I tried to throw a fit. AND….well, it didn’t work so well. I was so busy having a tantrum that I did not realize my mother and brother had gone. When I stopped acting a fool over the toy I looked and couldn’t see them. I was abandoned, LOST, all ALONE!!!!!   Uh, OH, Here comes more tears and crying, but this time I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. So, I just stood there crying. A lady came by, seemed older than my Grandmother, had white hair and all. Asked me what was wrong. I told her I couldn’t find my mother. She tried to quiet me, no good, I kept bawling. Then, she said, “Well, can I buy you a toy?” WHAT???? Heck Yes she could, my tears slowed, I found something and we headed to the cash register. She explained to the cashier that I had gotten lost from my mother and asked her to call the manager to come help but she was going to buy my toy while we waited. Just as she was about to give the cashier the money, my mother showed up. Darn my bad luck. She then told the woman she had stepped around the corner when I threw a fit and was watching to see what I would do and then was going to come back around the corner. She was trying to scare me instead of spanking me for throwing a fit. (Yeah, parents could spank kids in public back then, and it happened to a lot of kids. Maybe me a time or two. lol)

Well, I got told never go with strangers, and all, she took the toy away, gave it to the cashier and then we finished up there, but I stayed close to her. Partly because she said I better, partly because I didn’t want to take a chance on getting lost again.

I felt alone and abandoned, though she was there, I didn’t know it. There have been other times I have had to deal with abandonment.  It still creates a feeling of disparity and loneliness, heartache and pain.

BUT, there is GREAT NEWS! God will never leave us or forsake us. He will be RIGHT THERE with us as we go through life. No matter how bad or good, He is faithful and true.

(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. Deuteronomy 4:31

 

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deuteronomy 31:6

 

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Joshua 1:5

 

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5

 

While others may abandon us, forsake us and break promises to us, God will not. He will absolutely NEVER leave us or forsake us as long as we serve Him.

Dear God,  I worship You and thank You for always and forever being faithful and true to me, even at times I did not deserve it. That You didn’t forsake me at those times, despite that I had forsaken You. I thank You for the comfort of knowing that You will always be at my side, and all around me, protecting me from harm, giving me comfort when needed, teaching me Your way, showing me Your path. I pray You use me mightily and help me be who You want me to be as a vessel of Christ. Work in the hearts and minds of family, bring those who need it to salvation, draw us all closer. Work in our hearts and minds to better serve You.

Amen.

 

Thanks for coming by today.  Be as faithful and true as God. Bless others, and have a blessed day.