I ate what?????

 

feast

 

The other day at work the conversation turned to unusual foods and I was asked what the most unusual food I had ever eaten. Over the course of my military career and life in general I found myself in many countries, more often than not working closely with the locals in those countries. Most of the time we would eat what we were served and eventually they would serve some sort of specialty food they consider delicacies. I have been “fortunate” enough to eat many different things and I told them I wasn’t sure what would be the worst as I have had sea horse soup, thousand year old eggs, cat, dog, guinea pig, snakes, iguana, turtle, among other things as well as so many different fruits and vegetables that I couldn’t remember them all. There were more questions about all those different foods and were any gross was among them. Well, to be honest, some of those foods were not things I would go out of my way to eat, but none were really vile tasting or disgusting. But, as we talked, I remembered one instance when we were eating guinea pig we were being served in Ecuador. One of the others had eaten a couple of them as, well, he loved to eat, and was enjoying his meal and then asked what it was exactly. Now, he didn’t speak Spanish so I was translating. I asked the locals and they said it was conejillo which is similar to the word for rabbit, conejo. As I spoke with the locals I tried to clarify and found out that it was definitely not young rabbit and when I couldn’t fully understand what they meant by conejillo, they went into the kitchen and brought back a live guinea pig and said, “Eso es comiendo.”  “this is what you are eating.” As soon as the other guy realized what he had been eating, he suddenly became nauseated and headed to the bathroom. Apparently he had a pet guinea pig when he was young and it didn’t sit well knowing that is what he had eaten.

I hadn’t thought about that for years but as we were discussing it I thought about the times that things that seemed good suddenly were not as wonderful when one found out the truth about it. Sometimes that can apply to food but it can apply to other things as well: jobs, cars, houses, people, almost anything really. But, many times something seems great at first, you almost can’t believe how good it is and then, you find out what it really is, despite all the seasoning and presentation, what it truly is you realize is no where near what you thought. What seemed fantastic is far from that. Rather than being something marvelous, it is something that you find, not only is it not what you thought, but the opposite. All because deep down inside, what it is made from is something that is not only not good, but the complete opposite.

How does one reconcile the facts with the perception? Does one adapt the thought that it was always like it seems now, and for some reason what was thought to be delicious was really not palatable at all? Is knowledge about something what makes it better or worse? Applying that to one’s spiritual life, I know there are things that in the past I thought were marvelous and now, not only do I not find those things appealing, I find myself puzzled that I could ever think such things were anything worth the effort, when looking back on what I “enjoyed” I realize that now, God has changed my thoughts about a lot of things. Some is because I think differently about things because of how He has worked in my life and changed my tastes? Yes, I do believe He has done that and more. Is it that, combined with the fact He has shown me some truths that I was not willing or able to face in the past? Probably yes. Perhaps He is helping me be better able to discern what is true from what I thought to be true but is not; showing me the difference between my perception of truth and what IS TRUE!

4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

1 Timothy 4:4-5

So, things may be okay to eat, but not necessarily taste good or even seem appetizing, regarding actual food, so the concept of what is good is within the person. But, sometimes, because of how food is prepared and presented, it can look more appetizing, or very much the opposite. Yet, the foods that look less appetizing can actually taste better.

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.              1 Samuel 16:7

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Matthew 23:28

But, with things that seem good based on outward appearances, without knowledge of the truth of that thing, person, etc we may mistakenly take part, then realize either it is far from good and nothing near what it looked to be initially. With that thought, it is obvious He wants us to be better informed, educated, wise about things.

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.       1 Timothy 2:4

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.     Colossians 2:8

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

Yes, He will give us knowledge and wisdom; He will show us the truth. We must seek the truth, ask for wisdom and knowledge of things before we partake, only then will we avoid that which is not good. Delaying getting involved in a situation that until after we earnestly seek God, and seek the knowledge and understanding He provides will ensure that we do not find ourselves sickened by what we find to be the truth. Just as had my friend inquired and learned the truth about what he was eating would have helped him avoid being sickened by finding out after he had consumed it.

 

Lord, I praise You and worship Your Holy Name. I thank You for using my life experiences to teach me better ways to think and live. That You show me that what once seemed to be wonderful is not always so. I pray in the name of Jesus that You show us all the truths about various situations and give us the wisdom and desire to seek You before we partake. That You help us realize that not all that looks good is good and that what can seem good at first is often something that will cause us some sort of suffering in the long run. I pray that You draw me and loved ones closer to You, teach us all Your love for one another and that You show us, should we be in a situation that we suddenly find sickens us because it is not of You, how we can remove ourselves from that and help us avoid those things in the future.

Amen

 

Well, thank you all again for your time. I hope my rambling makes sense and is of some sort of blessing to someone. Please try to be a blessing to another as you go about your days.

 

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What to do, what to do?

fork in road

 

I am facing a decision, a fork in the road, trying to decide which road to take. As I consider options for the future I vacillate between a variety of choices. There are many options for us all, regardless of current circumstances and there are many choices to be made. I am faced with making decisions that will impact my life in many ways and some options will be dramatic changes in my life now and in the future. I make mental lists of pros and cons for each choice as I try to weigh the options, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each. While doing so I find that one choice has definite benefits over the other possibilities and, of course, as I think about things more I see yet another choice would be better for me. And, it goes on and on like that, one pays more, but would be a huge change, one offers stability if you will as it does not require sacrifice or change. The more I think one option is the right one and start to get more certain, the less certain I am about it and the more doubt starts to pop into my mind.

Basically, the more I think rather than being more certain, I become more uncertain. Obviously, I need wisdom beyond what I possess. VERY obviously, I need some guidance from God on this so I believe it is time to look to the scripture first, then pray on things after that so I know the path He has planned for me and wants me to take.

 

5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

 

14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

1 John 5:14-15

 

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10

 

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

 

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

John 14:12-14

 

 

 

Well, lots there telling me that He will help me, if I seek Him and listen to Him. So, time to pray a bit and give all the circumstances to God so that He can show me His will and way.

 

Heavenly Father,  thank You for your words to show me that more important than the decision I make, is the way in which I make it and that in order to make the right decision, the decision that You wish me to make I must first seek You and when I do, You will show me the way. I pray in Jesus name that You show me the heart and mind of Christ that I will be able to hear You and know Your will and way for me. That I have no doubt about the decision I make and that while making the decision I put myself aside and look and listen to You while weighing my options. Give me Your wisdom as I make my decisions and help me be humble before You, not trying to push my will into the decision but look to You for that. I ask that You help my loved ones know that the decision is from You and that Your hand is guiding me. Draw us all closer to You and show us all Your will and Your plans for us. Give us all the wisdom to listen to You and understand what You are telling us. I thank You Lord for my forgiveness and salvation through your son Jesus who died on the cross to redeem my sins. Help me be a blessing to others that Your glory is shown through me.

Amen

 

Thanks to all for your time. I ask that you pray for me, that He work in my heart so I know His plans. I hope all have a blessed day and have a chance to be a blessing to someone else as well.

 

The Beatitudes

beatitudes-image_page77.jpg

I remember learning the Beatitudes for Sunday School, more than a couple years ago (okay, okay a lot more than a couple.)  I was skimming places in the Bible the other day and stopped to read them as I hadn’t for a long time, not REALLY read them at least. You know how it is, you read something, but don’t take time to think hard about what it means? But, I read with purpose and intent and WOW, powerful words and promises from God!

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

THIS IS AN AMAZING PASSAGE! The Beatitudes promise us that we have a place of comfort, peace, riches, will never hunger or thirst, will receive mercy and life in peace. WOW, Some pretty wonderful promises. Such rich spiritual rewards.

But, the rest of the chapter is pretty good too!

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

We all have doubters. I am thankful that God recognizes truth and that despite what same think and say, that He knows me and my heart and will reward me for my efforts here. There are times I let other people’s negative statements bother me more than it should but God tells me that He wants me to let His words shine through me. Verses like 14, 15 and 16 tell me this. The Lord sure uses the Bible to teach us, strengthen us and help us grow spiritually in Christ. What an AMAZING God we serve.

 

Lord, I glorify You and thank You for Your words to help strengthen me in my purpose. The words that help me see Your plan on how You wish to use me to help reach others. I ask that You continue to teach me, continue to use me and give me guidance on the words that You would have me use to draw others to Jesus. I thank You for my salvation and the gift of eternal life. I pray you continue to help me grow in You. I ask for Your hand in my words, my life, my future that You be in control and lead me in Your desired path for me. I pray that You work in the hearts and minds of loved ones that they yearn to come to You and follow Your plan in their lives as well. I ask that You help me be a blessing to others as I work and encounter others throughout the day, today and everyday.

Amen

I do appreciate all that take time to read what He leads me to write. I hope it is helpful to at least one other person, but better yet, MANY. Please share as you see fit and feel God leading you to do so. As I have said more often than not, have a blessed day and try to be a blessing to at least one, hopefully many today.

 

 

The Calm Before the Storm

lightning-storm-weather-sky-53459.jpeg

I love watching lightening storms! So much power, so beautiful and terrifying both. Thunderstorms fascinate me, as do tornadoes. Seen lots of thunderstorms, a few tornadoes and they are something to see. Again, so much power, the capability for destruction. Yet, I know that God will protect me. But, tonight we have storms in the area, tornado warning earlier, haven’t heard much about the warnings for about 30 minutes, so maybe it is now gone but the tornado watches continue. I stepped outside a few minutes ago and there was hardly any breeze, just still and that made me think about the calm before the storm.

Many times in my life things have been calm with no big issues, things seem to be going great, no huge turmoil, just living. Things seemed to be going well. Then, suddenly, the storms hit! Sometimes was a total surprise. Things happen I can’t control and without warning a lot of times the “winds” started blowing, thunder, lightning, torrential downpours of financial, emotional, work problems, whatever, I have had most all of them. Sometimes, of my own creation, but often nothing within my control brought on the storms, just life.

I know there were times when I was younger that one or the other of my parents knew that a storm was heading my way. There were times they tried to warn me and usually I didn’t listen. Other times they knew, but didn’t say anything because they knew that saying something would have been received poorly or not at all and that I would try to blame them for the storm somehow. Humans are funny in how we sometimes blame the storms and problems on the ones that care and try to help us avoid them. I have seen it happen with my kids. And, like my parents, tried to warn to no avail at times, and yes, at times received the same hostility from my kids that I had given to my parents and others when they were trying to help me avoid issues. I am sure I am not the only one that has experienced such things, the storms, and the blame for trying to help others avoid storms.

Now, we all have storms, but before I came back to Christ I did not weather them well. I had no safe harbor when things got bad. I did not have that comfort and protection. Being Christian doesn’t keep me from having storms, but it sure makes them easier to weather.

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones [is] as a storm [against] the wall. Isaiah 25:4

 

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. Psalms 61:3

 

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.  Proverbs 18:10

 

I have figured out that the really calm times, the truly peaceful, still moments very often are because there is some sort of spiritual storm coming. Maybe because I was sinning in some way and Satan was leaving me alone, but a price for the sin was coming. Perhaps it was because God knew a storm was heading my way and he wanted me to prepare. No matter why the storm, I have learned that the calm sometimes means a storm is coming and I should prepare myself. Spend the peaceful, calm time with the Lord, strengthening myself spiritually for the storm. And, the great thing is, if no storm appears, well, maybe by spending time seeking Christ I avoided the storm, or maybe it was just an unusually calm time but either way, I still benefited from the prayer and study of the scripture. Win, Win I would say.

 

Jesus, Thank You for Your protection in the storms. Thank You for the peaceful, calm before the storms. But mostly thank You for showing me that the time to seek You is before the storm, to prepare for the things to come. I praise Your Holy Name and thank You for the blessings, protection and my salvation, for the sacrifice You made for me. You are my rock and my salvation. Help me improve my walk with You, help me have more faith, understanding, give me more tenderness in my heart. Help me show You in my daily walk. Please draw loved ones to You and show them what they need to do to get closer to You, to better prepare for any storms that come their ways.

Amen

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope someone else gets benefit from it as I did from thinking through things and looking to the scripture for understanding of God on the storms and how He protects us. Please, have a blessed day and try to be a blessing to at least one other person today. We can all use a blessing here and there as we go about our lives.

 

 

The Detour

detour

I was on a road trip, traffic started backing up, road closed so detour. Now, I prefer to just get where I am going, but seeing as I didn’t have a choice, I took it. Ended up going to a secondary highway, much more scenic than the interstate and went through a couple small towns, stopped at an old fashioned general store for a couple minutes just because, well, it was an old fashioned general store. The detour made for a nice diversion after a long drive on the interstate. Eventually, the road took us back to the interstate and I finished my trip, lost a little time, but still got there fine. Another time, the detour was terrible, road had quite a few potholes, nothing special to be seen along the route and seemed to be a much more miserable drive than the one I had planned.

Sometimes, life has detours too. Some we create when we deviate from God’s plan for us. THOSE are the bad ones. Sometimes, other circumstances result in detours for us. I think on all the times I have had a plan, not God having a plan for me, ME having one. Other times, He has a plan, I am going with it trying to follow His will, but get anxious, start trying to get to the destination sooner, rather than later. Well, those go smoothly for a while, then a detour, I get back on track after a while, then, another detour. Some of those detours are rough, others, not too bad but still detours and delays.  And it goes, until I say, OK God, YOU plan the route and destination. I give Him the map, He plans the route and destination, like I said, sometimes same destination I had believed and knew it was where He was leading me, but I forced things too quickly so He decided to slow me down so I could get to where He wants, the way He wants and when He wants.

Yeah, the whole patience thing is not too easy for me sometimes. I want something, I want it now, then take a shortcut, that ends up being quite the opposite. Sorta like the Israelites in the wilderness.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

John 15:7

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalms 37:23

Yeah, that last one is the tough part for me. But, there was no shortage of scriptures talking about HIS plan for us, and not our own. Not only the destination, but the route. I will trust on Him to guide me and quit trying to be in a hurry.

Praise the name of the Lord, Dear Jesus, I thank you for my salvation and all the blessings, You have been far better to me than I deserve. I ask that you teach me patience and to trust in God that He has a plan and will be sure to get me to where He wants me to be in this life and in service to Him. I ask you work in the hearts and minds of loved ones to show them your way for them as well, give them the patience and understanding they need to let You control their paths as well. I ask You continue to work on my understanding and to make me the servant You plan for me to become.

 

Thanks for reading along today. I hope this helps someone else too! Like I have said before, try to be a blessing to at least one other person today.

 

 

 

My story.

I felt the need to repost this.

Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually. I Chronicles 16:11

Thanks for bearing with me so far. I want to take a moment and tell you about myself. My thoughts, motivations and some of the circumstances that have been part of my life. I wish I had lived a perfect and wonderful life, no mistakes, no difficulties, only living through Him and for Him. But, such is not the case, I have travelled far from Him. Thankfully, He never travelled away from me. So, please, take a minute, read on and hopefully it will help you make sense of me and my motivation.  And, now my journey begins.

 

WOW! I never thought I’d find myself trying to blog. I say trying, because I never have done this before, and I’ve hardly read any for that matter. But, here I am. I ask you all to bear with me as I grow in the process while I try, make errors and then try to correct them. Much like Christian life, while going through the process of living we make mistakes. Some are easily fixed while others much more difficult, if near impossible.

Now, if I were one of the readers (if there are any) I would be asking myself: Why is he writing this blog? What is this guy trying to say? What is he rambling about? Will any of this make any sense? And, to answer all those I should explain a little bit about why I even decided to try this. Now, before I go further, I will say that because I am human, I have failed. I have faced heartache and pain because of those failures. Worse yet, I have caused others in my life to have heartache and pain as well. And, while I never intended, such is the effect of life at times, compounded exponentially when poor decisions and living without Christ. I will try, as this blog evolves, to explain things that will help others understand where I come from spiritually, some of the trials and tribulations, some of the victories and how I am striving to live for Him.

Before I start answering the questions I would like to give just a little information about me. Now, I won’t be able to be completely straightforward as too many details will possibly make others feel I am talking about them and possibly bringing negative attention their way. That is not my intent and because of that, I may at times be a little vague. I also, will for the time being, not say a lot about me. Not because I am worried about people knowing who I am, possibly judging me. Believe me, I have very seriously judged myself and while not afraid of others’ judgement, putting a name and face to someone sometimes interferes with the message. Many people like to point out old sins and then say, well, he sinned so I know this is all a farce. It is not, but to prevent interference with the message, I am going to keep me out of it. It may also cause those I love, those that are, or have been, in my life to be scrutinized unfairly. I don’t want to write this to cast others in a negative manner.

I am a professional male, late 50’s. My profession is helping people. No, I am not a minister. Many careers and professions involve helping others and at this time what I do is not relative to the blog. Likely, in the future, I will say things that will make my career obvious, and eventually will more likely than not reveal that and more details about myself, but for now I will leave it at that. If there are ever names mentioned, they will be fictitious names, even though the circumstances will have been real. Like Dragnet: the stories you will hear are real, but the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I was raised by a strong Christian mother, a saint of a woman that had me in church every Sunday. My father, while not a church going man, was in his daily life, more kind, caring, compassionate and far more Godly than most people you see in church. He did not minister to people from a pulpit. He didn’t talk to folks about Christ, not that he didn’t have conversations about Christ, but did not do as some that choose to be very overt in their Christian lives. He demonstrated the values that Christ preached about. Yes, I was in church regularly as a child, but as I came into my teen years I did as many and became rebellious. I can’t say I fell in with the wrong crowd, because to be honest, I tried to hang out with the wrong crowd. During the 70’s, drugs and alcohol were always part of those groups. I was using a variety of substances, marijuana and alcohol mostly. I never could convince myself to use heroin or other intravenous drugs thank God for that. After high school I started dating a girl, and several months later we were married, I was almost 19. No she wasn’t pregnant at the time. Eventually, we had children, our first when I was 20 and while they were young, about 10 years later than I should have, I decided it was time to go to college and prepare for my desired career. Of course, going to college late, and having children created issues. I obtained a military scholarship to pay for my education and then after completing it, was in the military. I spent time in Iraq and a few other places that helped shape who I became. That is a very, very brief autobiography of sorts. I promise to fill in details as time goes, when those details are relevant and hopefully helpful to the point I hope to make.

Throughout my life I was Christian-ish. What do you mean Christian-ISH? Well, I say that because, no matter where I was, how far I got from Him, I always KNEW He was there. I always believed in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. But I didn’t always know Him. I didn’t always, in fact, to my shame, almost rarely lived for His glory. I attended church off and on, sometimes for a few years at a time. I tried to be active in church, I volunteered for a lot of activities. Sadly, I never really fully and completely surrendered all to Him. I thanked Him in good times and begged for His help in the bad. But, never really, really lived a good Christian life by striving to make every day about Him. I would eventually drift away from church. Always some excuse that I wasn’t able to attend. I had to work. I worked late the night before. I had a test to study for or a paper to write. It is easy to find excuses if one tries. Over the last few years, I faced some marked personal tragedies and losses. Things we will all have to face. These things were the most difficult things I with which I was forced to deal. During that time, my wife wasn’t giving me the support I felt I needed in my time of pain. During my time of pain and suffering I found myself; well to be honest, I did not find as that indicates a certain passivity to the events that occurred and I sadly was actively involved in placing myself there, in a process of working a lot, always finding something to keep me occupied and other ways that served to help me ignore the pain and kept me from dealing with it in a spiritually and mentally healthy way. It did not help me get through, rather it helped me avoid, the pain I was feeling. When I finally realized, or admitted, what I had always known: The true comfort I needed would never come from avoiding the pain of human existence and losses related to that or by not facing the pain to get a healing.  The only hope for comfort was in Christ. I spent a lot of time praying. Fighting my human mind, still not willing to completely let go of things. Then, when I listened to Him, I spent even more time praying. Asking for peace, comfort, guidance, happiness. I spoke with a pastor who spent time with me in prayer and I found at that point I was finally ready to let God have me, to stop fighting what I knew to be right and just give it all to Him. All the burdens, all the heartache and sorrow, all the pain. As long as I tried to carry those things I could not get the peace, comfort and joy that I wanted and needed. I did so then. He has given me peace and comfort. Not total and complete, but I feel that is my human self not letting Him do so. Well, to be honest, that has not been easy. I struggle with the human side of things and don’t want things to not be the way I want and to be angry about things. But, day by day, I continue to improve. I continue to seek Him to make things better, to make me better.

OK, you say FINE, but answer the questions. And I might as well answer in the order I asked. So, again, please bear with me. I try not to ramble and hopefully you will bear with me. Sometimes, correctly or incorrectly, I feel I am like Andy Griffith telling stories to teach Opie. Things may start out far from where they will end, but things in the story are relevant and if you can stand to bear with me, it will make sense. Or, at least in my mind and hopefully yours.

Why is he writing this blog? I would sure wonder. Well, to be perfectly frank about it, I initially elected to try this as a catharsis; to help myself purge negative emotions that interfere with my walk with God. I do this for a selfish reason: I want to help myself release all the negative feelings, to process my thoughts, to see what ways I need to seek HIM for the release, looking to Christ to change my way of thinking. I also write hoping that by reading about my trials and tribulations, my sorrows (yes, yes, I know, very much self inflicted) that someone, even if just one person, will read this and find some comfort, will find peace, will find joy, will find Christ! The last is the most important of all and if one finds Him, the other things will follow.

What is this guy trying to say? In a long, drawn out way, I am saying that there are sorrows, challenges, difficulties. I’ve faced failure and adversity. If you haven’t noticed, LIFE IS HARD! I know, I have been poor, I’ve worked two jobs, I worked full time and attended college, I have been to war. I have had illnesses, injuries, personal losses. Life is HARD!!! Finally, when I got to the point of accepting His mercy, I find that, even if somethings are still hard, the hard things are so much easier with His help. God is there for us, to help us and make us stronger, to make our lives better. All we have to do is let him. I will as time goes here, try to tell you about things that Christ is doing for me. Reflect on times He would have made things easier. Even if going through those times knowing He was there would have been easier. We all have hardships but Christ makes them a little, sometimes a lot, softer. And, with saying these things, I hope to help others realize that while we are all unique, we all have common problems. We all have different shortcomings, but it isn’t about each individual, it’s about what makes us human, what makes us alike in some manner. Then, using the common thread, see how something I went through, though different, is still similar in some way, and hopefully what helped me with my problem will help someone else.

What is he rambling about? Well, hopefully, at the end of each blog entry, there will be some clarity on that. For now, my ramblings are because God is so very good. He has given me so much more than I deserve. His love, protection, mercy and He gave me salvation, which I did not earn, did not deserve. He just GAVE that to me. He is so much better to me than I have ever been to myself. God is a great, might, merciful and magnificent God. I ramble, because He is so good, and even though I like to think I have a better than average vocabulary it falls so very short of truly saying how great He is.

Will it ever make any sense? I sure hope so. I hope and pray that He guides my words to help someone out there. Writing this, thinking about how mercifully He has treated me has already helped me. I pray that Christ uses my words about my experiences in some way to help someone find inspiration and to help them have a closer walk with God.

Finally, to summarize my thoughts right now about the why, the what, the rambling, the sense of the purpose is to try to help me remember to look to Him for the help I need with my daily struggles. I am not writing this attempting to say how great I am or to otherwise draw attention to myself. I am not one that has ever enjoyed too much attention, preferring to be more or less anonymous to a large extent, to blend in and not stick out a lot. I don’t write this trying to make someone else feel bad about themselves. I am not writing to say look at me, I am a righteous and Godly man. I am writing to point out my own failings and through my life stories, daily struggles, my trials and hardships to say; Look at what a gracious God we serve. To remind me to serve Him in all times, the good and the bad. So that I have reminders to give Christ the glory he deserves. I plan to use anecdotes, examples of my failures, observations about shortcomings, none intended to do anything but serve as teaching points to help me, to help others and to give Him the honor he deserves. I am not a strong, strong Christian. I am weak. I have failed so miserably. I am new to trying this all again, and definitely new at doing it earnestly. I beg that no one think I feel I am better than anyone else out there. I am not and I won’t pretend. I will incorporate scripture in my input as I share my thoughts and feelings on what those passages mean to me and what they have done for me. I hope and pray that someone out there can relate, can understand, can use my experiences, feelings, observations to help themselves or others become stronger in Christ.

I would like to thank you for making it this far. I hope you will bear with me. I promise that not all entries will be this long. But, starting out something is never simple and takes some organization of thought, some structure to begin with that I can build upon. I hope this helps someone out there. I hope that doing this helps me to serve Him and learn to walk with Christ daily and to remind my daily to give HIM the glory.

I pray that God keep all safe and well. That He keep His hand on your lives. That He blesses you all to the fullest extent possible. I pray that those I have hurt look to Him to find forgiveness for me and my bad judgement and to forgive my shortcomings that have caused hardship for them in any manner at all. I pray that all savor the richness of His grace and truly experience all He has for each and every one of us.

 

A GOOOD DAY!

 

 

Well, I got a chance to spend some time today with an Army buddy that was in Iraq with me. We won’t hear from each other for weeks or months, then we visit quite a bit, text, email and such. Just pick up where we left off for the most part. Great having friends like that. Well, we went hunting, but not really, just hanging out mostly. Didn’t sit in one place long enough, mostly spent the time talking and such so nothing to show for it but good memories. It was a great day, weather near perfect, sun was shining, just a very slight breeze, the kind of day one thinks of as a nice day. We never talk about specific things from Iraq, still a lot of pain for both of us so we leave some topics alone. But, we know what the other is dealing with because of that. We don’t need to speak of such. Ever have a friend like that, you just knew what they were thinking, sometimes no need for words. Well, anyway, we don’t always know everything. During the conversation I shared about this blog. He read a bit on a couple of the posts and said, you know, I was hoping you would find Christ. Well, I was thinking sharing the blog would possibly be an opportunity for me to talk to him about it. Seems he had already had his own come to Jesus moment and has become active in his church. So glad to hear that from him as he was about my own salvation. So, we just hung out, enjoyed the weather and the company. Still, such an uplifting thing to hear we both made it back to the Lord.

Thanks, just wanted to share.

Sometimes, my mom bought substitute cereal.

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My mom would sometimes buy generic foods because they were cheaper, and to be honest, some were good. HOWEVER, some, well, not so good. One time in particular I remember my brother and I liked Captain Crunch (yeah, I know, cuts up your mouth, but it was tasty) but it was more expensive than some of the other, well, knock off brands. So, she would try other “versions” store brands, etc and those….well, those just AINT THE SAME!

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Yeah, aint it funny how substitutes are not the real thing. A lot of times people will buy or accept substitutes because of money or possibly convenience, knowing full well that isn’t what they wanted. They settle for less, for something to take the place of what they really wanted. Shoot, sometimes they even try to convince themselves that the substitute is as good or better, but deep inside, they know differently. Substituting one thing for another usually results in some disappointment, you expect Captain Crunch but you get Leiuten’t Crunch and, it aint the same. Consciously or not, one is always comparing the original to the generic, the substitution and it is just not the genuine thing. I have an implant for hearing, one ear just quit working, period, after months of several different treatments, still NOTHING, well, just loud ringing. Finally, insurance approved the implant and it was completed. I have had it for several months now and its better than the ringing, better than nothing, but no matter what, it is a replacement, a substitute. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad to have it, so much better than what I was dealing with before it was placed but I compare how things sound in good ear and the implant and it is not the same. No matter what, original is better.

Even in the Old Testament the Israelites tried substitutes, the idols and false gods, and guess what, the idols did not do anything for them. They were not GOD. People accept substitutes for a variety of reasons, but are extremely rarely actually satisfied. When it came to the idol worship, those that did so had nothing but disappointment and heartache. Emptiness, from an inanimate object that could and would do nothing and punishment from God for their sins.

 

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

 

So, remember, sometime, get the real deal. No substitutes for God. Don’t accept less than the real thing. We all deserve the real stuff, not a stand in or substitute.

And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Isaiah 3:24

Fake instead of real, replacement instead of the genuine thing. Never accept less than the real item. Never accept less than the real God.

Lord, I thank You for the thoughts and words You give me. The understanding I obtain. I pray You help me hold fast and not accept some substitute for what You have planned for me, not accept less than the genuine blessing You have in store for me. That I continue to work towards, with Your guidance, what You wish in my life. I pray that my loved ones be challenged by You to demand the real things in their lives as well and that You show them the life You have planned for them. I pray that You continue to help me become a better person, better Christian and a better example of Your impact on a man.

In Jesus Holy Name,

Amen

I appreciate the folks that read this and the people that are following my blog. I hope it blesses someone else as much as it does me to write it.

 

Letter of the Law

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Interesting that this was the verse of the day at King James online, as it is actually a post idea I had a few days ago. I try to, as things come up, make a list of possible topics. This was one I had, but had not yet started to work on, but today, here it is, so it seems God would like me to ponder on this a bit.

I remember when I was younger my parents would have rules. Well, being a child that wanted to do something, I would at times, see how far I could bend rules without breaking them. I suspect most have done this as well. A while back I saw a picture someone posted somewhere on the internet of a young boy that was lying on the floor, right at the edge of the area where the kitchen tile met the living room carpet. He had some food, bowl of cereal or something, and a small video game. When my kids were little it would have been a Game boy, but this was something different. But, his mom had commented that she didn’t know if she should be angry or impressed. Kids get creative. But, she had told him no eating in the living room and no video games in the kitchen. Well, he was complying, he was eating in the kitchen and he did not take the video game into the kitchen. While pretty clever, he did comply with the letter of law. He did not break any rules. But, the intent was not met. She didn’t want him eating and playing a video game. Perhaps she should have been more strict with the rules, more detailed, but she did not say that specifically, so he wasn’t wrong, although I imagine deep inside, he knew very well he was not doing what she wanted. Another picture I saw showed a child lying on the porch with his feet just inside the patio door and the rest of his body was outside. She had told him not to set his feet outside until his room was cleaned. Well, there he was, following the letter of the law, no feet outside, but he was otherwise outdoors and had not done his chores. Yeah, kids are clever and creative. But, they are not the only ones that like to follow the letter, not the intent.

As the verse states, we are free from the laws, in this case the laws of the old testament. We don’t have to worship like they did in the past. No sacrifices, no strict rules on clean or unclean foods and all the other laws that were given from God. The old laws are gone. Although, many of them are still valid and we should follow them, like the 10 Commandments for example. We are expected now to live in the Holy Spirit. If one does so, then we rarely fail to meet the important Laws of the Old Testament.

We have new laws, to seek Christ, to love and forgive, to give testimony of Jesus to others, we will lay aside anger. I have seen many times how people like to follow the letter of the new law we were given. They will seek Christ, they will seek forgive,  they lay aside anger; but often things are conditional. If they get angry, they want to have a fit first, then lay aside the anger. If they feel they were done wrong in some way, they want to lash out first, then after done they will forgive, if angered for some reason they will hate first and when done hating, love. That is not what Jesus wants of us. He wants us to seek Christ, seek the Holy Spirit, before we get angry and lash out, before we feel hate or harsh feelings. The letter of the law is met when people do finally forgive and love, but the intent is that they seek Him first, then they would not lash out, verbally, physically, sometimes mentally. I have been upset about this or that thing. I may not have struck anyone, or called names, hollered at, chastised, berated or any other way showed outward signs of anger. But, many times, I had those feelings inside. The “Well, if I wasn’t trying  to live for Christ I would tell you……” Whatever things one would say, “EXCEPT.” I have at times lashed out with words, yeah, when a child I lashed out physically, at others but as I got older, realized I just wasn’t that good of a fighter and not wishing to deal with a bloody nose or black eye, I just internalized the feelings and thoughts. Guess what. THAT AINT WHAT CHRIST WANTS!!!

He wants us to seek HIM and to love and forgive those we think did us wrong, before we become angry. Sometimes, often in fact, when I would start to get angry about something, say something harsh, blame someone for something, using one of my tools and not put it back where it belongs for example, then as I went to whatever project I would find the tool, right where I had left it. I blamed others for something of which they were not guilty. Yet, they had suffered the punishment for it already. Then, if I try to be right, have to eat crow and say, “umm, yeah, sorry I hollered, guess the tool was where I had left it.” But, had I sought Christ first, He would have told me not to get angry or act hateful, He would have softened my heart and saved me some embarrassment to boot.

Well, anyway, that’s the way it seems to me. When I was a child, the rules were more strict, more detailed and as I grew the rules were a little more vague and not as detailed. Not because I wasn’t expected to follow the rules, but because I was expected to understand the intent. I did not have a set time to be home, just told don’t be out too late. And, if out later than I should have been and I was fussed at for it, I would say, “It isn’t that late I stay out a lot later on weekends.” Regardless of the actual time, all the while knowing I had stayed out too late and would not be able to get enough sleep before school the next day. I had followed, sort of, the letter of the law but not the intent.

Old laws are gone, but new laws are in place. The new laws aren’t as detailed. He expects us to know in our hearts what is right and that He should be able to expect us to do what Christ wants us to do. When I have not followed the new laws, I knew when I wasn’t doing as He wants by getting angry first but justified myself by doing what He says by forgiving later. I wish I could say I always do exactly as He wants but unfortunately, sometimes (More often than I should) I let my human self get in the way, I get angry, lash out for perceived wrongs, then forgive. No, I need to seek Him first, forgive before I get angry and act out, or even if I don’t say or do anything out of anger, before I have those feelings.

Lord, I praise You and worship the Holy Name of Jesus. I thank You for Your love and forgiveness. The mercies and blessings You give me. I pray that You work in my heart that I seek Christ first, that I not get angry, that I not mentally, verbally or physically lash out and that I just give the love and forgiveness You say I should. I ask you Jesus to work in the hearts and minds of loved ones that they do the same, that they seek You first before allowing anger and other negative feelings develop. I pray You work in their hearts and minds and draw them to You. Draw them closer to Christ. I ask that You continue to work on me to help me be a better Christian and a better example of Your light here on Earth.

 

Thanks for making it through this. I hope everyone has a blessed day and that they find a way to be a blessing to at least one other, hopefully many others, today.

The Fugitive!

fugitive

I was flipping channels and one movie on was the fugitive. If anyone doesn’t know about it, started out years ago as a TV series and then made into a movie years later. A man is blamed for the death of his wife and due to circumstantial evidence was convicted. He said he was innocent, talked about a one armed man that was the real killer but no one believed him. He had no evidence other than the statements he made. Yet, the prosecutor twisted anything he had said to use against him as proof of his guilt. Rather than look for the real killer. The fugitive escaped and tried and tried to proof his innocence, but every turn and every attempt made him look more guilty. In the movie, the character eventually gets the evidence he needs to proof he is innocent. I don’t recall if that happened in the series or not. My dad watched it a lot but I don’t really remember the final outcome on that, hardly remember any details about the series. But, bottom line, an innocent man was accused and convicted. No one listened to him and the more he protested, the more others insisted he was guilty.

Now, I have done things for which I should be blamed, and at times, been blamed for things I did not do. As a child, I was blamed for things a sibling did; get cookies without permission, leave a door open, not put the cap back on the toothpaste, leave the milk out on the counter, break a window or something else, used the car and not filled the gas tank before coming home, the list could go on and on. Of course, there were likely times my brother was blamed for things I did. Now, there were times I was guilty, but times I was innocent. Blamed by an irritated parent or a sibling that did not want to take the punishment for their actions or example. Other times, because someone wanted someone to blame so they chose me to blame. No proof other than someone’s suspicion.

Well, sometimes, there really isn’t proof of one’s innocence. Attempting to prove would create far more issues than just stating the facts and letting things go, such as trying to argue, because, like I have heard, the guilty cry foul the loudest and the innocent let the evidence exonerate them. Yet, others, just have to blame someone. If I tried to explain, I got accusations or past events thrown in my face and possibly into an argument where no one wins. So, I just try to stop responding to the accusations and finger pointing. Sometimes, it is not easy, swallowing one’s pride, letting others have whatever opinions they choose and at times, suffering the punishment for something done by someone other than me. As a child, that usually meant a spanking or getting grounded. When spanked, if the real truth came out, then I would hear, “well, you have done other things you didn’t get punished for so this makes it more even.” That logic is flawed, but will not get into that issue. Bottom line, sometimes one is blamed and punished for things they did not do. BUT, what about the accuser? Do they get punished for their actions? Sometimes as a child, when the truth came out, then yes, they often did, but not always. Well, other than the guilt they may or may not have felt for their wrong actions.

How does one respond to false allegations? Especially those that can’t be disproven as there can be no evidence of something not done and other than trying to use alibis or other defensive measures, that just look like one is trying too hard so the  result is that it makes one look more likely to be guilty. So, protesting is of no benefit.

But, what is the motivation for the allegations anyway? Is someone trying to not face punishment or scrutiny of their behavior themselves? Such as when a sibling was wrong but didn’t want to be punished, maybe someone feels guilt about one or another things and it helps them to find fault with another by blaming them for something, sort of a I am not so bad if someone else did such and such,  or when someone just wants someone to blame because they feel the need for someone to be blamed. Well, that is a question I can’t answer to regarding the motivation. People do what they do. I can’t understand the hearts and minds of others. Truthfully, I often have trouble understanding what my motivation was behind things I have done. I do things, then ask, now, why would I have done that? Trying to figure out what was in my mind at the time. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I can’t understand at all why I did this or that. But, one never really knows what is in the heart of other.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

 

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45

Now, one can’t know if another’s heart is good or evil. Nor can they understand others. I personally struggle, like I said, to understand myself.

Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. Luke 6:42

Making accusations is another way of judging others, trying to find fault, sometime trying to find guilt where it did not exist. I caused myself to suffer needlessly as I looked and looked for a tiny speck in their eyes when I had much larger objects in mine.  I stand on His word and know that He tells me I am responsible for myself and try to make myself right and not cast aspersions on others. Deal with my own issues, rather than try to fix those of others. My issues, my guilt, are mine to try to correct, if others have their own issues and guilt, they need to look to themselves and God. Not blame others if they look into their actions and find fault.

For myself (as I am only able to make changes in myself and not in others,) I will continue to try to lean on God for help in the valleys and rough roads. I will continue to strive not to do wrong, but knowing I am human, I know there will be times I don’t do what God wants me to do. I have had to deal with plenty of both my faults and poor actions as well as those of others, we all have had to do so. I just pray for me and for myself and others that we find forgiveness for one another and let the other deal with any and all of their own issues.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ezekial 36:26

I will continue to pray for myself and others that we all be given new hearts and that we let any real or perceived misdeeds be forgiven as He commands. I have already forgiven all those that have wronged me in anyway whether small slights or a serious way, and hopefully, any and all I have wronged will give me the same forgiveness. But if they don’t, that will between them and God.

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15

I will strive, and as I have said many times before, at times I will stumble and fail, to put my faith in God, to trust He will be with me in good times and bad, and to do as Christ would wish me to do. And that I need to stop trying to understand everything, just let Christ understand for me. If He chooses to show me, then He will, if He doesn’t then I will trust that God doesn’t need me to know all.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

 

Lord, I praise your Holy Name. I ask that you help me seek the Saviour more than the saving. I pray you continue to work in my life, give me understanding and guidance as I try to improve and follow your guidance. That you work in my heart that I might only be blessing to others and that I am not the cause of another’s hurt. I ask you help me deal with hurt I have and that you help others deal with their hurting as well. I ask that you work in the hearts and minds of loved ones to draw them to you and your way for them. Thank you Jesus for my salvation, forgiveness, blessings and mercies you gave and continue to give me.

 

 

Thanks to all for letting me share questions, concerns, issues in my life. I hope that there is someone out there that has had similar issues and finds some comfort in my words. I will continue to look to Him for help as I learn to improve my walk with Christ.