Saturday, July 31, 2010
Chandra, Forrest and Allan walking in the Mississippi "River Walk" on Mud Island in Memphis. The real deal Mississippi River is in the background and none of them wanted to put a foot into it.
The River Walk is the central focus on Mud Island, well actually it is the only focus on Mud Island that I could see. It is really need seeing a scaled replica of the rivers twists and turns. They even have different depths along the way. I imagined the engineering and planning that went on to make the River Walk a reality.
Looking across the Mighty Mississippi in its vastness was pretty awe inspiring. We have the Ohio River flowing in our downtown area here in Paducah, but it is probably only about 1/2 - 1/3 the width of the Mississippi. So, to see this much water in one place does make you think of the creative powers of God. In Genesis 1:9 we see God's creative force in shaping the Earth. Reading back a few verses you see that when He created the Earth it was totally covered with water and then in verse 9 He raises the dry parts up creating the seas and the tributary rivers that flow into the seas.
How awesome is that? God speaks and everything listens. Well, almost everything. Men have a tendency and disposition to not listen and to not acknowledge the Lord as we should. We are the only part of His creation that says "NO" to Him. We impose our own will, which is sin and we must answer for that sin. The penalty, death. After the physical death is the spiritual death if you have not trusted in the Lord and fully devoted yourself to Him. Not the halfway, "I said a prayer and took care of it when I was 8" thing. Not getting your "ticket" to heaven or walking an aisle will save you. Not even having a preacher or evangelist proclaim you as saved will do the trick. Only total denial of self and total reliance in Christ will give you life eternal.
The powers of God that created the universe "ex nehilo", out of nothing can create a new heart in you. It is actually a new creative process, a re-creation if you will. Ezekiel described it in Ezekiel 36:26 as God taking out a stony heart that is hard, cold and unmalliable and replacing it with a heart of flesh that is soft, pliable and warm. It is God that takes the heart and changes it, it is God that makes you a new creation 2 Corinthians 5:17 through His grace and His restorative powers and only possible by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Friday, July 30, 2010
I had a plan for today's year in my life post, I was going to feature a picture of the 3rd animal in our home, Tux the cat. Things seem to have gotten changed up as Chandra and I were shopping at the local Hobby Lobby this evening.
Take a good look at the picture. I just have one thing to say - If you are going to purchase accents like these for your baby boy, then you have issues. I think it was just a sign mix-up, but it is quite humorous seeing an end-cap full of pink, girly items with a sign promoting them for a boy. And here I thought Hobby Lobby was a Christian business (just joking).
Hobby Lobby is indeed one of the few true Christian ran businesses left in the United States. In a day when it is not politically correct to profess beliefs in Christ but Hobby Lobby, Chic-Fil-A and a few other national businesses are not ashamed of their foundation built on Jesus Christ. I would say that we should all support these places as often as possible. They hearken back to a time when life was much better, as far as principles and morals go. In my youth you would have been hard pressed to find any store open on a Sunday, and if you did it would only be from 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM so the employees could still attend morning and evening church services. These days every business is open, except for the ones that hold fast and true to their Christian heritage.
Next time you're shopping go to an openly Christian store, buy something and thank them for standing by their beliefs. Send them an email and let them know you appreciate their business practices and standards. Let them know you support them with buying from them and with your prayers. They need to know that Christians stand by them and with them on their convictions.
Just don't buy anything pink for your baby boy.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Yesterday I featured a picture of our dog, Rex. Today I snapped a picture of the cat (not our cat, because I am not a cat person), Roger AKA Kick. This little fella made his way from Arkansas, from my in-laws a while back on the return trip of Chandra, Forrest and Allan. It was a surprise to me, and not in a good way. He tends to like to sleep on the treadmill, but will not stay there when it is turned on for some reason.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want anything to happen to the cat (or cats in general) I just don't want them living in my house. I have a slight allergy to cats, the are self centered, do what they want - when they want and don't listen to a thing you say. Come to think of it, they are a lot like humans, especially the lost in sin ones.
Believe me, I have had my times of being self-centered like a cat. But God changed me. I had a newly found desire to socialize with other believers when the Lord stepped in and made me a new creation. I started to get a resonance with other believers and actually wanted to get to know them, spend time with them. Very different from the old Jeff, but still a far cry from what I would like to be like. I would like to be very talkative, which I am not. I would like to be able to lead our Sunday School class, which I fell unworthy to do, incapable as well. I mostly would like to be able to witness to people more openly. I am not a very good at conversation, so thinking about it I guess it is a good thing as I must lean on the Lord for the strength to share instead of trying to say everything from a script or just talking nonsense. I must lean on God for strength and He has been good to allow me to speak to those He wanted me to. I am perfectly content just sowing the seed of His Word, not looking to push "decisions" or "lead someone to the Lord". If anyone "decides" or "finds Jesus" it is because He decided to pursue them and He found them, they just reacted to His love and grace. What an awesome God we serve and to think He loves me is the most awesome thing I know.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Man's best friend? This is Rex, our dog. Or should I say, we are his people? Ever since the day my wife brought him home he has been my shadow. He's a crazy kinds dog, but all in all he's a good pet and faithful. He might actually listen better than anyone in the house too.
But, are dogs actually mans best friend? They don't complain, extremely loyal, will die for their humans, like to get their heads scratched, etc. But does that really make them mans best friend? As far as the earthly realm goes, possibly. Unless, of course, you are married or have a girl friend, which makes your wife your best friend. And definitely not by default either, but in a true sense.
But mans real best friend is the Lord. He will never leave you, never forsake you, will take your burdens, give you living water, cleanse you of all unrighteousness, direct your path, lead you by still waters and the biggest - He died for you. He didn't say He would, He did. But the story doesn't end there, He arose on the third day, conquered the grave and awaits His triumphant return to take us away to the home He has prepared for us. Now that is a friend, but most of all He is our Savior, if we will only believe and trust in His Word. It is that simple, not as difficult as some make it out to be. He will give you a new life if you truly seek after Him. He will take care of the rest, which is called sanctification. That is a gloriouse truth, He loves you and accepts you as you are, but too much to leave you in the sinful state that you are in.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Had a great time this evening at the Aaron Shust, 33 Miles, Among The Thirsty, New Fire concert here in Paducah. A couple of good things to note about the concert - 1) It was only about 5 miles from my house 2) It only cost $5 to get in 3) I won a text contest by just texting a phrase to a number and got a cool T Shirt, CD and signed poster.
What could get any better than that? Well, the fact that Aaron Shust led a worship service instead of just putting on a concert ended the night perfectly. What a great musician this man is. The other groups also were very talented and very acknowledging of the Lord in their words and in their music.
The award for most talented guitar player of the night goes to 33 Miles guitar player, Chris Lockwood. This guy can burn the strings up, quite possibly better than 99% of other guitar players I have ever heard, bar none. It is great to see his talents going to glorify God and not on worldly things.
If any of the groups I saw tonight were to come around again I would definitely be there. It did bother me somewhat that the house wasn't packed out, which I have also noticed at other Christian concerts here in Paducah. I would say "I wonder why that is?" but I know why. There aren't that many Christians in Paducah. A lot of professions, but not many true bible believing, Christ exalting, brotherly love sharing, Christian concert going Christians. It is sad on many levels and I need to focus more prayer on these deceived people. I think we all do.
Monday, July 26, 2010
What would a blog series about a year in my life be without Diet Coke? It is my beverage of choice and has been since I was 14 years old, 28 years ago. Ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you that Diet Coke and Jeff go hand in hand.
Yeah, I know it causes memory loss and a wheelbarrow full of other things, but so does everything else these days (as far as I can remember LOL). I have stopped drinking it before too, only to start back after seeing that my memory did not return anyway. But, I may be on the road to my own 2 step plan to kick the habit - Step 1) Stop drinking them. Step 2) Don't drink one again. Fairly simple program.
Some things are easier said than done though. Just like sin, as believers we do not want to sin, we try not to sin, but we always seem to mess up and sin. Then we feel guilty, try harder and the cycle starts again as soon as we sin again. Why are we like this? I think it is because we forget easy that God is always with us, we seem to forget that the same God that spoke everything into existence can also see everything that we do, even our thoughts are known.
We rationalize our sins, make excuses, reason out that we had to or that we were tricked into it. But in each case a sin is committed we have a way out that we ignore. We would do well to keep 1 Corinthians 10:13 in mind when we are tempted to sin "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" So, all we have to do is turn to God and ask for that way of escape to be made known, then seize it and stop rationalizing the reasons why you should sin.
As a Christian we are washed in the blood. That means all of our sins - past, present and future have been forgiven. God has removed the spot on our garments never to be brought to our charge. If they were it would mean the cross was of no affect. Jesus paid it ALL! But, many take that too many steps beyond the true meaning and see it as a ticket to sin. If that is ones mentality then something is deathly wrong. A true child of God will never, never feel that they have free reign to trample the cross of Calvary. They will flee sins and seek holiness, more Christlikeness, fall at the foot of the cross as a needy child.
Praise God for the sacrifice He gave for us.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This is the McDonald's Drive-Thru sign that is closest to my house. I stopped by on the way home from church this evening, #6 of course.
What restaurant signs always remind me of is this is how most people see Christianity. They believe they can just pull up, order up their favorite off of the menu and totally ignore the rest.
"I'd like a large order of love, a side of grace and an extra large grace. Oh and add a large peace with that too please".
"Would you like some repentance or holiness to go with that? We also have judgment if you feel you need some of that."
"No thank you, just give me the easy to swallow stuff."
"Thank you, please pull around."
That's how it usually goes with those that are casual attenders of church, those that are deceived/ false converts and those that have a lopsided view of God. People want to fixate on the "good" things of God and Christianity, but when it comes to the harder to swallow things, they start having issues and usually just ignore them.
Things like repentance, depravity, original sin, hell, judgment and personal holiness seem to go by the wayside. Things like love, acceptance, forgiveness and grace are always the topics while the others I mentioned are ignored. This gives a very distorted and incorrect view of God, His attributes and Christianity. God is indeed love, forgives, accepts and pours out grace every second of the day, but He also is Judge, demands holiness, expects discernment from His children and demands repentance.
The opposite is also an issue, too much focus on the harsher things of God instead of focusing on the "good" things is just as harmful. There must be balanced because God is all those things mentioned and more. I struggle with balance, but by God's grace He is directing my path to know Him better. He is giving me the whole menu and not just the parts I picked out that I want to fixate on.
Praise Him that He doesn't give up on us, that He continually sanctifies us along the path.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Yep, 2 posts today. Why? Because we took a trip to Memphis to meet my mother in law and drop the 2 youngest boys off to spend the week with her and my father in law in Arkansas. Before I left the house I had already written the blog post titled "A Year In My Life Through Pictures Day 23b", but at the time it was not a "b", it was just the post awaiting a picture to add to it. I knew it would be late when we got back, so I wanted to have the post prepared, since I had been to Graceland before and knew what to expect, plus I'm old enough to remember when Elvis was till alive.
So, this post is the main one for the day, the real reason I am doing this. To show and tell my story by pictures with a little write up for each picture. We met Dottie, my mother in law, in Memphis at Tom's Bar B Q and Deli, for lunch before proceeding to Graceland.
"Why Tom's", you may ask. I watch a program on The Food Network called "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives" with host Guy Fieri (pronounced Fietie for some reason?) in which he travels around to favorite local spots. Tom's was featured in his Memphis BBQ show once and I filed it away in my brain for future reference in case I ever made it down to Memphis and needing to partake of some food. This trip comes up, so I searched for Diners, Drive Ins and Dives Memphis restaurants and low and behold, there's Tom's on the list again, along with 2 other places. I thought I would be nice and let my beautiful wife make the choice and she chose Toms (which I had chosen too, but did not tell her). So, the plans were made.
When we got there, it did not really resemble what I remembered about the place in "DDD", but it all started coming back to me when we stepped inside and I saw the pictures of Guy and owner Adam hanging around. The phrase "All aboard the flavor train, the rib tips are off the track" emblazoned made the episode rush back. I recommend watching the episode online to see just how they prepare the food.
The food was the draw and it definitely did not disappoint. It was very, very good BBQ. But what really made the place, for me, was how we were treated as customers. Adam greeted us himself, the others working there as well met us with smiles and chit chat about where we were from and how we heard of the place. All Chandra had to do is mention Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and it was on. Because of that, and possibly the 3 hour drive there, Adam hooked us up with a sampler plate of Guy's favorite rib tips and BBQ bologna. I'm not talking just a couple of small morsels either, this was a well packed plate and it was "off the track".
When we finished eating what we had ordered, BBQ pork and fries for me, we received yet another surprise. One of the ladies there brought out all 5 of us a bowl of strawberry shortcake. Instead of whip cream, these had icing on them which really made it for me. Excellent! The BBQ is indeed "off the track", top notch and some of (if not THE) best BBQ I have ever had. Chandra said it indeed IS the best for her, and we eat some BBQ.
But I can't say enough about how we were treated during the whole visit there. We actually went back before hitting the road home and bought some bring home BBQ pork and BBQ bologna. This is probably the best dining experience I have ever had, bar none. The extra mile everyone went to ensure we felt appreciated was genuine and taken to heart by us all. The excellent BBQ would have been enough, but knowing that each customer is appreciated and made to feel it goes further than anyone could imagine.
Not that Adam or any of the others at Tom's Bar B Q and Deli will ever read this blog post, but a big ol' THANK YOU to everyone there for making this day memorable for us. If you are ever withing driving distance of Memphis you should, for sure, stop in for lunch or dinner are Tom's. You will not be disappointed.
One other thing about today. My role as leader of my family has lacked greatly in the Spiritual leadership area. I don't know why either, it should come natural, but I fail miserably at guiding my family properly in the ways of the Lord. Today could have very well have been another failure in that department too. I wanted to start the car ride out with a prayer for protection and asking that the Lord guide us through the day and let us marvel at the beauty He created just for us to behold. Well.... I didn't pray with the family before we departed. I did one on one with God, even while I was driving and really started to get bothered that I did not include Chandra and the boys in this. So when we stopped for gas in Mayfield, 20 minutes from our driveway I led the family in just the prayer I mentioned above. And instantly I knew that God was in control. I don't know if the thoughts in my head were my thoughts or God speaking directly to me, but either way I know that praying with my family was and is the right thing to do before undertaking anything - a trip, dinner, playing a game, having a conversation, anything and everything as 1 Cor. 10:31 says Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Asking God's blessing on everything we do is a step in the right direction for the spiritual guidance of my family. Even the desire for me to be a more godly father and husband is from Him. I praise Him for loving me and allowing me to be His son, co-heir with Jesus. WOW! That's some good stuff right there.
Please be sure to read my second blog from today as well - this post is referenced in it.
Today we took a little day trip to Memphis. We met my mother in law, who drove in to meet us from their home in Arkansas. We exchanged the 2 younger boys for a little quietness for a week.
While there we made the required Memphis stop at Graceland. Now, that is a step into the past. The jungle room is worth the price of admission . It is a step back into the 70s as the furnishings and decorations have been preserved as a shrine to the life of Elvis Presley.
Now, here is a man that had all this world could offer. Money, jewelry, cars, nice houses and anything else he ever had want for…. in this life. Also, if you ask almost anyone if Elvis was a Christian you will get an overwhelming YES! as an answer. But why? Why does everyone think that Elvis Presley was a follower of Jesus Christ? The main answer is probably that he sang gospel songs, had a very public love for the songs of his youth that his mama sang with him. Then there will be the philanthropic answer, he gave so much to his friends and family. The Cadillacs and jewelry that Elvis loved so much was given as gifts to those that he loved.
But, do those things make this man a Christian? Are these things fruit of a man that truly knew the Lord personally? That could be a yes, if he showed the other fruits of being a child of God. But it could also be a man lost in the world, trying to do the best he could, to work his way to Gods good graces. Sadly I think that is the case. Elvis knew a whole lot about God, but did he actually know Him? There are many other things in the history of Elvis that point to a lost man, many sinful fruits that many seem to overlook. Women, drugs, cursing, worldliness and so on, were the norm for Elvis. He got what he wanted, when he wanted it.
Did Elvis truly know God? I can’t say for any certainty he did, but I also can’t say with any certainty that he did not. I can only judge by his fruits. I know that through all of the videos I’ve seen of him, all the TV interviews I saw as a child, all the “unseen” footage released in recent years has not produced a single clip that Elvis tells his testimony, how he was converted. This is one thing that someone with the world’s ear would be spewing at every chance if he truly loved the Lord as much as everyone thinks he did. Maybe I have just not seen thatparticular clip of Presley telling his testimony. If you have seen it, please send me a link.
But, Graceland is just one more reminder of the mortality we all have. We can have all the worlds offerings, but if we do not have Christ we are nothing. No possessions will fill the void that a person has without the Lord there. No matter how many people we surround ourselves with, we can still go to hell if we trust in ourselves to keep us out. There is but One Way to glory and that is to believe and trust in the gospel, Jesus Christ.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Yeah, that's the top of my head. Yeah, that's gray hair. Yeah, it doesn't really bother me. My mantra has been "it can turn gray, as long as it doesn't turn loose". Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Gray hair is not the worst thing that can happen to a person, after all. My brother, for example, started getting gray hair when he was about 14 or so. It started as a small gray patch on the back of his head. Now? He is mostly gray (or white actually) headed, with a little dark thrown in for good measure. So, my "grayness" waited a few years longer, until I was in my mid to late 30's. Now in my early forties the grays are quickly catching up with the browns. Normally I just put a little gel in my hair and you can't really tell anyway.
I like what Proverbs 16:31 says "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. But, I don't think it pertains to me, as I have led a very unrighteous life on my own. That is the wonderful part of God's love, He has found me righteous, not of anything that I have done or will do, but because of His Son. The Father imputed Jesus Christs righteousness onto me. That is the gospel in a nutshell. At that moment, I was seen as spotless, because I was then in Christ. God , the Father, sees me through the Son as perfect. There is nothing I did to gain this, there is nothing I can do to lose this. That is what is so amazing, I do not deserve His love, I do not deserve to be called a child of God, but I am. He paid it all so I could be free of my sins and no matter what I will always be His, gray hair and all.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This could quite possibly be the most disturbing thing I have seen for sale in a flea market atmosphere. Well, actually in any atmosphere. It is a child's casket. I didn't touch it or play in it ( I was afraid the people that worked there might kick me out if I did), but the handwritten tag on it stated that it was from 1935 and that it was an "original", whatever that means.
The first question that popped into my head was, "Where's the body that was in it?" Quickly followed by the answer in my head, "You big dummy, the casket was never used." Which brought another question up, "Why did someone buy a casket, have a nameplate put on it, then not use it and the why did they keep it?" That was the thought process the whole time I stood there with a wrinkled forehead trying to figure it out. Then the final question of, "Jeff, why are you taking a picture of this anyway?"
As I meandered through the rest of the flea market, known simply as "The Shed", I started thinking about everyone's mortality. We are all going to die, that is the ultimate statistic that we are all a part of. The only way you're not going to be a part is if you're still alive when the Lord returns for us. I then started wondering about children and what becomes of them when they die. I have heard several sides of the arguments, age of accountability, all kids will go to heaven, etc. But, what is the biblical standing on the death of a child that would fit into this casket?
I will need to study up on the subject, but the nagging thought is Romans 3:23 all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I am assuming, but not taking too much of a leap, that all means ALL, in any context. We are all born into sin and do not have to be taught or shown how to sin, it is in our nature and it comes quite natural to ALL of us. The second nagging thought, since the children do not even know what sin means, are they held accountable for it? 1 John 5:17 says that all unrighteousness is sin, so that means the unrighteousness of a child is sin unto God as an adults is.
But as compassionate people, mothers and fathers, we don't want to think about our children in danger of hellfire and damnation. But does it really matter what we do and don't want to do? What matters is what God has said to us in His Word. I am very open to hearing arguments in any facet of this topic. I do not have a firm stance on anything, except God is sovereign in all things and He works all things for our good and to His glory. We are His workmanship created to do good works that He prepared beforehand.
One thing to think about is if we start to excuse childrens sins, do we not have to start excusing the sins of the adults that may have never heard of Jesus? Do we then must say because they did not know they were sinning against the Holy God of the Bible that their sins will be overlooked too? Would someone that lives in solitude then be able to live a life pleasing to themselves, full of selfishness and not give thanks to God, give glory to God and live like a heathen and still be able to spend eternity with the Lord? We must always remember that God's ways are definitely not our ways, praise the Lord for that. If we knew why God did things the way He does, we would then be like God, which we are not. I am, for one, thankful that God has it all under control, that He is directing my path and that He loved me enough to give His Son for me, to take my punishment upon Him as the spotless Lamb, to take away my sins. Oh, what a Savior He is.
Please join the conversation here. I very much welcome your views, your scripture choices that prove your views and any other information you care to give. I hope to be enlightened and to learn from this and I pray that everyone that happens across this posting will as well.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Okay, this is not news, but it seems like my local NBC affiliate thought it was cute enough to feature before their first weather segment tonight.
This "church" is notorious for bad use of their marquee. I guess we can count our blessing that they did not put "You think it's hot here? Wait until you get to hell". But, this is a real issue to me as many "churches" misuse their signage with cutesy little one liners or just plainly awful heresy.
My question, why not use your signs to actually proclaim the Word of God? It is, after all, quick and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), it is truth (John 17:17), it will help a Christian not to sin (Psalm 119:11) and it is how faith comes to be (Romans 10:17).
So come on "church" leaders. Stop with the simplistic, cute one liners. Proclaim the Word of God on your marquees. Sow the seeds of the Word of God on the passers by of your "church" and let God take those seed and bring forth fruit. Stop trying to relate to a damned world and start doing as scripture says.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Pictured above is my sister in law Ashley, Brian and their newborn Julia Adele. This is their first and my wife's first neice on her side of the family. She has been very excited ever since finding out Ashley was pregnant. Ashley lives in batons Rouge, so Chandra is going to take a week in a few weeks to go down and stay with them, when Brian goes back to work.
Julia came in at 7 lb. 6 oz and 20 1/4" yesterday afternoon.
I think babies are a true gift from God. They are truly miracles. God has entrusted us with these gifts and He gives us reign over them. We can never be as good to them as our Father can, but we need to try. We need to teach our children everything we can about the Lord. We have the promise of Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. This, of course is teaching them the Word and sharing with them the love of God.
Monday, July 19, 2010
This picture, although simple, is enough to write a post on each day for the next several years. This is my view each morning as I prepare for the day ahead of me. I do not see enough of this view and sadly I do not make time for more of this view, like I should.
God gave us His Word for guidance in all areas of our life. I believe that 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says it quite nicely, and completely: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So, if I have an issue I go to the Word and see what the Lord has already given to us. Although I will not put God into a box and say that He doesn't speak to His children any longer (like some staunchlings do), I will say that God uses His Word primarily to speak and to guide us. Also if anything does not align with what His Word says then it is false. So just a word of caution, if you're getting a "new revelation" from somewhere and it is giving you visions of "money angels" or telling you to give $100 in order to receive back 10 fold, then you are not getting a Word from God. But I will not say anything more in this post about heretical practices.
I pray that I will burn with a passion to want to be in His Word more. Pleas join me in that prayer for yourself as well as for me. Leave a comment and we can all join in to prayer together as brothers and sisters in Christ to call out for Him to pour out His Spirit on us. We need to be awakened to what true, biblical Christianity is. We need to live with God on our mind 24 hours a day. We need to seek Him daily, hourly, every minute to be with us and to guide us. I fail miserably at this right now, but I also know that a burden to desire to not remain in my current state shows that God is already working in me. Do you have the burden to be closer to the Creator of all things?
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Not quite sure what the connection between Burger King and Twilight is, but there's got to be one. Maybe the new movie has a scene that takes place in one of the restaurants or something. Oh, wait I have it now, greed is the reason.
What other reason would a successful restaurant chain have to promote such a ungodly movie/ book franchise? Oh wait, they do it all the time and most of the time they push the questionable movies on small children through their kids meals. Just another way society is being desensitized to the evilness of the world.
American really needs prayer in this area. That some morality will return and our children will stop being brainwashed into thinking all things are acceptable. It is somewhat our fault as parents to not shelter our children more than we do. We should not allow the filth of movies and video games o permeate our upcoming generations.
The enemy described as a lion in 1 Peter 5:8 is seeking who he will devour. Look at nature, what does the predator target first? The young and the weak. This is also very true with the spiritual predators. Why aren't we vigilant in protecting our young? Why do we throw them into the lions den ourselves sometime? We pay for their clothing, we buy their video games, we pay for the cable TV they sit and watch, we pay for the internet that holds so many dangers. The lion is the same as it ha always been, his hunting methods have just changed.
Join me in prayer of protection for our kids. That we, as parents, will lead a holy life for our children to emulate instead of them emulating movies and TV. Pray that we stay vigilant in our upbringing of our kids and that we are always aware of what they are consuming. We must be broken for our children, one thing I am not enough of. Are you?
Saturday, July 17, 2010
It was off again this evening to the Downtown After Dinner happenings here in Paducah. Last week it was just Allan and me, this week was Chandra, Forrest, Allan and me. It was a really good night. The weather was a little on the hot side, but hey, it is the middle of July.
This picture is looking up from the Ohio River towards and past the floodwall. The colors of the sky were awesome this evening. Blues and pinks just popped. One of those nights where you should just pause and gaze at the canvas that God has laid out in front of you.
Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
I am sure this verse will be used a few times, at least, through my year in pictures. But God often shows me His beauty through His creation. One can only marvel at what His creation is and pronounces. I know many, if not most, people just go through life, see a sunset and say, "hmm, that's pretty." But they do not think about God making that sunset to show His majesty. They just go through life never really thinking about God, even though they may proclaim to know Him, they do not live like they do or speak like they do.
I pray that God sends a great awakening across the world, so many will come to truly know Him. That people will stand in awe of Him. That they will look at the heavens and proclaim that God painted the sky just because He loves us and wants to show us in His creation.
Friday, July 16, 2010
While looking around the bible section at Lifeway this evening, I came across the bible pictured above. It is a Mandarin translation and my local Lifeway also had Korean and a couple of other foreign languages available.
This brings up a question. To the ones that ascribe to "King James Only" doctrines, are these bibles heretical? I was raised on the KJV, but also believe that God has allowed other translations to further His Word. Saying that, though, I do not believe every translation is true to the original manuscripts. I cannot read Greek and Hebrew, so it is by research in different translations that I have gathered that some of the ones that are not really translations add to and take away from the original texts.
"The Message" is probably the most widely known "paraphrase" of the bible. This version is very questionable and should be avoided, for sure. I would say to stay clear from any paraphrase, since you will just be getting the paraphrasers rendition of what they think the Bible says.
Back to my original question. Is this Mandarin translation heresy since it is not a King James? No, and neither is the NASB, the NIV or the ESV. I will not say that people that use the King James exclusively are wrong either, but when it is taken to an extreme, like anything else, it is a dangerous thing. It is trying to impose a man made doctrine of "read this version only, all others will send you to hell". I never thought that through my KJV days, I just didn't know there was any other translations available.
I believe different translations bring out different facets of God's Word to us. The KJV may use one word, the ESV another and the NASB yet another. Read them all in conjunction as you allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Word in you. I think it is wonderful to have different wordings to achieve a higher understanding of Gods love letter to us.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
We were invited to the Reeds this evening to help celebrate their youngest's 2nd Birthday. Martin is a fun little boy, maybe the most well behaved child I have ever been in contact with too.
What a great time it was just watching the kids play, playing a little ourselves and eating some of the best cake a person could ever have. Thanks Missy for being so talented in the cake making department. I always look forward to partaking of its sugary goodness whenever the opportunity arises.
I took a few other photos through the day and took several during the evening. The one I chose was my favorite. Why? Because of the look of joy on Justin's face. I believe Justin was happier to see the Tonka remote controlled car than Martin was. But we all had a blast playing with it.
Seeing Justin help Martin opening his presents, interacting with him and loving on his son makes me think of the joy our Father has for us. It was really a reminder of Matthew 7:11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"
We love our children and would do anything for them, even lay our lives down for their safety, give them as much as we can to give them joy. So, as the verse says, we are evil but still want to supply and give to our children. Now really think about the goodness of God, meditate on just how much He gives us. Do we really understand just how much God glories in us, as His children? I surely can't grasp that in all it's glory. That is something I am going to have to ruminate through the next several years, just how much the God of all, the Creator of everything, the King of Glory loves me, a worthless sinner that He loves for some unknown reason to me.
Thank you Justin and Missy for inviting us over to share in this very special day.
Martin giving us a little entertainment through song.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
This was taken after our prayer meeting tonight at church, after most had left. Some of us hang out and chit chat afterward. Tonight I was talking to a few dear brothers looking out over the playground area and was taken by the beautiful sunset through the trees.
Today was especially hot in our area. So, the sunset was a much anticipated thing for a lot of people today as it brought a much needed relief from the high temperatures. It reminds me though of Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Oh, how I need to remember this passage. I get angry from time to time, and yes I even let the sun go down on my anger, which in turn gives place to the devil to run in and wreak havoc in my life.
I pray that the Lord gives me what the ending of this chapter says in verse 32 "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." I do have to admit that I do forget easily the exacts of why I get angry and upset, but am left with the residuals of that anger. I forget why I am angry or upset and instead I am just upset as a feeling instead of with reason. I do tend to wake up with the anger gone, but that doesn't excuse my defiance to this admonition.
This is just one more way that I need to seek God daily. To give my weaknesses over to Him to control for me, instead of my weaknesses controlling me. The Lord is merciful in these areas and gives the comfort needed, but we have to realize we need Him for this and that we can't do it on our own.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I had a little help with today's picture. My wife sent this to me after she got off work today. This is the McDonalds, err, uh, the rubble from the Mcdonalds restaurant that I featured a few days ago. Looks like they are on the ball with the destruction of the old.
It is a lot easier to tear down something. It also is a lot faster to tear something down than to build it up. People are a lot like that. You can spend years building and nurturing a relationship with someone and one wrong word or action can destroy it in an instance. That is the danger with putting trust in a person, because no matter how much you want to trust them, they will always let you down in some form or fashion.
There is only One that will not ever let you down, that will never leave you or forsake you. Jesus Christ. You can rest easy when you put your faith and trust in Him. But a side benefit to that is when others do let you down, that relationship is not destroyed. You may have a temporary lapse of bad feelings, but any true child of God will always see it as another opportunity to lean on Jesus. To let the love of the Father flow and offer as much forgiveness as it takes to mend that relationship. After all, look at what Christ gave even though He already knew that we would breach His love and sacrifice. He still offers us the undeserved forgiveness and we joyfully accept it, almost as if we expect it.
So the next time you have a rift with a friend, co-worker, spouse or anyone else - just remember that a relationship can and will be destroyed in an instant if you put your faith in a person and not on Jesus.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Stay focused... That's my mantra these days. The enemy is hurling some fiery darts my way and staying focused on the Lord and His Word are the only things that can be done.
Trials come and trials go and I have learned that I must rest in the Lord to see me through, stay focused on Him. Too many times I have (and still do) lash out of the flesh. Not that I mean to cause harm or damage, but to prove a point or to show that I am right and someone else is wrong. I would like to say that Jeff is dead and buried, but he isn't and I battle myself. I suppose it is the battle that Paul describes in Galatians 5:16-17 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
But what it boils down to is my weakness and lack of belief that God has it all in control. I am slowly realizing that I can't fix things nor can I prove someone wrong and be walking in the Spirit. I must rely on God to do those things and if He chooses me to do those things, then He will choose different means than I do.
I praise God that He has revealed how I lose focus so easily.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Well, another screen capture instead of an actual picture. This is one of those "captcha" safety features used across the web to keep spamming down. I'm not sure that they actually work and I get really annoyed sometimes when I can't read what they say.
This one, however, really was easy to read and I really agree with how the words aligned. Normally these are just 2 random words that make no sense at all when placed together. As you can see, this one actually proclaims that "He created" and yes He did. He created everything, out of nothing, with His Word.
This brings me to asking, "How can everything in the universe come from nothing in an explosion?" You know, after all, explosions destroy and cause chaos not order. Take a look at creation and see the intricate work of the Master's hands. How can so many things just "happen" by mere coincidence? What came first, the human body's blood, the veins it runs through, the heart that pumps it, the organs or the body it sustains? You can't have one without the others, so they all came into existence at the same time - hence "God created".
He also still creates. He created a new heart in me. One that he conformed and continues to conform to His will. Have you experienced a new heart from Him? Has He created you anew?
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Today's photo is of the building that once housed the S.S. Kresge store. My mother worked there when I was a child, although I can't remember the exact years I do remember I was around the 6-10 year old range over her time there.
I remember back then my father would take my brother and I with him to pick my mom up from work. We would leave a little early so we could go to the dining area/ lunch counter for dinner. I can distinctly remember a cutout sign of Dagwood promoting the sandwich that bares his name, but not much else about the interior of the store.
I do remember when school was called off for a snow day we would have to go to work with my mom. Usually they would let us go upstairs in the stock area and just play around. My brother, being the entrepreneur he is, would bring his snow shovel and make some cold cash shoveling snow off the sidewalks for close by businesses.
This is significant because this time frame was when I said "the prayer" to be saved. I was around 8 years old and on an excursion with the youth group at my former church. The exacts I can't quite remember, but I do remember crying my eyes out, not wanting to go to hell and not being able to say anything. The gentleman that led me through "the prayer" said it for me and just asked me to nod my head if it was what I wanted to say.
Fast forward to my 14th year of life. I was introduced to some pretty life changing things..... at church camp of all places. A fellow there was really cool to me and he took me under his wing. He also let me have his cassette player and introduced me to Ozzy Osborne, while at church camp. After church camp he continued to introduce me to other "friends" of his, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Rush, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Mary Jane and Bud Weiser. All became very good friends of mine, very quickly. This is also when I began smoking, which lasted for 24 years.
Now, I had said "the prayer" when I was 8, so I was all set with that. It was done and over with, so I had nothing to worry about. I could do whatever I wanted as long as I asked for forgiveness. I did, every night, except the ones I passed out drunk on before I could ask for forgiveness. And so it went for 24 more year, a total of 30 years from when I said "the prayer".
Then something started happening. Things started to come to my attention. I started seeing my sins differently for some reason. I was starting to feel really bad about things I was doing and things I had done my whole life. My 400+ CD collection went in boxes, the smoking habit of 24 years disappeared, another addiction to nose spray was gone and I was feeling less and less good about all of my goodness. I was feeling, well, wretched.
This is the time that God truly saved me from my sins. I was that new creation talked about in 2 Corinthians 5, my desires were changing, all of me was changing. God put some solid biblical teachings in my path at that same time, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer and John Macarthur became my pastors even though I was attending the church of my youth once again. I was seeing things that did not align with what I was reading in scripture and to what I was hearing preached to me. That is the time frame that I got increasingly agitated at that "church". If you go way back to my very first post on this blog it picks up about the same time I left that church. It was about a year or better process of leaving it after the scaled fell off my eyes.
God used my childhood upbringing and teachings in that church to show me how countless millions are being deceived. Not just at the church, but thousands across the United States and across the globe. That is a fire that God put under my feet to move me to compassion for those dear souls that are being lied to and pandered to. The ones that are just like I was for 30 years, sitting in a pew Sunday morning but living like hell the other 167 hours of the week. My heart bleeds for those people, but their deception runs deep.
Please pray for those millions of people being deceived. The ones being told that all you have to do is "make a decision", "say this prayer" or "just nod your head if you agree". Pray that God will take the scales from their eyes too, so they can see Him in all His glory and not cheapened by their false and man centered nonsense.
Friday, July 9, 2010
This picture is of a fine dining establishment here in Paducah. Or former one, that is. It was closed yesterday in anticipation of tearing it down and making room for a newer, state of the art McDonald's.
This particular restaurant is #1534, which means it was the 1,534th McDonald's to open in the USA (and the world for that matter). It was opened in 1970, so it has been around all but 2 years of my life and those 2 years I don't remember anyway. There are now over 30,000 McDonald's worldwide.
The first "real" job I had was at McDonald's. Not this particular one, but one owned by the same owners as this one. That was many moons ago, while I was still in high school. I learned a lot working there, how to sweep floors, how to mop floors, how to cook burgers, how to strain french fry grease, how to clean a flat grill, how to properly wash dishes and the all important term "If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean." Some things you just never forget.
I will miss this old restaurant. I've had many a meals from there and I am sure I will have many more at its replacement for many years to come. But it is a reminder that things change and there is nothing we can do to stop that. But saying that leads me to a point, consistency. That is what makes McDonald's so popular. It is not that their food is better or cheaper than any other restaurants. It is the fact I can go into one here in Paducah and one in Seattle Washington a couple of years ago and get the exact same tasting #6 at both. That's one thing I want for myself too. I want to be the same if I am around my family, church family, coworkers, in the line at a McDonald's or in Seattle Washington. I want to be marked as a follower of God in everything I do and by everything I say. I desire to be consistent in my walk so I am not too critical and not too free-willed either, a balanced consistency to coin a new phrase. Not putting too much emphasis on any one attribute of God, not saying He is angrier than He is loving, or judge more than He is a giver of grace. To just think of God as all of these attributes and more, equally and consistently. For He is the only True and Living God and He changes not.
(P.S. Sorry about the lack of quality of the shot. It was taken at in the dark with my cell phone camera. I'll try to take better photos in the future. I'll also be sure to include a photo of the new store when they get it open in a few months.)
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Beside my driveway, hanging from a evergreen tree branch is hanging this caterpillar cocoon. I've seen it dangling there for a few days now and it catches my sight each time I pull up. I guess I stare it down because I expect a magnificent monarch butterfly to emerge on cue from my gaze. Doesn't look like that's going to happen, especially since I found out it is a Bagworm cocoon that is housing a moth and not a butterfly. But it is equally impressive in its own right.
Just think about this creature inside this cocoon. It made this house to protect it during its metamorphosis from a worm/ caterpillar into something that bears no physical resemblance to what it once was. Albeit a moth and not a beautifully marked up butterfly, but I am still as equally impressed with the intricacy of things that must be happening at just the right time, to cause just the right transformation.
Thinking about the cocoon as I've seen it hanging on the limb, my mind of course has gone to 1 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. The worm or caterpillar is us before we come to a knowledge of our sinfulness, the cocoon is our binding of sin and our release from the cocoon is our re-birth as the new creation in Christ. We may physically have the same DNA structure, but we are radically and visibly changed into something much more than we were. Our old self is left behind, there is no resemblance to what we were. In fact if you had taken a picture before, in our worm/ caterpillar state and compared it to our new self - you couldn't see anything that would even make you think we were the same.
That is the power of the True God. He has the power to change a worm into a butterfly and the power to change a sinner into a saint. Praise God that He saves sinners, worms like me that were quite content with living life as a sinner. I loved my sin and couldn't get enough of it. But God had different plans for me. He wanted to show me His love and grace and initiate a metamorphosis in my whole being. The same voice that said "Let there be light" said "Let Jeff believe". The same Power that created the universe out of nothing loved me and using that same power made me a new creature, one that may bare the same DNA, but is oh so different than the old me. And the good news about that is just as a butterfly or moth can never revert back to their previous state, neither can I. God changed me and that means I am forever changed. Now that is eternal security, putting all faith in God to change and sustain.
How wonderful is that? Have you experience the re-birth? Have you cried out to God in your wretched state and laid all hope and trust in Him? The One that can make you a new creation that will praise and glorify Him instead of shunning and denying Him.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
This is the drive-thru of a McDonalds here in Paducah. We went through before church this evening to get something quick to eat so we would be on time for service. That’s when we caught glimpse of this rather remarkable offer - Braille menus for people driving a car? That’s not even right.
So many questions come up about this. First is, how are they going to read the sign to know that McDonalds offers Braille menus anyway? But the biggest question, How did they arrive at a McDonalds drive-thru anyway? I suppose that their logic would be that a passenger might need a Braille menu, and after thinking about it would make the most sense.
But then the other question arises about the picture menu. Should someone be driving a vehicle that could not read? What about the street signs they might encounter. I think that’s more important than if they want a Big Mac or a Double Cheese Burger. After thinking about that one too, it could be possible that the person could not speak or read English. But that, too, would render them unable to read a caution sign.
Spiritual implications for this? I don’t really have any, except being thankful that God showers us with blessing daily. That we have the ability to drive in a car, without police intervention, on the way to church, without the threat of persecution, to a restaurant that will serve a hot (sometimes) meal quickly (sometimes again), for a few dollars, that God supplied through a job which was not eliminated during the financial meltdown, then drive to church inside a vehicle that is 30 degrees cooler on the inside than it is outside, arrive at church, meet with brothers and sisters and talk about a mighty God that loves us enough to bestow His blessings to us, measly men and women on a tiny planet, in a tiny galaxy, in a vast universe created by an Awesome God. Now that, is amazing.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Today's picture is actually a screen capture from facebook (if you couldn't tell). Take a look at the picture and you will see a status update by a local "pastor" from my hometown. This person is the leader of a local church that is as close to emergent as our fair city has. Although they are about 2 years behind (as Paducah is with everything) they still make a valiant effort to be relevant.
As his post shows, a "Worship experience evaluation and planning" meeting was held at a local coffee house. I guess it is the years of emotional and mental manipulations that really rile me up and cause posts like this to cause a holy indignation t swell in me. All I can see is a couple of guys with soul patches sitting around a coffee house, in the heart of the "relevant" part of town, sipping on a couple of frozen - half caff - mocha lattes with half and half foam - figuring out the next steps to manipulate their congregation into "feeling" what they want them to feel.
You probably think that I am going to call this guy out, say what I really think about him and his relevancy factor. Since I went back to work today after 10 days off, I have had some time to reflect on my view towards heretic and the like. I have come to the conclusion that, yes, they need to be called out publicly because what they put out there is public as well. Besides, contacting this particular person directly goes either not replied to, ignored or just glossed over like I was showering him with praise rather than offering a rebuke of his questionable devices.
I have seen it before and I am sure I will see it again, but this post really irked me today. I blurred his name and the name of the person that commented on his post to protect their identities. Of course, if you know me or have read my posts before you have heard about this "pastor" before. He is the Craig Groeschel groupie that hinges on the next "big" thing that lifechurch.tv does, so that he can copy it in some fashion and regurgitate it back to his followers. I pray that this "church" leader will be awakened to what he is doing and in turn use his celebrity (although mostly in his own mind) to actually preach to his congregation. When you have peoples attention you have to share the gospel. You have to relay to them the state of sin they are in and show them to the only cure, Jesus Christ. This guy, and many others, just offer up the cure before people know their disease is killing them. And that is the good messages. The other message is no message at all. Which begs the question, if the gospel is being proclaimed as commanded, the Word is being preached in truth and righteousness, then why is a meeting needed to evaluate and plan "worship experiences"?
Pray that this guy gets a clue to what the true gospel is. The feel good, good works that he is doing will be burned up on the day of judgment because he does them for selfish reasons. He does not do them to be laid at the altar of God, to glorify Him, that souls will be saved. Pray that the Word is preached and that sinners come to repentance and that God is glorified.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Well, this was probably the quickest 10 days ever. I've been on vacation and with the 4th of July falling on Sunday I got an extension by an additional day. Now I must return to working less than 10 hours. I was talking to a brother at the church get together last night about going back to work Tuesday. I told him most people say they were getting bored and wanted to come back to work - I informed him that those words never come out of my mouth. I don't think I have ever gotten bored enough on vacation to want to go back to work. If anything I needed a few more days to try to work up getting bored, cause it's never happened.
I am thankful that the Lord has supplied me with a job, one that I will be at 15 years this coming January. It does get hectic at times at my workplace and sometimes I do feel like I get a lot of things piled on to my already large workload, but all in all it is a really good place to work.
I am also aware that my job is just a means that God has given to me to pay bills and support my family. It is by no means my source, but one my Source uses to support us. God has been good to Chandra and me over the years. Chandra has changed jobs a few times for various reasons since we were married and each job change God has put her in a better place.
So my alarm clock is my picture for today since it will be part of my daily routine again 5 days a week. good thing about this week is it will only be 4 days. Yeah! So until my next vacation I'm part of the daily grind. I do pray daily that God will use me to reach someone for Him. That I will recognize the opportunities He gives me to sow the seeds of His Word. Please do the same for me and also for yourself.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
July 4th, Independence Day 2010. What a great day filled with brothers and sisters in Christ. Today's picture is of a little mishap during the Oak Grove Firework Display Extravaganza 2010. Seems an errant ordnance went astray and caught a little brush-pile on fire in the field behind the church. The guys did a great job of extinguishing the flames without incident.
The firework display just capped the evening off perfectly. The first Sunday of the month we have a fellowship meal followed by Communion. We normally do not have an evening service on the first Sunday because of the length of the morning/ afternoon schedule. We do, however, sometimes have little gatherings for fellowship of the body, to grow together in different ways. Today just happened to also be July 4th, so we had a built in reason to commune together.
I count it a major blessing from the Lord to have brought us to such a wonderful church home. Since the day we stepped through the front doors we have been part of this family. We have shared tears, laughs and every emotion in between with these dear brothers and sisters. This is truly what a church family should be, not just the "see ya next Sunday mornin'" kind of congregation. We are in each others lives and truly are a body.
I am sure my upcoming picture posts will be chocked full of pictures of my church body. So the readers of this series will probably know everyone by name before this next year is finished. I count it all joy to be part of this body and love each person very dearly.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
So this evening I see a local "pastor" post about people from his "church" having fellowships centered around the UFC 116 Pay Per view. For those not in the know, UFC stands for "Ultimate Fighting Championship". The men that take part in these events set out to pummel their opponent into submission, unconsciousness or inability to carry on with the fight. The scenes of the gatherings that take place for these fights are typically filled with the normal testosterone flow of yelling, screaming, alcohol consumption and even the occasional fight breaking out as the watchers of the event are worked into emotional frenzies as their minds try to process the amount of bloody violence they are consuming. Not to mention the thinly clad ring girls that get just as many hoops and hollers that the fight gets.
So why is a "pastor" endorsing these events? I have no idea. These types of events are nothing more than modern day coliseum events pitting two gladiators against each other. The only slight difference is the halting of the fighting before death is reached for the lesser of the combatants. The way these athletes engage during the fights could lead to, as they keep pummeling away sometimes until they are pulled from their prey.
This most violent of spectator events has gained popularity over recent years. I assume that to stay relevant to their lost congregations these "pastors" must be lenient to what they deem as wrong. Of course those that do endorse such bloodsport are probably not converted either, so this does not really come as a big surprise. I think the relevance factor shows through on this and all of the other things these "pastors" do to draw interest to their "church". They use worldly means to gain a worldly congregation and then have to continue to use those worldly ways and means to keep their flock of goats entertained.
Relevance also shined through while my family was having dinner at a local restaurant last night. Another of these "pastors" of a different local "church" was sitting at the table beside ours. Not that I was eavesdropping, but I could hear their conversation if I tuned my ears their way. I never heard one mention of God between this "pastor, his wife and the couple that was with them. Their topic of conversation was action movies and their actors and the ungodly movie they were going to see after dinner. No wonder their flock stray from the Word, because their leader is just as deceived as they are.
So is it wrong for me to say they are wrong? I think not as pastors and leaders are held to a higher degree that "regular" people. These leaders should not be doing anything to cause others to stumble and promoting and condoning UFC and filthy movies is doing just that. I wonder how they determine where the line is drawn for what is wrong and what isn't. If beating someone to near death is not bad, then I guess the line would be a sport that's directive is to kill your opponent, movies deemed sinful are probably marketed with an X in their rating.
Morals and biblical mandates to be separated from worldly vices seem to have been forgotten by most church attenders, professing Christians and their "pastors". I can't imagine a counseling session with one of these leaders knowing what they condone. How could you take seriously someone telling you to not fight with a fellow church member when the "pastor" just had you over the weekend before to watch 10 matches of a UFC event? Or a sermon on worldliness when the pastor just had a sermon series based on the spiritual implications of "Sex and the City 2".
Get real Christians. Get out of the world. Stand strong on the Word of God and if your church leaders endorse questionable forms of entertainment, tell them about it. Just because they hold a degree in theology doesn't mean they are discerning. If they are deceiving the flock it is your duty to tell them. If they accept the rebuke and move forward in repentance then great, if not follow the biblical mandates from there.
Christians are called to be holy as God is holy. To be set apart from the world. To be salt and light. To walk in the Light as He is in the light. All of which UFC and filthy movies are not a part of. AM i being too harsh? I think I am not being harsh enough as these deceiving wolves are giving the world ammunition to use against those that do strive for holiness and Godliness. Call them out and mark them as deceivers if they do not repent. I am going to contact the UFC condoning "pastor" about this tomorrow and see how he reacts. I will also in the near future contact the other movie going pastor as I have been in contact with him before. Both of these men are well known in my community and I have given them scriptural basis for things they have said or condoned in the past being false or deceptive. I will continue to contact these men about their deceptions and misleading of their "church" attendees. Pray for them and pray for their followers that the scales will come off and the Truth of holiness and true repentance will be made known to them.
As you can see by my second picture of my "Year In My Life" series, it is not a normal subject. This creature sits between Marion Illinois and Carbondale Illinois on Rout 13.
It seems that someone or some business in the area is protesting a IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) project. From the signage it is not quite clear what the project is going to be and I don't really want to invest any time in researching it, so I'm going to have to leave you all hanging on that aspect.
I saw this today on a daytrip with Chandra, just a little time away fom Paducah to get a bite to eat and see scenery other than Paducah. We like to do this fairly often, just to get away and be together. The car rides are a time that we can talk and just be together. Today I was trying to see something that might be a good subject for a picture of the day and I knew that it should be this demon/ pig/ dragon creature. It was confirmed by Chandra.
So what spiritual implications does this thing have? At first I thought it might have been a church that put this thing by the highway to issue a "turn or burn" statement. I can honestly say I was really relieved that it wasn't. I am all for preaching a turn or burn message, but it has to be done in the fullness of the Gospel. You must let people know their state of depravity, their state of rejection of the living God of scripture, their course in purchasing their road to hell and destruction. BUT - you must always follow that up with the good news, not just scare the hell out of someone, you must let them know that Christ was sent by the Father to atone for their sins and save them from their road to hell AND a sinful lifestyle that does not glorify God.
So that was going to be my post on this demonic blowup that draws attention on the roadways in Illinois. The IDOT protest just kind of ruined it, but in a good way. I already had some of the lines thought out about professing Christians that are shocking and deceiving in their message. They like to point fingers and go to the extreme to tell people they are going to hell (which they are) but never seem to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. These folks probably don't know the fullness of the gospel themselves. Pray for people like this who might mean well, or just might be mean. They need to see the love of Christ as well. Their boldness could be used in good ways instead of perceived hate.
Friday, July 2, 2010
This is a picture of my beautiful wife Chandra. What else could I have taken a picture of on day 1? Nothing. God has blessed me with my wife, she is His love gift to me. Our relationship has had many ups and many downs, but God used all of them to bring us closer together. Ephesians 5:25 is a very dear verse for me in which God opened up to me when we were going through a relationship valley. The valley which God used to actually bring us closer together as we learned what a real marriage should be, a reflection of Christs love for His church, His bride.
As a husband I was commanded to love Chandra as Christ loves the church. WOW! That is a very tall order, that I fail at miserably. But I discovered that I, as a husband, must give my life for my bride , maybe not in a physical sense but in a dying to self since. I would lay my life down for her physically if ever warranted, but I must lay it down daily as I strive to be more Christlike in my every action. She completes me, she supports me, she is my love and I can not bare to think of life without her.
For those reasons and more my wife, Chandra, is day 1 of my year long journal. She was acting shy for the picture, but she is normally very willing to be photographed. I am sure over the next 364 pictures she will be the focus or participant as well. I love my wife dearly and thank God for her constantly as she is my Lords love gift to me.
Today I celebrate my 42nd year of life. Actually I didn’t have much to do with it, my mom should be the one to be congratulated as she gave birth to my 8.9 lb of babyness.
The Lord has richly blessed me over the years. Even through my childhood years, young adult life and up until my conversion at 38 years old, He has been good to me. I was a false convert for 30 year of my life. Beginning at the age of 8 I put my hopes of salvation in a prayer of a child and in the words of a man’s assurance that I had taken care of it. But, praise be to God that He showed me the errors of what had been instilled in me.
I was brought up to believe that just saying a prayer was all that was needed to be saved. Actually, it is a lot more simpler than a prayer, it just takes trust in the Word of God to be truth. In that trust is found the repentance of ones sins, not just a momentary feeling of sorrow, but a real feeling of hatred for your sins against a Holy God. I never felt that, I never had that from the age of 8 up until the age of 38. I based my salvation on a fleeting moment of time as a child that didn’t even really know what sin was. But for the next 30 years I really delved into it and learned sin very well. All the time professing to know Jesus as my savior because I took care of it when I was younger. Never did I have someone tell me I needed to examine myself to see if I was in the faith. Never did I have someone tell me my sinful lifestyle was in direct opposition to what the bible describes a believer’s life to be.
Thank God that He saw ft to remove the scales from my eyes. After 30 years of asking God to forgive me of my sins when I went to bed, He finally did forgive me. He finally showed me my sins as they appear to Him. He showed me why His Son was put on the cross. He showed me that I was deceived by some very convincing lies, twisting of scriptures and vain words of men. He saved me. Something that I tried to do for 30 years by being “good” to others, not saying too harsh of curse words, not killing anyone, not lying (too much anyway). He convicted me of my sins and broke me and through His grace saved me.
Now my heart bleeds for those that are in the condition I was in. I had returned to my childhood church for a year or so and saw the same things playing out with the children there as they did with me. False assurances spewed from the preachers mouth, pats on the back as associate pastors gave comfort to those that were feeling conviction only to be pulled away from that conviction with, “Bubby, you know you’re all right. You just gotta get yourself right again, give your heart back to God and stop sinning’.”
Oh, how do we open the eyes of these poor, deceived souls? Short answer, we can’t. All we can do is sow the seeds of the True Gospel of Christ. We pour our hearts out to the Father to be merciful to these people that are living in deceptions, sitting in the pews Sunday after Sunday after being in the bars Saturday after Saturday. The one’s that are living in sin with their girlfriend or boyfriend, seeing nothing wrong with their choice to go against God’s Word. We must cry out to God to pull the scales from these peoples eyes as well. He did it for me, so why wouldn’t He do it for someone else? Someone was praying for my salvation and I may never know whom until I meet them in heaven one day. But someone did pray for me, someone did see my deceived mentality and they loved me and prayed for God to save me….. and He did.
Beginning today I am also going to start a series that I hope to update on a daily basis. I am going to call it “A Year In My Life Through Pictures”. I hope to post one photo per day of something that has touched me during the day. It may be something small and seemingly meaningless or something large like the birth of a child. The guidelines I want to use are: 1. The photo must be taken the day of its entry 2. The photo must contain a description of why I took it and what the photo means to me 3. I won’t try to get all “artsy” in taking pictures, just simple snapshots maybe even taken from my cell phone most days 4. Tell of how God used the subject in the photo to speak to me.
Fairly simple rules to go by. I am sure that it will be quite boring to some along the next 365 days, but I pray that it might be used to show that sometimes what we perceive as small or simple can and is used by God to accomplish something we may never realize without stopping to see the forest beyond the trees. I will post my first photo this evening, after the day has mostly passed because I want to take this day a little slower and reflect on God’s mercies and see what He places in my path this day.