Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Yesterday I posted about wasting time, today is the opposite, using time in a productive manner. I've spent a couple of hours this evening with my tutorial lessons on After Effects, making a project for Real Truth Matters. I am very new to Adobe After Effects and Photo Shop, so I try to use free online tutorials to teach me some basic things and tonight I somewhat impressed myself.
I will not post the project here, at least until I show it to the guys at RTM for their constructive criticism. I am not above others being critical about things I do, not that Joseph or JT would be mean or anything, but I do want to learn and be productive within RTM. So, this will be my first project for eyes other than mine and eyes that are experienced in Adobe's products.
Real Truth Matters went full time a few weeks ago, with two very talented guys doing web design, photography, video production and a lot more things that aren't coming to mind at this moment. I ask you to check out the Real Truth Matters website. There you will find links to the Youtube, Vimeo, Twitter, Blog and Facebook pages that are extensions of the ministry. Also there are the weekly sermons from Pastor Michael Durham in free downloadable MP3 files and streaming, Hi-Def video. Earlier messages are also available for free download and are categorized by topic, scripture and chronologically. The welcome page has a video that everyone needs to see which has the testimonies of some very dear brothers and sister that came from the same type of background I did. The Essential Resources page is also a very informative section that has some key messages from Pastor Durham.
I ask that you also "like" RTM on the Facebook page so that you can stay abreast of releases and postings. The Vimeo and Youtube channels are now being posted in Hi-Def, so that is an exciting advancement the Lord has granted the ministry. If you have itunes the sermons are also available on podcasts for ease of downloading straight into iTunes and onto your iPod or iPhone.
The Lord is really working within Real Truth Matters in individuals lives as well as corporately. Please add the ministry to your prayer list that the full time and volunteer staff will seek God in each and every project that He sends.
Monday, August 30, 2010
This is a screen capture of a game I play from time to time on my iPhone. It is called Froggy Jump and I am not good at it. Then again if I were good at it there would be no challenge and I would not play it anymore. It is really handy when standing in line at the grocery or just just to pass a couple of minutes while driving down the highway (not really).
So, this brings up the question - are these time wasters really that, time wasters and if so could those few minutes here and there be used for something more productive or edifying? I am getting convicted as I type this, because I see that instead of making a frog jump into outer-space I could be using that time to read a few verses on the same device that holds the frog game. I would say that this topic is like any other "gray area", that it is not necessarily what you are doing, it is the reason for it and how much you invest in it that would be the determining factor.
I wrote a blog post about gray areas a while back that I addressed certain things as to if they are addressed in scripture. I like to go back and read things I posted at the beginning of my blogging days to see if my thinking is still the same. It has been so far and remains the same on the gray areas. I think, as Paul said, all things are lawful - they just may not be helpful or edifying to me. (1 Cor. 6:12) I think the Froggy Jump game falls into that. It is not an evil thing, but if I invest more time in playing the game than doing other, more profitable things, then I have issues that need to be addressed. The same goes for television, computer time, working and the list goes on and on.
It is for the individual to seek God in these matters. What may be sinful to me, may not be to you. That is why we must seek God and ask Him to reveal things like this, so that we are mindful and will not waste time doing them that can be more profitable. Just one more way to seek God daily.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
What a beautiful sight it was today as the skies opened and relieved the parched ground. It has been a very dry summer this year, probably only 2 times has it rained and one of those times was only for about 2 minutes. So, today's downpour was very welcome in the area.
It has been a mixed blessing for me. On one hand I really am feeling sorry for the farmers whose crops are not doing very well. But, on the other hand I have only had to mow my yard a very few times this year. I am sure that will change this week as the grass flies upward in joy of getting some liquid refreshment.
What I don't get is people complaining about the weather. To me, this is a direct act of defiance to God. He directs the clouds, He tells them when to let loose and He tells them when to stay closed and He tells them which way to move across the sky. Believe me, God knows what He is doing. He has His reasons for withholding rain so much this year and I am glad that I do not know why that is. I am very happy that I can't explain God's motives or reasons for His actions. Well, to an extent I can explain them, because He is God and He brings glory to Himself. So, just because we do not know why it hasn't rained is no reason to think it is punishment or God wanting to see us squirm. I am completely confident God still has it under control to His glory.
Who knows, maybe He needed to reach a farmer and the only way that farmer would get so low would be to lose the majority of his crops. Maybe that farmer was prideful or relied on his money instead of relying on the Lord. Who knows? God has a way with bringing His elect to repentance and reliance on Him. I know that many people have been praying for rain, even a lot of lost people. But, like I said, who knows the ways of God? Not I.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Actually I need to get rid of a lot of "stuff". This is the top shelf of my side of the closet, filled with NASCAR die-cast collectibles. Anyone want a good deal on a couple thousand pieces of memorabilia from the NASCAR premier circuit?
I started to collect NASCAR items back about 12-13 years ago. My favorite driver then, and through his retirement, was Kyle Petty, son of "The King" Richard Petty. WHy did I choose Kyle as my favorite driver? It wasn't for his win record, that's for sure. It was because he was different than the rest. He sported a long ponytail and earrings. Something of which I had both of at the time. Plus he professed to be a Christian, yet again something I "had" at the time.
I used to get a lot of ribbing for my choice of fave driver. Kyle's better days were easily in the 80's and definitely not in the time period of my NASCAR days. He did have that magnetic type personality though. The kind that said "I'll do what I want, say what I want and get what I want, if you like it or not." Which was an attitude that I admired at the time because I was nothing like that, but wanted to be oh so much.
Well, things change over time. I haven't purchased any NASCAR memorabilia in a few years now, seldom do I watch a race and Kyle Petty retired. His retirement year was the last year I watched because I had no one to cheer for and didn't really want to invest any more time or money into something that I could live without. Also something else happened in that same time frame - God saved me.
That is probably the main reason I do not watch NASCAR racing nearly as much anymore. My desires have changed. I thought when I was a big fan of the sport that I was a Christian, it was actually a deciding factor in my choice of Petty as a favorite driver too. I later realized that I was really deceived in my profession of faith, as I put all my trust in my prayer as an 8 year old and a declaration by a pastor. My faith was in my "decision", even though I didn't really know what sin was at the time, nor know that I was a sinner in need of God's grace. I was doing something that all the kids did at church - " got saved", but from what? I think at the time it was saved from the embarrassment of everyone else saying they were saved and knowing that I never had said "the prayer" before. So I did "it". I walked the aisle, agreed with what the preacher was saying, because I was too choked up to say anything and I got it over with. I was good to go, had my ticket and was now free to move about as I liked. But something was wrong, I wasn't truly converted.
I lived the next 30 years looking back to that time when I did what I was told and taught to do as my salvation. God was very good to me and allowed me to see that I never trusted in Him or repented of my sinful life. Then is when He saved me, aged 38 years. Praise God that he saves those that thought they were saved. I was probably one of the ones that seem the least "save-able", those that made a profession, but nothing really changed about them. They have been fed a steady dose of poison in the form of a man centered, false message that says to just repeat a prayer and you're in. These people live like the world, talk like the world, are entertained by the world and are mired in a thought that they are "good" and on their way to heaven. Only thing is they only grace the pew of a church on the occasional Holiday. Some may even go every Sunday morning, one hour a week, with their thoughts far from the message and have their Sunday's best clothes and attitude on. Thing is, the other 167 hours of the week they are living life like they are lost, which is because they are lost.
These poor souls don't want to hear anything about holiness, sanctification or God's judgment on sinners. They think they are all right, so why would they need to hear about any of that? To them I am just one of those "religious people" that want to cram my beliefs down their throat, which is as far from the truth as anything. These people will not listen to anything said to them, unlike someone who does not not profess faith. I can talk to someone that says they are an atheist about God more readily than someone that is deceived of their conversion.
That is why my heart aches for these false converts. I was once one and they are the ones that are going to proclaim on judgment day "Lord, Lord" and Jesus will tell them "depart from me, I never knew you". Countless millions on their way to hell because of the false gospel that saturates most church buildings these days. It is only getting worse too, as "pastors" and elders turn to worldly ways to bring people in, give them a message that is centered around their needs, never proclaims the Word of God, never mentions their sinful state, never speaks of repentance, never explains what God demands, just "every head bowed, every eye closed, say this prayer, bam you're in". Then they must continue with the worldliness that brought them into the church to entertain them, instead of God being proclaimed in truth.
What brings them in will be what keeps them in. Sad, but true. If you offer worldly music as a draw to sinners then one days stop playing that music, half your congregation will leave. God's Word should be preached every Sunday, every time someone is in the church building. No compromise, no worldly antics, no worldly entertainment. The, when God works in them it will be a true conversion and these people will crave the nourishment of God's Word. They will need it for life as they need physical food for life.
Pray for these folks. You may even be one of them, your children, your parents, your friends. Just lovingly preach the gospel to them and let God take care of it. That is the most loving thing you can do, tell them the truth.
Friday, August 27, 2010
What a beautiful evening we had here in Paducah tonight. The temperature was perfect, a total 180 from what it has been of late with temperatures in the 80s to 90s in the evening.
So, what do you do on a nice night in Paducah? You take your wife out for pizza, of course. We had dinner at Italian Village, 1/2 Cheese for the misses and 1/2 peperoni and sausage for me. Italian Village has some of the best pizza ever. It is a New York style and has been a favorite of Chandra and mine from way back in the day. So, it is a treat to be able to go there with her still to this day and reminisce of yesteryear.
After we ate we drove down to the river and made a drive through cruising section. What did we see there? Well, it's for you to decide what to call it, but to me it was a little Suzuki Sidekick with a convertible top and a spoiler mounted to the roll cage. Now, that took some imagination and lots of guts to drive around in. But, I have seen worse. It did offer up a chuckle for me, at least. Chandra? Not so much.
I am always thankful for time with my wife. She is my gift from God. Even if we do not agree 100% of the time, we are still perfect for each other. God knew what He was doing when He brought us together and I am very grateful to Him for allowing me to be her husband. It is even better knowing what marriage signifies and is an allusion to - the relationship between Christ and His church. Ephesians 5 has come alive to me over the past 18 months or so. Especially in the last 2 as our Pastor, Michael Durham, has been in a series titled "Divine Design For Home". He has taught using Ephesians 5 as the catalyst to open up exactly what each person's roll is in marriage. I highly suggest you take advantage of the free audio download or streaming HD video from the Real Truth Matters website. Each weeks message is available usually the same day as it is given to the congregation.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Man, I really don't like Harry Potter. Never seen any of the movies, never read any of the books and couldn't tell you much about the story line. I have read articles in the past about how it glorifies witchcraft and other forms of the occult, so that is my main gripe with it. Not that it is a small thing to glorify what scripture says is from Satan and should be avoided.
My second gripe, but could actually be a 1a, is that it is targeted at children and is pulling them in by the millions. Parents seem oblivious to what this series stands for and focus, instead, on the characters doing "good magic", as if there is a "good" kind of sorcery from the devil. Now the video game in conjunction with Lego is out for consumption. Another piece in a puzzle of sin that is plaguing our youth.
I really wish parents would wake up to this mess, along with all of the other garbage they are not only allowing their kids to consume, but that they actually pay for. To top it off some of these parents call themselves Christians. My question to them, If God has given you a new heart, made you a new creation in Christ, washed you clean and you look to Him for everything, how can you give this junk to your children? Well, junk and garbage are probably too clean of terms to use, since these types of things are straight from the depths of hell. These are spiritual weapons that are destroying our youth and parents are buying their kids ways to hell with it.
Parents wake up! Stop this nonsense now. Get rid of anything having to do with spells, incantations, wizards, warlocks, vampires, werewolves or any other tool of the occult. Cleanse your house and make sure you let your kids know why.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Okay, so it's not really a blue moon this evening, but it is shining very bright on Kentucky. Sorry the quality isn't very good on the picture, but I had to use the new iPhone to take the snapshot of it.
Isn't the moon amazing? What is the first thing you think of when you see it? The man in the moon? (I never seen the man in the moon before) How about the old fable of it being made out of cheese? The first steps on it by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 mission? The first thing I think about, especially on a very bright night like tonight, is the sun that it reflects the light from. I think it is amazing that the moon acts as a mirror and reflects that much light back to Earth. I probably have enough light outside tonight to read a book by. It is definitely casting a lot of shadows.
This is exactly as we should do in this dark world. We should be a reflector of the light of God and casting the attention to the Source of the light and not on our own self. One bright note (pun intended) is that the darker the surroundings the brighter a light will seem. Seeing the state of things these days a Christians light will shine very brightly.
Jesus tells a parable in Mark 4:21-23 of a candle. He says that why would you want to hide a candle under a bed? You wouldn't, you would want to set it atop a candle holder to light the room you are in. If you left the room you would take the candle with you, it would be your source of guidance and you would be dependent on the light to show your way. Just as Jesus is our Way we are to follow Him and reflect His light. We have no light source ourselves, but only through light being shed on us. You can even go back to the Old Testament ans see Moses had a lasting glow from being in the presence of God. People knew he was a follower of God, because he reflected God's light.
Can the same be said of you? Do you live in a dark world that is filled with things of this world? Does your taste in entertainment show that you are in darkness? Do your fellow workers at your job know nothing of the light you claim to have? Have they never seen the radiance from you as you reflect what God does for you on a daily basis. Does the room stay as dingy and dark when you walk into it? Then there is either one of two things going on here. You have either chosen to put your light under the bed and hide the light from others as well as yourself, or you do not have the Source of the light in the fist place. This might be a good time to examine yourself and see where you stand with the Lord 2 Corinthians 13:5.
If God is present in your life then there is practically no way to hide His light. Think about the sun. How hard is it to hide it's light at high noon? And it is 93 Million miles from us. If you know God then He is with you always, so how could the maker of the sun, who shines brighter than anything, be able to be hidden? That is something to ponder.
Also, check out a blog from a sister if mine called "Reflecting the Son".
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Here's something that you don't see very often any more. The local Pizza Inn has the 10 Commandments prominently displayed. They are also not ashamed to let everyone know that they are Christians. The ownership also plays Christian music on their speaker system for the customers. This is something unheard of in this day, when Christianity is being told that it can't promote it's teachings.
Today it is perfectly o.k. for a Muslim to proclaim their religious beliefs (however false, doesn't matter to the "law") but a Christian that does so is often told to be quiet, leave or even be arrested. The Christianity that built this country to afford everyone the right to practice their religious beliefs is being persecuted now. A sad state of affairs, indeed. But let a Muslim say something, want to proclaim about their god or hold prayer in their work environment and people can't seem to bend over backwards fast enough to accommodate them.
I am not against any religion from practicing their beliefs. A Muslim has just as much right to hold services as any other false religion, even those that proclaim Christ, but are truly not following the biblical form of Christianity. There are churches on almost every street here in Paducah that proclaim a false religion, so why shouldn't a Muslim be allowed to as well? That is a debate in a near by city, Mayfield KY, as a group of Somali immigrants have petitioned to open a Mosque in the downtown area. The city has said that parking and safety concerns have proven enough to deny the permit for the Mosque. Seems like Mayfield was the mini version of what is going on at Ground Zero in New York.
I don't want a Mosque opened up in that area, not because I don't want the Muslims to not have a Mosque. I think this is, to them, a blatant slap in the face to America to say "We own you, you will conform to us and we have proven we are going to take over". However civil most Muslims seem, there are the extremists that follow the letter of law from their holy books. What is peaceful now will try to turn into a Muslim based government, as if it's not that way now (but that's another story).
I guess it is just good to see Christians take a stand for Christianity. It is not too late and I believe the persecution will only get worse. But in that worse state the false converts will be flushed out and bend to the oppression. So, it could be a good thing as it will do away with a lot of blasphemy as false converts no longer profess Christ and invoke His Name. True believers- take a stand. Trust in God that He will sustain you and will be your source, as He promised. Keep in mind that He will be glorified through you as He uses you to proclaim His Word in truth and in righteousness.
Monday, August 23, 2010
This evening I was just browsing through the Apps available for my new phone. I've already downloaded several that I know will edify me and also be useful tools in my walk with the Lord.
I decided to do a search for Jesus in the App store. Look what the first app is listed. Of course, it is an app for the Mormons/ LDS false religion. I must say they are very crafty in their proliferation of media now days. Mormonism is a false religion that I have did a little homework on for the past couple of yeas or so. I have also had an ongoing "conversation" with a Mormon in my area that responded to a posting on a community classified site that I posted an ad for the Real Truth Matters conference a couple of years ago. You can find a blog post about that here.
That conversation has stayed going even after I asked him to stop emailing me. I was really trying to stay civil with him, because I know he is deceived. He believes a lit to be truth and I have told him that on several occasions. He did, however, become more "pushy" with his verbage a while back and was in open blasphemy against God, so I asked him to not contact me again. That lasted about a month and then the emails started again.
He has actually been more willing to answer questions this go round. It is really weird because in almost all of my responses I call him a follower of a false religion and tell him he is on the way to hell/ outer darkness. All I can come up with is he must either not be reading my replies, he doesn't care what I say or he's got someone else writing replies for him now.
THe most recent barrage included a few emails about their "saint" Glenn Beck, so I had to tell him what I thought of Beck and all of those that claim to be Christians that follow him. I have also written some about Beck on here and how dangerous it is/ was for professing Christians to take up for Beck and promote him. It is now paying off for Beck as he is about to have a meeting that will have some well known professing Christians there. All I have to say right now is, if someone goes to that meeting and thinks they are in alignment with Beck's god then you are lost and do not know the God of the Bible.
Enough of that. I didn't want to go into a rant as I often like to do. Just wanted to show how the Mormons are starting to show up everywhere. They are like cockroaches and their false religion needs to be exterminated. They even now put their book of Mormon in hotels alongside the Gideon Bibles. With Glenn Beck and Mott Romney perched to be heavy hitters in the next Presidential election, we may see a larger shift to a one world religion. I always thought it might be Islam, but I wouldn't doubt some kind of Mormonism/ Muslim hybrid with many professing Christians having their ears tickled and falling right into the pits of hell following its teaching.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I am very sorry, Missy accept my apologies. The picture quality here does not do this cake justice, by far. To all others that have not partaken of a cake made by Missy, you are missing out. Hands down the best cake available in the free world today.
This just happens to be the last piece of a "thank you" cake she made for Chandra Friday. Little did Missy know that I would probably be the biggest benefactor in the deal. Missy cake (as I have deemed her delectables) the closest cake that I have ever had to my favorite cake growing up here in Paducah.
Some reading this post may have heard of Blackhawk Bakery of Paducah. They are known for their dinner rolls, which are very good and are also shipped across the region, if not the U.S. However, they did make cakes, pies and other delicious cakes, along with the rolls in my youth. When their bakery started concentrating solely on dinner rolls the cakes went bye bye.
Missy cake just so happens to taste almost the same as the once delicious Blackhawk cakes. I say almost because my memory has lapsed quite a bit over the years, so Missy cake may actually be better than Blackhawk. It is, however, a reminder of my youth, days gone by, something from back in the day, a throwback to yesteryear, whatever clever little phrase you care to put in there. But it brings back memories with every delicious bite.
It is good to think of our past. For me, I think of what God allowed me to go through on the path to actually knowing Him on a personal level. I knew a lot about Him from the time I was young, but never actually knew Him. I can see how His hand directed my path, even when I was lost. I can see how He answered my prayers, even when I was lost. I can see His mercies granted to me, even when I was lost.
I was always taught growing up that God only hears one prayer of a sinner and that is the "sinner's prayer". Well, after having my eyes opened to the background of the sinner's prayer and learning that it is not biblical I started questioning everything that I was taught. If there is not a "sinner's prayer" how can God hear it? If God knew us before the foundation of the Earth, then He had to have been directing us along the way of our lives. Even before that, He had to have directed each of our ancestors, their paths to find their spouses that would in turn be used by God to create their offspring, which would in turn go all the way to my parents meeting and being used by God to create me.
So, yes, I believe that God is in total control. I believe that God heard my prayers as a child, as a rebellious teenager and as a sinful adult. I believe that God actually was guiding me back then, in my "lost" days, on the path He set before me that led directly to an encounter with Him and His Word. He had to lay things out according to His will so that I would know Him. For that I will be eternally thankful. I deserve(d) hell and He bestows on me the righteousness of Christ. Me. A wretched sinner is seen through Jesus Christ, as spotless before the Father. How? By simply believing what He has said, repenting of my sinful life and placing all hoe and trust in Him... for everything.
What a wonderful God He is.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Had a great time at Bobby and Tina's house tonight. Had a couple hours of fellowship enjoying the conversation and bragging on how God is active in everyone's lives at the moment. We followed that up with a short but productive evangelism meeting for Oak Grove as wee seek the Lord on how to pursue the goal of creating disciples.
Bobby, J.T., Joseph and I (and our respected spouses) have been given the leadership of the church, as far as steering the vessel of evangelism on the corporate level. God has been gracious and given us some really marvelous tools and ways to deploy in our fair city to go and seek those that He has called. We are going to broadcast the seed of His Word and pray for the harvest. He has promised to not let His Word return void. This, of course, does not take the place of personal evangelism, but is a way for the body of Oak Grove to actively participate, together, for the common goal of increasing God's flock. Attendance to our church is not the primary goal, but will be a welcomed side note to our labors. We are more interested in making disciples to go into their own neighborhoods and increase the fold even greater.
There is labor involved in this, but God has been good. He has given us a church home that loves God very much and in turn loves others. We pray that He will use us to make an impact in our community, then maybe take our experiences to other church bodies and towns to help them, too, reach the lost. We must preach the Word in season and out of season, just as long as we are casting the seed wide, He will give the increase and will be glorified. Please join us, the body of Oak Grove Baptist church, in prayer as we embark on this missionary endeavor into our own area. I say missionary, because we have countless thousands here that have never heard the True Word of God.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The clouds had me fooled this evening. They were getting fairly thick, fairly quickly. But, alas, no rain again. I think we may be officially in a drought situation in this part of the country. I know the rain has been very little and very many days in between.
This is like our spiritual well being. I think a lot of us feel like we are in a drought sometimes. We look up a lot and see the source for a downpour, but still nothing comes. I wonder why that is. Is it because we don't want a pouring out on us? Or could God just be withholding, pushing us to trust in Him as our source even more deeply?
I know I need a downpour from the Lord daily. By His grace I have been able to fellowship daily with Him. It has become a habit to just carry on conversations with God as I am working. I am still far from where I need to be, but He is chipping away at this hard exterior and reshaping me on a daily basis. I thank Him because He has done this to me. The wretch I am wants nothing to do with Him apart from His work in me. It amazes me that even as vile as I am He still loves me and is there with arms wide open. How wonderful it is to rest in His arms and know that the Creator of the Universe, the same God of David, Paul, Moses and Job has the same relationship with me as He did those other men. How wonderful it will be one day to hear from David's mouth the Psalms that we read now. To talk to Paul about the day Jesus changed him on the Damascus Road, to talk to Noah about building the Ark and how faithful God was to save him for being faithful to Him or to hear first hand how it was to spend 3 days in the belly of a fish from Jonah. But most of all, and I can't really imagine this, to sit at the feet of Jesus and bask in His glory, speechless as I learn how much He loves me, so much that He died for me.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Well, today I made the return to the iPhone. It's been about 10 months since we switched to Sprint and I gave up my iPhone 3GS for a Palm Pre. I honestly have to say that Apple makes a good product. The iPhone is what all others "try" to be, be it a Droid or the Pre, they all try to attain the mark that Apple set. Not only did I get an iPhone, but Chandra did as well, which suprised me because she has grown quite fond of Blackberry.
From what I can tell the iPhone 4 is still really similar to the 3G and the 3GS that I had, not much difference as far as screen appearance. The biggest difference noticeable is the outside. It has sharper edges, but still a very cool looking
God has been really good to allow us to have good incomes so we can have nice things. He is our supplier and I like to think that even if we were not as blessed as we are, that we would continue to praise His Name just the same. I thank God daily for His provisions, my job, my vehicle, my family, my friends, the country I live in and a whole lot of other things as He brings them to mind. We must praise Him regardless of His blessings or curses. We have to have a Job mentality and not let circumstances get us down. God has sustained me and my emotions through a lot of things that I would have fallen apart from. Without His shoulder to lean on and His Word to guide I have been able to stand firmly on His promises. I have seen bad times and praised Him, I have seen good times and praised Him. I pray that I continue to praise Him and His gifts and not focus on the gifts more than Him.
God is my supply, my strength, but most of all my Father. He just happens to like it when I glory in Him, just as any of us fallen dads do, but much more since He is holy and we are evil. What a mighty and worthy God we serve.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
This picture is of a corn field close to my house. Don't worry, I did not take the picture myself, I had Forrest take it on our way to church this evening. This is a common sight around here as we have gone for several weeks without substantial rainfall and over 90 degree temps, even in the 100s.
The crops are parched, the farmers are looking at a reduced harvest and lots of people are grumbling about the weather. This could be painted as a picture of the Christian harvest too. True conversions are very minimal these days. There are those that appear to be converted, but dry out like this corn has. There are some that sprang forth, shooting toward the sky only to get burned by the Sun and wither away. Then there are those that get tangled in the vines and are pulled back by the entrapment. Then there are the true converts, the ones that carry on, knocking away the vines that try to ensnare them, springing forth at a steady pace toward the goal, their roots growing deeply in the Word, their nourishment full and rich.
These are all laid out in Luke 8:4-21 as Jesus tells the parable of the soil types and then explains it to His disciples. This parable is the same today as many are deceived into a false profession, have their faith snuffed out by their friends that ridicule their "decision", some spring forth with as much zeal as anyone only to be disillusioned about the false promises they were told, some even hear the truth of scripture but have the enemy twist it into something they can not understand or distracts them with worries of the world so they do not listen.
But God has promised that His Word does not go out void. If we sow the seeds of His Word, He has promised to bring forth the harvest. He has told us that the harvest is great, but His workers are few. Why is this? It is because His church sleeps and most of the other professing churches are sowing corrupt seeds and reaping a corrupt harvest of false converts who in turn sow more corrupt seed and so on. His church must be awakened and turn back to Him. We have to hold ourselves to the holiness God demands so we can be effective witnesses for Him. We have to repent from our evil ways and turn to Him for the power we need to spread His Word in truth, love and power.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Just happened to see these in the closet this evening. Talk about memories. Well, if I had any memory skills, that is. But flipping through the pages some things did come back to me.
The biggest thing was that this was my freshman year of high school, the year that I discovered a whole lot of sinnin' and a whole lot of permin'. Just check out the picture of me that graces the pages of the yearbook. Wow! What was I thinking?
The summer before this school year started is the year that I went to church camp and was introduced to a guy that in turn was nice enough to introduce me to Ozzy Osborne, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Rush as well as Jack and Jim and their close friend Mary Jane. My life changed drastically that year. All of the sins I was indulging in were okay though, as I was taught, because I had said the prayer and took care of it. I was just told that I would lose some rewards in heaven, but I would be going there for sure because I gave my heart to Jesus. Truth is I was discovering just how wicked my heart was, but I wasn't worried about it in the least.
I was 14 years old, starting a 24 year smoking habit, drinking every weekend, traveling to rock concerts and even driving home from one at 14 years old. I had no worries at all, life was good. I was living a me centered life and discovering sins daily. I did think about God though, every night when I went to bed I would pray for forgiveness for what I had done that day, except the nights I passed out first.
This type of life carried on for a lot of years, with the same mind set, the same habits and a plethora of new friends and ways to sin. Not until I was 38 did God take the scales from my eyes and show me just how evil I was. That is when I realized that the life I was living was a sham and I was lost and needed a Savior.
Looking back, even when I thought I was a Christian, I can see how God was guiding me and allowing certain things to happen, certain paths to be walked down and a lot of things I lived are now opportunities for me to share just what the Lord did in me and to me. What an awesome God! He directed my path even when I was in open rebellion, because He loved me. Definitely not because I deserved it, because all I deserved was hell, but He still had mercy on me. I will never get over that and I hope that I can share it with many people before He brings me home.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I took Allan to get his shots today. He did quite well, I think. Either that or he is a very good actor and we'll need to get him a part in the next play at the Market House.
The one in the left arm did get a small wince. But, he was forewarned by the nurse that the shot itself wouldn't hurt but the medicine was going to sting a bit. After it was all done, he said he felt fine. I'll take him at his word, but I will also be sure to poke him in each arm for the next few days in case he might want to reconsider.
Pain is a sign of discomfort. That's why when you dig too deep in a persons sin life they get agitated. They get a sharp pain because they are feeling some discomfort. I believe pain is a good thing (not saying I like to inflict pain nor receive it, work with me here). If you did not feel pain you would not know that the burner on the stove that you just placed your hand on was going to cause some serious damage if you left it there. Pain is a reflex of your body to move you away from danger or to show you that something is wrong, drastically wrong.
Using that same thought process, the next time you are conversing with a friend or family member and you open a wound of sin, just know that their reaction is not necessarily because of what you said, but because of the feeling they just had. They were caused a bit of pain or discomfort, but it is a good thing. Just as you screaming ouch does not mean you are mad at the stovetop, being disgruntled doesn't really mean that they are agitated at you, but instead at the exposure of a wound.
Wounds heal over time, but most leave scars. One thing about those scars is you can look back and say, "that one on my leg was from when I was playing baseball when I was 8 years old..." You remember the process that caused the scar, that caused the pain and you use it as a reminder to not do that certain thing again, if possible. You may even use the story as a catalyst to share about something in particular, then about the healing process.
Never let pain rule you, allow it to be yet another tool to see that all things work to good to those that are called, that God uses everything in our lives to bring us to a better understanding of who He is. Use it to seek after God whether it is physical or mental pain, it can be used to glorify the Lord.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
This was a sight to behold. Tonight in our "Respectable Sins" study (No sins are respectable, just overlook the "small ones") Matt used Shane in an illustration. Yes, he has on a girls zipper hoodie. Yes, he has on a bright red wig. Yes, he has on some big ol' sunglasses. But, alas, no, he would not put on the lipstick.
Shane was representing a man that was trying to be a "superior" woman. The illustration was hypothetical, saying that "what if" the young lady pictured (name withheld) had the XG chromosome which made her superior and Shane just had the XY chromosome. but wanted to be like the young lady. He could dress up like her and may give an outward appearance of someone with the XG, but past the superficial it would be very evident. This was likened to someone that just tried to give the appearance of being a Christian, but had not truly been converted. The only way to get the XG chromosome would be for God to create or recreate you with it, signifying the rebirth.
We also discussed different pride issues that some Christians have. One that rang true to me was the pride of having correct doctrine. I think I could be perceived with this issue, but I am not on the prideful mindset, I just want others to know what the truth is. Not that I want to rub it in their face, but I had a false understanding fed to me since childhood and when God opened my eyes I felt the desire and need to share with others who are deceived. Not prideful, but often taken not in the way I try to convey. Which does open an issue I have of showing love and compassion to others properly. That is what I lack. Not that I need to bring down the area of truth conveyance, but to bring up, to an equal level, my lack of compassionate conveyance of truth. Just one more way to seek the Lord for His grace. I am always thankful for any reason to seek God, not that I do not have enough reasons anyway.
Also stopped at Wal Mart tonight. Saw this stack of Pepsi cartons with "Do Good" on the sides. My question: What does Pepsi mean by this? Are they saying they know what good is? Are they pointing to what good is? Is their goodness relative to society? Or relative to God? I would speculate that by good, they mean kindness, giving, loving, etc. But that's just a hunch. If someone know what they mean please let me know.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Seems like we take a little day trip every weekend. I guess it's to just get away from the sprawling Metropolis that Paducah is. Well, not really that reason, but it is refreshing to just take a little drive an hour or so away, have lunch, do a little shopping (tax free in Illinois today) and come back home. A not so expensive outing that everyone can participate in and no one get hurt.
We were in Carbondale again today. We stopped at a used book store called the Bookworm. This store has one of the most diverse and largest inventories of used books I have seen. It is also home to a rather over sized cat named Casper, who pretty much runs the place.
Most of the books are older, some newer. I imagined today, while looking over the "religion" section of whose hands held these books and read their pages. Were they deep theologians, someone taking a class at SIU-C and doing their required reading or just a regular person like me, who wants to read to get a better understanding of the character of God. I deduced that it was probably a cross section of all mentioned and then some. I did see a few copies of "Purpose Driven Life" from Rick Warren, that I assumed were read by someone that were looking for a way to be more pleasing to God. Me, not a fan of Warren or his methods and would rank him with other pragmatists whose "purpose" is to lead astray those that are either still young in the faith or just beginning to have curiosities peck at them.
I did not find any John MacArthur or John Piper books, nor any on or about Spurgeon or other faithful proclaimers of God's Word. There were other religions present in the religion section, but in a college town I am sure that their are many different religions present and available.
On a side note, I did see the "thriller" section and thought of Michael Jackson. I did a little thinking about him for a few steps, thinking about his trying to be accepted by others, his plastic surgeries, "alleged" small boy complaints and his religions of choice - his parents raised the Jacksons as Jehovah Witnesses which he renounced around his Thriller days. He later had a stint with the Muslim religion when his brother Jermaine was converting and also sported a red yarn bracelet symbolizing Kaballah. Just avery twisted process by a twisted man in need of a Savior.
Truth be told, without the grace of God I could have been a Jehovah Witness, Muslim, Mormon or any other false religion. I actually was for part of the most deceived religion in the world, the one that are probably the hardest to witness to - the false convert Christian. Seems like everyone around here is a "Christian", but no one seems to know what that entails. They know they were lead in a prayer or had some kind of crying/ emotional experience, but they know nothing of Jesus Christ. They want nothing to do with holiness and are quite comfortable thinking they have their ticket to heaven and an inexhaustible ticket to sin. As long as they say "sorry about that", they are fine and still on their way to heaven. It is a very sad reality that most of these souls are on their way to hell.
Deception is rampant. What better lie to use by Satan than one that uses supposed men of God to proclaim? Sunday after Sunday false prophets stand in pulpits across the globe and proclaim that all you must do is make a decision for Christ, then *BAM* you're in. Nothing about the sacrifice of Christ, the punishment of their sins being poured out by the Father on His Son, nothing of the wrath of God that hangs over their heads, nothing of repentance and a true turning to God, nothing of the grace God can bestow on them or the completely vile person they are in the sight of God. The message that is proclaimed is very different than that proclaimed by Christ, Himself, and the Apostles. Galatians 1:8 says that if anyone proclaims another gospel that they are cursed. That means the majority of those standing in pulpits across the globe are apostate, false prophets and are cursed. Pray for them. They need the One that can intervene and glorify Himself through their true conversion, the humble display that they have been wrong and a call to repentance.
Friday, August 13, 2010
No, that's not a school bus. It may appear like it is to you, but to me it looks like a roadblock. That is exactly what it is for me in the mornings. Seems like someone decided that this bus would be picking up students at the same time I am on my way to work. I would say 3 out of 5 days a week we have a problem. Well, they don't have a problem, I do.
This bus backs into a long driveway and waits for me to round the corner, so it can be pulled into my path. Well, maybe not actually wait for me, but some mornings I feel like it does. If my timing is off by any amount on work days, this bus will be in my line of driving.
Frustration is about the only word I can think of to describe the feeling I get as I sit through the first stop, only to be followed by the bus moving about 5 feet and stopping again. Then there is one more stop before the bus goes about another 1/4 mile and turns down a side road. On a side not, what's up with buses stopping at kids driveways these days? When I was riding a bus to school I had to walk about 1/3 mile to get to my bus stop. Not uphill both ways, barefoot in the snow kind of walking, but it makes me wonder why a bus driver is practically a limo driver now.
Any way, being behind this bus day after day was starting to get to me, until I saw that it was setting my mindset off in the mornings. I do not listen to the radio or anything in the mornings, just a little extra alone time with the Lord as I go to work. I realized that I was getting my mind off of the Lord and onto a frustration that was taking my attention away. How easy we are distracted.
I started looking at it a little different. While the situation hasn't changed, my outlook did. I see it as a little more time with God now and a chance to pray for these young kids on their way to school. I wonder if their parents pray for them, if they attend a church, if they have ever heard about Christ. This extra time also allows me to focus more about praying for others that I sadly forget to pray for on a regular basis.
So, to sum it up, God changed my attitude about this bus. He showed me that He was putting this bus in my path in the mornings because these kids might need me to pray for them. Maybe I need to pray that somehow I will be able to invite them to church some time, have a talk with their parents and see if they know anything about the Lord, share my testimony. Who knows what God has in store? I had no idea that He would use a school bus to show me that I need to seek Him more and to also realize that when I follow He will direct my path - and that most definitely means putting a school bus on the same route.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
What a beautiful painting the Lord gave to me this morning on the way to work. The sun was peaking from behind a cloud, its rays beaming towards the Earth. Was I the only one that saw this sight this morning? I was the only one that saw this particular sight, that is for sure. God gave me this look into His beauty.
Seeing the glory and beauty of His work only is a glimpse into Him. He gives us these small glimpses as we stand in amazement. The heavens declare His glory (psalm 19:1) and we should too. We are His workmanship created to glorify Him. But, yet, we are the only of His creation that opposes Him. The flowers do what they are supposed to do, the water runs the path He set forth, the birds fly to and fro to where He has said, but we – the only part of His creation that can actually appreciate and begin to comprehend Him deny Him and turn to ourselves. We would rather worship our own lusts than to follow the path He has for us. We would rather wallow in the mire than rest in His bosom.
We are fallen. We are needy. We are wretched. We need a Savior. Repent or perish were Jesus’ Words in Luke 13:3,5 – the only way to receive His free gift of grace. Nothing we can do, nothing we can offer to Him is good enough. Only One, the Spotless Lamb, Jesus Christ. Have you trusted in Him fully? Have you given Him yourself and trusted that He will supply and He will forgive and He will direct your path?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
You may not like BP gas stations anymore because of the oil spill/ leak in the Gulf, but I still like them and use them for all my gas purchases. One thing I like is they put tract holders at all of their gas stations. Some of you may think they are credit card offer holders, but take a closer look next time - they are ideally designed and situated to hold almost any gospel tract you may have.
I started handing out gospel tracts around the same time Way of the Master caught my attention. This, also, was the same time-frame that God used WOTM, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, John MacArthur and Paul Washer to open my eyes to a lot of false teachings that I was deceived by. He also saved me in the same time frame. So, gospel tract passing out was a step at sharing my testimony with others.
I have a natural disposition to be a quiet person (verbally, not in my writing), so handing out tracts and leaving them in strategic places is/ was right up my alley. So, my tract of choice is the Million Dollar bills. I like all the ones that Way of the Master have had out, but my absolute favorite are some that I got from Diane Lytle. I used the funds from a sell of some of the worldly CDs I once listened to to purchase several hundred of the Million Dollar Bills she has. These, to me, are by far the most realistic of all I have seen.
The MDB tracts catch people eyes and their greed. You will even be able to give out extras to lost people who will then give them to their lost friends. How great is that? God using the lost to proclaim to others that are lost the Gospel of Christ. I gave one to the copy machine technician that services out copy machines at work about 4 years ago and he mentions it and has even pulled it out of his wallet to show me that he still has it. I did, however, give him a new one recently since the other had seen better days.
I would urge anyone that reads this blog to get you some tracts and carry them with you wherever you go. There is a ministry called Bezeugen Tract Club that will actually send you a months supply of tracts at a time. The only catch, you must agree to give at least one out per day through the month. I have just signed up myself and I am awaiting the first delivery. Below is a list of other sources to purchase tracts. Please do so and take any opportunity that may arise to tell of the grace of the Lord that He has poured out on you. If you don't know what to say - GOOD - that means you will rely on God to speak through you and not depend on your own words or scripts.
Way of the Master/ Living Waters
Bezeugen Tract Club
One Million Tracts
Custom Tract Source
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I have no idea what is in this picture. All I know is that it is some kind of insect nest made on the leaves and branches of a tree in my yard. There is an outer casing of web material and inside little black balls things, possibly eggs. I'm not really sure, but whatever is inside of these large web houses is really destructive to the leaves that they encase.
You may not be able to make it out by the picture, but each leaf has been stripped of its green part, leaving the veins only. Really destructive to the leaves of the tree, but leaving (no pun intended) the tree still alive. The other leaves and branches are growing like normal, nothing out of the ordinary.
What is happening to this tree reminded me of the effects of sin in our lives. Sin that is allowed to grow and take damaging hold in our life will cause death and destruction. The area that is prominent in the sin will usually go by noticed by others, even though a protective "web" is built around the sin, but it doesn't really conceal, but actually brings attention to that particular stronghold of sin. Other parts of your life may go on unaffected, or seem to be unaffected. The damaged leaves, stripped clean with sin are still attached to the same tree trunk. What affects one leaf does cause another area to respond.
Like sin, if I would have been aware when these insects invaded the tree in my yard I could have taken action to prevent the loss of these leaves. But over time, the culprits took a stronghold and devoured all that they came into contact with. Granted this tree is not a valuable asset to me, but its example should be noted. If it was a prized rose bush or a apple tree I definitely would have been diligent in protecting it from harm. Just as we need to safeguard our minds and fend off any possible sin we see in its infant stages. Allowed to grow and it will be a destructive force that will cause destruction in ones life.
Funny how a "useless" tree in the yard can cause inspiration for a blog post, huh? Looks like I will now have to do a little research to see exactly what is eating away at the leaves.
Monday, August 9, 2010
The picture is of a guy (or gal) that went speeding by me on John Puryear Drive on my way home today. Right before this truck was another truck that decided that I was going too slow too. What they may have failed to notice was that I was doing the speed limit and they were exceeding it by enough to make it look like I was sitting still when they went by.
Were these drivers Christians? I have no idea or if they even claim to be. If not, then they are doing what they do, sin. Sinners sin, end of story. But, if they profess Christ, then they are sinning against God with their speed infraction.
If you look at Romans 13:1-7, you will see that Christians are to be in compliance with the “powers” that God has ordained. This is whether you like or not what the powers of authority do or say. God has ordained these powers to fulfill His purpose, which He may never make known to you, me or anyone else. This is exactly the case with the current Presidential Administration. I do not like what they are doing one bit, but to be in the graces of the Lord I must be in subjection to their leadership, and I use the term loosely. However, subjection doesn’t mean I have to agree with or condone what they dictate, but it does mean I must comply, fully. Do I like it? No. Do I agree? No.
Back to the speeding thing. I wrote a blog back in the first year of my blogging titled “Speeding Towards Eternity”. Of course this incident reminded me of it and I had to go back and re-read what I had written. Believe it or not I still think the same things I did 2 years ago. Also, after reading again what I had wrote I drew a parallel to something that happened at work today. A conversation with a co-worker that I converse with from time to time about his need for God and his refusal to acknowledge that he is lost. He is a very stubborn individual, probably one of the most sin ridden and deceived people I know. After taking him through some of the law I had to give him an analogy of a courtroom setting and I was trying to convey to him how Holy God is and how a human judge must exact punishment for crimes and God in His holiness must exact punishment for sins. His whole shtick was that “everybody sins, even you. You’re not a good person either, etc.” So I then had to explain to him he wouldn’t be standing before God on judgment day with everyone else to blame his sins on, just him and God. I told him that his comparison would be against Jesus, not me or anyone else…. Frustration with the deception this man is under. Please pray for him.
Also, keep in mind that God has ordained the powers that be, for His purposes. Please think of that next time you’re breaking the speed limit or doing anything else outside of the man designated laws. This goes for your job and for your school work too, not just speed limits.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Today I spent the time between and after evening church services transferring about 100GB of "stuff" from my old computer to an external hard drive. This is so that when I get the new computer set up I can then put all my files on to it. I knew that I would be like a little kid and probably never transfer the files if I first hooked the new computer up, before transferring the files. It has been very uncharacteristic of me to not rip open the box and dive right in to seeing what the new computer can do. This is the "changing neighborhoods" the title refers to.
We purchased the computer in Clarksville yesterday, taking advantage of the tax-free holiday Tennessee so graciously bestows at back to school time. This saved a chunk of change for us, plus will be interest free for 18 months. Not too shabby a deal and it was just enough to push me over the edge into getting a new computer.
I've been praying for a new computer for a while. One that will be adequate to use from time to time with Real Truth Matters, as I am able and as the Lord leads. Joseph and JT, the two full time guys with RTM, have their hands full and although I do not know a lot I am a quick study. I do have a desire to produce kinetic typography, which means animated words, basically. Below is an example of what I am referring to. I really like how this medium looks and can add to what is being spoken. The typography, itself, can tell a story, which I think is really neat.
Of course, the new computer will be used for other things as well. It is a powerhouse from Gateway and even the "Mac guy" at Best Buy said he was jealous and that it was better than any Mac they carried. "That they carried" being the key part of that thought. I wouldn't want any of my Mac loving friends think I am trying to say a PC is superior, in any way except affordability. Also, after being a PC guy for nearing 20 years, it might be hard for me to make the switch to a Mac, not that I wouldn't if I had one affordably at my disposal. And at least for one more day, the new PC will remain in its box.
I just want this new computer to be used with a focus on glorifying the Lord. Whether it is designing a cool new graphic effect in After Effects or posting to my Facebook wall, to writing a blog post, I want to keep God as the focus. This will also be my last post written from the keyboard of my trusty ol' HP. It's not goodbye though, it is just off to another room in the house, probably to play video games on, do homework with and surf the web.
All in all, God gave a way to glorify Himself. He has given us the means to purchase the new computer, He has supplied.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Down with taxes! That was our motto today as we set out for a day of shopping for school supplies, shoes and a spiffy new computer for me. Three of the states in our area have a back to school "tax free holiday" for back to school items. Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee all have their own version of this, but all basically the same - whatever you're going to need for back to school, you will not pay sales tax on. I think that is very kind of them and would like it very much if my home state of Kentucky would join in too.
I've decided to add a few extra pictures through here and tell about our day. The first here is not of Allan, take a look over his right shoulder. The man in the background looked just like a grown up version of Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite. We had lunch at the always yummy Golden Corral in Clarksville. I should add that they are getting a little bit expensive for their buffets, so we may not partake of their delicacies much longer when visiting other places.
The next picture here is of a car that was parked in front of us when we were leaving Target. Doesn't it look like it is smiling at you? Kind of weird and creepy at the same time. Made me think of a horror movie I watched back in the 80s. But it is nice to have a vehicle smile at you from time to time.
Next is the "almost gotcha" $.98 price drop. We were shoe shopping and Forrest and Allan had a laugh that they would mark a pair of shoes down less than a dollar and then draw attention to it with a bright little sign. Granted, I will not throw away a dollar, but it's not going to be a deciding factor in purchasing a pair of shoes either. Nice Try Shoe Rack (or whatever the name of the store was).
Then it was a quick stop in Old Navy. Not one of my favorite stores, but Chandra seems to like to go in and look around. I did find a 2010 4th of July shirt marked down to $2.00, which will make a good work shirt. This one will join the ranks of the others that I have from 2008, 2009 and the St. Patrick's Day shirt from 2007 I wear to work too. The line was semi-long, but the wait did not last any time at all. They had it down to a science with one worker directing traffic to the available cashiers. The cashiers were pumping out the customers faster than you can say "Hey tax man, give me a break."
The final picture is the one at the top of the story. It is of a very beautiful sunset that the Lord allowed us to cap the day off with. The colors burst through the sky and I had to say "nanner, nanner, nanner" to all of the eye doctors and mothers that have ever said "Do not look directly at the sun or you'll go blind". I looked at the falling sun the whole drive back, until it came to rest behind the tree line.
What a wonderful day God gave us. We praised Him through the whole day for His provisions and for allowing us to be fortunate enough to be able to purchase the things we did. That's what it's all about while here on Earth, acknowledging God for all He does for us, all He has ever done for us and all He will ever do. Just as 1 Cor. 10:31 says that in everything give glory to God, we get selfish sometimes and like to pat ourselves on the back. But it is days like today, and an amazing God like we have that brings the meaning of life to a perspective I would like to always maintain. I am not perfect in my praise to God, but I praise Him that He has shown me I lack, for it is another reason to seek Him and His righteousness.
Friday, August 6, 2010
These three boxes, along with 3 CD cases, hold about 400 CDs from my years gone by. When the Lord truly saved me these CDs were the first thing that He pruned from me. They have been used as a table next to my desk ever since. Right now holding up various USB cables for my phone, ipod and camera's card reader.
The CDs were purchased beginning in the late 80s, when CDs first began being produced. Within one of these boxes or cases is the very first CD I ever purchased, The Fine Young Cannibals: The Raw and the Cooked. Yeah, that's right, I liked "She Drives Me Crazy" back in the day. But the rest of this eclectic mix of CDs reads like a who's who of musicians across every genre of musical styles. There is Brooks and Dunn and Vince Gill from the country phase way to NWA and Emenem from my rap choices. There is also everything in between, but mostly on the "hard rock" or "heavy metal" end of the gamut. Probably some of the most God hating music you could have ever heard. There's 3 or 4 from Marilyn Manson, the "musician" that defiles God's Word on stage and is a priest in the Satanic Church, Metallica, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Danzig - all of which have a very vocal hatred for anything pertaining to the God of the Bible.
Music has always been a part of my life, even though I have never learned to play an instrument or sing, I have always loved music. Well, I did play the saxophone in school band 6th-8th grade, but that doesn't really count. But, the soundtrack of my life is very diverse, at least before God saved me, from hell and from the sinfulness that loved ungodly music.
See, I was introduced to the heavier side of music at church camp, of all places. A new found friend was listening to someone named Ozzy Osborne, that really caught my ear. I had been used to, up to that point, just the pop stuff on the radio and fluffy country that my parents listened to. But this Ozzy fellow had something the other guys didn't. What exactly? I wasn't sure, but I was about to find out.
From that church camp my musical tastes, as well as most lifestyle tastes, changed. began to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, smoke pot, cuss, stay out late, steal cigarettes and many other sins I care not to mention right now. Oh, one small fact that I forgot to mention, I had "said the prayer" when I was 8, was told I was "in" and felt like I was free to do as I pleased as long as I asked God to forgive me. And that I did, every night - except the ones I passed out drunk on. I can honestly remember praying some very twisted prayers to be empowered to sin in various ways. I also remember once, while listening to Jimi Hendrix ask God to send Jimi's spirit into me so I could be a great guitar player. Now, that is twisted, and not something any truly converted person would be asking for.
So, the years go by, 24 to be exact, and God really starts dealing with me. In the past 24 years I had fathered 2 children out of wedlock, smoked a pack a day, did various drugs, drank a lot of alcohol and once again, committed many other sins that I care not to mention right now. God used some key people to reach me around that time, Ray Comfort, John MacArthur and a fellow that was from across the river to my hometown at one time, Paul Washer. This is the time that God saved me, converted me and began to sanctify me. First thing to go? Smoking. Second thing to go? The ungodly music I was listening to. Since then? Many things along the path, but not everything yet. But, praise His Name, He is still working on me to conform me to the image of Christ.
So now I have a very healthy Christian CD collection going. But, once again, God has been pruning even some of those artists from my playlist. I am working on a blog that will be informative and eye opening to a lot of people that are deceived about some of those that profess to be Christians, but have music that is the same as anything you would hear on the radio today. So stay tuned to this same blog channel, at this same blog time (not really same time, but Batman references will never get old)for the upcoming post.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Walking through Wal Mart this evening this rack of shoes caught my eye. If you can’t quite make it out, these are University of Kentucky shoes. A couple of different kinds, slip on and high-tops/ Chuck Taylor type shows. They are actually fairly neat looking, but not my style.
But, being from Kentucky, where the basketball fans bleed blue, these will probably not last long. The basketball fans can get really wacky sometimes and these shoes will definitely fit the bill for their wackiness.
The term “fan” is short for fanatic, which according to the World English Dictionary, fanatic is defined as: “a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or beyond normal limits” – So then that leads to a question, “What are normal limits?” I can guarantee a normal basketball fan in Kentucky is different than a basketball fan anywhere else.
I just wonder how people get so caught up in a sport, a celebrity, author, team or anything else. I have often heard that it is humanities way to try and fill the “God shaped hole in their heart”. I guess that is kind of correct, to a point. We all know we don’t have “God shaped holes in our hearts”, but we do have a built in need for God, to worship God in truth and righteousness. When we, as humans, get so caught up in the gifts of the Giver, we then become fanatics for the wrong thing. Instead of God being glorified, His creation is.
Now, back to the “normal” limits definition. What exactly would be normal to a believer in God? I don’t think we really know in our culture these days. Normal Christianity as defined by scripture is not very common today and just the striving to have that normal Christianity we are labeled as fanatics. So, I guess in one sense being called a “fanatical Christian” is actually not a put down but a praise that God has brought us to a state that people will actually see a difference in a true believer than they do the other 90% of professing Christians.
I would just caution you to watch your level of devotion to earthly things, like UK Basketball. There is nothing wrong with liking the created things of God, just do not elevate them above the Creator. Remember 1 Cor. 10:31 and do all things to the glory of God. How excited do you get about the things of God compared to your choice sport? How about going to church vs. watching your favorite TV program? Does one bore you to tears and the other make your heart race thinking about the next episode? Do you make plans around the next ball game, but yet not even wake up in time to get to Sunday morning service on time? Can you name every NFL, NBA, MLB or NASCAR team and not remember the 10 Commandments? Can you sing along to every song on the radio, but the only scriptures you have memorized John 3:16 and John 11:35? Then I suggest that you do some God centered, soul searching, self-examination into where your fanaticism is focused. 2 Cor. 13:5
The good news in this? That you can take it to the cross and leave whatever idols you may have. That God has already forgiven you, if you are His child. But, take it to Him, so that He may be glorified in your life and your devotions.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
These little guys were under my care tonight during church service. We are on a rotating schedule to watch the kids while the adults/ parents meet for service. Usually we meet in the fellowship hall instead of the sanctuary, so that left it open tonight for us to watch a movie. We did this instead of playing outside, since the temperatures have been so brutal lately. I didn't want to have to administer first aid or CPR to a kid that had fallen out from heat exhaustion or anything.
Watching the kids is an honor and a privilege. These children are the future and we must bring them up in the admonition of the Lord. Too often I have failed at this with my on kids, but that doesn't make me want to throw in the towel and quit. It gives me new hope that I will look to my Father to guide me, to show the same kind of love He shows me. Albeit not attainable, it is a worthy goal and one that I must constantly seek guidance for, which let's me have a closer walk with God.
How thankful I am that God loves me, but not just a general love, but a personal love that He chose to love me for nothing I have done or could ever do. What a wonderful God that looked through time and chose me before the foundation of the Earth, when all I would ever deserve would be damnation for rejecting Him, the Creator of the universe.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
So, the question of the day today: "Is it hot enough for you?" Of course it's hot enough, it's too hot, but that's O.K. Today matched the official record here in Paducah, 104 degrees, but my trusty ol' Nissan thermometer was showing 107. This culminates about 8 weeks+ of above average temperatures in our area. It started back at the end of May with temperatures then, already in the 90s. The "heat index", they say, was around 115 today.
That always confuses me, in the summer you have a "heat index", in the winter you have a "wind chill". Both of which are what the factors combined usually feel like, be it humidity mixed with heat or wind mixed with cold. Why not just call it what it is? If it feels like 115, then it's 115. If it's 104 and humid, then it's 104. Same in the winter, if it's 20 and the wind makes it feel like 15, then which is it? 15" Or 20? You can't really have both, can you?
Sounds a lot like some people I know personally these days. They say " I am saved, but I just don't live like it" or "I love God, but I don't like church, reading the bible or any of those hypocrites". Really? Really! A lot of double speak comes from professing Christians mouths. On one hand they want you to think they were saved when they were a kid, took care of it all, got their ticket, whatever other euphemism they want to use, but yet they live like the world, talk like the world, care nothing for the things of God, haven't stepped foot in a church in 10 years and yet they say they are saved?
What are they saved from? It is sure not hell and it is sure not a life of sin and it's definitely not saved from blasphemy as they invoke the Name of Christ and say they are Christians. Before you go all postal on me and tell me to stop judging, please read this post I wrote a little while back. I am simply using the senses that God gave me to discern that these people are deceived.
Scripture is clear that a true follower of Christ will, well, follow Christ. They will leave it all and pick up their cross and place total trust in God. These folks are on their way to hell and someone agreeing that they are a Christian or not telling them the truth of their spiritual state has a part in their damnation. The most loving thing someone can do is tell them the truth, not allow them to continue to live like they do, act like they do, deny God in word and deed, but yet claim to be a Christian. It would be sin for a true believer to not tell them the truth. Most importantly because their false profession and use of the term Christian is blasphemous.
Know someone in this state of being? Confront them, in a loving manner and tell them the truth. It is the most loving thing you can do. Will they get mad? Possibly. Will they believe you? Possibly. Will you have been faithful to what a Christian is called to do? Yes. And that is what you should be most concerned with. Then possibly they will truly repent and turn to Christ, or the 104 degree (115 heat index) will be like the Antarctica compared to what their eternity holds.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Here is a picture of our other cat, Tux. Well, it's not really "our" cat, as I do not like cats, it is my wife's and oldest son. It mysteriously showed up one evening and hasn't been able to escape yet. I keep encouraging it to make a run for it, but alas, it is a feeble little critter that is afraid of its own shadow. It will look at the door, but it will not get much closer than that.
I'm not really a cat person, or pet person for that matter. I grew up with my mom always having dogs, so I was determined to NOT have any pets for myself. She had the same bloodline of dogs from the time I was about 5 until just around 3 years ago when the 2 sister dogs that she deemed "Winston and Salem" passed away at the ripe age of about 20, 140 to you and me.
So now I have a dog and two cats sponging off of me. Over the past 8 years we have had a grand total of 3 lizards, 1 dog, 2 cats and 3 or 4 parakeets living under our roof. All of which I could have done without. The dog took a fancy to me right off and won't leave my side now, so I guess he's alright to stay, but the cats can leave my presence without a complaint at all from me. I have a touch of an allergy to cats, so I can't touch them, play with them or toss them across the room (just kidding). I would never harm an animal on purpose, so don't call PETA on me or anything.
I have compassion for all animals, even the stinking skunks that inhabit this part of the world. I would probably defend a defenseless animal if I saw it being mistreated, but that does not mean I want it in my home. I have a fairly compassionate side, no matter what my wife says. I am currently praying to be more compassionate about others. I think I have the discernment gift down pretty good, but need to seek the Lord for more love for others. And not that I need to bring down the discernment, but I need to have my love for others boosted to the same level. I will not compromise the truth of God's Word for anyone, but I need God to add the love to equal my passion for truth. It is unhealthy for me to hold one area above the other or one area below another. It is an easy trap to get so focused on one thing and in turn neglect something else that is needed just as much.
This is just one area that I thank God for, as I seek Him to guide me to understand what love truly is.
(As you can tell, on this, the beginning of my 2nd month of the "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series, I have shortened the title, so I can give a header to what the post is about. I have not written but a couple of actual posts outside of this series and feel I need to start doing so again. I am currently in the process of getting together another music post. I am researching and getting material together for this post and if God allows me to write it in the fashion I am picturing, it will be very beneficial to others that may come across it. Thank you to all those that visit my blog on any regular basis. I really appreciate the interest you may have in what I have to say.)