Monday, January 31, 2011
Day 213 in my "A Year In My Life Through Pictures" series. (also it's my 333 blog post)
So, I've been semi-dieting for about 4 days now and I am already wanting to bury my face in a bowl full of Reese's Cups. I am having a hard time trying to find adequate snack foods that will not hinder my weight loss goals. I was kind of certain that my "convenience factor" for eating and snacking would be one of the difficult hurdles to overcome. Thing is that I have no idea what would be okay for me to snack on.
In the past I have always snacked on things like dry cereal, candy bars, Little Debbie cakes, brownies, etc. This is not just because I liked the flavors, but also because it is very simple to open a box and partake of the sugary goodness in a box of Cinnabon Cereal. The only thing I am about 55% certain on for the type of diet I am heading towards will be nuts. Even then, nuts will need to be eaten in moderation. I did purchase a jar of unsalted roasted Mr.Peanut peanuts tonight. So, I am attempting to clean up my bad dining habits.
The "Rebuild Your Temple/ Hope For Hope" health program I am embarking on is not yet in full swing. We have half of the information and will receive the other half at our next meeting. Of course the second half is the nutritional information and hopefully will include a list of snacks that will be acceptable. Too bad it's going to be another week until the meeting, so I am left on my own to pull from past dieting failures and to scour the internet for other ideas. I do believe that the nutritional portion will be similar to the South Beach diet, but not exactly. So, I suppose that I can just model my choices from it for now.
There is just more at stake than me losing weight in this though, so I want to be successful at this. It has been decided that the money from sponsors will be used towards a new building for my church. So, this will be used to further the Kingdom and to glorify God. I am constantly reminded of 1 Cor. 10:31 in this: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. So this is a direct following of that verse.
Please pray for me when I cross your mind. I need all the support that I can get. I have failed miserably in the past at diets, so I need this to be different. I need this to keep a godly focus and I need to constantly looking towards Christ. I need Him more than ever, not just for a diet but for everything that I am.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Day 212 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series
Granted, you see a lot of different kinds people in Wal Mart. Well, actually a lot of different styles of people in Wal Mart. This evening just happened to be a night to see a questionable choice in suit colors. Melon colored suits are probably not in my top 100 suit color choices. Actually I do not own a suit, so my choice is not to wear one.
Paducah is home to two Wal Mart Supercenters. Not sure how common this is, but I have heard that the one in our mall area consistently places as the #1 store chain wide for Wal Mart and the other one finishes top 10 as well. Just thought I would pass that along, no real story about that. If true that is pretty cool, if not that means a lot of people are spreading some false information around. I qualify my passing of the information on as speculation with the caveat that I will try to find out if that is true or not.
The two local stores have a very different clientele. Well, in the sense that there are two drastically different "classes" of people, for lack of a better term. Not that it is a put down for either "class", but there is a difference. I prefer the less busy one, which is also closer to my home. Maybe it's because I feel more comfortable in a totally subconscious way. I could even be driving down the road in front of the other one and drive across town to the other one. Maybe I'm just weird like that or maybe I am OCD in a few ways.
I do know that the patrons of both of these Wal Marts are in need of the gospel. I give out tracts sometimes when I am there. Sometimes I use my "restroom ministry" too and leave them in easily seen places in the restroom. Anywhere people go is a good place to leave a tract, especially some of the eye catching ones available on the internet. Million Dollar Bills are always a good one to leave or hand out. People hold on to these. I have actually given several to lost people before so they could hand them out to their friends too. I don't care where a person gets a tract or from who, just as long as they get the gospel in their hand.
I also leave tracts at the BP station when I get gas. Back on Day 41 of this blog series I told about that in more detail, but the little credit card offer boxes make the perfect place for a tract. Also, if you get the business card size tracts they fit perfectly in the credit card slot. It was great that BP designed these features at their pumps for easy tract distribution. A tract is a non-confrontational way to spread the gospel. I highly recommend that every Christian carry tracts with them everywhere they go. You can also put them in your bills when you send your payments in. Who knows, this side of heaven, who the tracts you can pass out will reach and possibly God will use to spark something that could have eternal ramifications.
Just GO! as we are commanded. Spread the Word in truth and righteousness. Use tracts, use the internet, use your mouth. Just spread the gospel to as many people as you can and then leave the results to God.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Day 211 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series
I know Wal-Mart is really big on showing their price changes, but tripling the price? I wouldn't figure they would want to advertise something like that. I guess for this line of increases they will need to change their motto to "Beware of jumping prices".
I'm sure this was just an oversight or mistake somehow. I do know that a lot of items have gone up in pricing. Maybe not 300%, but it is common to see some items that have increased by as much as 50% over the past 18-24 months. These are not high cost items, but an increase from $1.00 to $1.59 is a lot of extra profit for Wal-Mart, the manufacture or both.
These increases actually started when gas prices started climbing and manufacturers started increasing their prices to counteract their "losses". Of course, when the gas prices started dropping the prices did not. Then on top of the price increases I saw fuel surcharges being added to some vendors we use at my job.
Speaking of gas prices. I think gas stations tend to double dip on their customers. When they hear that prices for crude will be going up they in turn raise their prices for future purchases, not for what they already have in their storage tanks. Doing that gives them extra profit for what they have already purchased from their distributor. Then when the higher priced fuel actually shows up they raise their prices again, double dipping on the profit margins. This, of course, does not happen in the reverse order. A decrease in crude is announced, but prices stay the same. I think this is a very poor business practice, but what can we do? We must pay what the gas stations charge if we want to be able to drive.
I guess I shouldn't bellyache too much though. I have a car that God allowed me to purchase for a great savings. I have the ability to get in my car and drive to wherever I wish, whenever I wish without intervention of the government (so far). I have a job that allows me to buy the overpriced gas to put in my tank. I have a family to drive to a vacation destination with whenever we choose. So, I don't have it that bad putting things in the big picture viewer. After all, it's just money anyway. If I held onto it too tightly and it became more than just a means and turned into an idol - then I would have some issues. As of now I just see money as a way to supply my family and I do not attempt to keep raking it in. I'm not concerned with where the money might come from because I know who the real Source is. He has just chosen to supply it through certain means at this point and He may choose to supply it through another means at some other point down the road. Who knows other than the Lord? I just know who is in control and who I place my trust in, instead of putting my trust in the gift instead of the Giver.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Day 210 in my "Year In my Life Through Pictures" series
Have you ever been through a checkout that was moving really slowly? How about in the only checkout line open, no choice to line jump with the slowest checkout cashier there is? Yep, happened to us tonight. Kmart in Paducah is notorious for having slow moving lines? Why are they slow? I have no idea, normally. But this fella was very deliberate about looking at the label of every item just to find the bar-code so he could scan it. I am 10 times faster than this guy is/ was when I check myself out in the self checkout lane at Wal-Mart.
I guess it is a patience builder. I kind of just took a few deep breathes and checked out the impulse buys in line. K Mart has a fine selection of batteries and men's disposable razors in aisle 3 if you ever need to look at those items for 10 minutes or so. But, it could be worse. I could have no money to buy things from K Mart. Have no job to support my family. Have no car to get me where I want to go. Have no house to keep all of our stuff in and give us a warm place to stay. So, I have a lot to be thankful for.
I need to keep things in focus. Did standing in line 10 minutes in a line hurt me in any way? Not at all, except to try my patience and to show me I don't always get my way. I also learned that I will not be going to K Mart when this guy is working the checkout by himself.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Day 209 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series
To night we had our first meeting for our church weight loss/ getting healthy project. It's called Rebuilding Your Temple and the local church body has an offshoot called "Hope For Hope" and I weighed in tonight. I touched on this in a post about 3 weeks ago. Our meeting was postponed because of snow, so tonight finally arrived.
I was ready to begin a weight loss program on Jan. 2nd, because the 1st is a holiday and I didn't want to start on a off day. The 2nd was a Sunday and that day they happened to announce this program that really sounded like the incentive I needed, beyond my own willpower. I can usually set my mind to something and achieve it, but it has always been for selfish reasons. This time has spiritual implications.
I have a few things to sort out as far as personal motivations. My big "WHY?" as Matt called it tonight. I have to know my motivation for this and that will be my driving point and my focus. I think of selfish reasons really readily - looking better, I have smaller clothes already, my wife will like me more, etc. But all of that is me-centric. I need to have a godly focus, which is why I am really feeling the motivation being being able to speak in front of people about this program. This will also be a goal for another issue I have of public speaking or just speaking in general. See, I am actually a quiet person, so talking is not a strong suite of mine. But, I totally see myself standing in front of other churches and sharing how God worked in me to achieve this goal.
I plan on keeping a journal of my progress and have taken pictures for some before pictures to show at a future date. I will be sending out sponsorship requests in the near future as well, with any money raised going to my home church for a much needed addition. If you feel led to be a sponsor of mine I would be 100% accountable to you and you will play a huge part in this. I do not receive a single penny from it and actually prefer that, since my goal and focus are on God and the furtherance of His Kingdom.
If you can't participate with sponsorship I ask you to please pray for me. This is going to require a total transformation in my eating habits and may cause some pains as I shed comfort foods while I am shedding the pounds. I know God is in this, because He is my focus. I really am relying on Him to give me the strength I need, but I do covet your prayers as well.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Day 208 in my "Year In my Life Through Pictures" series
I had to take a couple of things to the post office today at work to be mailed. They went to two separate offices of the same agency. Why two different ones" Because the state of Kentucky says so. Same information. Same agencies. Two separate mailings. Go figure.
Even though the packages were the same and held the same information that I packaged up the same way I just thought they would cost different amounts to send. One was about 3 miles from my job the other in Frankfurt, several hours away. I guess my thinking was that the difference in proximity to my workplace would determine how much the postage would be, since they were weighed envelopes with certified delivery and return receipt requested. Alas, they were the same.
Take a closer look at the amount though. Both were $6.66 to mail. Actually, during the time I was a false convert that may have struck some terror in my heart and mind. It is the number of the Beast after all, sans the decimal. But now, it doesn't really raise that much ire to me. I know that the spirit of the anti-christ is prevalent, be it with the 666 or without.
It's not that I am not concerned about the beast or end times, but not to a point that I am going to get upset or freak out because the total of a purchase came up to the number of the beast. I know who is in control, even of the beast. I know the outcome and I know solidly where I stand. It's not being naive, but being convinced that God's Word is true. Don't get me wrong, the imagery of Revelation, Daniel and the other prophetic books make the latest CG movie look lie stop motion animation. It's going to be an awesomely terrible part of humanity for sure. But I know that my Savior is mighty and He will reign as He said he would. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
We just started a series of messages on Sunday evenings at my church. I know that it will be very different than what I have been previously taught. Why? Because it is going to be biblical and not man centered and will be a faithful exposition of the Word of God. Very different than the man centered messages I was raised on. I now question everything that I was ever told about God and the Bible, because so much of it was flat out wrong. Most notably the basis for my salvation. A prayer. A man's affirmation. 30 years of deception until God saw fit to take the scales from my eyes and allow me to see His Word as He meant. He is so good to me, a sinful, prideful man. Why did He show mercy on me? I have no idea, but I am eternally grateful to be called His slave.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Day 207 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series.
Sorry for the bad picture... and the bad quality of it too. The subject of the photo is none other than our President, Barack Obama. He had his State of the Union Address this evening and we caught the last 25 minutes or so. The first statement we heard was that the government is overspending and must cut spending. He mentioned overhauling the tax code to which I say, "Want to overhaul the tax code? Do away with the IRS, saving billions in wages and billions in tax preparation costs for American's yearly. Make a flat sales tax that all people pay, which would be the same rate." But, no, that makes too much sense and it would put all of those poor IRS employees out of work. I say to that, "Good".
Actually the president said about the same things he always does. He kissed up to both sides of the House along with his Vice-President and the new Speaker of the House. It was quite funny though when he was hooraying the recent repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" and they had the cameras fixed on 2 generals who looked like they could sharpen machetes with their cheek bones. Not a smile, not a wince, nothing... no expression, no applause like some of the attendees. Almost the look of "I can't believe you did that".
Obama is the consummate speaker. As a matter of fact, that is about all he is good at. Well, if you don't count expensive vacations on my tax money. But he did woo and sway a lot of people into voting for him. Personally I do not care for his smugness, but he is my president and I am biblically required to follow his leadership (Romans 13:1-7). That is until it undermines or goes against the Word of God. Which Obama does quite a bit of.
I am not sure if he is a Muslim or not. I do know that he is not a Christian as he professes. He has a utter disdain for the Bible. He mocks the Word and what is in it. He promotes Islam and other religions, while putting down Christianity. He is pro-murder/ abortion. He has no fruit of a Christian, so then why do people think he is? Just because he says so and we should always believe someone when they say they are saved. Right? Wrong! We must show discernment in matter like this and must never compromise what a true Christian does, says, acts and holds dear the Word of God and all contained therein.
If I ever got the chance to meet Obama face to face I would probably ask him about his conversion. Ask him point blank how he can condone killing babies. Ask how he can hobknob with Muslims and have a disdain for the God of the Bible. That'll never happen, but my quiet disposition may turn in this man's presence. He makes my blood boil at times with his smug attitude and looking down his nose at us little ones beneath him. But, he is my leader and I must follow him because God said to.
I also do pray for him, almost daily. I normally begin my day praying for his salvation and for him to lead this country correctly. It does appear that for the time being God has different plans. I am supposing that Obama is a judgment on this country. He will not be out of the office soon enough for me. Not sure who I want in there next, but I know it's not him.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Day 206 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series.
How many times have you heard John 3:16? It is the most known and memorized verse in the whole Bible. I wonder if that is why when we hear it that it doesn't have the effect on us that it should. This verse is the Gospel in a single statement, but repetition has somehow diminished its magnificence to us sinful creatures.
How miraculous is it that the Holy God of the Universe, that hates Sin because if He didn't He would not be Holy, send His son to die for us, because He loves us? That is really hard to believe. See the Father and the Son are full in themselves and do not need us in any way. I have actually head it say that for the Father to look from the Son to anything else is unthinkable. Think God is self absorbed? You bet He is and He has every right to be. But this is how He sees us as sinless, because we are in Christ, if you have repented and believed in Him.
I definitely can not explain why God loves us. I can only say that I am glad that He does and that He did make a way for us to be in fellowship with Him. Our rejection of Him and our persistent sins should eternally separate us from Him, but instead He loves us. WOW!
I really need to get a stronger focus on this amazing love of God. I skim over this verse and many others without giving second thought to exactly how amazing they are. I will definitely be seeking God more to reveal these verse to me, so that His Word will come alive to me. That He will illuminate His Word in my heart and give me the understanding that I desperately need.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Day 205 in my "Year In mY Life Through Pictures" Series.
Tonight we started a study through the book of Revelation at church, for Sunday evening service. This should be really good for me, as all I know is what I was told as a child and what I read in the Left Behind series of books. Now that I know most of my theology was very skewed and mostly incorrect, I really desire to have a true understanding of the revealing to us by the Lord in His Word.
This study will probably end up taking a few months. Tonight was just the introduction and we received a brief overview and exactly how this book needs to be read and digested. Just as any other book of the Bible. We must look at whom it was first written, why it was written, what it meant for them and what it means for us and future generations. So many people want to totally forget about the context of when and who it was written to and thereby having the need to build things into the book that aren't there.
All I know is that God included this book in His Word for us. He meant it for us to apply to our lives and to bring Him glory. To have a correct understanding is not only desirous, but also a necessity. So much of my life I only had what the American church told me and because of that would have went to hell from the lies that I believed. When a supposed "man of God" deems you 'SAVED' why would you question it? Why would I need to? I was good to go. Done it. Was on my way to heaven. Or at least that is what I was told and what was continually fed to me. Just say this prayer was very common to hear during the altar call. "It only takes a few minutes". So much deception in many church buildings and so many deceived people going to hell.
True children of God must stand up against this. To remain silent is actually condoning the behavior. This is not an Arminian vs. Calvinism thing either, this is a spiritual war. We must proclaim the Word in truth and righteousness, not mincing words and apologizing for the Gospel, but loudly proclaiming the true Gospel to every creature. Look for the opportunities in your day that God puts there for you to share His Word and His Good News. Do not be afraid to take up your cross and lay down your life to share the Gospel with a friend, family member, co-worker or worker at the counter in McDonalds.
It is high time that the people of God do what we are commanded to do. Please seek God in His Word and through prayer for understanding in your role as part of the body is. We are all commanded to spread the good news and make disciples, so lets go. We have our first directive, now do it. Await further guidance and faithfully do what you already know you are supposed to do. If Christians really believed God on the effects of sin then we would be more diligent in our command. If we thought about our families spending eternity in hell we would definitley tell them about God more earnestly. One fear casts out another, think of that when you get a little sweaty in anticipation of talking to someone close to you. Do you fear a little ridicule or disdain more than you fear for them being hell forever?
In one short word are we commanded. GO!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Day 204 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" Series
Had the opportunity to see Ryan Seaton in concert here in Paducah this evening. I have seen him 5 times before, but all with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. Tonight he was solo, as he is no longer with Signature Sound. Why? I have no idea. I can only speculate. I know his leaving Signature Sound (SS) did play into my decision making process to not listen to SS any longer.
I weigh out my music choices carefully. While I do not have a formula for doing so, there are some things that consistently play part in if I listen to a group or artist or not.
First and foremost is:
Does their music glorify God?
This is really straight forward and there are often variations to some people that use this same question. My thoughts are that if the music itself, lyrics and instrumentation, do not glorify God, especially lyrically, then I will not listen to it. Period. End of story. This disqualifies a lot of groups that claim to be "Christian artists", especially in the CCM genre.
Next question is: What other groups influence this group? Who do they listen to and endorse? One thing that Lifeway does now is really neat (yes, condoning Lifeway for a change). For some new releases they have a little Q&A with the artist and ask who they sound like, who they were influenced by and what they are currently listening to. I will be the first to say that I will not listen to a group that lists blatantly sinful musicians as influences or as their "listening to now". This goes especially to those that list U2, Coldplay and Tom Petty. This is a long list, believe it or not. I saw one artist today list all of these and proudly say he had 16,000 songs on his iPod and was listening to the new U2 CD constantly. Really? Really.
That's pretty much my criteria. I will not listen to any secular music now, by choice. I am forced to hear it at my job a lot, but I find myself blocking it out and seeking the Lord when I am exposed to it.
One other thing that is really important, that a lot of Christians seem to overlook. Is the person singing really a Christian? It is sad to have to even ask this, but so many people out there making music claim to be Christians, but lack some really important doctrinal beliefs. The main group? Phillips, Craig and Dean. These guys are Modalists and deny the Trinity. They are Oneness Pentecostal preachers that use songs that are sound, but the fact that they sing them makes them un-listenable to me. Their music is lulling people and enticing them to follow them. They in turn indoctrinate, eventually, their fans into thinking that their heretical religion is the same as a true Trinitarian denomination. It is not and it is dangerous.
The Ernie Haase story pretty much is Ernie did not glorify God. On his Facebook page he constantly made updates, but never mentioned God. He constantly talked about basketball and his concert dates. The only mention I can remember was on Easter, one line, something along the idea of "Remember what we are celebrating today". I am not saying this man is not a Christian, but by his posts he did not glorify God. So, that was the beginning of the ending of me listening to his group. Then came the release of Ryan Seaton for reasons unknown and seemingly shocking Ryan.
I do not believe for one minute just because someone sings gospel songs they are children of God. Actually if you listen to most Southern Gospel songs lyrics you will see that a large percentage are very man centered. So, I pick and choose carefully in that genre especially. The CCM field is riddled with heresy, so that genre is doing to the younger kids what Phillips, Craig and Dean are doing to the older crowd. Groups that sing about relationships with their boyfriend/ girlfriend and try to pass it off as Christian music? Come on! "Christian radio" playing Daughtry just because he claims to be a Christian? Get a clue (KLOVE).
I just want to ask you to be more discerning in what you ingest into your body. What goes in effects what goes on internally. Just like the food you eat, the entertainment that you consume has implications, good or bad, in your spiritual life or lack of. Be careful and seek diligently what will glorify God. I am sure that if you weigh what you are partaking of in the light of scripture you will soon be pruning some aspects of your entertainment choices away. It may be painful and you may not like it, but it is necessary for a child of the living God to shuck these bad things away. Seek God and lean not to your own understanding, let God lead you instead of you making excuses and defiling God's Name.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Day 203 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" Series
Not a big Elton John fan here, but also not under a rock either and do know who he is, what he is and heard about the headline on this magazine cover. So, while not talking directly about his, umm, sin of choice, I want to address the ramifications of it.
First off the obvious - these two men could not have a child together. Why? Well, it's obvious, they are two men. It goes against nature for two of the same sex to procreate with one another, it "ain't right". There is a design in nature that God put into place, there must be a male and a female for a life to be made. No matter how much these two men want to have a child together, it's not going to happen. That is why they turned back to the laws of nature to produce a child. There had to be a female involved. That very fact alone should be a big sign, flashing neon sign at that should show that homosexuality is not part of God's design of nature. It is actually a perversion of God's law and His laws of nature.
This brings me to a big point, don't miss it, I'm not against homosexuals any more than I am against a person that is living in sin with someone of the opposite sex. They are both abominations in the eyes of the Holy God of the Universe. Christians like to make homosexuality the unpardonable sin, but I say that God forgives that sin just as readily as He forgives any.
Look at 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Paul gives a whole laundry list of sins - idolaters, thieves, extortioners, fornicators, sodomites, homosexuals oh, and the covetous. Those, Paul says, will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul goes on to say something rather miraculous though, "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. Now that is the gospel in just a few words. But it does show that fornicators are lumped in right there with the homosexuals AND the thieves AND the covetous.
So, looking at the cover of this magazine seeing this "couple" proclaiming their sin in front of the world, know that as long as they have a breath in their lungs that God is able AND willing to save them. These men are not the unsavable, but those that frown at them smugly and beat on their chest as the Pharisee did on Luke 18:11 "God, thank you that I am not like these gay men". You are worse because you see yourself as better than they, when actually you are to be pitied for your self righteousness. Without God, we that are His children would be living in sin as well. If not by the grace of God there is no telling what I would be doing this very hour instead of typing about His saving grace.
As the great old hymn by Horatius Bonar goes,
"Not what my hands have done
Can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers,
And sighs and tears
Can bear my awful load."
We are nothing without God, there is nothing that we can do, it is all Him. But also understand that when He does something that He doesn't just kind of do it, He does it completely. He can save a gay man, He can save a thief, He can save a covetous person, but He will not leave them there in their sin. He make the person a new creation and changes them. See, He loves them too much to leave them as sinful and to dishonor His Name. An unrepentant person that lives in sin and justifies those sins cannot be a child of God. It is not possible. If you call yourself a Christian, yet justify your perversion then you do not know the God of the Bible. These words are offensive, but they are the truth of the Living God and I can say nothing contrary to His Word.
"From my point of view I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it. I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book. But the reality is that organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate." - Elton John
"Here I stand, I can do no other." - Martin Luther
I stand on the Word of God, not on the words of men.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
It snowed. They said it was going to and it did. I am sure that made the folks that emptied Wal-Mart's shelves feel better and gave them a sense of accomplishment as they brought home the bounty for the 2 inches of snow that now blanket our fair city.
I love the snow. I always get that tingly feeling when they give a forecast that includes snow. It reminds me of the feeling when I was younger and they said it was going to snow. I would stare out of the window waiting for it and the first flakes always brought a smile. They still do, but without the anticipation that they will call off work, like they did school.
But something makes my heart skip a beat still at the sight of the flakes falling and the pristine ground covering. I find myself now looking at the individual snowflakes that land on my jacket or outside of my window and admire the intricacies of God's handiwork. It amazes me how the flakes are formed and how beautiful each one is. They seem so pure as the float to the ground, one by one and join together to cover everything in sight.
I am equally amazed at the rest of the Lord's creation. To gaze upon the stars on a cloudless night and wonder what each of their names are (Psalm 147:4). Or on the cloudy day looking at the clouds that are actually made up of individual drops of moisture that if weighed would be several tons. How do they float in the air? How do they not just fall at once to the ground below? How do the trees take that life giving rain and absorb it through their roots and make it travel upward nourishing the leaves? Oh, the mysteries that God has made in nature for us to behold.
Never be bored with your surroundings or your life. Always look for the fingerprints of God in your surroundings. Dwell on His workmanship and be amazed. There is no way you can be bored if you examine the things of God.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
They are calling for a couple of inches of snow around my area over the next 24 hours. With any kind of winter weather occurrence it always elicits a mad panic to buy some things. Those things? Milk and bread, both of which we needed for our household, but not because of the call for snow.
Almost as soon as the forecast is made for snow or ice the grocery stores are flooded with people that think we are not going to have any staple supplies for weeks. They buy out the milk and the bread and apparently tonight, a full display of Doritos. Guess they were on sale, with the rollback price from $2.99 to $2.50. Who can't pass up a deal like that? Apparently not the folks that are scared of a little snow.
So, why do people get so scared of a temporary condition like a small snow storm? Why can the threat of slick roads for a few hours drive someone to fore-go their normal mind set and do things that are seemingly irrational? Not just buying bread and milk either, but other things as well. And the bigger question - why do people who say they believe in God still do the things they do? Why are people not afraid of God's Holy Wrath that abides on them?
Maybe the answer is that they have never heard of the True God. Maybe they have only heard of the god that is popular today that is only love and accepts all as they are. So, these folks have an idol for their god, one that can and does accept every sin because his love overshadows his righteousness, judgment and his wrath. This is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The true and living God is to be feared in a holy reverence. Not a shaking in your boots, per se, but a "He can melt my face because He is so Holy" kind of way.
I am also fairly certain that most church going people are not fearful of God. The reason? Because they do not know Him and have never heard of Him. They have heard the American gospel version as well. The one that accepts everyone just because they believe a few facts, agree to a few questions and say a little prayer. Then they are declared saved and are free to return to their sinful lives. Why? Because they took care of "it", whatever "it" is. It is surely not the repentance and true saving faith required of God.
So many people on their way to hell because they want to continue to believe a lie. They are comfortable just with an occasional Sunday morning service, or maybe even an every Sunday morning service too. They say they are saved, but ask them what they are saved from. First answer? Hell. After that they are pretty much ignorant of what they would actually be saved from. Things like being saved from a life of sin or defaming God's Name? Those are never mentioned. Why would they be, if they know nothing about them? The preachers are to blame for that, but you can't blame your damnation on a preacher when you stand before God on judgment day.
This is why the true children of God must preach the gospel to everyone. Someone tells you they are saved, tell them the gospel. Someone tells you they are a thief? Tell them the gospel. Someone tells you they are a homosexual? Tell them the gospel. No matter who they are or what they claim they still need the gospel. A Child of God still needs the gospel and loves the gospel.
Just preach the Word in season and out of season to everyone. That is the laying down of your life for your fellow man. Tell them regardless of the perceived consequences. Stay true to the Word and the Lord will keep you.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I have been realizing that I have some habit issues. Not the smoking and drinking kind, but the kind where I do the exact same things, in the exact same way, at the exact same time every day. It is most apparent on work days as I roll out of bed (literally) and follow the same steps each and every day. There may be some wavering to my schedule, but overall I am a creature of habit.
I set my clothes out the night before. I take my vitamin, low dose aspirin and glucosamine in the same way, taking out the bottles and putting them back in the cabinet the exact same way. I fix my PB&J sandwich the same way every morning. I pack my lunch the same way. I get ready the same way. Etc. Etc. Etc. I've just been realizing lately that my habits extend further than my daily routines.
My habits extend to the way I treat my family, the way I react to issues, the way I interact with other people. Everything is a habit for me. I am basically the same, plain fella every day and only my surroundings change. Not that I want to lead a James Bond kind of life or anything, but I am too comfortable with my life as it is. My comfort zone is very narrow and I stay within that zone 99% of the time.
I am praying that God uses me for something that will allow me to break free of my zone. I need a big ol' push through a door to plop me right down in a God designed area that He can use me in. Don't get me wrong, I am not in "need" in order to feel any certain way or that I feel unused, but that I know I am not doing as I should. I am praying for a breakthrough where I know God has placed me in something and it doesn't have to be in a primary role. A sub role is fine with me, but then again, that is the role I normally take. So, I should probably be ready to be thrust in a more prominent role.
I am also fine if God doesn't use me, but I need to make myself available. For what? I have no idea, but when God is behind it I am fairly certain that I will be able to tell. He has a way of letting one know that He is active. I just want to serve my Lord in the manner He needs me to, whatever capacity that is. I get nervous thinking about what He might have me to do, but I just look back at Moses and his anxieties about being used of God and see how God worked through Him.
Being available is the biggest part of our struggle. So, I am set at defeating that great first obstacle. But once again my strength comes from the Lord and I will be leaning on Him for strength and guidance in whatever role He gives me.
Monday, January 17, 2011
My beautiful wife had a gift for me today - 4 tubes of Blistex. Seems they wee samples or something, but I can sure use them. Maybe now I won't have dry lips all the time. I'll take a tube to work put one in each of my jackets and keep one by my desk. So, I am covered, or my lips will be anyway.
Lips seem to get us in trouble a lot. Not really the lips, but what passes through them, in the form of words. I know I say a lot of things I shouldn't from time to time and I usually want to take it back the second after I say it. It's like I temporarily leave my body, something spews out and I jump back in just in time to feel that sinking feeling in my stomach. Ouch! I just did some damage here.
I like what Proverbs 21:23 says:
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.
How true that is. We seem to always know the wrong thing to say at the wrong time. This can be a huge testimony killer as well as do damage to the Lord's Name. Because we are His body here on the earth and the lost world looks to us as Christ's ambassadors (per 2 Corinthians 5:20). We have to constantly be on guard for the mouth can bring swift destruction.
Luke 6:45 tells us that from the heart is what our mouth speaks. So, that means it is a sin issue, not a mouth issue at all. Kind of like blaming a gun for killing someone instead of the person pulling the trigger. Our hearts and flesh are wicked and we must practice holiness. We must put the things of the flesh far from us and focus on the Lord. I am 100% sure that if you say something sinful that the Lord is not your focus at the time. He can't be. I know when I speak things I shouldn't it is because of selfish reasons. I either want to make a point by shock or I want to be funny and fit in. It doesn't happen that often, but once is too much.
But this does just show me that I have a sin problem. Any sin is a problem and all sin springs forth from the heart. We see in James 1:14 the pathway of sin - we lust, we desire, we sin and we die. Fairly straight forward from James, I must say. He has a way of laying things out point blank and I really appreciate that and that God used him to write the book that bares his name. I rally need these kinds of verses that snap us back into the reality of just how sinful we are. I thank God that He has allowed me to see how sinful I am, because that is the first step to seeing just how gracious and loving my God is.
He has cleansed me from all unrighteousness, even when I say something I shouldn't have. But I definitley do not use that as an excuse to commit sin. I feel the weight of my sin and know that is why Christ had to die. So, I do not take my sins lightly. As children of God we are loosed from the bondage of sin, but oh how hard the battle is. I must continue to lean on God for strength to battle my wicked flesh...daily.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
The Christmas program was delayed at church in December due to inclimate weather and was instead held this evening. Why not? We should be celebrating the birth of our Savior daily, along with His life and His redemptive work on our behalf. These all are integral parts of the gospel and we often only focus on any one of those aspects at a given time.
When Christmas is thought of it always is about he birth of Christ. Not much is thought about the other aspects of the life of Christ. Then we have Easter where His death and resurrection are thought of. Then, for the remainder of the year, most people go into church hibernation and only show up occasionally. Sad thing is that most of these people claim to be Christians. Fact is they are probably not.
I suggest that celebrations of Christ be full. Include each aspect, tell of Christ's redeeming work on Calvary during Christmas. Tell of Christ's birth and sinless life at Easter. Tell of all His goodness each and every day of your life. Never pass on an opportunity to share Jesus with someone. Sow seeds constantly and watch for the opportunities to do so daily. God gives us those chances, but most of the time we are so focused inwardly and just going about normal life that we miss them. Get in tune with the Lord and ask Him to allow you to recognize what He lays before you. I am fairly sure He will and you will be used.
It is as simple as making yourself available. Be in constant submission to His leadership and I promise you will be used of God.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
I purchased this piano a few years ago for a little of nothing. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but since has really proven to be not so good of an idea. It is very heavy and fairly large and has set in the area between our front door and living room ever since it was brought in. Did I mention it is heavy?
Since I have a truck now we will probably be making a donation to a nice home for this piano. Also, if it is ever replaced with a piano it will be an electronic one that can be stashed in a closet when need be. But, you live and you learn. Lesson in this - Do not buy a piano.
Some things aren't so cut and dry though. Some seem like they are right and there is no conviction against them, but should our personal feelings be what guides us? After all we are fallen creatures that live by the flesh. I mean, if I let my flesh lead what I do I would be overweight and sitting in front a computer right now. Oh, yeah, that's is what I am doing right now.
But my point is there are things that are cut and dry in the Word of God. These things do not require a personal feeling or conviction - we have been commanded first hand by God to do and not to do certain things. So, why do we continue to do them? I am not talking about the "big" things like stealing, cheating on your spouse or killing someone. I am speaking about things we do every day and think nothing about. Why, if we are children of God, can we participate in things that are in violation of His Word and not be concerned about it?
Even though I am commanded to follow the speed limit in Romans 13:1-2 and 1Peter 2:13-17 I still push it past the limit by about 4 MPH. I've broken the law at that point and it really doesn't bother me that much a lot of the time. Sometimes it does and I will not go over by any, but the only thing that's changed is my "feelings" about breaking the law. The law has not changed and my command to follow the law has not changed. But things like this we justify and make excuses for with the rationalization that "everyone does it" or "it's only a few MPH over the speed limit".
So, at this point I "feel" conviction about things I do and partake in. It is my conscience searing into my soul that there are certain things I should not be doing. They are not really gray areas either and I don't really think that the "feelings" are going to pass. I think this is conviction as I am brought closer to God and see things better as they are exposed by His light. It is time to start shedding aspects of life that are not glorifying to God and time to start putting on the new man just as Colossians 3 commands us to do. These are things that we are told to do for ourselves, things to "put off" and "put to death" and others that we are to "put on".
So, it is our responsibility to do these things and set our affections on Christ so that we can be further conformed to His likeness. If we are His bride then shouldn't we be making ourselves ready for His return? We need to walk in His statutes and hold His Name high and lifted up. I have a long way to go, but I know that through Him, if I do as His Word says then He will take care of me. I trust in Him to do so, not because I do or do not do certain things, but because He said He would. May His grace allow us to walk uprightly in His path and may His peace flood us.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Today at work we all received a "goodie bag" of freebies from our company. The recently changed logo and artwork that coincided with the 65th Anniversary of the company. It has been in Paducah for 35 years and earlier this week marked my 15th year of employment. So a few seasons have come and gone through the years.
The 15 years that I have been with the company have been good for me. I know that God has walked me along the way, opened doors and closed some as well. I have seen a lot of faces come and go and I have known a few workers that have passed on since I have worked there. A lot of things have increased for me, responsibilities, pay rate, work level and with my 15th year the amount of vacation days I receive. God has been very gracious to give me a job that I like and that supports the family. I know that my job is just the means that God has given me, He is the source.
One thing that I need to remember is that my workplace is also my witnessing field. Not that I need to pull out the soapbox at break times and preach sermons to my co-workers, but that I need to live the gospel that I say I believe. Admittedly it is not hard to be a light in the darkness a lot of the times. Even the darkness seems to take note and actually, somewhat, not try to be as dark around me. The cussing diminishes, the dirty jokes aren't told and the "guy talk" does not happen very much around me. I pray that it is because they can sense the Lord and feel conviction when I am around them. I do not say that in a boastful way, but pray that I reflect Jesus to everyone there so that He convicts them, not me. Without Him I am the same as any sinner and probably worse than most.
I recently had a conversation with a co-worker while I was working on the production line. He professes Christ, but lives very differently. I question him to get him to think, but my words do not seem to phase him at all sometimes. His mentality is so ingrained in the heretical message that has permeated the landscape of the entire world. He rests his eternity in a prayer as a child. In our conversation I told him that without the grace of God I would be a very bad person. He asked if I have broken any of the 10 Commandments, so I told him that I have broken them all and deserve the judgment of God and hell. Of course this is foreign to him and he brushes my words to the side like a mosquito. I am fairly point blank with him and question his salvation, because he professes Christ as hi Savior, but blasphemes His Holy Name by doing so, in his sinful, rebellious life.
Bottom line is this man needs God. He needs prayer and so do the other men and women that I work with. Most profess to be Christians, but you cannot tell them from anyone that doesn't, other than their profession. They are lost and only God can awaken their standing in His sight. Please join with me in praying for my co-workers salvation. If you want to leave a reply and let me know your prayer request for those around you, please do. I count it joy to be able to petition the Father for my brothers and sisters.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
On the fringe of starting a new way of eating I decided to have McDonald's this evening. It might possibly be one of the last times I ever eat from McDonald's too. McDonald's has been a favorite of mine for years, but recently I have not really felt the call to partake of their offerings. Tonight I gave in for nostalgic reasons. I even got a Big Mac, which I rarely do, but just had the taste for some special sauce. I did order the Mac with no pickle, as seen on the grill ticket stuck to the box. That grill ticket means that whoever prepared the sandwich knew that it was a special order. You can also see by the inset picture that they put pickles on it anyway.
No big deal. I just picked them off like I normally do, but it does make you wonder how much people pay attention. Maybe they were busy, looking forward to a break, thinking about issues at home..... Who knows? Maybe they just made it as always and totally overlooked the special order. For whatever reason the Big Mac was made differently than ordered. No hard feelings. Just an observation.
So many times we just do things that we have always done. I've done it several times over the past few days on a particular piece of equipment at my job. They changed a timing issue on an activation button that I have pressed a certain way for 15 years and no matter how many times I remind myself I still find that I revert back to muscle memory that I think is guided by my subconscious.
I think we do that in our spiritual walk as well. We allow our flesh to creep back in and all of a sudden we are hitting the button at the wrong time again. Thing is that we do recognize our error and correct it. But it does seem like those same old habits are hard to put to death for good. For that we need a new set of habits and the only way to train ourselves those habits is to continually do them. Do not over correct though, which is another problem in itself. That will put you in the other ditch opposite the one you just crawled out of.
We must always keep focus on Christ. When we waver is when we lose sight. I do it too often and end up beating myself up over falling back into the same routines and sins. "If I could only get rid of this sin I would be okay" is what I think each time I regress. I often forget that it is a grace of God that He shows me when I do sin. I also forget that it might be my thorn in the flesh, something to remind me of my need for God and to keep me humble.
As I will embark on a new lifestyle of eating I am sure that I will have times when I feel bad for eating what I shouldn't. I know that it will be a struggle in some areas. I know that I have failed before and that is why I am in need of correction yet again. But I know, most of all, that I have God on my side this time whereas I never did in past "diets". I totally relied on my willpower and self discipline to lose pounds. I had a very narrow and selfish reasoning to lose weight. This time is different in many ways. I have a true relationship with God now, He has given me a determination like never before, I am motivated by higher means than myself, the program I will be involved in will have kingdom focused results.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Wednesday nights at church are a night of fellowship over a meal followed by either followup to Sunday's message, Q&A or something new from the Word. The meal is prepared by a volunteer and there is a nominal charge to just cover the ingredients of the dinner. Tonight's meal was Taco Soup. Sounds pretty good, huh?
I count it all joy when we can all get together in the house of the Lord. I also count it joy getting together anywhere with other brothers and sisters. We are family and part of the same body, so we actually need each to be whole. Other church bodies form with our to form the full body of Christ, His bride. I think the body analogy is perfect, because when one member is sick then all other parts are affected.
The sickness analogy is also good to show the effects of sin. Sin is to the body as cancer is to the human body. It weakens all members and slowly decays and eats away until death is had. The great part of this is the sin can be dealt with much more thoroughly than human cancer can. As a matter of fact it has already been dealt with, on the cross by Christ. We just need to confess and repent and the sin is cast as far as the east is from the west. The sin does not rule us and we need to get our flesh into subjection to our mind and spirit.
It is no small task, as our bodies constantly crave sin. It is our human nature, but through the grace that God bestows to His children it is possible to not commit a sin. We must purpose ourselves to not sin, not to not be tempted but to be constantly on guard and ready to sin the sinful thoughts a packin'. Ask Gd to strengthen your will to reject sin in your life. Ask Him to show you the hidden sins that you do not even realize are there. Also help your brothers and sisters out, lovingly, to hold one another accountable.
We must be diligent in our fight over sin. Just because we are tempted does not mean we have to give in to it's relentless calls. Stand strong in the Lord, resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Do you remember when you were the remote control? I do. "Jeffery, go change it to channel 3." That was heard many times by me growing up. Back in the day you had to actually change a channel instead of pushing a button or picking it through a guide on your screen. Another major difference back then was we had a black and white TV or actually a few of them through the years and a color set here and there. I also remember the famous put the working TV on top of the non working floor model TV, just in case the larger one decided it would start working again some day. They never did though.
It's amazing how technology has advanced over the years and decades. I grew up with 8 Tracks and albums that gave way to cassettes and now MP3s and iPods. The huge VCRs were replaced with DVD players and now Blu-Rays are the must have. You would use to have to take pictures to be developed and wait a week to get them back. Now you either email them to Wal Mart and pick them up the same day or print them out yourself. Not to mention the internet and all it has brought in to existence.
I am so very glad though that the Lord does not change. I have gone through several different phases over my life, even thinking that for a majority of my life that I was a Christian. I wasn't, but God was still working on me along the way. It is hard for our minuscule minds to grab hold that our God today is the same as He was when He walked with Adam in Eden or the same as when He spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. He is just as holy now as He was then. He was just as gracious then as He is now. He is our Rock and He desires us to lean on Him. So often we think that there was a change in God between the Old Testament writings and the New Testament. People say that God angry during the OT, but had some kind of change of nature and now is different. I say that is heresy. God is the same - yesterday, today and tomorrow. Nothing changes about Him and I am oh so thankful for that.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Saw this car this evening at the Best Buy while doing a little errand running. It was parked in front of me as I was leaving. I saw the car and just had one of those quick "Oh, that's a Chrysler 300C" thought, or just "knew" it was one - however you want to look at it. Then when I had a seat in my car and peered out of the front window I saw it, the Bentley emblem on the front grill section.
It threw me off a tad, because I am fairly familiar with 300Cs, because I thought they were a great looking car when they came out. I even wanted one for a while, so they got looks from me a lot over the past few years. With the 'B' emblazoned on the front of this car I had to drive around to the rear and see if there were any other markings or if, by chance, the front of a 300C and the front of a Bentley were that similar but the rear end was different. My first impulse was correct. Someone had put an aftermarket grill on the car, but the back emblems still read 300C and Chrysler. So, someone was just trying to make their car look like a more expensive vehicle.
We all do this same type of thing a lot in our lives. Some call it wearing masks or putting on airs, but it is basically trying to look different than we actually are. Sadly most church goers and professing Christians will not call someone that is obviously an impostor what they are. That is a hypocrite/ actor or one that professes Christ, but does not truly know Him. They say things like "judge not" and "we are not supposed to judge others" and the ever popular "only God and them know their heart". I say rubbish. Jesus told us to judge others by their fruit and if they are a fig tree they would bear fruit or either a thorn bush bearing thorns. They just might be hanging a different grill on them, but under neath they are still a lost sinner in need of a graceful God.
Some fakes may have done a total makeover as well. Kind of like one of those VW kit cars that looks like an older roadster or even a sports car, but they are still a Volkswagon that just appears to be something else. They may fool some people that just take a glance, but when you start examining under the hood and spending a little time with them it becomes really obvious, really fast. What they need is a rebirth. They need God to actually change them from a VW into a Lamborghini. That is a transformation and nothing that new vehicle does can change back, because God did a miraculous transformation.
So, please stop blaspheming the Name of Christ calling people Christians that aren't. Confront these people out of love for them, but most importantly for the love of the Lord. Do not let them trample on His Holy Name while they profess to know Him, but yet live like they are big buddies with the devil. As a child of God we are to die to ourselves, so take a stand for Him and do not allow people to not revere Him and His Name.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Had Taco Bell for lunch today and it was really good. Mexican food is one of my favorites, right up there with pizza. If you saw my last post you will see that both of these types of food will soon be history for me. I am about to embark on a diet, that is not really a diet, but a change in eating habits and lifestyle choices. I know what is ahead and my flesh is fighting my mind right now injecting thoughts of how difficult the changes will be.
I also had these same kinds of thoughts when I used to think about quitting smoking. I had started smoking at 14 years old. I always thought about the actual act I was committing - sucking smoke into my lungs only to blow it right back out again. This process is what you do not want to do on purpose in a burning building, but yet we do this willingly and people now pay $5.00 a pack to do it. Thankfully God took this vice away from me when He converted me. He was gracious in this area and also in the area of the ungodly music I listened to, both of the things I had done for 24 years of my life were gone - no fights - no struggles. Now I remember doing both, but it really seems surreal because I would never think about doing either now in light of my Lord and Savior. But, the eating thing is weighing heavy on me too now (no pun intended). I am inundated with thoughts of failure already and I am still a few weeks out before the program starts.
I actually want to go ahead and start the weight loss, but per my last post I do not want to "waste" any lost pounds because it will lose money to a wonderful cause. For every pound I would lose now would take money away from building a church in Romania that could have reach an unfathomable amount of people with the gospel. So I wait. I am almost upset that I can't start the program now and begin my journey to health, but I still lack the mentality that I think will be needed. I know now that in the past I did all of my dieting on sheer willpower and this time I have a Kingdom focus, so that should really change things up. I also have the Holy Spirit in me and have a focus on God like I never had before, but I still have this same old flesh suit that likes the same old things to eat. So I think I know what I need to do - stay focused on the Lord and use His strength to see me through this. After all, that is what He wants us to do in every aspect of our lives anyway - to be in total reliance on Him. Maybe that is why the delay, because I still want to rely on me.
So, please pray for me - that I will get focused on God more finely and that He will be glorified through this coming challenge. I hope that I can use the experience forthcoming to spread the Gospel, maybe to other church bodies that might use this program. Which will in turn cause me to face another obstacle of my own devise - being a quiet person that doesn't do very well in a speaking role. But God can use me and I must submit to His will and die to myself to accomplish that. So please pray for me in these areas.
Also, please see my last post for a better explanation of the upcoming weight loss program our church body is about to embark on.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Just wanted to share this a few weeks before things actually start going.
As with a lot of people I had set my mind to lose weight this year, a resolution for the new year. This was going to start last Sunday and would be a life change instead of a mind change. What I didn't really know was something exciting that my church will be doing that twas announced last Sunday as well.
The program is going to be called "Rebuilding Your Temple" and is what it says, a tearing down of the current me and a rebuilding of a new me. I did not start my own resolution last week because of this. Why? Because me losing weight may actually be able to benefit more than just me. In fact it could have spiritual ramifications in Romania.
The program is based on our human motivation, which sadly start with money, followed by competition then third is accountability to others. This program will have all of those, but not in a greedy and self centered way. The money will had from sponsors (maybe you) that will donate $1 (or more) per pound that I lose. The money will not be for me and from my understanding will be a donation to/ through my church - so it should be tax deductible. The competition is just amongst my church and for "bragging rights", which can be motivation stronger than money. Then there is the accountability which will be to the sponsors. Also another motivation for me will be knowing where this money will go and what it will be used for.
As of right now there are two places that are possible. The first is to Romania to an indigenous pastor that is seeking God in the area of church planting. The second is to my church to build a much needed new building, which has been on the back-burner for decades. Both of these present me with the knowledge that the Kingdom can and will be furthered by each pound that I lose. This will motivate me each time Reese's Cups cross my mind and will make me go a few more minutes on the treadmill each day.
My plans, as of right now, are to journal on my blog weekly during this 90 day period to update my progress. I will tell you how much I have lost, what things God has shown me through the week in the weight loss area, what (if anything) I have done that I shouldn't have (like eating fattening foods or skipped exercising). I want to be 100% accountable to anyone that feels the desire to sponsor this. At the end of the 90 days I will post before and after pictures to show just how God has worked in me to accomplish what I have failed at so many times before.
I feel really excited about this. It is weird though how we can't motivate ourselves purely for health reasons to get in shape and lose some pounds. I know that my eating habits have not glorified God and I do not uphold 1 Corinthians 10:31 very well. I am selfish in my eating and God is showing me that. I am focusing on Him through this for His strength instead of relying on my own willpower. I have lost weight before through my own ways and means, but never as a Christian. I want to live my life totally in God's will and this is a way I have not been doing so.
So, whoever stumbles upon this blog post, you did not end up here accidentally. I want to ask you to prayerfully consider sponsoring me for this endeavor. I ask that you covenant with me as I set on this path. I will be accountable to each and every person that sponsors me, which I need those questions of "How are you doing?" and "How can I pray for you today to reach the current goal?". I want to know that I am getting healthy and that lives can be changed through your sponsorship dollars. If you are led to donate more than $1/ pound please do so. Maybe Bill Gates or Donald Trump will stumble upon this and sponsor for much more. But, I will hold every person in the same light as my partners through this. Maybe even a Sunday school class or church. I will say that I have a goal for the 90 days of 60 pounds and for a total of 80 all together.
So please prayerfully consider this sponsorship. I will add updates after our meetings that will establish just how this is going to work. The first meeting is on Jan. 20th, so I will update on the program then. Please feel free to leave a message here or send me an email to email@example.com with "Rebuild Your Temple" in the subject line. I also would appreciate your prayer sponsorship through this, which will be just as important as monetary sponsorship. Thank you as we set out on this endeavor.... together.
Saw this fine example of what not to do to a car today. Its a Camaro, not sure what year, but it is somewhere in the early 90s through the early uglies, uh, sorry, early 2000s. If the picture is not good enough to tell, the wheels are a lot larger than factory with low profile tires on them with red spokes. There is also some red highlights around the convertible top at the window. If you look close, it looks like the wheels on the car are larger than the ones on the Avalanche on the opposite side of the car. One question - What were they thinking?
This is the same question I want to some times ask people that willfully participate in sinful activities. Those that profess Christ that is, not the lost because that is their nature. But, if someone is truly born again, filled with the Holy Spirit and living a life focused on God shouldn't they be able to see the blatantly ungodly things in their life? I'm not talking about the gray areas that the bible does not cover, but things like lying, excessive drinking, dabbling in the occult, stealing, cussing, gossiping, etc. The list is long, but I think you catch my drift.
Often times when and if you do confront them in love, you are immediately classified as judgmental and maybe even a Pharisee. We are to help brothers and sisters to see their sinfulness, but in the right spirit of course. If they are truly a child of God as well, they may initially react in a defensive manner (the flesh) but they will soon see and understand what you were doing. If we do not let those that profess Christ know what they are doing is damaging the body, then we, too, are taking part in their sin. So, it is a peculiar position to be in. Do we risk a friend being mad at us? Or do we defend the body and our God? I think it is a plain and simple answer, even though I fail at it miserably a lot. So, I am preaching to myself too.
I think the true body and Bride of Christ need to take a stand within itself. Help a brother stand tall and proudly in service to the Lord. Call out those that claim to be a part of the body, but are impostors like the false teachers and prosperity pimps on TV. The charlatans are deceiving millions while raking in their millions. Call to your brothers and sisters to stand with you, me and the others that are sickened by the state of the perceived church. We are all members of the same body and we should all want to preserve the Glory of our Lord.
Friday, January 7, 2011
It's been a long run for movie rental stores. I can remember back when VHS movies were first available for rent. Back then the technology was so new that most people had to rent a bulky VHS VCR/Player just have that fresh technology in their home. This was due to the fact that a player was in the $400+ range, which in the mid 80s was a lot of cash.
The rentals then were usually from a convenience store. Then dedicated rental stores started popping up all over the place. Then came Blockbuster and Hollywood Video and a few other chain rental stores. The VHS gave way to the DVD and the DVD recently has started being overtaken by the popular Blu-Ray disc, which is in High Definition. Also now on the market are 3D Blu-Ray players and who know what is next out there. I am guessing that the next phase will be videos on either jump drives or on flash memory cards, like SD or Compact Flash cards. This will allow for even smaller player units and possibly every TV being equipped with technology to play HD content itself and eventually eliminating the need of additional devices. You are seeing this already with TVs being internet ready with Youtube, Netflix, Pandora and other internet apps/ programs installed.
Right now we are seeing the phasing out of brick and mortar rental businesses in favor of Redbox kiosks. These handy little units have popped up all over the place. The biggest plus? They are cheap at $1.00/ night for DVDs and $1.50/ night for Blu-Rays. Another handy thing is you can rent from one Redbox and return to any other Redbox. I would think that this is very handy for vehicles equipped with DVD units in them on trips. Just stop and rent the kids a movie, when they are finished watching it return it during the next rest stop. Convenience seems key. The only downside I have seen so far is waiting behind people that want to scan the whole catalog of available titles, reading each description, then going back through them all again. Here's an idea for that group of people - rent them online and just swipe your card and take off. Don't take 20 minutes to make a 30 second decision.
But as technology changes almost daily, it is good to know that God and His Word never changes. Technological advances may help to sow the seeds of the Gospel, but the message itself does not change. At no other time in history has it been capable for a person to sit in Paducah KY and talk to someone on the other side of the globe face to face. As long as an internet connection is had then the Gospel can be readily shared. This does not eliminate the need of missionaries though, so don't think that the "hard work" is no longer needed.
God is firmly in control today as He was when He spoke the Universe into existence. It is awesome to think that He knew when He was walking with Adam in the Garden of Eden that He also knew that Blu-Rays and the internet would be used today. Nothing takes God by surprise and nothing happens without His consent. When He used The OT Saints to write His Words down and when He used Paul, John, Luke and the others to write the NT, He knew that those Words would be easily accessible in the year 2011 by the majority of the Earths population. Now that is awesome to dwell on for a few hours.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
My picture of the day was the view I had for a big chunk of the day, Chandra's room for a T.E.E. test/ scan at Western Baptist. They are trying to determine the cause of a few issues she has been having and this test was to look at her heart via a device being put down her throat and looking to the side to see her heart. The results ruled out what was expected to be revealed, so the search continues. The good news? That her yearly deductible is out of the way, so we only have co-pays for her for the rest of 2011. Always look on the bright side. Right?
Today brought back some memories of Chandra's surgery a year ago September. I sit there and thought about those emotions and prayers and how God comforted and answered prayers, even at times as they were being uttered. He has used the hands of doctors to do amazing things and He has used the sacrifices of brothers and sisters to do some equally amazing things.
God has been good to us and I need reminding sometimes, which is sad. The Lord should always be the focus of every moment of our day, but He isn't. And what is amazing about that is that He keeps on loving us anyway. He keeps supplying our needs and keeps showering us with blessings, over and over again.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Mmmm. Taco Bell. Also another Mmmm for the price of a full meal at Taco Bell, $5.00. How is that they can sell a meal large enough to fill anyone up, but other restaurants charge twice that amount for less food? In the Taco Bell "Touchdown Box" you get the crunch wrap, a taco, a 7 layer burrito, cinnamon twists and a drink. Now that is a big meal for a decent price. Needless to say, this was my dinner tonight.
Like this Taco Bel meal, I am always looking for a bargain. I have to first decide to purchase something, then look around to get the best possible deal. Of course with a Taco Bell meal box there is only one place to get it, but there are many other restaurants to choose from too. We need to be the best possible stewards with the money that God entrusts us with. I, admittedly, am not that good with money, but I am getting better.
As we progress with our walk, God entrusts us with more. As we learn to trust in Him and rely on His provisions to us we grow in our faith. This is part of the sanctification process and brings us closer to conforming with Jesus. Although we will never attain being exactly like Jesus, we can strive for that as our goal, knowing that we will fail, but also that we are striving for that worthy goal. We also know that the God is there to help us along our walks as our human fathers also would, but actually on a higher plane. So many times we think of God as always wanting to exact punishment on us, but that is not true. He loves us. Loves us so much that He gave His Son to die for us. He has adopted us as children, joint heirs with Christ. Now how great is that? Joint heirs with Christ.
Next time you feel dejected just think of the many blessings that God rains down on you daily. Think of how He gives you your breath, the job you have, the income you receive, the food on your table and even the internet connection and computer you are using right now to read this. God is good.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Started reading two books this week. One is the picture of the day "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" a biography about Deitrich Bonhoeffer. The second is "Slave" by John MacArthur. This is the first time I have ever read two books at once, I have a memory issue anyway and adding a second book to the mix has never seemed like a good idea. This time I think I will be o.k. since one is a biography and the other is a Johnny Mac book.
I think they will have some of the same elements. Slave is about our role as slaves to Christ, not just the KJV mildly put "bondservant". The wording in scripture denotes that we are actually the property of God, we were bought with a price after, the highest price ever. I think the Bonhoeffer book will also deal with this as Bonhoeffer knew his role and knew that his life was not his own. He laid it down for his country and his brothers and sisters and most importantly for our God. I do not know the exacts of his life, hence reading a book about him.
I try to always be reading something that is Kingdom focused. The bible is daily reading, but I also like to read Christian books as well, to get others insights into the Word. MacArthur has been a great author for me to read as he is very informative and a somewhat easy read. He does repeat himself some in his books, but he, I need that because I sometimes do not comprehend things to first time. I try to stay away from fiction titles though, even though I have not sworn them off or anything. I just feel that this point in my walk that I need to be gaining knowledge instead of being entertained by reading.
I have never been a reader much anyway throughout my life. I can remember only reading a very few books up until I was converted. One being "Congo" and another "Left Behind", which scared me into reciting "the prayer" every time I opened its pages. I was doing what I knew to do, but I was still counting on that prayer to save me instead of Christ. My faith was not focused on Jesus and I definitely had and and was not repenting of my sins. God was working on me then, though, as He had been my whole life. I can see His fingerprints throughout my life leading me to a path that was on a collision course with Him.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Literally, there was a deer in my headlight. If you read my post from a few days ago then you know the story. To sum it up for you - a deer was standing in the road, a deer was crashing into my car, a deer ran off I have $1600 in damages.
So, I decided to slowly repair the car as I find deals on parts. First up to purchase was the headlight assembly. If you know the new body style Altima then you know that the headlight is fairly large and stylized. I found a great deal on ebay and ordered it last Wednesday and it arrived today. I thought this was good timing considering the holiday that was in the mix. When I saw the box I had a suspicion that the contents might be damaged as there was an inward poke on one end and an outward poke on the other, so I had my doubts. When I opened it up I was really impressed with the look of the light and how it perfectly matched the factory lights. Then I noticed the end tab was broken.
What a bummer. Waiting for 4 or 5 days to get the light and then it being damaged. I have no idea where along the way it was broken, but it was and it made me a bit perturbed. I then contacted the seller, which is also a web store, with the bad news. They were very prompt with getting back to me and offered me a choice of 3 things. 1) Obtain a refund and send the light back. 2) Receive partial credit and keep the light. 3) Exchange it for a replacement. Since I still need a headlight, I opted for choice #3 and asked if I needed to contact UPS with the claim. They took care of it all, even as far as sending me a package label so all I have to do is tape it on and send it back.
This couldn't have been easier, but I could have gotten a lot more angry. I have been able to realize, more often than not lately, that God is in control - even things like deer and headlights. These little things that we give to God and follow His direction in are faith and character builders. They, too, have a work in our sanctification process. If we overreact about fleeting stuff like this, then how much more are we going to overreact when something larger rears its ugly head? Besdies, God has shown me and my family a lot of grace and mercies and proven Himself faithful and sure, so why would I want to even entertain the thoughts that He is not firmly in control of this?
Not that I am passive in this situation, but proactive. We must do some things and not just kick back and expect God to do it all. We would become spiritually lazy if we did not take actions in our walk. That, too, would also be like us trying to use God as our own personal butler to do our bidding for us, while we just kick back ans take it easy. That is a bad thing. We are to be followers, slaves even, to God. We are to give our unmitigated service to Him for Him and empowered by Him for whatever He wills. Submission is a wonderful thing.
Just remember when things seem to be getting difficult that God is in control. He may even be using that particular thing to show you that you need to trust in Him more. Once you do, you will see how glorious it is - to rest in Him.