Monday, February 28, 2011
Day 241 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Well, I did it again. Second time in 3 days I have washed a load of laundry and forgot about it until it was time to go to bed. Needless to say, I did not dry it tonight and it will have to wait until tomorrow. I put it in a laundry basket to let it air dry a little, so I guess that In effect, I am saving energy because of my mess up.
I got too busy tonight working on a project and the time flew by. It was 9:45 before I blinked and I still had not thought about the laundry that I started around 6:30. Hopefully this project will come together soon. I am getting the hang of it a little better, but it is a learning process for me within Adobe After Effects.
I am attempting to make a video from a potion of a sermon to put on the web from my church, Oak Grove Baptist. The full sermons are online, but people do not seem to have the time to listen to a full sermon any more. The typical attention span is less than ....... What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah, attention span. A lot of people, now, want just short bits of information at a time. This is true, even though they stay on the internet and their computer for hours at a time, but only want bits of information from places instead of much information. This is perfect for "sermon jams" and other types of media being used to convey messages.
Some of these shorts clips pack a big punch within just a minute or two. That is my hopes for this sermon clip. It is in the 6 minute range, so it is outside the average length of a video these days, but I do believe the subject matter and the cadence of the message will hold attention.
I still like to listen to the full sermons on the web as much as I can. The short clips just give me a taste of what the message is about. I also want to know if a the particular clip has been lifted out of context or not. I'm sure that there is enough audio files of preachers and speakers out there that you could chop up a few and make the topic and message be whatever you would want it to be. Context is very important in scripture and in preaching from the Word.
Well, I'll post the video when I compete it, but I'm not promising any certain day. It is a time consuming process, but is well worth it to gain experience and to know that I am working for the Lord in doing this. I am depending on Him to guide me to the information I need to use to achieve what He wants the project to be.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Day 240 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
This evening is going to be a little un-nerving according to the weather people. Strong winds, strong thunderstorms, flash flooding and possibilities of tornadoes are being forecast. Not my kind of weather, but whatever God wants to do with the weather is fine. I just don't want a limb to come crashing down on the roof tonight/ tomorrow early morning or a tornado to rip through the area.
Weather people have been wrong before and they will be wrong again. The last 2 snow events they were wrong about. The first of the two they were calling for a good amount of snow and we got very little. The second was just the opposite and we got a lot more snow than forecast, which caught school officials scrambling to return kids safely home and also found a lot of buses in ditches along the county roads. Of course, they blamed it on computer models and an anomaly that could not have been known about with their equipment. But that's alright, people and computers are fallible.
God is not fallible though. Every Word He speaks comes true. The Bible is filled with prophecy's that were fulfilled and there are still some that remain to be fulfilled. Maybe this crazy weather is part of the end times scenario? Maybe not. But I know Paducah is not the center of prophecy and our weather probably doesn't have an impact on end times narratives. We just get the weather that God wants us to have. There are some inconveniences at times from rain, wind and snow, but they all serve a purpose somehow to God. I will not question His decision to do what He does with the weather, but I may ask Him to protect my family and possessions from damage. Tonight I prayed that God make the storms predicted dissipate or blow by overhead and not cause any damage. Of course this is my wishes and God has bigger plans than mine to fulfill, but that doesn't keep me from asking.
I know that I am in His hands and so are my family and all the gifts He has showered us with. If He chooses to do something with anything of ours then I will probably be upset at the circumstances, but not with God. He is the giver of what we have and we are just temporary caretakers for our possessions. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, Glory to God for both and glory to God in the midst of a storm and on the other side of a storm.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Day 239 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Made the trek to this years Home and Garden Show here in Paducah today. Lots of vendors set up each year to show their wares, goods and services. This year marked the Silver Anniversary of the event (25th) and it is still going strong.
My picture(s) today were from right when you entered the event. What else would you expect to see at a Home and Garden show besides an Indy Car and a Chopper made by Orange County Choppers? The chopper is the second I have seen in person made by OCC. The first was the Airgas bike that also had a tour and stopped in Paducah a few years ago. The one today was made for Window World/ St. Jude Hospital. This bike is beautiful, decked in bright blue and lots of chrome. It is definitely a head turner.
The Indy Car is driven by John Andretti and owned by Petty-Andretti Autosports. The names Petty and Andretti are legendary in the auto racing world. This is the first time I have seen a real Indy Car up close and it, too, was very impressive looking. I'm more of a NASCAR fan than any other motor sports, but I can appreciate a race car from any circuit.
Over the years my NASCAR fascination has dwindled a lot. I've gone from being a diehard fan and purchaser of memorabilia to a "watch the race in fast forward on the DVR" fan. It's not that it's not interesting any more, but that my attention is on Greater Things now. Namely, God. It was not really a conscious decision to get out of the crazy cycle of NASCAR fandom, God just basically took the desire away to spend so much time and money in the following of the sport. Not that I wouldn't go to another race again or buy another t-shirt at some point, but that my priorities are different now and NASCAR and TV watching are not that high on the list for the most part.
It's amazing and sometimes confusing why God picks some things to purge from us painlessly, while He allows others to stay with us. Paul talked about this with his thorn in the flesh. Not sure what the thorn was, but it evidently kept Paul humble and focused on God. I believe the Lord allows some struggles in us so that we will seek Him more. After all if everything was our best life now then we would have no reason to seek God. Our reliance on all aspects of life should focus on God and how we can interact with Him more each day. We must continue to be conformed to the image of His Son or risk stepping on the slippery slope of complacency and falling away. After all, lack of growth is a sign of malnourishment and/ or death. A Christian must always be moving forward with eyes fixed on Christ. He is our strength and He will see us through.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Day 238 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
I don't think that Leviticus 19:19 specifically addresses this young man's choice of clothing, but I do think that he should have thought a little more about what he was wearing. If you can't tell it's a pink/ light red button up dress shirt (over a t-shirt), black basketball shorts with white piping, some kind of black, tight spandex exercise pants under the shorts, low cut black socks and a pair of tan deck shoes. If this is the style of today I want nothing to do with it. Maybe that means I am getting old, but if staying young means that I have to dress like I was blindfolded when making clothing choices - then count me out.
Not sure why people want to do things to draw attention to themselves and then get upset when they are shown attention. A lot of effort has to go in to trying to appear so different than "normal". Of course, the definition of "normal" changes all of the time, which makes me abnormal, because I pretty much stick to one style and have since I was a young 'un.
I try not to knock anyone's personal style, but when it is so blatantly anti-social or with the purpose of causing a stir, then I am put off by it. Well, there is one style that gets to me and it would be the sagging pants with your boxers showing. Can't stand it, never will. I do think that when picking out what you wear it needs to be as to not cause a disruption wherever you plan on going in it. And a FYI - at no time is it OK to wear your pajamas in public. Period.
I think that as with any other thing it is a "do not cause your brother to stumble" situation. You should always weigh out who you're going to be around, who you might see, where you are going and what others are going to think of you when they do see you. That is to Christians, of course. Those that are not children of God are going to dress however they want to regardless, which is why I must wear blinders when going shopping these days. We must treat our appearance as any other thing we do. After all, to someone that has been transformed by God into a new creation nothing is secular anymore. Everything a Christian does, says and wears is spiritual in nature. We must always be aware of what we are doing and saying and how we are dressed and how people might perceive us. Not pushing law on anyone, but a holy appearance. Do not cause your brother to stumble by what you do, say or how you dress. We are the body of Christ, shouldn't we dress the body in order to bring glory to Christ then?
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Day 237 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
What a day of rain we have had here in Paducah today. They said on the news break earlier that there had already been 3" of rain to fall and it is still raining. We did have some really strong thunderstorms roll through the area and I did hear of tornadoes being spotted within 20 miles of here.
I always think of the song "Flood" by Jars of Clay when it rains. Why? Because it's about rain and a flood, of course. But, it is one of the first Contemporary Christian Songs that I remember hearing. I heard it on secular radio, because I did not listen to Christian music at all. Even though I professed to be a Christian since I said a prayer at 8 years old I still never had a desire for anything of God. Well, there was all of the forgiveness I desired and blessings, but not much more than that.
My life was that of a typical false convert from age 8 up until I was soundly save at 38. My life was indistinguishable from any other person that you would have came across that loved to party and really loved to sin, except I had "taken care" of getting saved when I was a kid. I was good. I was forgiven. I did my part and I was on the way to heaven. This, even though I never had a desire for anything to do with God. I bore no fruit at all of a Christian and bore many fruits of the sinner that I was. In the eyes of the world I was a "good kid", never got arrested (even though I should have many times), never got into fights and didn't sneak around behind my parents back. I was good to go in the words and eyes of many people including Sunday school teacher, family and associate pastors. I took care of it all when I was a kid.
What I mention are the typical signs of a false convert, I lived it and that is probably why my heart aches for others that are deceived as I was. I know how deep deception can run in a person, especially when you have "professionals" tell you that you are saved and never show you scripture to the contrary. Fact is I was being lied to and I was on the road to hell. It would be like a doctor telling you everything was fine, but you were actually dying of cancer. But the big truth is that your cancer could be cured very easily and they not tell you the cure. They just let you die because they don't want to hurt you. So, you live your life thinking you're good while the cancer eats away, no one loves you enough to tell you the truth and you're gone. You die. When all along the most loving thing to do would be tell you of your sickness and what the cure is so that you can live. The same is true with sin, as it eats away at you like cancer. Jesus is the cure for your sins, not just a "ticket" to heaven, but a Savior from Hell and from a sinful life that dishonors God.
Don't live in deception any longer. If you have been banking on a prayer as a child, a profession of faith, a walk down the aisle or a preachers affirmation for your salvation, then you are on the road to hell. Until you turn from your sins and to Christ, giving Him your life and serving Him then you are being eaten by cancer. Jesus said to "Repent or Perish" in Luke 13:3,5 - so there is the "formula". Repent of your sins or perish in the fires of hell. Not trying to scare you, but it would scare me to know that I was putting my faith in anything other than Christ for my salvation. Jesus keeps saving me daily, from myself, my sins and from God's wrath. How about you? Where is your faith this day?
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Day 236 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
One of my favorite tracts to hand out is the million dollar bills. The ones I pictured are some early ones from Way of the Master/ Living Waters and are some of the better looking ones that have been out over the years. These were from 2005 and since that edition of millions from WOTM there have been two others (I think) and also celebrity caricature edition and a Obama bill. All of which have a gospel presentation on the back.
I have been giving out the millions for years, in one form or the other. Even the hardcore atheist like these. Why? Because money is a favorite thing of a lot of people and a million bucks, even if it is not legal tender, is pretty cool to have in your pocket. I like to leave them with a tip at restaurants, hand them to people working drive throughs, pass them out at public events and leave them hanging from a vending machine's dollar slot. I know that people feel excited when they first think they have latched on to some real money and pray that the message on the back makes for a larger excitement when reading about Christ and His sacrifice.
Tracts are a great way to get the gospel into many peoples hands. They are great to use as Ice Breakers, to get a conversation going about spiritual things and see where God takes that conversation. We are commanded to make disciples and to share the gospel to every creature, so these are just a tools to help us out some times.
A few websites that I can highly recommend for purchasing tracts are:
Way of the Master/ Living Waters
One Million Tracts
Custom Tract Source
Bezeugen Tract Club
There are many other tracts available, but I do caution you to make sure the message is biblical and does not push for a decision. Please read the full text of a tract before purchasing. The ones I listed can be trusted to put out solid messages.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Day 235 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
It can get kind of difficult to mix it up with a low carb diet menu, especially when your favorite foods are pizza, bread and potatoes. Actually I'm not on a full fledged Atkins diet, but it has cut out a lot of what I would normally have to eat. Hence, the overweight frame I now display.
One dish that I concocted a few years ago, when I was on the Atkins diet, is what I call a Pizza Bake or Pizza Casserole. It is pretty much a pizza sans crust, with sausage, pepperoni, sauce and cheese. I bake it in the over for a little bit, add the cheese and let it get a golden brown. It is rather good and it does, somewhat, crave my appetite for real pizza. I suppose it does crave it enough to be a alternate in light of my "big why" in wanting to lose weight.
Some things I have tried in the past just don't seem to cut it though. The biggie that I heard a lot of Atkins enthusiasts tout was "mashed potatoes" made from cauliflower. The raved at how much it tasted like real mashed potatoes and had the same texture. So, even though cauliflower had never made it past my tongue in the past, I decided to try it for myself. I was actually pretty excited to try them and wanted very badly for them to be good. To make a long story short, they were nasty and tasted nothing like potatoes. I haven't tried them since and hopefully never will. But, I will not say never, as I can't stand fish and I am thinking of trying to stomach it for its health benefits. Who knows, God just might change my taste-buds so that I really like cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and fish.
God has changed a lot of things in my life and I praise Him for each one. I know that He can change something as trivial as my likes/ dislikes of food choices. After all, I only have to taste it for a few minutes while I eat it anyway. Anything we eat fills our bellies the same. I am giving control of this area to God and praying that I can obey what He wants my menu to be. I still crave a lot of foods from my bad eating habits, but I craved a lot of sinful things too that God gracefully took the urges away from me in. This could also be a thorn in my flesh that is to buffet me and cause me to seek Him further. I need to give all control over to Him, but seem to want to hold on to things here and there. If I was already perfected I wouldn't have a reason to seek Him as much, so these temptations and urges are welcome to draw me closer to the Lord.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Day 234 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Today's picture is of a stack of jeans in my closet. Not just any stack, but a former stack of work jeans that have been holding a shelf down for a few years now. These jeans I wore about 8 years ago to work in and were put onto the "oneofthesedays" section until I am able to get them back out. See, I've gained a lot of weight since I wore these jeans, but I am heading back down to that size.
In fact, I have several items of clothing that I have kept over the years with the personal understanding that I would lose weight and once again wear them. I hate to get rid of anything, especially something I will be able to use again one day. If I would have gotten rid of them I would then have to buy new jeans and shirts for work and for non-work. Just holding on to the smaller pieces of clothing will be saving me a few bucks, but only if I get back down to that size, which is my ultimate goal.
It's been somewhat of a procrastination mind-frame for me about my weight. I have always believed I could lose the weight, just never put forth the effort to actually do so. Now it's different. I have a goal, I have motivation outside of myself and I have God to strengthen me. One of my "big why" motivations is to glorify God through my weight loss. In a few ways, but mostly in my testimony that He has given me the power to look beyond my personal wants and to Him instead. I focus on Him when I get cravings and have temptations come forth. This I do in eating and all other aspects of my life. See, I am taking 1 Cor. 10:31 to heart and trying to glorify God in all I eat, drink and all that I do. In that I will lose weight and as long as my focus stays on Him I will keep the weight off. Just as in our daily walk, when we are living with God as our focus it is hard to sin. We see everything in relation to God and His love and sacrifice for us. We must look away to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. But we do quite often. But why?
Why do we look away from God? It's because we are fallen (not to excuse sin) and it's our nature to desire things that rule our bodies. Our flesh is strong, but we can overcome sin if we do continually seek God for everything. Not that we just have an add-on prayer in things we do, but that He is the focus of everything and we pray for every situation that we are in - if it's waking up in the morning, driving our car, shopping or working at our jobs - we must begin end and do everything in between with God on our minds and commune with Him throughout everything. It is possible, but it is a discipline that we must work on. I don;t think it's a gift to very many people at conversion and a continual life of seeking God, praising God and acknowledging God in our life is how we get there. I am still trying to figure it out, but it comes more natural each day and it is wonderful. Just makes me wonder how that communion can be broken so easy and I stray so easily, just to placate my flesh, this temporary tent. I am such a sinner and need God more each day. Maybe that is how we attain that constant communion and focus, by always knowing that without Him empowering us we will not be able to do it. Which is great news, because we can't do it and He can.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Day 233 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Trying to figure this one out. It seems to be a non essential tag. It came off of a shirt, some company took the time and money to have it sewn in only to tell you to remove it before you wash or wear it. Why? I am guessing that it is an anti-theft device (aka mark of the Beast - just kidding, maybe). These are similar to the anti-theft devices in everything from razors to iPods to let workers in retail know that something is leaving the store that hasn't had its tag deactivated. They are more hassle to the consumer, because we've all set the alarm off at least once.
These tags are evolving though. Wal-Mart is set to use these tags as tracking devices to see how their customers travel throughout the store as they shop. Doing this will allow them to crunch the data and see how to better lay out the store so you have to walk around more products that you might buy on a whim. They already out the milk in the back of the store to make you walk all the way back there and spot the other snacks and cookies that will go with your milk.
The tags can also be used by the government to track people. Embedded in drivers license that one must carry can be chips that can track where you've been, how long you've been in a particular place and who you're with. Sounds real big brotherish to me, but it is a precursor to the mark of the Beast that I alluded to earlier. Maybe an implanted chip that will store all of your personal information and that no one can steal from you. It would be used in place of drivers licenses, credit cards, to store your medical records, etc. The push is happening as society gets more and more scared to be robbed or of having their identity stolen. It is all going to happen in the name of safety and security.
Not to sound all "Left Behind" or anything, but Christians need to be aware of what's going on. We all need to start preparing for the days ahead. I've never been a conspiracy theorist and I am just now under a pastor that is preaching through the end times faithfully to scripture, so I am still trying to figure out the scenario anyway. My eschatology is very skewed, as was all of my other theology from a lifetime upbringing in the American church and its easy believism/ man centered messages. I do know that Christian persecution is happening now and will only progress. The religion of Islam is on the rise and all kinds of false teachers and false prophets litter the airwaves and pulpits across the globe.
Stand strong Christian and know that God is still on His throne. Nothing is a surprise to Him and He will see His children through to His glory. Stay strong and keep your gaze on Christ and allow Him to direct your path. Be strong, be vigilant and keep proclaiming the truth.
(Also keep tearing out those tags from your clothes. Especially GAP, Old Navy and any of the other off shoots of that company as they embed the tracking chips in their regular tags)
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Day 232 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
I used a picture of these same flowers on Valentines day. These I gave to Chandra since they are her favorite flower. They are holding up quite nicely, a lot longer than I though they would. But, they are also starting to turn different colors and the leaves are beginning to dry out. They are showing that they are dying, as all things living will one day do.
As humans we are always dying, physically. It is a truth of nature that God set into place. Albeit, we are not living as we were intended because of the effects of sin in our lives. Our skin is continually dying as well as every other cell in our bodies. I recently heard that every 1-3 years our bodies are actually replaced by new cells, so we have new bodies that often. But, physically we are dying as our bodies become weaker with age. There is no way around it, we are all part of the ultimate statistic - 10 out of 10 will die.
The important part is what happens after you die. Physically our bodies will turn to dust, as the tulips I pictured today. But what about you? The you that makes your body a living, breathing being? You will go on after your earthly existence is over and there is no way around that. The question is where will you spend eternity? It will be in one of two places and the determining factor is if you trusted in Jesus to save you, if you put your faith in Him to cleanse you of all unrighteousness and gave your life to Him willingly. Acts 4:12 says that Christ is the only Way of salvation.
Many people are deceived in what actual salvation is, though. Many are in the belief that if you just ask Jesus into your heart, say a prayer, are baptized, attend church or do good that you are a Christian and are "saved". They continue to live their lives as they always did, without showing the signs that the New Birth will produce. They cling to a false profession and false affirmations by preachers and Sunday School teachers, but not in Christ. Being saved is much more than being saved from Hell, it is more importantly, being saved from a life that dishonors God and actually repulses Him because of your sinfulness. Only when Jesus' righteousness is imputed on your account are you saved. With that righteousness and justification comes a continual life of sanctification in which God conforms you into the image of His Son. There are no exceptions. When God changes someone, He changes them.
Have you been changed? Or are you living in deception? Have you never heard of the sacrifice of Christ? I would be happy to talk to you about Jesus and point you to Him. I will not ask you to recite a prayer, but will point you to how you may seek God for salvation.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Day 231 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Genesis 1:16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.
What a beautiful look at the moon this evening. Tonight the moon was very bright and full and was reflecting the light of the sun as it has since God spoke it into existence. Sorry that my picture is not that great. I still have a long way to go before I can take quality photographs. I did take this one with my DSLR and not my typical post from my iPhone camera, so it is a little better.
So many people probably saw the moon hanging in it's orbit tonight and thought nothing about it. They think it common that every 30 days or so a full moon lighting up the surroundings through the night. Sometimes the reflection from the moon is almost powerful enough to read a book by if you went outside. That's pretty awesome in itself if you think about what is actually happening there. The light from our sun shines across 93 million miles of space, hits the surface of the moon and is then cast back onto our planet which is 238,000 miles from the moons surface. Now that is some really intense light. If you think about it, the Earth also does the same thing to the moon during our daylight hours and its night time phases. Imagine how awesome it would be to look up from the surface of the moon and see a full Earth at night, but of course forget about the lack of sustainable atmosphere and the less than 150 degrees Celsius.
God's creations are amazing. If you just stop and meditate on the things that you come across everyday and the complexity of things such as trees, leaves, flowers, rocks, animals, butterflies, the sun, our bodies and the moon. Have you ever said that you were bored during a day? Then why not take your boredom on a journey to explore the wonderful planet God has put you on? Think of it as an adventure as you examine things along your path or even in your front yard.
Take the time to look into the trees and see the birds that land on its limbs and the squirrels that chase one another through the leaves. Scrutinize the petals on a flower and watch as the bees dart in to gather its pollen to carry back to the hive to feed the larvae. Watch the ants trample across the yard in a line, carrying bits and pieces many times the weight of their own bodies. Stop and listen to the sounds of your children as they giggle and laugh. Then dialog with God and bask in His awesomeness and sing praises to Him. Now that is truly reflecting God's greatness as the moon reflects the sun.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Day 230 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
As my diet progresses I find myself really wanting to eat all of the sugar based products that I see. Things I never ate when I was eating everything I wanted even. I rarely ate cookies from a package, but a walk down the cookie aisle at the grocery really did get my taste buds curious as to what the Chewy Chips Ahoy might taste like these days. Or even those "Snackwell" branded cookies, how are they? They're diet food after all, right?
This is where the "big why" comes in. Is my reason for losing weight and getting healthy bigger than he temporary satisfaction of eating unhealthy and fattening foods? Answer: No. My "big why" is what I need to continually remind myself of when temptations do arise. Oh, and do they ever arise. Example - Wal Mart the day after Valentines day had all of the remaining stock of V-Day candy on clearance 50% off. Of the morsels that could be purchased for the low, low pricing were Reese's Cups assortment bags of confectionery delights. Did I buy a bag? Yes. But, I did not buy them for me, but for the kids. I have not ate any of them and honestly it has not been an issue.
I can function for a while off of sheer willpower alone during most diets I subject myself to. The problem is that I have always depended on myself in these matters and never had God s part of my diet plan. This was because I was not a child of His during any of my previous diets. This time I do Know Him and I am leaning on Him for strength. He is actually part of my "big why" in that I want to be able to glorify God through this process as my strength and afterward when I am possibly given a platform to share of His graces and goodness to me.
I am sure that I will stumble some in this diet, but it will be when I take my eyes from my "big why". That is a lot like sin in our lives. When we take our eyes off of Jesus we fall into temptation and eventually sin. As long as we are living with our gaze at Christ we do not let sin even tempt us, but a slight look away and the sparkly things of the world are there to entice us. How can that be when we have the most beautiful Person ever to behold and we turn our eyes from Him? Becaue we are wretched and fallen and our flesh desires to sin, which is why we must diligently keep our gaze upon Jesus. The same can be likened to my diet, as long as I am looking at my "big why" and my long term goal I will probably not cheat and will continue to exercise regularly. But, as soon as I am enticed and I have my guard down, I forget my why, or I think this temporary slice of happiness will not hurt I am in rebellion to my "big why" and to me goals and ultimately I am being disobedient to God.
So, my weight loss program does have many spiritual connections. I must always be on guard against my flesh that is struggling against my mind and spirit. I know that if I give in to temptation I will suffer and I do not want that. I want to meet my goal and exceed my expectations and through it all lift the name of Jesus.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Day 229 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
On my new diet program I am supposed to eat "good fats". This actually sounds kind of crazy to do on a diet, but apparently these "good fats" help your body to burn the "bad fats". One source for these "good fats" are nuts with almonds being one of the best to snack on.
Today's picture is the ingredients and nutrition panel of the package of my first bag of almonds that I have ever purchased. I have eaten almonds before, but never had the desire to snack on them. They are actually pretty good and do fill you up, so I may have already found a snack source through my weight loss process. But, back to the bag. I understand that there are a lot of government regulations for food, but is it really necessary to label a bag of almonds with a allergy "advice" that a bag of almonds actually contains almonds. Are people really that inept to buy a bag of almonds and expect something else to be inside? Even when there is a clear portion of the packaging so you can verify the contents are what the package says they are.
What's next in this line of thinking? Labels on text books that says "This book contains letters that form words". You could carry it one step further, considering all of the government oversight in our country for the book notice to say, "If you are not able to read please ask your teacher for assistance". Yeah, that does sound crazy, but labeling a bag of almonds with a notice that it contains almonds is just as ridiculous. Some things are just so in your face that it doesn't need to be spelled out.
Throughout the world there are many other things like this. When you see a house you automatically know that there was a builder, the house did not just form on its own from a blob of goo. Someone had to actually plan the building of the house, get the materials needed and then assemble the items in the proper place, in the proper sequence to make a house. The same is true of a painting, you know there was a painter and the droplets of paint did not just land on a canvas after a huge explosion, someone put the paint on the canvas to make a painting. Nature is the same way.
The structure and complexity of any life form is evidenced of a maker. Take us humans as an example, a single life form among millions on this planet. How intricate is the human body? Do you think it was formed from blob of goo? Maybe the blob of goo was struck by lightening that sparked a non life form to actually come alive and split and form some kind of amphibious creature. This slug over millions of years, without reproductive organs somehow made more of itself and over millions and millions of generations became a fish. Forget the leap between the food source needed for the slug, the organs needed to process the food and waste and just take a leap of faith and believe what science tells us, it happened. Period. Just think that the slug eventually turned into a fish, the fish turned into a fish that somehow wanted to leave its natural water habitat and instead of dying because it had gills instead of lungs, it lived and spontaneously grew lungs. Then it changed what kind of species it is, grew legs, sprouted arms, became a mammal and the rest is "history", at least in the school text books.
But you must put faith in those leaps between classifications. Also, what came first, the stomach or the mouth to chew food? What about the after effects of eating? When was the intestinal portion of the body formed? In conjunction with the stomach and mouth or over another million years as the body decided it must expel the wast it was creating somehow? Then there is the blood issue. Was the heart formed first? The veins? The arteries? How could any of those survive without the other? Why would a slug have the need to evolve anyway? Why would a blob of goo need to turn into a slug? How could these life forms make others like them if they weren't capable? So, you see the dilemma and how far fetched the theory of evolution is. Not to mention the "big bang" in which everything was formed out of a single ball of mass during an explosion. When is the last time you saw structure like the human body or a tree created from something blowing up? All I have ever seen is destruction and chaos.
So, that is my case for the Creator. Romans 1:18-23 says His creation is proof to us of Him and we are without blame if we deny that. Genesis tells us the story of God creating the universe. I take it as it's written, I am a creationist and for someone to believe in the goo story takes more faith than mine. I see God's handiwork and I am awed. I do not step back and say that it all "just happened" by random chance. My faith lies in God and in His Word. I do not put stock in the theory of evolution. My faith comes from the Lord and my faith is in the Lord.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Day 228 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
This evening was the conclusion of the "Rebuild Your Temple/ Hope For Hope" meetings. Tonight Dr. Jason taught us about nutrition and toxins, what to eat and what to watch for on packages to avoid. I did learn that all of the fruits that I like, I cannot have. I can, however, have anything with "berry" in its name and just about any natural protein and the kicker - butter.
So, I can have scrambled eggs fried in butter with a side of a couple of pieces of bacon and still be dieting. But alas, biscuits and gravy with it. My entire way of eating is changing. I have already been doing a quasi-Atkins type diet, but have kept some carbs in the diet. I have not had a real game-plan, but now I have the basics and am free to run with it. We were encouraged to eat cashews, pecans, granny smith apples and whole cheeses, so there are some things that I do like. Also he recommended a salad for a meal each day, which sounds good to me and I have already been eating salads for a while anyway, just not every day. On the flip side, the veggies that are recommended sound like what I scrape off of my plate into the trash - cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
This transitional time in my lifestyle I will be leaning heavily on God for my strength. I will surely be burdened and heavy laden as I embark on this transformation. He can empower me to change and I believe He wants me to change and stop filling my temple with the bad tings of this world. This is a full time thing too. I know that if I get a taste of pizza or a Reese's cup I will be off the wagon again. I am determined to get in shape and to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Day 227 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
What is today? Valentines Day? Yes. My wife and my anniversary? Yes. What do you get when you put those two together? A Valenversary, of course.
Today marked our 8th wedding anniversary and I can honestly say I love my wife more now than I ever have. How is that possible? Because God has shown me the proper context of marriage by His design and the mark at which I am to aim in our marriage Ephesians 5:25.
It is not an attainable goal, but nonetheless it is what I strive for. Failing miserably along the journey, but looking to God for the guidance needed for the journey. Can I love my wife like Christ loves the Church, His bride? No way at all I, or any other man, can do that. Which is exactly why we need Christ all the more. Have I got it all down yet? No, and I probably never will and that is a blessing because if I did then I would not need to seek Christ in this area any longer. I want God to be the focus of our marriage and for us to show to a lost world what God designed a marriage to be. With His love to us both, that is an attainable goal.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Day 226 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
My dad used to work on the parking meters here in Paducah, when they had parking meters. When he would work on them sometimes he would find silver coins or what he though might be worth some money in the future, so he would swap out with his change and bring the assumed treasure home with him. He was also a fan of Sanka coffee or at least was when I was a child, not sure in his adult life if he drank the instant stuff or not. All I ever saw him drink was Diet Cokes in his later years, but I am sure he probably still had coffee on his morning treks to Hardee's for breakfast.
He used this Sanka jars to put what look to be silver nickels. The date on the bottom of the jar is 1974, so this is probably one from the same time frame as my memory allows me to recall. I came across it while going through some stuff at his former home. He passed away April 2005 after having a stroke while gone for breakfast one morning. That was not a very pleasant time in my life. Looking back there are so many things I would like to have said to him and a lot of things I would like to have talked to him about, especially his standing with the Lord.
I am glad that his last few years I got closer to him and got to know him better. Chandra, the boys and me moved in behind him and I got to see him almost every day. Him and my mom divorced when I was 18, he ended up moving into my grandmothers trailer that she had lived in as far back as I can remember. It is a 1965 model and is as sturdy as the day it was moved into, so I am sure she moved into it around that year or shortly after. I remember many holidays and Sundays visiting my grandmother. The smell of coffee strong enough to knock you over as you walked through the front door. Playing in the woods where my current home sits now. So, this piece of property holds many memories since I was a child, just wish I could remember more of them.
I try not to beat myself up about not talking to my dad more about God. I know someone said he was saved as a child, but his life did not match up to that sadly. I pray that he did repent after his stroke. I know he still had mental capacities, it's just that his body did not cooperate with his mind. I stayed by his side as much as I could while he was in the hospital and saw him slowly deteriorate. He passed away a few days after being moved into a nursing home. I still have hope that he did put his faith in Christ during the time in the hospital and I cling to that as much as possible. I have no assurance that he was a Christian though and that really is hard when I think about it.
The sorrow I have for not sharing was a catalyst into evangelizing for me. It opened my eyes a lot to how a lot of people feel when their family members pass away and if I could tell people the gospel and they repent and believe in Christs then that would be another family that would know that their loved one was a child of God and woke up in the presence of the Lord. That was the beginning of what grew into a passion to see the lost saved, disciples made and most of all to see God glorified. God has been gracious to me and put me within a body that loves to evangelize and a ministry that is passionate about the lost. I guess if there were a niche that I felt the most for it would be the false converts, as I was one for 30 years. I know exactly how much the deception runs in a person's mind. I know how the lies of the modern gospel seduce one into believing another gospel that is no gospel at all, but a man centered feel good message that damns many.
So, that is some of the reason I feel compassionate about evangelism. Even though God is still working on my speaking, He still is using me in ways that are definitely Him and not me. I owe everything to my God and my Savior and I praise Him every day for the grace and mercy He has given so freely and undeservedly to me.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Day 225 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Just noticing and thinking about how blessed we are here in this country. So blessed, in fact, that we seem to take it for granted. It may even actually be a curse to be so blessed.
This stack of bibles just shows how blessed our home is. Actually I would say that most Christian homes in America have at least one bible per person and probably more like 3+ per person. I know that I personally have about 5 different ones and my wife probably as many. This is not counting the big family bible and the bibles I have from when I was a kid. I also have several books that explain certain aspects of scripture and a few biographies about the lives of those who faithfully follow/ followed God through their lives. I say this all because a lot of countries the citizens are not allowed to own a bible. In fact, Christianity is illegal and in some countries punishable by death.
While the penalty for being a Christian in this country has not escalated to the sentence of death, it is becoming increasingly hostile towards Christians. I am not referring to the squishy social gospel folks or the ones that are universalists in nature, but the true Church of God, the body of Christ. It is actually sad to have to make that distinction that a lot of churches/ professing Christians aren't churches or Christians. This is shown by these professors of Christ that say we have to tolerate everything under the sun except for being discerning Christians within our own house. We are being pushed to allow a mosque at Ground Zero, but at the same time people are being arrested for preaching in their neighborhoods and in their cities. We are told that we are radicals and they put us on par with the terrorists that kill to intimidate their agenda.
As for me, I will not intimidate anyone. I will, however, tell them the truth of the gospel without mincing words. I am not mean about it, but speak the truth in love that they may see their sinful state and repent and place their faith in the atoning work of Jesus on Calvary. That is language that is not spoken in many churches in the U.S. for fear of losing some in their congregation. I recently have heard of a brother and sister that have a Sunday School class at my former "church" that have been having their eyes opened to a lot of things. God is dealing with this couple on some issues and they have ceased support of some "ministries" that only pander to the felt needs of those they reach out to. They have also been convicted to share the Word in more detail in their class and in doing so have lost some of their class. This is more than likely separating the goats from the sheep. Those that are the Shepherd's will hear His voice and know it, but it is an offense to those that do not.
The "church" I am speaking of really needs some prayers. There are some truly converted people there that are trying to do God's will, but they are coming into situations that will probably force them out sooner or later. We need to pray for these folks and the countless others like them that are embedded in the Modern Gospel/ Easy Believism churches. Pray that they will remain true and will keep preaching the Word of God and not fall to the pressures and if not that they will leave and find a church home that is a church. That they find a fellowship of believers that will be mutually edified and will glorify God together, as a church is intended. Something is seriously wrong when the Word is preached and professing Christians are offended instead of excited.
As far as our curse in this country. We are so dependent on what we have, what we earn and what we have within our reach that we depend on "stuff" more than we depend on God. See, those in real persecution in other countries must depend on God, because God is all they have. We, spoiled Americans, keep wanting more and more, simply because we can get more and more. A new study bible comes out - we get it without thinking twice about it. Not knocking study bibles, but how many bibles does one need before they start living he way they already know they should per the bible of their choosing? Does understanding of the Bible make you a Christian or bring you closer to God or does a relationship with Him do those things? Many people know many things of the bible I will never know, but they do not know the Author like I do. I do not say this to boast, but as a wake-up call to examine yourself that you are actually His Child. Do not be one of the ones that says "Lord, Lord did I not...." and have Him reject you with "Depart from me, I never knew you". What a sad day it will be when millions will profess to know Christ but will be cast into the pits of hell because they only knew the god they had created in their own mind and believed a gospel that was another gospel.
This is why we must depend on God for everything. We need to follow Christ and follow His Word. WE must make disciples and not just a few, but everyone that professes Christ is to make disciples. We must tell of His goodness and of His sacrifice for us. We must remain true to Him and hold Him as our treasure instead of the lusts of this world. Now Go! Make disciples (Matthew 28:19).
Friday, February 11, 2011
Day 224 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Had a wonderful time with JT and Joseph at the mall tonight. No, we didn't go to hang out or go shopping. We were there with the Oak Grove Prayer Request Station. This is the first time we have set up inside the mall and to be honest it has to be a God thing. Normally the mall is not the nicest to church groups. But, since this is a community service and we do not solicit anything they allowed us to set up. We have a few other dates on the schedule over the next few months as well. This is a great place for us to set up during the winter months.
We also have set up at the yearly BBQ On The River event that is held here in Paducah. Each time we were able to pray with those in need and be the ears they needed, the shoulders they can lean on and also have the privileged in praying for their need right there with them. We also have a prayer group at church that takes the requests and prays over them on a regular basis.
This community outreach is a very non-confrontational way to share the gospel with people. They actually approach you instead of passing a tract or knocking on a door (and I am not knocking either one of those things). It is just a different setting for evangelism. Our main goal is that God will be glorified in this, followed by helping out folks in need and sharing the gospel with as many people as we can. We want to see prayers answered and we want to make disciples.
If you see us out and about in the Paducah area please stop by and say "Hey". We would be honored to pray for you about anything, no matter how large or small the request may seem to you, we will be blessed to pray with you for it. God answers prayers.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Day 223 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
So, what's wrong with this picture? Other than I had to cut/ paste to see the whole 10 day forecast, that is. The low tonight says it is supposed to be 14 and if you look ahead to Wednesday the high is being forecast to be 61. Now that is a big swing in temperatures. I guess the global warming is finally about to arrive for the winter season.
Also another note. The picture in this block of text is a screen capture from my phone as well, at the same time as I made the captures to show the 10 day forecast. Notice anything about it that doesn't mesh with the other picture? Yep, you got it. It says we are already at 5 degrees and the forecast said we were going to get down to 14. So, we have already gone 9 degrees below the forecast low, but the Weather Channel can't seem to figure this conundrum out.
But, weather forecasters can and are wrong on often occasions. This is why I don't really put what they say in concrete in my mind some of the time. Especially after this week's 7" of snow when 1-2" were forecast. Then the temperature last night was supposed to be down to 8 and we made it down to -4, a record in my city.
The only thing I put my trust in is God and His Word. The bible is the only thing that is 100% accurate in it's prophecies and history. Modern science and archeology are just uncovering some of the aspects that God had His chosen writers to write. Divinely inspired as the Word of God. This should be proof enough to most that the other, yet to come, prophesies will be fulfilled as well. He is coming back and He will judge the world. He will be the bar set and unless He is your mediator you will perish. Nobody knows the day that He will make His return, but you better be ready. Repent of your sins and turn to God. Put your trust completely in Him for your salvation and be declared justified and be called a son of God. That is awesome that we can be reconciled to God, by God. We deserve hell for our sins against Him, but in His goodness He offered His Son as the atonement for our sins.
Today is the day of salvation. Do not think you are too mean or too far gone in your sin. Any single sin is a damnable thing. Whatever your sins they are forgivable. Do not wait any longer.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Day 222 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
It happened again today. Another considerable snow event here in Paducah. We received about 3-4 inches, give or take. The temperatures were/ are really low, so everything that hit the roads stayed there today. They called school off before the bus came this time, unlike Monday when 20+ buses ended up in ditches. They have also already called off school for tomorrow. I've been wondering why they don't call off work too.
I have heard a lot of complaining about the snow. Personally, I like snow, don't mind driving in it, don't mind walking through it (as long as I have boots on) and I really do like the way it looks. Some have said that "Mother Nature" was not their friend any longer because of the snow. Some gripe about it in general.
I say that God is in control of the weather, so I am not going to complain about His handiwork. I may be inconvenienced from time to time by a wind storm or heavy downpour of rain, but I know that He has His reasons for those types of conditions. Who am I to call His judgments into question about what the temperature is going to be or how many inches of snow we are going to have. Weather is just a fact of nature. We must have rainy days and we must have sunny days, so just get over your self centeredness and accept the day God has made and allowed you to partake in.
Every day of life is a gift from God in which He pours His blessing on you by allowing you to wake up. Thank Him every morning for another day and ask Him to reveal to you how you may glorify Him each day. Believe me, the opportunities are there, we are just too busy or too me-centric to see them. We have many chances every day to share the gospel with people, be it family, friends, co-workers or the person waiting on you at Wal-Mart. We all miss these chances to tell of God's goodness because we can't see past our nose and miss everything that is going on around us.
Here's a challenge. Every morning for the next month, when you wake up, pray to God to show you where you can further the kingdom. Ask where you can be His hands or feet and keep your eyes open. Praise Him for allowing you to wake up. Praise Him for the weather situation whatever the conditions and think about why we need different seasons and different weather conditions. Ask to be able to see those in your path that God wants you to interact with and share His message of salvation. Then just go. Go into the world that He allows you access to and make disciples.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Day 221 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
I started wearing glasses about 10 years or so ago. My sight is fairly good up close, but at distances it gets progressively worse the further things are away. I noticed this first while driving and I was beginning to not be able to make out signs on the highway until I got close to them. The optometrist told me that I actually had good eyesight, at the time, and that it was just a nuisance issue. Well, my nuisance issue has gotten worse over the years, with a new prescription each time I go to the optometrist. I may even be to the bi-focal range, since I have great up close vision and bad distance vision. I also find myself looking under or over my glasses when looking at items close to me. Most of the time at work I remove them all-together when doing my office duties.
Vision is a great thing. I don't know too many people that would give theirs up for any amount of money. Jesus refers, in the Sermon on the Mount, about plucking your eye out if it causes you to sin. Now that is going to an extreme, but I don't think it was meant to be taken literally, but to show the seriousness of sin and how it must be combated. We must take a fierce stance against our sins and do whatever it takes to get it out of our lives. If it is lust, then stop it! Stop doing the things that put you in the situation to lust. You might have to get so radical as to cancel your internet service. GASP! "But I can't do that", is what most people would say. But, how serious are you, then, about purging the lust from your life? Not serious enough to pluck the web from your eyesight?
Examine your own life. See where you have sin issues and do what it takes to remove them from your life. Do not wait for God to take them away from you. It is your responsibility to live a holy life and to not sin. Part of that is stopping the things that tempt you. Does the TV programs you watch make your jaw drop to your chest with its content? Does it bother you? If not, then you have other issues.
Just stop it! Plain and simple. Black and white. Stop sinning. Glorify God. Share the gospel. Do not put a stumbling block in front of anyone else. Be holy. Period.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Day 220 in my "Yea In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Well, it finally snowed a substantial amount here in Paducah. Thing is, this time they weren't forecasting this much. We were told that it would be a inch or two covering the grass and higher areas, but nothing would stick to the roads. HA!
I woke up at 5:30, as usual, to nothing but a drizzle of rain. By the time I left at 6:45 the grass was, indeed, covered with snow and the driveway had some patches of snow sticking. It was a very thick, heavy, wet snow and it was coming down fairly hard. The streets were getting covered quickly, but I thought, "The weather guys know what they are talking about". They didn't and we ended up with almost 7 inches of snow, slush covered roads and school buses and snow plows in ditches. My wife's office was closed down for the day and 75% of the people at my job left at first break.
The good thing about people leaving was that I got to work on the line. When I get to work on the line it takes me from my normal work load that can be mentally taxing at times to a physical, yet monotonous work environment that I can set to cruise control and listen to some great Christian music. I commune with the Lord the majority of the time, praying, talking, praising and just spending time with Him. So, I am thankful when days like today happen. Even though I don't really understand why people would leave without pay after they were already there. But, oh well, I had a good day.
They are calling for snow again Wednesday, so it will be a wait and see for what the Lord has planned. I should have learned by now that they can predict whatever they want, but when God wants to do something different they must conform and not Him.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Day 219 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Today was Super Bowl Sunday. It was also the first Sunday of the month, which we, at Oak Grove have our monthly fellowship meal, partake of the Lord's Supper and do not have an evening service because we are there from 9:00 until about 1:30-2:00ish sometimes. This allows for fellowships at members homes from time to time. Super Bowl Sunday just so happens to be one of those times.
A dear brother and sister opened their home for everyone to come over. The picture only shows one of the rooms with a TV in it with the game on. Honestly though, I don't think many were actually watching the game. It was more a time of fellowship than sitting around yelling for a football game. Just as I would prefer it to be, just another reason to get together and tell of the goodness of the Lord.
There were several families there, probably the most of any fellowship I've been to at someones house. I had the opportunity to talk to a new attender to Oak Grove too. I actually kind of worked with him over 20 years ago, when we both worked in restaurants, for the same owner, but different establishments. It was good to start to get reacquainted and start to build a friendship and get to know him and his family better, especially since we were both converted after our previous work time together back in the day.
God is so gracious to lay our paths out to come in contact with those we once knew. To reconnect and share in the goodness of God and tell of how He brought us from where we were to where we are now, to the common goal of where we are headed. It is great to forge new relationships. May the Lord continue to add to His body and may we all continue in His plan of glorifying Him above all of the earthly reasons we get together.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Day 218 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Chandra came across this local paper today while looking through some things she had put back when Matthew was a baby. This came out in 1993, so that was almost 18 years ago. Matt would have been 2 1/2 at the time and Chandra was sporting a Little Caesars uniform. This was still when we were together when Matt was young and Little Caesars was a staple for us then. Maybe that's why we have such an affinity for pizza now.
It's cool to look back through things from the past, it seems to stir emotions from days gone by and bring memories back that haven't been thought about in a long time. It was cool to look through and see a pair of shoes that Matt wore when he was a toddler and see some Star Trek memorabilia from yesteryear. There was also some things from Chandra's baby years stashed away in the storage container.
I am very thankful to the Lord for seeing us through the years. We had a relationship young in life and had a child, split up and got back together and got married. We were both unconverted through our lives, even though I was banking on a prayer at 8 years old for my salvation and she on being a Catholic. God saw us through and allowed us to be married. We were both converted after we were married and God has seen us through every step. I am so thankful for my wife and love her more and more each day. God's gift to me, in Chandra, is more than I could ever deserve. We may have our squabbles here and there, but that is to be expected. I love my wife and can not fathom a day without her. I am happy to be sharing everything with her.
We will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary in a little of a week. It seems like a much shorter time as our years fly by. We are expecting our first grandchild in June, much earlier than we anticipated, but we are both very excited. I amazingly look to God as the days pass at the grace and mercy He shows us. If not for His love for me I would never be able to love my wife the way I should. I fail miserably a lot and I constantly look to the cross for my strength. As Christ loves His church I strive to love my wife (Ephesians 5:25). An impossible feat, but a worthy goal.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Day 217 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series
Mark 12:17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.
Tax time. The time of year when a lot of people pull their hair out and others look forward to because they receive a huge tax return or EIC check. Me, I really just would get it over with and come out even. Well, a little back is always nice and paying in is always not. But we are to do what the Lord said and "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's", so the income tax is commanded if it is the law of the land.
But money is one of those areas that a Christian should not really be worried about. Not that we shouldn't plan on bills and such and maintain employment, but that we shouldn't be so wrapped up in finances that it becomes a focus. It's a necessity, but always be aware of where the blessing of money flows. And it's not because you speak it into existence either.
In 1 Timothy 6:10 we are told that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. What? All kinds? Yes, all kinds of evil, but we are not told that money itself is evil, but the love of money. Just as any other love that is more than you have for God. Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13 says that we cannot serve God and mammon (money) because we cannot serve two masters. This also is true for anything other than God that is your master, that consumes you and what runs your life. This can be some really good things too, like your kids or grandkids or a spouse, a job or the internet, Facebook or alcohol. When anything else is what drives you, then you are serving it. God does not allow that and if you truly are His child then He will take that idol away. So be wary of "things" in your life that take away from your relationship with God.
But then we go back to Mark 12:17 and see why it shouldn't bother us to pay our taxes, because it is Caesars/ the governments inscribed currency. We are to be laying our treasures up in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20) with God focused activities. What are those you might ask. Reading your bible, of course, is a given. Also there is serving others in the name of Christ while telling them of the gospel. Then there is fellow-shipping with your church family. Prayer is also a given and can be done throughout the day, every day, without ceasing. Worship God and acknowledge Him in all of your daily activities. Seek Him in every situation, lean on Him when you feel down, pick others up with words of encouragement of how God has seen you through difficult times. Just have a focus on God and everything else will fall into place.
Also, don;t forget we are commanded to pay our taxes as well. So get those forms filled out or your E-Filing completed on time. Remember that the IRS offices are available to help you prepare your returns. Maybe allowing them to do them for you would open a door for you to share the gospel with the agent.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Day 216 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series
Blasphemy takes many forms these days. A lot of people think it is just the more known terms that conjure up ones definition of blasphemy, but there are many that people do not think twice about.
I wrote a post back in June of 2008 that dealt with some of the more common occurrences of blasphemy. One of the terms I mentioned was "OMG". This is a really common thing to say, put in your status on Facebook or text to a friend. But, it is blasphemy through and through. I do hear a lot of professing Christians say, "Oh, I mean it as oh my GOSH". Really? Does everyone that reads your status take it that way? Just because you have talked yourself into being okay with it doesn't mean that it is okay to say it (or type it). Why not just say something like, uh, "WOW"?
One of the largest forms of blasphemy, at least in the United Sates, is someone that calls their-self a Christian and they aren't. This is very serious and really grates on my nerves to hear someone say they are a follower of Christ, but yet are living in sin. Choose the sin to insert here, but any blatant sin that they are unrepentant over. A lot come to my mind and I am sure a lot come to yours as well. How can someone that says Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9), but yet still live in complete control of their life be a child of God?
I am in the middle of reading John MacArthur's newest book, "Slave" and am getting a much better understanding what a Christian is in the sense of the wording in scripture of our relationship to God. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that professes to be Christ's follower, whether you think you have it all correct or not. I thought I knew what doulos meant, but MacArthur really opens it up so that the reader knows the true relationship we have as "bondservants" of Christ, as many translations put it. Basically, anytime you see the term "bondservant" you should replace it with slave.
A little off track, but I wanted to show what a true follower of Christ was/ is and how if so a slave to Christ would not be able to blaspheme His Name while living in sin. I really think that any true child of the Living God could not blaspheme God. It's not possible. Ever. See, someone that has truly been born of the Spirit is changed and knows the sacrifice of Christ. They cannot hold His Name in contempt because of all that has been given to them. How could a person dead in sin be resurrected to life in God and then live like they did before their "conversion"? They can't, because the Jesus they "accepted" was false. They were told about a different god that does not demand holiness and is okay with them staying in their sin. Heresy it is.
If you profess Christ I implore you to examine yourself to see that you are in the faith, examine yourself 2 Cor 13:5. Look at what motivates your heart to either rejoice in the Lord or rejoice in yourself. Look at where your time is spent and see if you have idols in your life. If so, repent and turn to Christ in faith. Toss every idol out of your life and flee them all and run to Him.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Day 215 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series
I took the day off today to go to Marion Illinois to find out what my first grandchild's sex is. Well, drum-roll please......... per the title of this blog post it's a boy. Really, as long as the baby is healthy then I was good either way. The heartbeat is strong and there are no complications, which is great the great news.
Look at Jeremiah 1:5 which God tells Jeremiah that He knew him before He formed him in the womb. Wow! that's some good theology right there. God, knew each of us before we were conceived. Then check out Genesis 2:7 that says that God breathes the breath of life into each us. We are the workmanship of God, formed in His creation and to see a precious young life using modern technology still tucked away in the mothers womb is almost breathtaking. The miracle of life is so precious and this little life I am actually a little more partial to, seeing how he is my grandson.
I guess while getting older and our children get older we can expect to become grandparents. I like how Proverbs 17:6 puts it "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged.." and that is very evident in society. Not to take anything away from parents, but grandparents seem to have a little extra affinity towards grandchildren.
I know this child is loved by many people and most importantly loved by the Father. He desires this child to come to know Him and prayerfully I will be able to help point the way to Him. This small life will be dependent on others to feed him, wash him, change his diapers, to keep him safe and every other aspect of life. He will be in total dependence of others. This is a great picture of how we should be towards God. Actually conversion is likened to birth as being born again, so a baby shows just how dependent on God His children are. It's not an option, it is a necessity. Does a newborn have the option of independence and the ability to do everything on their own? No! Not in the least. Which is why Jesus put it that way, "ye must be born again" (John 3:7). That single statement really brings salvation down to it's core - total dependence on God to supply everything, period.
I ask the readers of this post to please pray for this child. Also please pray for my son Matthew, the mother Emily and Emily's parents Cindy and Rick. We are all now joined through the life of this baby. I am sure as the days, months, weeks and years go by I will be adding more information and oogling over this child. Please stay posted for updates and for more pictures.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Day 214 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" series
Today marked the 15th year of life for Forrest. He chose to have dinner at Logan's and it was tasty. Be partook of the "2 for" meals they offer, which is a really good deal. Well, a good deal except they charge so much for your drinks now, like a lot of other places. I worked in restaurants for a lot of years and know that the largest profit is made from drinks. This is even using paper cups, which is the bulk of the price. Logan's uses reusable, plastic cups so their costs are even less.
Seems like greed is the American way now, for businesses and also for a lot of people. Look at restaurants and the high prices. It costs us at least $30 to dine out these days, which can add up really quickly. Also, look at food and drink prices in the grocery stores. I am a Diet Coke drinker, so I have seen the increase in pricing for them. I use to buy 12 packs on sale for $2.00. Now, I am lucky to find them on sale for $3.00. While a dollar doesn't sound like much, it is a 50% increase which translates into a lot more profit for someone.
It seems this all started about 2 years ago (guessing) when gas prices skyrocketed. Prices on other goods increased and about the same time is when they started talking about a recession and more people being added to the unemployed ranks. Then the gas falls, but everything else stays the same price. The government starts printing and spending more money and decreases the value of the dollar. Obama ushers in the "change" he talked about and started spending even more TRILLIONS of dollars. Inflation is killing people and Obama wants to continue to spend, spend, spend.
I guess what it boils down to in my life is that I need to be a better steward of the money that God has entrusted to my family. I do not manage it very well and we waste quite a bit on dining out, mostly. We do try to cut back on some things, but probably not enough. Maybe I can get a solid spending budget in order and actually stick to it. I know that it will be yet another way to seek the council of God to guide me and my family to a more God honoring way of life.