Confessions Of A Slacker

There is a formula that many people like to use when conducting themselves in prayer to the God of the universe so as to assist staying mindful of important things to include. The method is by using the acronym A.C.T.S. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In truth, it really does help! Beginning with Adoration, we are reminded to worship, bless, acknowledge and praise Yahweh God as the creator of all things, the One who holds the universe together, and for His immeasurable love that He has for His creation. Next we Confess our shortcomings and violations of His decrees by acknowledging them in repentance and asking His forgiveness. We then give Him Thanksgiving for the wonderful blessings, mercies, and gifts that He bestows on us every day, recognizing where our sustenance is from. And afterward, we add in important requests and items of concern before His throne of grace, asking for His intervention to affect our lives and those around us. 

Many who call themselves Christian have no problems with praising God for His blessings, thanking Him for the things we receive, and in giving Him a spiritual “high-five” acknowledgement for providing an answer to prayer. Essentially the Thanksgiving and Supplication portions of the acronym flow nice and easy for most people who claim belief in God. Where we tend to be a bit short-sighted is in our Adoration and Confession. Adoration is something I have spoken about many times before, how so many are somewhat shallow with holding a deep and reverential awe to the One who breathes everything into existence and sustains all things by His hand. We are, likewise, quite lax in our submission to God’s laws in the manner that He calls for within the Scriptures. The Bible asks “does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samual 15:22) And we also know that to God, “sacrifice and offering You have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.” (Psalm 40:6) Essentially saying that what God is looking to receive from us, above and beyond the sacrifices and offerings, is our love, devotion, trust, commitment, and submission to Himself in all things. Like the birds of the air and lilies in the field (Matthew 6:26-30) that trust God for all things, so, too, He will be for us a Father who provides all we need, and thus can have complete faith and devotion to Him.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16). Well, I need prayer! Because my confession to you is my lack of study of the Word of God, the Holy Bible! Now, before I go on, I can say with complete confidence that I have countless excuses as to why I lack daily Bible reading and study, and many of them (I’m sure you would agree with me) are valid and true! And while there is no set schedule written in the Word of God that we are commanded to customarily commit to the study of the Bible daily, there are numerous verses that declare the importance of our duties to study God’s very words. Ezra, as an example, “had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10) Yes, we should want to study the Scriptures, not because of commands, but because of our inward desire to know the Author and perfecter of our faith! And yet, many of us fall short of that very desire. I can also submit that reading memes or social media posts with Scripture verses in them does not constitute a Bible study…contrary to popular belief! Snippets of Scripture are just that…small pieces of the very word of God. You wouldn’t take a couple pieces out of a jigsaw puzzle box and feel satisfied that you have the whole picture, would you? Nor can you look at a handful of sand and truly feel that you have now experienced what it is like to be at a beach. And such is reading the occasional verse or two out of the Bible. That method does not give you complete understanding of God and His amazing love and grace as well. 

The reason that so many people wander life thinking that they know Yahweh God is that they have entrusted their religion to a handful of verses and experiences and then they fill in the many blanks with their own perceptions and ideologies as to what they think the God of the Bible is really like. Essentially, the majority of people have a very small percentage of Biblical knowledge and a large percentage of their own added humanistic conception. This is not only heretical, but dangerous to the soul. Making up what we think God should be like is in essence creating your own spiritual religion based on some core gleanings from what little you may truly know about the Bible’s contents or even what little you may have heard from some church attendance or what others have shared. This is the very reason so many churches have careened off the Bible highway and crashed…because they decided to run with their own understandings and not the Bible’s actual written truths. Proverbs warns of this dangerous practice when it says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Yet, as I mentioned, there are excuses and reasons that cause me to stand (sit) before you and confess my sins. First and foremost has always been my time availability. I am so good with mismanaging time. I can get up early and quite easily get distracted away from Bible reading and devotions with just a glance at my phone or tablet. News, weather, social media, texts, and  emails quietly draw my mind away from matters of the spirit. During the all-important coffee time, my brain runs through the daily “to do” list, and before I know it, it’s time to hit the shower, dress, gather my lunch, and race out the door for work. Of course there’s the drive time (I have a fairly long commute) that I could spend with God, but of course as soon as I try to mumble a prayer or listen to Scriptures or preaching via radio, I am distracted by the nuances of traffic and and the many sketchy drivers around me. And then…work. Again, too many distractions to commit time and thought. After work, the drive home, is my time to wind down and compose myself, all the while dodging the inconsiderate drivers who are also on their quest home. Once home, more distractions with domestic duties, dinner, cleaning, and before you know it…time for bed. See? Many excuses and reasons. 

In essence, it is quite easy to substitute our time with God and His Word and replace it with time with the world. And then we wonder why our spiritual walk is struggling and lacking. We wonder “where is God” in our daily battles. We find ourselves wondering why we are so unsure of our footing in the pilgrimage we are supposed to be on. We wonder how the enemy is able to weaken us so much daily. The answer might be obvious, but obvious doesn’t solve the problem.

There are so many people that I see on social media and the like who display their Bibles with full-blown color coded, every-verse-lined and marked, as well as noted and referenced on every page! And what shames me more is that for many, these might be their second, third, or even more, copy of Scriptures that they have studied so diligently that they end up wearing out the pages and ink! All praise to God for their amazing and inspirational devotion to the study of Scripture! More confession: none of the several Bibles I own have anything near that wear and tear within the covers. In fact, many have multiple pages that have never had my hand upon them to be read. This is testimony to “something is wrong with this picture”! 

We know from Scriptures that the god of this world is the devil, and that he and his minions will do everything in their power to snatch people from God. Even if the person is a saved Christian, the enemies of God will try to destroy their peace and joy and damage their relationship with Jesus. This place is not our eternal home. Jesus said that “if you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:19) We are not going to have an easy path on this journey through here because we are not only attacked internally by our own nature, but because we are also under siege by the external powers of darkness as well. There is a war going on around us and we are involved whether we like it or not! And subsequently, this war is working to keep us from God and His Word.

So I mentioned that the answer to this dilemma is obvious, but recognizing the problem doesn’t solve the problem. The obvious answer is simply dedicating more time to the Word of God and to prayer. But, not so fast! As I also mentioned, there is this war of time that we are being pulled into daily. From the moment we wake up to the end of the day when we lay down for sleep, we are bombarded by attention grabbers. And whether the demand is from work, kids, appointments, family, friends, or other obligations, we are being tempted away from our personal time with God. But despite what we may think, we really do have personal time available no matter what our circumstances, and that we can devote time to God and His Word. The distractions mentioned above can, and should be, simple enough to avoid as an excuse. This is where spiritual discipline comes in to play.

When we look at our Savior Jesus, He gives us examples of disciplines that show how we are to grow and become strong in faith. Foremost is that the study, memorization, and meditation of the Scriptures is paramount to growth and our walk every day. Without the Word of God in our hearts and minds, we can easily succumb to the demonic influences that are all around us. Jesus used the Scriptures to turn away the temptations of Satan, even when He was at His weakest physically (Luke 4; Matthew 4). Paul reminds us that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) The Bible is our sword of the Spirit and our only offensive weapon against the fallen evil we come up against. 

Another key part that Jesus shows us is the power of prayer. Jesus took time away from His ministry regularly and purposefully to “recharge” and focus personally on the one whom He is to glorify. He would break away from the crowds, and even His disciples, just to spend important time with His Father in Heaven. This was written for us to see that no matter what life is throwing at us, we also need this intimate time with God. We pray to communicate with God through Jesus, who is our mediator with the Father and to cast all our worries and anxieties on Him as we also listen to Him and commit all our ways to Him in everything we do. Christ instructs us to “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) These were not just suggestions, but important instructions because of our weak nature. 

How much does this lack of prayer and study affect me? Quite honestly; a lot! The devil has a purpose to draw us away from God, to strip us of the power of His Word, and to disrupt our intimate communications with Yahweh God. We cannot survive any battles in life if we do not have proper protections, proper weapons, and proper knowledge. To survive the onslaught of the enemy, we must maintain our battle gear, stay in communications with our Leader, and know the tactics of the enemy. Essentially, we read and study the Bible to understand who God is, who we are, what God requires of us, how God saved us through Christ Jesus, and to how to stay connected to God through prayer and the study of His Word…all by the work of the Holy Spirit to help and guide us through. We learn to recognize the enemies tactics and stay equipped with the armor of God and the Sword of the Spirit, the Holy Bible, so as to withstand the attacks. 

Having our attention diverted away from our walk with the Savior simply means that our focus is on other things, such as self and the world. It’s then that sin can so easily creep in and weaken us. Being distracted is like letting our guard down…and the moment we do, that is when the devil pounces. So these excuses we use to skip time with God through His Word are actually tactics of the enemy to break down our defenses and cause us to forget God. In Deuteronomy 4 we are instructed to “give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life.” In order to stand firm on the Truth every day we have to purposefully task ourselves to prayer and reading, to commit our ways to the Lord…long before we pick up a phone, log in to a computer, read a paper, watch news and weather, or even enjoy that first cup of coffee. It is when we put God first, then “we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6) It is when we acknowledge that our life is under Him, through Him, and for Him, that we now set our priorities right and are properly equipped to face any and all of the challenges each day!

Amen

Is It Wrong To Be Wronged?

“I have been wronged!”

So many of us have said those words at some point in our lives. Perhaps it is happening right now to you? Maybe a situation came up that placed us in a position where we have been accused of something we didn’t do. Or perhaps there is an unfair claim against us that we cannot fight against. You’ve all heard the saying “you can’t fight city hall.”  When those forces beyond our reach have come up against us, it leaves us feeling helpless, without recourse, without hope of exoneration. 

In light of the last couple of years, so many of us have gone through very unique and tremendous battles as the world has struggled against an invisible enemy. The impact that each person has felt might vary, but the end result has been the same; uncertainty at every turn. Hopelessness has become prevalent. We have seen people turn on people, institutions falter, governments overreach their powers, families have been torn apart, and immeasurable losses have been felt. So many have had to face choices that were put before them that we never thought we would have to make.

Some have given up. Some have blamed God. Some have found God.

When we examine this current world of chaos in light of God’s Word, the Bible, we certainly see similar situations that folks of the Bible went through, almost paralleling the issues today. Some know the plight of being in want. Some see the struggles of class or race. Some undergo neglect from trusted family or friends. Some see abandonment from civic leaders. Some experience the hypocrisy of religious leaders. And some feel the pangs of standing alone, facing insurmountable odds of a world against them. All these things happened to so many of the people mentioned in the Bible! And we, like them, experience similar struggles even in our modern day. Sure, the times and cultures may have changed, but the core matter is the same; we feel wronged!

One thing that we do have to our advantage today that many didn’t in Bible times was the whole of written Scripture. When you examine the earliest times from Genesis onward, many of the saints of yesteryear had only the verbal Words of God. Many of the Bible’s heroes of faith didn’t have the written Psalms to comfort them in their times of distress. They didn’t have a chapter and verse account at their finger tips of the struggles that men like Noah, Abraham, David, Job, and the prophets went through to be an inspiration in their times of trial. The people of the Bible got through their situations relying solely on God and His promises through sheer faith. They kept their focus in those dark moments, holding onto the little they knew of God at that time. 

We all know the story of Joseph and his brothers selling him into slavery. Joseph had no idea what was to come, but he trusted God even when depression and uncertainty crept in. And he didn’t have a nice devotional of Scripture verses to turn to like we do today. Or how about when Job sat in sack cloth, lamenting the loss of his family? He continued to trust God before, during and after the testing. He didn’t have a pastor giving him a pep talk of how God was going to bless him if he did certain things. Then there is David who ran for his life from people trying to kill him for being anointed king by God. He also kept his trust in God and His promises. In his darkest storms, all he could do was journal his feelings of fear, loss, sadness, and worry. And though he didn’t know what the outcome would be, he did know that God was in control.

You can’t trust in feelings, but you can trust in the truth of the knowledge of God!

There was a man named Jephthah who was the son of Gilead. Jephthah was ostracized by his brothers, and essentially his entire tribe, because he was the result of his father being with a prostitute. He was sent away because his brothers didn’t want him getting any inheritance from their father. And even though he was a mighty warrior by their standards, he was unjustly cast out from his people because of someone else’s sin. This man, by today’s standards, had every right to whine and complain “unfair”! Had he experienced this injustice in our modern times, he would have been encouraged to file a lawsuit for defamation and damages. His initial years being cast out from family and friends must have been filled with such sadness, anger, confusion, hurt, and so much more! 

But Jephthah went out, started a family, and lived life without a murmur. How many times have we either shut down, fought back, or even sought revenge when life slapped us in the face?Jephthah suffered another insult from his own tribe when the elders later came and asked him to be their leader because the tribesmen were being threatened by the Ammonites next door. That’s quite the nerve they had to ask this guy to come back to the fold and lead the people into battle, especially when they were the very ones who kicked him out! As we look at this scenario, let’s face it…you and I might have had quite a different response than the one Jephthah gave! 

In our times of being wronged, we might often lash out in anger and frustration. Though the Words of God in Romans 12 might ring in our ears saying; “repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all”, we may still feel that urge to right the wrongs ourselves. We might wish to make the instigators pay for their misdeeds to us as we push back at the very truth of God’s promise that “vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” We forget for a moment that “their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of calamity is at hand, and the things to come hastens upon them” as God says in Deuteronomy 32. We feel the unrighteousness against us, but we forget the Righteousness of God!

There are two ways to look at things that we count unfair against us. The first would be the matter that we have been wronged by others on a personal, “human”, level. Examples could be; not getting that promotion we should have received or being blamed for something we didn’t do, or maybe being hurt by someone’s words. And there are so many other situations that we can mention showing how we have defined “being wronged” by others. The second of unfair scenarios we might suffer is in experiencing wrongs against us because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Things like being excluded from family and friends because they view our faith as snobbery, or being scoffed at for believing in an unseen “God” and told that we are following “fairytales”, or we might get pushback from people when we are defending our faith and holding on to the honor of God. But the question that arises is this: is the wrong we are feeling a matter of personal pride or is it a matter of violation of righteousness?

“The present age is so flippant that if a man loves the Savior he is a fanatic, and if he hates the powers of evil he is a bigot.” – Charles Spurgeon

The most important way to address anything that we count as a wrong is to start with the Word of God. How does God look at things we count as “wrongs”? Because what we may count as a wrong, might be something that is being used by God for our growth and our edification. We may see the situation as a violation against us, but God is seeing it as trial by fire. We may think this is a negative thing we are suffering, but God is using it for a positive outcome in our sanctification. Believe me when I say that God does know all about wrongs. After all…we all have wronged Him by our sin nature!

For a simple understanding of that statement, we need only look back at the Creation and onward in Genesis. God made all things good, including man and woman, and it was pleasing to Him. But it only took a matter of time before the humans “wronged” God by violating His righteous decrees. And the wrongs kept growing and amplifying against God. It got so bad that by chapter 6 of Genesis, God was fed up with the sins (wrongs) of man against the Holiness of God! Not only did God shorten man’s days on earth (age), but he wiped out every living thing, save for 6 people and two of each creature created! And it wasn’t long after that great flood that man (chapter 11!), once again, increased in their wrongs against God. Man became so brazen that they thought that they could reach up to God in Babel, become like God all over again. And this continual wronging against God still plagues the planet today. Mankind is so narcissistic that they invent ways in their thinking to become gods through their actions and ways. Whether sciences and inventions or religions and cults; man is continually striving to either push God aside or attempt to thwart His will and ways. Looking at this in our human viewpoint, God is being wronged by the very things He created!

Yet, despite this continual display of wrongs by His creation, God still loves us! Despite the hard-headedness of man, God still reached out to us through His Son Jesus! Despite the flagrant failings by those whom He has called into faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, God still forgives! You see…despite ourselves, we can still have hope! 

We might not see clear the future promises of God’s plans for our lives, but like the saints of yesteryear, we need to keep faith in His promises, despite the circumstances we may find ourselves facing. We can always rest in the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote to the believers in Philippi “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” We can trust that God will, when others won’t. When we feel hurt or wronged by others, we are leaning on our feelings. Jesus exclaimed that “in the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Yes, these times and trials do hurt. There is no doubt about that. But this is where we can feed our faith in the Word of God! We have the Scriptures to guide us, comfort us, strengthen us, and cast the light we need to bring us through the storms we face!

God’s ways are right. And if we are in Christ Jesus, our Savior, we share in His righteousness. No matter what the world does, we can stand on this truth. No matter how much we are wronged, we can take comfort knowing that God has already dealt with these things. God reminds us in Hebrews 4: Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When we pass through the waters, suffer at the hands of the world, feel the pains of being wronged, we can trust and know that our Lord is fully aware of our situation. In Psalm 34:15 He tells us that the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears toward their cry. It is so easy to get swallowed up by the results of people’s actions against us. When we get hurt or scared, we feel like we are separated from our comforts. We wonder if we are standing alone, without support, just like Jephthah must have felt when he was forced away from his own people. Even if should we receive recompense after our being wronged, there could still be repercussions that we may deem “unfair”. In the case of Jephthah, he made a promise to the Lord that if God gave the battle victory to the Gileadites that Jephthah would offer up a special sacrifice. And God did give them the victory. If you stopped right there, you would think he was exonerated and all’s well that ends well. But the promise from Jephthah was a sacrifice of whatever or whomever came out first to meet him when he got home from the battle. Many would think the dog or something of that sort, but, sadly, it was his only child…his daughter. 

Yes, we might get some retribution for our being wronged, but that doesn’t mean the end of the struggles. Our expectation of what the storybook endings should be are not necessarily in God’s plans. Yet, despite the sad ending to that part of the story, Jephthah remained faithful to the Lord and his calling. And we need to remember that no matter the outcome of our trials and tribulations, we are also to remain faithful and trusting in God’s providence! Jephthah’s faith, despite the wrongs against him, despite the losses he suffered through, is a powerful testimony to us today. He is even mentioned in the great Saints Hall of Faith that is listed in Hebrews chapter 11!

And then we have Jesus the Messiah. Before He was here, He was with God and is God. And through the great love of God for us, Jesus was sent to earth as mortal man, yet fully God. He who knew no sin was exposed to the very sin that decimates this place and is an abomination to God. Though He came in peace, he was at war with His own creation. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, loved with an unconditional love…even those who despised Him, and set the example of what God wants for us and from us. And after all that, He was wrongfully accused, beaten, scoffed, and eventually murdered in a most horrific manner: the cross. Though our human thinking would point out the unfairness of this treatment of Jesus, yet in God’s plan it was all necessary to save us from the sin that condemns us all to eternal damnation. Without the wrongs done by our standards, the right of God’s standards would never have been met.

Among many though, there is a desire for righteousness to prevail in the world. The great Puritan preacher Jeremiah Burroughs once wrote that “the people of God are grieved to see unrighteous dealings, because the honor of God is eclipsed. Unrighteousness is unsuitable to their spirits, since the Lord has put righteousness in their hearts.” It is a human desire for fairness and for right to reign supreme over the lands. Yet with the prevalence of sin in this fallen world, we know that there will always be wrongs, there will always be unfairness, there will always be evil…until the end of times. Burroughs continues with a prayer of many saints today by asking ‘why, Lord, does the kingdom of Satan prevail in the world? O Lord, when shall the righteous scepter of Jesus Christ have sway among the children of men?’ What a heartfelt plea to the God of the universe! To have His right prevail and His will be done! 

We may not be able to stop the evil that men do to others, or ourselves, but we know that in due time they will have to give an account to the Lord. We may feel wronged at the moment by the actions of others, but we must remember that we do walk within a fallen world, and that God is, in His providence, in complete control! This is where faith and trust comes in. Yes, we have a righteous heart that hungers for righteousness…whether it be for ourselves or others…but knowing that God understands, cares, loves, and is there for us in those times should give us comfort beyond imagination! Keep all these things in perspective. It is a balm for the soul!

We are to stand firm in our faith, despite the storms of this world. Not to give up hope! As it says in Hebrews chapter 3: Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”  (Emphasis mine)

We can easily grow faint and wearied by the bombardment of the world’s evil. When we see those who wrong others and don’t seem to have to account for their actions, we wonder where is the justice, where is God? We have that desire for righteousness to prevail, but don’t necessarily see it. Don’t let that harden your hearts! Take comfort knowing that in this time of testing that our Lord and Savior is there beside us! And His wrath to come will set all things right, all things under His judgment, all things for His glory! We just need to persevere. 

I’ll close with a great exhortation from Hebrews chapter 10 that reminds us to stand firm:

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Amen

It’s All About Me Me Me

This is a minor departure from things I preach to myself about. Though this can be a preaching topic, it’s more of something that we all complain about from time to time. We observe this, yet can also find ourselves guilty of the very issue.

As we make our day-to-day travels, whether to the local store or to work, we are out and about sharing the highways and byways with our fellow humans. Because two solid objects cannot share the same place at the same time, we attempt to skillfully whisk by each other…sometimes at a “personal space” distance, sometimes too close for comfort. Either way, we try to respect the other person’s space.

But, as mankind has evolved over the centuries, we have become smarter, wiser, stronger, and more advanced exponentially. I believe this has created a greater egocentric mentality. Though not unique in human history, man seems to have grown even more ‘wise in his own eyes’ and became a chronic narcissistic in personality, even though since the beginning of time, self-exultation has been the norm.

Because of this self-adulation, people put themselves first over those around them. As a king would wave a hand to move commoners away, many have become so self-absorbed that putting others first is almost a chore, if done at all.selfish-leader-power-motive-900x400From as early as the accounts in Genesis through the final period in Revelation, the Bible has recounted stories of man’s arrogance. Not just toward God, as in man’s sin nature, but also toward each other. Many triggers are explained as to what causes men to act the way he does. From self-righteousness, greed, desire, and pride, humankind has an innate desire to ‘pat himself on the back’ and raise himself up as ‘the best’.

 

casting_the_first_stoneAll of this self-driven behavior though has caused more problems than anything else. Cain killed Able because he felt slighted by God. As in the days of Noah, everyone was wiped out except Noah’s family because of the wickedness of men…rambunctious for self-gratification. Many kings and leaders rose to power, grew egotistical, and created wars and atrocities…including their own demise…over people. Even in the end times recorded in the Bible, it’s the pinnacle of selfish pride that brings the final days of man.

Where has all this come from? If we are called to give, love, share, and ‘do unto others’, why, then, is there such a gross level of ‘me, me, me’ going on?

From the highest levels of world leaders and business greed to the simplest of people who think they have to park in three spots or cut off others in traffic because it’s all about ‘them’, humans have steadily become so selfish that even the daily commute or simple shopping trip creates such bitterness, anger, hostility, and anxiety. We all experience it, we all struggle with others and their self attitudes.

So what does all this say? It says that we need to buckle up, put on our patience-pants, learn to keep moving and stay focused! Why? Because this has been going on since time beginning and is going to continue till time ends. Absolutely nothing that you or I can say or do is going to stop the insanity of the inconsiderate egos who try to make life on this planet all about them.

You may vent until your heart’s content, but people are people, blinded by the god of this world, thinking that the more they glorify themselves, the better they will feel. They boast and puff themselves up in the hopes of gaining respect, admiration, and glory. This is exactly what the devil has been doing since the Garden of Eden. “If you…then you will be like God”. Mankind has striven for that since.

welcome2

The quickest and clearest example is: Hollywood. If ever there was a cloister of people who try to exalt themselves over everyone, it’s the ego maniacal minions of that entertainment world. They poise themselves above everyone else. They have to be first, have the best, have the most, be the biggest, be the most glamoured, be be be…me me me!

And that very mentality and existence doesn’t end there. The infection is as close as your backyard. Your neighbor, your co-worker, your children, the people we meet each and every day on those highways and byways I mentioned before.

Nothing you can do. Just be patient, love, pray, set examples, be humble, and stay focused the best you can.

Believe it or not, we all have that disease of self. With some, it shows more abundantly. But, we all have it. And until our self is quenched, we battle it inside and out every day. To overcome that problem through God, we’re taught to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (as stated in Ephesians 4:22-24).

But with so many who don’t seek God’s Word of redemption, the world continues to show the rampant display of selfishness, as is stated in 2 Timothy chapter 3;

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (underline of verse 2 mine for emphasis)

We see that in every direction we look these days. Through the help of God, we can put off our old self, and walk in newness with love, peace, joy, humility, and unselfishness. Though we might not be able to fix others, we can certainly start with ourselves! Amen

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Big you, bigger God

The UniverseWhen we look into the vastness of space, gaze at the billions of stars, and reflect on just how big the universe really is, we tend to feel very small…insignificant almost.  This feeling can be quite overwhelming to some as we wonder how we can measure up when compared to the complexities of the grand universe.  Because most of us will never achieve even world fame and fortune, we might think that we don’t matter…that we are just a cosmic speck in the grand scheme of things.

And then to look at our planet and all of creation around us, I think “how it is that God can see little me in all this?”  He’s the God of the universe! He created all things! So how do I fit within the expanse of time and space in God’s creation? Does God even see me? You may not feel like you are special, but I have some news for you!

Let’s think about Zacchaeus from the Bible story in the Gospel of Luke. He was a Jewish man, very short in stature (Bible’s words, not mine), who worked for the Roman government collecting taxes from his fellow Jews. Not only was he good at his job, he was the chief collector in the city of Jericho. This is not a very popular man!  Most of the collectors back then were cheats and often collected more than they should to pocket the overage for themselves. By society standards, they were frowned upon and even shunned.

And though Zacchaeus was a wealthy man, he was also reported to be a very honest and Godly man. (Yes, there can be honest, Godly people that do unfavorable jobs!)  I imagine that outside of family though, he was a lonely individual. We know that he followed God’s rules, lead an honest life, and that God knew him, but he wasn’t looked up to or admired.

Palestine_Jericho3_tango7174But God knew him so well, that long before Zacchaeus was even born, a sycamore-fig tree seed was planted in a particular spot. Then, God watered and took care of that seed until it grew to be a full-size tree. All because one day, in the future of that planting, that man named Zacchaeus would have an encounter with Jesus, the Son of God!  God knew that Zacchaeus would be so eager to see Jesus coming that he would climb the tree God placed years ago to get a glimpse of the Messiah. That event lead to Jesus calling to Zacchaeus and having a blessed dinner with him and his family!

The same thing applies to us, individually! God knows us personally and intimately. Luke 12 states that God knows us so well that even our hairs are numbered. He knows even the smallest of creatures like sparrows.

One of my favorite songs is from singer Betty McDaniel, a treasured Gospel singer out of Canada. It is titled “He looked across the years”.  The song reflects what I am trying to convey here: that God looked across the vastness of time and space in His creation and saw you!  He not only knows us, but also made a way to remedy the sin in our lives that separates us from Him.  Jesus looked across the years from the cross so that we can be restored to a right relationship with God through Jesus!

God is so big!

The question I have is this: if God is so awesome and powerful to create everything into existence, and yet personal enough to know each of us individually…then why are we so complacent in our relationship with Him? Why do we ignore His sovereignty? Why do we treat Him like a cosmic vending machine wanting only blessings and fortunes and such, yet don’t submit to His will and ways?

This is truly a much deeper topic than what can be covered here now, but as I explore this in my life, I look back at all the little things God has, in His infinite wisdom, done for me. He has directed my paths much differently than I would have walked on my own. God’s ways are not our ways. But I’m pretty sure that He knows what’s best for me better than I know myself!

As He looked across the years at Zacchaeus, as He looked across the years at me, as He looked across the years at you…He set up everything in advance because He loves us and knows us and wants us to acknowledge Him with fellowship and love! The old Puritan catechism question is this:  What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and to enjoy Him forever (Psalm 73:25-26).

May we acknowledge the sovereignty of God in our daily lives. Amen

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Things I preach to myself-Hypocrisy pt2

cellphone progress

The knowledge that the world gains daily has grown exponentially over the last several decades. This has been clearly seen just by looking at the progressive growth of electronics and computers! Incredible intelligence continues to multiply as man builds better and smarter devices! Look at the evolution of the phone! Whew!

Yet, as I have tried to convey over the many years here, we may be getting smarter, but the one thing that hasn’t grown…Common Sense!

I recently re-read a piece of Scripture that puts our current plight into perspective: Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

We may think ourselves wise because we are smart, but it is pretty clear that we are not. It’s clear that God has ‘confounded the wise’ of this world because they don’t seek His wisdom.  Having information locked into the brain doesn’t guarantee that we are capable of utilizing it in a productive manner! To say “yeah, I know” and not apply it wisely just makes us a fool.  And to claim ourselves wise and not follow God’s wisdom just shows that we are chasing our own tail for no end purpose! We can sit on the mountain top doling out wise sayings, but does that really garner the inner peace that our souls seek and strive for?

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Before you go and accuse me of being judgmental, remember what the title of this blog is!  I have traipsed around this world, gathering knowledge and various insights of many things, and have garnered some wisdom in my experiences, and yet I find myself unwise when it comes to my day-to-day life. The Lord knows that I have tried to be “wise in my own eyes” most of my adult life. It’s truly a wonder that I’m alive at all! But, wisdom (and common sense) just doesn’t come overnight! And even when you have some wisdom and knowledge, if you don’t apply it, what value is there in it?

There are many wise ways, but are they of value to your life and eternal life? And with knowledge and wisdom, even if it is from God above, if its not applied in your day-to-day life, doesn’t mean a thing!  I can spout off all sorts of facts and wise sayings all day long, but will be seen as nothing less than a hypocrite if I don’t “walk the talk”!

It comes down to two main points that the Bible teaches. First, let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.  Arguably simple in its meaning.  Who am I to judge when I am yet a sinner? Many live the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality that I wrote about in my previous blog.

Secondly is how can I talk about the speck in my brother’s eye when there is a plank in my own? We get so focused trying to correct others by showing that we know better, that we are wiser and smarter than they are.  But, in reality, we are just being a hypocrite.  We need to literally practice what we preach!

Thus, why I share these things I preach to myself about!!! I am in a constant state of learning to acknowledge that I have faults and failings and falter in life. But, with God’s leading and teaching, through His Word and the Holy Spirit, I strive to become a better man of God and a better man to those in my life!

I am a work in progress…we all are! But, if we are not able to identify, admit, correct, and grow through our shortcomings, what’s the point? God is clear that he wants us all to learn and grow! But, we must first admit that we need His guiding hand to get us through! For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No one is smarter, wiser than anyone else!

We all come into this world the same way, we all leave this world the same way.  It now comes down to what we do between those two points in our lives! As for me and my household, we will worship the Lord! Amen.

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Things I preach to myself: Hypocrisy

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 23:1

Pharisees

A sad and pathetic desperation to socialize and be accepted by man created a huge hypocrisy in my life and caused delays in my walk with God. As horrible as that may sound, this is actually a normal human condition. We all have a hypocritical side within us. It just isn’t advertised as such to our family and friends!

I think that we can all mark times in our lives when we have, whether directly or indirectly, declared “do as I say, not as I do”.  This is just a natural human issue that many battle on a regular basis.  Whether it is a conscience act, or subconsciously done, it is part of our fallen nature. Since God (and most folks around) wants us to live right and honest, and we do try, we still have that old sin nature within and it’s often easy to live two lives (hypocrisy) without too many woes.

In fact, this thing called hypocrisy has been going on for centuries, and is addressed in the Bible a number of times. Perhaps the greatest acknowledgement of hypocrisy comes from Jesus’ rebuke of the scribes and pharisees in the Gospels (particularly Mathew chapter 23). Sometimes called the “Woes of the Pharisees”, Jesus calls out the religious leaders of their time for being ‘high and mighty’ on the outside, yet contradictory in their hearts and lives. Essentially inner and outer moral states.

The leaders are supposed to be living examples of righteousness (right living under Gods laws). And, even though no one can keep the 10 Commandments completely, their position was to be above reproach…to teach and lead others in the proper ways expected by God.  But, once you intermingle human sinful nature with greed and lust and power, it doesn’t take much to compromise yourself and your beliefs.

Which leads me back to my self-preaching.

First of all, I am not a preacher/teacher/leader in any way. So, my matter isn’t about growing in stature in any way.  But, as a self-professing Christian, I do have a responsibility and commission from Christ to share the truth to the world (which can be the very next person I meet)…whether through my words or through my actions. But, since my actions don’t always correlate with my words, therein lies the problem! (Do as I say, not as I do)

The Bible doesn’t directly state to “be in the world, but not of the world“, but there are numerous verses that support this general ideology (John 15:19, Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15, John 17:14, Colossians 3:2, Ephesians 6:12).  And here I am trying to “fit in”, as it were, yet also trying to “walk in faith”.  Thus, walking in two worlds. Hypocrisy.

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My hypocrisies are not any less or different from the pharisees of ancient times.  Though the Bible is clear that teachers and preachers are held to a higher accountability than the average Joe, that doesn’t dismiss my walking in two worlds.  God’s Spirit has been quite good at pointing out to me that my private world and public world can, at times, be contradictory to one another.  This is sin and this is to be confessed, repented of, and begin walking in a new light.

Not always the easiest to do, mind you, but acknowledging sin and looking to the Bible and praying for a changed heart and mind regarding these things is a first step.  We often regret our sins more than repent of them, but we need to keep taking steps forward with the help of the Holy Spirit, delving into the Scriptures for guidance and truth, and looking to Christ as our example!

Which leads to another topic, for another time:  The hypocrisy of (most) modern churches today.  Those leaders and preachers and teachers will have a lot of accounting to do before the Lord on judgement day!  Can we be the change needed to alter the downward spiral of the false teaching going on within the church?

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Race Among The Ruins

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Inundated and overwhelmed  by the barrage of mixed messages that are filling my brain (and heart)!  That is where I have been at for the last several years.  This is from the pattern that has built up within me over the years.  Conflicting messages that seep, beg, demand, and suggest multiple ways that I am supposed to think, act, and behave.

From the sweeping changes of the 1960’s race equality movements to the violent segregation mentality of today, the war of unity/separation of humans has been a roller coaster of chaos that has created and divided relationships in such a way that I am sitting here with my hands over my ears and screaming “stop the world, I want to get off!”

With a push for equality among humans in the 60’s from the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., growth and maturity had seemed to bring people together in such a way that almost made the 70’s and 80’s look like a time of peace among the people. But, as I reflect back in comparison to todays’ events…I confess a deep confusion.  It seems that the messages of anti-segregation in the 60’s have turned into a strong segregationist movement.

Before you start raising pitchforks and burning torches to me, let me explain.

In a sneak-up-on-you kind of way, many of the groups that fought for equality have created a very separatist ideology. Examples include:  NAACP, BLM, NOW, and various other groups. But, not only these formalized organizations, but the demands of political and religious leaders such as Farrakhan, Jackson, and most recently, Maxine Waters.

Waters, a politician from the state of California, has recently declared that there should be a “black-only” political party. I’ll wait. Let you gather your senses a bit before going on.

As much as I am all for equality of the races…I stand absolutely dumbfounded by such a remark from a woman who, for all intents and purposes, was very much alive and active during the 60’s and 70’s racial movements.  And, to declare such a segregationist goal has me scratching my head as to what happened!  Where did the universe take a U-turn?

I have recently looked back over the past several years to see from where and why this momentum been gathering steam, and I have to conclude that the key perpetrators of this anti-equality movement are the very people that demanded equality in the first place! Call it whatever you want to, but to place such an emphasis demanding special treatment to one people group is the very thing that MLK and others fought against.

So, I will go on record here and now, declare them, (those who demand this segregational and special treatment), racists! The very people who get upset and call others racist are, in fact, the ones who are being such!

In 1927, Leon Trotsky, a Jewish Bolshevik Marxist revolutionary, used the term racist to browbeat dissenters of the communist ideology.  Prior to him, though, was Richard Henry Pratt. His use of the term was related to the issues of white men and Indians in early America. He said “Segregating any class or race of people apart from the rest of the people kills the progress of the segregated people or hinders their growth. Association of races and classes is necessary to destroy racism and classism.”

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Hmmmm…….that mentality goes against the grain of today’s segregating movements!  And, it seems to parallel the ideology that blacks and other proponents pushed for in the 60’s and 70’s.  So, it stands to reason that the Maxine’s and Sharpton’s of today are trying to recede back in time…..(or is there something else? I am not here to start conspiracy theories!)

No matter where you stand on the issue…be it with BLM or KKK or CAIR or whatever alphabet organization you want to associate with, the bottom line is that this country has taken two steps forward, but now working on three steps back!

Extremism has cost lives, trust, rational thinking, and most importantly…Common Sense!!!!!

Sadly, people have this demand that it’s “all about” them.  They want special and preferential treatment.  They want everything handed to them. Well, I’m here to tell you…it doesn’t matter what your color, race, religion, ethnic, or gender background is: if you want respect and a place in this civilized society…you have to earn it! Just because you are this or that doesn’t give you a standing any different than anybody else!

The greatest line I’ve heard from some very respectable people over the years is “they put their pants on the same as everyone else…one leg at a time!”

And guess what folks…..you are no better or worse than me or anyone else! Call me what you will, but in the end, we all end up in the dirt.  So, get off your high horse, your mightier-than-thou attitudes, and get common sense!!!

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Ichabod: Where did the Glory go?

The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.    -C. S. Lewis

conceptual sign post with, danger slippery slope

As many permit themselves comfort from the woes of this world, there exists a jagged edge that they drift dangerously close to, careless to the reality of the fall that awaits them.  As gloomy as this sounds, I must persist in casting some reality toward you in the hopes of jarring your slumber!

In ancient biblical times, wars existed between the factions of believers in God and believers of everything else. Though the spiritual realm has its casualties, there was also an effect to the physical as well.  Death tolls in these wars, per the accounts of history and Bible, were in the 10’s of thousands! The followers of God, the Israelites, had won a fair share of battles, but also suffered great defeats as well.  In most cases, the stories relayed the importance of God and his following his commandments.

In one particular situation, Israel was facing one of their great foes, the Philistines. In 1 Samuel chapter 4, the Israelites had taken a beating and decided to bring up the Ark of the Covenant to the battle front. This represented God’s presence more than anything.  The wild cheers of elation rallied the troops and even the Philistines feared God showing up.  But…to no avail.  Israel got their butt kicked and the enemy ran off with the Ark.

The high priest and judge of Israel, Eli, lost two of his sons in the battle. That information, along with the Ark being taken, literally killed the poor guy.  His daughter-in-law was so despondent about the losses that she gave birth and died.  The midwife names the boy Ichabod, meaning ‘the glory of the Lord has departed’.  Great start to life! (Sarcasm intended!)

It seems historically that when a people decide on their own volition of self first, it isn’t too long afterward that their demise hits. The United States of America was essentially founded on a basis of the Bible as the core moral and spiritual compass. The founding fathers forged our first governing documents on the whole of scripture, keeping that, with God, all things are possible. But, as with any great nation, corruption seeps in…slowly, assuredly, and with a purpose of demise. Even the learned institutions, such as Harvard and Yale, started out as seminary schools teaching the Bible! Yet, now, you would be fortunate to find scripture anywhere within the walls of the university. We are on the safest road to hell!

So, how did this happen?  How did we get to this drowning point? The primary place to point out the failing is our own ‘churches’.  Now, I am not going to get all denominational or call out particular names.  That is not the intent of this.  But, I will shake a fist to any and all who claim Christianity as their faith, yet deny the Bible as the word of God.  Without the Bible, we do not have the compass of direction. Without the Bible, we do not have instructions. Without the Bible, we do not have a reference point to keep ourselves on the correct path!

All that said, when we cast aside His Words to us, we begin to wander aimlessly.  We become “I Chabod”….without the Glory. When we are travelling and feel uncertain about our direction, we consult a map. Now days, we are constantly looking to our smart phones for information and direction. Well, the Bible is our map. The Bible is our smart phone that has all the answers we need.  And without it…well, we rely on our own understanding. Our own views. Our own mess!

The father of lies, the great deceiver, has crept into the fabric of God-fearing churches and cast doubts, dissensions, and destruction from within.  And since pushing aside the Bible as the beacon of truth, these churches have turned into social clubs and feel-good parties…with no truth being taught! Whitewashed Tombs! Pretty on the outside, empty and dead on the inside!

Mark 7:9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!”

The churches today (not all) have essentially rejected the Bible as the Word and have, instead, decided that soft, gentle talks regarding social issues are more important than knowing God and His Word!  And with the disregard of God’s Word as authoritative and commanding, man has put himself in God’s place and now determines what is and what isn’t sin! What was once revered as Gospel has since become edited so as not to offend anyone! Sins are acceptable and they just avoid talking about His Words and commands!

The Glory has departed! And with His departing, so has His hand which has held back the enemies of God’s people!

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One of the greatest preachers of all time, Jonathan Edwards, in 1741 preached a sermon that shook the very core of believers and unbelievers alike. That sermon, titled “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God” was filled with fire and brimstone that convicted people to remedy, or assure, that their relationship with God was of utmost importance!  We have fallen so far from that reverence, passion, and belief in the God of the Bible, creator of all things, through his Son, by which we have forgiveness and restored fellowship.

There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.  – Edwards

So, I ask: Why?  Why has the Word of God been rejected by the very people who claim to believe in God? Why have we allowed His Glory to depart from us? Are we so delusional as to think that God would never cast anyone into hell? Because, if we are sitting at such a comfort level, in disbelief of God’s wrath, as to think that…I really suggest you reconsider what His Words really do say!  There is no free rides to Heaven! The Bible is very clear on that! His own people, the Israelites, were destroyed in a battle because of their own complacency and denial of His Supremacy!  YOU are no different. The church is no different.

God has never promised to save us from Hell, except for those contained in Christ through the covenant of Grace.  – Edwards

The churches have rejected God’s Word.  The Glory has departed.  Man stands alone on a wayward path leading toward destruction of soul:  hell.

I guess I challenge anyone to look at their ‘churches’ and ask the question:  Do they fully accept God’s words as complete revelation from God, or are they picking and choosing what they want to keep and what they don’t?  It literally is an “all or nothing” situation.  You either believe in the Bible or you don’t. And, as Edwards based his sermon from in scripture, ‘their foot shall slip in due time’ (Deut 32:35), there isn’t a middle ground with God.  You (and the church) are either hot or cold. Lukewarm is the path that leads to destruction.

 

 

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Who am I today…?

Label-Maker

Label:  A word or phrase that describes someone or something.

One of the many definitions of the word ‘Label’.  A word that is cast about in our society today with a variety of intent. People like labels, people hate labels, people feel the need to label, people want labels removed.  This word has become the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” trigger.

Any given day, at any given time, you can hear and see labels being tossed around with such complacency…yet as quickly as used, are being cause to charged emotional reactions.

There are simple labels cast upon people, individuals, such as ‘black’ or ‘white’ to denote skin color. The popular labels used to designate affiliations such as ‘democrat’ or ‘republican’.  The newer generational labels to describe, such as ‘gay’ or ‘straight’.  All these types are scrutinized to see if they are using the label as a means of identification to good or if it is a tool to castigate someone ‘different’.

The funny part about labels is how they show the hypocrisy of people.  Humanity is so quick to charge themselves as this or thus, but when labeled by others, they anger at the thought of being pigeon-holed!  Really?  I’m confused!  You want to be labeled, but get upset when you are?  Huh?

So, that being said, our world has taken things to such an extreme of stupidity now regarding labels. People want to be labeled as non-labeled.  The “I identify as…” generation has promoted the label of ‘ambiguous’.

am·big·u·ous
amˈbiɡyo͞oəs/
adjective: ambiguous
  1.  open to more than one interpretation; having a double meaning.
    • unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made.

Ok. I get that you don’t want to be labeled with a political affiliation or a particular religion or even an ethnic background. It doesn’t change who you are! With or without a label, you are who you are inside and out and people are going to identify you one way or another.

I’m gonna draw the line at a point though. Gender.

So, you are trying to push on me that you are neither male or female? This is where my Common-Sense-Meter is jumping off the scales! I don’t care how flaky and extreme you are, but, the facts are facts. You have a penis, you are a male. You have a vagina, you are a female. You can lop it off or add one on all you want, but the fact of the matter still remains: You ARE what you were born with!

I use this Bradley Manning person that is in the news as an example.  Aside from him (yes, I am using the proper pronoun to describe this human) being a traitor to the country; aside from our government allowing him to be associated with our army; aside from him whining and demanding that he wants to play dress up in girls clothes…aside from all that, he is still MALE.

You pee standing up, you use the men’s room. Putting on a dress doesn’t make you any more a woman than putting lipstick on a pig changes the animal. The label doesn’t change who or what you are!

“But, I was born with the wrong parts.”  “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body.” “I identify as a….”

Sorry.  Not gonna buy into that game. You want to play dress up and act a certain way because you have ‘feelings’ for the same-sex, go right ahead.  But, don’t you drag me into accepting this. Not my circus, not my monkeys!  I don’t have to accept you playing gender games anymore than you have to accept me as a good writer.  We all play pretend from time to time, but I will not be forced into accepting every and any label people want to attach to themselves!

Today, I am this…tomorrow, I think I’ll be that!

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The issue here, folks, is not that you have to believe the same way as everyone else, the issue comes down to how your beliefs or claims or labels are pushed on others.  I believe in the Bible as the inerrant word of God…but that doesn’t mean you better make concessions for me in all ways because of this!  Think about the common sense level we are talking about here! There has to be a point where the spiral is stopped! Everything is getting pushed so far to the extremes that the free-for-all of lunacy is a blurred and borderless line!  Where does it stop?

I’m going to leave that to moral judgement.  I have my line…and it is a pretty fair line at that. Considering all of the labels that people love/hate out there, I figure that common sense and a moral base need to be used to filter reality from the label-land of make-believe!

1 Cor 13:11 says “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

Good advice.

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Un-Social Media

Breaking News!  Social media is destroying humanity!  Okay, perhaps it isn’t breaking news. And maybe it hasn’t destroyed it completely. But, the extent of my statement really depends on clarifying some definitions of news, destroy, or social.  Let us take a look at those definitions and see what we end up with!

News reporting agencies can be funny entities. They are often the very heralds of doom and gloom, and yet thoroughly pride themselves as being the “first” to bring it to you. How thoughtful.  Yet in this day and age of information demand, we clamor at every source we can to stay informed and aware. As many of you know, I am one such junkie. I often find myself confused when I bring a news item to a conversation and no one is aware of the story.  Really?  I thought everyone was in-the-know about the feral cat problem in Hindustan!  (I jest…somewhat…)

But our sources of information are missing out on a really big story. That there seems to be a lack of awareness of the degradation of human interaction around us. “Social” has been morphing from how we interacted with one another into a cold, barren way. It is caving in to the world of electronics.  The explosion of social media websites is nothing new. From the advents of My Space to the highly popular Facebook and Twitter, there is certainly no shortage of internet places to “socialize”.  Major companies like Google and Yahoo have also thrown their hats into the ring with versions.  The goal: get you to use their system so that they can make money from advertisers.  Simple as that. This is corporate America looking for a means to get money.  But, at what cost?

I’m all for businesses making money.  After all, this is the land of opportunity!  Where I have a problem is when socializing is stripped down to impersonal typed words and picture postings.  Where human interaction is via electricity and not face to face.  Where emotions are conveyed by ‘smileys’.  The word social is generically defined as companionships or relations, in community versus isolated.  People are, by nature, social creatures and have the need to engage with others.  Social is key to society…groups of people together.  In the past, people would socialize with one another by gathering together.  These would be the times for friends and families to talk, share, help, care, love, support, and belong.  Sadly, that type of socializing is being replaced.  Actually, it is being destroyed.  I don’t think I need to define destroy.

It would seem that people today find solace in checking their cell phones or computers for their social fix.  Online you can post comments and pictures, share your feelings, give a virtual hug or pat on the back, date, and even break up.  Yes, that all happens on there.  Many of the things that used to be done “in person” are now “impersonal”.  People have had entire relationships online. If that doesn’t make you sad, then you may want to go see someone “in person” to get some help.  I say that bluntly with hopes of a wake up call!  Socializing is an imperative part of being human, and having human interaction is a necessary part of our mental and emotional well-being.  Give thought to the punishment of ‘solitary confinement’…separation of humans from humans.  It’s a punishment, not a reward.  Sociologists and medical experts know that the key to our sanity is the need for human contact.

It can be safely said that social media is destroying humanity.  Humans have social needs and, quite frankly, social media does not fulfill that need.  We may think that we are socializing, but it should not be the replacement to actual face-to-face socializing.  Sitting in your room with the computer is not giving you human contact.  If anything, it is numbing the human right out of you!  I would love to see the withdrawals people would have if they didn’t have their internet social medias to check every 10 seconds.  They might actually have to learn some face-to-face skills!

I understand that friends and family separated by distance use these formats as a means to stay in contact.  No issues here with that.  It’s when it becomes your everything, your lifeline to the outside world that is standing right next to you.  When people can gather in a room with one another and hardly speak to each other because they are busy “socializing” online.   I am always amazed, but rarely shocked anymore, when I see groups of people in the store walking down the aisles with their faces in their phones and no interaction with those whom they are with.  I feel sad by this, but this is evidence of the destruction of socializing.

Try something here…a new social media.  I call it talking.  This type of media requires two people, in the same location, each equipped with a mouth and ears.  This social media requires no electricity, data plan, or computer.  You simply speak what you would normally type and the other person hears what you said!  Then, the person that listened to you will probably say something back, which you would use your ears to hear it!  Crazy, I know, but when you repeat that process, possibly adding more people together….oh, the socializing that can happen!!!  Don’t call me a pioneer…I checked my history and found out that it was all the rave long ago!