What Do I Get?

I read a mime (I think that is what they are calling them now) the other day that said; A man asked a Christian what he had gained by praying to God.  The man replied ‘nothing, but let me tell you what I’ve lost; anger, ego, greed, depression and fear of death.’  I like the thought behind it to an extent.  It didn’t really completely convey what I thought it should.  I think it should have read more like; The man replied ‘that is yet to be seen, but I know what I’ve lost…’  I’ve heard people say that a Christian is crazy because he/she believes life starts after death.  Every time I see that I try to correct it.  We do not believe life starts after death, only that it gets better.  Can I tell you what I’ve gained? Eternal life I know, but what shape will that life take?  I can only imagine, but I do know all happiness comes from him.  If you don’t have Him, then what you have is a pale imitation of happiness.

9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Heb 1:9 (KJV)

13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17:13 (KJV)

11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalms 16:11 (KJV)


Good Luck And Godspeed

Good luck and Godspeed. It’s a phrase you may have heard before. It basically means “may you have success in the endeavor that you are embarking on.” The phrase has been bouncing around in my head since this past Sunday. We had to make an unexpected trip to Auburn and it was short noticed. I didn’t get off work at the as early as expected and thus ran short on sleep in order to accomplish all that we needed before a deadline. My wife drove down so that I could rest and I would drive on the way back. The day was overcast, and while a little on the warm side not overly so (the AC is not working on our vehicle). As we traveled, the sun would break through the clouds and when it did it was a very noticeable increase in temperature. The trip was comfortable for the most part because a cloud kept us in the shade most of the way, but at one point I saw the leading edge of the cloud and we were traveling fast enough that we were overtaking it and the shade would be gone for a while. “We should slow down and just ride with the cloud” I thought to myself. This is when the phrase Godspeed occurred to me. You see, a lot of time I get rushed and in a hurry and don’t think much about God’s timing I’m too busy trying to work to my own schedule and trying to make things happen. I didn’t need to be in a big hurry that Sunday, and by pushing it to meet MY schedule we passed out from under the shade cloud that God had provided for us. The result was uncomfortable, the same as it always is when we forget and try to force life to meet our schedule. Had we slowed down, we would have ridden in comfort for a while longer, and I’m sure the trip would have still been just as successful. There is a plan. You play an important part even if you don’t know how. Don’t cheat yourself out of your blessing by trying to rush the journey. Good luck and Godspeed.

Blogging With Solomon

I started this blog as a way for the people that read my stories to get to know me. People that read these entries are reading my thoughts and ideas. Those things that I wonder about and contemplate as I wander through this life. It is mostly made up of things I have come to understand in the spirit. The name came from my story “Stars of the Kanri”. Cowboys were scouts, people who explored the planets that had been discovered, cataloging items for further study or use in the civilized world. “Heavy Metal” was the description of the lead character after God set him on the path he was destined to travel. The tagline was not an accident either I thought long and hard over what I wanted to convey with it. “Musings of a Wandering Paladin.” It was more of an aspiration than anything else. That is what I try to be. I don’t always succeed, but I do try. In any event, the ‘blog’ has grown into something more. Some would call it a journal, I guess. Since I usually write my blogs on Mondays, posting them late Monday night, it usually has a spiritual theme running through it. It is the day after I have processed the sermon from Sunday and had time to ‘digest’ it. I share these thoughts and experiences with you people who read my entries in hopes of ‘picking you up’ and giving hope to those who sometimes see so much darkness and despair that they forget there is hope out there. God knows there are times when I feel like that myself. I do not write these entries because I think I am better than anyone else. I simply write them to share my hopes, dream, and discoveries with those of you interested enough to tune in and read them. You may wonder why this blog has taken this direction. I was in an excellent mood today as things went along, and I realized that I hadn’t done my Bible Study today. I had recently finished up Judges and hadn’t really settled on which Book to move my study to next, so I opened my Bible and a verse caught my eye. It was in Ecclesiastes. As I read the words written by the wise King Solomon, I realized that this was his ‘blog’. I read through several of the bleak chapters and finally finished the Book on the positive side. All that he wrote was what he was pondering, and he did end it with his revelation on the meaning of life. (I won’t spoil it for you by posting it here. =) ) So all of this post has been about the way people ‘blogged’ back in ‘Bible Times’. They just didn’t realise how far into the future their readers would be. So to all of those reading this-now and in the unforeseeable future- thank you. You mean a lot to me even if you don’t realize it.

More Than Just A Measuring Stick

My dad is a logger. We (kids) would help him in the woods over the summer when we were growing up. Most of the time I worked the Loading Zone, trimming up trees as the skidder would drag them in. Now in the logging business, you want to separate your trees by loads. The good, big and straight ones you can cut a length of log off of the base and get a better price when selling them (a little over simplified, but bear with me). Those logs had to be a certain length for the wood yards to accept them. Because of that, when working the Loading Zone, the trimmer or de-limbing man usually had a measuring stick. That stick was marked, and as those logs came in, he would measure the cut of log with that stick. If you knew a log was coming into the Zone, you would stand there at attention with that stick propped with one end on the ground and the other on your shoulder, like a quarterstaff at rest or your best friend. As a kid, back then, working for my dad, that stick killed a million deadly imaginary ninjas and slew dragons by the dozens. So that stick became more than just a way to measure a cut of log. It became a way to measure the cut of a man. The demons that I faced back then were all imaginary and since then I have come to learn the real ones all too well. But I can still see my dad holding that stick and standing taller than any man I have ever known. During all that time that stick was just a stick. It wouldn’t measure anything unless you gave it a value first. If it was dropped in a pile of them, all it would be was another stick. If you broke it, you went out and cut another. The stick itself was ordinary and didn’t mean anything unless you assigned it a value first. The funny thing about it is this; once you gave it a value, you had to use it to measure with, and when you did that you had to tote it over to that log. This is what most Christians forget. As you hold that stick waiting on the log to come in and getting ready to measure, it has already started measuring. Standing there holding that stick, it is measuring you. How well do you measure up against it? This is the meaning of that oft misquoted Bible verse;

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Matt 7:1-5 (KJV)

A Special Sermon From My Youth

I remember a sermon I once heard while attending Welcome No. 1 Baptist Church. It was quite a while back, and I don’t recall who the preacher was (I was really young). The preacher said that he had prayed for a message to bring to the congregation and the Lord had granted him one on the unrepentant going to hell. This can’t be right, the preacher thought. Everyone that attends church has been saved. I know them all. The preacher brought the message that the Lord had given him, and no one moved. The Spirit that had given him the message was at peace, so he knew he had obeyed as he should have. The following week the preacher prayed again, and again got a message on the lost going to hell. Again he preached the word and the Spirit was at peace. A third week went by and again another message on hell. After that the weeks that followed were the normal messages one would expect to be preached in a Believing Church. It was many months later before the reason for his messages were revealed. A man came up to the preacher and introduced himself.
“Preacher, you don’t know me, but I live by that little church where you pastor, and I just wanted to say thank you for preaching God’s Word. You see, I was in the field next to that little church one Sunday, and God convicted my heart. He dealt with me for three weeks. Three weeks I was in that field every Sunday, dreading hearing the Word, but knowing I had to hear it. On the 3rd week I was saved out there by an old stump. I just wanted to say thanks.”

I will remember that message to my dying day. It has given me strength at times when I thought I had none. Remember, sometimes God may ask you to do things that do not seem normal to you, and keep in mind you may never know why in this life, but God knows. And your actions may be the only thing that helps that ‘lost soul’ find His Way.

Art, The Bible and Hidden Knowledge

I am an artist. I have been working with 3D art for the past year or so, and I have to say I’m getting pretty good at it. When working with my art, I save a lot of different versions of the same pictures. This one may have a different colored building, that one might have an added reflection or signpost. It’s usually the same picture with just a few added details. But sometimes I mess up (calm down. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen from time to time.), and save a picture with a mistake in it. Some people might not see the mistake, but I would every time I looked at it. This was the lesson I learned in Bible Study Sunday morning this week. I have read through the Bible and there have been versus that I didn’t understand. I took it on faith that God would reveal their hidden meanings when I was ready. One such verse is in the very first book, Genesis.

22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Gen 3:22-24 (KJV)

Verse 22 was very confusing to me until Sunday. I kept wondering why? Why would God not want us to live forever? Now the answer to this question may seem obvious to some, but that is the way the Lord speaks. It doesn’t matter how many times you show someone something, they will not understand it until they are ready to receive it. Anyway, Sunday I realized why. We were a flawed image because we had chosen to sin against God. Had we been allowed to eat of the fruit of eternal life, yes we would have lived forever, but it would have been in the sorry state that we are now, flawed and imperfect. So people may actually think that God banishing us from the Garden of Eden was a punishment, but in reality He was saving us from ourselves. This is the secret hidden in those lines of scripture. He denied us eternal life in a corrupt shell. After seeing this, I now look back and wonder why I didn’t see it before. Sometimes the knowledge is in plain sight, you just have to wait for the right time for your eyes to be opened.

Double Back

I was looking for inspiration for this week’s blog post, and so I was looking at some of my older entries when I came across one that seemed to fit the situations I have been dealing with lately. So I thought it would be appropriate for me to Re-Share it with you. So we go retro this week with an older post, but the wisdom still holds true.

O’ Malley The Alley Cat

My wife has a Tom-cat named O’Malley (yes, from Aristocats). This cat was gifted to us by persons unknown. I believe he must’ve been abused by a former owner, because the cat has always been very skittish around me, and I have never given it a reason to be. He had been getting better about not jumping away every time I moved and he would even come if I called him. Any way, recently he got into a…territorial dispute with another cat. The argument was rather heated, and I don’t know about the other cat, but O’Malley looked like he had gone ten rounds with a cougar. His right eye swelled almost shut, and looked to be getting infected, so my wife took him to the vet. Antibiotics were prescribed O’Malley was put into the hospital wing of our bathroom until his injuries have time to heal. Since his internment, he has become a lot more friendlier towards me. He hasn’t jumped a single time as I have visited him, and has even asked me to pet him on multiple occasions. My point in telling you this story is simply this: Sometimes God lets us go through battles and storms in this life in order to let us know who we can trust and who we need to move closer to. You never know who your friends truly are until the battle starts and there is more on the line than just words.