Sometimes It Takes A Dunking

Things were going great. I could see all kinds of great possibilities lining up for me on the horizon. I sat there leisurely holding the wheel and coasting toward it when suddenly a huge wave appeared just off the port bow. The wave hit and tipped the ship of my life up on its side, nearly drowning me and my crew in the process. The good things I had seen on the horizon were suddenly lost in a fog of doubt and self-assessment.   The wave hadn’t sunk us, but it had managed to draw our attention back from our daydreams and wishful thinking to immediate here and now, where we found ourselves still reeling and floundering trying to regain our bearings. This is the time that the Devil waits for. This is the time when his lies have the most effect on a person. Those time when we wonder what it was that we did to deserve this. I, being human, was wondering just that when the second wave hit. I was almost washed overboard into a sea of despair, thinking I had failed in everything that I had set out to do. Not only had I failed, I had failed miserably. Or so the enemy would have me to believe. You see, during all that time where I was leisurely steering my ship, I had let things slip my attention. Things I should have been paying attention to went unnoticed. This is the waves that sprang like magic out of the blue. The clouds were always there, I had just blinded myself to them, focusing on things way in the future. Above all, I had forgotten that my God is sovereign. ALL of this is according to His grand design. The great things that were there on the horizon may still be there, just beyond the mist that clouds the here and now, but I must see about fixing my ship and setting my crew to rights. Sometimes it takes a dunking to keep you from drowning.

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Television In America

Firstly I would like to apologize for missing last week’s blog post. I went on vacation last week and as a result of preparation and travel time I ended up taking a sort of electronic hiatus. It was actually late Tuesday night when I realized I hadn’t posted. Anyway, I do apologize to my avid followers (both my mom and my aunt).

I’ve lost a lot of interest in television now-a-days. There aren’t a whole lot of shows that display any creativity in their script writing. I realized this during a conversation I had with my wife (yes, we talk on occasions). For years now I have been able to ‘guess’ who was the murderer in detective shows, or tell the people watching with me what is about to happen in certain situations (which really annoys them by the way). And it has nothing to do with the information presented in the case, or any psychic abilities on my part. It is the method in which the information is displayed. It is more or less a formula that people use to write the scripts for these dramas. Some people have more success than others at using that formula, but few vary from it. What’s sad is the fact that once you see it, you can’t un-see it. If you learn the ebb and flows of it, you learn not to look where they want you to, but to look at what they are trying to hide in plain sight. The shows that I have seen lately have been extremely lacking in any diverse ways of scripting. This enables me, and anyone else with an eye for plots and such to discern where the story is going. Lately I have found this to be true in the media as well. A cry goes up against the confederate flag and suddenly the media is flooded with people choosing sides and stating their opinions. Someone shouts gay marriages and how the Christians are persecuting them, and again people start picking sides and getting into heated debates. These issues are only as big as you make them. The confederate flag is a HISTORIC symbol. That means it is there to remind us of something that happened in the past. And as for the gay marriage issue, each person’s sin will be judged by God, whether it is telling a little white lie or full blown murder there is no different degrees of sin. Sin is sin. So why is there such a big controversy over these issues? Why is the media and people in influential positions fanning the flames of ‘hate speech’ and ‘unjust persecution’? I think maybe it is because they have become ‘directors’ on the set of America Today. They are following a very simple formula and trying to make you look in all the wrong places. I think maybe it is time for the American people to start paying more attention to what our government officials are really doing instead of the random person pointing fingers and shouting names. Perhaps we need to look in the opposite direction of these so called issues and try to discern what is really going on before it becomes too late.

The Beat Of Life

I want you to try a little experiment. Take your pulse. Check it looking at your watch, or use one of those little machines with the little flashing heart that tells you your blood pressure too, however you like as long as you can monitor it for about two minutes. After two minutes (barring someone scaring you or such) you should have a pretty good idea of how it beats. It is almost as steady as a metronome. It is the same in all of us, beating out the rhythm of our life. At times it beats faster, and we quicken our pace to dance with it. Sometimes it beats slowly and life seems to drift by in lazy swirls. There have been a wide variety of songs comparing life to music and dancing. It is the same in every culture, if you look. We do it almost unconsciously. We walk by a piece of equipment that bangs or clicks in a rhythmic pattern and we hear music in it. Some musicians even make music using everyday items and things. Music is around us all the time. My point in bringing this up is this. In every instance of man-made music there is a composer. Someone who directs the music, making it flow in such a way as to affect all around him/her. Directing the highs and lows of the notes. All of life is the same way. So listen to the rhythm of your heart again. Check the tempo and the measure of the beats and know that there is also a composer directing the majestic orchestra of Life. Directing the flows and measuring the path the music takes, down to the smallest beat. So the next time things seem uncertain, take a moment to listen to your heartbeat. All the answers to the universe are right there in the miraculous beat of that one little instrument that sustains you.

Define That

There have been times in my life when I have gotten into arguments. No, really, I have. I know you find it hard to believe, but it is true. Nine times out of ten (or maybe eight, at least seven, I know) times it is because of miscommunication. More specifically on the definition of a certain word or phrase that I thought was a “given” meant something different to somebody else. I recall one time my wife and I got in a serious disagreement over the Bible. She said it was an ‘Instruction Manual’, and I corrected her (yep, mistake no.1) and said it was a ‘Guide Line’. When someone says ‘Instruction Manual’ I think of “place screw 15786509 into hole 344476349 and tighten until snug” or some such. You see it names the screw and the hole and tells you what to do with them. A Guide Line is more of “a good way to take connect these two boards with a screw. You may also use a nail or some twine, but the screw is the best way.” Do you see the difference there? It may only be a subtle difference, but there it is. It was enough that the Devil could stick his foot in the door and cause stress and dissention in the ranks. We argued over that particular subject for quite some time, and I had no idea why until much later. We were both saying the same thing, but using different words to accomplish it. The Bible tells you how to handle situations without getting bogged down with the specifics (like names of screws and pegs and what-nots). Now-a-days, with the advent of texting and social media we have to be extremely careful of how we phrase things, lest we give the enemy an opening. We as partakers in social media need to also keep this in mind and not take offense at the first perceived insult. It is really hard to apply the right ‘tone’ to some messages, and sarcasm often doesn’t translate well either (imagine that!) So when you read something you may find offensive, before you fly off the handle and start a three page rant about someone, and then unfriend them, you might stop a moment and try to figure out if what they ‘said’ was actually what they ‘meant’. (And to finish the story about me and my wife arguing, all was well as soon as I admitted I was wrong. There see how easy that was?)

Bitter Medicine

Sometimes you find out that you are in the wrong in some situations.  Maybe not fully in the wrong, but still in the wrong never-the-less.  At those times you stop and contemplate where your life is headed, what your goals are and why you find yourself in the wrong.  If you don’t, then you should.  These are lessons in disguise and sometimes they hurt more than just yourself.  Unfortunately I tend to have an amazing ability to find myself in the student’s desk with fresh ruler marks on the back of my hands.  That being said, I still try not be too proud to admit when I am wrong.  I may not always see it at the time, but when hindsight kicks in I do try and make amends.  I can be more successful on some occasions than others.  Still I will make the attempt.  Sometimes the only way to move forward is to step back, evaluate the circumstances and make a better informed decision.  It is a whole lot easier to turn around and find a better path than to try to continue wading through the thorns you find blocking you.  If you find yourself in these situations, don’t be afraid to admit it.  I don’t believe there has ever been a case of someone choking to death from swallowing their pride.  It’s never pleasant, but it almost always turns out to be more beneficial than nurturing the bitterness it causes in your spirit

Just Down The Road

Someone once told me that there are three ways to tell if what you are doing is what you are supposed to be doing with your life. The first one was that it was something that made you happy. In other words it was something you couldn’t dream of ever NOT doing it. The second one was by an unmistakable stroke of providence the opportunity just fell into your lap, greatly improving your quality of life. And the third way was the one that I have focused on to help me grind through the years of doing things that I did not want to do in order to provide for my family. The third way was simply a lack of options. You see sometimes we have to travel the rough path in order to learn something that God wants us to know. Sometimes it is those thorns we have to wade through to continue on that whittles away the rough edges and prepares us for greater events a few more turns down the path. It is never a pleasant thing to realize, and if we had been given the choice (knowing what it was going to be like) I doubt that any of us would choose to go down that path. So if you are experiencing the thorns, or stumbling along the road think about the reason you are there. If it is because of one of your own choices, perhaps you need to rethink that decision. If it is because of a lack of options, this too shall pass. Endure and learn. It will prove useful a little farther down the road.

 

Double To Nothing

There are a few words in every language that have double meanings. Sometimes even saying them with a slightly different tone or emphasizing different syllables can completely change the meaning of a word. The Devil has known this for a long time. Known it and utilized it for his own ends. Suddenly ‘love’ and ‘romance’ has been confused with ‘sex’. ‘Darwinism’ has come to mean ‘scientific’, regardless of the fact that is not. ‘Christian’ has become synonymous with ‘intolerant’. Evil has blurred the meanings of words and in so doing, a whole generation of people have been raised without an understanding of the true meaning of such words. What would the Devil have to gain by confusing these words? I can answer you in one word. Confusion. If you can keep someone confused and off balance, they are a lot easier to manipulate. Someone who is not thinking clearly are unsure of their actions. They make bad choices and cause bad things to happen. What people do not understand is that the Devil hates human. God created us and elevated us above the angels. This made him jealous. That jealousy is what prods him to torture anyone he can. And he has done this by simply blurring the meanings of certain words. Without those words, ‘morality’ has a totally different meaning. ‘Normal’ has a totally different meaning. ‘Marriage’ has a totally different meaning. And ‘honor’ has almost lost all meaning in today’s day and age. When you are raising your family in these troubled times, be sure they know what you mean.