No Happiness Anywhere

2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? Eccl 1:2-3 (KJV)

 

King Solomon was the wisest king to rule over Israel, yet he remained unsatisfied with all that he did  He was unhappy with all his accomplishments  Wealth flowed into his kingdom’s coffers as freely as water fell from the sky, and yet he remained unhappy, seeing nothing worthy in anything he did.  When money didn’t suffice, he turned to drink.  When that didn’t work, he turned to pleasures of the flesh.  When that didn’t work, he threw himself into his labors, and still nothing helped.  Nothing made him happy.  I find myself in that same rut sometimes.  What’s the point?  Nobody is seeing these words.  Why bother writing them down?  What do you gain by doing this? DING!  There is where we go wrong.  Happiness is not something you can gain for yourself.  Happiness is given to you by God as a reward for faithful service.  If you start into a venture wondering what you will gain from it, you probably won’t be gaining happiness out of it.  Satisfaction, maybe.  Maybe even pleasure, but not true happiness.  Solomon realized this by the end of the book, but the first section makes you wonder if he is going to live long enough to learn.  Gloom and doom rides him like a tangible cloud.  The things that give you true happiness can’t be bought and they are treasures you will only find by giving of yourself.

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Is Horror What We Want?

I had a discussion with my eldest son the other day. Someone had asked me if I wanted to submit a story to one of their anthologies. Usually I am pretty open to submitting my work to all different kinds of publishers, but this particular genre was horror. “It is hard to convey a good message of faith in a horror story,” my son said. I have to disagree. People are placed in terrible situations every day, and usually it is these exact circumstances that make their moral fortitude shine through. It is really easy to put good people in bad situations in stories because the good guy is always trying to help in those situations. So yes, I think you can really convey good morals through the horror genre. That being said, I don’t think there are a lot of writers trying to. Most of them take you to a place you don’t want to be, make you consider things you probably rarely think about, and then LEAVE you there. I guess that’s why I have a little trepidation over writing in that particular genre. I don’t like leaving my readers like that. I want my readers to come away from my stories thinking, but I want them be thinking about how good a certain character acted or reacted. I grew up wanting to be those heroes in the stories, and that’s what I want my readers to want. I haven’t decided on whether or not I am going to submit yet. Only because I am not sure if I can pull off a horror story that leaves my reader in a place I don’t mind leaving them, but I will be sure and let you all know if I do. Then you can be the judge.

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.

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.