Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Day Before

Good Friday is tomorrow.  It's hard to call it good since that is the anniversary of my Saviors torturous death.  But the end result produced the best news ever delivered to mankind.  Final reconciliation and eternal salvation is now available to anyone who accepts the gift and asks Jesus to be Lord of their life.  His suffering is not fun to think about.  That I played a part in causing His crucifixion isn't fun to think about.  But that he counted me worth it and that I can now have direct access to Him in the here and now as well as in eternity is amazing.

However, today I find myself focusing on what the day before the crucifixion must have been like.  He knew what was in store for Him.  He knew His disciples were pretty clueless.  He knew that one would betray Him, that another would deny Him, and the rest would scatter in cowardly fashion.  He knew that torture and brutality were awaiting Him in very extreme forms.  This knowledge was so heavy upon him that He began to sweat blood.  This is a medical condition brought on by enormous amounts of stress.

Yet He took the time to break bread with His disciples.  He took the time to wash their feet.  He took the time to give a new command...to love one another as He has loved them.  He took the time to give them a way to always remember Him.  If I knew that a torturous death awaited me tomorrow, I wonder what I would be doing the day before?  Would self preservation rule the day?  Would indulgence and bucket lists be the focus?  Or would I just love on those around me, serving them until my arrest?

Time is precious.  Maybe we should already be living as though...it's the day before.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The End Is Near - 15.0

Abomination of Desolation?

The idea of this series is to share five links to various sites that show evidence that we are living in the End Times. You will quickly see that for every link that may lead you to a serious article or news coverage that looks to be straight out of Revelation, there will be several more that are just tongue-in-cheek and meant to be funny.

I am not a date setter. Scripture says we will know the "season" of the end but not the time or day. And since a day is to God as a 1000 years is to us...there is really no telling how long a season might be. Here are just a few reasons I think we are in the season of The End...

Social/Political Unrest - The End Times set up tragic scenarios so that the Antichrist can come on the scene playing the role of hero and savior.  As movements toward economic disaster and one world government become more and more obvious, we submit the following link for consideration:

1. Government Practicing on Non-traditional Targets and Purchasing Billions of Bullets

Sci-Fi Becomes Reality - When what we once thought possible ONLY on the silver screen or in SciFi novels starts to become a reality, its worth taking note.  Check out this week's example:

2. Robo Bees

Prophecy Becomes Reality There are no shortage of Christian and pagan prophesies about the End Times. We know the Mayans and Harold Camping are wrong but what about this?

3. Obama enters Jerusalem on same day as Jesus, Ice Sculpture erected in his honor.

The Truly Bizarre- Kind of a catch all category for the unexplained phenomena like thousands of dead birds just falling out of the sky. What do you think about this crazy example?

4. Bizarre Burrito Beating

5. Woman tries to sell her kids on Facebook

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adding Fuel or Squelching Flames?

Two phrases come to mind as I analyze my reaction to my son Michael this morning.

1.  Fight fire with fire - An effective technique often used for combatting fires in wilderness areas but it does require more damage to be done to surrounding plant life in order for it to work.  However it can prevent the original fire from consuming much, much more than it would have.

2. Adding fuel to the fire - An ineffective idea if your goal is to put the fire out.  Adding fuel will just make it rage all the more and potentially allow it to get out of control.

Not much in life makes me angry.  I am pretty laid back.  But I do have a button and that button does get pushed.  When people act out, throw fits, and display anger in fierce and foolish ways, I don't handle it well. As a child, the only time I ever threatened to kick my brother's rear was when he would embarrass me in front of the neighborhood kids by throwing a fit.  Fast forward to this very morning and we have my son who felt very entitled this morning and got an answer from his mom that he didn't like.  The next ten minutes of commuting to school were me trying (at first calmly) to explain the reasons for our decision. But then he said these words with about as much attitude as a seven year old boy can muster:

"Well I'm just MAD.  I am SOOOO MAD!"

Button pushed.  Houston we have liftoff. I assure you that my reaction stayed within appropriate guidelines but that it was nonetheless impacting for Michael.  By the end of this diatribe he is not only over his entitlement issues but he's back into his reasonable, logical thinking mind.  Thankfully we both had time to calm down, express our apologies to one another for getting angry, and say a BIG "I love you" before he departed my vehicle for school.

I realize the great irony in getting mad at someone for being mad.  I also see immediate results that I don't seem to get with any other method.  It's literally like splashing cold water on a person that is sleep walking to wake them up and get them in their right mind.  Yet I never feel good about resorting to such a method and must believe there has to be a better way.

Those of you that have loved ones in your life that really struggle with emotional outbursts and frustration, please tell me how you handle it.  What works? What doesn't work?  Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 104

Category: Nonsense

Vote closed. Winner: Great View

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.



Click on images to enlarge them.


Great view!


Apparently it does.


You better hope I never get this off!


Full of concrete maybe.


Ramp to nowhere


Beats getting neutered


Or is it?


You're under Facebook arrest!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today's Mailbag 20

An old Italian gentleman lived alone in New Jersey.  He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.  His only son, Vincent who used to help him, was in prison.  The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent, 

I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.

Love,

Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried.

Love,

Vinnie

At 4AM the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances. 

Love you,

Vinnie.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March Madness

Every generation that has lived since Jesus ascended into heaven has had better reason than those before it to expect His return.  Paul wrote with a sense of urgency, only relenting that we should marry if our passions for sexual union were overbearing.  It wasn't because Paul thought the God-given institution was a bad idea, its that he didn't think we had time to worry about such silly things unless our sexual urges became to distracting.  So I realize that those of us that are watching every headline with the idea that Jesus is on His way back may one day, many generations from now seem a little silly.

That said, our generation has more reason to think these are the End Times than any other.  The very fact that Israel, which was no longer a Nation until its restoration in 1948 occurred is just one of many in a long line of modern facts that make the details of Revelation very possible.  Earlier this week on Facebook I brought out a new detail.  I was careful there and I will be careful here to say, this may mean nothing.  But as one who watches with a mixture of anxiety and excitement, I like to analyze all the data and wonder about the possibilities   I believe this is a Biblical practice as there are many verses that tell us to be watching and to be ready.

March has set quite a few crazy things into motion. Between a former Pope resigning (an almost unheard of break from tradition) the appointment of what some prophecies call the Last Pope and now Barack Obama's first visit to Jerusalem on the same exact day as Jesus where they plan on erecting an ice sculpture bearing his image to honor him...my head is just spinning.  Though many have said various presidents including Obama could be the AntiChrist, I've never really bought into it primarily because Revelation describes him as the King of the North.  Most references to "the north" in Scripture are referring to what is now Syria.

Suffice it to say, I will be watching the coverage of Obama's visit if there is any available to view.  If he does anything that fits the references to the Abomination of Desolation and the Jewish people begin running for the hills...perhaps so shall we.

Very interesting to say the least.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Breaking Bad & Other TV Garbage


I posted a blog a while back called GIGO where I use the computer idea of garbage in, garbage out to postulate whether or not that is how Christians should choose their media.  If garbage in does cause us to be affected, it seems logical not to let it in.  But the consensus of my commenting contributors at that time reminded me that we are in the world (and therefore must experience its fallen-ness) but not of it (and therefore discern right from wrong).  Sheltering our kids or ourselves can make us ill prepared for real life and what better time than while watching a fictional show to teach and learn discernment?

Then again, I am not so sure.  That sounds good but how do we properly put that in focus and what line, if any, do we draw when taking in media options?  A friend of mine asked me to watch Breaking Bad now that I have Netflix   After just one episode I was ready to bow out but he promised that was the hardest one to watch and things would get better (at least from a violence and gore standpoint).  So I've watched several episodes since then and I have to say I still want to bow out.  The only redeemable quality this program has is its constant reminder to me of how depraved we are and how desperately we need Jesus in our lives.

So where do we draw the line?  I am sincerely at a point with television where I want to put the set by the curb.  Breaking Bad is extreme and easy to point my finger at.  But I can hardly stand most children's cartoons with the blatant pagan themes and emphasis on witchcraft and the occult.  Then there are shows that my wife enjoys, like The Bachelor.  Besides not being appealing to men in general, I cannot stand the soap opera depravity that this program breeds.  Reality shows in general seem to have a recipe they follow where they intentionally choose personalities that are on the edge and then create situations to push them over.  Plus the constant flow of alcohol normally helps those that might be more cautious in normal situations.  Even my favorite shows like Grimm and The Mentalist have occult themes and murderous narratives that are probably not good for the soul.

Suffice it to say, there is very little programming on that I find spiritually nourishing. I suppose I am entertained on some brain numbing level.  It helps pass the time and we get a chance to relax at the end of the day.  Otherwise...I am struggling to identify the value that I have received in continuing this practice.  Consider commenting with your answers to the following questions:

1. Do you think GIGO is applicable to people as well as computers?
2. Where do you draw the line with media personally and with your kids?
3. What redeeming value does TV have in your life?

Friday, March 08, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 103

Category: To The Point

Vote closed. Winner: Tough Negotiator

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.



Click on images to enlarge them.


So Sentimental!

Always the romantic


What will happen?

How many of you are viewing this from your phone?


Dental Conspiracies


Tough Negotiator


Determination


Fuel Realities

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Know-It-All

Ever annoy yourself or find yourself annoyed with others just like you?  I guess its just me then.  In any case, I pulled one of those moves this morning and upon reflection am a bit bugged and embarrassed of myself.  The point of contention is with my ability or rather inability to really listen to others whilst simultaneously dominating conversation. So it equates to a Mr. Know-It-All kind of guy doing all the talking.  And if you happen to get a word in edge-wise I might be staring at you with a nod as though listening intently but my mind is already formulating my next diatribe and waiting for you to barely gasp for air so I can chime in.

I used to not even notice these habits.  But two distinct things changed that.  One was marrying my introverted wife.  You HAVE to defer the floor at some point for an introvert to have any say.  And so long as I want to converse with my wife, this deferring process has to take place.  She has also helped me to see the error in my listening skills and called me out several times for just waiting for my turn to talk.  Secondly, God has put others like me in my life to see, firsthand, how lame this kind of behavior can be.  I dare say, if it bugs me so badly when others employ the technique, I am probably not pulling it off any better.

Thankfully as I apologized to my fellow Bible study members, most of them claim that they really didn't feel like I took it too far today.  Fact is, I am not a know-it-all.  I am far from it.  I am not sure if this natural inclination is somehow a reflection of insecurity or some kind of hard-wired subconscious desire to be the center of attention.  Suffice it to say, its something I am working through.  I have made strides over the years but I have lots more ground to cover.

Feel free to confess your ugly traits in the comment section!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

What's Your Excuse? 9.0



We all have them. EXCUSES! Reasons why we can't accomplish something.

Reason why we can't:
  • Travel
  • Lose Weight
  • Earn More
  • Have extra time
  • Vacation
  • Improve our skills
  • Better our situation
  • Eat right
  • Exercise
  • And many more...
This series exists to hopefully help you and I both stop making excuses. For today's post, I present an amazing athlete by the name Darius Glover.  A motocross rider that has been competing since the age of seven and made his way to the top.  At the age of fifteen Darius had an accident during a race that left him paralyzed from the waste down.  Doctors told him he'd never walk or ride bikes again.  Think he listened to them? Enjoy and STOP making excuses!

Monday, March 04, 2013

God's Answers

As my son Michael got in the car this morning he noticed my Bible Study binder and the word Disciple written on it.  He asked what that word meant and I talked about the original twelve apostles but expanded the meaning to be something like a student and that we were modern day Disciples of Jesus.  "I wish Jesus was still here so we could talk to Him," he says.

My reply was that we do talk to Him in our prayers.  "I know but I want Him to talk back to me."  I explained that we do get answers from God quite often but aren't always quick to give him the credit.  Sometimes the answers come from Bible reading or from the people God has in our lives but He also answers us in our thoughts.  I challenged him to ask God if He loves him and then quiet himself and listen to the thoughts that come to mind.  So Michael said, "God do you love me?"  Seconds later a smile came across his face and I asked him about the reply.

He said, "Yes, Michael, I do."  Not satisfied with just one exchange Michael asked what God's favorite color was.  A bit worried that my explanation of how to communicate and get answers from God was being taken too far, I almost began to discourage the question.  But sure enough Michael got another smile on his face and said,  "Wow, that's a color I've never heard of before. He said AquaMaGreen!"

Maturity and discernment will come.  In the meantime, faith like a child is certainly at play and I have to say...its refreshing and inspiring!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 102

Category: How Creative

Vote closed. Winner: Creative Resume

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.

Click on images to enlarge them.


Creative Business Plan


Creative Trashcan


Creative Exit


Creative Guitar


Creative Product Placement


Creative Resume


Creative Gearshift


Creative Solicitation