Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Week Giveaway EXTRAVAGANZA!!!

Ok, so perhaps the name is the big draw to get folks here, but the actual giveaway is not quite so grandiose as the name implies: a $15 Starbucks Gift Card.

For some, it might actually be a huge deal, others might not be interested at all.  For me, it is just about perfect since it is a cheap date.  $15 is just enough (at any Starbucks not in an airport) to treat yourself and someone special to a wonderful caffeine laden goody and have a great conversation. (Simple pleasures...)

Entry Requirements are simple:
[Sorry, US entries only due to International Sweepstakes Laws]
  • Registration opens 12:01 am EST 9/1/2012, and ends 12:01 am EST 9/7/2012
  • Log in to the Rafflecopter widget on bottom of page (will move to sidebar 9/2/2012)
  • Answer a question (doesn't really matter what you answer, not tied to chance of winning)
  • Wait patiently for the winner to be announced (within 48 hours of end)
  • You may enter once daily.
Just my way of trying to show a little appreciation to those who take the time to read my ramblings.

THANK YOU!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why do the nations rage?

Psalm 2:1 (NKJV):
"Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?"
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

I promised not too long ago [to myself] to not talk politics any more.  Yes, I have strong opinions of what I consider to be the right way this country should be headed.  I am not going to share them.  I do not wish to get involved in that kind of conversation right now, my blood pressure is under control and I wish to keep it that way.

Right now, the Republican National Convention is happening in Tampa, FL.  Thankfully, I am working a shift which precludes me from watching, and I am making a concerted effort to NOT turn on my TV or read the news much when I am available for those activities.  I am not saying I wish to remain oblivious to issues.  I just do not want to hear the highly charged rhetoric.  I have friends [and family] who are very polarized on opposite sides of the political spectrum, and, right now, many are making comments on FB concerning what is being said.

My biggest question to them is 'why is anyone surprised that POLITICIANS are making statements that may or may not exactly be 100% correct and true?' [Both sides, in speeches and rebuttals]  It is their 'job' to try to remain in office and advance their party's doctrines.  I know, that is not really what they should be doing, but since they are not governing the peoples of this great nation with the care and concern of a parent, they have to do something.

I am saddened at how the US political system has deteriorated in just my lifetime.  I am distraught that we have a futile system which is highly polarized and will never accomplish anything great again, until and unless the people take over.  We need to return to the days of "Mr. Smith goes to Washington."  We need to remember Abraham Lincoln's statement that the government should be "Of the people [not an oligarchy], By the people [what the majority of the American people think on an issue should be the rule, not what the party in power says], For the people [what ever happened to governing for the good of the people, and not just the good of your political agenda or that of special interest groups who happen to have deep pockets?]."  And of course, stop the judicial system from legislating from the bench.

I know I am an idealist. I know I am also somewhat of an "extremist" (in the views of others), due to thinking people should take responsibility for their own actions and conditions, and not rely on the government for handouts.  There is no such thing as a free lunch, somebody has to pay for it.

What amazes me most is that regardless who is 'in power,' things will not change [not really].  God has a plan and IS in control.  Regardless of our opinions of the individuals elected, it is our responsibility to not allow the devisive, polarizing nature of the current system to dissuade us from OUR responsibility: to pray.
1 Timothy 2:1-5 (NKJV):
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus..."
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Dear Father, help me to not get wrapped up in matters of the day.  Help me keep focused on you and not the current political nightmare.  You are in control.  You will seat who You choose for the reasons only You know.  Help me to be content in the knowledge that You have a plan, and help me to pray for those in authority because they could not be there without Your providence. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What, me a writer?

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

Sadly, the current generation of children will probably not recognize this phrase as the perpetual opening line of Snoopy's "Great American Novel."  Yet another pop culture reference slowly lost to the passage of time.

I am not intending to write about Snoopy's plight as an author, but just sort of tangented in that direction.  (Darn chemo brain!)

The real message I am trying to convey today is that after a month and a half or so of operating this blog, and right around 60 posts, I still do not feel like a writer.  I am ever amazed that anyone actually reads what I often consider inane babblings.  I am even more amazed that someone would willingly come back for more, and encourage me to keep writing.

Do not get me wrong, I am thankful that perhaps I have been able to share a word or two which you may have found useful or that may have helped you in some way.  I am very thankful of being used by God in any way.  But, ultimately, this blog is for me.  A way to journal what is going through my mind.  A way to try to keep things firing on all cylinders, to keep as sharp as I can. A way to reinforce what God is showing me and/or trying to teach me (even the lessons that require a boot to the head).

I try to be transparent.  I really do, and for the most part I have been VERY open and honest.  There are some things that I am holding back, not so much to conceal them, but more like the time has not been right just yet.  We are still early in our relationship, I don't want to drop any deal breakers so soon. I want you to want me so much you can over look some areas of my imperfection (even to empathize with me).

I know the day is coming when I will open the flood gates and let it all pour out, but for now we will take things a little slower though I still talk too much and over-share sometimes.

So, I have a couple questions for those of you who have been doing this a lot longer than I:
  • Do you feel you are a "natural born writer"? 
  • If not, at what stage did you realize you had become a writer?
  • Have you transitioned from it being a hobby and now it is a business to you?
  • Even though this is a personal journey blog, I sometimes find myself looking at stats and wondering why some posts do better than others.  Does that mean I am becoming vain or merely developing my desire in appealing to an "audience"?
IF you have answers to these, I would appreciate some input.  Thank you.

As I sign off for today, I wish to leave you with a quote one of my favorite bloggers posted yesterday (Thanks you 'Chelle at Treat Me to a Feast):
"Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little." ~Holley Gerth

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What Does it Cost?


Araunah the Jebusite offers King
David the free use of his threshing
floor, oxen and wood to sacrifice to
the Lord.
 Turn with me to 2 Samuel Chapter 24.

David angered the Lord. David numbered the population of Israel. This was something God has forbidden David to do. David did it anyway.  After it was complete, David realized what he had done and his “…heart condemned him…” (2 Samuel 24:10).

I like this phrasing, self-convicted. His conscience got the better of him. David prayed and asked for the iniquity (sin) to be taken away from him.

The next morning, God spoke to Gad (David’s seer). David was presented with three choices from which to pick for punishment:

• Seven years of famine in the land,
• Three months fleeing from his enemies while they pursue, or
• Three days plague in the land.

David was grieved and does not appear to make a choice, other than not wanting to be placed in the hands of man, he allows God to choose. The Lord sends the three days of plague. An angel slaughtered 70,000 people from Dan to Beersheba. As the angel prepared to strike in Jerusalem, the Lord restrains him. David saw the angel “by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite,” and cries out to God, taking responsibility for his sins. (2 Samuel 24:17)

Gad returns to David and instructs him how to appease God; David is to build an altar at the threshing floor. So David and his servants approach the location. The owner, Araunah sees them coming and hasn’t a clue as to why. He presents himself to King David bowed in reverence and asking why David has come.

David explains he wants to buy the threshing floor to build the altar to make a sacrifice to end the plague. Araunah, offers to give it to David for free, as well as oxen to sacrifice and wood for the altar and fires.

David realizes something very important. He must take responsibility for his action. David, in 2 Samuel 24:24 makes the most profound statement:
“No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price: nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which cost me nothing.”
Do you see it? If not, read it again!!

SACRIFICE CAN NOT BE CHEAP!! If it does not “cost” you, it is NOT sacrifice!!! WOW!

I do not mean to say that we are to give money or property or other items.  But there must be a price we pay when we sacrifice.  Doing something we would rather not do (and not complaining about it).  Being inconvenienced.  Dealing with something that is NOT within our norm, that stretches our character.  There must be a cost.

What are you sacrificing? Does it cost you something, or are you trying to get by cheaply?

Heavenly Father, help me take responsibility for my iniquity.  Teach me to sacrifice to get closer to you. Help me count the cost knowing that no matter what the cost is, You are worth it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Through a Glass, Darkly...

I rarely look out my household windows.  I am somewhat of a recluse when I am alone.  I prefer dark, not really big on "natural lighting." However, sometimes I decide to open the blinds to let in a little light and I ALWAYS notice that my windows seem dirty.

I currently live in the high Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas at about 4,500 feet elevation.  It is usually pretty dry around here and the wind blows a lot.  It is NOT uncommon to experience dust storms in the spring and summer time.  The combination of windy and dusty goes a long way to contributing to my dirty windows.  I DO NOT ENJOY LOOKING OUT DIRTY WINDOWS, and I do not like washing windows either.

Dirty windows never give a pleasant view.  Dirty windows can obscure our vision.

I have been reading 1 Corinthians 13 quite often lately across several different translations/transliterations/ paraphrases of the Bible.  I am trying to surround myself in the knowledge of what LOVE is so I can live out what LOVE is.  While reading today, the phrase that is the title of this post stood out to me, as well as the rest of the verse.  1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV):
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Right now, no matter how much we study, how hard we try, we are still looking for and at God with our human eyes which equate to looking through dirty windows; we can never fully and clearly picture what and who God is.  There will come a day, when the veil of the dirty windows will be removed.  Our spiritual eyes will be opened and we will see in person, God.  Our current, limited understanding will be replaced and we will know God as He knows us (completely).

WOW! I want to wash my windows right now and just catch a glimpse of God. I want to know!

But, alas, now is not yet that time... Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Dear Father, the anticipation of knowing is hard Lord.  Grant me the patience to endure the wait.  I desire to see You face to face and know You completely, even if it will take an eternity to process the glory and beauty You are.  Thank You, Father, for this promise

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Size Matters

An old Cadillac hearse in Alpine
which caught my eye with the
Size Matters deco.
Photo by yours truly.
Size matters.

It's very true.

Now, before you let your mind wander to territories it doesn't need to go, let me explain:  the size of your God determine the level of your faith.

Don't believe me? Ok, that is your right.  But if you have a BIG GOD, you are more trusting, less likely to worry, and less likely to try to force YOUR will upon God.

If you are a small god person, you probably worry, complain about situations you are encountering, and work towards things you want and not what God wants for you.

Read the Bible! Get a feel for the size of God it portrays.  He is HUGE! He is everywhere! He IS AWESOME!   He is so big, he "...bends down to look at the skies and the earth." [Psalm 113:6 New Century Version, Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.]

Dear Lord, thank You for being bigger than my fears, bigger than my hopes, bigger than my dreams.  Never let me forget You are a Big God.  Thank you!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wanted: Guest Posts


I am actively soliciting authors willing to submit a guest post for  Re-bootingThisCrazyLife.  Since I am returning to work after about three months out, I do not know how I will do in maintaining my preferred standard of one post a day.

Below, I have listed the standards for a Guest Post Submission.  Take a moment and read through them.  If you are interested, drop a comment and I will be glad to develop the post with you.

Rejoice and be glad!

Guest Post Submission Guidelines

Thanks for your interest in guest posting on Re-bootingThisCrazyLife! I’m always interested in receiving well-written, unique posts from a variety of standpoints which will encourage and inspire my readers.

Before submitting your post for consideration, please note the following guidelines:

  • Submission of your guest post does not guarantee publication. Your submission will be reviewed and if it will benefit Re-bootingThisCrazyLife readers, it is likely to be published.
  • In keeping with the spirit of Re-bootingThisCrazyLife, guest posts should be personal stories from a Christian world view about overcoming or dealing with adversity.  A Bible study entry is acceptable as long as there are personal applications.
  • Preference will be given to those who demonstrate a genuine interest in Re-bootingThisCrazyLife  as a reader or follower. Submissions with a “visit my site” or “check out my product” type feel will not be accepted. Likewise, submissions which appear to be strictly PR-related will not be accepted.  If accepted, you will get credit and readers will be directed to your site.
  • Posts must be high-quality, original content (i.e. not published anywhere else online).
  • Please limit your post to 750 words or less. (If you aren't sure what your word count is, the Word Count Tool is handy). Longer posts will be accepted, just trying to keep things concise (unlike the majority of my ramblings!!).
  • Please do not email your submission in HTML format or in a Word or text document. Simply type your post in your email and attach relevant images to the email (if applicable).
  • Please make a concerted effort to use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. Due to time constraints, submissions which require excessive editing cannot be accepted.
  • Make sure any links in your post are relevant and valid. Links deemed to be irrelevant to the main idea of your post will be removed without notice. Likewise, any non-working links will be removed without notice.
  • Include a short bio (100 words or less) at the end of your post. Feel free to include a link to your site.
  • Re-bootingThisCrazyLife does not offer monetary compensation for guest posts at this time.

These guidelines are not intended to stifle your creativity, but to streamline Re-bootingThisCrazyLife ’s guest posting process. Submissions that closely adhere to these guidelines are much more likely to be published!

If your guest post is accepted, it may take about a week for your guest post to be published. I do my best to notify you as soon as possible if your guest post is not accepted for publication so that you can submit it to another blog.

If you submit a query (i.e. an idea for a guest post as opposed to a guest post submission in full), I will review it and contact you if I am interested in pursuing the next step. If you do not hear from me within 2-4 weeks after submitting your query, you may assume I do not think it is a good fit for my readers.

I am hoping to publish one guest posts per week, so depending on how many guest posts are in the queue, it may be several months before your post is published. Due to the fluidity of blogging and the time-sensitive nature of my content, I generally cannot tell you the exact date your post will be published ahead of time. However, I do my best to notify you as far ahead as possible, the day your post goes live at the latest.

If you would like to submit your guest post for review, please email it to d[dot]brorsen[at]gmail.com with “Guest Post Submission” in the subject line.

Please include the following:

Your full name.
Your URL (if applicable).
Your post title.
The body of your post.
Attach any images you’d like to include (not required, but preferred).
A short bio.

Thank you for your consideration and assistance.  I am always willing to return the favor.

Going Too Fast or Going To Fast...?

"My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive."  

Thus begins many an episode for The Flash, from DC Comics. Of course, aficionados of the comic realm would be quick to mention that Wally West is the "modern" Flash, and there have been two previous incarnations of the character (Jay Garrick vol. 1, issues #1-104, and Barry Allen vol 1, issues #105-350). Of course, DC basically re-birthed the Series in 2009 with the return of Allen as the Flash.

Ok, I am sure many of you were not looking for this history of a superhero.  Well, I have always been more fond of the Marvel Comics universe (as far as comics go anyway), but the Flash is pretty much my favorite DC character (aside from the Green Lantern who IS #1).  I think being able to move as fast as the Flash would be really interesting; very productive, if nothing else.

The title of this post, "Going Too Fast or Going To Fast," is kind of a play with homonyms. One of those phrases that require a context to determine the meaning.  Well, the first usage (Going Too Fast) is not the proper context for what I will be discussing in the following dialog (though I do enjoy being a tad bit geek with the comic reference).

And now, the rest of the story... (I miss Paul Harvey!)

I was doing some research today about diet, nutrition, and cancer.  I am trying to get the most "bang for my buck" with the treatment protocol I am undergoing.  I want to beat the odds and extend my days as much as possible. God is able to make it happen, and I want to help out where I can.  I have plans for the future.

First thing I read, which doesn't come as a surprise AT ALL to me: CANCER LOVES SUGAR.  In 1924, Dr. Otto Warburg hypothesized that while not the prime cause of cancer, sugar fermentation in the body fuels cancer development and tumor growth. Therefore, a low/no sugar diet would be very beneficial to combat the current cancer cells in my body.  This will also be a good thing based on the metastasis of the colon cancer in my liver which has reduced my liver function.  Of course, the function of the liver is the storage and release of glycogen (sugar processing, in conjunction with the pancreas).

Second, and the most important which is the primary issue I wish to discuss today: FASTING HAS BEEN SHOWN TO COMBAT CANCER IN CONJUNCTION WITH CHEMO THERAPY.  Dr. Valter Longo has been researching this connection for the past several years with promising results.  A fast of two days prior and one day after chemo therapy has been shown to improve survival, slowed tumor growth, and/or slow the spread of tumors.  My only question is, in my case with basically a three-day cycle, how will this work for me?  That would be two days prior, two days with pump on, and disconnect day.  That is five days of fasting every two weeks.  Not too sure I can maintain that.  I have looked at an ADF (alternate day fasting-every other day) schedule between treatments and the three day treatment as fasting as well.

I am starting my fast today (Saturday) and will be on a Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday-Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday schedule, with it repeating again starting on Saturday. I want to try this until I head to Georgia (October 14-25 is my assumption, if I can get my chemo to fall like I prefer-Friday through Sunday).  The results of my labs and tumor marker tests will determine how long I stay on it.  If it shows significant results, as evidenced by improved blood cell counts, lower blood sugar, lower sodium, lower proteins and reduced tumor markers (already cut almost in half with the Avastin addition to my chemo), I will stay with it as long as I can. GOAL: total reversal of metastasis in liver (want it clear) so surgery for tumor removal in colon is an option.

Fasting has is a natural reaction to sickness: watch your pets; when they get sick, they stop eating.  It is Biblical.  It is healthy.  Read Daniel 1:8-16 (MSG):
But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king's food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet. The head of the palace staff, by God's grace, liked Daniel, but he warned him, "I'm afraid of what my master the king will do. He is the one who assigned this diet and if he sees that you are not as healthy as the rest, he'll have my head!"  But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: "Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see."  The steward agreed to do it and fed them vegetables and water for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu. So the steward continued to exempt them from the royal menu of food and drink and served them only vegetables.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Sure, a Daniel fast is the removal of a food and/or drink, as in the Biblical story only ate vegetables and drank water, and not a complete abstinence  from food for a period of time.  Well, it seems my life in general will become a Daniel fast (sugars as much as possible-at least greatly reduced-still will have some and a little wine now and then and I like sweet wines like a Muscato or Reisling).  But the full food fasts will be on the ADF schedule above.

The key verses from the passage above have been underlined to point out that Daniel and the boys ate only veggies and drank water and in 10 days, their appearance was better than that of the others who ate the customary diet.

Well, I have about 13 weeks (seven more chemo treatments) in this cycle.  We shall see how it goes.  I will keep you posted, and I request your prayers for support of this plan, and for the promising results I desire.
Thank you, in advance.

Dear Lord, teach me to fast.  It is a principle demonstrated by the Lord and commanded ("...when you fast..."-not IF you fast) to us as well.  Help me acquire this practice.  I know I have discussed the health benefits of fasting, show me the spiritual benefits as well.  Father, I know You desire us to follow You and Your commandments.  Provide the daily strength I will need.  Feed me on Your Word on the days I fast.  Thank you for loving me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Bread of Life...

As I mentioned yesterday, I will be starting the Bible in 90 Days reading plan soon with my (x)Wife. Our goal is to start probably Monday, September 10, 2012.  I am very excited for this opportunity.  I have read through the Bible several times in my life and always appreciate it.  This time, I look forward to the conversations that will come out of it.

I will be posting the readings here a day prior, feel free to join us in this adventure.  The purpose, beyond just getting the people of God to read the Word, is to read the Bible "attentively."  I know I can fall into the habit of reading just to be reading, which usually ends up with little retention or comprehension.  If you decide to joins us on this journey, pray before reading, read at a time of day when you are awake and alert, and don't be afraid to mark in your Bible or take notes.  I would greatly appreciate your input in comments.

I tend to buy smaller editions of the Bible to keep around at work.  I usually end up with a bit of time to read at work and having a Bible around helps me make that choice a good one.  I am not afraid to mark things up in my Bibles either.  I am always making notes from my perspective on things, which can be a  tad askew sometimes I will admit.  But I like it when someone picks up one of my Bibles and flips through it.  The notes can pique their interest to read exactly what my off kilter or cryptic scrawling means.

Anyway, a good primer will be to read Psalm 119.  It is full of references to the Word, the Law, Precepts, Testimonies, His Ways, Statutes, Commandments,... As you do so, really think about what you are reading.  I hope it will fill you and cause you also to hunger for more, for it is truly the Bread of Life which man needs to survive.

I look forward to you joining us on the reading adventure.  Take it as an opportunity to live the words of Nehemiah 8:8 (KJV):
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

Rejoice and be glad.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Mourning Sky...

Cloudy skies on the day my heart
breaks again (for a little while).
The picture to the right is one I took this morning.  Just the morning sky which for me today is the "mourning sky."  This morning my (x)Wife and children departed and began the trek back to GA.  It was a dry-eyed departure since I was under orders not to cry.  Thankfully, the kids were tired (so they would sleep on the drive some) and no one cried because that would have made me violate my orders.

Last night Son #3 (9y.o.) was very sad about their imminent return and his separation from me.  He is usually the very level emotionally stable one, but was also a Daddy's boy growing up.  He lost a tooth yesterday and gave it to me.  I told him I was going to plant it and try to grow me one of him for my house.  It was a cute little joke and he appreciated it.

Ok, enough of the sentimental stuff, that will only make me think about it more and lead to violating my prime directive for the day.
They are driving away. 

The good in this departure is that we are a step closer to me seeing them again (aiming for October). And, hopefully, a step closer in the recreation of this family into one unit.  The plan is for me to visit GA in between my chemo treatments.  It will be only about 10 days, but I (we) will make the most of what we have available.  I am looking very forward to then, though not at the price of missing out on what I need to do daily here for me (exercise, eat right, take care of my health, feed my spirit) or what steps she and I have decided to take together while we are apart (C25K, Through the Bible in 90 Days, general prayer and communication).

In all, this visit was very productive for us as a family and as a couple. I look forward to what the future holds for us.

This entire situation calls to mind a Bible verse that basically talks about being "love sick" when apart from the target of your affection, Proverb 13:12 (KJV):
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Hope is good.  Having something to look forward to helps us get through our day.  But endless waiting when it seems the goals is never drawing closer, is agonizing.

I was reading an analysis of this verse recently and the author spoke of a Nazi experiment during WW II.  Jewish "prisoners of war" would dig a large hole and pile the dirt in one location.  The next day they would be instructed to move the pile of dirt to a new location.  This would happen day after day.  The result was that prisoners would see the futility of the exercise and would die at a faster rate than other who were given productive work that had a clearly defined end state and goal.

I have hope.  I have a goal in mind.  I have set minor benchmarks along the way to keep hope alive.  I just await the final end state, and then all will be well (when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life).  I don't mean everything will be perfect or that the work will be over; just that having the target with me, life will be better and the longing will be over.

Lord, thank you for the wonders You have worked in our lives and our life together.  Only You can heal the hurts of the past.  Your plans are wonderful and your works awesome.  Please grant safety in the travel of my family to their home.  Grant us peace that we will be together again soon.  Your love for us is amazing.  Your plans are better than our plans. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mixed Emotions

I find myself today dealing with very mixed emotions about something which will happen in the next few days:  my (x)Wife and children will be returning to their home in Georgia very soon.

I don't really know how to look at this event.

The selfish me doesn't want them to go.  I am thankful for the time of Renewal we have shared, but I don't want it to end.  I know the only way for things to move forward is for this to happen and the NEXT STEPS (whatever they are) to start happening.  Besides, my current home, while it worked for this visit, is too small for long term occupancy of the entire family.

I look forward to the opportunity to visit Georgia and see them again soon (aiming for October).  It will be an opportunity to see the changing seasons, and while spending lots of money to do stuff is not desired, day trips to Calloway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA and Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain, GA are on the "must do" list.  As a family, we have always enjoyed Calloway with the flowers and gardens and butterfly house; however, it may be a little different from most trips since I might not be able to walk all the trails as we used to (I hope to have some cardio level rebuilt by then).

Not trying to use  Bible verses totally out of context, to make a statement that agrees with my perspective, but, here is a portion of Psalm 30: 5 (KJV):
"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
This time, when the suburban pulls out of my drive way, there will be a future hope attached to it instead of the dread and sadness of the last time they left.  God is good (all the time!).  Very thankful for a God of new beginnings.

Looking forward to the future and the plans He has for us.  He is a glorious God who gives beauty for ashes and joy for mourning.  His plans are greater than my plans. I can never thank and praise Him enough.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ocean of Grace...

I read Psalm 130:4 in the Good New Translation yesterday and pretty much stopped in my tracks. The verse:
      But you forgive us
           so that we should stand in awe of you.
Good News Translation (GNT)  Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Such an elemental doctrine of the Christian Faith.  So simple yet profound.  In our "advanced" world where we have access to hundreds, if not thousands, of Bible studies, many different translations/transliterations of the Bible at our fingertips, classes and courses to help us become better verse in theology at large, we seem to overlook the simple which is right before us.

We have lost the simple truths.  God forgives us.  That, in and of itself, should cause us to be awestruck.  Sadly we have also be desensitized to "Awesome."  I looked up several different dictionaries for a definition of Awesome which is fitting, but they all seemed to have desensitized with the current culture.  Awesome now means terrific or great.  That falls so short of what it should mean; might as well go all 'Leave it to Beaver' and say "Swell."  I can just hear the late Rich Mullins singing "Our God is a Swell God..."  NO!  We need to recapture awesomeness!

Look up the definition of awe: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear and wonder. That is more like it. This NEEDS to be the base of our understanding of awesome. Respect mixed with fear and wonder; beyond our comprehension, and leaves us a little bit fearful of the prospect.  Awe should always have a question mark associated with it.  Once we CAN understand, we lose the awesomeness of it all.

There is an ocean of grace available to us.  We should not continue sinning due to this knowledge, we should be actively pursuing holiness, purity, and perfection (as God defines it, NOT us).  The ocean of grace concept also caught my attention recently.  It is such a beautiful and awesome concept.  (YES, I said AWESOME!).

The David Crowder Band  song "He Loves Us" (which was written by John Mark McMillan) includes the lyric from the graphic lead in of this post: 'If love is an ocean, we're all sinking.'  Wow.  Listen to it.  His love is manifest in our forgiveness.  We should never forget this.  It should be the anthem of our daily praise.  Without His forgiveness and grace, we have nothing.

Make today about pondering the awesomeness of God's grace to you.  If that doesn't make you want to praise Him, I don't know what will.

Rejoice and be glad.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Consider it Wholly Joyful...

Again, there is a theme running in my life.  I get the confirmation through voices in my head (not literal "voices" but the figurative type as I read the words of others who are sharing similar messages).  Several weeks ago, the theme was the Power of Our Words and it was everywhere surrounding me.

Right now, the theme is from James 1: 2-4, "Joy through the Trials/Tempations."

From the Amplified Bible:
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.  Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.  But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation 

NOT to call attention to myself or to make what I am going through seem greater than that of what any of you may be experiencing, but I think I have A LOT of perfecting to do based on what I feel of the weight of these things on me.

I put on a brave face.  I have a wonderful public persona of the "Overcomer" when I am at the Dr.'s office or receiving chemo.  I never let on that I am struggling sometimes.  Ok, it is not a struggle with the physical.  I have been quite blessed that the side effects with which I am dealing are generally light and, while inconvenient, not too bad (onset of Peripheral Neuropathy, cold sensitivity with beverages, minor mouth sores, general fatigue).

My greatest nemesis through all this, so far, has been the Chemo brain. It makes me hypersensitive to things emotionally (usually manifests through crying a lot over really nothing). I DO NOT like the feeling of being out of control. Chemo brain is a private hell, which unfortunately for those who are staying with me, I am sharing.

From the time I joined the military nearly 23 years ago, I have done much better with structure and schedules in my life than chaos.  I KNOW I am not in control (God IS), and I have to relinquish my plans for His.  I just would like some semblance of structure, in whatever little way I can.

My words are not really coming to me today (another issue with Chemo brain).  Instead, I will refer you to a posting from this morning by another individual I read The Preachers Word by Ken Weliever.  He stated it much more concisely than I am currently able to do.  Please take a moment and visit his corner of the web.

Ken closed his post out with the following quote, attributed to anonymous.  I think it is very fitting and sums up things nicely, so I will share it as well:

I asked God for strength and he gave me the difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and He gave me problems to solve.
I prayed for prosperity and God gave me the brain and brawn to work.
I requested courage, and He gave me danger to overcome.
I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.
I prayed for favors and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted, but I received everything I needed.

Just remember to be thankful when you are confronting something.  God has a plan in it, and it will be for your good.

Dear Lord, help me to understand that Your ways are better than my ways.  I do not need to know why, just that You have placed these things in my life for a reason, and for my development.  Thank You for knowing what I need before I even ask and providing it to me even when it is not what I have requested.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

18 and Life


I feel remiss for quoting the '80s-'90s Glam Rock band Skid Row, but it seemed partially fitting (at least the chorus, the rest of the song is unrelated to the post).

August 19, 1994. 18 years ago.  The start of a relationship that spiraled out of control and ended badly.  It took 14 years, 3 months and 18 days to end (they left on December 7, 2008).  It took 3 years, 9 months, and 4 days to gather the strength to admit to my (x)Wife that I was still in love with her and hoped we could attempt to build something NEW the right way (focused on God more than ourselves-I mean me not focused on me-on July 12, 2012~ish).

"18 and Life" by Skid Row (Linked to Official Video)

Writer(s): DAVID SABO / RACHEL BOLAN
18 And Life lyrics © Chrysalis One Music, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
Eighteen and life you got it
Eighteen and life you know
Your crime is time and it's
Eighteen and life to go (Repeat all)
Eighteen years gone.  Life to look forward to (NOT in the context of the song where it is life in prison, but a life after a new beginning, filled with true love and cherishing and communication!!).  Waiting and praying in agreement with warriors that God will redeem the years and "...to give unto [us] beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that [we]might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified."   ~Isaiah 61:2-4 (KJV)

Still, there remains a lot of work to be done; however, we are both actively seeking this end.  Living patiently for the time to BE.  Neither pressing nor attempting to force OUR will upon the situation.  Please, (if you are a believing and praying folk) join us in agreement and prayer.

Dearest Heavenly Father,  thank You for being able to do more than we could ever ask or think! Help us release the past and focus on You and the future You have for us.  You have a plan we never thought possible.  Thank You for loving us this much.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Love Extravagantly

I heard this phrase the other day.  I am sure I have heard it before, but this time it piqued my interest as I am trying to learn to love again (Ok, I will admit, I am learning to love truly for the first time as God intended it, previously I could not claim the qualities of love as my own.  I was winging it.).

Love Extravagantly

Has a great ring to it.  Very "buzz worthy."  But what does it mean?


From the FreeDictionary.com website:

ex·trav·a·gant  adj.
1. Given to lavish or imprudent expenditure: extravagant members of the imperial court.2. Exceeding reasonable bounds: extravagant demands. See Synonyms at excessive. (Maybe?)3. Extremely abundant; profuse: extravagant vegetation. (Oh YEAH!)4. Unreasonably high; exorbitant: extravagant fees. (Not so much, love should be free.)
5. Archaic Straying beyond limits or bounds; wandering. (Hmmm...I like this, LOVE ALL OVER THE PLACE!)
ex·trava·gant·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Update
So based on the definitions I think are fitting for our little adventure, 2.(?), 3., and 5; here we go.

To Love Extravagantly is to Love:

  1. Beyond reason (going above and beyond).
  2. Everyone (abundantly, enough to go around to all!).
  3. Beyond limits and everywhere (when you think you have loved enough, love more!).
Wow.  That convicts me.  I know I need to work on this A LOT.  I love from convenience.  I shelter myself from people to not have to love strangers.  I stay at home alone and "love" through electronic media my "Cardboard cutout friends" (That was my phrase I used to use in the early days of the internet when my (x)wife (before she was my x) discovered chat rooms and e-mail strings and got very involved with them to the point I felt neglected, but then since I was not loving her as she needed to be loved, I can't blame her).

The source of this phrase, at least from the point where I will reference it, is the Message Version of the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13.  It is actually in the final verse 13:13, but I will present the entire chapter since the Transliteration/Paraphrase is apt:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. 
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self. 
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 
Love doesn't strut, 
Doesn't have a swelled head, 
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first," 
Doesn't fly off the handle, 
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 
Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
Puts up with anything, 
Trusts God always, 
Always looks for the best, 
Never looks back, 
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.  When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

I have bolded and used red font for the characteristics of love.  We should be reading this every day asking ourselves:
"When I love, do I give up?" I did.  Now I am trying to get back in the game!
"When I love, do I care more for the other, than me?" I was selfish, trying to learn self-less-ness!
"When I love, do I want more than is there?" I did, I wanted things my way. Now, one day at a time is enough, what is, is.
"When I love, am I proud and seeming to seek attention for what I have done 'In Love'"? Probably, I called attention to how much I would "sacrifice" for those I loved.  Now, I just want to serve.

You get the idea...

When we conduct an active and honest self-inspection, we will probably surprise ourselves with what we find!

In the final verses, we see that we are incomplete, waiting for our completion in Christ upon His return.Until then, we are given the commands to:
Trust Steadily in God:  keep trusting everyday no wavering between trust and doubt.  Be consistent.
Hope Unswervingly: do not lose your course.  Keep heading in the right direction.
Love Extravagantly: as we have covered here.  Above and beyond, to everyone, everywhere, and more than you thought you could!

Because: THE BEST OF THESE IS LOVE

Dear Father, teach me to love extravagantly.  Clear my mind of what I think I know about love and teach me what You have designed it to be.  Teach me to love my (x)Wife, my children, my family, my friends, my coworkers, my neighbors, my town, my state, my country, everyone and everything as You want me to.  Show me where and how to apply this lesson Father.  You have a plan, that is good and bigger than me.  I look forward to seeing the wonders You have in mind. Amen

Rejoice and Be Glad

Friday, August 17, 2012

The First Stone

I apologize for displaying a
physical representation of Jesus.
I do not wish to offend anyone nor
further perpetuate the "White Jesus"
stereotype.  I am sure many of us will
be very surprised one day when we
meet Him face to face.
There has recently been a lot of debate and political posturing lately.  Sure, I know it is an election season.  I will NOT talk politics here.  I will write for a few moments about the controversy involving Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy's statements.

First off: My time living in Georgia and being near Chick-fil-A restaurants was a great thing, LOVE the food there.

Second: I am trying to determine exactly how politicians were surprised that a private company, which is run on very high Christian values, is NOT open on Sundays, who donates millions to Christian organizations and schools would have a president who is opposed to homosexual marriage or the changing of the traditional definition of marriage.

Third: I believe a lot of the hype has to do simply with the fact it is an election year and the President has "evolved in his stance" on the subject, which trickles down to all on that side of the aisle.

Before I go any further, let me tell you my belief.  I believe homosexuality is a sin.  I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.  I do NOT believe it is any more heinous than any other sin.  Sin IS sin.  All shapes, all sizes, all flavors are contrary to God's Word.

We are not under the law any more, we are under grace, but that does mean that the law no longer applies.  It means that you ARE still guilty, but you can be forgiven if you repent (TURN AWAY) from your sin.

Let's take a spin through the Bible so I can show you where I am here:

John 8:1-11 (KJV):

"1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.  2 . And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.  3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4. they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.  7. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  10. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  11. She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
Being a curious fellow, I have often wondered what Jesus was writing in the sand.  The Bible never specifically tells us, though there is much conjecture.  I have two theories that separately could be true, though I think that combined would have been a powerful statement.  I will elaborate.

Jesus, being omniscient (all-knowing) had this ploy of the Pharisees pegged the moment they approached Him (ok, from the beginning of time...lol).  In verses 4 and 5 they lay down their case that they are presenting.  Generally they are claiming that this woman was caught in the act of adultery (Leviticus 20:10 KJV "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.")
[If I were Jesus, I would have asked "if she was caught in the act, where is the other party? Does not the law state the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death?" But I digress...]

I like verse 6 where Jesus just stoops down as though to pay them no mind and starts writing in the sand.  Here is where the first of my writing theories comes in: I think that while they were laying down their case He was writing the 10 commandments from the tablets there in the sand.  So in verse 7 He has laid down the groundwork for His comment, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." 

Now I am not endorsing Ray Comfort and The Way of The Master, as I think that method of evangelism is confrontational, not that Jesus didn't confront at times.  I do like the fact that the confrontation is based on the truth in the law and the foundational verses he uses are the 10 commandments and Galatians 3:24 (" Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.")  We have to know we are lost in order to be found (Amazing Grace reference...).

After this writing and laying the challenge down, He goes back to writing.  [This is where the second part of the theory and the combined application comes in.] I envision Jesus as He again starts writing, that the first thing He does, is clear the slate of the words of the law He has previously written.  Then, with great big letters to cover the entire area the law was located, He writes ONE WORD: LOVE.

Jesus was ALL about summing the law up with this one word.  It is the most powerful word.  Love conquers all.  Galatians 5:14 and Jesus Himself several times in the Gospels state "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

THAT is the moment I think the crowd started to fade away.  When they are gone, Jesus confronts the adulteress,  "where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?"  He knew they had departed.  I love her response in verse 11 and can interpret it 2 ways in my slightly off-kilter manner.  She replies, "No man, Lord."  My first interpretation is that she is telling Jesus, "no one here but You Lord have convicted me by the law you wrote in the sand".  And the other perhaps more applicable way, "no Lord, just this woman, a sinner, who acknowledges her sin to you and wishes to repent and be cleansed."   Those three words, "No man, Lord" convey so much to me.

But the BEST BEST part here is the last statement by Jesus, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."  Jesus loves us!  Jesus FREES US from our sin.  Jesus doesn't condemn nor does He allow the law to hold sway.  WE CAN BE FORGIVEN!!! Notice what He tells her, "Go, and sin no more."  GO, AND SIN NO MORE! That's it.  Turn away from your former behaviors which were contrary to Me and My Father's Law.

That is how we should approach this and ALL issues where the world wants to change what the Bible says about right and wrong, where we see ANY sin in the life of another.  We should love them, we should guide them to turning away.  We should NOT judge them, that is when we forget the plank in our own eye.

Lord, help me understand that ALL sin is sin.  I am as guilty as anyone of sinning against You for there are none righteous, no, not one.  I daily fall short of Your Glory, but am thankful for the ability to land in Your arms of Grace.  I am enthralled that You can love so extravagantly a lowly sinner such as me.  Your Love is amazing, Your Truth is enduring, You forgiveness knows no bounds.  Allow me the personal Grace to extend to others when they are down and provide me the words to show them You.  Amen.

Rejoice and be glad.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Schrodinger's Cat...


  
Forgive me in advance for this post, but occasionally the geek side of me collides with my OCD and chaos ensues...

Stolen from Wikipedia:
Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that might be alive or dead, depending on an earlier random event. Although the original "experiment" was imaginary, similar principles have been researched and used in practical applications. The thought experiment is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Schrödinger did not wish to promote the idea of dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility; quite the reverse, the paradox is a classic reductio ad absurdum. (Latin: "reduction to absurdity") is a common form of argument in which a proposition is purported to be disproved by reduction to absurdity in reasoning or consequence.
Stolen from Whatis.com:

Here's Schrödinger's (theoretical) experiment: We place a living cat into a steel chamber, along with a device containing a vial of hydrocyanic acid. There is, in the chamber, a very small amount of hydrocyanic acid, a radioactive substance. If even a single atom of the substance decays during the test period, a relay mechanism will trip a hammer, which will, in turn, break the vial and kill the cat. 
The observer cannot know whether or not an atom of the substance has decayed, and consequently, cannot know whether the vial has been broken, the hydrocyanic acid released, and the cat killed. Since we cannot know, according to quantum law, the cat is both dead and alive, in what is called a superposition of states. It is only when we break open the box and learn the condition of the cat that the superposition is lost, and the cat becomes one or the other (dead or alive). This situation is sometimes called quantum indeterminacy or the observer's paradox: the observation or measurement itself affects an outcome, so that the outcome as such does not exist unless the measurement is made. (That is, there is no single outcome unless it is observed.)
I can hear it now, where on earth is he going with this!!!  Ahh...but it will soon all become clear.

As in Schrodinger's thought experiment, we never can really know until we know...and by the way, while I know it is NOT true (since it was actually Brithish play-write Ben Johnson in Every Man in His Humour in 1598 and shortly thereafter William Shakespeare in  Much Ado About Nothing in 1599 who both used  the similar phrases "care will kill a cat" and "though care kill a cat" respectively), I like to think that this is the origin of the phrase "Curiosity Killed the Cat", since according to Schrodinger's reductio ad absurdum, the cat is both dead and alive until we open the box to see.  Thus, our curiosity, and not the cat's, killed him.

So, again, where is he going with this?

Well, truth be told, I am VERY curious.  On my blog, there is a little tool (feedjit.com) which tell me generally from where the readers are based (or at least from where their computer address catches the internet).  Many of the hits I can generally identify to whom they belong, based on what I know of some of my readers.  Others I am totally lost in the dark (not to mention the foreign-Russia and India- that refer from web sites I can't imagine how I am connected!!)

All I am asking is if you read this post, just drop me a comment with your name (or handle-I am not choosy) and your general location (I don't want your home address, unless you want a Christmas card-as if I send them...lol).  It would go a long way towards satisfying my curiosity.

So go ahead, Kill the cat (or don't) and open the box!

Thanks, Rejoice and Be Glad!!!!

Even if...

There is a song out there right now which deeply touches me. It makes me think, and yes, it has made me cry a time or two.

The song is "Even If" (fan video NOT official video) and the group is Kutless. I have been a fan of the band for several years, especially since they have been doing the power ballad/praise and worship sound. It really sounds great and they have wonderful song writers working with them.

I feel that the band has a wonderful ministry going and pray that God can continue to use them for His glory in the future.

EVEN IF lyrics

Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That could never change who You are
And we trust in who You are

Even if the healing doesn't come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn't come

Lord we know your ways are not our ways
So we set our faith in who You are
Even though You reign high above us
You tenderly love us
We know Your heart
And we rest in who You are

You're still the Great and Mighty One
We trust You always
You're working all things for our good
We'll sing your praise

You are God and we will bless You
As the Good and Faithful One
You are God and we will bless You
Even if the healing doesn't come
Even if the healing doesn't come

Even If lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Songwriters: WOOD, TONY / KRIPPAYNE, SCOTT

I can understand the message of the song. I continually pray for healing and believe that it will be; however, I know His plans are greater than my plans and "Even If" the healing never comes, He is still worthy of my praise.

As I ponder the song lyrics, I am currently undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer which has metastasized to my liver. (Literally, I am at the Allison Cancer Center in Midland, Texas with IVs pumping the poisons into my body right now). The song reminds me of Job.

Job is an interesting book. Since it is, chronologically, the first recorded book of the Bible, it is probably also among the first stories ever written down.

Job had everything going for him. Great family, great wealth, great reputation, great health. Based on Satan challenging God that 'sure, it is easy for Job to praise you when everything is wonderful, but will he do so if things are not so good?'

So God allowed Job to be tested by Satan to the extent that everything could be taken, save his life.

Job had a rough time of things, losing his wealth, family, and health. While the Bible doesn't record specifically how long Job's testing lasted, Jewish tradition states he was afflicted for between one and seven years. That would truly be a long trial (from the health point of view with the boils he suffered).

To make matters worse, he was visited by his three "friends" who were convinced that Job was being punished for some secret sin which he needed to confess, and his wife told him to just curse God and die.

Job maintained his righteousness and refused to curse God, in fact, he continually gave reasons why he was praising God through the trial:

• He is good and loving (Job 10:12).
• He is all-powerful (Job 42:2; 37:5, 23).
• He notices every detail of my life (Job 23:10; 31:4).
• He is in control (Job 34:13).
• He has a plan for my life (Job 23:14).
• He will save me (Job 19:25). (For I KNOW my Redeemer lives!!!!)

Job set the example of "grace through suffering" and, in the end, was rewarded with a double portion, a two-fold increase on all that he had lost.

I am not to the point where I am even tempted to curse God for my "trials." I hope to maintain the strength I have had so far. I wish to be an example similar to Job for others to see God's grace through my adversity.

Dear Lord, I do not need to know the why. Yes, I want You to heal me and believe You can. My healing is not a challenge to You nor is it contingent upon me praising You. You are worthy of praise regardless. Let me be an example for others of who You are and let my mouth be constantly full of Your praise.

Rejoice and be glad!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (Kinda...)



Happy 100th Julia

We miss you.

Bon appetit!

Waiting for the Shot.

For those of you who do not know, I am a veteran.  I do not specifically remember if I have addressed that fact before.  I spent approximately 100 months (a bit less than 8 1/2 years) in the Army as a 95B2LQ9QB.

For anyone not versed in the jargon of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS's), that was a Military Police (95B-which has been changed since I left the military), 2 (Sergeant), L (linguist), Q9 (Traffic Accident Investigator), QB (Spanish-central American).  Quite a mouthful, but rarely used in its entirety except on certain paperwork.  I spent approximately half (right around 50 months) of my enlistment living and working overseas: 27 months in Uijeongbu, South Korea, 17 months in Colon, Panama, and 6 months on deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina.  I never minded going overseas, mainly since I never really saw myself traveling internationally too much on my own.  But I digress....

The point of this post is mostly to call out the extreme respect I have for veterans in general, and more specifically, those in the different branches' Special Operations groups (Rangers, Special Forces, PJ's, SEALS, Force Recon...).  I respect them because they do the job I could not (not from lack of ability, since I firmly believe I can do anything I set my mind to), but from lack of desire.

In this age of Reality TV, we have the opportunity to go "inside" the training of these Special Forces warriors.  While it make for intense and entertaining TV, I have no desire to live it (there was a time when I was in the Army where I considered it...I got over it fast).

Of all the individuals in the Spec Ops world (and military, in general), I have a great respect for the snipers.  The individuals who go out in 2-man teams and hide for hours and hours on end focused through the sights of the rifle, constantly analyzing and calculating variances based on the environment and how it will affect the trajectory of the package they are there to deliver. They lie there,  patiently waiting for the opportunity to gently squeeze the trigger and eliminate a threat.  My hat is off to you folks.

Before I get into trouble from my Spec Ops and sniper brethren, let me qualify the point I am about to make: You are not the devil, but Satan shares your skill set.

Intrigued?

Satan is a sniper.  He rarely conducts a full on frontal assault of his target.  He just watched and waits for the opportunity to strike.  I read this in (again, a Joyce Meyer) devotional recently.  I think it is very apt and something we should all take into consideration:
Satan is never in a hurry.  All he needs is an opportunity to inject unholy, self-centered thoughts into our heads.  If we don't kick them out, they stay.  And he can continue his evil, destructive plan.
There are 4 specific verses from the Bible I wish to share today in order to help us see this point.  First, 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV):
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
We must maintain an alertness to the fact that there will be attacks if we let our guard down.  So how do we combat this?

James 4:7 (KJV):
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
And, Ephesians 6:11 (KJV):
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
And, finally, Ephesians 4:27 (KJV) in the context from the post Anger Management (remember, Be ye angry and sin not...):
Neither give place to the devil.
Hmmm...I see a pattern here.  Verbs that require action.  Resist.  Put on.  We have to DO something to protect ourselves from attack.  An active defense and not passively waiting for assistance from God.  He WILL help you, but you HAVE TO DO SOMETHING to help yourself as well.  (I would encourage you to follow up in Ephesians 6 concerning the whole armor of God which will help you.)

Dearest Lord, thank you for helping me first understand that I have an enemy who is patiently waiting for the opportunity to pull the trigger.  Help me stay fully protected with the armor you provide.  Help me to fully submit to you and resist the devil.  Amen

Rejoice and be glad.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When My Cup Spilleth Over

Continuing somewhat on the theme of Anger Management from yesterday's post, I had read something about a week ago I knew I would have to write about here.

The sudden jostling of life and its appointments/disappointments can cause us to react swiftly.  How we react is indicative to our true nature or the condition of our heart, or at least our stability at that moment.

Everyone has those days where things are going just fine, and suddenly while heading home, a car cuts you off and causes you to use evasive actions to avoid an accident. This can be upsetting.

How do you react?

The quote I read was from a Joyce Meyer devotional: 'A cup filled with sweet water when jogged cannot spill one bitter drop.'  This is a very convicting paraphrase/abridgment  of the contents of Matthew 12:33-37 (KJV):
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

I know I have probably quoted this from Matthew several times before, but it is SO convicting to me.  Knowing that in the very reactive moments, my words show the "abundance of my heart" or what is filling me.  And, as importantly, but perhaps more convicting, knowing I shall give an account of every idle word and their content will either justify or condemn me.  Makes you think.  Makes me sad, since I know I lack an internal filter sometimes and have spewed forth many an idle word.

Dear Lord, help me control my tongue and my mind.  Let the words and thought be sweet water from you so that when my cup is spilled that is all that can pour from it.

Rejoice and be glad.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Anger Management

I think many people have the wrong impression of how a Christian is supposed to act.  They believe that a "good" Christian is all smiles, sunshine, puppy dogs, and rainbows all the time.  I think that is a very unfair expectation placed upon anyone.

If we were to study out the emotions of Jesus from the picture of His life we have through the Gospels, we would see a Man who wasn't just happy shiny.  Jesus wept (John 11:35).  Jesus was angry when He drove out the money changers from the temple (Matthew 21:12-13).  I am SURE He was exasperated when He had to explain to His disciples the meanings of many of the parables he used.  I am also pretty sure He was a relatively FUN guy, too, or He wouldn't have managed to hang out at the parties He went to with the sinners and tax collectors.

Jesus was an emotional guy.  So shouldn't we who claim His name also be allowed to display the full range of emotions?

Today, I am thinking a lot about anger.  The range from slightly perturbed through righteous indignation all the way to full on nearly homicidal (if I thought I could get away with it) Road Rage.

I struggle(d) with Anger Issues.  I will admit it.  What I find odd is that I can hardly remember much anger in my life as a child or teen.  Anger seems to have found me as an adult.  The darkest period of anger was during and immediately after my divorce.  And, yes, it continued for several years.

In hindsight, there was NO justification for my anger.  It was from a selfish point of view, "I can't believe she left ME," "How can she do this to ME?"  And looking at the reasons why from a neutral point of view now, I am surprised she stayed as long as she did.

Anyway, I was (am?) the kind of person who would not address issues at home. I had (have) a hard time putting words to my emotions, especially when I feel as though I need to be on the defensive (I always felt that way-not needing to-just a mechanism of defense from my youth). I would not speak my mind.  I would let the emotions fester inside until they would just explode in loud, charged conversations (yes, I would yell).  I have been known to throw things.  Even in my hottest moments, however, I was NEVER physically abusive (he justifies his poor behavior...).

That was then...  Now, I have a hard time keeping the words inside.  I lack a filter, I speak my mind and will do so regardless (mostly) of location.  I am trying to not keep things inside.  I am letting them flow out as they arise (or trying at least).  Not saying in all areas of my life I am filter free; I still struggle with one area, though it is becoming more free as the days pass and I realize I do not need to fear (1 John 4:18).

The important thing to remember is it is OK to be angry, Jesus was.  We just need to not sin in our anger nor hold on to it.  For in doing so, we allow Satan a foothold in our life.

Read Ephesians 4:26-27 (KJV):
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
It is the not sinning part that will always be hardest, for it is a constant battle.  I am not saying that I become evil when angry, just that perhaps I am not as prone to love those who anger me.  And we are commanded to love one another (not just the people that we like).  By loving only those whom I am not mad at and failing to love those who may anger me, I am not following His command.  Partial obedience is total disobedience, ergo it is a sin...need to work on my loving.

Lord, help me to be more like You.  Allow me to display all emotions, but in a manner that is worthy of my walk with You, and does not do damage to the label "Christian."  

Rejoice and be glad.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Just Enough for Today

I will admit it.  I worry some about the future.

I am not concerned for my life, for I am secure in its end.  I do not wish it to end any time soon however, as I REALLY have some things I hope to resolve, repair, and renew. :)

My concerns are more about the financial realm.  I am incurring a large amount of medical bills due to this whole cancer and chemo therapy thing.  I do not wish to leave things unpaid for my heirs, nor do I want to have to claim bankruptcy.  I want to pay my bills completely and on time.

I am by no means complaining.  I know that when I need it, I will have it available.  That is the lesson from Exodus 16:12-18 (KJV):
"I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.  And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.  And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.  And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.  This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.  And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.  And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating."
Again, we join the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Zin.  They have barely left Egypt.  They are fussing about being in the desert and having nothing to eat.  God heard their murmuring and told Moses that He would provide quails in the evening and bread in the morning.

That evening and 6 days a week, every week, the quail showed up.  The children ate meat in the evening.

In the morning and 6 days a week, the manna was there.  Manna was to be gathered and ground and bread was to be made from it.

I find it humorous that manna basically means "What is it?"  Isn't it ironic that we rarely see and/or understand God's blessings when they first appear.

I also find it interesting that no matter how much anyone gathered, once it was measured, those who gathered a lot and those who barely gathered each had just enough.

Dear Lord, please help me know you will provide exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.  I don't have to understand it, I merely have to thankfully accept your provision and steward it in the manner you desire.


2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (KJV)
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Rejoice and be glad.