Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Joy Through The Pain...?

James 1: 2, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. How many times have you read this or heard a sermon about it? How many times did it go past your way of thinking? Think about it, is there really any joy in hurting or feeling miserable? As we well know, life is not a smooth highway without bumps, near misses, accidents, and road blocks. Which is why the verse states, "whenever you face", not "if by chance" or "just in case". If you are alive right now reading this most likely you have already faced many trials and I am sure during those times that joy was not to be found anywhere. We certainly do not go to a suffering family who just lost a loved one and tell them sing with me, "I got the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart". Let's insert a couple of more verses; 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. There is a saying, "time heals all wounds", there is a hint of truth in that saying. Time will heal and what happens, at least in my mind is that you do grow stronger. We will endure hardship (which will test our faith)and if we persevere (let time do it's work), then we will be mature and complete(stronger and able to lead another through it). I try to walk the talk so here is a example from my life. I was working in Colorado as a phone tech and I was both a outside and inside tech, a combo tech. Basically if you see a phone tech outside and he is working on cable, at your house, in a green ped by the road, or drinking coffee at the donut shop (just joking on that last part), he/she is outside or plant tech. If you never see a phone guy except for one going into the phone office, working in a silver can by the highway, or at a diner (joking again)then he/she is inside or central office. Now that the phone lesson is over, I was doing both plant and central office tech among other things. Before Colorado I only did inside. It started out smoothly but started getting bad very quick. I lost my ambition, hated Sunday's because it meant I had to go to work Monday morning. My wife was upset because, I needed company in my misery, thought my life just absolutely sucked and was a angry man. I blamed God for this path I chose. The work load was horrendous. At one point my wife told me that she would rather I be unemployed then to go through another day of misery. To top it all we were in the middle of remodeling the house. I just wanted out and came up with a plan to go to school and become a R.N. and be finished with the whole thing. God had other plans and here I am in Missouri back to doing what I was born to do, job wise. I am happy and God blessed me. Now if I would have just endured, had faith in God sooner, and marched on, it would have been a lot smoother. I am stronger now and looking back, I realize that whole thing was school time. You will cry, be mad, feel lost, and alone, but remember, you are God's own, you will count it as joy when hardships come because in the end, God never left you, it is just the crap of this world, and God has a 5 star hotel room waiting for you. May God keep you in his grip.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Does Your Circle Know You Are A Christian?

The story for this post, I am a journeying type of guy as my family can attest. Seems like just as soon as I am taking root, I move on. That's either bad or good, don't know at this point, but that is another post. Moving to a few places, I have had to meet new coworkers and meet new people, now this post is speaking about your circle of people who are not associated at all with your church family or christian friends. Most of us have a desire to be included, I don't care who you are, we have this need to be included. We sometimes kind of shed our belief so that others can't see it. Here is a good example, one place I moved too, before I was a phone guy, was in Kansas. It was a construction job and we know sometimes that can be a rowdy crowd. I could tell right away that "churching" wasn't on these guy's mind! What do I do? I become part of them, a cuss word here, a drink of beer there, a dirty joke, making fun of those not included. While I am doing this, I attend church, socialize with fellow christians, even help with church duties.It's so crazy, like a run-away train, I couldn't stop it. The whole time I am thinking, "man, if I die right now, these guys are going to wonder why my funeral is at a church and my church is going to wonder why the crew is leaving a six pack of beer at my headstone. Why is it so hard to be who we really should be, at all times. Consider this; 1 Corinthians 16:13, Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. You might be saying, " yea, right Steve, I can quote verses too, I still have to go to work tomorrow and man, you don't know the guys I work with". I do know those guys,I also know those guys want to be included too. Here is another thing I found out, out of your crew, you might have one, maybe one, who does not believe in God. The question is, who will stop the train. I am more mature now and can handle this situation a lot better than I use too. You might also let little things slip about your faith, ie;I went to a christian concert last night, went to a prayer breakfast, went to a retreat, you get the idea. Then maybe eventually you will have the strength to stand firm. I don't have an exact answer, but I know we can pray and let God's strength carry us. A day at a time brothers and sisters, a day at a time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A New Blog Name

Okie Dokie, I have changed blog names three times, this is it. I think the new blog name reflects what I am trying to write about. I want to appeal to those who are just walking through life, doing what they can, trying to live for Christ, but fail because face it, we are weak. I have probably at one time or the other walked in your shoes. I am just a regular guy, in fact I work for the phone company here in Missouri. I was raised a christian with four other siblings, joined the Army, two different times. Those were some hard partying and drug experimentation days. Got married, had great kids, got divorced. I then got remarried, to a great and beautiful lady, which created a blended family. In my past I have gotten fired, drank too much, cussed, quit church, gave up on God, did things my way, declared bankruptcy, and was just a follower. I had a heart attack in December of 2011, Type 2 diabetic, and recently diagnosed with neuropathy. I say these things because I know pretty much the pain and crap most of you walk through everyday. On this post it is not about theology of the bible, but through God's guidance, it should be bible truths. It is not a devotional, but I encourage you to read the scriptures I post and apply them to your life. This blog is about the average everyday walk we make and what we encounter. Some of it might be weird and some of you will be like, "what in the world", but some will also be able to get it. Hopefully we can all walk together with Jesus leading the way. Like I said, we are not bible scholars, though we should strive to be. We are just the ones who are just making it, in our own crazy way.

Walking Through The Crowd

Luke 4:30, But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. I am doing a study on the New Testament and came across this verse. Long story short, Jesus had made those in his home town mad, so they decided he needed to be thrown off a cliff. Jesus, simply walked through the crowd and went on his way. There are times we need to do the same thing or maybe some situations. I know for some reason I can find myself in some situations that make me look back and wonder, "what steps did I take to get to that point and what steps could I have taken to avoided it". I am just a average guy, I blend in the crowd, just like most of you, and we all seem to end up in situations that we just need to walk away from. I know, harder than it can be said, been there, couldn't do that. We like being included in the crowd and if we don't have any of our church family around, we will pretty much let our guard down and go with the flow. Case in point, some of my coworkers like to talk about other coworkers, now when I say "some", I am including myself. Due to a position I hold, I should not be doing this. It is one of those times just like when the dirty jokes start flying, that we should walk away and go on our way. You could say something like, "I don't think he or her is that way", but some of us just don't have the courage, (I am praying everyday, that I can achieve this). You do this enough times, they will catch the drift and all your coworkers will realize your integrity. This is just one example, all of us know the situations we meet everyday and when we need to just walk through the crowd. How about when a person is just crushing a friend, a movie that is not fit for a christian to watch, someone "coming on to you", or it is something that goes against the bible and you can't get them to understand that. I am not saying in every circumstance to walk through the crowd, we must stand strong for God, but when you have exhausted all your proof and they don't see their errors, you have to walk through the crowd. I hope this verse helps you out. Stay strong, be ready to defend your belief, and keep Jesus by your side. Peace, out.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Looking up to Christ

John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” If you remember, Moses was lifting up the snake so that the Israelite's who were being bit by snakes, (because they sinned), would not die. They had to look up to the snake and believe. Jesus used this to foretell of his coming death. Reading this through my study this morning got me to thinking about my own walk. I have promised God that I will be "his man", standing up and not backing down defending his word and his way. Everyday I seem to fail miserably at this goal.The reason I think, is because I do not look up to Christ. I am being bit by the worldly snakes and I can't or don't remember to look up to the very one who had to go through the ultimate sacrifice to save a 49 year old, chubby dude, who is trying to wield a heavy sword against a heavy weight boxer just taking swing after swing at me. To be honest I struggle with trying to always fit in, letting a few choice words escape my mouth, backing up my fellow co-workers against a bully, and just letting Christ shine in me. I want other men to look up at me as a guy who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. I want that, I pray for that, I strive for that, but I forget I have to look up to him! He will guide me and give me strength, only if I look up and believe that he will. Today is another day, I pick up the sword, and I look up to him. Allon's! That is a motto from the 11th Cav who I had the privilege of serving with. It means, "let's go". Peace, out!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Life's Rollercoaster

A lot happened yesterday, I guess a lot of life happened yesterday. I had my second appointment with my neurologist yesterday. He reaffirmed that I indeed have neuropathy. probably won't know what caused it, and that it will worsen over the years. Of course I am going through why me and trying to find pity, knowing full well that it is not a death sentence and could certainly be worse. I closed down my Facebook account, I am a conservative union steward, meaning I am not a big union fan, but the guys wanted me to be steward, so at least until this September, I am "the man". Had my first situation as the steward that is trying my patience. Funny how life changes in seconds, you are cruising along, windows down, radio pumping your favorite tunes, and just relaxing. Wham! Something spoils the moment, a phone call, news item, text message, conversation, and even a memory that should be left lying in the crevices of your mind. I had one of those days and almost all of those moments happen. Closed the Facebook account down because of several reasons: - Too much drama, especially from some of my kids, it is always nice to read hurtful words or see not so nice pictures of your own kids in almost full public view. - Sometimes it can leave you with a unrealistic view of our world, there is that one family, always together, always happy, you know who you are. - Do we really need to know every detail of our lives, I mean, who wants to read the post; "In restroom at Arby's, with so& so, whatshis name, and doomey flagey. having a great time, oh the view". Come on! So Facebook went and I feel liberated, I know, it is good to keep in touch, we can see the kids, grand kids, etc. I agree, and if it works for you, that is great. For me, it was a addiction and a let down. My whole point is not a long drawn out sad and depressing post, but rather all this happened and sure I was depressed, stressed, and angry. Your will be done, oh God! I figure with Facebook gone, I have time to do other things, this blog for one, bible study for another. Yes I have neuropathy, but it forces me to take care of my body, exercise, eat right, and really savor all of life's moments. The union thing, I really think God is re-forming me, I have some rough spots he has to work out and as long as I endure, he will guide me to another mission. So if life hands you lemons......naww, if life's roller coaster is going through the turns, hold on tight, trust in God, find the open door, and enjoy life. Life happens, be in it!

Monday, December 31, 2012

49 Years of Reflection

I am 49, which means I will be turning 50 next year. I have done some reflecting of my life and wondered, "what is my story"? What brought me to this point and where will I be in my older years? Have I been the type of husband, father, and grand-father that is worthy of respect and love? Much has happened in just the last few years, my heart attack on December 9, 2012 certainly caused me to re-evaluate life. People are important, it's funny, I look at the occasional passerby and wonder, "what is their story"? trying to step into their shoes and see through their eyes. Which brings me to the point of realizing that much is left to do with what ever time I have left on earth. Most of us will make New Year resolutions and most of us will break those resolutions. I decided I am not making any resolutions for the New Year. I am setting sail, starting another journey, another adventure; I am writing a story. No, not literally! Have you ever felt like maybe you are not fully giving yourself to God, that even if you are a very strong christian, you still hold back just a little control for yourself? I am stuck between the world and God, not fully wanting to leave what the world has to offer. I don't understand how I can stand up to a group of men defending "my two ears being pierced", but have a hard time defending my christianity. In my eyes I am just a weanie, a girly-man, because I can't weld the sword and make a stand for what is right. Well it starts right now, my story will be that I gave everything I had to give for the glory of God! It is a battle and I won't back down, because the battle belongs to the Lord and through him, I will be the man, husband, father, grand-father, and friend that I am called to be. God I am yours, break me and build me to be who you want me to be. Lead me and remind me that you have my back. Give me strength when I am scared and wisdom to speak your words. This my journey and I encourage everyone to make it with me. I am just the average white guy, nothing spectacular, but join me and God will lead us. God bless us all!