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Archive for October, 2011

I don’t know what it is about when I take a shower but I have the deepest thoughts in there sometimes. Today, I thought about something that I normally shy away from, simply because there is no answer to it. But today I felt the nudge of the Spirit urging me on to think about it, and I am still not sure why, because there still is no answer, maybe because although there is no answer, it might still lead to a deeper understanding of God Himself.

Genesis 1-8

The Beginning

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”  So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so.  God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

My big wonder has always been, what was life like for God before day one? Where did He come from, did He sit in a dark chair in a void of nothingness trying to think of what to do next? Was He lonely? Did he have a celestial family that went off to other places and did their own things, leaving him alone? I know this all sounds very flippant for the creator of our universe, but we all wonder at some level from where God originated, don’t we?

To wonder these questions is “not” to be disrespectful, God made us curious in the way we are, and he wants us to find answers to the clues he leaves us. So, here is what I think. The word “Heaven” has been used when talking about the reward of God’s faithful, if you look at the KJV, it talks about the earth and the skies being separated, and does not refer to the skies as the heavens. My belief, from what I read, is that when God created the Heavens and the earth, the Heavens He is referring to are the home where He and the angels, and the saved reside, where He is enthroned. I had always before thought of Heaven as a Kingdom that had forever stood and would forever stand, but I now think it may have been established when God created the earth, based on scripture. I am not a theologian; so if I have something wrong, please correct me.

If Heaven is relatively new, then where was God before Heaven, before he created everything? This one we will just have to wait until we get the chance to ask Him about.

One thing I believe, is that God was lonely Genesis 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. God was so passionate as He made man, and He gave him the garden, to meet all of his needs, and then when he saw that the man was lonely, he made him a mate. He loved His creation!  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

There is so much I do not know about God, so many things that I even shy away from because I know I still can’t understand them, or I am afraid of misinterpreting them. For many years I have not gone anywhere near Revelations. I have read the book probably three times, when I was a much younger Christian, and I now see many Christians who focus much of their ministry on the book of Revelations, so I prefer instead to share the good news of Jesus Christ and leave the ending to God. I know that is probably wrong, because you can’t take the parts of the bible you want to read and avoid the parts you don’t. I know I will be tackling those issues soon again though, but this time, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and that Guy, He will lead me to the right meaning.

When I envision God, I see a white haired and bearded man with intelligent and kind eyes. He is the grandpa I never had, and I want to sit on his lap for hours and hours and ask Him where He came from, does He have brothers and sisters, was he lonely when he made us? Did he laugh hard when he made the duckbill platypus, the armadillo, and did it crack him up the first time a coyote tried to get a piece of a porcupine? And I want to ask Him if he was just being ornery when he came up with the mosquito, I mean, really. Talk about a creature without a purpose, God definitely has warped sense of humor.

God Bless

JFT

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So yesterday it worked, I drank a ton of Iced tea; I rode my mountain bike with my friend and riding buddy Mike, and ended the night up seeing a scary movie with my daughter. I caught a glimpse of that old Jim again, and it was nice. I hadn’t really talked with Mike much in the last three weeks or so, so we caught up on what’s been happening in his life, and all the drama that has been occurring in mine, and then he posed a question to me, one that kind of shocked me, but caused me to think and reason. He asked me if I thought the devil really even cares about us? Then Mike said the one thing that shocked me the most, “he said that he believed the devil doesn’t care about us”.

I wanted to scream at him “are you deaf man, haven’t you heard anything I have just told you about”, but I chose a more conservative, Hmmmm Okay. His reasoning is that the devil is just a low life slacker, a celestial version of a crack house junkie who can’t see beyond the end of his nose and couldn’t care less whether you come or go, live or die. Believe it or not, I see his reasoning in some ways, I don’t believe he has it right, straight across the board although I think there are elements of it he has right.

I concur that the devil is a world-class loser, there is no doubt about that. He gets his jollies out of bringing pain and suffering on innocent people, so that makes him fit the bill in my book. But, I do not agree that he does not care whether he has us or not. You see, with the slithering slime that is Satan, envy has always been his curse. He always felt he was worthy to be God’s equal, he has always felt he should have been god, instead of the actual God. So he has spent his worthless miserable existence coveting everything God has, and when God has faithful followers who cling on His every Word, followers who lean on the guidance of the Holy Spirit that God has seen fit to bless them with, it makes Satan’s blood boil. He doesn’t want us because he loves us, because he wants to spend eternity with us, he just doesn’t want God to have us, he hates God.

So, do I think the devil cares about us, absolutely, because to care about us is to take away from God, and to take away from God is to win the battle in his eyes. I am one of God’s warriors, as are all of you who wear the name of follower of Christ, and as far as I am concerned, it is time to take the battle to the steps of hell itself and declare war on Satan rather than hiding in the shadows hoping to stay in God’s shower of blessing for the rest of our lives.

Yesterday I challenged the devil, and I do it again today, he is a yellow bellied good for nothing piece of garbage, and the bible spells out how it will end, so why doesn’t he just tuck his little forked tail between his legs and go dig a hole somewhere. God will triumph, and I will be watching, either from up there, or from down here, and I will be grinning ear to ear. I will be begging Jesus for the chance to go dig the rascal out of his hole, and whup his tail all the way to hell. So me worry, no way, God has our back!

Here is a scripture that we need to remember, as long as we first seek to serve God, and we seek leading from the Holy Spirit.  Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I firmly believe that the devil is going to take jabs at us, and he is going to use confusion and discouragement with us. I have been confused, and I have been discouraged, and now I am ticked off, because my faith is stronger than that. In hindsight, I should have seen him coming, I should have recognized his tricks and stayed two steps ahead of him, but I didn’t. I am human, but we live and we learn, and God blesses us with guidance when we seek it from Him. So for me, I am trying to no longer look at this short span of time here on earth as such a great prize, because it is really nothing more than a blink of the eye, a vapor in the wind. Our lives are about eternity, and the decisions we make here in this short blink of an eye life determine where we will spend the rest of our eternity. If we run and cower from the duke of doom, then we are not honoring the King of Creation, we must remember whose army we belong to, and whose banner we carry. It should be our personal goal as followers of Christ to do everything in our power to make Satan quiver with fear when we wake every morning, knowing we will smite him, knowing we will evangelize as many of his prisoners away from him as we possibly can each day, we should make him worry.

So yes, I call him out, I curse Satan and the ground he slithers on, and I warn him against coming too close, because my God has burned him before, and He will burn him again. Satan fights dirty by harming those who cannot protect themselves, because he knows that if he fights fair, he just might get hurt. I get great comfort in knowing that “if God is for us, then who can be against us”? Who is with me?

God Bless-Jim

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Okay, I have started to write three blogs on various subjects this week, and fell asleep at the keyboard on the last one. I have been trying to keep up what I feel is kind of a responsibility now, to encourage those who tune in regularly. But the fact of the matter is this, I have been depressed, my brother’s illness has been a serious blow that has knocked the wind out of me.

I was sick for a week with a migraine, then several days of recovery from that, and then before I could catch my breath, my brother was diagnosed with ALS, the cruelest of diseases known to man. Last night, I went to my girl’s high school football game (they are cheerleaders), and it was my first social outing in three weeks. I have been sleeping night and day, and I know the signs of depression, and I know I can’t keep giving myself over to them. I haven’t ridden my mountain bike in weeks, which is a passion you know. So he has succeeded, he has derailed me. Satan has knocked me for a loop this time. It just goes to show you, on the heels of every great achievement follows a great challenge and I am in that challenge now.

It is at times like this where the depth and breadth of ones faith are truly revealed. Is my faith like a mountain stream that flows rapid and tempestuous, yet is shallow and seasonal? Or is it like the mighty Mississippi, deep and wide and long, forever flowing. I would like to think the latter.

So, it is necessary for me to get out of this funk I am in and get back to being Jim, so for the time being, I have made the decision to double my caffeine intake and get back to being who God wants me to be.

I think one of Satan’s biggest tools is confusion, hitting us where and when we least expect, from the direction we most do not expect. I had a breakthrough a couple of weeks ago that I wrote about here, about how I was able to close a back door the devil was using into my life, and I was exuberant. In the background of my celebration, I wondered if he would now go after my family, less than a week later, that question was answered.

When we make the choice to follow Christ, to take up our cross and follow him wherever He leads, we have to be prepared to be targets, but we also have to be prepared for our loved ones to be targets too, and here is the hard part, “sometimes the people we love get hurt because of our faith”. Yes, if we are making life hell for the devil, he will strike out at us, and if he can’t reach us, he will take what he can get, he is a sulfur stinking rotten to the bone opportunist. When we take up the cross of Christ, we must know that it may cost us our wives; it may cost our children, our parents, brothers, and friends. Those are the hard losses; the easy ones are job losses, home losses, monetary ruin, etc. Satan is a sore loser, and he is ruthless in his pursuit of those he considers his.

Now while I haven’t been his for a very long time, I have been making life hard on him, doing my best to steal his followers at every turn I can. I pray to God every day that he will place me in the path of someone who I can share the news of Jesus Christ with, and I have been praying that prayer for more than two years now. And guess what, God has answered that prayer favorably, when I have been sick for a week and don’t leave the house, God doubles up folks on me when I am well. I don’t keep track, but if I did, I would bet that it would be exactly one for one since I began praying that prayer. Did all of those folks come to the Lord? I have no idea, God gives the increase, but all of that talking is bound to make the devil a little anxious, wouldn’t you think?

So, When folks ask us what is most important in our lives, most of us Christ followers will say, God, then family, then friends, work, etc. …………

But, what if being a Christ follower means your child, your wife, your son, your mother, your brother, your dad are under attack, will be killed because you are on fire for the Lord, how strong will your faith be then? When your family is on the line, will God still be number one?

I know how strong my faith is, I know who is at stake, I know how much I love them, and I know this life is just a trial run for Heaven. I know if my family continues to get harmed because of their or my faith, God will see us through it, so here is what I have to say to the devil. Is that your best? You fight like a girl, when you are really ready to fight, bring it, I’m ready!

God Bless-JFT

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100 Years To Live

I sat in the coffee shop. It was 6:30 in the morning, and I was staring at the wall, waiting for the rest of my bible study/accountability group guys to get there. I felt as though I was hemmoraging in my stomach, kicked repeatedly until i could no longer feel. The day before, last wednesday I had gotten the call before going to work, and had stumbled out the door, not really remembering even driving to work.

Here I sat, the next morning, waiting to meet with my guys. Then this song came on the radio in the coffee shop, a song I used to like because of the harmony, the melody. Now it seemed extremely cruel, How could it be, how could someone sing a song like that, was the devil just trying to torture me until my support team gets here, is that what this is? Almost no one lives to one hundred, and why do I care, why do I even want that, I don’t want it for myself, But I just don’t wan’t him to go, that’s all. He is my brother, he is my hero, and he was just diagnosed with Lou Gherighs Disease.

This world, yeah, we hang on too tight, but we are passionate, God made us that way! He made us love each other like this, He made us not want to let each other go.

Well, Out of five in our group, one stopped in and said he couldn’t stay, one overslept, one said he couldn’t make it. I sat with the only person of the five of us who normally showed, and we smalltalked. In the end, we broke up early and went our own ways. The devil is on the attack, may faith is strong, but I am tired.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR-qQcNT_fY

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The clock ticks on the wall

The house is silent the teens asleep

My wife slumbers in our room

There’s only ticking, no other peep

It made me think

As I listened to the clock tick away

That every time our heart beats

It’s one more that got away

God has given us a set amount

      A set amount, no more, no less

             It was a shocking concept

                      I must confess

                                Every time it beats

                                          Like the clock on the wall

                                                   One day the battery will run out

                                                            And then it will stall

                                                                    We weren’t meant to last

                                                                              This was always a trial run

                                                                      But we like to throw down roots

                                                            Because we love to have fun

                                               While we party like crazy

                                 Our hearts beat away

                    And our youth disappears

            While we continue to play

         Then the beat starts to slow

            Other things start to break down

                   Our lifestyles change

                           As we begin to frown

                                 Our faith gets important

                                        And we pray for more years

                                                 If our heart just beats longer

                                                       We cry out through tears

                                                              We will be Your star hitter

                                                                     Just give me a chance

                                                                     I’ll praise You forever

                                                             I’ll sing and I’ll dance

                                    Yes, we hold on too tightly

                To affairs of this life

          When you really think about it

                It is a lot of strife

                         So I sit listening to the ticking

                                        Of the clock on the wall

                                                      In the dark with my thoughts

                                                                While my family sleeps down the hall

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Oh Lord my God,

   When I consider all You are, all that you are able to do

       I quake like a dried leaf at the foot of a mighty oak

         In cold winters wind.

         Oh Lord my God,

       You hold us all within Your hand

   You could have crushed us into pulp

When we disobeyed, when we rebelled.

Oh Lord my God,

     When Your anger should have boiled

        Instead Your heart melted

           And You had pity

           When You should have given up, Oh Lord my God

        You didn’t, You gave us Grace

     When you should have pummeled us

You instead gave us a gift.

Oh Lord my God,

  As we bear trials of all sorts and kinds

      It still is in our nature to ask “why me Oh Lord”

         And although You should be angry, You still have pity

         Oh Lord my God,

      I know you are with us

   I know you still hold our hearts daily

I know you still give us peace.

Oh Lord my God,

   Please give us the strength to endure

     The faith to keep smiling

       The hope to keep loving, through all of our hurts.

       Oh Lord my God,

     Help us to not be focused inward

  But to be focused out to the world

Sharing your love with those who are beaten and kicked.

Oh Lord my God,

  Help us not to accept our circumstances

    But to embrace them

       Knowing everything is for a reason.

       Oh Lord my God,

     Help me to not complain, but to lift up

  Help me to reflect Your light

Help me deliver Your love

Use me, Oh Lord my God.

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My God, I’m Yours

Take me and use me

Lead me through the quagmires of life

Dress me for battle, put armor on my chest

A helmet on my head, gauntlets on my arms,

And armor on my legs “Oh God”

Reach into my chest, fill my heart with courage

Make me into a valiant warrior,

Fearing nothing that the adversary can bring.

Make me your champion “Oh Lord”,

Teach me to lead and to follow

Make me bold and humble                                                                

Help me to lead the charge

And to bring up the rear also.

Help me to know what it is that you want of me “Oh Lord”

Help me to wake daily to serve you,

Help me to know that the answer in that lies in others.

Help me to die to myself every day “Oh Lord”

Help me to “always” put others first

Help me to know that through You,

All things are possible “Oh Lord”

I cry out to you now in thankfulness

Thank You “Oh Lord”, for the beauty of golden leaves                                    

Thank You “Oh Lord”, for the smell of fresh cut grass

Thank You “Oh Lord”, for the smell of a newborn baby

Thank You “Oh Lord”, for the gift of Your Son

Your faithfulness is undeniable, Your love unquestionable

This life was never mine to give to You “Oh Lord”

Even our free will was a gift from You

But that gift I now return, “My Lord”

I’m Yours, Take me, use me, and do as You wish

That I might have the lowest place in the Kingdom, “My Lord”

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