Thank You

I was so hungry then. I was naked, destitute. I was a total stranger. I didn’t know you, you didn’t know me. Everything in my life was just so dark. You though,you are amazing. You took me in close to you. You fed me, you clothed me, you brought me out to see the light. I knew nothing without you. Now while I do know pain; I also know joy and contentment. Look at us now….look how close we are. It feels like we have been together for a lifetime, and I guess we have. Thank you for leading me into this new world, and leaving behind an empty womb.

For Mommy, from London.

Heed the Red Flag, or Face the Jolly Roger

We are all prone to failures in our lives. We give in to the demands of our environment, and to the demands of our own internal desires. Most times these are various vices spread out across our lives and while they are a problem, they are not a continual debilitating problem. Then there those of us who have vices that consume. They elevate themselves to a position of authority in our lives and command our attention. Habitual sins, addictions, human nature on steroids; whatever term you use the outcome is the same. You make choices that you wish you hadn’t and hurt yourself and others in the process.

This post is for those of you who have gotten free of a particular vice. Was it superstars of sin like drugs/sex/rock and roll? Or is it the more mundane inability to keep from talking about people behind their back or perhaps gambling your family’s wealth away? No matter what the problem is, Jesus is the solution. He doesn’t solve all these problems in the same way. Some are cured at the drop of a hat in a miracle moment, others are a long process of failing more than you succeed. The point is, once he has brought you to a place of freedom, how do you avoid going back into chains? The Jolly Roger is the skull and cross bones flag of many pirate ships that I’m sure you are all aware of. There are other flags that come up before you find yourself a captive of the enemy, red flags.

Red flags are the still small voice of the Holy Spirit prodding us away from temptation. The Lord doesn’t want us living in bondage to sin. Most people these days think that freedom is their freedom to do whatever they want. They fail to recognize that living in that manner leads to bondage. True freedom is in the fact that  you are free to say no to these sins. You are not under their power. That is the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, the freedom to say no.

The trouble comes when you have been saying no for quite a while and start to forget that it is the power of the Lord that allows you to say no and not your own. This is when the red flags start for me. If you find yourself trying to rationalize away your red flags you will find the enemy boarding your ship and taking you hostage again.

I know a major red flag in particular for myself is when I start to think, “Oh, I can handle that situation.” The second you find yourself thinking this do me a favor and run to the Lord in prayer, or to a friend to ask for help. That is the whole point, we are supposed to comfort one another and help one another overcome sin. If we don’t heed the red flag because of pride though, eventually our own strength will fail and our tireless enemy will conquer.

Don’t be a victim of a lack of attention to red flags. They are warnings to guide your life in the right direction. They are there to help you have life and have it more abundantly. Our Lord desires that we have the best in life, and the best in life is life without sin. Strive for that and trust His strength and not your own. Stay focused on the Lord and encourage a brother or sister.

 

photo credit: Free Grunge Textures – www.freestock.ca <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/80497449@N04/7377925440″>Jolly Roger Pirate Grunge Flag</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

3 Reasons I Left Facebook…You Won’t Even See #5

Happy New Year, and God bless. I hope your 2017 is starting out great. How are you doing with your resolutions? We are only a week in so I imagine the diets and gym memberships are still holding strong. How about you smokers? Stress got you down yet? Hang in there, the fight can be won.

2015 was my smoking resolution and if I made one in 2016 I’d say I didn’t achieve it because I don’t recall what it was. This year my resolution is to exit Facebook. I haven’t made up my mind if it will be forever or just for the year. If you made it to this blog off of Facebook it will be because I had my wife share it. Am I allowed to criticize the almighty blue “F” without everybody getting defensive?

People are funny. When you put it out there that you are a Christian and pleasing God is your goal; you’re actions and motives are suddenly suspect. Do the wrong thing and you’re a hypocrite. Do the right thing and you are ok, unless you take it too far and then you clearly think you are better than everyone else. For instance; when I say I haven’t drank since 2008 (All glory to God, by his grace and not my goodness) I usually hear, “Well that is good, but remember the bible just says not to be drunk; there isn’t anything wrong with a few beers.” These are the same people who will have to be sure I know that they aren’t on Facebook too much, and they just use it to stay in touch with family/friends, and to stand up for God against the army of wicked memes. This isn’t about any of you fine  Facebookians or the way you choose to spend your time. It is simply about a decision for me. I would encourage you just to ponder the reasons I’m leaving and ask yourself if you might want to curtail your usage any at all.

With all that being said, why the exit?

Reason #1: Time. I didn’t realize just how much time I was wasting mindlessly scrolling along.  I have been able to get a ton more productive things done this past week. Obviously it hasn’t been very long, but the difference is noticeable and I’m liking where it’s headed. Between this change and my wife’s knack for knowing what I need to be doing this looks to be a productive year.

Reason #2: Sensory Overload. I have found that I sometimes can’t silence the onslaught of memes, comments, and clickbait article titles bouncing around in my head. When you spend so much time connected, sometimes putting the phone down long enough to charge isn’t enough to disconnect. When I can’t quiet the noise even when going to pray or read my bible I take that as a good indicator I should probably just walk away.

Reason #3: Digital Bar. Facebook is like a digital bar. There are some fine folks there who just want to have a few drinks and socialize. The problem is the plastered girl shouting obscenities, the guy sharing memes of half-naked women, the girl sharing memes of half-naked women that somehow opposes the guy sharing memes of half-naked women (I’m as confused as you are by it, only militant feminists get it), the man and woman locked in a verbal death match over political policies, clowns, gorillas, memes making fun of fat people, people threatening to kill people sharing memes making fun of fat people…….I quietly “unfollow” my way to the back door and in the quiet sanity of reality ask a few friends, “You want to meet up somewhere else? This place seems a little crazy to me.”

 

photo credit: Andrew Feinberg <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/24095119@N06/2325659252″>DSC_0022.JPG</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>