12/31/07 - Life Journal - New Jerusalem Now!

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Revelation 21:22,23

How absolutely awesome! The New Jerusalem! Heaven on earth! The Lord God and the Lamb living with His people. John's looking at all these riches and beauty but still realizes, "Hey, there's not temples here! Oh yea, duh, the Father and the Son are with us, they are the Temple. And man that sun is bright.....wait a second there is no sun... I am basking in the neverending glory of the Lord. Brilliant!" If we were there we might notice that there is no churches, duh, we are His church.

I, we, can live life like that now! He is always with us. We should never walk in darkness if His glory is showing through us and the "buildings" that are temples and churches are nothing more than that....buildings! The Father and the Son are the temple, we are His church and we walk in the brilliance of His light. How absolutely awesome!

Father, if we could all live this way what an awesome place it could be and how incredible would our witness for You be.

12/30/07 - Life Journal - Pre, Post, Mid....????

And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:

"Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the ages.
Who will not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed."

Revelation 15:2-4

I don't claim any special knowledge of what the end times will entail; will we be taken in up in the Rapture before tribulation, will we be left to fight on during the tribulation continuing our mission, who knows but Him? Anyway, whomever these victorious harp players are in the verse above, what an awesome scene they are watching. God's final judgement on the earth. They made it through and their names are in the Book of Life.

As incredible as that time will be when it arrives, I have to keep my mind on the present. Modeling my life after My Savior, teaching and leading the best I can, constantly growing my knowledge and relationship with Him and living life knowing that I am already in His Kingdom. If I'm still around when He returns (wow, wouldn't that be awesome) that's when I'll find out my part in His plan. Until then, keep your eyes to the skies.

Father, when it's all said and done, we'll look back at all our opinions and arguememts and say, "Wow, we were way off". Our minds can't possibly figure out what you have in store for us. I just know it's gonna be awesome!

12/29/07 - Life Journal - Your Words are Sweet

"Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey." And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.
Revelation 10:9,10

The gift of salvation comes across our tongues with the sweet taste of honey but for some, when they dig into the matter, it sours their stomach when they realize what it means for them. Taking up the cross and following, losing your life to gain it, that last shall be first, camel's through the eye's of needles, the meek shall inherit the earth, go live your life and sin no more. It's too much for people to take when their heads are centered on this life.

I still have troubles with some of the words of Jesus. Imagine those just now hearing his Gospel? It's hard to break free from a lifestyle that has become a part of you, especially if you are coming into the faith at a later age or even worse, if you think you've got things under control on your own. It's my job to move people along by viewing my life, the joy living free in Him is unexplainable and like I heard Pastor Danny Hodges of Calvary Chapel St. Pete once say, "I've never met anyone that is truly repentant look back on their old life with regret".

Father, your words are sweet and the rewards even sweeter. Let me live in a way that reflects this to those that may be struggling.

Life Journal Make Up Time (cont.)

Click here for December 7th's entry

12/28/07 - Life Journal - Our Tears Will Be Wiped Away

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Revelation 7:17

What an awesome day it will be, when we stand before Him in our robes of white, getting our first taste of the living water that gives us eternal life with Him. No more sorrows or pain. The tears will be wiped away!

There's a lot of suffering and injustice in this world. Not many days pass without a bit of heartache but the promise we have received from Him is more than enough to keep me going if I'd just keep my eyes upon it. The problems of my life are miniscule in comparison to the joy I will have in my heart when I meet Him. Stay focused, share the love I have, increase His kingdom and dream of what is waiting.

Lord, I try but I know I fail. I let this world get me down even though I have received your promise of Heaven. What's my problem? I need to be with you daily to keep my heart in line.

12/27/07 - Life Journal - My Beginning and End

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God,"who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Revelation 1:8

From John 1:2 we also read, "He was with God in the beginning." Jesus is everything! Our Lord, our Savior, our Rabbi, the Word come to life, our arbitrator, our sacrifice, our discipline, our joy, God in the flesh, our hero, our conqueror, the Victor!

He is truly the beginning and the end. I must live my life with this foremost in my mind. First thought in the morning and last thought at night.

Jesus, you are my Alpha and Omega, I know I don't always live this way but I do try, definitely not hard enough. I'm working on it but I need your help.

12/26/07 - Life Journal - Thank Him for That!

...the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Psalm 117:2

All you have to do is read the history of the Israelites. We're talking thousands of years of the Jews trying their hardest to screw things up but like the verse said, He endured. Not that He didn't punish them or let them be suffer for a time but He was always watching, not letting them be lost forever. He makes a promise he sticks with it.

Our trouble sometimes comes in figuring out the whole "God's timing" thing. You know, to God a thousand years is like a day and all that. He comes through in His promises but in a timing that corresponds to His plan. All we need to be concerned about is the fact that know matter what we do, with true repentance in our hearts, he will endure our little fits of rebelliousness.

Lord, I can't comprehend the depths of your faithfulness. They are way beyond human understanding. All I can say is thanks.....

12/25/07 - Life Journal - The Reason for the Season

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest...
1 John 1:1,2

The Word of Life made manifest. Our Lord in the flesh. He was sitting at the right hand of God, His Father, looking at the wreck we were making out His creation and looked up at His Dad and said, "I can help".

Jesus is definitely the instigator behind all of this. He sacrificed all He had for us and that's the point that a lot of people miss. It was all for us! We are truly the reason for the season and all we should be thinking about this time of year is nothing but total, honest, heartfelt thanks. The tradition's of man are all good but in reality extraneous baggage that doesn't really mean all that much.

Father, thank you for your son, born without fanfare, to a common family, to live as us but sinless in a world of temptation, to be our final perfect sacrificial lamb.

12/24/07 - Life Journal - Can I Get a BAM!

Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
John 20:8,9

After all this time they didn't comprehend Jesus' words and then BAM, they were hit with the truth all at once! How could they not, they were with Him the entire time, walking by His side, hearing His words. Well how about this. How could I have lived with disbelief for 30 YEARS when I had every bit of this knowledge available to me? I had read the entire bible and nothing, zip. It was a BAM experience like the disciples. I can't explain it. I didn't believe BAM I did believe. I didn't understand BAM I did understand

I can't get discouraged when telling my story and sharing what the Gospel means to me. People won't comprehend, they just won't. Not my job, not my worry. Once they have His word it is the Father's turn to work in them. What's left for us to do? Pray for a BAM experience for them!

Father, I pray that those I lift up to you will all experience their own BAM! They'll know it when it happens, there is nothing like it in this world!

12/23/07 - Life Journal - Pruning the Vine

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
John 15:1,2

This goes along well with what John the Baptist said earlier. If you have branches on your tree that are dead and not bearing you anymore fruit you cut them off and toss 'em in the fire, or mulch 'em, whatever. Sounds painful! Along with these branches Jesus goes on further to say that those that are producing will still be pruned by God. In other words, you may have come to a point in your walk that you are finally doing some good for the Kingdom, the trouble is most, if not all of us still have skeletons we're trying to keep in darkness. Our Father, the gardener, has filled our lives with His light, He knows all the skeletons we're hiding, and though our branch might have a few oranges on it He's still going to prune the dead limbs and leaves off of us and that can be just as painful. Sin becomes part of us and the extraction isn't an easy process.

I need to offer myself up to Him in prayer, exposing my dead limbs in His light so He can clear me for new growth. With the old still attached to the branch it limits my potential for bearing more fruit.

Father, you know what needs to be removed. Prune me so my branch in you can become stronger, healthier and able to support the growth of new fruit for your Kingdom.

12/22/07 - Life Journal - The Life Cycle of Sin

But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.
John 12:10,11

The Pharisee's knew they had a serious problem on their hands. The original plan to kill Jesus was turning out to be insufficient. If they succeeded in murdering Jesus, His witness would still live on through those he healed and especially through Lazarus whom He raised from the dead. The cover up was going to get pretty messy!

This situation mirrors the life of a sin/lie. However small they start, like the supposedly genius plan of Caiaphas for "one to die to save a nation", the exponential growth is incredible. Lies take on a life of their own becoming their own reality until you are stuck in a cycle and lives are ruined or "the truth sets you free".

Lord, I know that the wages of sin are death. Help me recongize sin in me and lies spewing out of me before the tangle mess they will become.

12/21/07 - Life Journal - Discerning His will, not mine

Now he did not say this on his initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
John 11:51,52

Caiaphas thought the word of God he had received was an end to all his problems, a reuniting of all the Jews of the Diaspora and the continuance of his political power. In reality he foretold of the self sacrifice of Jesus, the uniting of believers around the world and the end of Caiaphas' system under the old covenant.

Man, was that a bad example of discernment, or what? I'd say from this example the first requirement when interpretting the word of God, whether through prophecy, dreams or scripture, is to take my personal agenda out of the equation. I can get His word to say what I want to hear if I try hard enough. A good way to tell if this might be happening is when you see a ... before and after a little clip of a verse. when I've already made up my mind to what the answer should be I can use the Bible to prove anything by taking His word out of context.

Father, You speak to me everyday. If I ever slow down enough to hear Your word or see Your hand working in my life let me digest it with Your will in mind and not mine.

Life Journal Make Up Time (cont.)

Click here for December 6th's post

Emo Bull

Emo Bull Refuses to Run in Pamploma

This cracked me up...........thanks to Julius Bloop

And from the horrible advice column..........

On Yahoo news, Ann Landers' daughter Margo Howard has a Dear Margo column. Here's a recap of an advice seeker and Margo's answer.

An Aunt found her 14 year old nieces MySpace page through her daughters page which she frequently check's out. Seems her niece alluded to a relationship she was having with a lesbian friend. When she asked if she should tell her sister-in-law about it Margo's answer was:

I suggest you say nothing. Assuming the "relationship" is sexual (and it may not be), the youngster is experimenting and should be allowed to do so without parental input -- which would not change the outcome, by the way.

It's not as though your niece is robbing banks and popping Quaaludes, dangerous behavior requiring intervention. She is figuring out her sexuality, and parents trying to steer a child away from a natural inclination are not going to be successful.

When next you talk to your s-i-l, you might ask what she dislikes about this friend, since she told you she is wary of her. If there are complaints about the girl that are valid, they should be the reason to put the kibosh on the friendship, not that she is a lesbian.

Are you kidding me? I don't care if it's a lesbian friend, a boyfriend, whatever! If she has some concerns for her 14 YEAR OLD niece she has every right to inform her family. Especially since she had stated that the 14 YEAR OLD girl's family didn't even know about the MySpace page. And the fact that she's talking about a 14 YEAR OLD girl "experimenting" with her sexuality kills me. This has nothing to do with "steering her away from natural inclinations" but the fact that this 14 YEAR OLD girl has inclinations in the first place.

Margo has come a long way from her original column, in which she called herself "Dear Prudence"...............

Good Stuff from Desert Thirst

Take some time and read Christian's latest post here at Desert Thirst, "Christians are too focused on getting converts??"

A good look at ourselves as a body.

12/20/07 - Life Journal - Casting..........stones?

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
John 8:6-8

What was He writing? I wish I knew, it doesn't say, but I have a feeling. I picture Jesus listing off the sins these Rabbi's and Pharisee's were themselves guilty of, and while he threw the idea of stoning back in there faces he continued on with his silent condemnation. He was setting them straight without publicly chastising them when, as a sinless man, he had every right to "toss some stones".

This verses teaches me two things, how not to but also how to deal with someone caught up in a sinful situation. First how to conduct myself , who is a sinful being in the first place, no judging others for there is only one true judge and one final day of judgement. I have my own problems to take care of without debasing anyone else that is wallowing in some sin or another. That leads me to the "how to" part of the lesson. Dealing in private with the person, on a one on one level does a million times better than a church wide, office wide, house wide, whatever wide beat down.

Father, your words keep hitting me in the gut, bringing light to problems I know or in some cases don't know I have. Open my heart to heed the teaching I receive.

Make Up Time (cont.)

Click here for December 5th's post

12/19/07 - Life Journal - Do You Want to be Healed?

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me."
John 5:6,7

This man, paralyzed for 38 years lay beside this pool, Bethesda, on a daily basis just waiting for someone to help him in the water. Jesus approached him with the simple question, "Do you want to be healed?"

How many people around me are waiting for someone to ask, "Do you want to be healed?" Everyone has a life they are struggling with and many feel there is no one who cares. That's my job, that's where my purpose is fulfilled, showing them that there is one, Christ Jesus, that cares for them above no other. If I go through life with blinders on, not building relationships and sharing life with people I'll never know the hurt, worries and pain that are strangling this world and the freedom in Christ that I have will be cut off at the source.

Lord, open my eyes to the people waiting at the water's edge, begging to be healed with no one there to answer.

Little Sister Don't You..........

...do what your big sister done.

I guess Jamie Lynn Spears should have listened to that Dwight Yoakam song a little sooner. The 16 year old star of Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101" and sister of Britney Spears announced that she is 12 weeks pregnant. Their parents back in Shreveport, LA must be so proud.

Read the entire story here.

Make up time

So as to not rob myself of the time I missed, I am slowly working my way through the journal entries I had inexcusably missed during my illness. Call it penance for not going to Him for healing or a fear that I have missed something great, I have to do it for myself. I'll be posting them in their correct position time-wise but will link to them when their up.

Click here for December 4th's entry.

12/18/07 - Life Journal - 24/7 Church

So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
John 2:18-22

The Jews completely missed the point. The building is not the temple. His body incarnate was the temple to which Jesus was referring. They were too caught up in their worldly thoughts to see the Living God in front of Him.

We're just as caught up in our day to day to see our Creator all around us and our minds are too centered on this life to hear Jesus speaking to us. Nowhere is it more evident then our emphasis on Sunday mornings. His church was never meant to be pent up in buildings and our Christian walk put on hold 6 days a week. He is with us 24/7 and as such we are His church 24/7. We, like the Jews above, are missing the point!

Father, take our "one day a week" mindset and rip it to shreds. Everything is secondary to your purpose for us.

Show us your senior pics! (if you dare)

In response to Nathan Gaddis' challenge here is my senior pic from Countryside High School in Clearwater, FL.....I graduated in '88 so I figure this was taken the summer of '87. Any other takers to Nathan's challenge? Let us see your pics!

12/17/07 - Life Journal - Be All That You Can Be

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8

Peter here is listing what he believes are characteristics that must be added to your faith to be the best possible witness for Him that you can be. Personal faith alone saves you alone but like James said it is dead. It goes no further from you. Adding these on top of your faith will let it overflow to those around you and increase His kingdom.

I read these as having to be accomplished in this order, or if order is not completely necessary, Virtue MUST be first. Merriam-Webster defines virtue as:

virtue: noun: Conformity to a standard of right, or morality.

None of the others will matter if people see you as having no integrity, no morals or in other words being virtue-LESS. This quality will draw others to you before they even know, or in spite of the fact that they know, that you are a Christ follower. Then a relationship can be formed and the other qualities can manifest themselves leading people to thirst for whatever it is you have. I personally feel that knowledge is my strong suit but I am lacking in my virtue. No one will hear my knowledge if they don't want to be around me in the first place. To be used fully by Him I have to do some personal rearranging!

Lord, fill me with your love. Only through this can I become a virtuous man of God.

12/16/07 - Life Journal - Time for Action

Therefore, prepare your minds for action...
1 Peter 1:13

Everyone, no matter what they may be; soldier, athlete, business man, teacher, musician, scientist, so on..., prepares themselves in some way. Whether it's study, practice, training or rehearsing, they do it to one day put it to use. There might be a few "selfish" ones storing it up for themselves but most are preparing for action.

Peter hit me with this one. I read. A lot. I also spend time now fleshing out my thoughts in words. Why? What good is any knowledge I acquire doing trapped "inside the mind of a worship drummer"? God just told me through Peter to prepare my mind. For what? For action! First I'll pray for God to guide me. Then I'll have to take another look at yesterday's entry.

- Put my faith to work to produce works of faith -

Lord, how would you use me?

12/15/07 - Life Journal - Alternate Definition of Works

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
James 2:21

It's interesting that the first example of works given by James is not for something like Abraham refusing the spoils of war to reserve the glory for God or standing in to delay the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to save the righteous but for displaying his faith, or putting his faith to work.

If I don't put my faith to work it is truly dead. To continue on the definition where works are defined as acts it must follow like this: I must use my faith, or in other words, put it to work (action) so it can lead me to perform good works (result).

Father, whatever the semantics, if I don't make that leap my faith in you does nothing for me, others and ultimately You.

12/14/07 - Life Journal - No Pain, No Gain

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...
Hebrews 12:1

In the previous chapter we were told about the "Heroes of the Faith". Now the writer is telling us that these same guys, the foundations of it all, are our "cheering section." While we're running the race of out lives, these guys are in the stands, doing the wave, screaming at us, "HAVE FAITH, HAVE FAITH, HAVE FAITH....." We're called to run with endruance, meaning lasting for the long haul, but we will at first "run out of gas", screwing up here and there, gasping for breath but remember, endurance comes through training, it doesn't happen overnight.

I say I try my hardest to resist sin but vs. 4 tells me otherwise! Have I yet spilt blood in my resistance? Yeah, right. I've barely broken a sweat. I gotta get on the treadmill, do some "heavy lifting" with His word and allow the breath of the Spirit to fill my lungs. Maybe then I'll be ready.

Lord, I want to win this race for you. You have placed such great "fans and trainers" for me in history as well as currently in my life and time. I won't stop until I'm ready.

What am I thinking?

I've been sick for about 3 weeks now but it's really hit hard the past 2. I've got bad bronchitis or "walking" pneumonia, depending on who you ask. I'm scheduled to go to the doctor's again in the morning because the antibiotics aren't seeming to be doing anything.

All that to say...........for the last week and a half, as I'm hacking up a lung, not once have I spent any time with my Lord. I claim to be the child of the one true healer yet I'm wallowing in this crap that's in my head and chest. No prayer, no church, no singing to Him and not one journal entry let alone one word of the bible read. Is anyone else out there this stupid? What does this truly say about my relationship with Him that I haven't even shared this with Him?

He has used this for good in one aspect........I'll listen next time Sheri says to go to the doc's..........

WWJD............about X-Mas?

I've been thinking about this for a while and I have a feeling that He'd be sick that His name was still associated with what we've turned the celebration of His birth into, not the fact that some have taken to use generic, secular terms. Instead of whining about Lowe's selling holiday tree's I think He'd get old school with the whip and knock out anyone trying to get in our pockets "in His name" with their "Christmas" sales. Everything is wrong with how we handle ourselves during this season. It's an orgy of the "seven deadly sins" and our newest master, materialism.

I had an incredible time last night at my kids Advent production at their school. Well done, great worship and some great biblical insight on the events leading to Our saviors birth from Genesis to Matthew. That was Christmas

Take His name off your advertising, you don't deserve to have it there.

Acts 29 Kicked out of Missouri?

Thought about blogging on this but went to the source and their response says it all. Check it out at Act29 Network.

12/13/07 - Life Journal - My Hope is in You

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins...
Hebrews 10:26

Continuing with the new covenant, when Jesus, as the perfect sacrificial lamb, died for our sin that was that. The covenant was sealed in His blood. This is now "the law". No more daily sacrifices made by imperfect priests. There is nothing I can do now but continually fall at His feet with a repentant heart and thank Him for the forgiveness of my transgressions; past, present and future.

To continue willfully in sin now that I have the knowledge is shoving His grace back in His face and sending Him once again to that cross. That guilt I feel? That's Him through the Spirit pleading, "Why must you do this to me?" If I'm ever truly repentant, I mean a 180 degree turn around, will I stop this nonsense? Will I ever be able to walk with Him with a clear conscience? I hope so because He is my only hope.

Let's try this again.......Jesus, help me! Can this be done? Put it on my heart and burn it in my mind.

12/12/07 - Life Journal - The New Covenant

For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.
Hebrews 7:12

The changing of the priesthood from the Levites to the one who would would be priest forever, Jesus Christ, signaled the beginning of God's new covenant with His people and the changing of the law. There was nothing wrong with the old law, Jesus said He didn't come to abolish it but fulfill it. This new covenant gave us a path of atonement that the old never could. As our high priest Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice of self to free us from our sins and ultimate death.

What's my duty in this new covenant? Jesus himself tells us, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." The first seems easy enough but my selfish mind gets in the way. I put all sorts of man-made idols before Him and it's a battle I'll likely never win until being perfected in Him. The second is even trickier. Put it this way. If everything I ever do for myself, everything; clothing, shelter, nourishment, entertainment, etc., I also equally do for someone else, I believe that alone would satisfy Jesus' meaning behind this commandment. I got a lot of work to do!

Jesus help me! Can this possibly be done? Put it on my heart, burn it in my mind.

12/11/07 - Life Journal - Account-A-Billi-Buddy

But encourage one another day after day as long as it is still called "today", so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13

I've heard that it's near impossible for a Christian to "do it on his own". Sin is serious and Satan is THE deceiver. The importance of having a circle of influence including all ages of believers along with personal accountability partners can't be stressed enough. Just someone to talk to when struggling with something could be enough to get you through.

It's hard finding someone close enough that you can trust with your struggles. I, personally, don't know if I can though I know I should. I have an "accountabilibuddy" tentatively in place but I don't think either of us are ready for some hard talks. I need to remember that there is nothing I could face that hasn't been encountered by someone at some time. I might not have the same problems as this person but I know that our common ground is that we're both dealing with something and it's better to not shoulder it on our own.

Father, thank you for the resources you have given me in my fellow christians, just help me get the common sense to use them.

12/10/07 - Life Journal - I Got the Power

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

It's sometimes difficult in a post-christian society to wear you faith on your sleeve but Paul tells us of the power we have with the spirit dwelling in us. With this power comes responsibility, responsibility to use it with love when sharing our faith. Next we must use this power and love when pursuing the discipline of one of our brothers or sisters.

I hold the key to the life saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How can I be timid? If I honestly believe that I have been saved by His sacrifice, by not "living out loud for Him" I am literally sitting idly by, allowing those around me to be left to eternal damnation without a second thought.

Father, instill in me the importance of the message you've left with me and open my eyes to the power dwelling inside of me.

Back from Fishin....

...and right to the doctors....


Either a bad case of bronchitis or "walking" pneumonia....



I'll tell you about the trip later, hopefully I'll get back on the journals tomorrow...

Good Night........

12/9/07 - Life Journal - Somebody's Watching Me

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him.
Titus 1:16

This is one of the biggest dangers we face as professing Christians. How so? The more we share our faith the wider our circle of accountability. Directly and through the grapevine the number of people who have us under the microscope grows exponentially whether this is fair or not. True, we're not perfect but non-believers see us as representative of His entire church. I'd say that a common belief is that Christians are hypocritical, some cases true, most cases just our ongoing battle with the flesh. Never-the-less, we must live the best we can to lead people to, not away from, Jesus!

Man, it's tough! Everywhere I go; home, work, little league, church, family gatherings. I can't relax! I have to wipe out the old self completely! No double-mindedness, no putting my life in compartments!

Father, refine me with your fire. My old self is only trouble for myself and others.

12/8/07 - Life Journal - The Message is Love

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion.
1 Timothy 1:19

Everything Paul did was out of an authentic love for the people he was reahing with the Gospel. Whether encouraging, teaching or verbally disciplining the foundation was the same love he received from Jesus.

So much of what I see in "popular" ministries today seems to be characterized by competition and arrogance instead of the love discussed above. It's as if we are in it for ourselves, running a race to tally up numbers, prove our methods and bash anyone who does things differently, subsequently destroying any unity between followers that is ultimately needed to complete His vision for us. With a solid doctrine and Christ as our focus, methods are secondary with the primary being love for our community!

Father, we've forgotten the importance of love and the simplicity of the message. Lead us back!

12/7/07 - Life Journal - Job Description

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
Colossians 1:28

That's our purpose, nicely wrapped up in one statement. Pray for wisdom so that we can be prepared to lead everyone we meet to perfection in Him.

I can't let anything stand in the way of His plan for me. I can fool myself into thinking that I don't have time to spend with Him and to be in the word but the excuses are all lies planted by the King of Lies.

Lord, your are my all, I pray to not let this world distract me.

12/6/07 - Life Journal - My Own Prison

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.
Philippians 1:12,13

Paul sees through the misery of his imprisonment and understands it's purpose. He is being used as an example of standing true to his belief's for the Glory of Christ. It's for the new believers who haven't had the persecution brought upon them yet that he glorifies and praises Jesus even in his confinement. He is telling them that everything that happens will in the end be use for good by Him whos plan will come to fruition no matter what befalls it in this world.

Paul doesn't wallow in self pity like I'm prone to do. I've never been imprisoned for my beliefs but many things have happened that have got me down, nothing major in the bigger scheme of things, but never-the-less things that my brain have turned into mountains. I create my own prisons that keep me from living life fully and enjoying the blessing I have. I've prayed for God to use me so I have to let Him, but I can't pick and choose which, when, what or why. It's His call, His plan, His creation. How I react to the obstacles/opportunities laid before me can either be used for His glory or be wasted on my limited view of eternity. He'll bring me through anything and I'll be stronger for it. I need to be alert to theses chances to advance His kingdom through my hardships and my reactions to them.

Father, it's the scariest thing someone can say, but use me.

I cry out to God
Seeking only his decision
Gabriel stands and confirms
I've created my own prison

- Scott Stapp

12/5/07 - Life Journal - I Love You Sheri

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...
Ephesians 5:25

A lot of people have a problem with the verse before this desicribing the submission of wives to husbands. This isn't a blind submission, it's a submission to a LOVING husband as the head of the family as we submit to our LOVING Savior who is head of our church. If the husband doesn't follow through with verse 25 then the whole situation gets thrown out of whack. Husbands love must be shown through a total sacrifice for their wives just as Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for His church.

My home has been unbalanced. Sheri is the perfect example of the wife in verse 22 but her submission has been without return from me. I've been anything but sacrificial to her or the kids. Whatever the reasons it comes down to an extreme selfishness on my part. Taking her love and giving nothing in return. I need to learn to BE Jesus to her. Love her as myself because we are one flesh. Sacrifice my whole for her. She deserves nothing less.

Father, break this cycle of selfishness in me. Help me give her the love she deserves. I have it in me, I love her to death, break me so it can flow to her.

12/4/07 - Life Journal - Fad Resistance

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Ephesians 4:14

As we grow unified in Christ and are built up and instructed through our study and personal time with the Father we will become immune to the passing fads and latest church building plans. People can see through the marketing schemes and if we aren't solid in our faith and knowledge all the church planting conferences in the world won't do any good for His kingdom.

As I study more I'm continually blown away by all the "factions" within the Protestant church, the new "right" ways to do things and the varied doctrines sworn to be correct above all others, but I can't let all that bother me and take me away from my purpose. Model my life after Jesus the best I can, constantly increase my knowledge, and live out my life as a Christ follower above all else.

God, I pray that I only seek you and not the praise of man. If I never again stepped into a formal church gathering I know that that would make me no less of a follower of your son if I am truly living my life on mission.

12/3/07 - Life Journal - Materialism, Shmearialism

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:8

Seems that these to have to go together, in that order. Owe nothing but love. Money, debt, holding someone else's debt; they all get in the way of unconditional love and put a damper on being able to show God's love through the finances He has blessed you with.

I gotta get this "compartment" of my life under control. You all know this compartment, it's the one that enables you rationalize your spending habits, putting yourself and this world over Him. I can never fully praise Him with giving until I break free from the slavery of debt. Seems simple right...........hold on, I'll get back to you, got some Christmas shopping to do.

Lord, break me.

12/2/07 - Life Journal - Deus lo Volt

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches...
Romans 11:17,18

I'm reading a fictional account of one man's diary of the crusades. It's titled "Deus Lo Volt". Everyone from peasants to noblemen joined the cause of the Pope to reclaim the holy lands, especially Jerusalem, from the pagan Turks and Arabs. Their cheer was "Deus lo Volt", God wills it. Apparently they never read this verse because some apparently believed it was God's will to stop half way on their journey and slaughter Jews, Jesus' murderers.

This verse explains to me, I think, that God also sacrificed his chosen people, their hearts hardened, to pave the way for Gentiles to be saved by His sacrifice of His Son. Like Judas, His people are playing their part in His all-encompassing plan to save all of His creation. It's a reminder that all are His and we are to treat everyone like the lost sheep that they are and use our lives to lead them back into the fold. Vs. 23 states, "And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again."

Lord, help me remember those with hardened hearts that were pruned to make room for me and Your Son who made the ultimate sacrifice.

A peek into my brain at this precise moment...


Took me a few days...

...but I finally got my Christmas tree up!

Forecast for the Tortugas


Here's the extended from weather.com...

...and here's the nearest weather buoy as reported by NOAA:

Rock on Wayne..............rock on Garth............

Wasn't there, not me, didn't do it........

Beer Bandit Robs Guinness Brewery <-- hit the link..........

...and for a little humor break from Inside the Mind of an Irish Drummer:

Our Guinness
Which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink.
Thy will be drunk,
I will be drunk,
At home as in the tavern.
Give us this day our foamy head,
And forgive us our spillages,
As we forgive those who spill against us.
And lead us not into incarceration,
But deliver us from hangovers.
For thine is the wine, the whisky, and the Guinness,

Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door.
"Brenda, may I come in?" he asks. "I've somethin' to tell ya."
"Of course you can come in, Tim. But where's my husband?"
"That's what I'm here to be tellin' ya, Brenda. There was an accident down at the Guinness Brewery..."
"Oh, God no!" cries Brenda. "Please don't tell me."
"I must, Brenda. Your husband Seamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry."
Finally, she looked up at Tim. "How did it happen, Tim?"
"It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned."
Oh sweet Jaysus! Did he at least go quickly?"
"Well, no Brenda... no. Fact is, he got out three times to pee."

Moving Beyond Postmodernism

Great article on Church in a postmodern era.

Read it at Relevant.

12/1/07 - Life Journal - Love God, Do What You Want

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
Romans 6:15

This seems to have been as common a problem back then as it is today. People using the grace of God and his gift of salvation as a license to live however they pleased. Paul goes on to say that if you are still willfully living in sin you are slave to the sin and lawlessness and ultimately to death. Once we take on the badge of the cross and submit to God we are free of sin and "slaves of righteousness".

St. Augustine said to love God and do as you please. Was he endorsing the Nicolaitan lifestyle here? Not at all, with a true love of the Father in our hearts we'll not want to do anything to disappoint (tick off) God. Even if we tried, that Holy Spirit is the worst guilt enhancer you can imagine. Stuff that used to be fun have somehow lost their luster. That or God will make them unenjoyable. There's an old line from Hank Jr that goes, "..and the hangovers hurt more than they used to.." God'll do that to you, and added with the guilt you feel, sometimes during or right after the act of sin, really takes the fun out of things. I just need to be more aware of this and catch myself before the guilt, pain and hurt. Things would be a lot easier.

Father, I know it's not worth it, in the short or long run. So I guess the question is why?

New Ice Breakers look like illegal drugs?

From FOX News, "Ice Breakers Pacs, nickel-sized dissolvable pouches with a powdered sweetener inside, hit store shelves in November. The packets, which come in blue and orange plastic slide-up cases, are similar enough to drug packets that a child familiar with the candy could mistakenly swallow a heat-sealed bag of drugs, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector William Blackburn told the Philadelphia Daily News for an article published Friday."

Check out these two pic's and judge for yourself:

Read the entire story here