Friday, March 23, 2007

A Shemitah of Sorts...

If you’ve been a regular to my blog, you may have noticed that my writings have dropped off a bit. Well, actually they’ve pretty much dropped off completely. But I’m doing fine, busy, but fine. I wanted to write a post to my readers and let you know that I am healthy, happy, and there is nothing wrong with me physically. In other words, I haven’t died or been led astray. I’m right here in Kentucky, trying to do what the Lord tells me to do every day.

The problem I’ve had is that the past few posts I have put out there have been written because I felt like I had to, not because I had a hunger to write them. I’ve taken some time to pray through and evaluate where God is leading me and it’s a bit shocking to see what He is revealing. Actually, it is exciting! I have been called to go in a direction by God that is taking most of my spare time that I normally devoted to blogging. So I came to a junction where I could keep blogging and take time from my family, or take a sabbatical and see what He has in store.

That said, I am taking the sabbatical from blogging. I’m not sure how long this will be, but rest assured, this has been prayed about and He is leading me to do this. The Hebrew word for this little break is “SHEMITAH”. A shemitah is explained in the book of Exodus this way:

"You may plant your land for six years and gather its crops. But during the seventh year, you must leave it alone and withdraw from it. The needy among you will then be able to eat just as you do, and whatever is left over can be eaten by wild animals. This also applies to your vineyard and your olive grove." (Exodus 23:10-11)

I see my blog as a field I have planted for some time and believe me, I’ve enjoyed planting and harvested it’s fruit. The past year has been a time of huge spiritual growth for me. I became a published Christian author and used my book to consult with men’s ministries around the country. It’s been exciting and I have feasted upon these things. But, even Exodus tells us to leave it alone for a season so that the needy may use it to be fed. So, anyone needy, read up and enjoy whatever you find here! But more than that, I am using my time to seek His face and start planting in the new land that He has recently given me.

In closing, I covet your prayers as I go forward. I’m still alive, so I do get email. I’m not going to the moon or anything, just dropping the posts for a while. But just as the song about a famous snowman goes:

“…Had to hurry on his way, But he waved goodbye, Saying don't you cry, I'll be back again some day”…

Thursday, March 15, 2007

When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best

So I'm over at the Christian News Source and the headline is:

"PRO-ABORTION GROUP INTRODUCES NEW POST-ABORTION ECARD".

My first reaction was, "HUH??", followed by a sickening feeling in my gut as I clicked on the link, and read the story.

The story tells about an abortion counseling service called of all things, Exhale, that is now offering an email card to send to a friend that has just had an abortion. I've heard of ecards for birthdays, get well soons, and even bosses day, but abortion?

This is just another reminder of how our society has grown numb to the everyday atrocities, tragedies, and evilness that rule our world. This is all summed up in the following excerpt from the Exhale website:


Do you know someone who’s had an abortion? Are you having trouble knowing what to say? Do you want to let them know you care?
Send them an e-card.

and,

everything will be alright....

(I added the "everything will be alright..." bit)

I'm reminded of the verse I've been studying, ruminating, and digesting over the past couple of weeks that simply states:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

When we trivialize abortion by sending an e-card, I have to believe that we are living in the last days.

If you don't believe me, just read the news.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Lovers of Money

"Hurry to an Ohio Lotto location to buy your ticket! Tonight's jackpot is going to be well over three hundred fifty million dollars!!!!"

The Radio Announcer's voice crackled over the factory radio in my Jeep as I made my way home from work Tuesday night. I thought to myself how cool it would be to have that much money. I envisioned the cars, homes, boats, and other toys that I would buy if only I had that kind of payday. Then I thought about my chores for the evening. I had to pick up my son at Nana's, meet my wife at home, and then off we would go. The biggest thing was timing. I was already a little bit late picking up my boy and I new I needed to hurry. BUT, I wondered if I could squeeze in a few extra minutes to jump across the Ohio river and buy one of these magical tickets. I even had the thought about calling my Mother in Law and telling her that I had something come up and would be a little late. After all, I'm sure if I won the money, it would make everything OK. Or would it.

It's obvious that our society today is obsessed with the almighty dollar. We want the newest, biggest, best, prettiest, coolest stuff that's out there. This attitude is the center of what our culture in America has become, and I'm starting to realize that it is a very sad fact. I'm as guilty as the next person for wanting more stuff, but I'm starting to realize that this is a vicious cycle that is easy to get sucked into.

Let's take cars for example. After a few years of driving the family truckster, a new model car catches your eye. You trade in your vehicle for this one that costs more so your payment goes up. But, now you have a cooler ride with better options. A couple of years go by and your once cool ride has now become not so posh and there is a newer, better, sharper vehicle you eye. SO, you trade it in and add the upside down equity into it. Now you have a newer car, but your payment is higher and you are even more upside down, owing more than the car is worth. And guess what? In a couple years, this car will be passe and the cycle will continue. The bottom line is that stuff will get old, tarnish, wear out, and eventually rust away.

If only we would take the Master's words more to heart when He said: "Store up your treasures in Heaven". And most of all, live it. I know that I don't have it all figured out and I have a long way to go, but you've gotta' start somewhere. And, that somewhere is not at the counter of a lottery dealer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Lovers of Self

"I Love Me!", is what the shirt said that I saw hanging in the store window. I snickered when I saw it because I pictured myself wearing it at Disney World where throngs of people looked and laughed at it while I grinned back at them with a smile that only the Cheshire Cat could come close to imitating. This picture I had painted in my mind was funny to me, but what about to God?

What does it really mean to love yourself. Through our fleshly eyes, love of self is simply that we like who we are and are comfortable in our own skin. You may even go so far as to think that self love may be eating a good diet, working out, and really nurturing the one and only body that we have. That's a human perspective, and a good one. But what about on the spiritual level? Can we love our "self" too much? Can we put our "self" above other things? Can we put our "self" above even God? Here's my take:

We all put our own fleshly self above God and others. We can't help it, it's going to happen. Thanks to our physical parents (Adam and Eve), all people have inherited a minute piece of genetic code that acts like a fuel source for our fleshly nature. This fuel source will run our lives if we let it so it is imperative that we quench it's fire everyday. What I'm talking about is crucifying the flesh. We need help to do this and it's there for the asking through prayer.
Even Paul struggled with his "Self". He said, "I die daily to my self". One of the greatest Christians of all time even struggled!

With that in mind, I leave you with my new motto and that is "Get over yourself". Or better yet: Get Over Your "Self" and start giving yourself.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Last Days?

I've been ruminating over II Timothy 3: 1-5 this week. Not because I am into the "End of Times" club, because I'm not. In fact, I have no desire to read the 'Left Behind' series and I don't go to Bible Prophecy Conferences to learn about what someone that can't think like God, thinks will happen in the future. As far as I'm concerned, none of what happens in the future matters more than our relationship with God and the discipling of ourselves and others. Inevitably, God will bring to pass what He plans, not what our earthly human intellect can interpret. However, since I am also only human that can't think like God, I do have questions about the future. That's why I'm drawn to this passage:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Every time I read this passage, God teaches me something new that I hadn't seen before. So, this week, I plan to dissect, bisect and analyze these lines in an attempt to go a little deeper. I'm not going to attempt to tell the future at all. No, no, no, I'm actually listening for His voice. With that said, "I'm listening God, speak..."

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Big Money Waster

I've been away from posting for awhile because I've been in a foul mood. Actually, I've been angry, frustrated, and helpless to what I'm getting ready to rant about. What I'm about to tell is the story of how lemons can make you lose your religion.

Back in May 2005, my wife and I got rid of our 2002 Chevy Tahoe for a sporty new four door sedan. I was so happy because all of our lives, my wife and I had desired to own this particular brand of automobile, and now we could! I actually wrote a post about it because it was such a happy day when we said farewell family truckster! What was a happy moment, is now a nightmare.

Our car has been doing some funny things. Your driving along and the wheel suddenly turns to the left or right when you hit a small bump. Scary to think huh? On top of that, the road noise is so bad that it reminded me of riding in a Blackhawk Helicopter when I was in the army. And, forget about driving it in the snow, it won't go at all. We had a friend look at the car and he told us the tires were shot and there is a popping noise in the front end. I'll remind you, it has 11,000 miles on it, the tires are shot, and the wheel jerks out of your hand while driving. So, we made an appointment at the dealership we bought it, drive down the night before (120 miles), and drop it off the next morning. After ten hours of goofing off in town, we return to the dealer at 5:00 and they bring our car around and tell us that we need to buy a $2,000 set of tires and get it lined up before they can help us.

As you can imagine, I hit the roof! I told the service guy that a German automobile with 11,000 miles shouldn't have worn out tires and the other safety issues. He told me, "Don't shoot the messenger". I told him to bring me someone I could shoot and it better happen quick. His boss soon appeared so I went through the same song and dance. He promised to work with us.

He calls me Monday and tells me the car company will pay 50% of the tires and the dealer will pay 25%. I stuck to my guns and told him that I didn't feel like I should pay a dime for a car of this caliber that's tires are shot at 11,000 miles. He said he'd get back to me. The next day he called and told me that all costs would be taken care of. I was relieved but also aggravated that this was not the first answer from them.

They took the car Monday and will bring it back tomorrow, fixed. Or at least as fixed as they think it should be. The problem I have is the fact that my wife does not feel safe driving this car. And, I don't want here to feel that way ever and I want her to be confident with what she drives. Also, I am afraid that nine months from now, we will be back at square one with these people when we go back in with a set of shot tires.

So tonight, I am reminded that it's alright to be angry. God demonstrated his anger many times in the Bible. The only stipulation to anger is, "DO NOT SIN IN YOUR ANGER". Looking back, I don't feel that I sinned in my anger and disagreements with the dealership and service department. Sure, I had some fleshly thoughts that I've asked to be forgiven for, but I don't know of any blatant sinning or harm that I have done to anyone. And one last thing, I'm not going to tell the make of the car but I will close with the fact that this car has been a Big Money Waster (hint, hint, nudge, nudge)!!!