Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

First of all, I'm sorry that it seems like I dropped off the face of the earth. I've been too busy with work, Christmas preparations, and homeschool co-op responsibilities, to even think about blogging. But, with Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to post a little something, to commemorate the birth of our Savior.

For Christmas, I thought I'd follow Larry's example and share a little story from my distant past. The little guy you see in the picture above is none other than yours truly. It was taken in our living room, in Bucharest Romania. Perhaps the most noticeable piece of furniture was the donut-shaped coffee table that you see in the lower-left corner of the picture. I seem to remember that it was made of a brass-like metal and had a sizable hole designed into its center. At Christmas time, that's where the tree went, right in the middle of that table.

Now, as an interesting sidebar, I should mention that in Romanian tradition, Santa (the Romanian name for him is pronounced "mosh-cruh-CHOON" and translates to "Old Man Christmas") brought the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. My parents would tell me to go take a nap, and then they would scramble to get the tree ready in time. I remember one time when we had a bunch of people over, and I was in my room, playing with my friends, when all the lights went out. We were pretty scared and ran towards the living room. When we got there, they came back on, and there was the tree, fully decorated, and all the presents underneath it! And since we didn't set up the tree until so close to Christmas, we kept it up way into January.

Anyway, back to my story. I was probably six or seven, and I was still on Christmas break. Mom was at work, and while Dad was technically home at the time, he had to step out for a few minutes. I guess I was bored, because I must have gone into the living room and noticed that the tree was a little crooked. Being the little perfectionist that I was (and still am!), I thought that just pulling on the tree would fix it. Yeah, right.

Well, needless to say, the tree was little too big, and the boy was a bit too small. There I was, barely able to keep the tree from falling any further, and Dad was nowhere in sight! I cannot say whether the tree was too unwieldy, or if I was just too panicked to think things through, but I felt utterly unable to do anything but just stand there holding it up, and hoping that Dad would be home soon, to rescue me.

Mankind, before Christ, was much the same way. During the time of Moses, God set up the Law, imperfect as it was, to show us the way. But Israel made a real mess of things and got itself in a position where God's intervention was necessary. Jesus came to save us from our sins. When we were burdened with the load of sin, He rushed in and took that tree upon His own shoulders. He took the blame for our mess and made a way for the Holy Spirit to come and make us righteous, as God intended from the beginning. This is why we celebrate Christmas. :)

In case you were curious how it all turned out, Dad came in pretty quickly and was puzzled and amuzed to see the predicament I had gotten myself into. He took that big tree off my hands and straightened it, as only he knew how. I was so relieved that he was there to help me. He got me out of plenty other rough spots, but those are stories for another time....

Nearly two decades later, Jesus came into my heart, took that load of sin upon Himself, and straightened me up, just like that crooked Christmas tree. I am so thankful to Him, for everything He has done (and continues to do) in my life!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough

We just recently watched Spiderman 3 for the first time, on ClearPlay (which mutes foul language and skips gore and other objectionable material), and I wanted to share what it teaches about temptation and the choices that we make.

First of all, a little background. Geeky science student Peter Parker was bitten by a mutated spider and gained its proportional strength and abilities. The plot of the third installment of the hugely popular movie trilogy revolves around a black, gooey, shape-shifting, alien symbiote, that attaches itself to Peter, not only giving him a more imposing, new, black suit, but amplifying his negative emotions. As things around him crumble (job, relationships, etc...), he finds it easier and easier to give in to his dark side and do things that he would not otherwise do. He eventually realizes the mysterious suit has contributed to his self-destructive actions and gets rid of it.

In my opinion, this movie is way too busy, takes too long to set up the central plot, and does not spend enough time exploring Peter's struggles with the symbiote. And even before the symbiote takes him over, he does some pretty stupid stuff, that even he should know better not to do. True to the previous two big-screen adventures, the action and special effects are top-notch (if not ground-breaking) and nicely complement the issues that the movie addresses. Spiderman swinging through New York is nothing less than jaw-dropping.

In the end, Peter states (paraphrased), "We always have a choice, and we can always choose to do what's right." This is certainly a true statement, if we add that we can only possess the power to choose to do good if the Holy Spirit lives within us.

It's easy to do what's right, when things are going well. But when times are tough (financially, emotionally, physically, etc...), the Tempter comes knocking. The situation may sometimes seem so hopeless, that we can rationalize doing almost anything. This theme is evidenced not only in the life of Spiderman, but in that of the Sandman. Before being molecularly rearranged to the consistency of sand, he embarked on a criminal career, in order to make enough money to save his young daughter's life. You can argue that he did it not out of selfishness, but out of love for his daughter. But can sin ever be justified? Isn't there always another way?

We must remember that Jesus is always there, to carry us through. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). That way is prayer and power through the perfect love of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Frequently Asked Friday

Kronk and his shoulder angels.

Ah, time for the long-awaited second part of this multi-part series. Thanks are due to the Great Googly Moogly, whose comments inspired this post. If you wish to read last week's post or the aforementioned comment thread, just click here.

By the way, if you want to reuse a picture you used in a previous post, you don't need to upload it again. All you need to do is copy the HTML code for that image from your other post into your new post.

Why Do Christians Sin?

For the sake of this discussion, I am limiting the scope of this question to professing Christians. While the answer applies to all people, regardless of their beliefs, to ask why a non-Christian sins is akin to asking why a person who has no food is hungry.

I pretty much already stated in last Friday's post what I believe to be the fundamental reason people sin, but GGM had a different viewpoint, which has prompted me to further explore the issue. So, here are some reasons that I can think of, and the Biblical responses.

"We're the seed of Adam."

Sin entered human nature, when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Prior to that unfortunate event, the earth's first two humans were shielded from sin by their own ignorance. But as the serpent predicted, eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil made them to know good and evil, thereby opening their eyes to sin. Furthermore, those without the Holy Spirit dwelling within have no power to resist the temptation to sin. So when we come out of the womb, we have the seed of Adam in us and the inclination to sin. However...
  • "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23).
  • "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (1 John 3:9).

There are many more scriptures like these, but these three are enough to illustrate my point. The NT tells us over and over than a required part of salvation is a rebirth. Our hearts and minds are reborn in the image of Christ. The seed of Adam is purged and replaced by the seed of God. So truly born-again Christians cannot use this as a reason. If Adam remains in you, you have not yet been born again.

"The Devil made me do it."

This one's been used so much, it's a cliché. But one of my favorite scriptures in the entire Bible promises that Satan cannot so much as touch you, if you are born of God: "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (1 John 5:18).

Lack of belief in the Word of God

GGM made this excellent suggestion, and I think it's true, to a great extent. Way back in Genesis 2:17, God told Adam that he will die if he eats of the forbidden tree. Eve certainly knew this, but she decided to believe the serpent more, when he said in 3:4, "Ye shall not surely die."

Fast-forward many years later, and you see the Israelites, choosing to not believe God's warnings against idolatry and mingling with their heathen neighbors, over and over again. And true enough, the Bible confirms that unbelief will keep us from having a right relationship with God. Nowhere is it stated more clearly than in the Book of Hebrews:
  • "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (3:12).
  • "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (3:19).
  • "Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief" (4:6).
  • "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (4:11).

Here are some others that affirm that unbelief is sin and that belief in God is righteousness:
  • "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).
  • "...then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice" (Deuteronomy 9:23b).
  • "Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper" (2 Chronicles 20:20b).
  • "So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God" (Daniel 6:23b).

But is lack of belief in God's Word the fundamental reason we sin? Can we not have complete belief in God, even unshakeable knowledge of God's Word, and still choose to disobey?

"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19). Here, James makes the case that belief alone is not enough to please God, that our belief must be reflected by our actions. While works alone cannot buy us salvation (else Christ died in vain), they should reflect our nature as children of God. James' extraordinary effort to bring this particular point home, implies (to me, at least) that it is entirely possible to have full belief in God and His Word, and yet fail to act on it, or worse, wilfully disobey it. I have certainly found this true at times, in my own life.

This brings me to my inevitable conclusion, that fundamentally, sin is the result of...

Inadequate or misdirected love

No one reading the NT can miss the importance that Godly love plays in a Christian's life. New Agers and hippies alike have even picked up on it (and twisted it to suit their purposes). But is it more fundamental than belief? The Apostle Paul seemed to think so:
  • "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
  • "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (v. 13).

In fact, love is so important, that Jesus said it is what the Law and prophets are founded upon.
  • "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).
  • "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

To be sure, belief in God's Holy Word is essential for salvation and holy living, but we cannot love God and sin at the same time. "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13).

Faith and belief in God and His Word can only carry us so far. In the end, we are still free to choose between right and wrong, and the choice we make ultimately depends on what/whom we love more. For example, as an engineer, I've learned lots of math, more than most people will ever know. I understand it to a much higher level than most and firmly believe in the truth and correctness of all the theorems and derivations that I've learned. But I don't do a lot of math in my everyday life, because I don't like it that much. I recognize that it's necessary for nearly all technology, including that which surrounds me at work, but I avoid doing it myself.

But if I truly love God, then I will obey Him, no matter how much of His Word I believe or understand. Conversely, I can believe and understand more of the Bible than most people (by getting a PhD in Theology, for example), but still not love God enough to cease from sinning.

Where am I going with this?

Sorry for the long post (if you love me, you'll have read it all!), but you'll see next week where I'm going with it, and why this week's topic is so crucial. Tune in again next week!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Finally Saw Fireproof

About a month ago, I did a post on the success of Fireproof, a movie from the creators of Facing the Giants, about applying Biblical principles to make marriage work. Two weeks ago, my wife and I saw it ourselves, in the theater. We don't go to movies very often, but we felt this one was worth seeing on the big screen. We dropped off our son at my wife's Grandmother's house and made our way to the theater. The mall parking lot was nearly abandoned, and when we went in, we were the only ones in the theater! It was like having our very own screening room!

We both laughed and cried together, along with the movie. The script was very well done, and I was so impressed that Jesus was front-and-center, throughout the film. Even though the lead characters were not saved starting out and both committed sins, Godly people in their lives are trying to steer them in the right direction.

The most moving scene for me is when the lead character (a young husband, whose marriage is on the rocks) is taking a walk with his dad, in the woods. They stop by an old Bible-campsite, which features a 10-foot wooden cross. He sits down and they talk about his efforts to do nice things for his wife, while she ignored and scoffed at him. He desperately asks his dad (paraphrased), "How can you love someone who constantly rejects your every effort to show them love?" His dad, a born-again Christian, leans against the wooden cross and replies, "That's a very good question," not-so-subtly referring to Jesus Christ's sacrifice.

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

I am very thankful that my wife and I have a very solid marriage, founded on the Lord. While some relationships may work without Jesus as the center, true marriage is one where the husband and wife love Jesus, first and foremost. His perfect love is the only thing that can guide them through the rough times.

For more information on this excellent movie, please visit the official website.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Frequently Asked Friday

Kronk and his shoulder angels.

This is the first part of a greater subject that is far too great for a single post. Subsequent parts will be posted each Friday. By the way, the picture for this theme is inspired by Disney's The Emperor's New Groove, which is one of the funniest films I've ever seen. For more information on the shoulder angels, click here. While the picture does tie in with what I'm talking about, the shoulder angels aren't my focus. LOL!

What Is Sin?

I have never found an outright definition in the Bible, but here are some scriptures that shed some light on the nature of sin:
  • "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
  • "... For whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23b).
  • "All unrighteousness is sin" (1 John 5:17a).
  • "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).
  • "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14,15).
  • "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.... Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:20-22,27,28).

So, sin is breaking God's Law, as a result of lust, lack of faith, or disobedience. Also note that Jesus raised the bar, by stating that even dwelling on sinful thoughts count as sin. But what Law is it a sin to break? The explicit details of the Mosaic Law? "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" (Romans 7:6). Apparently not, for the Law of Mount Sinai was fulfilled by Jesus, who gave us the two commandments that we need to follow. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:37-39).

Sin, therefore, is breaking Jesus' commandments to love God above all else and others as ourselves. Sin is thoughts, words, or actions that originate from misdirected or insufficient love. Think about it. Every sin that you've ever committed can be traced back to loving yourself, or something, more than God or your fellow man (or woman).

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Cloth and Wine

Note: Posted by Farrah -- Greg has been busy!

Matt. 9
[14] Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?[15] And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.[16] No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.[17] Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

John’s disciples and the Pharisees were accustomed to following the Old Testament laws and traditions that they had grown up with. They were used to fasting regularly and couldn’t understand why Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast as well.

One might ask: What is the purpose of fasting? I see it as a way of showing God how serious we are about wanting an answer to prayer or to draw closer to Him. But what would be the point of doing so when God is standing right there, big as life, talking to you? Jesus’ disciples had no reason to fast. Anything they needed to discuss with God could be addressed immediately and receive a direct flesh and blood answer.

There was a problem with the Old Covenant. It was insufficient in that it could not result in a changed heart or clear conscience. The Word says that the law was our school teacher and a shadow of things to come. We would not know what sin is unless there is a law telling us what and what not to do. The law was meant to open our eyes to our inadequateness for meeting God’s approval. It showed our great need for a Savior, the perfect sacrifice that could actually cleanse us from sin and write the law on our hearts, giving rise to real change.

One thing we know about old clothing and wine bottles is that at one time they were new. You might say the first covenant was beautiful in its youth. Imagine God carving out the Ten Commandments with His own Hand so that Moses could deliver them to His people. Picture a law that could bring peace and prosperity if God’s people would only follow it. Envision the temple in the time of Solomon with all of its earthly glory – the gold and precious stones, the carved flowers, cherubims, and the priests with their long and ornate, robes.

Yet the garment wasn’t perfect, and as time went by that became ever clearer. The threads began to wear as God’s people repeatedly disobeyed and were punished. The riches in His house were plundered, His temple destroyed, and by the time Jesus was born the last remnants of the first covenant were barely recognized. God’s house was overrun with corrupt Pharisees and opportunists seeking only prophet. It had become a den of thieves.

We know that there were good pieces of cloth left, people who were sincere and devoted, anxiously awaiting the promised Messiah. We get to meet a couple of them in Luke 2. There was Simeon, the priest who had been told he would not die until he had seen the promised Christ. And there was Anna, a widow of “great age” who rejoiced to see Jesus and spoke of him to those “that looked for redemption in Israel.” It’s interesting to note that these two people themselves were not unlike an old garment, being near to the end of their lives.

In both of Jesus’ examples, a problem was implied. The old, worn-out garment was in need of a patch, else why would a new piece of cloth be added? And the old wine bottles were empty, else why would we consider refilling them? In the same way, the Old Testament laws were worn-out and “ready to vanish away.” They were insufficient for meeting our spiritual needs. History was on the brink of prophecy fulfillment, the desperately needed “patch” had arrived, the new wine was about to be poured out. But some wanted to keep their old ways and traditions. They were comfortable with their old clothes and wine bottles.

The problem is that it won’t work. Remember that the garment has a hole and the bottles are empty. So what did God send to fix things? A patch? No, a brand new replacement, a set of divine royal robes far superior to anything the law could give. Jesus did not die simply to patch things up. He died so that old things could pass away and all things could be made new. He came to fulfill the law, not fix it. The law was trying to make us show love without having it in our hearts. Jesus came to give us a brand new garment and new wine to put into new bottles. If we attempt to cling to our old life or our old traditions or even the Old Testament laws, it just won’t work. The tear will be made worse and the bottles will break.

It can be hard to let go of traditions. To the Pharisees the old wine was best, and in real life old wine really IS the best. But they didn’t realize that the bottles were empty. With the death of Jesus approaching, those old bottles were going to be as dry as a desert. Once a better way has come, and the old and new are viewed side by side, the old looks even worse. Imagine an old shirt with holes. Next to it is a brand new one. Which of the following would you do: Cut pieces from the new shirt to patch the holes in the old one or toss the old shirt and wear the new one? People do a great disservice to Jesus when they try to keep their old ways and Him, too. It detracts from what He came to do and makes it appear as if He is insufficient. It interferes with His plans for our lives and causes us to miss out on blessings.

What the Pharisees didn’t realize is that with Jesus’ presence on earth, He had already initiated the abandoning of the old garment for the new. John had prepared the way for the New Covenant. Soon Jesus would be crucified and rise again. Then, He would return to heaven and send the Holy Spirit, which would guide men in their new lives. There would still be times for fasting and prayer, but not because of old laws and traditions, not the way the Pharisees viewed fasting as something that must be done repetitiously and out of duty.

The new garment is the only garment worth having.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ray Boltz and Homosexuality

Note: Posted by Farrah

Several years ago, we bought some albums by Ray Boltz. Though he wasn't our favorite, we thought several of his songs were really wonderful. He hasn't made any new albums in many years, and I thought perhaps the Lord had called him into other things. Perhaps touring in another country, spreading the gospel, similar to David Meece. Until I stumbled across the following article copied and pasted onto a Christian's blog:

Gospel singer Ray Boltz - who has sold about 4.5 million LPs, cassettes and CDs - has come out of the closet publicly in an interview with Washington Blade.

The formerly married singer, who has four children, came out to his family and friends several years ago. While sitting around the kitchen table at his daughter’s house in December 2004 - the same day as the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean - Boltz’s son, Philip, asked him what was wrong.

“I thought, ‘Well, I can just do what I always do and hide the truth or I can take a risk and be honest,’” Boltz says. “That day, with the tsunami, has become very symbolic in our family.”

Nobody was sure, at the time, what the ramifications of the revelation would be, least of all Ray.

“It’s hard to say I came out because I didn’t have all the answers. I just admitted what I was struggling with and what I was feeling. It’s hard to go, ‘This is the point where I accepted my sexuality and who I was,’ but I came out to them and shared with them what I’d been going through.”

Continuing to pretend, Boltz says, was no longer an option.

“I’d denied it ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’ And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore … when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, ‘Just end this.’”

His family’s reaction took time.

“I don’t want to downplay it like it was just, ‘Oh, well that’s OK.’ It was a very tough time for them too, but the bottom line was they loved me and they still love me … it’s been an amazing journey of acceptance on their part … I was offered support and love from each member of my family, including my wife.”

I was very sad to discover this, and we had to throw away his CDs. Until we know he has come back to Jesus, we will not enjoy his music. On the brighter side, there was a comment left by a lady that really touched and encouraged me:

There is no sin that is not common to our flesh. In our flesh lies no good thing. We are all potential homosexuals, murderers, etc. One drop of blood from Jesus washes away a multitude of sin. I was saved at 13. I saw and recognized the horror and depth and vileness of sin within me though I barely had committed any known “labeled” sin in my loving Christian family life… least not at that time in my life. When my womanizing husband left me and I was thrown into a partying lifestyle, it didn’t take long for people to no longer recognize the person I had become. So I “came out” proclaiming I was no longer a Christian. Not that I had homosexual tendencies but that I was validating that “I no longer have to live a nice Christian walk, attending Church and living celibate. That proclamation I thought gave me freedom to join the world doing the same as I was. There was pleasure in that partying lifestyle…”for a season” but I did come to an end of myself.

I would like to say that I reached out to Jesus but I didn’t. HE REACHED DOWN IN MY DESPAIR AT THE POINT OF SUICIDE, WANTING TO DIE, BELIEVING THAT I DESERVED HELL…and literally told me to be still and let HIM love me. He spoke to my heart and told me that He would take away everything that did not please Him and make it easy for me to walk with Him. He only required one thing of me and that was “that no matter how unworthy I deemed myself, that I would consider that He is a God worthy of praise, and that I would promise to “Get up anyway, go on anyway, and praise Him anyway.”

So whatever the sin, whatever the trouble, I will go on! He is constantly bringing up things in our lives causing us to recognize those fleshly “tendencies” within ourselves until we can look to Him, and say, “Ah Lord, I never want to do that again”. If the “tendencies” are stronger than we can conquer sometimes only Jesus can come into that place in our hearts and work righteousness. It is a precious repentant heart that is pure before Him.

We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Let us pray that Ray is brought into a “testimony”…a story of victory. This is a battle I am glad I haven’t been called to conquer. With all our prayers of love and compassion let us pray for our brother that God deliver him from these ungodly desires that he obviously so far has not found victory over.

I have a cousin that “came out” to his family, wife, and four grown daughters. After the divorce and living the lifestyle for 5 years, one day God got hold of his heart, led him to an unknown church where he walked in and saw his wife with the whole congregation praying over her and him. He says after a lifetime of believing he was gay, God gave him something he never really had experienced ...”a physical desire and attraction for the opposite sex of which his wife was the ultimate desire of his “body”." She was already a part of his soul which had never left him.

Years later he tried to convey to his own nephew his testimony. That nephew told me that he wanted to believe him and prayed so hard, and tried so hard to just not live the lifestyle but the attraction for men instead of women was always there. After several years of “praying…trying” he gave in and began living with this older man. Within 2 years this handsome, precious, loving, nephew died a horrible, lonely, death of aids he got from that man.

Let us pray for Ray Boltz and his family.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jesus, Our King

While leaving a comment on GGM's blog, I was reminded of something I received from the Lord, a couple years ago. I had it posted on our original website, so instead of typing it all over again, I'm presenting it here, with some edits. Enjoy!

Since before He created man, God has desired to be our king. But in the waning years of Samuel, Israel's last judge, the people demanded that he appoint them an earthly king. They saw how nations around them were governed, and so they wanted the same for themselves. They wanted to be more like other nations! (Does this sound familiar?)

This greatly displeased God. Not only did He want them to set themselves apart from their neighboring idolators, but He Himself wanted to be their King. He warned them, through Samuel, that in desiring a man for king, they were rejecting God, and that their new king would lead them to suffering, ruin, and disaster. But the people did not listen.

Even though it was God who chose Saul for their king, from that day forward, the nation of Israel was essentially divided. No longer did the people have One Leader, but two. There were those who continued to trust in God, to whom it probably did not matter who wore the earthly crown; and there were those who rebelled against the Lord and chose to put their trust in their new king, and him alone.

The Bible chronicles the ups and downs that the nation of Israel went through, under their various rulers. There were some kings that truly loved God, but most of them turned their backs to Him, inviting God's wrath and a nearly uninterrupted string of invasions by Israel's enemies.

But God never gave up on His people. He had promised them that an heir would arise, from the lineage of King David (Israel's 2nd king, and arguably their greatest, though not without flaws), who would establish an eternal Kingdom and rule over it forever. Now clearly, that would be impossible for a mere man to do, since men are mortal. But God had a different plan. A perfect plan.

He eventually sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be our King. Born of a virgin, Jesus was at the same time, fully God and fully man, of the lineage of King David. Because of His unique nature, Jesus re-unified God's people under a single King. The two kingdoms became one, because Jesus is heir to both!

Jesus, the Son of God and the heir to the throne of David, came to re-unite God with His own people. Through Jesus, God brought the long rebellious line of kings back under Himself and re-established Himself as the One and Only King of His people. All we have to do is individually accept Jesus as our personal Lord, Savior, and King.

Two thousand years later, we live in a country that was unquestionably founded on God's Word. Most of our nation's founders were devout believers, who relied heavily on God's principles, in creating the government and laws of our land. But as God blessed us with bounty, success, and power, people relied less and less on Him, and more and more on themselves and their elected leaders. Morality became subject to the fad du jour. Acts and beliefs that were once reprehensible (by God and man) are now condoned and even encouraged. Our justice system now relies more on the letter of the Constitution than the intent of its designers. We're even looking at other countries, to assist in court rulings! We are barrelling headlong down a slippery slope of no return!

The only way back is to return to the Lord, individually and as a nation. We each need to repent of our sins and surrender our will to Jesus Christ, Our Savior and King. We need to rely on the unwavering truth of God's Word: the Bible. Only then will He again bless our nation and defeat our enemies, both outside and within.

Friday, November 7, 2008

In the News

U.S. Elections

Yes, we all know how that turned out. I was reading an article on CNN today, that tried to explain why the win seemed so lop-sided. While the statistics are not yet fully analyzed, the percent turnout was much higher among Democrats than Republicans. This means that while Obama's supporters were energized to vote, many more of his detractors (not all of them actually supported McCain) stayed home.

But here's something very interesting, that should give us all hope. As you can see from the map above, both Florida and California sided with Obama. However, both states also voted to ban gay "marriage". In California, voters were almost 2:1 for Obama, yet a decisive majority were for the ban! Furthermore, while Floridians narrowly favored Obama, around a 2:1 majority were for banning gay "marriage"! In fact, all four gay "marriage" bans passed, which is encouraging news to me that there is still a strong air of conservative values, across our country.

For the past couple elections, I noted a very interesting statistic that most (if not all) of the urban centers lean Left (some overwhelmingly so), while less populated areas lean to the Right. This split is particularly obvious in our own Washington state. It seems something happens when you cross the Cascades! Maybe it's the thinner air or reduced humidity. Someone should totally do a study on that!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

Does this picture ring any bells? Just look to the right, if you want a hint. So, what am I doing posting about pumpkin carving? Don't I know that Halloween is the biggest satanic day of the year??? It is, for a lot of people, unfortunately. But we can use it as a force for good, or at least a little harmless fun, if handled the right way.

The debate about how Christians should treat Halloween (no pun intended!) continues. Farrah's dad, for example, is on the end of the spectrum that is totally against having anything to do with Halloween. No costumes, no pumpkins, no candy, no nothing. Give the devil no quarter (or M&Ms, for that matter). On the other end of the spectrum are those who celebrate it full-tilt, even though they know of its pagan, death-related origins.

Without straying off the main point of my post, I'll just state that my wife, son, and I just enjoy dressing up as superheroes, knights, fairies, etc..., carving pumpkins, and handing out candy. Not only don't we do any scary stuff, but we try to use the event as an opportunity to witness for the Lord. The primary way we witness on Oct. 31 is through our pumpkin carving. In fact, just today, my wife ran across a beautiful analogy between pumpkin carving and salvation! Be sure to check it out!

So enough background already. I thought I would show you a gallery of past carvings that our little family has done. We're no Michaelangelo or Rodin, but we're learning.

Pre-Digital Age

I believe we started carving pumpkins together in 2002, when Kylen was almost 3 years old. Of course, he wasn't old enough at first, or really interested, so our first efforts were strictly products of two grown-ups. Please forgive the bad quality of these photos, but I was lazy and just took digital pictures of the originals, while they were still in their albums! You may flog me when ready.


With Kylen nearly 6, he was finally ready to really carve something, all by himself! You can see the cute result below. No, not the baby! The wolf-like creature! I think it may have been supposed to be a bear. Didn't he do a great job, though?

The baby is actually my wife's, who actually stuck a plastic binkie with rapidly flashing lights into its mouth. Unfortunately, late October weather is cold enough, over at our place, to kill most any small battery.

As for me, I decided to get brave and feed my superhero obsession, by carving Superman's insignia. To avoid fully cutting out the diamond shape that surrounds the S, I engulfed it in flames. In the end, it gave it a nice effect.

For lights, we finally settled on using a string of red C9 Christmas lights. We've used them every year since.


Farrah and I were inspired to again carve something about the Lord. We stayed simple, but powerful... just like the Gospel itself!

If I remember correctly, I was trying too hard to give Kylen tips on how to draw on his pumpkin (I'm an incurable perfectionist). He got really upset and decided to just draw something on it, without carving anything. That's why the middle pumpkin has no lights. I'd like to say that I've learned from the experience, but Farrah and Kylen may disagree with my assessment.


Ah, this was the Year of Green Lantern. After endless hours scouring the Internet for an adult-size Green Lantern costume (found one!), I just had to carve his logo on my pumpkin! Again, the rays of "light" prevent the logo from becoming fully separated. And, it just worked out that I had just gotten some red-and-green C9 Christmas lights, the previous year. The green ones gave it the perfect finishing touch.

Kylen carved a castle. His skills definitely improved, although he wasn't sure how to do that skinny roof, between the towers.

Farrah stuck with simple-but-powerful. How totally awesome (perfectly planned!) that such simple symbols as a cross and a heart can convey such a powerful message!


And here we are, caught up to the present. Kylen's carving skills (see rightmost pumpkin) have skyrocketed. He did it all by himself! Although you cannot see it, there is lettering that says, "Jesus loves you."

Farrah read a little about making more delicate designs, by scraping off layers of the shell, allowing light to shine brighter, through the thinner areas. I let her be the guinea pig, because I was busy preparing for my homeschool co-op computer class. The middle pumpkin is hers, and you can see a close-up, further down. She did a great job!

I decided to get way brave, and actually try a real photo. I thought the one of Kylen as a baby, with the Bible, which I use on this blog, would be perfect. I opened it in Paint Shop Pro and reduced the number of colors to three: black, gray, and white (see bottom picture). I don't know if the pros actually project the picture onto the pumpkin, to make it easier, but I just drew it directly. Carving... err, scraping it wasn't too bad, though I had to use a melon baller and a paring knife, to augment my poorly designed plastic pumpkin scraper. And although I drew Kylen's right eye correctly, I accidentally scraped off its bottom part. Oops!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In the News

I had gotten such a good response on my post on worldviews, I was really reluctant to move on, but it was time. I've got something really neat to share, that the Lord showed me a while ago, but first...

Gay "Marriage" Vote in California

Jeff was the first to draw my attention to this latest installment of the nation-wide battle against this abomination. I counted that state as already lost, until I read this article from At stake on Nov. 4 is Proposition 8, which aims to ban gay "marriage" in California. Voters already approved such a measure in 2000, but a recent California Supreme Court ruling struck down that law, forcing conservatives to put the issue up to the voters again. Recent polls show that public opinion is split about 50/50. If you live in California, I urge you to vote YES on Proposition 8!

Anyway, here's a scary peek at the strategy of the pro-gay groups. As you probably know, they've been winning crucial court decisions in several states, while losing at the voting booths, by wide margins. Read what one of their main activists has to say in the article:

Kristina Wilfore, executive director of the Washington-based Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, an advocacy organization that specializes in using ballot initiatives to further liberal causes, says her group picks its battles in fighting anti-gay-marriage amendments largely because most votes aren't even close. "We would never bring gay marriage up before the voters," she says. "This is [our opponents'] strategy." She admits they've been terribly good at it.

In other words, these groups are bent on imposing their secular progressive agenda on a population that largely disagrees with their views! They want the select few (themselves and the judiciary) to force their will on the majority of the populace. But I thought this was a democracy!

But wait! There's a little more:

Wilfore says she's prepared to take the long view in California. "I am not going to be discouraged if we lose," she says. Victory will come over time in the courts, as demographics works its influence on the nation's voting patterns, she says, noting that young people support gay marriage far more than their parents and grandparents do. "A lot of people are going to have to die" before Election Day is an easy day for gay marriage, she says.

I know this isn't what she meant, but she is basically implying that those who oppose government sponsorship of the abominable sin of sodomy should die... and the sooner the better.

We need to stand together and united against the amoral, vocal minority in our country, which desires to remove God from all aspects of our daily lives, starting with laws that make it harder and harder to live the Christian life.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Frequently Asked Friday

What's a Worldview?

We're doing a weekly Bible study at our friends' house, and we just started a unit on popular worldviews. The study materials are based on David A. Noebel's book, Understanding the Times (revised 2nd ed.), available from Summit Ministries. They have not only the book, but an entire curriculum based on it, as well as many other Christian materials addressing moral issues.

In their 1989 book, Worlds Apart, Geisler and Watkins define a worldview as "a way of viewing or interpreting all of reality. It is an interpretive framework through which or by which one makes sense of the data of life and the world." In other words, a worldview is the interpretive pair of glasses you use to explain the world around you. Even if you never thought about it explicitly, you already have a worldview; everyone does!

This past week, my wife received her first issue of Answers Magazine, which defends a literal Biblical interpretation of science and history. Browsing the magazine, I found this cartoon (drawn by Dan Lietha, whose permission I have to use it). No matter on which side of the fence you're on, it is a great illustration of the concept of worldviews.

The intentional irony of this cartoon is that the atheist accuses the believer of having a distorted view of his reality. But in fact, his own so-called "objectivity" is actually based on his belief in the absence of God. Even agnostics are not truly objective, because many of them don't just claim that they don't know that there is a God; they go one step farther, declaring that you cannot know.

Believe it or not, it's really not that big of a deal to us if the earth was created in 6 literal days, 4.5 billion years, or some amount of time in-between; we know God created it (and everything else, including all mankind), and that's good enough for us.

Why Study Worldviews?

Understanding your own worldview, as well as those of others around you, helps you develop a consistent way of looking at things, as well as leading you to understand where other people are coming from. It can help you better understand the great moral and political debates of the day, including homosexuality, abortion, elections, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the economy. It helps you become a better informed voter, more convincing debater, and more understanding of others.

After much time debating atheists and those of other beliefs, I have come to understand and appreciate this problem better. Clashing worldviews and the inability to understand how each developed is probably one of the leading reasons why religious and political discussions can get so heated.

Ultimately, truth is truth, and God's view is all that really matters. Yes, I know, God is central to my worldview, but He may not be in yours. But if we have a mututal understanding of our respective worldviews, we can have a polite, but lively discussion about anything.

I don't know if this stream-of-consciousness makes much sense to anyone but me, but as we continue the study, I'll continue to share my thoughts on it.

"True to His WORD" Award

When I moved our old JesusIsWonderful site to this blog, I did not know how to attract some readers (very lonely out here, without comments). Not to even mention that I wanted to find some devout Christian bloggers to fellowship with. So, I began blog-hopping for bloggers with similar interests, and this person's blog was one of the first I came to. I left him a comment, and he volunteered to steer some folks my way... without my even suggesting it. And, true to his word, he sent lots of folks my way... many of YOU folks! So, I had to thank him in some way....

So Jim of Journaling for Growth, to thank you for your instant friendship, I award you with the inaugural "True to His Word" award!!! May it also comfort you to know that you even inspired its double-meaning name. Just as Jesus was (and continues to be) true to His Word, so you were to yours. Thanks, friend!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

In the News


The Kendrick brothers have come up with yet another Christian hit movie! Fireproof is in theathers now! My wife and I have not seen it yet, but we really enjoyed their previous two movies: Flywheel and Facing the Giants. Here's a CNN article, talking about its unexpected popularity. It's encouraging to see Biblically-based, family-friendly movies enjoy such popularity, in a world that tries so hard to shut God out.

Fireproof is the story of a firefighter whose marriage is on the brink. While on the job, the husband's philosophy is "never leave your partner behind," he's willing to do just that, on the home front. The movie depicts the personal journey he undertakes, in an effort to save his marriage.

While Flywheel and Facing the Giants were two of our 8-year-old's favorites (he wanted to watch them over and over, on DVD), the subject matter in Fireproof is too grown-up for young children. Although the Kendricks handle everything in a sensitive way, adult issues, such as adultery and pornography, are significant in the starring couple's marital problems.

One interesting trivia fact is that lead actor Kirk Cameron has a rule that he never kisses anyone but his wife; a noble creed, given Hollywood's loose morals. So, in the movie, whenever he is shown kissing his on-screen wife, the filmmakers actually used his real wife, as a "stunt" double. Awww, that's sweet! :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Frequently Asked Friday

Does God Exist?

What a weird question to ask, and on a Christian blog, no less! But it's one that I asked myself many times, before Jesus revealed Himself to me, through His Living Word. I also do not expect to adequately answer it in this, or even a million, posts. Philosophers, theologians, and lay-people smarter than myself have already debated this question, without reaching a unanimous conclusion. Besides, I've already answered it for myself, so the question is fairly rhetorical, from my perspective. But, for those of you who are either asking yourselves the same question or who seek to help lead others to its inevitable conclusion, please allow me to address this issue with an analogy.

Where Do Babies Come From?

Growing up, you probably had a mom and dad who claimed to be your parents. And you probably believed them, on faith. You didn't ask for your birth certificate, their Social Security cards, DNA evidence, or the testimony of witnesses under oath. It was enough that you resembled them, that they were part of your life for as long as you could remember, and that others also called them your parents.

But what made them your "parents?" You probably didn't think of it that way, but you probably asked instead, "Where did I come from?" or "Where do babies come from?" If your parents didn't think you were old enough to hear the exact truth, they probably gave you a watered-down version, the stork story, or avoided the question altogether.

At some point, you learned about "the birds and the bees," and you believed it, even though you had no real proof. In fact, if you think about it, the miracle of life is such a wonderful mystery, that even pictures and scientific evidence don't do it justice. You can't fully appreciate it until you get married and experience it for yourself. You feel the tiny kicks inside your wife's belly (or feel them yourself, if you happen to actually be the wife!). You witness the beautiful, precious, little life be brought forth into the world (and maybe get tired of being told to "breathe" and "push"). And then you understand. You've begun to experience parenthood yourself, and your blind faith, from so long ago, has reached its realization.

Back to God

Likewise, all the evidence in the world may not be enough (or necessary) to convince you that God is real. The evidence is certainly there, from the unlikely conditions that support life on this planet, to the complex structures and processes that make up a living thing, to the spiritual experiences that so many testify of.

Ultimately, that question is answered by faith and personal experience. And just as the new parent wants to show everyone their baby (or baby pictures), you will want to tell the world of your own rebirth in Christ.

Just as many doubted God, many will doubt you. But there will be some who will believe, and then experience the salvation of Jesus Christ and the rebirth, for themselves. And then they will want to tell the world!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

Ah, yet another recurring meme makes its debut right here! Wonderful is in this blog's name and it starts with the same letter as this day of the week... well, it was simply unavoidable that this would become a meme someday.

The goal of this meme is to highlight scriptures that demonstrate how truly wonderful our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is, often without any further comment. So, without any further ado...

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:11-15).

Jesus died on the cross, sacrificing Himself, as a once-for-all payment for our sins. But He didn't stop there. No, sir! He serves as Mediator between us and God (Himself), granting us direct access to God Himself. How far below Him is our humble President, and yet how many of us can ever hope to get a private audience with him? But I can talk to Jesus anytime, day or night, even at 3:00 AM! How wonderful is that???

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In the News

I am an avowed news website addict, and although most of the news today is disheartening, I was blessed by this video from Here's a little girl who's running for Student President at her school, and she is unafraid to stand up for her faith in Jesus Christ. What's almost as encouraging are all the people they interviewed, who support her.

Jesus said that we must become as little children, in order to enter into His Kingdom. How fitting that a little child so unabashedly demonstrates that same kind of faith! God bless her!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Symbolic Sunday

Oh, how the days go by! It seems like only last week that I posted my previous Symbolic Sunday... oh, wait... it HAS been a week! Even if I don't have time to post any other day, I want to at least keep up with my Symbolic Sundays.

The Tree of Life

"And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden...." (Gen. 2:9a).

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen. 3:22-24).

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7).

"In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev. 22:2,14).

The Tree of Life represents eternal life in Jesus Christ. Regardless of how it works out physically, it inextricably ties immortality with being in the mighty presence of our Maker.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve had it made. They had access to the Tree of Life, allowing them to live forever, as long as they ate of its fruits, in a veritable paradise. But their sin separated them not only from God, but also from access to the tree. Their bodies were doomed to a finite existence, because God could not bear to allow their sinful natures to endure forever.

If we read the Bible cover to cover, we spend most of it reading about how God repeatedly reached out to His stubborn and idolatrous people, while they continued to disobey. Punishment brought about repentance, but only for a time. The true Cure did not come, until Jesus Christ came to die for our sins. He made a way for us to get back to God's presence, which is where we belong.

The triumphant return of the Tree of Life is very fitting for the last book of the Bible, tying together God's entire plan of salvation. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Rom. 11:33).

In short, more than mere immortality, the journey of the Tree of Life represents God's children coming full circle, back to the everlasting presence of their perfect Creator, and His boundless love, mercy, and wisdom, in bringing it all about. Thank You, Jesus!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Symbolic Sunday

Repent, Ye!

"Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever." (Ezekiel 43:9).

The OT is packed with symbolism relevant to our lives today. In Chapter 43 of Ezekiel, God is telling Ezekiel that although Israel has been a rebellious and idolatrous nation, which He punished severely, He will restore them and live among them, in the end. But the condition is that Israel must turn away from its sins.

God takes no pleasure in sacrifices or lip-service; what He wants is repentant hearts that love Him more than anything else. Are you holding on to sin, instead of surrendering it to God? Are worldy possessions, goals, or relationships, keeping you from a closer relationship with Jesus Christ? Put those things away, far from Him, and He will draw closer to you.

All the things of this world will one day perish; every single one, except Jesus! He will endure forever. He died on that cross to make a way for you to spend eternity in His Holy presence, but only if you accept His gift and turn from all your sins and worldly affections. In return, He will bless you and give you the peace your heart's been longing for. Isn't that worth everything and more?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Symbolic Sunday

This is the second meme (after "Frequently Asked Friday") that we're going to start here. This one will feature mainly symbolism in the Bible, but can touch on other side topics.


Recently, out of the blue, our 8-year-old son thoughtfully said, "Guys, I think I know why Sunday is called "Sunday". This took us a little by surprise, because I don't recall ever having discussed with him the day's pagan origins (you know, sun worship and all that).

"Really?" we asked. "Yeah," he confidently continued, "God created light on the first day, which we get from the sun. So that's why it's called 'Sunday'."

Amazing how the mind of a child works! That was an explanation I had never thought of. Now, technically, Genesis says that the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day, but his line of reasoning is just another demonstration of our son's budding critical thinking skills, through which God will undoubtedly show him wonderful things!

Praise be to God!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Frequently Asked Friday

Q: Why did you change the name of this blog?

A: As always, the Lord moves in mysterious ways, and always on His time, at the right time. Several years ago, the Lord moved my wife and me to create a website for Him. We asked at church for name suggestions, and my father-in-law proposed "JesusIsWonderful." We liked it, and it was available, so the name stuck. We had t-shirts, stickers, decals, and even a banner printed with the website's name. We felt like we could reach the fartherst corner of the earth with Jesus' message of love, redemption, and salvation..., at least as long as they had Internet!

Fast-forward to the present. Updating the website had become a drag, mainly because of the amount of work needed to archive old posts and add new ones. Once my wife started writing a blog, I thought maybe we could use the same concept. It wasn't until I was doing our monthly bills, and I noticed increased charges from our hosting service, that I decided to take action, and begin the process of moving to I did not want to continue my old blog, but at the same time did not want to lose the posts I've already done, so I renamed my blog. Its purpose is still the same, but my purpose has been revived and renewed, much like a sinner who finds new life and purpose in Jesus Christ.

Long story still long, here we are! is still up-and-running for now, until the transition is complete. Please come back soon!

Monday, February 4, 2008

They Once Were Lost...

I got an e-mail today from one of my basketball buddies that HE HAS MY BOOTS!!!! Thank you, Jesus!! What did I tell you about trust? He uses the little things to prepare us for the BIG ones! Who knows? Maybe I'm going to lose my head sometime in the future... oh, wait! It's attached! Phew!

What a Weekend!

I've had quite the weekend! It has really taught me to trust in the Lord even more and served as yet another reminder of how little we're actually in control of!

It started Thursday evening (technically not part of the weekend), when the school that our group usually plays basketball at was closed. We decided to try a local sports club. It cost each of us $10 to get in, and we were WAY out of our league! Many of the guys we played against had incredible 3-point shooting, several could dunk, and one had moves that I've never seen outside the NBA! And as if that wasn't bad enough, when I left, I was so frazzled that I forgot to take my boots! I called the gym as soon as I got home, to ask them to keep the boots for me, but when I got there the next day to pick them up, they were nowhere to be found!

We looked at a couple stores in town, on our way sledding at Great-Grandma's house (can you see the irony, by now???), but nobody had boots. Middle of winter, and the major department stores don't have boots!!! When I came to WalMart, the lot was packed! Fortunately, there was a handicapped parking spot available, so I used it. Now, my wife has an auto-immune condition, which has severly impaired her movement, and we have a parking permit for her. I've NEVER used it inappropriately... until this day! Even though she was in the car with us, I was the only one who was going to go inside. But I had no time to waste looking for a spot half a mile away! So I got out and began rummaging through the trunk for the cell phone, so my wife could call her grandma, to let her know we would be late. While I'm doing this, a lady in a car stops behind me and starts interrogating me on the legitimacy of my choice of parking spot. After truthfully explaining my situation and intent, she told me I was illegaly parked and to move. Apparently, she WAS handicapped in some way and was determined to get a good spot. Annoyed, but knowing that she was indeed in the right, I complied. There is nothing worse than getting caught red-handed, is there! As a Christian, I try to be a good example and follow all the laws, but sometimes when I'm in a hurry, I speed. Or when I can justify myself ("I'm just copying this song so my dad can hear it"), I infringe on copyrights. But God has called us to not only follow His laws, but also those of the land. This was in important lesson to me and has motivated me anew to follow the laws as strictly as I can.

That evening was when I started this blog, and while I was looking for a cool new template and other folks' blogs, my laptop went CRAZY! It started popping up Internet ads like mad, until I just turned off my wireless connection, in order to prevent further mayhem. Turns out I got several spyware programs onto my laptop. I'm very careful about these things and still have no idea how they got on there. Since I work with computers all the time, I guess it's unavoidable that one of my main weaknesses is fretting when they break. If something is wrong with one of our computers, that's all I can think about, until it's fixed. I spent until 3AM that night trying to get the spyware off, with only partial success. It wasn't until this morning that I ran across SpyBot, which is an AWESOME tool that finds and deletes over 100,000 varieties of spyware! I put up a link, in case one of you has an issue with spyware or pop-ups, or are just curious if there is any spyware on your system. Praise the Lord for this program!!! That's all I can say.

Saturday, we tried to go skiing at a local mountain that's only about an hour away... only I forgot to get GAS!!!!! DUH!!!!! We were already half-way up the mountain, when I noticed the gas gauge near empty. At first, I thought I had enough to get all the way to the lodge and back down, but as the windy road wore on, I began to worry. It wasn't long before the "idiot light" came on, letting me know that I was very stupid for forgetting to get gas back when I still had the chance. By now I realized our only hope was if we could get some gas at the lodge. It began to snow. When we got there, the parking lots were packed! I had never seen it so busy! I asked an employee about gas, and he said they had some I could buy... for $6 a gallon! OUCH!!! But what can you do?? I would have paid $50, if it meant getting home. Oh, and did I mention the roads were pretty bad, and I forgot to bring along the chains for our Honda Accord? (Wouldn't have done much good anyway, since I found out this morning that the ones I had from our old car were the wrong size! Hahahahaha!!!) Anyway, I was so frazzled, that I decided to just go home, without skiing. That was just fine with my 8-year-old son, who's only in his second season of skiing and dreads going on the infamous "Chairlift 3".

On our way back, we stopped at a gas station to give my $6 gallons of gas some much needed company, and also to go through their car wash. Everything went fine, until the automated system spit us out. I put the car in gear, but when I pressed the pedal, we did not move! The wheels just spun in place, stuck in a pothole made in the snow. I backed up a bit and tried again, but we were still stuck. I looked behind and started to back up, when I noticed that another car had already entered the wash behind us! I tried again, but were still stuck!!! Yikes!!! Was this car wash smart enough to stop, if it sensed another vehicle in the system, or would we have a lovely fender-bender, to continue my lovely weekend? I did NOT want to find out. I backed up as far as I could, before something stopped me (probably the automated wheel track) and slammed on the accelerator. WE MADE IT!!! Phew!!

Not such a bad weekend, now that I think back on it, but full of frustrating moments. You know, when we look back at the hard times in our lives, we realize how the Lord's hand was always there, guiding us, pulling us through. After all, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. And what DOES kill you only brings you into His Everlasting Presence (if you're a born-again child of God, that is!). So what have we to worry about?? Trust and obey is the way!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wifey made me do it!

Even though I consider myself pretty computer savvy, I've never read a single blog in my whole life, much less written one. But my wife has gotten so into reading her friend's blog, that she decided to start one herself. And, not knowing as much about HTML, she started asking me questions, until I finally decided to start my own, just so I could learn along with her.

So where did I get this blog title, "Wisdom's Beginning"? My wife and I were brainstorming creative names for HER blog, and this was the first one that popped into my head. It was inspired by Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10, which start with, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Oh, how unwise is today's wicked and adulterous generation, which scoffs as God and His Word, and rebels against His righteous holiness!

Aside from using this blog to learn enough to help my wife with hers (she's not really as helpless as I make out to be; we both have electrical engineering degrees), I would like to share my thoughts about my Lord Jesus Christ and the lessons that He teaches me through His Eternal Word, the Holy Bible.

I'm not what some would call a Bible-thumping nut, but my favorite topic of conversation is Jesus. :) I do hope you come back!