Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Songs of Recovery - Blessings

I was listening to some music today, and the song "Blessings" by Laura Story came on. In this song, Laura looks at the things in our lives that we pray for, the things that we do not think are fair. She also looks at how we may come to doubt God if these things happen to us. We may come to doubt the goodness of God, we may doubt that he loves us.

This made me think of how our relationship with God looks sometimes. We come to God all of the time to ask for healing, forgiveness, successful job hunts, to be content, to be happy, protection, etc. We have changed the Our Father Prayer to, "Our Father, who is in heaven, gimme gimme gimme!" Don't get me wrong, I think that healing does happen, and we can ask God for it. I just think that we look more at what we want and less at what God's will is for us. What if we have cancer, or were molested, or have a sick parent. Should we pray to be cured? I think that we should. We may not get our prayers fulfilled. God sees the big picture that we do not. So what if God does not answer our prayers the way that we want him to? Some feel that He should answer, and that He should cure us of our afflictions.

In fact, as I have recently been reading in Charisma magazine, there are some who feel that God performs miracles all of the time here in America. The problem is that we do not have enough faith in God, or we would be able to be cured of all ailments both mentally and physically. Bethel Church was in the magazine, and one of their church leaders said that that the problem is not that we ask for too much. The problem is that we don't ask for enough. It is not enough to accomplish worldly goals such as building churches in South America or digging wells in Africa. We should be curing the blind and making the lame walk, that is the the power of God and the power of the Holy Spirit according to the article written in Charisma magazine.

I do not know how I feel about that. I feel that God cures people sometimes, other times He gives us the ability to persevere. Iron is used to make steel. Steel is nothing more than iron that has had an impurity, carbon, added to it and then is remade in the fire. I feel that we too are made stronger in our fires. Even more than that, I feel that our fires can make those around us stronger too. How many of the Christians that have been executed over the years have brought non-believers to faith, not through their deliverance from death, but from their faith and compassion that never wavered when they were executed.

In the song Blessings, the song looks at how God's greatest gifts just might be the trials of this life, the illnesses, the loss, the spent tears, the persecution. We grow through adversity and hardships. When do not get strength and our faith is seldom bolstered if life is lemondrops and lollipops. We grow not on the mountain tops, but in the valleys. What if we are supposed to feel pain and hurt. What if every time that we work through this it makes our faith even stronger, makes our resolve to worship even greater and brings those around us closer to Christ? What if we are made how we are because that is how God wants us?

Psalms 139:14: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

God made me, and because He made me I should be happy with where I am in life. I should make the most of my opportunities. I think of one of my favorite inspirational speakers, Nick Vujicic. His ministry is called "No Limbs, No Limits." Nick was born with no arms and no legs. He does not ask God to cure him of his "handicap." He does not see it as a handicap. Instead, he is able to reach thousands of people and let them know that faith in Christ will allow you to accomplish all that you need.

My wife is legally blind. She was taken to a healing conference by her youth pastor so that her vision could be fully restored, and she was not cured. She was told by some people that it was because she did not have enough faith in God. Wow, how that had to hurt a legally blind teenager. "God did not cure you because you do not love Him enough," she was told. She, on the other hand, did not think that healing was what God had in mind for her.

Today she works at Global University (an Assembly of God missionary college) as their video editor.......a legally blind video editor. She has been to multiple countries to film Christians all over the world. To hear her talk about her "disability", she feels that God created her to do what she does, "I can see better through the lens of a video camera than I can with the eyes I was born with." Does she need to be healed? I think that she is wonderfully made!!

I do not know about you, but I feel that many Christians come to a point where we feel that God owes us something. I believe in God, I tithe, I attend faithfully so He should cure me. If trials pop-up, if I get sick, God should make it go away. I just do not feel that is true. God made me the way that He wanted me. This world to many may be full of sin and disappointment, but what if that is what makes us realize that there has to be more than just this world we now live in? I yearn for something that I know I cannot have on this Earth, but that I know I desire and I know exists. I yearn for hope and happiness. Where do I find that?

One of the most influential people that I ever met was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He was given 3 months to live by the specialist. He told people not to pray for him to be cured, but to pray for God's will to be done. He died with a smile on his face, and got to meet his heavenly father. That is what he talked about in his final days. He was consumed by pain that the opiates could not touch, but he lay in bed and would talk to us about how lucky he was to be going home. He died in pain, but he remained positive and peaceful.

His death was the instrumental piece that brought his estranged son, who was an atheist and a drug addict, to Christ. His son was by his side for the first time in over a decade when he died. His son came to Christ less than a month after his father's death. If his father would not have died as happy and hope-filled as he did, his son would not have been redeemed. He told me this. I was was not friends with the man who died, I was a friend of his sons. But that is his testimony, not mine.

I am saying that if he would have been cured, his son would not have gotten saved. I know women who have been raped and beaten that have turned their experience into a ministry to help others going through the same experience. I am a former convict and drug addict who works with convicts and drug addicts. I am proud of all that I have been delivered from. But there are also things that I have not been delivered from. I no longer obsess over drugs, but I desire them on occasion. I am okay with that. The Holy Spirit allows me to work through the desire. I have been transformed, I have been healed but not cured.

Cured is a medical term to me as a clinician that means something has been beaten or suppressed. Healed on the other hand could mean that the pain was embraced and that we moved forward from it. Curing asks, "what needs to be fixed?" Healing asks, "how can I grow?" My friends dad may not have been cured, but he was healed and allowed his son to be healed through his death. Why are we often not cured?
2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." You see, God can grow in the face of  illnesses, weaknesses, trials and tribulations whether they are cured or simply healed.

I am no greater than Paul was. God spoke to him personally. He saw Jesus in the flesh. He wrote 13 books in the New Testament. If he was allowed to live with a handicap and not be healed, a man who talked to Jesus face to face, than who am I to expect more? I thank God for the mercies in my life that came disguised as hardships. In the end, they have made me stronger and brought me closer to Christ!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Living Free - And so it begins.....

Hello my name is Scott and I’m a …….. 

You see, this is the paramount difference between Living Free and many other programs that are available for people with Life Consuming Issues ( LCI ).  I have come to believe that I have been transformed and can not be defined by a label.  The reason this is possible? I have been healed by the amazing love and power of Jesus! Sounds cheesy, right? Inside church settings and programs the terms we throw around  lose translation to the rest of the world, especially the secular world.  I really can’t speak for you, a group of people, or anyone in generalizations. I can only speak for me. 

I have been changed by the power of God and now I have the Awesome opportunity to help other people. Not because I have the answers, but because I know who does. I serve only as a simple sign pointing upwards that says, “ hope and healing is possible and available. All you have to do is ask!” 

I have been asked to speak weekly via this blog regarding the beginning of a program my wife and I serve as coordinators for in our church called Living Free.  I admit very candidly that I have never participated in a blog but I am a man who will be honest and open as I proceed with this task.  If it somehow helps someone or serves to point them to a new beginning of hope, it is worth it. 

The journey began January 20th with the first open facilitator training at our church for Living Free and culminated with the graduation of my team of facilitators. June 21st we began and I am pleased to report a positive start: 17 adults, 10 children, 8 facilitators and 6 children’s workers.  That results in a total of 41 people involved in Living Free at our church for the first night.  Wow, to God be all the Glory and praise.  This result is right at ½ of what had pre-registered, but I know the best is yet to come.  We are not discouraged. This is amazing!
As I close this first Blog let me just say to you what my team has been saying for months
“God’s Got this”



Sunday, June 26, 2011


This is a list of countries that have visited the Spiritual Spackle site, and I will add more as they visit. I am amazed at the different places that have visited to read about everything from the power of the Holy Spirit to Christ's Grace to Apologetics to the dangers of addiction and ways to overcome it. This site is my outreach to those who suffer from the consequences of life in this world, whether it is childhood abuse, addiction, grief and loss, anger, bad relationships, depression and other things that are thrown at us to separate us from Christ. I also look to build upon my faith and strengthen not only mine but those who read. Only the Holy Spirit will suffice in healing us and instilling life-changing hope. Everything else is only temporary!

  1. Albania 
  2. Algeria
  3. American Samoa
  4. Antigua and Barbuda
  5. Argentina
  6. Armenia
  7. Aruba
  8. Australia
  9. Austria
  10. Azerbaijan
  11. Bahamas
  12. Bahrain
  13. Bangladesh
  14. Barbados
  15. Belgium
  16. Bermuda
  17. Botswana
  18. Brazil
  19. Bulgaria
  20. Cambodia
  21. Canada
  22. Chile
  23. China
  24. Colombia
  25. Congo [DRC]
  26. Costa Rica
  27. Cyprus
  28. Czech Republic
  29. Damascus
  30. Denmark
  31. Dominica
  32. Dominican Republic
  33. Ecuador
  34. Egypt
  35. El Salvador
  36. Estonia
  37. Fiji
  38. Finland
  39. France
  40. Gabon
  41. Georgia
  42. Germany
  43. Ghana
  44. Greece
  45. Guam
  46. Guatemala 
  47. Guyana
  48. Haiti
  49. Honduras
  50. Hong Kong
  51. Hungary
  52. Iceland
  53. India
  54. Indonesia
  55. Iran
  56. Iraq
  57. Ireland
  58. Isle of Man
  59. Israel
  60. Italy
  61. Jamaica
  62. Japan
  63. Jordan
  64. Kazakhstan
  65. Kenya
  66. Latvia
  67. Lebanon
  68. Lesotho
  69. Lithuania
  70. Luxembourg
  71. Macedonia (FYROM)
  72. Malawi
  73. Malaysia
  74. Maldives
  75. Malta
  76. Mauritius
  77. Mexico
  78. Micronesia
  79. Moldova
  80. Montenegro
  81. Namibia
  82. Nepal
  83. Netherlands
  84. New Zealand
  85. Nigeria
  86. Norway
  87. Pakistan
  88. Palestine
  89. Panama
  90. Papua New Guinea
  91. Peru
  92. Philippines
  93. Poland
  94. Portugal
  95. Puerto Rico
  96. Romania
  97. Russia
  98. Saudi Arabia
  99. Serbia
  100. Seychelles
  101. Singapore
  102. Slovakia
  103. Slovenia
  104. South Africa
  105. South Korea
  106. Spain
  107. Sri Lanka
  108. Swaziland
  109. Sweden
  110. Switzerland
  111. Taiwan
  112. Tanzania
  113. Thailand
  114. Trinidad and Tabago
  115. Tunisia
  116. Turkey
  117. Turks and Caicos Islands
  118. Uganda
  119. Ukraine
  120. United Arab Emirates
  121. United Kingdom
  122. United States
  123. Uruguay
  124. Venezuela
  125. Vietnam
  126. Zambia
  127. Zimbabwe

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Truth Project Week One

The Truth Project this week looks at what is truth and introduces us to a new word (read that Truth Project created Latin) that the lesson calls veritology, or the "study of truth." Dr. Tackett shows us what we will be studying over the course of the Truth Project, which ranges from God to Man, Truth to Social Order and a lot in between.

There are several questions that are asked during the course of this lesson that really stuck out to me. The first question was, "What is Truth." His answer for this was from an 1828 copy of Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language that defined truth as "Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. We rely upon the truth of the scriptural prophecies."

Wow, right there in Webster's Dictionary we are told that Truth is found through reliance on the scriptural prophecies. That is a huge statement, and one that assuredly would not go over in today's touchy, feely mainstream. It looks at scripture, which might leave some people out. It even looks at Biblical scripture, which not only leaves out atheists and agnostics but also those who do not use the Bible. That means that not only are some people left out, but some people are wrong. Acknowledging that fact makes some people mad (mostly those who are left out and/or are wrong).

I am sorry, but life leaves some people out. Some of us are right, and some of us are wrong. Case in point, I am an Illinois fan that lives in Missouri. I am surrounded by Mizzou fans who are as proud of their team as I am of the Illini. We both want our teams to win when they play each other. Last year I stated proudly, as I always do, that the Illini would win the Battle of the Border. My friends argued that Missouri would win it. No matter how much faith each of us had in our position, one of us was wrong. In the end, even though we both used statistics and history to validate our claims and postulate them as facts, one of us was wrong (Sadly enough, it was I who was wrong last year).

The next question I liked was "How does man react to truth?" The Bible gives us numerous scriptures, such as 2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

It is becoming less and less popular to be Christian. We go off to school and are taught by a lot of the professors in the secular institutions that evolution is a fact, and only someone uneducated would believe in God. Even worse, we have those who profess to be Christian who do not teach fundamentally sound doctrine. They take parts of what Jesus said and use it out of context in order to gain followers, or to get more money into their coffers. I think of many of the evangelists that I see on television, or those who teach that God loves us just as we are and is happy with us even if we continue to sin.

The Bible warns us of these people. In fact, the Bible states that man will suppress the truth (Romans 1:18), distort the truth (Acts 20:30), reject the truth to follow evil (Romans 2:9) and even exchange the truth for a lie (Romans 1:25). This tends to be the popular choice, to live a lie even when we know the truth. There is a battle that is being fought constantly today. The Truth Project refers to it as the cosmic battle.

The cosmic battle is the ongoing fight between God and Satan, the truth versus the lie, reality versus illusion. There is a battle of worldviews that is erupting in our culture, and we need to be more than evangelists and ministers. We need to be ambassadors of the message. Think of us as the public relations department for Jesus. Are we living in a way that brings people to God or are we polarizing people because our works do not match our words? Do we follow the truth, or do we live a watered down version of the truth.

Even a half-truth is a lie, and lies are from Satan. The Bible clearly tells us this in John 8:44, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Are we living as children of God, or does the way we live our lives indicate that we are living as children of Satan. So we need to live our lives by not lying. We need to live our lives by telling the truth. So, what is truth?

Ravi Zacharias says that the single most important question that we can ask ourselves is what is truth.  Zacharias defines it as, "That which affirms prepositionally the nature of reality as it is." R.C. Sproul defines truth as, "That which corresponds to reality as perceived by God, because God's perception of reality is never distorted." As defined early, truth is not subjective, but objective. Just because I believed that my team would win did not make it so. If you say that the sky is blue and I say that it is yellow, one of us is surely right and the other is wrong. If you say that there is no God, and I say that there of us is wrong and the other right. I know that God exists, period. I can prove this fundamentally, historically, philosophically, scripturally as well as logically.
The final question that is asked in Week 1 is this, "Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?" If you do believe that it is real, can you intelligently defend your beliefs? Do you have the knowledge to defend your position and the ability to do so civilly and intelligently?

Even more importantly, if we do believe it to be true, than we would follow the truth that Christ laid out for us. So if what God tells us is the truth, why do we shy away from it? Most of us would argue that we do not, and that we follow God's commands. If that is true, does your life truly reflect that you follow God's commands? Have you allowed your faith to become watered down? Do you treat the word of God as your guide book, or do you constantly look for loop holes so that you can do as you please and feel that you get away with it? Do you listen to the authors and preachers/pastors who tell you what you want to hear and not what the scriptures truly say?

Examine your life, and ask yourself this question: Do I really believe that what I believe is really real, and do my actions reflect that what I believe is real really matters?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Superman

In this day and age, there needs to be more superheroes. I know that this may seem like an absurd statement, when there seems to be a new superhero movie released every other week at the theater and there are a lot of everyday heroes who step up when others will not. Those are the people that I am talking about, not the ones with the spandex tight suits, but the guys who step up and do what should be done when there are so many others who refuse to do the right thing.

I am really more of a Wolverine guy, but I would like to tell you a little bit about the guy that I called Superman. He was not named Clark Kent, but he was mild mannered, gentle and unassuming like him. He was mild-mannered in that when I would get into fights, he could never understand where my violence came from. I have seen him get hit and just stand there and take it, because he believed in the literal turning of the other cheek. He was gentle in that I know that he never hit any of his children, nor did he get into any fights after his teen years. He was unassuming because you never heard him brag about his achievements, even though there were many things that he did over the course of his life.

This is where I come in. Today I am going to tell you about the real life Superman that I had the pleasure of knowing, much like the people of Metropolis who loved the man who always saved the day and told grandiose stories about him. Some of my stories of Superman will be grand and some will not, but they will all be honest.

Superman was born to parents who were German immigrants who actually had their name changed at Ellis Island so that it would sound less German. He was born in Illinois, were he went to school and eventually joined the Army. This was a time that he never talked about, his time in the Army. Yet he did it, and he left the service with an honorable discharge. Some would say that serving his country makes him a hero, and I would agree with that. But it did not make him Superman.

He jogged all of the time, and running was one of his passions. Once a week he would run 20 miles to work, complete a 12 hour shift, then run 20 miles back home. He was inspired and at peace when he ran. Some would say that the focus and ability to run like he did was superhuman. At least I would, because I cannot run more than 10 feet without needing to be given oxygen. But it did not make him Superman.

He had a knowledge of the Bible that was unbelievable. He actually worked at the world headquarters for the  denomination that he believed in for several years. He loved to talk to people about his faith, and how life without God was miserable. He would minister and evangelize to people he had just met because he was worried about their eternal salvation. That takes courage that many of us today lack. But that is not what made him Superman.

He dealt with Bipolar Disorder, or what is commonly referred to as Manic Depression, his whole life. He lived with it and was still nice to those around him. He had his episodes because he would get feeling well and then wrongly think that he no longer needed his medication. He would then stop taking his prescriptions, then have a manic episode after a year or two and have to get stabilized on the medication again. He did this for decades without giving up. But that is not what made him Superman.

If someone met him, they were instantly friends. He was able to joke around with people standing next to him in line, and he never judged or looked down on anyone. I remember seeing him one day at the bus station in a state that he did not live in. As he left the station he had probably 30 people yell goodbye or shake his hand on his way out.  That was the charisma that he had. But that is not what made him Superman.

He was a recovering alcoholic. He had drank for years and was given to excess, especially during his manic highs. He never made excuses for his drinking, and he had 20 plus years of sobriety. He also would help those at church who were given to excess, and was always there to share his strength, faith and hope of overcoming addiction through a relationship with God. Battling addiction and overcoming it is something that 90 % of alcoholics fail at. He did it. But that is not what made him Superman.

After his first wife left him and took his three children with her (two biological and one step), he would travel 6 hours one way (12 hours round trip) to see his children every other weekend. He did this for two  and a half years, and he never missed a weekend. He put his entire summer on hold when he had his children with him, and would spend weeks at a time with them giving them his undivided attention. This made him an incredible dad. But this is not what made him Superman.

When he got the opportunity to get custody of his son, he jumped at it. He brought his son home and raised him as a single father for several years before getting remarried. He always put his son first and foremost, and his son never wondered whether or not he was loved, because he knew it. This also made him an incredible dad. But this is not what made him Superman.

Dad, tomorrow is father's day. You have been gone for 3 years now, and I miss you incredibly. I wish that my son would have gotten the chance to meet you, but he never did. The reason that I wish my son could have met you is because to me, you were Superman. Not because of the spiritual influence that you gave, not because you worked through your own addiction and mental illness, not because you could always run me into the ground on the track, not because my mom left you and I never heard you say a bad word about her, not because you served our country, not because you were charismatic, not because you never judged or looked down on anyone, not because you never hit or spanked me, not because you loved people enough that you wanted them all to know Christ and have the opportunity to live forever, not because you always carried me on your shoulders, not because you never once told me you were too busy to play ball(baseball, basketball or football), not because you never missed your weekends with me, not because you loved me unconditionally through my addiction/jail/prison and not because you were a stand up man and a dedicated father.

You are not Superman for one of these things or some of these things, but for all of these things. You taught me how to be a man and how to be a father. Even though I did not get it for 3 decades, I get it now. You never gave up on me and you loved me no matter what, because that is what fathers do.

You are Superman because you had faith that I would eventually grow into the father and husband that I have. You are Superman because thanks to you I will be an incredible father, because I will pass on all that I learned from watching you. You are Superman not for some of what you did, but for everything that you did.

Dad, I just wanted to say a few things to you on this father's day. I wanted to say that I love and miss you. I wanted to say that you were always a great dad even when I was not a great son. Finally, I wanted to let you know that my son will get to know you not just through pictures and stories, but by seeing how I live my life and raise him. He will know you because he knows me, and you live through me. I am and always will be a living legacy to who you were Dad!!! I hope that you are proud of the father I have become. I'll see you when I come home!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Truth Project Introduction

I am starting to attend a small group called the Truth Project at my church on Wednesday nights. It was created by Focus on the Family. They describe the series as follows:

"What is Focus on the Family's The Truth Project®?

In a recent study, the Barna Research Group revealed a stunning statistic that continues to reverberate throughout the evangelical world. Only 9 percent of professing Christians have a biblical worldview.

Because of this, today's believers live very similarly to non-believers. A personal sense of significance is rarely experienced, we spend our money and time on things that fail to satisfy and we begin to wonder what life's ultimate purpose really is. We are, in short, losing our bearings as a people and a nation.

To counter this slide within the body of Christ, we are launching one of the most ambitious and powerful projects in the history of our ministry—Focus on the Family's The Truth Project.

The Truth Project is a DVD-based small group curriculum comprised of 13 one-hour lessons taught by Dr. Del Tackett. This home study is the starting point for looking at life from a biblical perspective. Each lesson discusses in great detail the relevance and importance of living the Christian worldview in daily life.

We believe this one project represents the possibility for exponential change within the body of Christ, as we expect that thousands will be transformed by this curriculum. As it has been throughout history, God continues to call ordinary people to make an eternal difference in our world.
We invite you to be a part of this cultural change by participating in or leading a small group of your own. Contact us to learn how you can get involved in Focus on the Family's The Truth Project!"

I am excited to begin this small group, and as each week passes I will let you know the things that really stuck out to me and what I have gotten out of the group. I feel that we should all have the ability to defend our beliefs while not being confrontational, and this series is possibly a great way to do that. I once had a professor define intelligence to me this way, "An intelligent person is someone who can equally debate both sides of the discussion."

I hope to learn not only the Christian perspective better in this small group, but the secular world's view too. In learning better what the secular and Christian worldviews are, I can then better defend my position by learning about both. I also hope to see ways to improve upon how I am currently living so that I can become a better father, husband, friend and counselor. I hope you will enjoy reading my blog on The Truth Project so that you can take the 13 Week journey with me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Pride is Biblically one of those things that we are to not have. It is a character trait that is not to be admired. In the King James version of the Bible it states, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

I quote the King James Version because it is very fitting that the King James version would give this warning to someone that is also referred to as King James. To others he is known as simply LeBron James. Today I would like to personally thank LeBron and the Miami Heat for reminding me that pride does not lead us to be successful.  If anything, pride sets us up for destruction.

Last night, in game 6 of the NBA finals, the Dallas Mavericks led by Dirk Nowitzki defeated the Miami Heat's trio of all stars led by LeBron. I was glad to see Dallas win after the way that Miami and LeBron celebrated his signing with them at the beginning of this basketball season.

"Not one, not two, not three, not four," James said. And he wasn't finished.  "Not five, not six, not seven." He trumpeted from stage as he guaranteed multiple championships. I believed him, even though I am a Chicago Bulls fan. I thought that the combination of LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh would be unstoppable. I would have never predicted that they would not have the best record in the league (they had the third best) or that they would not win the NBA championship. He and I both seemed to forget the warning the Bible gives us multiple times:

Obadiah 1:3 "The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’"

Isaiah 23:9 "The LORD Almighty planned it, to bring low the pride of all glory and to humble all who are renowned on the earth."

1 Corinthians 13:4 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."

Even in the Biblical book bearing the last name of LeBron, James 4:6b states, "God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble," which is actually a quote from Proverbs 3:34.

Pride, boastfulness and haughtiness are all things that we should avoid, or we will find ourselves in trouble with the person who truly counts, God. I do not care if I am poor or if I, like LeBron, were to reach his goal of being a billionaire. I would rather be poor in this life and live in bliss for eternity than store up treasures on Earth to find myself on the wrong side of God. 

This leads us to the question how should I act? James 4:10 says, "Humble yourselves, and He will lift you up" and 1 Peter 5:6 says to, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time." 

This means that we are not the most important thing in the world. We need to get over ourselves and realize that there is only one with true power, and it is not us. If we are humble than God will give us the power to overcome all things. If we are boastful and prideful, then God will not. We should all take a lesson from the first step of recovery, which states that we realize that we are powerless. LeBron seemed to believe that he was all powerful, and thus has alienated some fans and possibly God Himself. 

In the end I thought that maybe LeBron James does get it. His twitter post after the game said, "The Greater Man upstairs know when it's my time. Right now isn't the time."

That sounds like a man who has come to realize that there is a greater power than he. I was happy for LeBron after I read his twitter in the sports news. I was beginning to think that maybe he was the young man who had his head on his shoulders and not in the clouds like I had thought, before the past year had occurred. Then I read his after game interview quote:

"At the end of the day, all the people that were rooting for me to fail ... at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that [they had] before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems they had today. And I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do."

His pride has once again reared its' ugly head. I only hope that we can take a look at how he has acted and reacted to others and learn a lesson. I know that he is only reacting to what others have said and done, but two rights do not make a wrong. Even though the Bible tells us in what is commonly known as the Golden Rule to do to others as we would have them do us (Matthew 7:12), I would tell us as Christians to go one further and treat others better than you want to be treated.

Remember Matthew 25 says that what we have done to the least of man, we have done to God Himself. When you are wronged by someone you should still treat them with love and respect, for when we stand before God do we want  Him to treat us as we on this world treated others? Do we want Him to treat us as we deserve? I know that I  do not, how about you?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Temple of God......more like a shanty

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, "Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple."

Our body is God's temple. That is said because the Holy Spirit lives in us. But do we live our lives that way? For the most part we do not live our lives as if we have even read the Bible, let alone as if we are a temple for the Holy Spirit to live in. A lot of us treat our bodies more like a garbage disposal or an amusement park. If we cannot control our consumption habits, how can we possibly control other habits such as lusting, lying or being a gossip?

When I say garbage disposal, what I mean is that we will throw any and all trash into our bodies. This ranges from junk food to eating too much food. Just because we have mega-Churches springing up does not mean that we need to have mega-waist sizes so that our personal temple matches the one we worship at. This is called gluttony, or overindulging.

Ever heard of gluttony? I hear that it is a sin! The Bible has a few things to say about gluttony. Proverbs 23:21 says that the glutton will come to poverty. Proverbs 23:2 goes as far as to say "put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony" and Phillipians 3:19 says that those who will come to destruction will treat their belly as their god. Does not sound like gluttony is a good thing. It sounds like gluttony is something to be avoided. Maybe this is something we as Christians should attempt to focus on. After all, sin is sin.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

Now we will look at treating our bodies as amusement parks. By that I mean we smoke cigarettes, have premarital sex, overindulge in alcohol and abuse drugs. Is that honoring God with our bodies? I should certainly hope not. That may be honoring the little "g" gods, not the big "G" God that I worship. We tend to take the path of least resistance and focus on what we want to do and what is popular and cool. This is not how we are to live, though. We are to live like the Holy Spirit resides in us, because it does. We should desire what God wants us to do.

Romans 8:5-6 says, "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace."

Somewhere in the course of our lives we have to ask ourselves if we are living as though our mind is governed by the Spirit. Are we doing as we have been instructed to do. I would argue that we are not. The way we live our lives shows that we have no self-control, which is a very important thing. 2 Peter 1:6 says we are to supplement knowledge with self-control, and Galatians lists self-control as one of the fruits of the Spirit. If we are led by the Spirit, then we will have self-control. If we have the Spirit, you will know it by our fruits.

We may have trouble acting with self-control, but there are ways that we can build it. We need to acknowledge that when Christ died he brought us salvation that allows us to deny our worldly urges (2 Titus 2:11,12). In order to take advantage of this salvation, we must be baptized (Galatians 3:27), cleanse ourselves from the impurities of flesh and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1) so that we can pursue peace and holiness and through them see God (Hebrews 12:14).

We show that we are truly following Christ by doing several things. In Acts 8:22 the Bible tells us that we should repent and pray so that our hearts can become right with God. Prayer and meditation will open us up to receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Just because it is there does not mean that we use it. As an example, I use public rest rooms all of the time. It has been my experience that almost every one that I have ever been provided both a sink and soap to wash your hands. Yet, I frequently see people walk out of those bathrooms without washing their hands. So it is with the Spirit, accessible to us but left unused.

Another thing that we need to do is surround ourselves with people who are living their lives led by the Spirit. There is a reason to do this. Birds of a feather, flock together. The Holy Scriptures also tells us that not only does bad company corrupt good behavior (1 Corinthians 15:33), but being around positive  Christians who are like-minded allow us to be built up and encouraged (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

When we get rid of the negatives in our lives, we need to replace them with positive things and people. If we do not, then bad things are surely going to seep back into our lives. I would rather be in relationships with healthy people than those who are living in sin, positive Christians as opposed to those who continue to make negative choices and accept no responsibility or hold themselves accountable for their actions.

In my life, I have decided I need to make some changes because there are areas of my life that I could improve in, that I do not have self-control in. The area is gluttony. I overeat all of the time, I do not know moderation when it comes to food and that has began to add up, leaving me with a waist that is almost as big as my chest. I will keep you updated on my progress as I attempt to overcome my last addiction, which is eating pleasure food in abundance, and drop 55 pounds and keep it off.

What I have decided to do is join Weight Watcher's, because it is a lifestyle change as opposed to a diet. I have tried juice fasts for a week, and the Daniel Fast for 40 days, but I have always returned to my addiction to food after it was over. I do not need a phase, but a permanent change. I need a change in lifestyle and a community to support it. I have done that with my other addictions, choosing to attend church for the community it provides, removing myself from those who were engaged in the lifestyle I was trying to leave behind me and actively associating with people who are accomplishing what I am striving for.

That is what Weight Watchers offers me: support, hope and encouragement. I know several people who are active Christians that are also involved in Weight Watchers and have been successful that can offer me support and encouragement in our journey. I will win in the battle with obesity and overeating, because my God is an awesome God. Don't forget what it says in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Still on vacation... I want to love like that/Praise you in this Storm

My son is still surprising me every day on this vacation. He walked all day long once again today. This is the same son who cannot walk from the car to the tram at Silver Dollar City. He walked today from 10:30 - 7 at Walt Disney's Hollywood Studios. Two straight days of walking, running and jumping when he generally just perches on my shoulders.

He asked all of the time for me to bend down, just like he does when he wants to be picked up. The awesome part was, when I would bend down he would give me a kiss and keep walking. He loves me with his whole heart, and that heart is huge.
This vacation has been great, and I have been awed by his affection.

Do not get me wrong, his love overwhelms me often. Everytime that he sees me, when I drop him off at daycare and when I tuck him in at night he gives hugs and kisses and lets me know that he loves me. He even acts that way when I put him in timeout after he gets out of the corner. That is love.

I want to rely on God like my son does me. I want to love Christ the way my son loves me. Don't get me wrong, I try to love God with all that I have and all that I am. I feel that I could do a better job, and my son has shown me what unconditional means.

My son has me there to pick him up when he feels that he cannot make it on his own. He gets tired, and he is confident that all he has to do is look at me and put his arms up and I will swoop down and pop him up on my shoulders, making his day easier.

I know that all I have to do is turn things over to God when they get to overwhelm me. I know it, but it is sometimes hard to do. I pray for his will to be done, but I sometimes forget that his will and mine are not always the same. If I do what He wants me to, I find that my life is easier. When I try to do His will, he pops me up on His shoulders and insures that I suceed. But I sometimes forget to do that.

My son shows me that he loves me no matter what. If he is having fun or in trouble, if it is just me or it is in front of his friends he is unafraid to show me how much he loves me. He will scream "I love you whole wide world" across his daycare with it full of kids.

I want to continue building my relationship with Christ to the point that I am unafraid to vocally claim my love. I will be unafraid to pray no matter who is around. I will tell others of the changes that the Holy Spirit has wrought in me regardless of who might judge me. I will raise my hands in worship no matter who is next to me or watching, even if I am the only one in the room who worships that way.

I spent my whole life in agony denying there was a God. I will spend the rest of my life in love with the force that recreated me and gave me a life that I can be proud of. I will praise God in the peaks and valleys, the feasts and the famines, the sunny days and in the storms. I know how miserable my life was without Christ, and I know how blessed I am now with Christ.