Fatherless Day

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. I am thankful to be able to celebrate another year with my dear father, and count it a real blessing to have him with us at 82…he looks younger than me. Many friends have lost their parents over the past few years, and I really hope they take the time to remember their dad by saying happy Father’s Day to dads they know.
Many people in America, and the number steadily grows, have no dad to share the holiday with. It isn’t because their dad is in heaven, its because they have no clue who their dad is, or he bolted on them when they were born or very young.
In an article dated 12/1/2006, the Washington Times reported that 36.8% of children born in the US were illegitimate. In 1960, that number was 5.3%…and the people thought that was outrageous. A more recent article on the website, discoverthenetworks.org,  site subtitled, “a guide to the political left, entitled the article, “Breakdown of the Black Family,” stated that the black community had an illegitimacy rate of 70-80%…!!! This is tragic! White and hispanic communities do not fare much better!
When a young man becomes fully aware that he has fathered a child, and walks away from that child, determining to have nothing more to do with their young, for whatever reason, he may be sentencing that child to live in utter poverty, to face imprisonment, have psycological problems, and send his posterity on a downhill slide that it may never recover from.
Both of the above articles mentioned noted that the young children from the loins of these fleeing fathers” face more possibilities of living in poverty, placed in prison, with all sorts of other pathologies and problems. Babies having babies is the best way to describe this problem.
There is another entirely different problem in fatherhood this country faces, well actually more than one, but this is a blog, not a book. There are children who have their father at home their entire life, but he is merely a household decoration more than a father. His best advice to his children, “do as I say not as I do.” Are you kidding me? That is how you teach your young? They fully expect their wife, or the church, or their public schools to instruct the children the way to live.
The children want their father’s attention and love, but he’s busy…the game is on right now. The first 7 chapters of Proverbs give you all the instruction you need, on how to raise your children by emphatic, practically pleading to them, about what to watch for in life. In chapter 1vs. 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father… and each of the next six chapters start that way. But in chapter 4, read it all, make your children wise.
“Hear my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding, vs.1, Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth!” vs.5
This father is teaching, and imploring his child the way of living. If you take the time to read these chapters, it may change your child’s future, and your future Father’s Day will be viewed as a day they truly honor their father. Of course, you don’t have to stay around, be a man, and raise your sons and daughters. You can let them be a statistic of illegitimacy. You don’t have to instruct your children, you can go dig them out of the barrooms later on when they are spending the money to feed their children a few years from now. Or you may have the pleasure of seeing them through the glass in a nice federal pen…at least they have food.
Think these things through. Pray for those who are fatherless. Think about how often you sat down with your little ones, and talked about life, and the importance of family, about integrity, and justice, and their importance to you. You can teach them how to play sports anytime, but today, teach them about God, about Jesus, love, etc. and if you bailed on your child, make it right, find a way, ask God to help you do so.
Happy Father’s Day, thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith

A Moment of Silence

America celebrates the annual day of observing the fallen heroes of our history Monday. This day becomes more dear to me as I age. I want to honor those brave that paid the ultimate price to secure our freedoms we hold dear, and protect our borders from aggressors. There are many men and women living in harm’s way today that we need to remember in our prayers, that they remain safe from the enemies of democracy worldwide.

 

I concern myself with many unnecessary things these days, mostly foolish worries of no consequence. I do have a concern for how we, as Americans, take this annual observance for the purpose of pleasures without the slightest thought of what Memorial Day is all about. Some time back, the VFW memorial put this statement out:

 

“Changing the date merely to create three day weekends has underminded the meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public’s nonchalant obsevation of the day.” (This was in regard to making memorial day on Monday instead of the set day)

 

We could observe the half-staff flag until noon, the moment of silence at three pm, and even go to a parade, but does that really reflect patriotism and true heart-felt meaning of this sacred day? Have you ever had a conversation with family members regarding the fallen? What about your children, have you talked about the lost lives that helped to secure those nice things you enjoy? Most people would have to say no, I haven’t. Or I am not much on history, besides, they learn that stuff in school. I didn’t. When my children were growing, I didn’t take the opportunity to make this holiday a special time for my young ones. I truly regret that.

 

You see, Memorial Day isn’t about the Indy 500. It isn’t about the cookout with the family, or the church picnic, or the big sale going on at Walmart. It isn’t about the pool opening, school letting out, or a weekend vacation. It is about a young person, lying in a foxhole, knowing their life is nearly over in the next few minutes, their ambitions and aspirations lost to the ages. It’s about those 56 that signed the Declaration of Independance, men of means, but lost nearly everything, some dying in poverty, to secure a life free of tyrrany.

 

These along with the multitudes throughout our history, are not to be forgotten because we haven’t taken the time to talk to family, especially our kids, to inform them of these who gave all. Why not start a tradition? Take 10 to 15 minutes in your family gathering to tell a hero of the republic’s story. Tell the story with enthusiasm, make it interesting. If you cannot think about a real event, go online, get out an encyclopedia. Use someone from anytime in history, the founders, the wars, etc. Just do it. Your children love to hear stories coming from the one they love…that’s you. Don’t let them grow and not know, and teach them to spend time in prayer for those serving today. The fourth of July will be here soon, and then do it again. Make the holidays memorable, and start new traditions your family will carry on for generations.

 

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith

Conduct: The Way of the Wise

As a child in elementary school, I dreaded the day we received our six week report card. As the end of the school day approached, the teacher took the stack of manila envelopes sitting neatly on her desk, and passed the accursed cards out to each pupil. Terror struck my heart, fearing what may be my last few moments of freedom from being grounded. Maybe mom and dad will let me choose what I can be grounded from this time…like riding my bike. After all, I never ride it in the winter.
 I wasn’t afraid of grades so much. I had my folks convinced that my teacher despised me, and only liked the girls in my class. (Teachers pets, I loathed them when the teacher made over them.) My fear was, at the top of the card was the little boxes for conduct and effort. If an S was in those boxes, I’m good to go for six more weeks. If a U was there, oh brother, the kiss of death. S meant satisfactory, U meant Unsatisfactory, or for me…unhappiness.
Looking back on those days is now humorous, and also revealing. I started a pattern of behavior as a child that carried me into my upper childhood years…my late forties. Good conduct was not my forte, especially while I was drinking. Boistrous and overbearing was my address, I needed to be the center of attention. No amount of advice to “chill” was any concern of mine. Mind your own business, jerk. I didn’t like criticism from nobody.
That did take a dramatic turn when I entered AA in humility, broken, beaten, and with a huge U on the report card of life. Working to improve my behavior has been an ongoing goal being clean and sober. The first of the twelve steps to recovery, was a mirror I had to look into, that reflected the truth about me. I was powerless over alcohol, my life had become unmanagable. This began a new way of living for me. I heard someone in recovery say, you can’t think your way into a new way of living…but you can live your way into a new way of thinking. I found this to be true.
The people in AA/NA, and Celebrate Recovery, taught me that growing up into adulthood is good for me at any age. It is true. I was when I accepted this truth, and began to look deeply into what scripture had to say about how I conduct myself, that God then had something He could work with in me.
“But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good; bad temper, irritability, meaness, profanity, dirty talk. Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a dirty set of clothes you have stripped off and put in the fire.” Col.3:8-9 msg
That is truth. Old behaviors and actions had to die in me. Some of those were easy to kill, some are still kicking and screaming to live through me. Though the physical part of me wants it’s way, too bad, the spiritual me must thrive. I cannot even think of trying to cease from inihilating the sin nature to conform to Christ. It hurts, it can be terrifying, looking at that manila envelope handed to me by the Teacher, revealing my sin, and shortcomings. Life is found from dying to self. Confidence and faith is discovered in conducting my life in the light of the Word of Truth.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you; compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, even temper, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive quickly and completely as Christ forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love”… Col. 3:12-14 msg
I know I have a way to go, but this is the way of joy, peace, and happiness. I didn’t think so, conduct cannot have that much of an effect on my experiencing joyous living, but it really does. Read over these passages, and see how you conduct yourself. Putting yourself first, always blaming others and happenstance, having to be right, can only bring a life of misery, addictions, and seclusion for your life. Conduct really matters.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith

Unfinished Business

People’s ghost remain trapped in this dimension, if they have unfinished business they failed to accomplish before passing. That is folklore that many people truly believe. The restless spirit may not even know they have passed and cannot rest in peace. Movies portray the spirit as either possessing some living person, or finding a way to communicate to the living so they can accomplish their business and move into rest. I believe this is reality, but not for the person who expires. It is for the dead…that live.
I do not refer to vampires, those blood suckers that throughout the twentieth century murdered the innocent for blood, but here in the twenty-first century are sweet, loving, creatures that hang out with you in high school, date, marry, you know, the normal things living dead people do. The new bad guys are the demon-possessed werewolves and vamps. These guys are so evil, they could be elected to the house or the senate with the real serial killers of society and freedoms.
There are so many dazed and confused people just existing today, unaware of having any purpose other than to suit up and show up, daily indulging in whatever drives them to remain in their meaningless world. Some perk up for opening day of Major League Baseball, or during football and basketball season. They show some life until their team is on the ropes for yet another dis- appointing season. The majority of the time they rise each day hoping for some news on TV or radio, that will give them something to talk about around the water cooler on their job.
The unfinished business is living. To merely go from home to work without noticing life going on around us is not living. Getting up each day wondering how you will get money to feed your drinking or drug habit is not living. Going to church each Sunday, leaving the place of worship without a clue as to what the sermon was about is not living either. It must be the high-life that is what makes life good, having everything, loaded with dough, a palacial estate, etc.
That is what the masses live for, the realization of every desire fulfilled. Isn’t it strange that happiness eludes us all. Having everything is only excitement for a moment, then what? If you have watched children receive a table full of presents on their birthday, and how they tear open each gift, toss it aside, and move to the next, and want more when the ripping and tearing is over. They have no idea what they received, and have no interest in the gifts they received. The thrill was in the discovery of what was in the package. This is how the wealthy tend to behave over their assets, thrilling for a short time…then look for the new thrill.
Suddenly the world rocks us with tragedy, loss, or collapse of all we trust in, all we believe. Our mundane job is lost, and we see its importance. The banks seize all of our assets, and the smallest little personal belonging becomes priceless. The doctor tells us fatal news, and all we can think of is our unfinished business.
“If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” Luke 9:23-25 (NKJV)
We gain, we lose. The man who strives for everything and wins, loses, and leaves behind the unfinished business of service and self-sacrifice. With sorrow comes and goes day to day as the living dead, consuming while being consumed, unaware that the joy of life is the daily cross and giving himself to a higher standard of living. The others we pass daily, in the rut of day to day survival, do no different, and go to their end with unfinished business of never trying to improve.
I certainly do not want to end my days that way. Instead I want to “find the need and fill it, find the hurt and heal it.” Robert Schueller said those words and they never left my thoughts. To put these words into action is my ongoing business that only God can help me accomplish.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you a

Good Sunday Mother!

Sunday is the day of worship for the majority of Christians, and this particular Sunday, we recognize and honor our “Moms,” you know, the one who brought us into the world.
Mom didn’t just bring me into the world after nine months of toting me around inside and like eighteen hours of labor, (I have always been stubborn), she did much more. Mom determined to raise me to know God, to believe in His unbelievable abilities,  and to follow Christ lifelong. Of course, my strong free-will got in the way. I decided that I could go my way and proceded to disappoint her and dad for a time as the prodigal son, outside of the fold.
I am convinced that mom would not stop praying for my return to sanity and into the “Kingdom of God,” until the day she would return to the “Kingdom of Heaven” to be with Christ. Those prayers she and dad prayed are the reason I “came to myself,” and was freed from a life of addiction to alcoholism. I am eternally grateful and when the eons in eternity never cease, I will continue to tell her so. She is eighty-one and continues in prayer for me, my wife, children, and all in the household of faith. Thanks mom!
Not all have had this blessing of a praying mother, that clothed me in prayer protection from evil and danger. Many people today are being raised by their grandmother, or aunt, because their mom is still living out her personal desires and placing her children last, less important than her offspring that still adore her anyhow. They will have future grief for their actions, let God judge, not us.
Nonetheless, most children do have someone they can look to as a mom in their upbringing. Today or tomorrow, honor them. If your motherly influence has passed away, honor another mom you know who have given themselves to raising and nuturing children…theirs or others children.
How should I honor mom? Okay you men, we are inept in knowing how to do anything outside of man-stuff, so here is a couple of hints. Don’t have mom make you a big dinner, and then do the cleanup while you watch baseball and sleep on the couch. You can take her out, or carry in lunch or dinner. You could even make her dinner if you know how…no bologna sandwiches, dummy, peanut butter and jelly is better. Clean up after the meal, make sure she rests on the day of honoring her. Make it a tradition.
Find things that need done around her dwelling, and fix it, or have it fixed. Take genuine interest in your mom, grandmother, or whomever is responsible for helping you survive in life. This day, don’t whine about your troubles to ma, ask her about her upbringing, about her mother and grandmother. You may learn things you never knew.
For the women, be sure to tell your mom thanks for everything. That of course being you are thankful. Maybe your mom didn’t raise you, and left you with her mom, or you wound up in foster-care. Forgive her as your gift for Mother’s day. If you cannot, as a gift, pray for God to heal you so you can forgive, and pray for her good. (Men do the same if the shoe fits) Mothers can sometimes make mistakes that really mess up their kids.
Mothers also have a tendency to enforce their will on their children to be better than they were, and cause severe damage to the relationship. They really want to control your life so you don’t err, instead of surrendering their will and trusting God for their children’s future. Love is their reasoning, and unguided faith their oversight. They do want the best for their little ones, give them a break, you’ll do the same if you are not surrendered to God’s will for your, and your children’s lives.
For you whose parents have passed, or do not live in the same geographical area, make a Mother’s day phone call…the first thing so you do not forget. If mom is with Jesus, as I stated earlier, find another mom to honor. Maybe a neighbor, a friend’s mom, an aunt, or seeing a mom with kids in passing. The main thing is, get outside of your head for another, and Sunday it is for moms.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Thanks again mommy! Keith

Not Yet…(Consequences)

Working with a new person entering into recovery from addictions to alcohol and drugs, there are a few questions I like to ask regarding their consequences from the addiction. Normally before I ask these questions they have already filled in my blanks by letting me know what I will be getting into if I sponsor or mentor them. Some people, have had few consequences remarkably, and the largest part of folks have had the “norm,” divorce, bankruptcy, ovi’s or dui’s.
There are some, however, who have been through a literal hell on earth with their consequences, and after years of sobriety are still paying. That is why I think it is important to know a little about their past…I may not be able to help them properly. Not yet, is the answer I get to most of the harder questions. Have you been jailed for drinking….not yet. Have you been through divorce?….not yet. Have you lost your home, car, or job?…not yet. Have you killed anyone driving drunk or doped?….not yet.
I have to say that from time to time, those questions are all answered with a yes. When it is, the sorrow in their eyes is deep and remorseful. There have been so many people in and out of AA, NA, Celebrate Recovery, and every offered program that offers help, that have seen repeatedly people who have quit the program, or quit praying daily for God’s help, and thought they could handle their addiction on their own, and now have these consequenses for real. Not yet is now reality. Some have never recovered and died.
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Prov.11:14 “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” Prov.12:15 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”Prov.14:12 (NKJV)
To reject counsel because of pride or fear, and not ask for help and choose a sponsor/mentor in recovery is foolish, and consequences you thought you would never deal with may become reality. It seems right for us to think we’re unique and what happened to others won’t happen to us. Our way feels right, they cannot tell me what I don’t already know, we think. Do you know you are irresponsible and do not want anyone to know anything about you to make you feel less than perfect in others eyes? Your pride will drop you into an abyss of self-will.
There is hope for you and I. God’s foreknowledge designed these programs before you experienced their pain and lived by their poison. We ask His help to be free of the addiction and find ourselves among people as desperate as we are. Why not throw yourself into recovery entirely like you used and drank? Give it all you have, while continuing to ask God to keep you clean and sober? As they say in these meetings…It works if you work it.
You may not believe this, but I know people who have had consequences enough for five people, but still try to “religion” their way clean, or self-will themselves sober. Church is good and a must in my estimation. However, those people sitting next to you in the pew have no understanding of how to help you. They make take courses on addiction counseling, and know “street-speak,” but they do not know how you tick, and how the addicts mind works. Self discipline is great, but in time it fades…and you fail. Try sobriety meetings, humble yourself “O great one.” Or please just admit you’re not finished using, boozing, and losing. You have not had enough, not yet.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith

You, the Gardener

Everytime I see a well groomed garden I think of God’s creation of seeds, herbs, and trees on the third day.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.

Everything is to produce after its kind. I also see that the garden I am admiring took alot of work to beautify it. It takes seed, water, fertilizer, weeding, and eventually, harvesting. If you have ever worked a garden you know the commitment is season long. Take just a week without tending the garden, and your efforts up to that point may be in vain. Weeds, birds, and other critters may have taken the garden over. Or a few days of hot sun and no moisture, your crop may be burned up.

Words, actions, and attitudes are seeds. These seeds produce after their kind as well. The seed of every word we speak is watered and fertilized by our actions and the harvest follows as we diligently weed the garden by repetitive words of like manner. The harvest is bountiful, we sowed, and now we reap. This is very noticable in raising children.

It can be a wonderful experience for the entire family when we plant encouragement and confidence from God’s Word in our children. When the child grows to believe that they can rise to the challenge in every endeavor, as we weed out negativity and self-doubt. We water the seeds that have developed into a thriving plant with teaching the children the importance of giving themselves in service of others. And then as the plant matures, we shoo away the birds and critters, or bad company, with understanding and wisdom about the intent of evil influence.

This does not in any way mean the the child will be perfect in their lifetime, and never err. But consider the alternative, the way most kids are raised in this society. Plant the seeds of anger and self-service by harping out profanities and threats over them from early adolescence. Cultivate it with pointing out every flaw and defect. Then put a band-aid on the deep gash by buying them the most exspensive clothes, video games, etc.  Tell the little gifts from God how they are worthless, and act ugly like their mom or dad, and you’ll reap a whirlwind harvest of a bitter, and angry child, looking to anyone but you for comfort.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Gal.6;7 (NKJV) 

That comfort may bring an unwanted pregnancy, or an addiction that ends their young life. The TV has been your babysitter and every moral the plant has, is amoral. They learned to believe anything. Unfortunately, insult is added to injury as we water the plant with words like, I knew you would end up this way!

We don’t even see our part. We led them right to crows and critters with actions and attitudes, but expected them to turn out okay. How can we change this plant and cause it to thrive again? First of all, see your part, look at how the child finds you repulsive, if that’s the case. Repent. That means, turn and go the other direction. Ask God to help you find the right words, words that heal. Then set down with them and apologize for all of the damage you have done. Don’t allow pride to stop the possibility of watering the garden back to life. Don’t retort to their angry response that you may receive. If you feel the need to raise your voice in anger, take five, go to another room, pray again, then finish the conversation.

Now live the amends to the child by remaining calm when they rock you with bad attitudes and actions. Keep in mind they developed under your teachings, or how you tended the garden of their heart. There will be days that you will want to uncork on them, don’t. If they need to be disciplined, do so with love, and stick to your measures. You may change, they may not right away. In time you will see your seed grow into that thriving garden.

This is an example of the seeds we plant with things we say. There is so much I would like to say, examples other than in child rearing, especially those areas I personally experienced both good and bad regarding sowing and reaping…perhaps later

Thanks for reading, god bless and keep you all. Keith

Sayings from the Dark Side

I love witticisms and quotes and I must say that there is no better place to hear them than a recovery meeting. Some are real knee-slappers and others are very deep, even profound. I even came up with a new word…me-gotist. I had heard someone once say: “when I came to recovery, all I thought about was me, me, me…but now I only think about me.” Of course that indicated that they were improving, not so many thoughts of themself. After many years of addictions to alcohol and drugs, it really takes a lot of time to return to focused thinking about anyone but ourselves because of our compulsions to drink and dope.

There was a saying that I found very dark when I entered AA meetings. “It isn’t what you think about me that matters, it’s what I think about you that matters.” This is one of those sayings I thought was me-gotistical, but it isn’t. In time, I understood and today I find this statement rather profound. The thought that it has become important to me, how I see you, is a major change for any alcoholic or addict. We normally don’t care about anyone for any reason outside of our families and dealer or bartender. We also cared that we were viewed by others as a good person, until we were so hooked that only using and boozing mattered.

Through simple sayings, I was able to see myself and what I had become as a me-gotist. I asked God to make the necessary changes in me to be others minded, for the rest of my life. The realization that my view of others actually drives me to grow into the image of Christ, get outside of myself, and give attention to the needs of others, is liberating and purposeful for life. This is where joy is found, this is serene and surrendered living.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels (Christ in us), that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Cor.4:7 “…He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 5:15

 For me to be able to serve others that have the same problems I have, to enjoy doing so, proves to me that God is, and God cares for everyone. I am one of many that have experienced this change from darkness, only hearing dark words from others in the dark, to words of brilliant light from people free of the gloom of hopelessness. We have hope. Here is an exerpt from Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book that promises this:

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day ‘Thy will be done.’ We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. It works, it really does.” pg.87-88

 From hearing some seedling words in a recovery meeting to thriving faith to live, these words from the dark side have brought light to many. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith

Feeding the Baby

One of the most difficult things for anyone to do is admit their shortcomings and character defects. We are prideful in thinking that we do not have such, or that others do not notice our flaws. Over the course of our life we have on Earth, we develop many resentments, bad habits, and attitudes that define us. The deception that we cannot change, or that we are too old to improve, robs us of life and enthusiasm to flow with all God has for us.

It takes nourishment to exist. The food and water we receive not only keep us alive but also cause our healthy growth. If we grow up eating junk that is not good for us, the cells may not properly develop, and we may have a life of sickness, and may die prematurely. It is important to eat a proper diet for health and long life, but we still want to eat junk from time to time or we may become bored with eating…so we think.

This is true for our spiritual side, our mentality, and character and personality. Feeding daily on positives will build strong healthy character, and outgoing personality. Positive living can make the difference in how we see things and people, through empathetic eyes, or seeing what others can become, and how to solve problems instead of being a problem.

Spiritually, the knowledge of who I am in Christ, and how I approach God in prayer, and studying His Word, all come by the nourishment fed to my spirit. How do you and I nourish ourselves spiritually? It is our desire to know the Creator and search Him out that drives us to the place of prayer, and causes us to dust off the Bible and actually read it. Some unfortunately, never get to the nourishing part of spirituality, and remain babies…no growth.

That is true for self improvement in our total being. In recovering from addictions, we have to face our character flaws and remove ourselves from the thought that we can get well without others help, and God’s help, or staying clean and sober will be short lived. Resentments, attitudes, and bad habits have become our “babies” that we nourished while in the throes of addiction, we were the only person who mattered. We felt unique, no one was like us. Our babies wanted fed…and we nourished them with poison.

“Maturity consists in no longer being taken in by oneself.” – Kajetan Von Sclaggenberg “Do not pray for easier lives, pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks.” -Phillips Brooks “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10 (NIV)

We must feed on goodness if we want self-improvement and a full life while we are here. To look back and say I gave it my best is good, but is it true? Think about you. (We should be good at that) Not in a way you see you, but how others see you. Will they say of you…he/she is a good spouse, a good father, a great employee. They go out of their way for others. He will give you the shirt off of his back. She is consistent, never thinking of herself. And the ones closest to us, our spouse, parents, and children, what do you think they think?

If we stop feeding our “babies” with self-deceit, and move toward maturity in service to God and others, intentionally putting our wants and needs behind everyone else’s wants and needs, we will be on our way to a full, mature life. Give thought to how you feed your body, what you allow in your mind, and feed the real you…your spirit every day with prayer and God’s Word. The effect will be felt by others around you.

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith

Which One are You?

Jesus was a story teller, and by the use of parables, taught great spiritual truths. There is one parable that left every hearer baffled and none seemingly understood, even His disciples. So He explained it to the disciples when they were alone without the following crowd.

“A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on the footpath where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks, and began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seeds fell among thorns that choked out the tender plants. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted…anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Jesus explained the seed was the Word, the hearer is the soil. The seed that fell on the footpath and eaten by birds, were those who hear the Word, and here comes old “scratch” saying in their ear, surely you aren’t buying this crap? This guy is saying someone you don’t know actually died for you..c’mon now, you are a good guy, everyone likes you. If you believe this, everyone will laugh at you. He has had several millenia to improve his art. But the lies are always the same as with the conversation in Eden, has god said ? These hearers reject truth and believe the lies. Is this you?

Other seed fell on rocky soil and didn’t make it either. The reason, Jesus said, no moisture. They received the Word gladly, and believed with their tongue…not the heart. They went about their business and the Word was forgotten. Many of us have been there. Fair-weather believers, that fall apart the moment trouble comes. Nothing changes with this individual. These talk the same, act the same, think the same ways, but tell everyone they are a believer. The life-style is the same. I was there, confessing Jesus, living like a pure devil. Is this you?

Some of this seed fell into the weeds or thorns, and Jesus said these are the ones that believe the Word, but life here is more important. Material gain and the cares of life have preeminence in their lives. These poor folks have placed their homes, cars, their children, and jobs all ahead of God and the Word. They really want to believe, as long as their busy life and things gained aren’t disturbed. God is placed on the shelf with all of their deities, pluralistic theology. Is this you?

The last example is the ones whose hearts were fertile soil and received the Word in sincerity. These are they who are not only hearers, but doers of the Word, and devote themselves to the truth of the gospel. The doers produce because they give what they receive, they die to self, they hold nothing back. Is this you?

I am convinced by everything around my sphere of understanding, from events worldwide, that these are the days Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24, that Paul spoke of in 2Timothy 3, that Peter mentioned in 2Peter 3. These are the days that the prophets foretold, Joel, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc. The real danger for all mankind is that so many of the believers, have turned a deaf ear to the Message, the seed is being choked out, snatched away, and has died from thirst. This is us.

We, the body of Christ must, by any means receive the seed of the Word, and allow it to fully grow, shooing away the birds, weeding out the soil and the rocks, and watering and fertilizing it. In other words, putting the Word as priority in our life, in the lives of our children. If we allow its dominance, change will come in ways that we didn’t expect.

I can say without reservation, that because of our neglecting the Word in our homes, and in our churches, (all churches in general, you may think the group you are with currently is super-spiritual and New Testament in action, that will change), that this is why we seldom see demonstrations of God’s manifest presence…He shows up by the unity of the body of believers hearts in agreement with His Word and placing the Word and ways of God on a shelf of its own far above any and everything in life.

Where are the healings, miracles, prophetic utterances? Are they dead with the apostles? Has God withdrawn them because we have the Word in written form, The Holy Bible? Many think so, mainly from traditional knowledge, you know, that church teaching we have never checked in to. If it is that when the written Word arrives the gifts are withdrawn…I guess the calling must be withdrawn too. It seems that when the miraculous is present, so are people. Those who feel the gifts passed with the apostles, have boxed God in, and with unbelief eliminated healing for many, and in reality, it was over debating over the gift of speaking other tongues, or no tongues. The seed choked out by doctrinal difference, stolen from the evil one with ignorance.  Doctrinal pride robs our God-presence mentality to receive the bounty of His blessings, and realize He doesn’t withdraw, He adds, and adds, and adds.

I can say that my need for personal repentance never ceases to be a part of my walk with Christ. I must keep myself fertile soil for the sowing of seed, and the reaping of  a hundred times what was planted in me. If these days are those leading to the consummation of all things, which day do we decide to be serious about it, and receive the seed of God’s Word in our hearts for real?

Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith