I am very grateful for people who offer prayer in times of trouble. Knowing that prayer changes things, that is what I want constant, and in the center of my existence. Yet, I struggle often with prayer. That is, struggle to begin. I may pray the first thing each morning. I regard that as vital to the day, and that should not be the end of it. Conversation with God throughout the day brings the Divine into every encounter, every action, and into every thought. Bringing the Lord Almighty, El Shaddai, Abba, into every moment of every day draws me into tight relation with Him, and builds my faith, to utter trust in Him. If things go awry, I am not bewildered, perplexed, or helpless. Peace rules the storm.
Maybe it’s just a silly phase I’m going through, or maybe I’m exhausted talking about the old me. The same old song and dance becomes redundant in time. To you, I’m the same person you’ve known. You see the flawed aging person that still acts the cut-up daily. It’s joy. I still love acting silly and laughing because I have reason to do so.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone, a new life has begun! And this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ”…. 2 Cor. 5:17-18 NLT
Yep, that means me. I’m His, He’s mine. I don’t want to dwell on what I was then, what I am now matters. He has made me even more. Jesus paid the price for me, destroying my sin, past, present, and future, and reconciling me to God. That’s not all! He took me from the dung-heap and sit me among royalty as a prince! He made me a stone in His spiritual house, a building of God’s glory, a priest of a royal house of worship!
He has given me favor with God and man, blessed in every endeavor. I’m now a fisherman, a fighter, a warrior, a son of the Most High, adopted into God’s family….plus, the third member of the godhead, the Holy Spirit lives in me! I have eternal life, peace, joy, confidence, and I have new desires, new perspectives. I actually care about others, and want the best for them, not like I used to think…”they get what they deserve.” I pray none of us get what we deserve.
Keith, you say, you are a few fries short of a “happy meal” wacko, that’s what you are. I’m in great company. Like Paul, I’m a fool for Christ sake, that’s me too. It is all by faith that He is true to His Word, that I can say the above statements. All of these are from scripture, God’s will and testament to those who believe in Him.
For to me to say, “My name is Keith, I’m an alcoholic”…that song and dance of death, doesn’t sound as good as, “I am Keith, a blood washed, redeemed, saint of the Highest through Jesus.” That’s recovery.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!
One question commonly asked is: “What is God’s will?”
- haughty eyes (a proud look)
- a lying tongue (God hates dishonesty and that is a must in recovery)
- hands that kill the innocent
- a heart that plots evil
- feet that race to do wrong
- a false witness that pours out lies
- a person that sows discord in a family (know anyone like that in your clan?)
- scare-d-cat (Fearful of… you name it)
- pride (gotcha)
- critic, gossip (point out everyone’s faults, don’t see theirs)
- worry-wart/complainer/negative talk
- abusive to others (verbal or physical)
- anger addiction (get mad for no apparent reason)
- over-eater, under-eater, poor unhealthy eater
Somewhere YOU are on this list, maybe more than once. I want to take this opportunity to welcome you to the fallen human race. We all have parts that need replaced or repaired. (If you are sure you have NO addiction and completely well, professional help is advised.)
“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Rom. 7:18
On the above list, which of these do you think God disapproves of the most? (probably the one you don’t have) In Proverbs 6, the writer give a short list that covers the above. He hates sin. The playing field is even for us. No finger pointing, not even toward heinous sins unnamed above. Why don’t we just quit?
There are three things I feel that head the list for our inability to live in freedom. Each character defect, sin, short-coming, and vice have to be dealt with individually. For that to happen, we need to see them first. That can only happen through admission that we need to be free, finding what it takes to obtain that freedom, then “name it and claim it.” Don’t hide it any longer, make the move, get the help, take the road to freedom.
Why the Failure
The three things I see are: 1.) Denial 2.) No desire 3.) Pride
You may see three different things and that’s cool, this is just the three I seem to deal with personally, as well as those I work with in recovery.
Denial is our attempt to hide the problem from everyone, including ourselves. Sometimes it is hidden well. A chronic complainer or someone who talks negative all the time don’t know they are complaining or negative. Another aspect of denial is we know about an issue but if we address it, people won’t think we are perfect. “The family has flaws.” They already know…you think they don’t.
No desire to get well is simply the pain has not reached the unbearable point. The alcoholic/addict doesn’t dream of help without pain through loss of relationships, jobs, things, or no way to feed that addiction. Incarceration doesn’t do the trick for most of these. When the cell door swings open to freedom, they go back to the habit. The co-dependent’s pain doesn’t reach miserable until their addiction lands them in bankruptcy or divorce court.
Pride driven by fear makes sure we do not seek help. We know about the problem, but we are sure we can will-power it away. Pride tells anyone and everyone they don’t need help, they fly solo.
Followers of Christ have two ways out. Prayer and the Word. When we pray for God to expose anything that displeases Him, He does. We may not like the method He uses, but if after we pray, a brother or sister in Christ may come to us and shares something in private they think we need to address about ourselves, don’t kill the messenger. Remember, you asked God to beam a light on anything displeasing to Him.
The second thing is the Word. Ps 119:130 says, “The entrance of Your Word gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” The light of the written word shines a light on us, exposing the sin that besets us. Making the Living Word and prayer a part of our daily life, will give direction, and keep us from failing to overcome these sins and defects. Don’t ask anyone, “why don’t you just quit,” anymore. It exposes your own failure to find freedom.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
How do you explain someone living to be 83 years old, having been diabetic for 47 years? Most people with that disease are fortunate to see 70 years. My mom turned 83 yesterday, and still takes care of herself, her home, and is actively serving others. Happen-stance, longevity in her family, remarkable strides in medicine, living a life smoke free, no drinking? These may all contribute, and are facts of living healthy. But I want to submit this truth to you as well:
“My child, never forget the things that I have taught you. Store up my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.” Prov. 3:1-2
“Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commands you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land your God is giving you.” Deut.5:12 (This is the first of the 10 commandments that has a promise attached)
My mom accepted Christ into her heart at 9 years old, and has never looked back. She has never stopped loving God, and serving Him by serving others. She and dad are givers, not just money to their church, but to the needy, giving to spiritual and physical needs.
Don’t think for a moment her goodness made her this way. It is God’s grace alone, and she knows it. To see the two of them, along with Audrey, a sainted woman, so dear to our family, go out and visit the elderly in retirement homes, sing to them, pray with them, and just talk to them, is the radical, furious love of God in action. Mom, dad, and Audrey are aware of this, and do this ministry quietly, without attention.
My mom, honored her parents. She stored up God and His Word in her life, and has been obedient to Him. God has given her long life. Raised poor, but unaware. Raising her children to know God, without question. Serving others, without thought. This is a life well lived and I hope not over for a while to come.
I don’t want anyone to think that she is perfect. She gets put out by the lack of manners and kindness of this age. She will never understand weekend sports tournaments that interfere with church attendance. She will tell you what she thinks if you ask, but will refrain if she knows it won’t help, or will hurt you. To our family, she is worthy of sainthood. Blessings to you mom, I love you very deeply.
I really believe that her life, dad’s too, has been preserved by God from their obedience to Him, their honoring and doing whatever God directs them. I also don’t have all of the answers why people like them die younger, and do. But just maybe the difference is action…not just a hearer of God’s Word, but doers of His Word.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
I happened on to the Science Channel as I surfed for something to watch while I read my email. Not to poke fun at the channel, but I can say, that is the stuff of comedy. Having grown up with “Mad Magazine” and parodies of that era, It has helped me see humor in many things others take serious. Please tell me that people don’t seriously believe this stuff…I mean, brilliant minds in 2013, cannot take this serious! Sponge Bob Squarepants is more believable. Before we spend another cent giving grants for research for biological evolution, please lay some real physical proof that it is even possible. If you cannot, then let’s send a team of marine biologists to search for Bikini Bottom and Atlantis with the grant money, it’s waste either way.
How did this “science” go from theory to fact? If science was so desperate to find a reason for our existence, other than a Creator, come up with physical proof and then teach that science as fact. Start with a moon rock or some kryptonite, something that exists. You have nothing because there is nothing. I can say that you learned well from Vladimir Lenin who said, “if you tell a lie often enough and long enough people will believe it.” (Hitler stole that saying from Lenin) Nearly every literate nation that allows this doctrine of man to be taught in schools have whole populations believing it. Often enough, long enough. Since we are like cattle, we basically say, “I’ll take your word for it,” too lazy or apathetic to research these ideas for ourselves.
What are the facts of man’s origin? What do you have for physical evidence to prove it? When I think of great minds refused tenure because they disagreed with this “science,” I am sure that you have such evidence. Otherwise, refusing good people with great minds would be a travesty, wouldn’t it?
To the followers of this “science,” think this, “religion.” That is what this particular science is. You take it by faith without proof which makes biological evolution a “faith.” I understand that so many brilliant minds have devoted their entire lives to this study only to end their life empty, without answers, but many more questions. Only pride keeps them from admission, as individuals. Fear, and loss of credibility keeps the false teaching alive…”what will we tell the people?…they will have our heads for this!” Not really, people will move on and forget the billions spent on the research that could have been used for useful things like food and clothing for the poor.
As ridiculous as this “science” is to me, to intelligencia, religion is just as ridiculous. “There is nothing on earth that points them to a physical proof of a Creator,” they think. Long before Darwin’s writings, documents were written, handed down from generation to generation, and carefully copied for preservation. These point to the explanation of man’s origin. Secularists have done everything they can do to discredit the possibility that these documents can be valid evidence of a Creator. They have long denied the Bible saying things like, “it’s like the children’s game telephone, by the time these stories go from generation to generation, the original meanings are scrambled without a possibility of accuracy.” Have those making such claims researched their own accusations? Highly doubtful. There is the fear that the may find out it is real, then what?
According to those opposed to the Bible’s accuracy, they claim there was no king David, or Solomon. The prophets were not the actual writers of the books named for them, etc. Yet another science, archaeology, has proven most of what they deny. David and Solomon were not folk-stories. They are not hung up as much on the creation as the miracles of the exodus from Egypt, and those of Elijah and Elisha. The resurrection of Jesus, closes the book for them, “these things could not have happened,” they say.
I understand, I empathize. It is okay, they are hard to accept.
We definitely have differences, nothing to cause this continuous mud-slinging to continue for another generation. It is a face-off. I cannot convince you, nor you me. I can, however, point to additional evidence you may never accept…changed lives. Biological evolution, nor any wisdom of man can change the heart of an alcoholic like me, to turn me from my addiction and its misery, and begin to really experience life with joy and purpose. It cannot give me meaning or peace when I grieve over loss. It definitely does not present me hope for my eternal existence, and the adventures beyond this life. Only Jesus can, my faith in Him, His creation of this universe, and the constant metamorphosis, conforming me into His image. That particular science does not give me a desire to help the broken like myself, helping them find their way out of trouble. These reasons, plus ten-thousand others, gives me proof of Him, and a reason to follow Him. He never changes, science always does. I’ll stick with what works.
Let me know if you agree or disagree.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
I wrote pages of thoughts about fathers. What does it mean to be a good dad, a bad dad, or an M.I.A.? The thoughts may have been many, but would they make a father pause and think, maybe make a change? I couldn’t really come up with a comfort zone in my thinking, what makes me feel I have the answers? We do have the answer book in scripture. By following what we read about a father’s instructions in Proverbs, we can also read through biblical accounts of fathers in the Old Testament, which are examples of how to, or how not to father children to live extraordinary lives. and that is what I suggest, read those accounts. In nearly every account, Bible fathers weren’t good at fathering, perhaps lack of knowing “how to,” performing the same mistakes of their fathers, expecting different results.
One character was named Eli. He had two sons, and they were priests like Eli. Eli knew his sons were bad, fornicating with the young females who served at the temple, doing as they pleased with the sacrifices, disobedient to the laws. They were what we would consider bullies, using their ministry to please themselves. When Samuel came to live with Eli in the temple, God gave Samuel a dream telling him what would happen to Eli and his sons if they didn’t turn from their evil ways. Eli knew about the dream, and asked Samuel to tell him what is was all about:
“What did the Lord say to you? Tell me everything. And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!” So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best,” 1 Sam.3:17-18 ( you can read the entire account in 1 Sam.1-2)
Eli refused to discipline his sons. Hearing what God said from Samuel’s dream, he responds, “oh well, go ahead God, have at it.” I think Eli was fearful of what his sons would do to him if he had them removed from their position. In short, they died, Eli died, and their posterity was removed from the earth. Discipline is a must for a father. Ignoring a child’s bad behavior is wronging the child, or children in ways that are nearly un-reversible. You must discipline, but you must do so in love, or out of a heart of love for your child and their future. That is not using physical, or verbal abuse. It is shepherding your child, steering the course of their life.
The Shepherd of our souls, Jesus, gave man a whole different picture of God as Father. The people of his day didn’t like Jesus calling God his father, that to them, was blasphemy. But Jesus wanted you and I to see God for what He really is…love. He could have consumed Eli and his sons without warning, but even these bullies, He loved and warned them. The beauty of God as Father, knowing that the Almighty Creator wants to be “Abba” to all people everywhere, is astoundingly unthinkable. This revelation of Him is rejected by even the believers who want to see Father as Judge only, fueled by traditional knowledge, and by our darkened understanding. Abba, (daddy), wants us to crawl into His lap like a child in adoration of His multi-faceted character of grace, mercy, and love. He desires to grant us our needs, even our wants, because we are brought near to Him again by the blood of Christ.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.” Eph.5:1 NLT
As I stated, I had pages written about dads, that may be just my opinion, not so printable. Being a good dad may not be easy to “ace.” If we take accounts from scripture, real truth, we can improve our ability to father are children with good discipline, not abuse, but by boundaries. Through the Word, we can learn to teach our young, listen to their needs, and lead by example. Devour the scripture, hunger for direction from God in rearing children. above all, thirst for a relationship with Abba, He will direct every step you take in His love.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
It is hard for men to be open about themselves and about their deepest thoughts regarding life and living. Exposing one’s thoughts takes courage knowing you become open to criticism, and that strikes fear in a man’s heart. Being manly and tough means “keep your thoughts to yourself or be a girlish chump.” Nothing could be further from the truth. People who had a communicating father recall his strength of character, how they could tell their dad anything without hearing a lecture, followed by discipline. With a father that is closed minded toward a child’s hurts or hang-ups, the child hides their feelings, knowing relating them to him will bring scorn and ridicule, not love and understanding. The ability to communicate to their child is a quality to be desired as a father…and it is learned behavior.
How I have arrived at these conclusions about fathers has come through personal experience, careful observation, and above all, through truths like these:
“My child, listen when your father corrects you, don’t neglect your mothers instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace, and be a chain of honor around your neck.”
“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding.”
“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store up my commands within your heart. If you do this, you will live many years and your life will be satisfying,” Prov. 1:8-9, 2:1-2, 3:1-2 NLT
When my daughter was in her most crucial time in her life, and needed her dad the most, my mind was closed completely. Her decisions were unguided by good counsel, but by an opinionated alcoholic, that was not mature enough to give G.O.D. to her. (good orderly direction) Fortunately, God had his hand on her life. In time, He worked things together for good, yet for a time, she struggled without dad’s help, all alone.
I have personally observed others my age that had an active father in their life. Many of these people were not religious, but had a religious manner of communicating to their children. The behavior of my peers with the active parents, was that of drugs and alcohol is taboo, pre-marital sex is wrong, and college is a must. Those whose parents were religious, most of these, not all, married, had children, and today are still together after all of these years. I had communicating parents, but didn’t listen. I was more set on rebellion, the price was costly, and I paid it.
Being a father is being a leader. Communicating with actions is nearly important as words. For a child to see their father bow his head in prayer, shed a tear in sorrow, belly laugh when something goes wrong, can have a heavy impression. Words themselves, reveal the heart of a father. For father to encourage his children by his honest evaluation, without belittlement, will steer the children in the right direction. Encouragement can only be effective with honesty.
To lie to a child by telling them they are better than other kids, to defend their wrong doing by making excuses, are destructive when the child discovers truth…if they ever do. This method is a lazy father’s teaching technics. Tearing a child down by comparing them to siblings or other kids their age is even worse.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Eph.6:4 NLT
Many young men are fathers way too early in life. Before they have any understanding on how to live themselves, let alone provide for a family, they have one. Society today dictates marriage isn’t necessary, commitment can come down the road. A child born into this world with parents having no direction can only cause a new generation of non-communicating, or dysfunctional families. Encourage those soon-to-be dads. Ask them pertinent questions about being dad. Don’t aggravate or discourage them with “you knew better” wisdom. They may have known better, being a dad requires understanding and teach-ability, not ridicule. If you feel you failed with fatherhood in the past, communicate that to the new fathers, and amend past errors.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.
Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday. I wanted to write a little about being a father. Since I am a father, I would like to share my experiences and observances of something I have done poorly at times, and okay at others, but never have done with perfection.
Fatherhood is viewed by people from various sources, many getting their views of “dear old dad” from sitcoms and TV dramas these days. When I was younger, TV made dad somewhat human, respected by the entire family. Father Knows Best, Andy Griffith, The Donna Reed Show, and later Cosby, all viewed father as a leader, wise, understanding, and a real household leader. In recent TV shows, dad is the household idiot, kids treat him with disrespect, mom leads the home and has the wisdom and understanding. Family Guy, The Simpsons, and many others, pervert and discount the role of the father in the home, as though the father doesn’t matter. Dads really matter.
“America used to live by the motto, “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if father knows he has children. We have become a nation of sperm donors and “baby daddies.” Stephen Colbert
“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living, they forget to make a life.” John Wooden
“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland
Fathers lead. They lead by example, by instruction, and by attitude. That responsibility is the greatest of responsibilities for any man who has sired offspring since the dawn of time. The first and most important lesson a father teaches his children is commitment. By being committed to the children’s mother brings a sense of great security to a child, knowing mom and dad is there. Being committed to faith in God gives a child a sense of direction in life. Being committed to providing for the household gives the child a sense of obligation to do the same as they reach adulthood, and start their family.
Unfortunately, commitment defined this way seems more like a “pipe dream” of an overly-religious person, but that is not the case at all. Some have actually experienced having a father in their home, that is committed and communicating after this manner. How they reached this understanding was from the instruction in their own home, being taught the importance of teaching their little ones with diligence. From the time a young boy reaches an ability to understand, he should be taught about being a father. Many, if not most of the societal woes we experience in our world come from fathers that know nothing about being a father, and completely unconcerned about learning about this monumental responsibility. Sons become just like their dad, whether dad actually raises their child, or just provides the seed, and disappears. Some never know their father and still turn out like him.
Over the next couple of days, I want to write about my experience as a father, and my observances of fathers that have, or are developing good and bad behaviors, affecting the future of their home, and enhancing or destroying their marriage and children’s lives. Over ninety percent of inmates in prison today had no father in their lives. Their sense of right and wrong came from the streets, from media outlets like movies, TV, and gaming. They have little or no sense of spirituality, and every small good they perform, mothers tend to over-praise them to compensate for dad’s neglect. With over-inflated egos, and no understanding of a God they have to answer to for evil they do to others, without values about right or wrong living, prison and or substance abuse tends to be the normal way of life. Tragic.
There is a better way. More to come. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.