So I went this morning with Jeremiah to get his blood drawn for a genetic coding test called a micro-array analysis. We were having a great time. The wait wasn't that bad and the lady was nice who checked us in and was assisting with the draw.
But then it all turned for the worse. Jeremiah has had his blood drawn only once before.
The short answer: Holiness. God’s and our own.
1 Peter 1:13-16 – “Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance but, as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
I am a novice at this topic but I am learning. Jerry Bridges wrote a book called The Pursuit of Holiness and his teachings so far have been very insightful. Here are some excerpts to hopefully motivate any of my readers who desire this for their own life:
“The concept of holiness may seem a bit archaic to our current generation. To some minds the very word holiness brings images of bunned hair, long skirts, and black stockings. To others the idea is associated with a repugnant “holier than thou” attitude. Yet holiness is very much a scriptural idea. The word holy in various forms occurs more than 600 times in the Bible…More important, God specifically commands us to be holy…”
(cont.) “…The idea of exactly how to be holy has suffered from many false concepts. In some circles, holiness is equated with a series of specific prohibitions – usually in such areas as smoking, drinking, and dancing. The list of prohibitions varies depending on the group. When we follow this approach to holiness, we are in danger of becoming like the Pharisees with their endless lists of trivial do’s and don’ts, and their self-righteous attitude. For others, holiness means a particular style of dress and mannerisms. And for still others, it means unattainable perfection, an idea that fosters either delusion or discouragement about one’s sin.”
“All of these ideas, while accurate to some degree, miss the true concept. To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin and, therefore, consecrated to God. The word signifies “separation to God, and the conduct befitting those so separated.”" (pp. 16-17)
He goes on to list three reasons why Christians struggle with the idea and aspect of living in holiness:
1. our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered
2. we have misunderstood “living by faith” (Gal. 2:20) to mean that no effort at holiness is required on our part
3. we do not take some sin seriously
There is so much in the book that I cannot unpack here. Let me encourage you with Paul’s exhortation to the church at Philippi: “So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed (and if not, then start obeying now), not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly the message of life.” (2:12-16a; italics added).
Be holy, because our God is holy. His commands are not grievous, and if we love God we will obey what He commands, for God is love.
I like to say that I do not live with regrets, but the reality of it all is that I would do some things differently. The following is a short list of decisions I made and what I would have done differently (I might explain why, but I might not). I think it is healthy to look back over choices you make so that you don’t make the same mistakes or decide the same way again. It is worth noting that I am content with my life. I love my wife and my children. We have all that we need plus a ton more. So in no way is this saying that I want a different life.
1. I would have gone to Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN. I chose to go to a local private university where I landed a nice scholarship, but the main reason was so that I could be close to my girlfriend at the time. I never should have done that. We broke up before the end of the first semester and I ended up losing my scholarship the second semester by .1 or .2 gpa points. Tusculum had a different semester layout at the time where they did one class at a time for four weeks or something like that. It is called a Block Schedule. That sounds absolutely amazing to me and apparently they still do it. I still might have ended up in the military but the location and the style of learning would have been worth doing.
2. I should have picked a career field in the Air Force that gave me a good paying skill for civilian life. As it stands I am currently using the skillset I gained while in, but it took seven years after getting out before I landed this job. If I had a skill immediately upon getting out then my wife and I would not have had the struggles that we have been through and moved as much as we have. Financially we would be far better off and moving closer to our lifetime financial and family goals (stability, in a house that we want to live in forever or close to and the community involvement that comes with that, etc…). I now have a career transition website predominately aimed at military members looking at getting out of the service, but it is available for anyone.
3. When we first left the military we sold our house before we had a plan on what to do with ourselves. We made a huge chunk of money off of it ($25K) and we spent it all through the years, most of it that summer on random trips. We never should have sold the house. We should have stayed there, had me get a job while going to college full-time, and made it work. The cold reality is that i should not have gotten out of the military at the time. I left for the wrong reasons and could have accomplished what I was aiming for academically while still in.
4. Out of the numerous jobs that I have had there are four that I should not have left: 2005 – left the military to go to school full-time thinking that I was going into the ministry full-time; 2008 – I left a job with the city of Lynchburg as an appraiser to work as an Academic Advisor for Liberty University in order to get my Masters degree paid for; 2008 – I left the Academic Advisor position to move my wife and I back closer to family in the MS, TN, KY area for the birth of our first child; 2011 – I left teaching high school business education to take a contract job with the military that I ended up not taking two days after my last day as a teacher. Had I stayed put in any of those places and continued with those careers then we would be a better position than we are in right now from a health insurance and financial savings standpoint. Again though, hindset is 20/20, and I am staying with my current employer as long as the contract continues. I have no other skills to fall back on at this point, so what choice do I have?
5. In 2012 we moved to New Mexico with my current company. This is a government contract where we provide training to the military. While I love the work and am paid well, we have been hit hard in the last 19 months financially and physically. The medical expenses have amounted to almost $8,000 between the birth of our third child, my wife’s back issues, and her recent surgery to remove a cyst in her neck. Couple that with vehicle troubles totaling over $5K in that time, the total cost of moving out here (some was paid for by my work, but it didn’t cover everything), and over spending on a vacation this summer that wasn’t planned and it is no wonder we are just now seeing light at the end of the tunnel for heading towards our financial goals. Had we stayed put we had just saved almost $10K on a $36K a year income with two children in a house that we owned (and we still own but are renting out at a high enough rate to cover our mortgage thankfully). I could have remained faithful where I was at and started planning for opening my own lawn and landscape business. But we thought we knew what we were doing. I don’t want to go back, but if I had it to do over again I do not know that i would have taken the offer. As it stands I am loving the job, the time with my family, and the potential that exists professionally and financially.
And the biggest thing I have learned is that money is not everything. While money does help relieve some stress, there is always a way to make ends meet. It may not be the best answer, but there is always some other choice that can be made to achieve whatever is needed.
I guarantee you that I will make decisions in the future that I will look back on and shake my head at. But I guess that is what makes life worth living. Choices. Decisions. And faith that no matter what I decide, God can redeem it for His good and glory.
- The good thing about Regret (embraceandrelease.wordpress.com)
- Top Five Regrets: How They Relate to Finances (lexingtonlaw.com)
- 8 Subconscious Mistakes Our Brains Make Every Day – And How To Avoid Them (tiltabilities.com)
- Disbeliever in regrets (colormyfreckles.wordpress.com)
Loaded title, but hopefully I can gloss over this with enough depth to get my points across.
First, music has been used for centuries to persuade, indoctrinate, and otherwise propagate messages to the public at large for the purpose of controlling the culture of the people. See the following study on the history of propaganda in music for support: Messages in the Music. That being said, what are you listening to in your car? Sports talk? Hip hop? Country and Western? Rap? R&B? Hard Rock? Classic Rock? Christian Pop? Let’s take country music for a quick tour of propaganda. When I say Southern White Teenager, you think what?
Drinking, partying out by a creek somewhere with a bonfire, 4×4 trucks, a couple of dogs running around, shotguns and rifles in the back seats for hunting the next day, and most of them go to the same church youth group where a few have accepted Jesus at church camp when they were in middle school. Now they are looking forward to work or college, marrying their high school sweetheart, drinking some more, possibly getting a divorce is in the cards after the wife cheats on her alcoholic husband, etc… You get the point. If you have lived in the south then you know that this stereotype exists for a reason, but you also know that it isn’t entirely true. Don’t tell the rest of America that, because they won’t believe you and when teenagers listen to country music they try to fit the mold of what is being played because some of it speaks to where they are in life and the music is offering them a way to play their own song out.
Now for the homosexual side of musical propaganda. If you haven’t heard, there is a song out called “Same Love” that essentially is about legalizing homosexual marriage while throwing out a few arguments for why this should be done. Highlight statements:
(last part of first verse)
The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don’t know
What we would pull away from this verse would look like this:
1. All right wing conservatives believe homosexuality is a choice
2. That homosexuality cannot be treated from a psychological standpoint using religious theology
3. Homosexuality is a predisposition that someone is born with, that is how God created them
4. That all those opposing homosexuality are afraid of homosexuals
5. God loves everyone no matter what they do with their life
6. We paraphrase the Bible that was written 3,500 years ago to support our belief that homosexuality is wrong
I am not out to refute these statements, but it is important to recognize what others are telling you to believe in and then to validate whether those statements are true or not. You have to desire truth and seek it out of your own accord. Nothing I write here is going to change your mind.
The second verse has some more I want to highlight:
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
The question would be, if I believe someone is wrong about something they believe and I tell them so, then am I hating that person? I do not believe that is what the statements above are talking about as much as the manner in which it is done. So I will agree with the first three lines above. The last line I agree with but not in the context as it is written. This is where Truth comes into play.
There are two commandments every Christian is supposed to follow: Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself.
How do you love God? If you love God you obey what He commands and His commands are not burdensome (some versions say grievous). So you would try to figure out what God commands and then do that. The act of obeying builds trust which every good marriage is built on, and prayer is your communication, which is the second foundation to a healthy marriage. What happens when I find something that God is convicting me of in my life that I don’t want to change or that I didn’t see as wrong before and I am having a hard time seeing as wrong now? Well, if you are going with the post modern faith based approach then the chorus to the “Same Love” song might make you feel better right now:
And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
Granted, the lyrics are specifically referring to someone with a homosexual orientation, but the principle that we can pull from it is that you do not need to change because you cannot change.
I will conclude with this passage from the gospel of John chapter 3:
16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Expose your deeds to the light, remove the hate, and preach repentance for forgiveness of sins through the resurrected Christ Jesus our Lord. Live it. Be it. Let your light so shine before all men.
- Considering Community and Outreach (cavman.wordpress.com)
- Truth about Homosexuality… (lunaticoutpost.com)
- Course Experiment- Religion & Music : “Same Love” by Macklemore (cassidyraecunningham.wordpress.com)
- To my gay friends: I love you, but… (wordsonheaven.net)
“The Obama administration seems to have underestimated the depth of Russia’s commitment to its Syria policy, and even to have misunderstood the moral foundations of Russia’s approach. For Putin, support for Assad isn’t just a cynical ploy to support geopolitical interests (though it is that); it is also an important way to rally support from Russian nationalists and Christians at home.”
This quote was taken from a great article entitled What Russia Doesn’t Forget by Via Meadia. I highly recommend reading this before jumping to conclusions on why Russia is slow to come on board with striking Syria.
It is important during times like these to evaluate our reasoning processes. Before you decide to support or not support a strike on Syria, be sure to look into what evidence has been presented to those in positions of authority and what their responses are to that evidence. If even one person out of the group has doubts about the validity or the link between the chemical attacks and Assad then we need to tread softly on this issue until further information can come to light.
What if our own government helped to facilitate these strikes either through direct involvement or by burying their head in the sand in order to accomplish a broader agenda? Conspiracy theory? Look for the evidence. What I am not sure of, is what that agenda would be. If anyone has a lead in that direction then let me know.
- Assad is to blame for chemical strike – UN (thetimes.co.uk)
- Putin wrong to blame Syria rebels for chemical attack, Pentagon says (reuters.com)
“You were not made for any purpose other than this! Let courage consume you, fear flee from you, and the knowledge of victory’s promise spur you on! These demons have no hope. They are empty. They are unable to love. Unable to be loved. The time for the fulfillment has come. My fellow warriors of the Almighty, the time is now to reclaim the Kingdom of the Most High! Take your places on the battlefield before you with clarity, purpose, and an unwavering hand, knowing that you fight not for yourselves, but for all of Creation and its Creator!” A unified chorus of adoration and praise filled the air as the Archangel Michael stood on the precipice over-looking the throng of heavenly hosts before him radiating with the intense glory of the One True God. Praises made the air come to life emboldening them with Truth. Despite being in the presence of the Supreme One all of their lives they could be prone to doubt the assurance of the battle before them. But it was promised, and they were not allowed to know fear. For them, fear was impossible to feel.
Suddenly the singing was halted as demons began breaking through the veil that separated heaven and hell. War was upon them. Michael jumped from the high ground and ran head long into the fray. You could hear the screams of the demons as they died consumed in a ball of fire as the angelic swords split their souls. In past wars the vile vermin would be sent instantly to the lowest depths of Hades where they would have to work their way back to the front lines. This time it was different. The screams were more chilling and final than ever before and they knew they would not see these lost souls again.
The angels could hear the promise of victory with each of the demon’s deaths. Still, their side was taking its losses too. Flashes of brilliant light followed by an orb of power emanated from their slaughtered essence. Any demon that was touched by the globe would find certain annihilation, and the angels who were near enough to be touched by these globes felt themselves filled with the very Spirit of the Living God. It was one of the most horrific yet beautiful things to observe in the heavenly realms. The angels did not know, nor were they concerned with one another’s fates. They were made with one purpose in made, to deliver the messages of God to His creation. And the final message was being delivered today. No more tears. No more pain. No more suffering for humankind. God was restoring the Earthly Kingdom forever and it was rumored that heaven itself was going to be made new.
Just as suddenly as the battle had begun, the most beautiful angel ever seen amongst them appeared. His eyes burned blue like dancing sapphire and in his hand was a flaming sword that singed the very nature of anything it touched. He was the same height as the other angels, but his presence was far greater than they had been warned about. Lucifer was leading his army of evil into the depths of God’s heavenly creation.
And yet, the enormity of his arrival was over before it began. The One had descended on the battlefield in all His splendor and glory wielding two shining swords of love called Mercy and Justice. He landed at the front of the line bringing both swords down in an outward sweeping motion as he bowed his head and knelt. The Holy Spirit swept the battlefield clean in that solitary motion. It was debated for all eternity whether the tears that fell from His forgiving eyes were those of sadness or joy as the Devil and his hoard of lifeless haters were banished to the eternal lake of fire. Only the Almighty knows what the Alpha and Omega felt that day.
Keith A. Wadley
Written for a contest that I never entered because they wanted a book to go with it, but I don’t want to write fantasy style books. I hope you like it.
So I was driving down the road and pulled behind a car with a bumper sticker that read, “Drive it like you stole it.” I took a second to think about how I would apply this bumper sticker to the driving of a car and I instantly wondered if the driver was an old person who was playing a joke on the “fast and furious” among us. Why? Because if I stole a car then the last thing I would want to do is highlight myself to the cops by wreckless driving. I would obey every traffic signal known to man, go the speed limit, and find somewhere to hide the thing til I knew it was safe to head to the chop shop. Why would you drive a stolen car any other way?
On another note, what about this bumper sticker?
I found a pretty humorous thread that I would love for you all to read. I enjoyed reading through the first picture that explains what each symbol means but I did disagree with their reasoning regarding why Gay Rights folks are intolerant of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It just didn’t make sense to me.
My wife and I saw this one in Virginia and found it amusing.
At least it is straight forward with no hidden agenda and apart from the fact that dragons don’t exist, there is nothing to read into this bumper sticker. It means what it says. No how the person who created it could surmise that dragons would like ketchup today if they existed, I am not certain. I imagine that this is predominantly someone’s creation here in the U.S., because my experience with Europeans and Australians is that ketchup is not a staple for them like it is for our obese society.
And I will end with this as I have to get to work. Something for Christians to consider and figure out whether we are going to take parts of the Bible seriously and other parts not so much:
“It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” words of Jesus out of Matthew 5:31-32
Don’t get mad at me. I am just saying that the bumper sticker makes sense if Christians are going to claim the Bible is why homosexuality is a sin. You can’t follow one part and not follow the rest, especially in legal terms. Maybe we should take a look at making divorce harder to come by in our country. I believe we would almost all agree that abusive homes are no place for children and spouses too, but that is not addressed in this passage, or anywhere that I know of in the Bible. But I am not a walking encyclopedia of scripture.
- Allah is Gay Bumper Sticker Gets Town in Blasphemously Hot Water (dcxposed.com)
- 5 funny bumper stickers that highlight the resilience of the human race (myparkingsign.com)
- Bumper Sticker Theology (laurenbussblog.wordpress.com)