Friday, July 29, 2016

Pray.....Then Talk

29 July 2016    

     I was standing on my front porch today when my next door neighbor came home (the lady of the house) and I mainly noticed because I had not seen them in several days.  It was a bit of a relief I guess you could say, to see her and know everything was alright.   We waved at each other but she showed not a hint of her usual smile.  She went inside for a bit and when she came back out, she walked over to where I was standing.  She told me her husband had collapsed at work with a seizure and had been rushed to the hospital.  She said they had found a tumor in his brain that they were going to surgically remove most of this very afternoon.  They told her they knew they could not get all of it but they would give him radiation to get the last bit.  They told her the prognosis was fair.  She was on the way back to the hospital and had no more time to talk so I told her I would pray for him and for her.  After she left I did pray for him and have several times since.  I also called several other people and got them praying as well.  With God's help, they will both get through this.

5 August 2016
Update Update Update Update Update Update
There is really good news to put here and something for everyone who prayed for my neighbor to pray for again.  Make it a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.  It seems the doctor was amazed that once into the surgery, the actuality did not match the pictures and the situation was suddenly less dire than believed.  He came through surgery amazingly, is home and up and around and the prognosis is excellent.  I've not talked to him yet but I am sure he would thank everyone from the bottom of his heart for their prayers.                                                   Update Update Update Update Update Update

 
     One of the people I called was my sister.  Somehow, probably in the talking about prayer, I guess I got a little preachy with my sister.  This is something I try not to do because she has not been open to it in the past.  Don't misunderstand.  She is a Christian.  She has been going to the Methodist church in town all of her life.  She is also 12 years older than I and she may have had a little trouble coming to terms with her little brother telling her about God.  In her defense, I do tend to proselytize a bit when I get started but the message I have is so wonderful to me and has filled my life so completely, I seem to be unable and unwilling to stop.  I knew a good long while ago that she only read this blog right after I first started it and went on my initial trip.  It's possible she did not realize I was keeping the blog going.  At any rate, almost everything I said to her, she agreed with.  She did not seem to get cooler when I began talking about the lack of necessity of studying and reading the old testament as a Christian.  She agreed with that completely.    Her response did seem a bit reserved when I spoke of the absurdity of the book of Revelations.  I didn't go very far into it and I did mention this blog.  I believe I may have sparked enough interest in her that she will pay it a visit.  I do not, however, expect her to change any idea she may have about any aspect of her personal convictions.  One thing I have learned in all of this is "us older folk can be really set in our ways".  Also, I'm pretty sure, because I know what type of person she is, she does not have to worry about the destruction of her soul.  She is simply a good person with a good and caring heart.
     Now comes your question which I'm sure is "So what's the point?"   Well, I had two points to make in this writing.  One was my neighbor, Byron.  He needs your prayers.  If you would give just a moment of your time and lift him up to God, I am sure it would be well received, appreciated, and helpful.  My second point was just about talking to people.  I do talk about God almost everywhere I go.  I also love to talk about current events, politics, football and numerous other subjects although I am prone to steer even the most spirited sports banter in the direction of God.  I do this simply because it is my favorite subject.  You may wonder if I ever get negative responses from people.  Of course I do but that doesn't stop me.  I have too many times seen a planted seed grow to fruition and change lives.  It seems to me that anyone who feels good about having God in their lives should therefore evangelize.  There are only two things to consider.  Suppose you passed up a chance to plant a seed and in the end that person's soul eventually faced destruction or suppose you did plant the seed and it grew and flowered and changed lives and helped pave a path to Heaven for that person.  Which side of that consideration would make you feel better about yourself?  Remember, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  God bless you all and please, don't keep good news to yourself.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Brief Continuation of "Attitudes"

     Of the time I spend surfing around on the internet, the vast majority is spent reading news stories from all over the world.   I even occasionally run across items like "Dear Abby".  After reading one of those articles just now, I had to make a comment here.  A young woman who wrote to Abby was distraught because she and her two children had been ostracized by her aunts and uncles.  These are the brothers and sisters of her deceased parents.  She explained how they were all devout Christians and could not abide the fact that she had given birth to 2 children out of wedlock.  Their attitude seems to fit right in with what I have written here in several articles.  I simply find it personally dumbfounding that these people can be so prejudiced and judgemental and still call themselves Christians.  This is truly a good example of why Christianity is in decline for the first time in history.  It is another case of folks trying to live by the old and new testaments and I offer this example up as yet another reason this can not and should not be done.  Once again I will say as plainly as I know how, "God's covenant with us as Christians is found in the New Testament and NOT the old Testament."  If I could somehow convince people to practice their Christianity based solely on the New Testament, which I honestly believe is the way it should be, so many of the problems we face today would simply melt away into nothingness.  Old prejudices would dissolve and be replaced with love.  The anger people feel for those who believe differently from themselves would be replaced with empathy and understanding.  Minds filled with hatred would be tempered and consoled and God's love would show them there is NO NEED TO HATE!  God wants us to love.  Love Him and love each other.
     The "religious" folk in our world are so caught up in the idea that all of the Bible is to be considered a holy book they have become frightened by the prospect of not adhering to every word of it which is creating problems rather than teaching us what God truly wants from us.  People were appalled when I took a Bible and ripped it in half separating the testaments.  I have read and studied the old testament just as I have the new testament.  I don't recommend everyone do that because it can simply be too confusing.  Again, I implore all those who read this to please remember, as a Christian, the basis for your covenant with God is found ONLY in the New Testament which is why it was written and put in book form to begin with.  May God bless you all with His love and may you bless those around you with your love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Attitudes

     I keep vainly searching my head for some type of way to soften the way I say this but I fear it will still be harsh.   Too many folks have attitudes that cause then to be in direct conflict with Jesus' pronouncement of the second most important commandment which is to love one another.  I have and am seeing this attitude in every direction around me and it would seem to be in every aspect of our society.
     Some of the things I have heard:
1.   A Man with a masters degree is overheard joking about the uneducated ignorant farmers in the area.

2.  This same man was later heard disparaging the intelligence of the man he paid 200 bucks to unstop his sewer line.

3.  A women entering a restaurant is over heard saying she was never hard up or stupid enough to have to be a waitress.

4. An owner of a local business says he only hires stupid people because he can get away with only paying them minimum wage.

5.  A black business owner says he only hires white people because he can't trust black people as they all steal from him.

6.  A man paying a contractor to do some remodeling work on his house was heard talking about what a crook the contractor was but he was watching him closely.

7.  A woman who I know has wrecked a great many vehicles complains because no one else on the road knows how to drive.

     These are just a few of the situations I have heard for myself in my sleepy little southern corner of this country.  When you factor in the shootings of police officers as well as the devastating attack on the nightclub in Orlando, the daily confrontations between all types of factions nationwide and even worldwide, our situation is dire indeed.
     Simply put, attitudes must change.  Folks must stop thinking of themselves as better than those around them.  We must understand that "love thy neighbor as thyself" starts with your attitude toward yourself and is best when tempered with a bit of humility.  If you regard someone with disdain because they don't quite reach your formal education level or because they are a different color or culture or any one of a myriad of reasons, you are not following Jesus's directive on love.  I understand the temptation to rile yourself against others when we are whipped into a frenzy by the media or even others on social media.  Then again, those temptations that challenge your attitude also threaten your relationship with God.  We must strive to control those feelings and even pray for God's help in doing so.  Christianity is in a spiraling decline in our country and I believe these attitudes are a direct result of that decline.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Gaming?!?! A Call to Arms

     It seems a lot of folks these days are into gaming.  Playing electronic games of all types is seen virtually everywhere.   Some drift from game to game to have a changing experience.  Some have a few games they play occasionally.  Still others pick one game and immerse themselves.  What I have found amazing is discovering how many people have a positive view of gaming in general.  Over the last few years I have talked to a lot of people and often steered the conversation to gaming just to see how many had a positive outlook.  My guess would be upwards of 90%.  Most of the folks in the negative range of 10% were older.  Many of them much older than I.
     I know one young fellow (I'm going to guess he is in his mid 30's) who spends almost all of his time gaming.  As I understand it, he is playing one game and it seems to have taken him over.  He has so far lost his job, his family, and his home.  He is drifting now from place to place staying with friends but spending most of his time in public wi-fi spots with his tablet and playing his game.  He looks to me to have lost 50 pounds or so and looks far older than his years.  I had known his father for years when he broke down and told me about his son.  I knew his son and had met him on several occasions.  He seemed most amicable and seemed to be quite an intelligent young man.  Rest assured this whole situation was a shocking and eye opening experience for me.
     Not to long ago, we decided on Chinese take-out for supper one evening.  Upon arriving to place our order, we saw a young couple sitting on a bench just outside of the restaurant.  One was looking at a tablet and the other was involved with a rather large cell phone.  We ordered our food and while we waited I walked over and looked out the plate glass window just behind where the couple was sitting.  They were both playing some type of game.  I have no idea how long they stayed because we got our food and left.  What was funny was when we came back a week later to get more Chinese food,  I like to comically say they were still there.  I'm sure it would be more apropos to say they were there again.  My daughter found it humorous when I so profoundly and adamantly  insisted they were "still" there.  By the way, they were still playing games and I will point out I never once saw then communicate with each other.
      I just read a story at ABC News about a man who pinned his six year old son down on the couch by sitting on him while he and his girlfriend played games on the TV.  The boy stopped breathing and died.  Of course the father has been charged.  If the story is still up, you can read about it here.
     My response to all of this is "OH MY LORD IN HEAVEN!  WHAT HAVE WE DONE?".  I don't know how to react.  I am completely dumbfounded.  Granted, I know a great many people who play the occasional game on the internet and are not or don't seem to be adversely affected but what can be done for the ones who are?  The only course of action I see that can be taken is prayer.  I understand addictions of all kinds affect all types of people and as is usually the case, rock bottom must be hit before they ask for help.  This gaming thing seems to me to be an odd addiction I have never even thought of before.  I have simply told the young man I know that I am available if he needs to talk and I have told him I am praying for him.  He has yet to even recognize he has a problem but when he does, I will do my best to help him regain himself.  I would encourage everyone to make it known that you also will be available if someone needs this or any other kind of help.  It is not words but rather deeds and a love of our fellow man that will pave a path for us to God's kingdom.