Are you independent?

IndependantTogetherIn our society, especially American society, we are encouraged by movies and family many times from childhood to be independent. Don’t depend upon anyone. Do it yourself or learn how to do it yourself so you won’t depend on someone else. All of this is good advice up to a point. But what do you do when life throws a wrench into your life, like a death in the family or a disease that isn’t easy to cure or live with? Being independent and on your own doesn’t seem like such a good idea at this point, does it?

Depression is also one of those “monkey-wrenches” which can throw you for a real loop! Man or woman, married or not, military, police, or firefighter or just coming out of your teen years, depression doesn’t discriminate at all! In fact, peer pressure and job stress or stress from a death or dying family member just makes it more intense.

I just performed a graveside service for a good friend and family member recently. It was hard, but God provided the strength to get through it. My point in writing this today is not to recount that experience but to focus on how people, men specifically, handle their independence. We usually have friends while going through elementary and high school and while in college. But, when college is over we usually get down to the business of life. Jobs, maybe marriage and children, although sometimes not in that order, particularly in today’s so-called “modern” age.

The problem facing men today is that many of us grew up without a strong father figure in our lives. Some of us didn’t have a father around at all. Some of us only had a grandfather and he tried to do the best he could, but he was afraid of possibly running us away if he got too strict with our upbringing. Some people say that this isn’t really a problem, but if you look at the population of our prison systems and talk to many of them, I think you would find that most, if not all, had no true father figure in their lives.

Also being independent as we are taught to be tends to cause us to push through life without a close friend. We don’t make friends as men, we make acquaintances. People that we know at work, but not outside of work. I mean, do you know a friend’s phone number that you could call if you needed to talk? Would you actually call them if you do know their number?

This is the problem which men face in our world today. Women tend to make friends very easily by comparison. Scientists say that it is because of evolution. I say it is because women share the job of raising children all the way back to the time of Eve, when she had daughters to help her. Later, as the population grew, the women of the village would gather to keep up with the children and wash clothes and other chores which needed to be done. They got to know each other.

Men only gather when it is time to hunt or to defend the village from marauders, or some other “manly” job such as that. When the hunt is over or the fire is put out, we tend to break up and go our separate ways. Living life alone. If we don’t have a family, that can be deadly. Seek out friendships with other men. Start a Bible study at church or in your home with them men of the church. Have a breakfast or a BBQ with some friends. Get to know some of the men who live around you. Because…you never know when you might need their help or they might need yours.

There will be another post on this topic on thelivingmessage.com later so as they say on TV, stay tuned.

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Addiction

GodisNear

Amen!

When the storms of life get too rough, trust in God and in Him alone. Because Who would be better to calm the seas and storms of life than your Creator? He went through storms and trials and pain in order to bring each of us into His House in Heaven. So…don’t turn away from Him when you need Him, because He has never been very far from you at any point in your life. Prayer is the lifeline which will save you from any and all problems, heartaches and trials, if you will just trust in Jesus for your Salvation from sins and drugs of all kinds, He will give you the strength to get past all of them.

Does anyone care?

So many in our world are dealing with problems brought on by addictions of one form or another. Some of this is because of injuries which cause the addiction to pain killers or alcohol. Some of it is brought on by depression and thoughts of suicide, like my thoughts and problems. There are so many parts of our lives which are exposed to scrutiny on the Internet by social media or by hacked records being released until there is very little privacy anymore. Which causes a whole new set of anxiety to deal with daily.

Unless, you are very careful with your information and even then it may not be enough. So, does anyone care about any of this? Some do, many more do not. Do you have any REAL friends or are most of them on Facebook? I consider my friends on Facebook to be my friends because most of them are people who I went to school with or rode on the bus with to get to school. High school was almost forty years ago and we have all been separated by life and distance, but those who graduated with me, I still consider my friends. Even if we weren’t close in school.

Today, our addictions and other problems help us to deal with today’s stress levels. Then, sometimes those addictions tend to make the stress levels worse or they make our lives worse in one way or another. But, we all have problems in this life to one extent or another. Whether it has to do with finances or jobs or faith, our problems tend to grow into bigger problems at one point or another. Sometimes, faith or religion can be a help in whatever situation we find ourselves in, but occasionally it can make some problems worse.

I am not trying to make it seem that faith in God or Allah or whoever it may be that you place your faith in will make things better. Occasionally your faith can and does help. Doctors have noticed that faith in God or the religion that you grew up with can help in recovery from disease or injury. So, to tell you that faith doesn’t play a positive part in our lives would be a lie.

God does care about each of us, regardless of the rhetoric that you may hear to the contrary. He is the Creator and He knows you better than you know yourself! Put your faith in Him and seek Him out because, even if your life today or tomorrow doesn’t improve, your eternal life will be waiting for you regardless. Here are a few scriptures to show you the way:

1. We must acknowledge God as the Creator of everything, accepting our humble position in God’s created order and purpose. Romans 1:20-21

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

2. We must realize that we are sinners and that we need forgiveness. None of us are worthy under God’s standards. Romans 3:23

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”

3. God gave us the way to be forgiven of our sins. He showed us His love by giving us the potential for life through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8

“But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

4. If we remain sinners, we will die. However, if we repent of our sins, and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will have eternal life. Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

5. Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you are saved. Romans 10:9-10

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

6. There are no other religious formulas or rituals. Just call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved! Romans 10:13

“For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

7. Determine in your heart to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life today. Romans 11:36

Understanding

I have been told that I don’t have any understanding about addiction. I’ll own that because I don’t want any understanding about it, at least not from the addiction and use of it!

I apologize to those who read my previous post about an accidental overdose that I experienced because I wasn’t careful about what I was doing. Yes, it was an accident. I didn’t do it to try out the addictive nature of opiates like hydrocodone.

While I was “feeling the effects” of it, a voice in my mind was telling me to try it again. I remember that very clearly but I also remember that feeling of not being in control, not being myself and feeling….well I am not sure what I was feeling, but it felt good for a while. The next day I was sick and nauseous all day, my eyes had pinpoint pupils, even the smell of food didn’t smell good to me.

Why am I writing this? Because, I am not judging anyone who is addicted to any kind of drug, but there is God Who can help in all types of addiction. Note, I didn’t say “a” God, but God Himself! Don’t pay attention to those who look down on your trouble, if they can’t get out of their own pew and get to know you and why things are happening or have happened to you, find another church! There are many who will help and can understand because, even though there are few who practice what Jesus taught us they do exist.

Thank you for telling me that I don’t know what I am talking about, at least that makes me feel like someone read my post for a change. I had intended to get rid of this blog, but maybe some part of it may help, if not then visit http://thelivingmessage.com, maybe some of what I put up there will give you some encouragement.

Something to think about

Shoes in Church
I showered and shaved……………. I adjusted my tie.

I got there and sat……………. In a pew just in time.

Bowing my head in prayer………… As I closed my eyes.

I saw the shoe of the man next to me……. Touching my own. I sighed.

With plenty of room on either side……… I thought, ‘Why must our soles touch?’

It bothered me, his shoe touching mine.. But it didn’t bother him much.

A prayer began: ‘Our Father’…………. I thought,
‘This man with the shoes, has no pride. They’re dusty, worn, and scratched.
Even worse, there are holes on the side!’

‘Thank You for blessings,’ the prayer went on.

The shoe man said…………….. A quiet ‘Amen.’

I tried to focus on the prayer……. But my thoughts were on his shoes again..

Aren’t we supposed to look our best. When walking through that door?

‘Well, this certainly isn’t it,’ I thought, glancing toward the floor.

Then the prayer was ended………… And the songs of praise began .

The shoe man was certainly loud….. Sounding proud as he sang.

His voice lifted the rafters…….. His hands were raised high.

The Lord could surely hear.. The shoe man’s voice from the sky.

It was time for the offering…….. And what I threw in was steep.

I watched as the shoe man reached…. Into his pockets so deep.

I saw what was pulled out………. What the shoe man put in.

Then I heard a soft ‘clink’ as when silver hits tin.

The sermon really bored me………. To tears, and that’s no lie.

It was the same for the shoe man… For tears fell from his eyes.

At the end of the service…….. As is the custom here.

We must greet new visitors, And show them all good cheer.

But I felt moved somehow……….. And wanted to meet the shoe man.

So after the closing prayer…….. I reached over and shook his hand.

He was old and his skin was dark….. And his hair was truly a mess…..

But I thanked him for coming………. For being our guest…

He said, ‘My name’s Charlie………… I’m glad to meet you, my friend.’

There were tears in his eyes……… But he had a large, wide grin..

‘Let me explain,’ he said…………. Wiping tears from his eyes.

‘I’ve been coming here for months…… And you’re the first to say ‘Hi.”

‘I know that my appearance………..Is not like all the rest.

‘But I really do try………………..To always look my best.’

‘I always clean and polish my shoes…Before my very long walk.’

‘But by the time I get here……..They’re dirty and dusty, like chalk.’

My heart filled with pain………… And I swallowed to hide my tears.

As he continued to apologize………. For daring to sit so near

He said, ‘When I get here………… I know I must look a sight.’

‘But I thought if I could touch you….Then maybe our souls might unite.’

I was silent for a moment…………. Knowing whatever was said

Would pale in comparison…. I spoke from my heart, not my head.

‘Oh, you’ve touched me,’ I said…….’And taught me, in part’

‘That the best of any man…………..Is what is found in his heart.’

The rest, I thought,…………… This shoe man will never know.

Like just how thankful I really am…. That his dirty old shoe touched my soul

Live each day as your last, for we never know our time here on earth. Love and Peace My Friends and remember that it is not how we look on the outside but how we look within .

I saw this on Facebook and just wanted to share it with you.

Hello?

Hello there,

Years ago, when I was much younger, I would “talk to the dark”. I may have been praying, I may have been voicing concerns which I had no idea how to handle at the time, mostly I did it because I didn’t have anyone else that I could talk to about everything or even nothing in particular. I grew up as an “only child”, that condition which psychiatrists say breeds monsters like pedophiles and axe murderers. Thankfully, I didn’t fall into those categories later on.

I would lie in my bed, talking, not really to myself but to someone or maybe it was Someone. It could’ve been the wrong “someone”, like Satan, but at the time I don’t remember feeling a terror about it…I wasn’t afraid of talking to them or Him. Of course, I didn’t tell anyone this because I didn’t want to be labeled as crazy or weird, that label came too easily anyway.

My parents had divorced when I was young, like five years old, so I didn’t know what a “normal” family life was like. By the time I could remember anything about my Mom and Dad, they weren’t together anymore. This condition seems to be the norm today, but at the time that it happened fifty years ago it wasn’t the norm at all. Growing up, I felt like an outsider, someone who didn’t belong anywhere and wasn’t accepted by anyone. That feeling of being outside never really went away, it just faded because I didn’t pay much attention to it as I got older.

Why am I writing this? I don’t know really. Maybe it is because I need to get it out of my head or maybe just writing it will somehow help me to feel like I am not “outside” anymore. I have tried to fit in, but that doesn’t seem to work very well. I even felt called to preach at a local church and I have been for over five years, but it seems that there are fewer people willing to hear or listen anymore. I feel more like the prophet Jeremiah who preached and told his people about the coming judgement on Israel for many years but they didn’t want to hear it.

I pray that someone may read this and look into God’s Word for their answers, like I should’ve done so many years ago. It has only been in the last twenty years or so that I have begun to learn from God’s Word about Him and who I am because of Him and His sacrifice. Thanks for reading and I hope that maybe this may help someone.

Barriers and walls

Many times in your life, whether you are a Christian or not, you will come up against walls. Some of them are built by pain, some of them are built by envy or jealousy, some of them are built by a disease which causes you pain in a very deep emotional way. We all have to scale these walls and barriers at some point, some of them are hard to climb because they are so big, but they can be torn down.

Oh, we can’t do this by ourselves though, regardless of what counselors and some doctors may tell you. Walls, whether built by emotions, disease, death, jealousy, racism, or hatred, can only be broken down by God’s work in your heart and in your life. Day by day, walking with Him and seeking His wisdom and strength by which we can take the walls down brick by brick is the only way.

It is not a quick process and it isn’t easy either, especially when you have been able to take care of yourself in other situations in your life. What makes this so difficult or any different? It’s because of what the walls and barriers are made from. The ones which are so difficult are made from emotions like fear, anger, resentment, racism, hate, envy and greed. There are others, but you get the point. These walls keep out those who care about you, whether it is God or friends and family!

Each of us feels the effect of these barriers in some way or another, sometimes the effect on us is that which causes a disease or pain. Emotions can do this and the ones which hurt the most usually do the most damage. It may take a little time before you feel the effects of it, but until it is resolved in some way, it will only get worse over time. In particular, anger and hatred which are unresolved or unforgiven will give you ulcers and possibly high blood pressure and they will make other conditions worse. Do the research yourself if you don’t believe me, but I am not pulling your leg.

Barriers and walls made from emotional bricks can cause more hurt and pain than many people realize. It doesn’t have to be anger or hatred which cause these walls, it can be envy, or any of a number of other emotions which I named earlier. All of them get in the way of relationships, especially your relationship with God. Seek His help in resolving these walls, breaking them down to the point where you can still have a relationship with Him daily. He can do it but He wants to do it with you!

I had these problems for a very long time, and at times they still pop up and blur my “spiritual vision” in a way. I usually sit down and talk with God about it as soon as I realize what is happening, and it soon resolves itself or God helps me to resolve it. Give it a try, ask God to help you because He is bigger than any problem or wall that may be in your life and He can help you bring it down.

What is coming?

Really, nobody knows. We do have some prophecies from the Bible which tell us some things which are coming in the next few years. How many years from now, nobody knows except for God Himself. The best thing that Christians can do is to pray and ask God to help them to become closer to Him.

Changes are coming in many different areas, and I am not speaking of our government here, around the world in the places where wars are being fought right now. Some new wars will be declared in other places along with weather patterns which may get worse.

We don’t know what or when but God is in charge and all of us need to turn to Him for our lives. I pray that this year will be the year that many people will come to salvation through Jesus.

A new year….a new beginning of sorts, make it eternal in the embrace of God.

Why worry?

It seems that the media is worried about all of us who live in “rural” areas of the country. Why? For most of our country’s history, those of us who live in the country, outside of city limits, were the one’s who fed the rest of the country. Now, all we want is to get away from most of the violence and other crime that seems to happen every day on the news.

I am not saying that crimes aren’t committed in the country because they are, but most of them involve stealing something easy to get away with. Very few murders, car jacking, or rape happen outside of city limits. I am sure that some of these do happen in other places, but they aren’t reported because it is a very local crime and limited in how many people were involved.

Am I saying that living in the country is completely safe? Absolutely not. I still lock the cars and the house and any storage area that we have. Thirty-five or so years ago, we didn’t lock our doors, but people have changed and so have the culture around us. Why worry about it?

I don’t really. I pray about our life and our home and ask God to give us protection from those who may do harm to our family and friends, then I hand the problem over to Him and leave it there. It is a learned skill and I have learned it over the past twenty or so years. It is not easy to let go of your anxiety and worries, but Jesus said that “today has enough trouble of its own”. Meaning that we shouldn’t worry about things which we cannot change and specifically about things which we have no control over at all!

God loves each of us, far more than we will ever know until we get to Heaven. We can’t understand His love and mercy toward us because His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts like ours. We can’t be perfect in all of our ways because we are human, but with the Holy Spirit living inside your heart, you can strive toward that calling of becoming more like Jesus. We will not be able to finish the course and be like Him until we stand in His Presence, but the race of life is the one we have to finish and trying to be like Him is the best that we can do.

Just as an old master Jedi once said, “Try not, do or do not there is no try”. Strive still toward the finish of your life when you will attain the goal of being like Jesus. Live as much like Him in this life as you can and let the rest fall to the side. That doesn’t mean that we have to be poor and penniless, it just means that we must walk through this life with our eyes turned toward Him daily. Not weekly or when its convenient, but from the moment you wake until night comes and you need rest for tomorrow. He will guide you on your path.

Fear, anxiety and depression

These are the “monsters” which young people today have to deal with. But, they aren’t alone. You aren’t alone because many of us older folk also suffer with these same demons, monsters, feelings, whatever you want to call them! We may “deal” with them in different ways from how you handle them, but we do handle them. But, sometimes they are victorious against us too.

I am coming to you as one who has battled with depression and anxiety. I have had feelings which drove me to seek to end my life, but I sought out Jesus and my faith in Him! Even though my “demons” tried to tell me that I wasn’t worthy of His love, I wasn’t good enough to be His child. They would tell me in dreams and in what I call “mind voices” that I should just stop trying to be something that I am not. Give up trying to bring a revival to this community and accept that they don’t want one!

Last summer, I was going through this and I found that by reading the Psalms and praying about my depression every day I was able to find a little more strength every day. Just enough to get me through that day, then do it again tomorrow and the next day until I came out of that “funk” and felt that I was able to raise my head up without feeling that it was just too much to do!

God hasn’t given up on you and you shouldn’t listen to those words which Satan is putting in your mind and your heart! They are lies from Satan and that is all that they are! God LOVES you dearly and compassionately! He hasn’t given up on you and you should not give up on this life that He gave you to live!! Why do I say this? Because it is true and because He does have a purpose for you and your life! I don’t know what your purpose is, but I’d bet that it is something that we haven’t thought of yet!

He made you special for one purpose and that was to be a witness to others who have been or will be in this position tomorrow or maybe a few weeks or months down the road. The fact is that you are the only person who can help someone else in this condition or having these problems! That is your calling!

You may be a singer or a dancer or a basketball player, but to God you are His ambassador to those people who are feeling the same fears and problems that you had until you decided to cling to the only Physician who can help and that is Jesus! Seek Him out in your hurt and your fears and anxiety because He was rejected by all of His countrymen, I think that He could understand your pain. The only ones who didn’t reject Him were His disciples and they numbered only 11 after He was risen.

He can give you the strength that you need to get through the rest of today and tomorrow and the next day…if you will let Him come in and share your life and your heart. You will be a new creation and old ways will pass away because you are changed.