Category: Spiritual

Turn Your Speakers On

I listen to music at my desk while I work (I love Spotify!).  I have the old fashioned speakers that plug into my computer.  They have a separate power button and volume control and since I’m cheap I turn the power off to them each night to save a penny.

There have been several times that I start Spotify and no music comes out.  I immediately get angry and I’m tempted to throw the speakers across the room.  Seconds before I go ballistic the speakers are saved because I realize that I didn’t turn on the power button.  It was not the components fault for not producing sound – it was my fault for not enabling them to do their job.

How often do we do that to God?  We get angry because He doesn’t speak to us when it really is our fault that we are not tuning in.  Before you get mad at God for being silent, make sure everything is turned on and that you are listening.

Psalm 81:8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me.

Hannah thanksgiving

 

I Keep a Messy House. Can We Still Be Friends?

I’ve been seeing the blog post “I Keep a Clean House. Can We Still Be Friends?” for the last couple of weeks.  Ok, you know I can’t pass this up.   Let’s get to the point: My house is messy (some may say dirty).  I’m happy that you have a clean house.  You may be a clean freak for all I know.  If it makes you feel better, than clean to your hearts desire.  I don’t really know why anyone is concerned because they have a clean house or a clean car or a perfect yard.  I’m not sure I understand why you’re worried about offending anyone.

I am messy, some may say a little dirty.  I don’t always clean up the sink before going to bed.   My truck gets washed when it rains.  My windows get cleaned when I can’t see what my neighbor is doing.  I have a dog that sheds 365 days a year and she is tri-colored so guess what: Her hair shows no matter what color my clothes are!

I wish my excuse was some kind of Spiritual Declaration – “There are starving children in Africa.  How can you spend time cleaning when you could be feeding them?”  Or, an Artsy Fartsy “I live in my creations. Not in my cleanliness.”  Or, “I’m too busy too clean and too cheap to hire help”.

Look, some people just can’t clean. Maybe they weren’t taught to clean.  Maybe they are so depressed that they can’t clean (I think most fit here including me).  Some are not able to physically.  Life is hard and the hard gets in the way of cleaning.  I wish cleaning made me feel better.   I wish I felt relaxed  as some replied to the “other” article but that’s just not me.

If you stop by without warning, I may stand on my (also messy) front porch because I don’t want you to see my messy house.  I hope we can still be friends even though I may be embarrassed.  I might not invite you over for a visit.  Please don’t take it personally.  I just need to clean first.

Matthew 23:26  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

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reference: http://herviewfromhome.com/i-keep-a-clean-house-can-we-still-be-friends/

Stairway to Heaven the Irony

Let’s talk about change.  I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s – that’s 1960’s and 1970’s for those of you born after 2000!  We had a battle in the church during that time over Rock music.   We actually had sermons and books written about it.  If you haven’t heard, it’s from the devil himself.  Some of the classic reasons were 1) evil lyrics 2) the beat – many called it syncopation 3) lifestyles of the musicians 4) It was bad and loud and it was leading kids to dance, sex and drugs.   I clearly remember attending meetings at Youth For Christ which defamed any kind of Rock music and following the meetings we were supposed to go home and burn our vinyl albums.

One of the most popular songs of that era was ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin.   If you don’t know all the evilness of this song, please google it.  There is enough written about it to keep you busy for the weekend.   I never bought into all the negative hype on Rock music.  Of course there is bad stuff in it but there is bad stuff in everything.

Advance to 2011.  Seeker churches are the ‘in thing’: Everyone dresses down in casual clothes, talented musicians play contemporary music, open auditoriums and chairs instead of pews, simple messages of hope and grace.  Hey, if it is bringing people into the Kingdom I’m all for it.  Don’t tell anyone but one of these churches played the above mentioned songs in church!  What would Bob Larson say?!!

There is an irony of course.  I’m not sure what those speakers in the 60’s and 70’s would think about playing this music in church.  If it is truly Satanic is it still Satanic if Christians are singing it in church?  What about that syncopated beat? Drums?  I doubt that these performers are old enough to remember those lectures.  They probably never burned their vinyl records or played them backwards to hear the hidden messages.

Sins come and go.  God stays the same.  We all need to get closer to Him.  Don’t worry about the irony – just keep walking closer each day.  Don’t build idols.  Don’t follow anything that leads you astray.  God is bigger than Rock music.  I’m not sure about Country music but I know He can win the battle over the stairway to heaven.

John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

 

Allergies

Warning: This article discusses peanuts, tree nuts, red dye, milk and dairy products.  Anyone who is allergic to these should use caution.

What has caused the explosion of allergies?  I was born in 1960 and I didn’t know anyone who was allergic to food.  If any of you are that old, did you know anyone with allergies?  I visited my kid’s middle school a few years ago and ate lunch in the cafeteria.  They have entire tables for allergy free foods.   If you want to bring in a snack to a classroom today you need a computer program outlining what is acceptable.  Class lists now list banned foods from nearly 3/4 of the class.

I’m no scientist and I didn’t research to see what the theories are.  I’m sure I will get some quality feedback trying to educate me.  Maybe its linked to climate change?  I’m not downplaying allergies.  They can be very serious and I feel for people who suffer from them.  According to a local pastor, there can be no nuts on his church property or four of the members will die.

What have we done to ourselves and our society to make this drastic change in 50 years?  Is it genetic tampering?  Chemicals?  Pesticides?  I’m serious….how did this happen so radically and in such a short time?  We are supposed to be the healthiest nation and yet we are obese (me included) and we suffer from every food ailment possible.

What was meant to be a blessing has turned into a curse.  Do you know why?

Genesis 9:3   Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

food

 

 

13ReasonsWhy

I didn’t want to write this.  There are plenty of other sites to read about this show.  But I’m not getting anything done so I guess I need to get this out of the way.  I’m not going to take time to summarize or comment on filming etc.  You can read other posts for all of that.

There are two sides quickly emerging on this show:  Those who are adamantly against it on one side and millions of high school girls (and maybe boys) on the other who have watched it and probably read the book and experience some form of it every day.

I’m going to point out my 13  issues with the show but don’t stop until you get to the end.

  1. The “F” word is used 258 times.  I don’t know if that is 100% accurate.  It feels like it was said 5 million times to me.  If you don’t hang around high schoolers its not the “F” word that we grew up.  Our “F” word was really bad.  Today it is just a word that comes out with every other word.

2. Gay issues.  Regardless of how you feel on this subject it’s here now.  Our generation didn’t discuss it past “ewww”.  This generation is bombarded with it and they need to make decisions on it.  This show has at least 6 people dealing with it and everyone else around them needs to deal with it too.

3.  No communication with parents.  Zero.  Not one kid in this show has an honest life giving relationship with their parents.  Is this realistic?  If it is realistic we are doomed.  I didn’t count how many times parents said to their children: “You’re a good kid”.   Yeah parents – your kid is good,  it’s everyone else’s kids that are “bad”.

4.  No honest supportive relationships with friends.  At best they are superficial.  At worst they are selfish, hateful, confused and abusive.  The relationships are a means to an end and everyone is fighting to get to the top.   What is the top by the way?

5.  Pre-marital sex.  Pretty similar to the “F” word – there’s a lot of it and “everyone” is doing it.  No signs of birth control.  No signs of protection from disease.  No healthy relationships – it’s just jump in the bed.

6.  Rape.  Not one rape but two.  It’s graphic and it’s brutal and it makes your stomach turn.

7.  Drugs.  This is not a druggy show.  There is some drug usage but that isn’t the main point.  In some ways the issues would be easier to accept if drugs were the starting problem.

8.  Alcohol.  What ever was missed in the way of drug usage, alcohol took its place.  There was more drinking in this series than I have done in my lifetime.   Add this to the previous 7 points and it makes life a drunk driving exercise.

9.  There is N0 God in this show.   Hear me out – there is nothing close to spiritual enlightenment beyond the spirits in the bottle.    Some critics see this as the main reason not to watch this.  I see it as a reality in many teens lives.  Maybe it is the worst point in all of this mess.  Maybe it is the cause for all the other ones.  There is no Truth and there are no Absolutes.

10. Jealousy and hatred.  Yes.  A lot of it.

11. Lack of understanding from adults.  Same goes with the audience.  The response I get from teenagers about this are totally different from responses I get from adults.  Teenagers simply say “Yes it happens”.  Adults try to explain everything going on so they can understand it.

12.  Lies.  I told my kids “if you do something wrong at least admit it.  If you lie about it, it only makes it much worse.”  Yes.  There is a lot of lying with everyone in this show.

13.  Violence.  Slapping, hitting, hitting again, threats, oh and more hitting.  I guess everyone is angry about the first 12 items on the list.

Oh, I forgot.  The big issue in this show is a teen suicide.  This time it is not romanticized or just spoken about.  This is HD living color, brutal, ugly, screaming, bloody suicide.  Let me put it this way – I covered my eyes.  I couldn’t watch.  I probably should have cried.  I was already depressed from watching the show – this just put me over the edge.

Friends have said to me, “how can you watch that?”  You see if you don’t know me I was one of the parents in episode 13.  My wife walked into our son hanging by a wire.  My wife was the one yelling to me to come.  I was the one picking him up telling him to come back saying “No no no no”.  One critic of the show makes a point that his neighbor did this at age 16 so he understands.  No you don’t.  I had friends that committed suicide.  It’s awful.  But there is no comparison to picking up a dead child that seemed fine a minute ago. By choice they are now dead.   There is no way to understand.   Their battles are done, yours are just beginning.

In one minute you are angry about water running over the tub into the hallway.  The next you are facing a life devastation that you will never fully recover from.  How do you reconcile that in your mind?

Here is a good place to breathe….

I am not a psychologist.  I am not running stats on whether this show is helping or hurting the teenagers.  I can say if you are a parent you might want to watch this.  It is awful and it is depressing and it will make you feel terrible.  Do it anyway.  You may even want to watch it with your teenager.

Hug your children today and do your best to fight or understand all 14 of these issues.  It’s that important.

Sin Tax

We are moving into an era of “Boutique Taxes” as I call them.   A better term is probably “Behavioral Taxes”.   This is not a new idea but it is quickly picking up popularity.  The idea started as “sin tax” and it was gladly put on alcohol, tobacco and gambling.  Conservative America didn’t fight them because it was a tax on “sin”.   The “sinners” didn’t object because they enjoyed their sin so much they didn’t care if it was taxed.  They admitted it was wrong and in some kind of weird thinking “they deserved the tax”.

Our governments are always looking for a new income stream to fund burgeoning budgets.  Instead of blanket taxes that make everyone mad they are turning to these focused taxes.  Here are a couple of examples:

Gasoline tax: a penny here and a penny there and no one is supposed to notice.  The money is supposed to go to road improvement but does it really?

Marijuana tax: can’t beat them….join them and tax it.  I mean really….who is going to object to this tax?  No one.

Soda tax: https://www.buzzfeed.com/venessawong/its-not-rocket-science?utm_term=.egqN7EQ8WW#.cmzMB4ePkk.  I believe this will take off like the space shuttle.  Add a little more fuel and this will be everywhere by 2018.  I don’t care about the other sin taxes but this one will hurt me when it comes to my neighborhood.  Or….will it help me to stop a nasty habit?

Our governments have got on to something.  They can raise taxes and be socially correct.  They can punish people for non accepted behavior and even make changes in said behaviors.   How many have stopped smoking because of the cost and attention?  Will the same happen with sugar?  On the other hand they can legalize illegal behavior, control it and earn income from it.  Sounds great doesn’t it?

Let’s take this concept to a broader scope (because you know the government will).  What if they tax divorce?  How about abortions? (oh, yes that could be another blog coming!)  Salt?  Obesity?  What if they take it farther – taxing churches that have certain views?  Bibles?  TV?  Twinkies? Ice Cream?  Is this an over stretch of our governing bodies or are they right in being the big brother and taxing “bad” behavior?  Should they be permitted to legalize behavior in the name of tax and control?  How about prostitution?  Gambling is already out of the box and will never go back.  Our states even promote it with their lotteries.

If a small potato chip bag goes from $1 to $2 because of a salt and oil tax will you stop eating them?  Will a poor person stop?  We’ll see.

Romans 13:7
Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
mountain dew

Left Over Spirituality

I had left over chicken cacciatore for lunch today.  I microwaved it for 2 minutes and took a bite – it seemed ok.  When I dug down to stir it up the bottom was still ice cold.  I nuked it another minute and stirred and then ran it for another minute.  It turned out pretty good but I’ve had microwaved leftovers that could frighten a dog’s pallet.

There are a couple rules about leftovers: 1) The food needs to start out great  and be appropriate for heating up later.  Ex.  A quick stop at McDonalds may seem like a good idea when in a hurry but don’t ever microwave a Big Mac and fries.  Just trust me.  2)  It needs to be fresh – a microwave is not going to help “dead” food with mold on it.  3)  Eat it fast before it starts to go downhill.  Microwaved foods seem to have a half life and can’t be heated a 3rd time.   4) When in doubt, throw it out.   If a fresh run to McDonalds is better than the leftover, don’t eat it.

So….One of the problems in Christiandome is people constantly feeding others old leftovers that are warmed up in the microwave.   For my generation, it was choir and quartets on Sunday nights.  I could see the mold growing from the back of the church!  Fresh food in that period was hippy Jesus music.  That sound was tough and spongy when I tried to serve it to my kids.

What are you eating now?  Leftover prosperity gospel?  Warmed up end times doctrine?  Stir fried house church?  Grilled King James only scripture?  Maybe you are one of the 30-40 somethings that would rather starve than eat another re-heated meal that gave so much nourishment to your parents.

Here’s an idea.  Grow a garden with the food you like.  Make something fresh and delicious that makes you healthy.  Just remember, that no carb diet or vegan diet or gluten free food that YOU love may not be good for your kids in ten years.

Mark 2:22 (NIV)

22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

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Want to be a millionaire?

The common line is….”I just wish I could win the lottery.”   Or….”I’ll be working until the day I die….I don’t know what retirement is.”   Some of us justify our poorness by saying “my treasure is in heaven” or “I’m richly blessed in other ways.”  All of those may be true statements.  Wealth is a tricky creature.  There are new get rich schemes started every day.

I made the decision at a young age to own a business.  Other than part time summer jobs while I was in school I have never worked for a company.   For me it was a passion.  Of course I thought I’d get rich along the way but that wasn’t my driving force.  But when my company bottomed out in 2009 I hit rock bottom with it.  Two things bothered me – 1) It was my baby and it was dying and I had to do something to save it; and 2) I immediately thought that I was too old in my 50’s to recoup the loss and rebuild it.   For the first time I wished that I had gone another path – school teacher, pastor, or anything that was paying a pension.    I won’t get into the depression topic but you know that was rough.

The crazy thing about wealth is that we all work to get it.  Some of us make it to “wealth”  but most of us get to the level of “getting by”.   “Getting by” is a very subjective term and worthy of a whole different article!

Here is the crazy point that I’m getting at:  I started my business in 1980.  I bought my first Apple Macintosh in 1985 (I still have it).  I sweated a lot of trials and frustrations over the last 36 years trying to make it.  I could have easily bought $10,000 of Apple stock, taught 6th grade and I would be worth almost $3 million dollars today plus a pension.   Did I miss the opportunity?   Yes but I could have bought $10,000 in stock in 2007 and I’d be worth $740,000 which is far better than my business did in that time period.

Opportunities don’t disappear.  Yes they change.  The hard part is knowing what will be an opportunity and what will be a failure.  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates started out close to the same time as me.  I don’t need to tell you who made more money.  Someone will come up with the new opportunity today.  I don’t care how many times you have failed in the past, you can be a part of the new thing today.  If not today, maybe tomorrow.

God doesn’t want you living in a shelter.  He has opportunities laid out before you every day.  Wake up tomorrow and look for them.  You might be surprised what you find.

Ephesians 5:16  Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
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Don’t Believe the lies

It’s a brand new year…again.  Time to set goals and to reflect on the past year.  My encouragement for this year is “Don’t believe the lies”.  We all battle the attacks of the enemy in some way.  For some we may be too fat.  For some we may be too old (or too young).  For others we may be worthless or without talent.  I’ve said it before that I battle with “Failure”.   Here’s my example today:

I’ve been playing the stupid (I call it stupid because it is very addicting!) game of ‘2 Dots’ on my phone.  I hit a level that I couldn’t pass.  Immediately I began to believe that I wasn’t good at the game and that I was a failure because I couldn’t pass one level.  God pointed out to me (as a lesson) that I was battling over level 775.  “If you are not good at this game, how could you have won 774 games before this level?”  Good point I said.  “Remember when you got frustrated at level 50 and you quit and deleted the app only to download it again the next day start over?”  Yes I said and I now I’m at 776 because I finally won 775 as I began writing this.

How many times do we look at one failure and believe that our whole life is a failure?  How many times have you loved your children but you sulk when you lash out in frustration or weariness and believe that you are a bad parent?  How many times have you sinned and felt like God will never love you again?  How many times have you ended a project and say you will never try again?

Don’t believe the lies.  You are not called to failure and you are not called to quit.  If you do it wrong this time, throw it out and start over.  God doesn’t love you because you are successful.  He loves you because you are you.  Count the 775 things that you have done right and don’t worry about the one that has you frustrated at the moment.   You have way more successes than failures.  Remember that!

Luke 1:37
For no word from God will ever fail.
hannahpraise

Just go to sleep

I had the great pleasure of babysitting two of my grandaughters last night.  The youngest is three and recently had the earth shattering experience of losing her nuk AND her crib at the same time (she has very bad parents 🙂 ).  I had the challenge of getting her to sleep and for an hour while I laid on the floor beside her tiny little bed and she held my hand (finger).  Fortunately, the bed was the perfect height for me to rest my elbow on the floor and rest my arm against the bed without holding it up in the air.

It’s beautiful loving moments like these when the writing side of my brain takes over and I begin comparing this love to God.  Thoughts like – He is right beside us, there is nothing to fear; All God wants is for us to hold His hand and be loved; God’s love is so simple, we don’t need to do anything to win His approval; Don’t complicate God’s love, just reach out and take hold of Him; There is nothing we can do that will separate us from His love.

And then she sneezed all over my face!  You got it, those beautiful tender thoughts kind of vanished very fast and I had enough.  Those tender loving thoughts turned to “just go to sleep!”

Don’t get me wrong.  I was and I am still joyful about my grandkids (I’m babysitting again this weekend).  I do love those tender moments just like God loves tender moments with His children.  But there are times, I’m sure, when God is tired of hugging and rocking and just wants us to get on with what we are supposed to be doing.

“Just do what you are told to do”.  It might be getting some sleep.  It might be eating our food.  It might be cleaning our room.  Just do it.  Savor your love moments with God but when its time to get up and do something; get up and do it!  Don’t hang around and milk the love moments when it is clear that you have a job to do.

Exodus 14:15
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
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