Thursday, May 24, 2018
1) The birthday.
May 26th will be my last birthday in the 40's. And I just realized today how depressed I am about that. I knew I was down about it, but I am seriously depressed about it. Not quite as bad as when I turned 40.... I haven't cried yet, and I did then.
I have a friend/coworker who works in the ER who is 6 days older than me. I asked her if she was depressed about it, and she said she isn't. I told her and another coworker how down I am about it, and can't imagine how bad next year will be....50. My friend said next year we should go out to celebrate, and then goes "Oh, but you don't drink." I laughed, and said maybe my next birthday will change that.
And I AM kidding about that. :)
This IS random stuff that has been on my mind.....I discovered I may like the music group the Eagles. I have one song on my iPod by them, and discovered there are a few other songs I like that they sing, and I was not aware who the artist was. They have an awesome sound. I wonder if they have a Christmas CD.
3) Why Can't We?
No one, possibly with the exception of my best friend, has a clue how hard I am on myself. I still beat myself up over dumb stuff I did years ago. It is almost like a recording playing over and over in my brain reminding me of the dumb and bad stuff I have done, and beating me up over and over.
This may be a bad thing to admit, but I have a difficult time forgiving people...... and myself most of all. I can't let the stuff go. I am sure it isn't healthy, but I have years of doing this and years of things replayed in my mind.
A song came on this morning when I was playing my iPod on the way to work. It addresses this issue of forgiving....oneself, and others.
He lies awake there all alone most every night
Looking back on all of his mistakes
Wishing through the tears that he could just go back
'Cause there's a lot of things he'd like to change
He just can't forgive himself and forget
Even though God already did
If He can love someone and find the good within
In spite of what they've done, no matter where they've been
If He can let it go and set the debtor free
If He can keep forgiving you and me
Why can't we
There've been times I've been so hurt by someone else
I didn't wanna give a second chance
I let all the bitterness take control
And took grace into my own hands
But even Jesus said, "Whoever's done no wrong
Let him throw the first stone"
If He can love someone and find the good within
In spite of what they've done, no matter where they've been
If He can let it go and set the debtor free
If He can keep forgiving you and me
Why can't we
4) Lied about
Which brings me to the next thing on my mind. I had a fellow hospital employee give me some attitude recently, and my mouth got me in trouble as usual. The worst part, is she reported me to my boss and quoted me using a curse word. Even though my boss knows I don't curse, I am not sure she believed me when I told her I didn't curse.
I should be used to being lied about after this last election, but it isn't fun.
5) My Brazilian friend
I have a guy from Brazil who added me as a friend on Facebook several months ago, possibly over a year. We disagree theologically..... he is Calvinist, and I am far from being one... but I have gotten to know him as well as one can via social network. He is a great guy, and he told me something a while back that should bother any Christian reading this. If it doesn't bother you, then it is just proof that politics has indeed become too important to us.
His comment? He told me that Christians in Brazil are horrified at how Christians in America defend, excuse, and support Donald Trump. That is coming from someone watching America from afar... not someone here in America.
As I am blogging, I have my country playlist playing on my computer. There are 229 songs on it.....as opposed to the 3950 Southern Gospel songs. And some of those 229 songs are hymns or Gospel songs recorded by country singers.
I have sat under preachers who preached against listening to country music - well pretty much any secular music....and even heard some speak out against Southern Gospel. Yeah, I go to a very conservative church, which is why the political stuff is bothering me so much.
Anyway, music is an area I had to find my own path on. And my music tastes have gotten a little more variety than the days I only listened to Southern Gospel. My iTunes contains a lot of Southern Gospel, some Christian Contemporary, a lot of Christmas, Saxophone, piano, and even some bluegrass.
This is my personal belief: I don't believe it is wrong to listen to some secular music, though we should be careful about what we listen to.....but Christians should definitely listen to more Christian than secular music.
And below is one of my favorite country songs:
7) The stupid people
I know, I always bring up Trump in these posts....but this IS on my mind.
Back during the election, I had a lot of people refuse to see/admit that you could be against both Hillary Clinton and the guy who said she'd make a great president. (That would be Donald Trump). And these people still refuse to admit you can be a conservative and oppose Donald Trump. It takes a pretty stupid person who can't understand the fact that you can be against both candidates, and that just because you are a conservative it does not make you a liberal to oppose DT. Seriously, it is like dealing with liberals on this stuff.
And to be honest.... it is insulting when you are opposing a man you view as a liberal and bad guy, and you are labeled a liberal for opposing him for being a liberal. In what reality does that make sense??
And yes, I know these people were only using manipulation when they refused to admit you could be against both candidates.
8) A life of vegans
Vegans are not only against eating meats, but any animal products..... no milk, eggs, or butter. Imagine a world run by these people. There would be no farms, for why would anyone keep cows if there was none used for meat or milk.... cows and chickens would be running around wild like any other animal. Weird.
9) Top of the World
Top of the World by the Carpenters just played. How is that for random information?
10) The embassy
I have seen several people claim the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is a fulfillment of prophecy. Yep, it is right there in Matthew 30:11: "When the United States embassy in Israel is moved to Jerusalem, look up for your redemption draws nigh."
I pointed that out on Facebook, minus the sarcastic fake verse. Someone commented "Shut up Hollywood and CNN". (the same guy who says I am like a liberal when I point out Trump's liberal past..... I still can't wrap my head around THAT)
Here's the deal: I think this was a good move, no matter who is responsible or why...... but no, it is no fulfillment of prophecy... and I challenge anyone to give me a verse who claims it is. Anyone who has studied prophecy and end times events will tell you no one can find the USA in end times prophecy. If that is truly the case, our moving of the embassy is definitely not a fulfillment of prophecy. It is arrogance to think our country moving an embassy has anything to do with prophecy.
That is how many songs on my country playlist are either hymns, Gospel songs, or a song that could be classified as Christian. I just counted them.
There are businesses that give you something for your birthday. O Reilly's auto parts emailed me a coupon for $5 off a $5 or more purchase. I bought wax for my car and a sponge to wash the car.
A young guy waited on me with a unique name I have never heard for a first name: Lock. Different, but cool. It suited him.
Fin Feather Fur Outfitters sent me a $10 coupon by mail. That is where I bought my pistol. I bought ammo for my gun, which was $11.99.... so I paid $1.99 for it. Good deal.
Texas Roadhouse emailed me a coupon for a free appetizer, so I ate there and got a cactus blossom. If you have never had one, you are missing out.
14) The "Royal" Wedding
A lot of people are excited about the wedding of Prince Harry. I honestly am not interested. I hardly care about weddings of people I know. :)
The last wedding I attended was my little sister's. They will have been married 18 years in October.
I have never admitted this publicly, but since I freely talk about this stuff now, I may as well say why that is: It is painful for me to go to a wedding. A part of me still wishes I could fall in love and marry, but I know that is not going to happen... and even at this point if God suddenly turned me into a heterosexual, I can't see marriage being for me...... but it still hurts to attend a wedding and see what I cannot have. I don't begrudge the couples, but I don't want to sit through that.
I did see a few pictures and was impressed with the dress. Evidently the bride didn't feel the need to show her breasts, arms, and shoulders to the world to show everyone what her husband is getting like too many brides do.
15) Why I talk about "it"
As I mentioned in another blog post, talking about the gay stuff can be uncomfortable for some who don't understand it or are fearful or antagonistic towards all things gay. There are a few reasons I do so:
1) It is freeing. When you struggle in secret and no one knows, the battle is more difficult.
2) To give people an idea of what it is like, and to show them we aren't freaks and are their family and friends.
3) To give others hope. I honestly cannot imagine where I would be if others had not gone ahead of me, told told their stories, and opened themselves up for whatever came their way. To know others deal with this, that I am not alone.... to meet others and befriend them who carry this same cross...you can't imagine. Had there been no books from a Christian perspective, had their been no ministries for people with same-sex attractions, there is a good chance I'd have killed myself.....it is that difficult of a struggle. But thankfully, there have been people to step out and admit their struggle, write books, speak, start ministries, etc.
Just today, I posted a rather long blog post titled "The gay cross". I sat on the article for at least a week, debating on whether to post it or not. In addition to my personal Facebook page, I also posted it in a couple of groups I am in for SSA people. A married friend of mine commented. I am not sharing his comment to make myself look good, but to show how important it is to talk about this stuff:
"I just finished reading the article. I read most of it to my wife, who said she now understands why I want to continue the support group and counseling with Daniel. You said things that I have never been able to express to my wife or very few other people. You should also send this to HFW discussion page. A lot of guys and ladies will probably be weeping like I was."
And another friend commented with this "Wow,, this is good. I had someone in my church ask a friend of mine if I was a child molester."
Even if it only helps and encourages this one friend, it is worth whatever people think of me for posting what I did.
16) Does it get worse?
Hopefully this stuff doesn't get worse: I often leave my cell phone in my car when I get home.... and only home. I never forget it in the car anywhere else. The other night, I came home from work and was changing clothes, and the thought hit me "Where is my phone? Rats, it is in the car." I came downstairs to go out and get it. As I walked past my computer desk, I glanced at it and saw the light blinking on my cell phone and realized I had a Facebook message. (Read that sentence again and think about it.) I walked out to my entry way, put on my shoes and went to get my cell phone from my car. Just as I opened the car door I realized what I had just done.......
The riding lawn mower is still not working.. so I am mowing at least 2 acres with the push mower.....5 + miles of walking, taking at least 3 hours. And man, is the grass growing! The plus.... it is good exercise. I lost 3 pounds since the weekend, and I am guessing that plays into it. I can honestly tell my doctor tomorrow that I have been getting exercise.
My house does not have central air. I do have 4 window air conditioners. So far, I have only had to use the one in my room. The downstairs has been staying cool enough with a fan. That may change.
19) The loneliness factor
Yeah, another gay post. Several years ago, I read a great book by John Trent and Gary Smalley titled "The Blessing." In the book, the authors related the following story:
A Christian woman had an unsaved husband she had been praying for and trying to win to the Lord. He spent a lot of his spare time at the bar drinking, and had no interest in church or God. Finally one day, he became a Christian and began attending church with her regularly. After some time, he quit going to church, quit God, and went back to the bar. His reason? He missed the companionship and fellowship of the bar, and wasn't getting that at church.
Now one could knock that guy and wonder how deep his experience was with God, but that is not my point.
People with same-sex attractions that are living for God and not giving into their attractions and desires can live a lonely life. I see what guys post in the groups I am in, and they are all lonely... all ages. I am not sure if any age is worse than others, but it seems the older one gets the worse it gets.
Let me be blunt here: I know enough to know the gay community offers a lot to those living the gay life. Community, support, friendship, and more. People leave that, become Christians, and then face a life that can be lonely a lot of the time, most of the time, or all the time. Is it any wonder people like me have a difficult time staying true to God?
Let me be even more blunt: being gay is not all about sex. Even the young guys hooking up with a different guy every night for sex are after a connection. Sure, they probably like and enjoy the sex, but they could do that on their own......to be very blunt.....but they want to be with someone, a living person.
So people have this constant connection, friendship, and community........then they become Christians and lose that. There are some fortunate enough to have a circle of friends and/or support.......but many do not.
Day after day, they face not only the sexual temptations, but also the loneliness and temptations to fill that loneliness the way they did for so long.
And most go and sit in a church filled with people who don't understand them. Many fear them, as if they might "catch it". Worse, some view them as child molesters, freaks, perverts, and other lovely things. Often, they shoot the wounded.
Not many in this family of God takes time to befriend them, be there for them, offer a listening ear, try to understand what it is like to deal daily with this thing they didn't ask for.
I myself....yeah, I have lonely times. My best friend gets me, but he is 400 miles away, and there isn't exactly a line of people standing at my door wanting to hang out...... but that is OK. I have gotten somewhat comfortable being alone.... and there is always my nieces and nephews. I am writing this for other guys like me.
This whole blog post is getting longer than I intended, but I want to share something I ran across several years back, written by an anonymous man dealing with same-sex attractions. Read at your own risk. It is a letter to the church... and most of it can be identified with by guys like me:
I’m in such pain; I just had to write something to someone, because there’s no one to call at this hour. Don’t think poorly of me because I am still learning to lean on God… and because sometimes I need arms to hold me; even God said it is not good that man be alone. I don’t want to disturb anyone at this hour. I’m afraid if I did, they would reject me… people seem to be eager to help when it’s convenient. For me to call someone now would be inconvenient, and I could not take the possible rejection on top of the pain I already feel in my heart. Sometimes the stuff I'm forbidden to have can look awfully good when I'm feeling empty on the inside, with no one to call.
I like what I’ve learned from the bible, even though it’s hard to accept some things. But I need more; I need to see Jesus modeled by the Church. I need to see you who believe actually BE the ears, arms, and eyes of God. I need friends. I need guys in my life I can get together with - pals, buddies… I need the stuff I didn't get growing up, and that most guys don't have time for in the Church - because they have families and fathers and careers already. But I don’t need a baby sitter or a teacher; I need a human being who cares and who is willing and able to be a friend. I need men in my life who will love me where I’m at, who are willing and able to spend time with me; I need men to show me examples of what a healthy relationship between men looks like, not just an hour a week at Sunday school… but in real life.
I think guys who have families forget what being single is like... some will argue the reverse, that I’m better off single… but they don’t know what they have – and they would rethink things if they found themselves alone, as I am. They want to fix me, and think that I should bury myself in work like they do; but maybe that burial is why their marriages are dying. Maybe I’m not the only sick one here – maybe most guys are just as scared as I am over sharing their hearts. I've had several suggest that the right job would fix my loneliness... but I know from personal experience that work doesn’t fill the need for human contact, and the secular workplace doesn’t fill the need for Godly relationships with other men.
Sometimes you, men of the Church, make comments that I’m too open, and sometimes I think to myself, “You should be a man, keep the feelings in and be strong.” But is this really what God wants – or is it male pride? I think those words “Be strong” are whispered directly from Satan’s mouth into my ear… and the ear of every man… because in my strength, I draw away from needing God and others, and I am really weak – even though my pride fools me into thinking I am powerfully “self-reliant”. And when I am weak, I am strong, because I am more connected with God and with other men… because I need them.
Heck, the people I can relate to most in any setting seem to be the older ones or the kids - because most of the guys my age have lost something that kids and older people have. I don't know what it is, maybe people my age are too arrogant, too set in our ways, too proud, or too busy to be bothered with such “trivial” things as friendship and love. I miss friends from my old life… because even though some of those interactions might have been sinful, at least I had friends who would spend time with me. The Church can seem pretty sterile when the only time I see you – you who call themselves “brothers and sisters” – is in a bible study or at church. I feel like I'm starving for human interaction, when all I get is two or three hours a week in groups. Is this what you would call “ministering”?
Do you, dear Church, want to know the real reason I stumble into pornography and gay sin? It is for one reason: I am starved for relationship, for friendship, for touch... but I am afraid to ask, and be told “no” yet again. The pornography might be sin, but at least the “high” took my mind off the pain of isolation for a little while, when you weren’t willing to; and pornography is always there; you, men of the Church, are not. It made me forget my loneliness. When life gets tough, you have wives and family to comfort you – or at the very least to keep you occupied. When my life gets tough, married men tell me to seek comfort in God – spoken from the comfort of their wives arms. This is convenient… for them. I have put work into relationships, and you didn’t have time, dear Church. It’s funny how you have time to condemn homosexuals, to rally to abolish gay marriage, or get on the band wagon over this cause or that, all in the name of God. But you don’t have time to be friends with a homosexual who wants to change. If I were to define hell, it would be "a void of relationship". If I were to point to a place on earth where I have found the most hell, it has been within the walls of the Church. I’m tired of all the verses and the theory. You want me to change; stop talking and SHOW me how to be a loving Christian in Godly relationships by LIVING that theory with me, by inviting me into these relationships… or I will stumble – and you, men of the Church, will not be guiltless.
I want to live life, to share life with people. There seems to be no outlet for me – the single male struggling with sexual brokenness – to do this, other than little bits here and there. I have much to offer, along with my peers, even though I am also needy. I want the touch of another human being. I want it to matter when I laugh and when I cry, and I want the tears and laughter of others to matter to me. I am frustrated by so many things in not only our society, but in the Church; men do not know how to love one another as God intended... if we all did, there wouldn't be so much homosexuality; it is a backlash, a result of men not loving as they should... including you, men of the Church.
I have one dream... I want Jesus to hold me, to let me cry, to sob, to let my body shake with the grief of the losses I have felt in my life. I want him to be there and hold me through it, whether I cry for a minute, a day, or a year... until finally there are no more tears left. And then I want to fall asleep in his arms, I want to be safe. I want to go back, to be a kid again, and to get what I didn't get back then, what I can't get now by myself, but which can only come through Jesus and through other men in a healthy way. I am frustrated and angry - and I feel cheated, that I have no attraction to women, that I have no family. I have worked so hard simply to overcome the trauma of the rejection I went through from my father... he didn't mean to do it, but I carry those deep scars, and they go right to the foundation of my heart.
Do you want to crucify the homosexual, or save him? If you want to save him, here I am, and I’m asking to be saved. I’m asking you to be Christ’s arms and ears, to hold me and let me cry, to let me know Jesus does care about me – that even though I feel rejected and broken and alone, at least someone does care. Or do you want to help in theory, so you can feel good about yourselves? Or maybe it’s just easier to throw the first stone. Some days, I would thank you for throwing that stone; the pain would end.
I know you can't fix me. You may not know what to say. Men of the Church, you think you have to say something profound to "fix" others. Wrong. You are here to teach me God’s ways by EXAMPLE, to be examples of love in a world of hatred. Ironically, I – the homosexual – am here to teach you, too, men of the Church. “To teach us?” you may ask in shock. Yes, to teach you something you’ve forgotten; we are here to teach you the strength of vulnerability, the power of facing the truth - we are powerless, that we are all broken and we can fix nothing... that Jesus died to fix us. When in my weakest moments I share with you, I am doing what God wants me to. I am an example of vulnerability, and my example gives you – men of the Church – permission to shed your masks of self-strength and self-righteousness. Listen and learn, men of the Church: we can’t put on God’s armor, until we first take off our own useless armor… and we can’t do that until we set our pride aside, and get honest with one another. I’m ready. Are you?
20) Jesus and Mama
And just to not end on a serious note, I'll share this: One country song on my iPod that has been playing some is one titled "Jesus and Mama". The chorus goes like this:
Jesus and Mama always loved me
Even when the devil took control
Jesus and Mama always loved me
This I know
I was reminded of something humorous from several years ago.....like 20 +. I was working at Dutch House, and was singing that chorus in the bakery. One of the ladies working on the pie table piped up "Yeah, but they had to pay your mom!" That still makes me smile all these years later.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Part 1, the new content:
We have things pretty easy here in America. We can worship as we please, and most of us don't deal with persecution or even much push back if we serve God. We are heading in that direction, especially if we stick with what the Bible says about sexuality. That does not please the world.
Christianity has become all too shallow in America. Denying yourself, sacrifice, and crosses aren't things we like to hear about. We don't like to muddy the waters, and we try to live a Christian life that doesn't offend anyone.....but if we truly live by the Bible, we are going to offend people, and we will not be loved by the world.
We like to be comfortable, and want a religion that doesn't inconvenience us. What God requires of us and how we should live looks amazingly like what we want to live like as a Christian. All too often, we interpret the Bible so we can do what we really want to do, not what God wants.
The cross has become a gaudy decoration or something we wear around our neck. They are worn by everyone from church goers to porn stars, and gang members. It holds no meaning to many people wearing it, and many have no idea what it means to truly serve God and carry a cross.
The things in our lives that we call our crosses are not truly crosses, but irritants and inconveniences.
"My husband always throws his dirty clothes on the floor, but that is my cross to bear."
"My teenagers are so unthankful and never do what I ask. That is my cross to bear."
"My boss is a tyrant, but that is my cross to bear."
No it isn't. Those are just things you deal with in life. A cross is something that is going to make your life tough because you are a Christian. The baker losing his business because he stood up for his convictions and the gay bullies took him down.....he knows something about a cross. The man watching as Muslim radicals rape his wife and daughter because they dared convert to Christianity....they know what carrying a cross is all about.
I read a story in a devotional I have called "Extreme Devotion" that stirred me. A man was being beaten and tortured as evil men tried to get him to deny Christ. He refused. They then brought in his teenage son and started on him. The man couldn't take it, and said he would deny Christ. His son interrupted him and told him not to, and said he did not want a coward for a father. So the father watched as they beat his son to death in front of him. That is a cross.
Crosses. I read that if the Christians in the first century could see us wearing crosses around our necks, they would be horrified. The writer said it would be comparable to us wearing small electric chairs around our necks and hanging them on our walls.
The cross was an instrument of torture and death, and if any of us were truly acquainted with them as they were used then, we would not want to even look at one, much less wear one. In fact, the word excruciating came about to describe the pain one went through on a cross. The truth of the matter is this: if we are truly following Jesus, we will carry a cross. None of us are the exception. If we have no cross, then we aren't a Christian, or at least where we should be with God.
Many years ago when I was a teenager living in Pennsylvania, someone had a youth service on crosses. If I remember correctly, the idea was that people would come up to this table full of crosses after they had become a Christian, and the person at the table would give them their cross to carry. I don't remember much, except for one thing. One of the "new converts" was given her cross, then started looking over the other crosses. She laid hers down and picked up a more attractive one, and was immediately chastised and told that she could not pick her own cross, she had to take the one she was given.
Oh, but how wonderful it would be if we could. Maybe. The problem would be that if we could pick our own cross, most or all of us would pick the most attractive one. The smallest one that we could hide if we wanted, and certainly not a heavy one. God in His infinite wisdom doesn't give us that choice of a cross. He offers salvation to us, and if we choose to serve Him, then we must surrender all, deny ourselves, pick up the cross He gives us, and follow Him.
Part 2, the old content:
I have come to view my struggles with homosexuality as a cross. Now when Jesus said to take up your cross, I am sure most people don't think of that cross as something like homosexuality, but I believe the cross we bear isn't always just scorn or persecution because we are a Christian, which let's face it, not many of us go through much persecution here in America.
Is it a stretch to think of homosexuality as a cross? I don't believe so. We as humans are like a river. We tend to take the path of least resistance. And we have areas we are tempted in, that it seems natural to take the easy way.
Making my battle all the more difficult was struggling for so long to believe God loves me. Thankfully, in the last few years I have come to fully believe God does indeed love me and have come to know Him as I never have before. And I finally did what Jesus commanded of all of us: I took up my cross to truly follow Him. By the way, another "perk" of dealing with same-sex attraction: we are more likely to struggle to believe God loves us.
What does it even mean to carry a cross? Obviously it isn't a physical wooden cross like Jesus carried, but Jesus had to mean what He said. Being a Christian isn't supposed to be easy. Oh, it isn't a drudgery, but it isn't going to be hunky dory 24/7 365 days a year having the world loving us if we truly live for God.
So for me, denying myself and taking up a cross means denying what comes so naturally - being attracted to other guys and giving into those attractions and desires - and instead following God and finding my identity in Him, not my sexuality. It isn't easy. I'd like someone to love...we all do. Unfortunately, that doesn't look like what "normal" guys think of when they think of love. There are still Christians who look at guys like me in disgust. There are others who think I am nuts for denying my sexuality and living a celibate life. The openly gay crowd hates guys like me for even daring to suggest that someone may not want to be gay, that change is possible or necessary, and that homosexuality is indeed a sin and wrong in God's eyes. In fact, there are probably people reading this who have low opinions of guys like me, and others reading it who wish I wouldn't talk about it.
It all adds up to a pretty heavy cross to carry.
I don't think heterosexual people get it. For we who deal with the feelings of same-sex attraction, it is just as much a part of us as attraction for an attractive woman is for a heterosexual male. Just as a heterosexual guy often has a battle to fight in his mind when an attractive woman walks by him, so the same battle is fought in the mind of a man who is struggling with homosexual desires and attractions. There is a difference though. The heterosexual male can marry and have a relationship blessed by God. The one dealing with same-sex attraction never can......if he is truly living for God. It doesn't matter what state or elected official says it is OK, it will never be blessed by God, will never not be a sin.
All too many men and boys who are in the church, and are dealing with this issue do so silently. They fear what their family, friends, fellow church goers, would say if they knew. They fear they will be ostracized, put on the same level as a child molester. No one would want to be their friend. So day after day, month after month, year after year, they serve God, all the while, trying to deal with these feelings they have. Feelings they know are wrong, but feelings and desires they never asked for. They sit in the church pew week after week wishing they could tell someone, but afraid to do so.
And they aren't wrong. Many in the church would look down on them, brand them a child molester. After all, these are the same people who say we "choose" to be this way. We "choose" to have these desires. Are they nuts?! If they could feel the way we feel, see what it is like to have a war raging in our hearts and minds - to be tugged to what feels so natural, yet so wrong. I read a quote once by a homosexual person - they asked why would anyone want to feel this way? How true.
Other Christians can call people to pray for them if they are having problems. People will go to the altar, and get up and admit they have problems in this area, or that, and people nod in understanding, and admire them for admitting they are having struggles. I came to a point that I quit going to the altar. Too many preachers would harp on the fact that you should pray out loud, confess to your sins, not "hang over the altar, put your head on your arms and pray silently". There was no way I was going to do that. The church gossips would have a field day! So when I felt I needed to pray, I would wait out the altar call and pray at home, where no one would hear my sins and judge me as a horrible sinner. I figured it was best to keep hiding in the shadows and keep my mask in place. I fought my battles in private, all alone.
Then there are the comments. Even Christians can say thoughtless and cruel things. Homosexuality seems to be a fun thing to make comments about. I have had to stand and listen to all kinds of remarks, and act normal. I will never forget the time someone was speaking at church, and made a statement about homosexuality. A guy who was my friend, someone I had hung out with before he married, leaned up and said "they should just round all of those people up and hang them". I was crushed and hurt, and he had no clue he had just shredded my heart.
More recently, I sat through a Sunday School class where same sex marriage was being discussed. I sat there fighting tears and the desire to walk out, as I heard references to "those perverts", that they wouldn't want those kind of people around their kids, that those perverts are no different than rapists and child molesters. One guy even said he'd rather have a murderer around his kids than "one of those perverts." As I sat there, I am sure those people had no idea they were causing one of their own so much pain and hurt. Is it any wonder gay people hate the church and Christians so much?
Since I first published this post almost 7 years ago, the subject has come up a few other times in my Sunday School class, and with much better results. There were no negative or hateful comments, but it was discussed in a loving and intelligent way. It may help that the ones who were so hateful the first time do not come back to my class anymore, and there were several people in attendance who know I struggle with SSA.....
( I have also finally "outted" myself. I have another blog where like the show Cheers, "everyone knows my name" and who I am...... and I have done several posts now where I admit what I deal with. I don't get too detailed about my past or sexual activities, as people don't need to know all of that.)
And those who come out as Christians who struggle with this issue get it from both sides. The church, where most people still view them as perverse people, and the gay militants who want to shut up anyone who suggests they can, or need, to change. There is a bill up in California, that if passed will make it illegal for someone like me to seek help.
So we carry our cross. The cross of sexual desires we know are wrong, but can't get rid of, the cross of loneliness, wishing we had someone to love, and the cross of shame. Life would be easier in some ways, if we laid the cross down, and "embraced our sexuality", yet, we cannot do that, and live a life that is pleasing to God.
Living the Christian life was never supposed to be easy. It may seem that others have a lighter cross, or no cross at all, but none of us know what the other person is going through. There was a time that many people in my church or circle of friends had no idea what I deal with.
The gay cross? Indeed. And very possibly, one of the most difficult to carry...... but it is worth it. I have the assurance that God loves me and that I am living a life pleasing to Him. I am striving not to be "straight", but holy and like Jesus.
And Jesus asks no less or more of me than anyone else. Whoever we are, whatever our sin or struggle, we must repent of it, deny ourselves, and follow Him.
Monday, May 14, 2018
1) Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts made the news with their decision to change their name since they are allowing girls in. Even though I personally deal with same-sex attractions (I don't like the term gay for myself), I was against them allowing openly gay scouts in and gay scout leaders....I won't go into the reasons why right now..... and now they are allowing girls in. Liberals truly destroy whatever they touch.
This last move I feel is from feminists who feel they must do everything guys do, and barge into any men or boys only organization.
I strongly believe Christians and churches should abandon the Boy and Girl Scouts and let the liberals have them. American Trail Life is a great conservative and Christian alternative.
I am glad my church still uses hymns and hymnals and have not gone to screens. I believe 100% that most of the songs written today do not have the depth that the old hymns did...... and there are a variety of reasons for that. I believe we are much more shallow Christians than the ones who wrote the hymns. Praise and Worship music especially are shallow imitations of the great old hymns.
3) Bible versions
One of my biggest pet peeves are King James only people who must constantly point out how the KJV is the only version we should use, and how terrible the other versions are, and how they are next to God for using the KJV.....last one is just sarcasm on my part.
I can understand a preference for the KJV, and take no issue with that. However, the KJV may not be the best and most perfect translation. The translators of newer versions have more manuscripts to work from than the KJV translators did.
And if these people don't want to be hypocritical, they should use the original 1611 translation instead of the GASP! updated version they use. Yes, it is true..... these KJV only people are using an updated and edited version of the original Bible God Himself handed to the Apostle Paul......... (sarcasm again there..."
I have to wonder about all those poor souls who lived before the KJV.....however did they have a true relationship with God?!
I use several translations/versions, and believe I am better for it. Use the KJV as your only Bible if you want, but don't you dare climb on your shiny pedestal and spout stuff you have no clue about. That, my friend, was not sarcasm.
4) My nieces
I referenced in my last post that my youngest niece is graduating this year. I want to add something: these 3 young ladies I am so proud to call my nieces, dress well and modestly. I see how young girls dress nowadays...showing as muck skin as they can, weird hairstyles, tattoos, piercings, and more....and I am glad these 3 girls do not. That is the way young ladies used to dress and act, but we have lost that.
And yeah, guys nowadays have some pretty bizarre looks and clothes too.
5) Calvinist memes
I have several Calvinist friends, and though I disagree 100% with their theology, I still like them and have confidence in them.
What I don't get though is this: a lot of Calvinists love to post about election - the idea that God picks and chooses who He will offer salvation to, and who he will send to hell without ever giving them a chance to repent and serve Him....... and also about free will. For some reason, they hate the idea that God gives us a choice......that if we are ones God picked to serve Him, it is going to happen because He ordered it that way. We have no choice in the matter. Free will does not exist.
I have said before it makes God look like a sadistic puppet master...... and I don't get why they have to post so much about these beliefs of theirs that make God look totally opposite to the God of love, mercy, and grace the Bible shows.
A friend posted the following meme recently. Look it over, and then answer these questions:
1) How does it glorify God?
2) Why must Calvinists mock we who are not Calvinists?
3) Does it line up with the Bible?
4) What image of God does it show?
5) Why are Calvinists so dead set against the idea that God gives us a choice in serving Him?
Seriously. I don't get it. Why don't they spend more time talking about God's love instead of their very wrong beliefs that God picks and chooses ahead of time who He will save and who He will not, and that we have no choice in the matter. That is NOT the message of the Gospel, and is definitely NOT the Good News.
6) Sorry Calvinists, Paul is not a good example.
Another on Calvinism.... (Hey, they pick on us a lot!)
Calvinists love to use the story of Paul on the road to Damascus to show we have no free will. I have seen memes about it several times. There is just one problem with that. In Acts, Paul tells King Agrippa his conversion story, then says this: "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision." In plain English..... Paul had a choice, or the possibility of disobedience would not existed.
Also, speaking of Kin Agrippa: He said to Paul "You almost persuade me to be a Christian"......which kind of blows holes in that irresistible grace idea.
The riding mower that is at my place does not belong to me........ it is my landlord's, my brother-in-law's dad. Last week, the blades would not engage, so I mowed with the push mower. I did again today, and remembered to wear my fit bit. It showed a little over 5 miles when I was done. Hopefully we can get the riding mower working soon. Though it is good exercise.....3 hours of exercise.
I took pictures from the 4 corners of my yard to give an idea of how much I have to mow
8) Post Trump world
I have wondered what it will be like after Trump exits the White House. Can his supporters ever be able to criticize politicians for immorality, adultery, vulgarity, history of funding liberals, etc? Will they?
That is one my biggest problems with Mr Trump.....there is something about him that causes many Christians to defend everything about him, no matter how corrupt and immoral he is or was. I'd stake my life on this statement: Were Donald Trump still a Democrat, the same things being defended by so many of his supporters would be criticized.
Character doesn't really matter anymore. It just depends if there is an R or D by the name.
Last Tuesday was voting, at least in Ohio. I didn't vote. There were a couple of reasons. I moved in August, and filled out the voter form online with my new address........ but never received anything telling me where to vote. I still don't know where I was supposed to vote, or if they got the information that I had moved.
I don't even know what was on the ballot.
And I have become disillusioned with voting. I know, I know. "One vote could make the difference." Yeah, whatever.
In 2008, I did my part. I voted for the Republican who I didn't like very well to stop Obama. We all know how that worked out.
In 2012, I again voted for a candidate I didn't like very well. Again, a corrupt liberal won.
In 2016, I faced something different: 2 corrupt liberals, one supposedly the lesser evil on the Republican ticket.... I honestly felt - and still feel - I could not vote for him. I voted my conscience - something many Christians suddenly had an issue with since it didn't line up with what they wanted. Again, a corrupt liberal won.
Tell me again, how my vote matters. It doesn't.
The election of 2016 has effected me in ways not many people would understand. The crap I took from "Christians", the way Christians suddenly didn't care about what they always have in liberal candidates, the blow-back I get when I dare criticize this man.
Had I become an agnostic because of my disillusionment with Christianity because of this election, I don't believe many of those people would care. All that matters is defending this man no matter how odiously he behaves, and no matter what comes out about him.
I had 2 considerations after this last disaster of an election: Never vote again. Seriously. I was that frustrated and disgusted with my party. The other: register as an Independent.
The news that conservative author Brad Thor plans on running against Trump in the 2020 primaries if no one else will has caused me to hold off. I doubt anyone would beat Trump.....too many of his supporters have a cult like personality that they would support him if he shot people on the street - his words - but still there is a tiny sprig of hope that enough people will see him for what he is by then, that just maybe he will get kicked off the ticket.
And who knows....I may find out enough about Brad Thor that I decide I can't vote for him either.
10) Prom dresses
Here is a great question: Why for proms and weddings do the women/girls show as much skin as possible? It is not uncommon for even Christian females to have a strapless/shoulder-less dress that hangs on their breasts showing more than God ever intended since the Fall.
And then you have the guy. Full tux, sleeves to the wrist, shirt buttoned at the collar....if the same dress standards were applied to men, you'd have shirtless guys at proms and in weddings. So if the guy is so well covered, why aren't the females? And what idiot would send their daughter out with part of her breasts showing for a night with a hormonal horny teenager?? Seriously! Not the best way to guard your daughter's virtue.
Maybe part of it is because I am not attracted to women and find the sight of their breasts gross - sorry, but that is the way I am wired......but a decent woman....especially a godly one - is not going to be showing off her breasts.
11) Space at the Table
I saw a book recommended that sounded very interesting: Space at the Table, conversations between a Theological Evangelical Christian and his gay son. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it is really good. I found myself crying a lot as the boy related stories from his childhood of how he was treated because he was different.....I could relate.
It is actually amazing they could collaborate on a book. What it comes down to is the father still believes homosexuality is wrong and sinful, but realizes his son is far more than his sexuality and loves him and has a great relationship with him. The son had to come to a point where he realized his parents could disagree with his lifestyle, yet still love him and have a relationship with him. Already I am thinking a lot of Christians need to read this book.
The father had a lot of advice on how to love your gay child and deal with everything that arises because of it. He challenged my thinking. Even though I deal with SSA myself, he made me see things differently.
The son also had advice, mostly for gay people on how to keep their parents in their life, and accept the fact that they disagree with their lifestyle.
I'll admit it...I am not crazy about the extreme heat, but I will take it over winter. It is so awesome to not have to bundle up to go outside, to not have to warm your car up or sweep snow off just to run to the grocery store.....and it is so pretty outside. The birds are singing, everything is blooming. It makes me happy.
One of my favorite things about warm weather: sandals. I get tired of wearing socks, and love to wear sandals. I also like to go barefoot, but only in the house and on the porch. I am afraid I'll step on something I don't want to outside......for one thing, the neighbor's dog considers it part of his bathroom.
Inside the house.....shorts, t-shirt, and no socks...... and I love it.
And I don't use the a/c in my car often. I like to drive with the windows down. It isn't like my hair is going to get messed up.
Now that I have my own place again, the housework falls to me. I don't mind vacuuming, doing the dishes - they never sit in my sink unless it is something that needs to soak, and laundry. I even make my bed daily. But there is one things I detest: dusting. I have lived in my house since August, and have done little of it.....which is probably bad to admit. :)
14) Salt and pepper shakers
Well over a year ago when Family Christian Bookstores were in business, I found some cool salt and pepper shakers on clearance. They are buoys. I figured if I ever got my own place again, they'd go well with my nautical decor, so I bought 2 sets.....one for the kitchen and one for the dining room. Then later, I found anchor salt and pepper shakers at another Family Christian store. They were even cooler, so I bought them.
And then a couple of months ago, I was at Hobby Lobby and found another cool nautical salt and pepper shaker set. The shakers are plain glass, but sit in a small tray that has an anchor on it. It was on sale, so I bought it.
Last Saturday I was at a church yard sale, and found some nice lighthouse salt and pepper shakers for 50 cents......so I bought them.
So yeah......now I have 5 sets of nautical salt and pepper shakers for 2 rooms....... and the sad thing is I never use my dining room. The last time I ate in there was when my best friend visited in October. The table and chairs just take up space, except on occasion when I use one of the chairs to stand on....such as today when I hung my newest purchase above the door frame.
I read last week that a college somewhere was teaching a course that calls masculinity toxic. Feminists want to feminize men and boys and make them more like them, which is ludicrous.
This is an area I have struggled in. I am not your typical American male. I hate sports, hunting, am bad with car repairs....but I do like to shoot my pistol - and did some of that today. I think I am improving. I like to read, I cry in books and movies, I like to decorate and buy nautical salt and pepper shakers, I enjoy shopping........
And yeah, most likely I am wired that way because of my sexuality. But being a man isn't all about what we traditionally make it. Just in recent years, I have become more comfortable in my own skin. I don't have to be like other guys.
And no, I am not saying all guys who enjoy the things I do are gay.
Oddly, occasionally things will happen that make me feel a bit more like a man:
I noticed last week that the cold water was barely trickling into the washer when it was filling up. Remember, I am not good at guy stuff.... but I decided to attempt to find out what was wrong. I turned off the cold water, and unhooked the hose from the back of the washer. I dangled it in the washer and turned the water back on....it came gushing out, so I knew the water line and hose were not the issue. I shut the water off, got a flashlight, and looked at the where the hose connected to the washer. Bingo. It was clogged almost completely with a build up of something. I cleaned it out, and it is back to normal.
And yes, I felt good about it.
A few weeks later, I stopped at Fin Feather Fur to pick up some ammo for my pistol. I tried a new kind as the kind I usually buy was not on sale, and the aluminum ones were cheaper. For some reason, just walking into that store makes me feel patriotic and a bit more masculine. As I checked out, the young guy running the register looked the ammo over and asked if I liked shooting that kind. I admitted this was the first time I bought them. He said he usually used this other kind, and asked if I did also, which I did.
This may sound dumb, but I walked out with a really good feeling. I had just been discussing ammo and shooting guns with a kid young enough to be my kid.
And yes, shooting my gun makes me feel a bit more like a man than I normally do.
16) Self worth and esteem
I have run across a few people really knocking the idea of the need for self esteem and self worth. I can't remember their reasoning, but I think the idea is it could make us proud, etc.
I disagree. Due to the bullying I got in school and college, and a few other factors, I had little self worth and self esteem. It is something I still battle with.
And here is the biggest problem with that: It can seriously affect one's view of and relationship with God. I did for me. I have mentioned on here before how it was nearly impossible for me for most of my life to believe God loves me..... and that was largely because I had little self worth and esteem.
As with many things in life, there needs to be a balance. There are people who have an inflated self worth and esteem, but not having any can cripple you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
17) How to be a perfect Christian
If you don't follow the Babylon Bee on Facebook, you should. It is a hilarious Christian satire site that comes up with some really funny stuff.
They just had their first book published, How to Be A Perfect Christian. The book is also satire. I was wanting to buy a copy, and got one sent to me as a gift for signing up for the publishing company's launch team for new books coming out.
The book has had me lol -that is laughing out loud if you know your internet abbreviations. It basically pokes fun at Christian culture and all of the things Christians and churches do that are just superficial. I am only on the second chapter, and I already recommend it.
I am now at 60 books into my goal of 130 for the year, almost half way. If all goes well, I should easily hit my goal.
19) My biggest regret
My biggest regret is probably not having kids. It still hurts occasionally when I see a dad walking and holding his little boy's hand, or walking with him on his shoulders.
But if you have paid attention - or even read all of my entries in this post- you know why there were never any kids, or any possibility. Those were the cards I was dealt.
I am thankful for my nieces and nephews. I doubt they will ever understand what a hole they have filled, or what their love has done for me. I am glad they are all close and I can be so much a part of their lives. They are all great kids, though I could be biased a bit.
20) Blog posts
I love to write, and no one knows how many blog posts I have typed up and never published on here. Sometimes I just get the need to write out of my system and don't feel like going any further. Sometimes I get something off my chest and decide it is best to not publish it - something some people may wish happened more often.
There are a couple that I have typed up that are hanging out there as I debate publishing them. One is blunt and controversial. The other is very personal, and yes....controversial.
There was a day I would never have spoke my mind as I do now. Maybe I stopped worrying so much what people thought of me. Maybe I stopped caring about it so much. I used to be quiet because I thought no one liked me.....and I still struggle a bit in that area, but I am not quiet now..... so who knows what changed.
Anyway, whether or not anyone reads what I write, I enjoy writing. And now I shall cease, as I have gone on much longer than I intended to.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
And it is my birthday month. Ugh, and yay! I hate turning another year older, but it beats the alternative.... and I do like getting the gifts and cake :) A lady who was visiting the hospital recently said she makes the month of her birthday her birthday month, and celebrates all month long. I am not THAT excited about my birthday that I am going to do that.....but I wouldn't turn down gifts all month long :)
I don't always do it, but I requested my birthday off this year.
Now onto what is on my mind this month:
The whole saga of this little boy is heartbreaking. It would seem the hospital staff was just too proud to give him up to his parents, whose rights were trampled. Italy would have taken him, so that hospital wouldn't have had to deal with him....but they refused. They claimed the boy wouldn't survive the trip, which shouldn't have mattered to them....they were intent on killing the child anyway. It is a travesty that the baby was held hostage from the parents who could do nothing to save their son, since the powers that be took away their rights.
The thing is, if they did this with an 18 month old child, what is to stop them from deciding the fate of a 4 year old......a 12 year old......a 30 year old......
I was glad their was so much outrage over this horrible travesty, yet we murder over 3000 babies a day in our country, and there is little outrage. We have grown apathetic about it.
2) Freedom of speech
I was very vocal against Barack Obama, but not until I became vocal against a so-called Republican did people try to squash my freedom of speech. It would seem that even Christians and conservatives aren't for free speech they disagree with, just like liberals.
I don't miss Obama at all....he was definitely the worst president we have ever had....but I do miss being able to openly and often criticize the guy in the White House.
3) Sinning daily
If a Christian sins, it should be rare. Many - possibly all - Calvinists believe Christians sin daily. But that brings up questions:
How is that better than non-Christians?
What sins are acceptable to do daily? And who decides that?
What sins are God powerless to deliver us from?
Where can I get a list of sins that it is OK to do on a daily basis and still be a Christian?
4) Arguing against Scripture
It is kind of funny......I used to be in a large Facebook group for bloggers, and was even a moderator for a while. We had a problem for several months of being infested with very liberal "Christians" who were constantly posting pro-gay and transgender stuff. Anyone who quoted Scripture about those issues was called a bigot, homophobic, etc....
I was reminded of that today. I was browsing in a Facebook group I am in, and one guy had posted a quote by some Catholic dude about us sinning daily. All I did was post a Bible verse, and it started a big argument. I posted a verse from John 3 - He that is born of God does not sin." It is kind of funny or sad when Christians argue against a Bible verse, but that is what happened.
5) Electoral College
Many liberals want to do away with the Electoral College, and for good reason - the last 2 elections Republicans - or a guy pretending to be Republican - won, and the Democrats had more of the popular vote. Of course they want rid of the EC. I and many other conservatives fear if we did away with the EC, that would be the end of Republicans ever winning again.
And another voice was just added to ending the EC.....Donald Trump. It makes sense, since the man has been a lifelong liberal. Hopefully his supporters won't agree with him on that. A part of me still believes Trump ran to destroy the Republican party, and his stance on the EC would support that.
6) Women's pants & shorts
Even though I am not attracted to women, I can't help but notice how they dress. And I have a couple of questions:
Why do so many women and girls wear their pants so tight?
Why do so many women and girls wear their shorts so short? Most women's shorts are shorter than the average guy's.
One could almost make the assumption that many women dress to attract male attention, yet women resent being a sex object. Ironic.
I mowed for the first time last Thursday. I don't mind mowing, especially when most of it is on a riding lawn mower. I don't own one, but my sister and her husband have left theirs at my place for now.
While mowing, I found something that definitely doesn't belong to me, and if you know me well you would know that also: a football.
And as much as I like summer, I discovered it is going to cost me a lot more at the gas pump. I filled my car up today for $12 +, and then filled my large and small gas containers.....which put me close to $30.
8) The Korea peace
Everyone is so excited about the supposed peace treaty between North and South Korea, and are acting like Trump is some kind of hero......but I can't see it lasting. The North Korea guy is a lunatic, and anyone who has been paying attention to him lately should be suspicious. I am.
And this is not the first time the 2 Koreas tried peace. It obviously did not last the other times.
9) Buying screens
Some of my windows do not have screens, and I decided to buy a few of the adjustable kind as I don't want to put my window air conditioners in yet. I could not find them at Home Depot, and their website had shown them. I asked 2 young guys in the lumber department about them, and they had no clue what I was talking about. One of them finally remembered putting out what he thought I was talking about...... and he was right. I guess this generation isn't acquainted with those kind of screens.
And once he figured out what I was talking about, the kid was very helpful. It kind of made me feel old though.
I am making good use of them today, by the way. What a beautiful day.
I really, really dislike e-books. How much? I recently won one, and never bothered to claim it. When I entered to win it, I didn't realize it was an e-book. Give me a real book any day.
Of course, e-books don't take up much room......and real books do.
11) Examples of the anti-Christ
When Obama was in office, I was shocked at how so many were willing to ignore his background. He had ties to terrorists, hated white people, and seemed to hate America...yet none of that mattered. There was an over the top adulation of him that bordered on worship, if not outright worship.
I had the thoughts that were echoed by others: Obama was proof of how easily the anti-Christ will fool people and have even professed Christians following and accepting him.
And then Donald Trump came along and did the same with the Republican Party. As with Obama, his past didn't matter - or his present. It doesn't matter how vile and vulgar he is and was, Christians defend him and call you a liberal, judgmental, etc if you dare criticize him.
And now many are praising him for bring peace to the Koreas.......as with Obama, Trump has shown how easily the anti-Christ will rise to power and be accepted by even the Church.
Everyone is outraged about how Sarah what's her name was treated by a comedian. A couple of thoughts on that:
No matter your party, you should find it offensive.
It could have been worse....Sarah's boss likes to grab women by their genitals....at least that didn't happen to her.
She can't be that innocent and good if she is working for a man like DT. To make him look good, she has to lie consistently,... and her boss has treated people just as badly or worse as she was treated...but that is OK with Trump supporters.
That said, it was still wrong.....I just hope the same people are offended when liberal women are treated that way.......
13) The Trump effect
I know, I know.... I have talked about him a lot in this post. This is the last one, I promise. I'd have an easier time keeping quiet if so many Trump supporters didn't constantly go over the top with their praise and adulation of a guy I can't stand.
I honestly don't say much about DT on Facebook these days. People can't handle it. I have noticed something though: There are a lot of Trump supporters who never interact with me anymore...no likes or comments on any posts I do. I'm not dumb..... I know there are many who ignore me because I occasionally bash their president.....but isn't that kind of pathetic for a Christian to do that? If they can't handle a man criticized they support, how on earth will they stand up to persecution if it ever comes? I bet the Christians in Muslim countries would love to face just criticism of a politician......
And another Trump effect: there have been a few well known people/celebrities who we have always taken issue with, but now that they praised Trump, suddenly conservatives like them. Uh, they are still the same despicable people they always were, people.
14) 3 day weekend
There are 3 people who do the same job I do... and both of them needed to trade days with me this week. The plus of that: I now have Friday off, which gives me a 3-day weekend..... and I can't wait. Hopefully the weather is nice.
Since I have had other negative things to say in this post, I may as well throw this out there: I don't like choirs. Why is that relative? The choir from our local Bible College will be at my church Sunday. The major problem I have: I am always done listening long before they are done singing.
My youngest niece is graduating next month from high school...... and I can hardly believe it. It seems like only yesterday I was an uncle for the first time, and now all 3 of my nieces are done with high school. I love them all a lot, and am proud of all three of them. Thankfully, the nephews still have a ways to go before all 3 of them are done with school. Time does go too fast, and kids grow up before you can blink.
One of my biggest regrets in life was never having kids of my own, but I am very thankful God gave me 6 nieces and nephews I could be this close to.
17) Losing weight
Now that the weather is getting nice, I am hoping to work on losing weight. I somehow lost 6 pounds between doctor appointments in January and April, so if I work at it surely I can lose more. I am trying to snack more healthy, as that is one of my pitfalls.
18) The balance
A lady recently commented on a post of a mutual friend, and was of the persuasion that we shouldn't talk about hell, but focus on God's love. Among other things, I pointed out Jesus talked about it, and so should we.
We need a balance. I mentioned it before on here, but I grew up hearing way too many messages on hell and God's judgment. Revival meeting and camp meetings especially were bad for it, as preachers were intent on getting more notches on their belts by scaring as many people into going to the altar as they could...... God's love was rarely, if ever, the focus.
There must be both: people need to know there is a hell to shun, but they also need to know how much God loves them. Too many churches lean more to one or the other.
19) Don't blink
May and nice weather is here, but don't blink.....or summer will be over and cold weather and winter will be right around the corner, which brings me to my last thought.....
20) Slow down
Life is a roller coaster/merry go round, and we all need to pause and take it easy. It isn't always easy to get some spare time, but try. Read a book, take a walk, go shopping or out to eat, sit on the porch, set the cell phone aside, take a nap. Life is more than working and paying bills, and we won't wish we had worked more at the end of our life......but we will wish we had enjoyed life more, and taken time for what matters.
I have blogged about it before, but for years I struggled to believe God loves me. There were a variety of factors that played into it:
Constant bullying at school, causing me to think no one liked me....something I struggle with to this day.
Too many hell and brimstone messages geared to scare people into going to the altar.
Being gay...yeah, that is another perk of same-sex attractions - doubting God's love.
And most likely other factors.
I always wanted to do right, so I tried off and on for years to serve God. However, it is really difficult to serve God when you are constantly doubting He loves you, or even likes you and cares what happens to you.
I truly believe had I been raised as a Calvinist, I would have figured I was not one of the "chosen", and just gave up on serving God. However, I knew God would save anyone who came to Him in repentance, so I kept trudging along.
And then finally I believed. I chronicled that in a blog post a few years back, and will not repeat all of that here.
Calvinists talk a lot - actually way too much - about God's sovereignty. No matter how many verses you bring up to contradict the horrible theology of election, they will just throw up the "S" word.
Yet the whole story and message of the Bible is not God's sovereignty, no matter how important it is to Calvinists. The message of the Bible is love. Not sovereignty, but God's love.
God knows everything. He knew when He created Adam and Eve that they would disobey Him and bring evil into the world. He knew millions of people would not choose Him. He knew He would have to send His only Son to die for the human race....but the Bible says He so loved the world - not just part of it - that He gave His only Son that whoever believes will have eternal life.
It is there from the start, and weaves all through the Bible. This amazing love God has for us, His creation. We cannot imagine the depths of love that would send Jesus to die for the world, much of which continue to reject Him.
I cannot fathom how a God that loves like that - who is by definition love - can pick out ahead of time who He will save and who He will send to hell without ever offering them salvation. But God is sovereign!!!! Yes, but above all, God is love. Love sent Jesus to the cross to die, not sovereignty. Love brings sinners to repentance and gives them eternal life, not sovereignty. It is love that stops God from snuffing out everyone who rejects Him. The message of the Gospel is love....not sovereignty.
A God of love could not pick and choose who He will offer salvation to - or basically force it upon them, according to Calvinists - and never offer it to certain people He picked out ahead of time to send to hell and judge for sins that had no chance of repenting of.
God is love, and that God cannot fit into the Calvinist box.