Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lipstick on my collar

  The second half of my work day, I am stationed in the main lobby of the hospital across from the gift shop and coffee/snack shop. The gift shop is run by volunteers from the ladie's auxiliary, and they are all up in years and wealthy. One of those ladies, Pat, is a very skinny lady in at least her 70's; possibly 80's. She had been off work for several months due to health problems. I had seen her a month or so ago when she was here for a test and she was just getting out and around using a walker. Wednesday of last week was her first day back in the gift shop, so I walked in to say hi and see how she was doing. She gave me a hug and kissed me on the cheek, then laughed and brushed at my collar and said she hoped she didn't get any lipstick on my collar. I chatted with her and the other lady at the counter, then I went back to my post.

  I checked my shirt collar later, and there was no lipstick on it.....but so what if there had been? It would be worth the hug and kiss I got from a lady because I expressed concern about her and happiness that she was up and about again.

  This incident has been on my mind since then.  I often feel like I am not concerned enough about the people around me, nor involved enough. I have gotten better than I used to be, but there is much room for improvement,

There's the PCA who has had a lot of back pain lately, so I ask her every once in a while how she is doing.

There's the lady I work with whose grandson landed in the ICU because of severe diabetes, and I ask about him occasionally.

There's the lady who volunteers in the coffee shop whose husband has been bad health-wise, and I ask about him when I think of it.

Another lady who works in the coffee shop has had some health issues lately, and I have asked how she is doing.

  Since I  had my own health problems back in March, I have had several people ask me how I am doing, comment about my weight loss..... and on Thursday it was  birthday greetings from friends and family on Facebook and from people who work at the hospital who found out it was my birthday. These have all made me feel loved and cared about. It is amazing what an expression of caring or concern, or even a birthday greeting can do.... and if these things make me feel loved and cared about, then should I not do my best to do that for others?

  We often get in this little bubble that consists of ourselves, family, and close friends. Look around you after the next church service. A lot of us typically chat with the same people before or after church each week, and there are probably people we rarely or never speak to; not intentionally, but that is just the way it goes.

All of us, but especially we who serve God; need to show more care and concern for those around us. It may require getting our hands dirty, going out of our way, being inconvenienced, or getting  lipstick on our collar; but we need to be out there loving, caring, and helping others.  None of us may ever know while on this earth what it meant to someone. Only eternity will reveal all of that.

We All Have Our Benghazi

   When asked what how Donald Trump is any better than Hillary Clinton, the Benghazi tragedy is brought up. We may never know what really happened, but it would appear that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are both culpable for the deaths of four good men, if not directly responsible for their deaths.

  And it was a tragedy. I am not disagreeing in least about that, nor that she should be held responsible for it and not be running for president.

  But is that really justification or reason to vote for the "lesser evil"? If her responsibility for the deaths in Benghazi make her ineligible to vote for, then what about the other politicians who stand by and allow their own Benghazis to happen? What about we who vote for them and also stand by as these Benghazis happen?

 What Benghazis am I talking about?

  The butchering and murder of innocent babies.

  The death of 4 men who seemingly asked for help and received none is tragic, but how much more tragic is the murder of millions of babies in our country as politicians support and defend it, as we march to the polling booth and vote for the candidates who support and defend it, many of whom have it as part of their very political platform.

 Be honest here. Which is worse: the death of 4 great men, or the murder of millions of babies? If standing by and doing nothing as those 4 men were murdered makes one ineligible to be president of our country and too evil for you to vote for, what does standing by, defending, funding, and celebrating the murder of innocent babies make a person? If the former is so horrible to us that we want Hillary jailed and we refuse to vote for her (among other reasons), then shouldn't any candidate who supports what we call abortion also not be eligible for our vote?

 Or have we become so calloused to this horrible butchering of babies, that it is barely a blip on our radar while the deaths of 4 adult men are much more important and horrible to us?

  I don't care if it is Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Donald Trump. George W Bush, or Mickey Mouse..... if a candidate not only stands by and does nothing to fight this modern day Holocaust, and even worse defends and supports it; we should be just as outraged and horrified as we are about the 4 men who died in Benghazi.

 Hillary Clinton is very pro-abortion. Donald Trump has always been, even supporting partial birth abortion. Since his miraculous conversion to being a Republican, he claims to have changed his views on abortion, yet praises the biggest abortion provider in the country for "doing a lot of good". I bet some of the people who killed the 4 men in Benghazi have done some good in their lives too....... but they are still murderers and evil.

  I have been forgiven much, and know I am just a sinner saved by grace. I don't think I am any better than anyone else...... but that said: I promised myself long ago that I'd never vote for a candidate who was not pro-life. I had my doubts about the last couple, but they seemed to be. However, this election has 2 candidates who both are pro-abortion. And that, my friend; makes them just as much or more ineligible to be president and impossible for them to get my vote.

 And are we any better than Hillary Clinton if we keep ignoring the murder of innocent babies and vote for candidates who defend and fund the butchers?

 I don't know what we should be doing, but voting is a start. If there was a building near us where 2 year olds were taken and ripped a part or killed in some other cruel way, we'd never stand for it. We'd be for any force necessary to stop that evil practice.

  But yet since it is babies in the womb that we can't see, we have become accustomed and calloused to it to the point that we will vote for people who want to further the cause. We'd be more upset if it was puppies and kittens...... but babies? Yawn.

  May God have mercy on our country for allowing this to go on. So yes, criticize Hillary and demand justice for the deaths of those 4 men; but don't go and support and vote for anyone who has the blood of millions of innocent babies on their hands.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

My birthday

  Today is my birthday, and though I don't look forward to turning another year older; it has been a great day and week.

  Monday evening, my entire family got together to celebrate my birthday and my middle niece Allie's birthday. Hers is the day after mine, so we usually do both at the same time. We had a Dairy Queen cake for her and a chocolate cake for me.......and I did eat a piece of both. My mom made fried chicken - my favorite - and we also cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and ate outside with some side dishes. The evening ended with sitting around a fire in the chimney thing my parents have.

  Today, my actual birthday; I received several birthday greetings on Facebook and at work, which made my day as I read through them throughout the day.

  My very nice supervisor left me leave two hours early from work. I came home and changed clothes and my parents and I headed for Boardman to eat at Texas Roadhouse for my birthday. We stopped at Das Dutch House where one of my sisters and two of my nieces work so I could pick up my gift from my nieces - a bag of sugar free candy and a collectible figure from the Mario games,  I made a quick trip into Family Christian bookstore to get a couple of items with my 50% and 40% coupons I had. And then we ate.

  I think I about blew out the calorie counter on the My Fitness Pal app I use. I definitely went over the carbs and calories recommended. I had the 10 sirloin, fries, the cactus blossom - free with a coupon, and 2 rolls. I couldn't even eat all of my fries. And then the waitress brought me ice cream with chocolate syrup for my birthday. I was stuffed, and definitely off of my diet.

 But it was worth it. I cringe at the idea of being this close to 50 (3 more years) and still not having it all together and of not being where I want to be in life....... but I am blessed in friends, family, and God and His grace. I am still alive and fairly healthy..... and getting more healthy. I got some nice gifts, cards, and money in addition to all of the birthday wishes on line and at work.

 So I end this birthday thankful. Thankful for life, health, God, grace, family, friends, gifts, and the fact that my cousin Rhonda will always be 5 months older than me........ :)

My birthday stash below :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Should a Christian boycott Target?

 I am not a big boycott guy. I have seen boycotts called for a lot of times, and often it has been something that I don't use or patronize anyway.

  And then there is Target. I have seen many Christians slamming a boycott, but for the most part they are the same Christians who have no decency or common sense to take issue with men using the women's bathrooms, fitting rooms, locker room, etc; or vice versa.

  People on the other side of these issues have no problem boycotting to get their agenda through, but should Christians?

  I believe we should in some cases. Our country is getting more and more wicked and morally bankrupt - one has to only look at the two frontrunners for president to see that. This is just the latest thing Christians have failed at as they throw their support behind the worse candidate to ever run as a Republican, and the most morally bankrupt candidate since Bill Clinton.

  I could be wrong, but I feel if Christians had taken a stand all along, we would not be in the mess we are in. But instead of taking a stand, we just stepped aside, or worse...we went along with whatever came along. It seems we Christians have gotten so used to just going along with everything, that now many of us feel we can't take any stand. It is a sad day when Christians take more of a stand against other Christians than they do against what is wrong and insane. If you dare take the sensible approach to the bathroom issue, other Christian side with the world and liberals and attack you. If you dare even say homosexuality is a sin, much less take on the cake issue; other Christians stand against you and call you names.

  Back to Target. They don't have a good record when it comes to policy:

1) They do not allow the Salvation Army to have bell ringers at their stores so their shoppers can have a "distraction free shopping experience"... ironic they don't care about the distractions of men in the women's fitting rooms and bathrooms.

2) More recently, Target did away with identifying toys by gender. There are no longer boys and girls toys in the toy department.... the toy department is gender-less.

  And now their official policy is "gender-less bathrooms". Men and women can use whichever bathrooms and fitting rooms that they want. The feelings of .3% of the population matters more than the safety and feelings of a majority. There has already been one incident at a Target in Missouri where a 23 year old man was taking pictures of women in the fitting room. There was also an incident in another Target where a man was just leaning on the wall in the women's bathroom, and management refused to do anything about it and said he was allowed in there,

  So I personally feel that it is time to boycott Target. It is not a Christian issue, it is a common sense and decency issue. It isn't even an LGBT issue. The problems so far have come from men that are not transgender. But by bowing to the wishes of the LGBT movement, they are opening the doors for any man or boy to walk in.

  I do believe we should be careful how we boycott. Don't be like the woman who went in a Target this week waving her Bible and screaming about Target being evil and that everyone should stop shopping. Sign a pledge, call and politely tell them you are not going to shop there anymore and why. Don't scream, don't have a rotten attitude, but be polite and firm.

   And yes, I am aware that more stores may follow, that the government may force this insane agenda and policy on all of us...... Obama is for it, Hillary and Trump are for it....and we may have to shop at stores eventually with this insane and dangerous policy.

  But we aren't there yet, and if Target got hurt enough by it, it might cause other stores to take caution in this area.

  So I am boycotting away and have already signed a pledge and made a polite phone call. No more Target for this guy. It is time we Christians stopped going along with the immorality and insanity in our country, and take a stand.

More May random musings

  Random musings happen when I am in the mood to blog, but can't come up with anything. A random list is just a bunch of mostly unrelated subjects that have been floating around in my mind lately, but ususally aren't enough to do a whole blog post about.

  Welcome to Mark's May Musings Random list..... and there may be some repeats from the previous post, especially the first...... but I am really looking forward to it.....


 In two weeks from yesterday (Saturday);  I,  my parents, my oldest sister and her husband, and my 3 nieces will be departing Ohio for a week in the Outer Banks. I am very much looking forward to it, and can't wait. We will be staying at the Misty Lady in Avon...... and it can't come soon enough.

Raise $$

  After 2 years and 11 months at the same job, I finally got a raise...48 cents. I work for a company that is outsourced by the hospital, and it was in the contract no raise for 3 years. May marks 3 years.

Beautiful males

   They say the male is often the most beautiful in animal species. i.e.: peacock, lion cardinal, etc.... does the need for women to wear make up to look better, and not men mean the same is true in humans? :)


 Nothing says trashy like a woman covered in tattoos. Men don't look any better, but it seems worse on a woman.

Blaming others on the road

  If motorcyclists and truck drivers spent as much time and effort at driving safely as they do ranting against car drivers, they'd be a lot better off.

Being a martyr 

  I am reading a book about persecuted and martyred Christians down through the ages. As I have read with some horror of how Christians were tortured and killed...often by the Catholic Church for daring to have a Bible in English or challenging the baptism doctrine.... I have found myself wondering how I'd stand up to it. Christianity is losing popularity in this country, and even other Christians are taking a stand against we who dare to take a stand on anything that the liberals/world/media, etc wants.

   I worry that we American Christians are so weak, shallow, and self -centered that most of us will not be able to stand true persecution.


 According to my fitbit bracelet data, I have walked 266 miles since I started using it on March 23. I average 4 miles a day on most days. I am still hanging around 26 pounds lost, and am hoping I get past this plateau I have hit.


   I was raised that Sundays are different. It is a day to rest and relax, go to church, and worship God. I don't get why so many people don't appreciate that. A day God says NOT to work and to rest....who in their right mind wouldn't take advantage of that? :)


   This week I will turn another year older. I can't believe I am as old as I am, and find myself wondering where the years have gone.


  This election cycle has shown that Republican voters are no different or better than Democratic voters. They are electing a man that should never have gotten one vote, and it is sad how many Christians not only have no problem with what kind of man and candidate Donald Trump is, but many defend his lack of character and his immoral actions. I am seriously considering un-registering as a Republican.......this party sickens me.


  I never got rid of the clothes that I grew out of, and am getting into a lot of what hasn't fit me for a few years..... and I now have too many clothes to fit in my closet.....which is a good thing

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Christian Trump supporters...... remember that time you took an unpopular stand?

   If you are a Christian Trump supporter who is trying to get myself and other Christians to vote for your guy, or if you are one of those Christians who didn't vote for Trump but feel we must do so in the main election and are pressuring myself and others to join in, do a small exercise - no, not THAT kind of exercise, but a mental one:

 Think back over the years that you have been a Christian..... way back for some of you...... Now if you have truly served God and put Him first, there are probably a few times - or more than a few - that as a Christian you had to take a stand that was not popular. It may have been at work. It may have been with family. You most likely took a stand or more in your life that cost something...a stand that angered people, disappointed people......possibly even other Christians..... but because you are a Christian, you felt you had to take that stand.

  Now keeping that in mind, and remembering what it is like to not have your stand understood or appreciated, think on this:

  Is it too much to expect from you and other Christians who support Trump, that you  would understand and respect my and others' decision to not vote for Donald Trump if he does become the nominee?

I truly feel it would be wrong of me to vote for him on more than one level and for many reasons.

I also feel that it would be hypocritical of me to vote for him after all of my warnings about him, my blog and Facebook posts, and my insistence that a Christian should not vote for him. I am angry and frustrated with Trump voters, and especially Christian ones for supporting this sleazeball who is faking being a Republican..... why would I do the same thing after being so angry with them? Would I not be a hypocrite?

  Yeah, I get it, Hillary will be a disaster for our country and our freedoms. I don't want her as president, and believe our country will be worse off after a Hillary presidency.

  But if it was wrong for me to vote for Trump in the primaries, isn't it still wrong for me to vote for him in the general election? And you are not the one to decide if it is right or wrong for me......I have prayed and thought about it, and I cannot in good conscience or self respect vote for the man. Wrong doesn't become right just because there is a tough choice or because everyone else is doing it.

  Let me be blunt: I feel anyone supporting Donald Trump has thrown principles, morals, and common sense out the window and are ignoring the vast amount of reasons he is a terrible candidate and one Christians and conservatives should not support.... and a candidate that will surely lose to Hillary. You really aren't any better than Obama's voters who chose to ignore his past and policies, and voted for an inexperienced liberal narcissist.

   So really, is it too much to expect that these same Christians who surely have taken a stand for something in their life against what others are OK with, would understand our position? So why can't they stop throwing stones at us and realize that is what we are doing: taking a stand and refusing to do something that many of us feel will compromise our values, principles, morals, and Christianity?

  Or are they special in the fact that what they take a stand for takes precedence over what I take a stand for?

   Or is it that they  are they so blind and so dedicated to Donald Trump, that the idea is foreign to them that any Christian could possibly and honestly have good reason to not vote for the man? Is that where we are at, that politics and stopping the Democrat candidate from winning is more important than doing the right thing and abstaining from what we feel is wrong? Are they so bent on ignoring everything about Donald Trump, that they want to pressure us to ignore the same things and vote for the candidate they were too blind to see the truth about?

   Quite honestly, I can't see Donald Trump will be  much better than Hillary Clinton. They held the same views for years and have supported the same politicians, and he has been friends with the Clintons. She may be more extreme on some issues than he is, but it is obvious to anyone paying attention that he hasn't changed his views on much, if on anything.

   And yet, other Christians want me to set aside this determination and conviction I have to not vote for him on the slight chance he will put conservative judges on the Supreme Court..... the same man who said his pro-abortion liberal sister would make a great Supreme Court justice.

  I don't know. Maybe it is asking too much and expecting too much to think that other Christians could possibly understand our position and respect it. These are the same people who have been supporting this vulgar and vile man, and who have staunchly defended him no matter what he says or does. It is kind of like expecting the gay person claiming to be a Christian to understand our view that we can't condone that lifestyle... it probably won't happen.

  Is stopping the person running on the Democratic ticket so important that we must lower our standards and toss out what is important and right just to attempt to stop that person? And is it that important that Trump supporters who are Christians must badger others to also toss out principles and morals to join them?

  If not, the day may come when these Christian Trump apologists take a stand and have other Christians giving them a hard time for not going along with what they want....and maybe they will look back and remember this and finally understand why we didn't fall in and do what they wanted us to do.

 I promised I'd never vote for a pro-abortion candidate. Trump has proven he is not pro-life and has even supported partial birth abortion. I don't care what ticket a candidate runs on, if they do not oppose abortion, I am not voting for them. Period, exclamation point.

 In closing, I can't predict the future, but I do follow politics and can think; and I am convinced Donald Trump cannot beat Hillary. The last two elections, conservatives and Christians have stayed home because the choices were so bad......do you really think those same people will go out and vote for a man even worse? I can't see it, and it is driving people who have voted - like me - to not vote for the GOP candidate.

  I shall do what I believe is the right thing as a Christian, and that is do a write in. I cannot and will not lower myself and toss out everything I need to toss out and vote for a liberal sleazeball....even if the other choice is as bad or a little worse.

  If you, as a Christian cannot understand and respect my decision and that of others like me, then you are in a sense being hypocritical if you have ever taken a stand as a Christian that was unpopular, and are acting towards us like others acted towards you.

 We are not of this world. Our citizenship is in Heaven, and this world is going to get steadily worse. Politics and even our freedoms aren't above God or as important as doing the right thing.


**I do not think I am better than Trump supporters, but I do believe I am more awake and have more common sense than a lot of them presently.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

God made them male and female

   We are in a severe moral decline in this country. What used to be whispered about and done in secret is now paraded in the streets and forced on the whole country. If you dare believe in  waiting to have sex until marriage, that homosexuality is wrong, that transgender is  mental illness and is wrong, and that people should use the bathroom for the gender they are....you are mocked, called a bigot, and made an example of.

  There are more words to describe a person's gender and sexual identity than anyone would have ever dreamed possible years ago: gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual, pan-sexual....... and the list goes on and on.

   When God created man, He created Adam; 100% male. He then decided Adam needed a help mate and created woman. Period. There is a statement that the The pro-gay crowd and even many Christians who deal with same-sex attractions hate: "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." As cliche' and as hated as it is, that is the truth. God created male and female, two heterosexual beings.... He did not create homosexual beings, He did not create man for man or women for women, nor something in between. He created man and created woman for man.

  There is a verse in the Old Testament that largely gets ignored today. Deuteronomy 22:5:
"A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God."

    People interpret that verse differently, or just toss it in the bin of things we don't have to do since it is Old Testament. A friend of mine said that it is just one verse back in the Old Testament... yet how many times does God have to say something for it to matter?  And look at the word used there: abomination. The dictionary definition is something that causes hatred or disgust.... so God hates and is disgusted by men and women wearing clothes that are like the other gender's..... or as one translation puts it, "men pretending to be women and women pretending to be women." (wow, that sounds like a description of transgenders). And God doesn't change His mind on an abomination.

  Some people interpret this that women should wear skirts and dresses since pants were invented for men. I have heard all of the arguments and have my own beliefs on that,,,, and I'd rather see a woman in a dress or skirt any day than pants anyway, but I am not getting into that here. What should be obvious is that God created male and female to be different, and He used the same word to describe sex between the same gender as a man or woman dressing like the opposite sex: abomination.

  On to hair: 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 says: Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering."

    I have heard all of the arguments on the hair too. "Jesus had long hair"....uh, how do you know? "All of the pictures show Him in long hair".....and how many of those artists saw what Jesus looked like? "That was just for that culture", and on and on... The Bible was inspired by God, and His Word plainly indicates that men should not have short hair and that woman should have long hair.

    If you throw all of this in a blender and blend it up good, this is the conclusion:  God created male and female for each other and for reproduction, that men and women should not dress alike, that men and women should have different hair lengths, that men are to be the head of the house, and that sex between the same gender is sin....... I believe one can rightly conclude that the differences in gender are a pretty big thing to God. He created men and women to be different and created them for each other.

  Could we have started this whole mess when we started going along with the world on dress and hair? Everything is "unisex"nowadays. Even before the transgender thing became so common and accepted, it hasn't been unusual to look at a person and have no clue if it is a man or woman because of the way they are dressed and have their hair.....so how does one know whether to be attracted to a person like that? Conspiracy theory alert: what if that is all part of an agenda?

   This whole gay/transgender, gender-less bathrooms, and all of that seems to reek of going against God's design. I read a lot and have been paying a lot of attention and I have a theory. I could be wrong, but here it is:

  Liberals hate the Bible and Christianity, and I believe they are doing their best to do away with all morality and anything decent. It seems to me - and I have read some statements that support this - they want to do completely away with gender and sex. No male or female, no gay or straight.....just everyone being gender-less and having sex with whoever and whatever they want.

  This whole push for people to use whichever bathroom, locker room, or fitting room isn't by accident. It is part of an agenda. I may be wrong on some of my theory, but Obama and his minions have a reason for pushing this, to try to force it on schools and everyone else..... and it isn't because they care about the .3% of the population that identify as transgender. There is more to it than that. It may not be what I am thinking... it could just be another attempt to draw attention away from something else he wants to do...... who knows?

  We can go too far with the ideas of what men and women shouldn't do. Culture dictates that men should love sports, drink beer, hunt, fish, drive pickups, have sex with as many women as possible, etc. Women should cook, clean the house, watch chick flicks, and sew. As a guy who hates sports and has never fit in with men who are into all of that, I have come to realize that culture cannot dictate what is a man and what is not, yet the Bible clearly shows that God intended man and women to be different and have different roles in the home and outside of the home.

  Male and female created He them (KJV). The evidence is there that He wants the two genders to be different in dress, looks, and roles. Who are we to say differently? And who are politicians to try to away with God's design for sexuality and gender? Our interpretation on some of the verses I used may differ, but one cannot ignore them and say they don't matter. They wouldn't be in there if they didn't matter.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Random May thoughts

  In my down time at work in the Emergency Department waiting room, I don't have much to do except think and watch the door for patients, or chat with co-workers who come by the desk. Occasionally, I'll type a blog post up in an email and send it to myself. Sometimes I'll just type down a bunch of random thoughts that have been on my mind. They become a blog post like this:


  I am turning 47 in 17 days.....and I can't believe it. I am already at the point in life that I wonder where the years have gone. I don't mean to sound proud, but I see some other people my age who look older than I do. Maybe I am biased, but I don't think I look as old as a lot of people my age :)

This being my birthday month, I am accepting gifts, gift cards, and money all month long. :)


  I am in a weight loss slump. Last week, I lost 3 pounds..... this week, I don't think I have lost any. It seems like I hit a point and get stuck there for a week or so. I am thankful for the 25 I have lost, but I want more to come off..... and faster

Donald Trump

  I may have too much anger and frustration with Trump and his supporters, but I cannot begin to fathom how any intelligent person that is a conservative and/or Christian could overlook so much in him morally and politically, and vote for him. I cannot and will not. If the Republican Party wants my vote, then they need to put up a decent pro-life candidate who isn't opposite to everything I believe.


  It blows my mind the amount of people who have no problem with people using whichever bathroom they want to use, And it blows my mind even more that we who are concerned about safety  are being hated and called bigots by even other Christians. I feel like I am living in an upside down world, the twilight zone, or an alternate reality these days.


 Three weeks from this coming Saturday is my vacation to  the Outer Banks. I cannot wait, and won't want to come back. Maybe God could call me as a missionary to that area......Or maybe I could set up a small store on the beach and sell Bibles, surfboards, towels, and fishing poles.....

  I am hoping to get through some of the books on my "to be read" stack while there.

Donald Trump 2

One of my biggest pet peeves lately is idea propagated by Trump supporters that everyone opposing him are liberals, Obama voters, or unemployed - they have used all three accusations. I am none of those, and am against him because I am a Christian and conservative. and I am too Christian and conservative to vote for him.

Minority victories

  Why does the minority always win? Gay marriage was legalized because a minority wanted it. Prayer was taken out of school because of one women. This insanity over bathrooms is to make .3% of the population happy. If there are so many Christians in America, why don't we ever win? Why don't we ever put a stop to the madness? Is it because too many of us don't care, are too liberal and are OK with these things, or why??

  There is this attitude that we should never offend or disagree with anyone, so we should lay down and let the country march onto whatever madness someone is pushing.

Bible translations

  I am thankful for the different Bible translations out there. I think King James only people are depriving themselves of better Bible reading and study. I find having several different translations make reading and studying the Bible more interesting and adds variety, especially to verses I could recite from memory from the King James Version, the one I was raised on.


  The older I get and the further I travel on this Christian walk, the more convinced I am that we are doing American Christianity, and maybe even American church wrong. Everything revolves around "me".....we want a church that has the style of music and worship that we like, we decide what in the Bible is relative to us and what we need to practice and obey. Most of us look at the cross as a fancy piece of jewelry, not an ugly and heavy object that we must carry if we are to truly serve God.

Politics versus trusting God

 I have been wondering lately about all of this demands and calls for we anti-Trump people to toss aside all of our issues with him to vote for him to avoid a Hillary presidency, and about all of this fear and worry about a Hillary presidency...... is our trust in politics and politicians instead of God if we support such a man instead of clinging to our principles, morals, and Biblical values? Are we Christians too focused on and too worried about this election outcome? And what does it say about us if we do set aside principles and morals to vote for a man as vile and vulgar as this..... or for the woman on the other ticket?


  My two favorite hymns:

And Can It Be?
Great Is Thy Faithfulness

  I think it is sad that so many churches are deserting hymns and going to new songs that lack the depth and meaning so many of the hymns have.

I am loved

I am loved, I am loved
I can risk loving you
For the One who knows me best
Loves me most
I am loved you are loved
Won't you please take my hand
We are free to love each other
We are loved

I said if You knew You wouldn't want me
My scars are hidden by the face I wear
He said my child My scars go deeper
and It was love for you that put them there


Forgiven I repeat it I'm forgiven
Clean before my Lord, I freely stand
Forgiven I can dare forgive my brother
Forgiven I reach out to take your hand

Friday, May 6, 2016

Lord, let me be of help to someone, but make it quick and not a bother.....

***This blog post is an edited version of one I posted in May of 2013. It  is  similar to my last blog post, Getting our hands, or car seats dirty, but I'm hoping to expound on it, though it may be a hodge-podge of "stuff":

   I am including myself in this, but I've been wondering if most of us aren't completely missing it in the church. We have our families and our friends, our jobs and activities, and we so rarely go out of our way to help anyone, really help them, as lead them to Christ, or cause them to want to be Christians.

I read a great fiction book last month, The Gate by Dann Stouten. There was a conversation between Jesus and the main character in the book that I thought nails it:

 Jesus: "As a Christian, your job isn't to bring people on earth to Heaven.. That is my job. Your job is to bring Heaven to the people on earth. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for the sick, the crying, and the dying. When you do that, people will start asking 'Why? What's your motivation? What possible reason would you have for making that ...kind of sacrifice for me?' And when they start asking questions like that, then sharing your faith will be easy, then lives will be changed. It's simple really. Do that, and you'll change the world. Don't do that, and nothing will change. Like I said before, what you've done to the least of these, you've done to me"

And something else I read recently in Fearless by Mike Dellosso in the forward to the book:

In James Cameron’s 2009 hit Avatar the alien race greets
each other with the words “I see you.” During the course
of the movie we learn that those words mean more than they
appear to mean at first. To the Na’vi “I see you” is so much more
than acknowledging that an individual is present; it is to look
into their soul, to see them for who they really are, their character,
their passions, their hurts and fears and joys and dreams.

Interestingly native tribes in South Africa use the same greeting.It’s quite powerful when you think about it. We are a busy people, working, playing, texting, surfing; our minds are constantly occupied.

Yes, we’re surrounded by people we never really see. Oh, we see they’re there. They get in our way in line at the grocery store, cut us off on the highway, give us the wrong amount of change at the fast-food joint. But do we really see them? Mostly, no.

How radically it would change our lives if we saw those around us as not just bodies populating the landscape of our life, but as people with lives, with struggles and victories, as husbands trying desperately to provide for their family and wives exhausted from working and parenting and running here and there, as employees striving to do their best in a system that keeps expecting more for less.

What if we really saw those around us? What if we looked into their eyes and found the soul of them? How important would every connection be? Every word spoken? Every action portrayed?

And what if others knew that when we looked at them we saw so

much more than a body taking up space, that we saw them as a
precious creation, a person made in the image of God. A person.
I want to see people, really see them.

We used to sing a song at church:

"Lord, lay some soul upon my heart,
And love that soul through me;
And may I bravely do my part
To win that soul for Thee"

   There are so many hurting people around us, but how willing our we to really do something about it? Some of them are across the street, next door, on the street corner, and even in our own church congregation. Jesus spent most of his ministry helping and loving people........ how much of our time is spent doing so? Do we really want to have a soul laid on our hearts to pray for, to love? Can we sing the above song..... and really mean it?

   I was reading a fictional book the other night where white supremacists were finding young teenage boys that no one wanted and recruiting them - that does go on, and not just with white supremacists. Think of the difference we could make if these young people who are growing up without someone to love and care about them could be met by Christians who would take them under their wing instead of letting them be prey for evil, and headed for trouble.

  About 13 years ago, I decided to try something new. I enrolled in the Big Brothers program. The boy who I got as my "little brother" was a scrawny quiet kid of 12. The first time I picked him up, I didn't think it would ever work, but it did. Once he started talking, he wouldn't quit. :-) I was his "big brother" for 4 years and loved it. I got into it to do something for someone else, but it helped me a lot. It was fun, but it involved sacrifices and time. I hate sports, but went to some of his basketball games for his sake. I went to some school band concerts that were OK, and not something I'd normally do, but he was playing in it, so I went. I spent a lot of time and money on him in 4 years, and I don't regret it at all. (His mom would often try to pay me back when I took him out to eat. I wouldn't let her) I was the main male role model in his life for 4 years, and I hope and pray I was the example I should be. His mom told me a while back that she credits me with the man he has turned out to be. I cried when I read that. And really, I didn't do much. I spent time with him, tried to do things he was interested in, loved him, spent some money on meals, mini golf, birthdays, Christmas, etc, but it felt great to do it. I'd love to do something like that again. I wish I could do more.

  The thing is, so many of is don't get it. It is all about people. We can't take anything to heaven with us except for people, yet we are so busy doing things. And yes, we have lives and things we need to do, but when we stand before God and if we can have regrets, we are going to wish we had done more to help people find Jesus, and to make it to Heaven.

  We're all busy, but we can still make time. My church has reading course books for the youth and for the missionary society. One year, I was in charge of the youth books. I had to try to get people to read them, keep track of where they were, and report at the end of the year how many people read each book. I got so sick of the excuse half the church gave me "I don't have time." I'd fume to my family later: "I bet if we'd ask them over Friday or Saturday night for pizza and games, they'd have time for that!" Were they being honest? Some of them, maybe, but we do make time for what we want to do. I'd rather they had just said they didn't want to read them.... that is what I do. :-)

   I was talking to someone recently and was surprised by something they said. They told me they haven't professed to be a Christian for 3 years. Everyone in their church, and outside the church, just assumes they are where they should be with God. I thought "how sad." I'm not advocating going around taking everyone's spiritual temperature in the church, but if we can't see the people in our own church who are hurting and need encouragement and help, then how can we help people outside of the church........ though we need to do both.

  If Jesus was walking the earth today, He would be out there helping people, putting feet to the Gospel. That is what He did when He was here. I am not saying we can't have fun and games, but He viewed people more important than that. Healing them, helping them, loving them. And it is still important.

Read Matthew 25:34-46 (NLT)

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.[g] 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

   If I read those verses right, it sounds to me like helping people, showing them love, is pretty important to God. Important enough that he cast aside the people in the above verses that didn't do it.

  As the first book quote said, if we love people and start putting actions to what we believe, we won't have to preach to people, they will want this Jesus we claim to be like and serve.

  We can pay our tithe, keep all the commandments, go to church regularly, live an honest life with integrity, but if we don't reach out to others, we aren't being like Jesus at all.

  In closing, I am not saying everyone is failing in this area. There are many people who are doing far more than their part, but I fear more of us are not doing what we should, than are. It would do us good to pray for God to send someone across our path that we can be Jesus to, to love, and help in any way we can. The sad truth is, most likely they are already there for many of us, and like the religious rulers in the story of the Good Samaritan, we walk on by and ignore them. We should take caution to only pray that prayer if we mean it. It will cost us some time, maybe money, and inconveniences.

Getting our hands, or car seats dirty, a re-post

**I first write and published this in March of 2013, but edited it a bit and added some pictures to break it up a bit

 I did something yesterday that I don't normally do. I was on my way home from work and just past the Austintown exit on Rt 11, a 4 lane freeway, I spotted a man walking. It was cold and snowing a bit, and I felt like I should offer him a ride, even though he wasn't hitch-hiking. He gratefully climbed in and I told him I could take him as far as Lisbon, where I live, 30 miles down the road. He was headed for East Liverpool, 16 miles past Lisbon, and had been walking from Cleveland. He said he had spent the night under a bridge. He chatted a bit, but it was a mostly quiet 30 miles. At one point, he asked me who was singing on the CD I had playing. I told him it was a gospel group named the Isaacs and he said they sounded nice.

   As my exit came up, I felt like I should get him some coffee and something to eat, kind of brought on by the fact that he most likely assumed I was a Christian - the gospel music. He gratefully accepted my offer, so I stopped at the gas station/convenience store right off the exit and bought him some coffee, a sandwich, and some chips and was on my way.

   He didn't appear to be very clean, and also smelled, so when I got home I put a new air freshener in my car and sprayed the seat with Lysol.

   There is a reason I stopped and picked this man up. I have been thinking a lot about this idea of getting our hands dirty. Too many Christians, myself included, go through life living our Christian life and rarely go out of our way to witness or help people in need. We do it if it doesn't involve getting our hands dirty, if it causes no discomfort on our part, or takes up time we would rather spend doing something else. I tell this story not to lift myself up, for I don't do enough. There are some Christians who do more, but I'm afraid our churches are filled with people like me. We want to live for Christ and be like Him, but not in every way.

   We can dress modestly and look like the gender we are, we can have great attitudes, go to church regularly, and be next to perfect......... but if we never step out of our comfort zone and help people, love the unlovable, and really do something  worthwhile, we really aren't much like Jesus after all. He got His hands dirty. He visited the outcasts, the down and out, the lepers and other undesirables. Can we do any less?

   I am friends with a dear lady named Pat. She is a wonderful Christian woman whose oldest son is gay. He openly lived the gay lifestyle for years, and she loved him and his friends. She'd visit him and treat his gay friends like they were someone special. Not sure if she still does it, but she would go around speaking about the issue of homosexuality from a Biblical standpoint, and with her son's permission, talk about him and what it is like having a gay son.... she truly loved the sinner, but not the sin. Too many Christians would run from that. They would be afraid to catch the gayness, or other ridiculous ideas. I sat in a Sunday School class in my own church a few years ago where the issue was being discussed and heard these comments, and others similar: "I'd never let my kids around one of those people." "I'd rather have a murder around my family than one of those perverts." Wow, really?! Is it any wonder people in that lifestyle hate Christians and the church so much? I pity the gay person that runs across Christians with that attitude. They will be all the more turned off by Christianity.

   Now I'm not saying we should go around picking up hitch hikers. It isn't always a wise or safe thing to do, especially for women, and had I not felt so strongly that I should, I would have driven by. I doubt my actions will bring that man to Christ, but hopefully he will view Christians and God in a more positive light because of what I did. We don't have to be out there witnessing to every person we meet, though that is great if you do, but we can all reach out somehow to people, even those who seem unlovable or are living lifestyles that are destructive, sinful, and that we abhor. Jesus wouldn't pass them by, so how can we and claim to be like Him?

  I fear sometimes we just don't love enough. Yes, we still have to say sin is sin and try to stand against the tide of evil, but we cannot sit idly by and not reach out to people, to help them, love them, and be kind. Even if it is taking a plate of cookies to your heathen neighbor.

  Maybe you have read my blog post and you're the exception. That is great. I'm not the exception. I need to love more, reach out more to people, do random acts of kindness in His name. We won't win anyone to Christ unless we love them and touch their lives in some way. This has really been on my mind lately, and I've probably done a poor job of expressing my thoughts, but hopefully I can do better in the future. I may never pick up another person walking along the road, but there are other opportunities that face each of us daily, a chance to show love, and to be like Jesus at His best.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Eating healthy

 It has been eight weeks since my stay in the hospital. Eight weeks since I found out that I have blood clots on my left lung and also have type 2 diabetes.

  I had needed to lose weight for a while, having put a lot on when my depression was at its worst. I weighted 247 when I was admitted to the hospital - the most I have ever weighed in my life. In those eight weeks, I have lost 25 pounds so far, with 32-37 more to go to my goal (depending on if I decide to hit 185 or 190). I have changed my eating habits drastically, am using an app to keep track of my calorie and carb intake (which I posted about on here), and am using a fit bit bracelet to keep track of my walking and to help me walk more.

  The hardest things for me to cut back on are mashed potatoes, bread, and pasta....all foods high in carbs. All of these years we thought bread was good for you.....not so much, A nurse at the clinic I go to said I could eat a candy bar and my sugar would spike but go back down. If I eat a few slices of bread, my sugar will go up and stay up....weird.

  Sundays are the worst for me. I don't get as much walking in, and we always have a big Sunday dinner that has meat, mashed potatoes and gravy or noodles, rolls, veggies, and dessert. I used to get a couple of big helpings of the potatoes, but have cut back to one normal-sized helping. I'll have one roll, and a small piece of dessert. That is far less than I used to eat on Sundays, but when added to what I eat before I go to bed; it is usually too many carbs and calories.

  Weekdays are easier. I rarely eat breakfast, and will usually have a string cheese mid morning. Lunch at work is usually a mix of a couple of the following:  yogurt (sometimes with fruit in), unsweetened applesauce, popcorn, an apple, and nuts. I eat whatever there is for supper, but cut back on my portions.

   Snacking has been one of my weaknesses for a while, so I have had to come up with new snacking habits. I love veggies with dip, and dips are low in carbs. Nuts are healthy, so those are a common snack for me....especially Diamond Smokehouse Almonds. The right kinds of popcorn are good, and some fruits in moderation - they are high in carbs.

  I have cut back on pop, though I am not a big pop drinker anyway; and iced tea. I drink more water and a lot of Sparkling Ice, which has no calories or carbs.

  Surprisingly, a lot of sugar free items are not very low in carbs/sugars and I have learned to watch those labels carefully. Fruit is also high in sugars and too much is a bad idea for someone with diabetes.

  As a result of the blood thinners I am on, I also have to watch foods that are high in vitamin K, but most of those I don't like anyway. The biggest problem with the blood thinner restrictions are salad dressings. My blood was too thick a few weeks ago, and I deduced after reading the info I had, it was because I'd had several salads recently and the dressings have soybean and canola oil in them - two no-no's while being on this blood thinner. I can't find any dressings that do not have those, so my only option while being on blood thinners is to make my own dressing using the Italian packets that you mix with oil, vinegar, and water. It is more bother, but I can still have my salads.

  I had shirts hanging in a closet and also in a few totes that didn't fit me. I have been slowly getting into a lot of them, depending on how the shirts are made. Pants are going slower. I am getting back into 38 waist relaxed fit jeans, but most of the 38 waist dress pants I have are still too snug. I have several pair of 36 waist pants that I am aiming to get into eventually. I definitely don't need to go out and purchase a new wardrobe.... I have a wardrobe waiting for me.

  I still feel this whole experience was God. Had I not passed out in the Emergency Department, I don't know how long I would have gone before these two issues would have been discovered. I don't look at the diabetes as a curse, but as the push I needed to lose weight and change my eating habits. I got checked out very well in the hospital with tests that I normally wouldn't have gotten..... I even had my heart checked, and my bills were mostly taken care of.

 I am not going to turn into a health nut, but I am using this experience to adapt to a new way of eating - less sugars, less snacking, less calories; and hopefully more exercise.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Choose your own adventure

   When I was a kid, there were some books that became very popular: "choose your own adventure" books. Even the ever popular Hardy Boys series did several books using that style of writing along with Nancy Drwe. If you aren't familiar with the books, I'll give an example: "The book proceeds as normal at first, Then as Nancy Drew and Frank and Joe Hardy are about to explore a deserted building that may have needed evidence in, a suspect drives by. If you think they should check the building out, go to page 26. If you think they should pursue the suspect, go to page 35." The books usually have several places that you can choose between two different courses for the characters to take, ending with a couple of different outcomes.

  I was never content to read the book that way. I'd bookmark the page where the choice was given and go back later to try the other choice, bookmarking several pages so I could explore all of the options.

  Wouldn't it be great if life was like that? Imagine if you could select one course for your life - say take that certain job - and follow it out to see how your life would end up. If you aren't happy with that, or if it goes bad;  just back up to where you picked that course in your own story, and try the other option.

  There were a couple of problems with backtracking on the choose your own adventures to try the other courses:

1) Sometimes the other course wasn't as interesting and I didn't like the outcome as well as the original that I chose.

2) I usually goofed up and confused and the story got messed up and didn't make sense

  But I still liked them, and was ecstatic when they brought them out in the never ending Hardy Boys series.

  The last few years, I have gotten reflective and contemplative during the month of May. It is the month that I turn another year older. As I have reflected and contemplated, it almost seems like my life is a choose your own adventure story with someone else choosing the next course of action to take. I want to go to page 33, but wind up at page 45 wondering how on earth I got there.

  When you are young, life does seem like a choose your own adventure with you in the driver's seat. But as I quickly learned, I don't always choose right; and all too often I picked the wrong course in this book I am writing. The adventures I wanted to choose turned out to be the wrong ones.

  Now here I am, 23 days away from turning another year older and am wondering where the years went. I feel like I have accomplished nothing, and my dreams and wishes lie smashed as a sandcastle on the sands after a wave has crashed onto the shore.

 Even at my best, I feel that I lead too self-centered of a life and am left with the constant feeling there is something more I need to be doing, but have no clue what. From the chapter I am at in my story, the choose your own adventure thing isn't looking that great anymore. If I could only go back to one of those places in my life and choose differently....... but that is not an option we are given. Once we set our course in this adventure we call life, there is no going back and changing everything that resulted from that choice.

  But there is still hope even though we can't go back to the page in our story where we chose the course that we did to choose another. It has taken me this many chapters in my story (or years in my life, if you prefer) to come to a few realizations and truths:

  It doesn't matter what our story has been, or the choices we have made; God can our story and write an ending that we never could have imagined. He can make something beautiful out of the messy scrawls and wrong turns we have taken.

  It doesn't matter what we have done or where we have been, God still has a plan for our lives and can use anyone in His work and Kingdom.

  God's grace and mercy are truly never ending and is so vast that no human mind can comprehend it. His grace can cover the mess we have made out of our lives.

  Choosing your own adventure really isn't that great after all. Handing the choices over to God and letting Him guide us to what He knows is best and what He wants for our lives will never end in disappointment. If we do His will and follow His plan, we will never be wishing we could go back and change things.

  The devil likes to point out all I have done in my life, and how horrible my struggles are compared to the other Christians at church. He loves to tell me God can never use me and I can never do anything worthwhile for God at this point. I am too old, too tired, too messed up, too.....everything.

  These last several weeks have been challenging: an unexpected hospital stay, 2 unexpected diagnoses that have made life challenging, up and down emotions about it all, doctor visits, bills......and now the depressing political news that means Hillary Clinton will most likely be our next president. This isn't what I would have chosen for my life or for our country,  in regards to politics; but God is in control of my life and this whole world. He can bring good out of bad, and get beauty from ashes.

 As I start this 47th chapter in my story, I want God to write the story. I don't want to choose my own adventure anymore, but I want Him to direct me on which course to take. I want to find His will for my life and stay in His will in this 47th chapter and throughout the rest of the chapters in my story, how many ever there are.

 There is hope for all of us, no matter what our story has been or what choices we have made as we tried to write it. He always knows best, and will never let us down. Bring it on, chapter 47.