Truth…

I pray that I have done so…

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Merry Christmas!

“For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!”

Luke 2:10-11

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God. Who was born a man, lived a perfect and sinless life before dying on the cross to pay, in blood, for our sins. He made this sacrifice so that any of us who are willing to accept it and repent can be forgiven and receive eternal life in Heaven.

We celebrate this event in many ways. The Christmas traditions in the US were picked up from various cultures and even some from other religions. I pray that these traditions never take over and hide the true meaning of the holiday.

I pray that each and every one of you will experience the joy and peace of Christmas. May God bless you and keep you each and all.

Merry Christmas!

Stripped Down Christianity

What does it mean to be a Christian?

I run into this question quite a bit and to be honest there is a very simple answer but that simple answer tends to lead to other questions that are not nearly so simple…

Since I have begun to post about “Fake Christianity” I thought it would be a good idea to make sure that the basic definition of true Christianity was clear for anyone who might read this blog. The Gospel, or Good News, is pretty simple and straightforward. It consists of just two basic parts:

1) We are all sinners.

Every single one of us are sinners. No matter how hard we try and no matter how well we are at pretending it isn’t true, we all fall short. Some of us may have actually committed horrible acts against ourselves or others. Some of us may have only committed such acts in our hearts or minds. Some of us may be guilty of what humans might consider fairly minor sins or sins of omission such as gossiping not being generous but we have all been measured and we all fall short.

2) Our Sins Can Be Forgiven Through Jesus Christ

God loves us and to save us from our own sinfulness He sent His son, Jesus Christ, who willingly suffered and died for us; paying with His blood for all of our sins. To receive that gift of salvation all we have to do is accept it and to repent. Accept His sacrifice and profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and then repent of our sins. Repent is an old fashioned word that simply means to “turn away” from our sinful ways.

Does that mean we will automatically be transformed into saints who never sin again? Of course not. It just means that we will actively and consciously try and follow His Word and guidance and be more like Him and less like our own sinful selves.

Folks, that is it.

It really is as simple as that; recognize the sin in our lives, accept Jesus’ sacrifice as our savior, and turn away from a life of sin.

There are many variations but most churches have some sort of prayer to help people accept this gift and make this commitment. Here is one example:

“God, I know that I have sinned against You and deserve punishment. But I believe Jesus Christ paid for my sins so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I receive Your offer of forgiveness and place my trust in You for salvation. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior! ”

Like I said, it is really very simple.

With that said most people have lots of questions on how this all applies to daily, some would say real, life. Be patient. We will get there.

Take care and God bless.

 

My Christmas Tree

The Bikes and Bullets Tree

I used to call this my Harley tree but as time has gone by it has changed. I now call it the Bikes and Bullets Tree and it is up and decorated ( a few days later than I had hoped or planned).

About 15 years ago a coworker gave me the first ornament that put the idea for this tree in motion. He was an awesome individual and a good Christian who knew how badly I wanted a bike. He even knew which bike I wanted because he had heard me mention it on several occasions. He also knew that money was very short and I couldn’t afford any bike much less the Harley I wanted. So, for Christmas that year he went out and found an ornament of the bike of my dreams and bought it for me. He has since passed away but the tradition he inadvertently started remains to this day.

We even carried on the tradition last year, after the flood. This was the only Christmas tree we could put up. The downstairs was still under construction and the upstairs was little more than a storage unit with just enough space for Wonderful Wife and I to work, eat dinner, watch TV, and sleep. So this tree was the entirety of our Christmas decorating last year.

I even managed to add a new ornament last year and that was the ornament that overwhelmed the little tree. With the new addition the ornaments were too heavy for the tree and it fell several times. In the chaos that was our home at the time the only thing we could find that was heavy enough and small enough to weigh it down and prevent it from toppling were some bullets I had sitting on my reloading bench. That is now part of the tradition as well and why the tree is now the Bikes and Bullets Tree. It symbolizes a lot about our lives over the last few years.

When I started this tree we were in debt up to our eyeballs. We couldn’t afford a motorcycle. Heck, we would have had a hard time affording the ornament I was given. We had dreams of a better financial situation and we knew we needed to dig ourselves out of debt to make those dreams a reality. With determination, hard work and God’s blessing we made those dreams come true.

Last year the flood waters came and nearly wiped us out but we were strong. We faced our struggles and with the faith, hard work, some ingenuity and more of God’s blessings and we overcame those challenges too.

We are determined and can make our dreams come true (God willing) and we are strong and can overcome what the world throws at us (with God in our side). This is what the Bikes and Bullets Tree has come to symbolize to me.

Merry Christmas God bless.

God Is Good

A few weeks back I broke a(nother) tooth. My life has been so crazy, busy lately that it took until just the other day before I could make it to the dentist. By then it had started hurting pretty badly and sure enough a root canal was called for. It took another week and a lot of work to get appointment scheduled.

I HATE going to the dentist. It stresses me out, especially for things like root canals. Every dentist says the same thing, “wow, I have never had one that difficult.” One root canal a few years back had three dentists in the room at the same time trying to make it happen. I have no idea why my teeth are so hard to work on. I also had a bad experience as a kid where a dentist deadened the wrong tooth (three times) and insisted the pain would “stop in a minute.” He reeked of whiskey…

So, for a variety of reasons I was really stressed.

My blood pressure was through the roof. Like make the little BP machine read “tilt.” The kind of level that make most doctors call for an ambulance. This fellow shrugged and started to work.

Literally every muscle in my body was tensed up. I was sweating I was so tense.

I was just about to ask for a Valium but instead I closed my eyes and started to pray. It’s tough to say a prayer or have a conversation with God while someone has both hands in your mouth and is driving some sort of tool into or around the tooth he was to perform the procedure on. I would lose track of where I was and the start over. I prayed for strength and I prayed for peace. After a few minutes of prayer I realized that despite the fact that the wrestling match in my mouth was still ongoing my body was relaxed. I wasn’t sweating anymore in fact I was a bit cold.

I was so relaxed that I kept dozing off! As he performed various parts of the procedure and changed tools or the wrestling match escalated I would wake up only to doze off again a few moments later.

I shared this story with a few folks and they joked that it was the laughing gas or the local he gave me. I have had the same stuff many times and it has never once made me groggy or sleepy. I didn’t have an Nitrous either.

The simple fact is that God answered my prayer…in spades.

God is good.

Take care and God Bless!

Quote Of The Day

Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders

Peace is not the end. Righteousness is the end. When the Saviour saw the money-changers in the Temple he broke the peace by driving them out. At that moment peace could have been obtained readily enough by the simple process of keeping quiet in the presence of wrong. But instead of preserving peace at the expense of righteousness, the Saviour armed himself with a scourge of cords and drove the money-changers from the Temple. Righteousness is the end, and peace a means to the end, and sometimes it is not peace, but war which is the proper means to achieve the end. Righteousness should breed valor and strength. When it does breed them, it is triumphant; and when triumphant, it necessarily brings peace. But peace does not necessarily bring righteousness.

-Theodore Roosevelt

Dear Lord, make me a righteous man, a man after your own heart. A man who stands for what is good, for what is right, regardless of the cost.

Amen

Inspiration

I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

-Luke 12:8-10

Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior. I give myself to Him and will serve Him to the best of my abilities.

Amen