Continued Journey

Ok, as my journey continues I have found myself in the middle of 1st Kings.  I have gotten through the stories of David and Solomon and have a few thoughts.  In reading about David and Solomon I see the trouble that power and fame brings to a person even in those times.  Davids desires ultimately take the toll on his soul and Solomon cannot be alone with nearly 1000 wives and concubines.  Very disappointing to see that no matter how the great the man may be it seems that they always fall from grace.  God’s forgiveness is great and this is clearly proven in the books of Samuel and Kings.  It is so easy to compare the lives and decisions of both David and Solomon to todays world.  It’s almost scary.  While it may be on most mens minds to “conquer” women similar to Solomon or even go to any means to be with a woman who is already spoken for like David, forgiveness is still God’s way.  It is sad to look back on my life and see how my decisions have molded me to become what I was.  Now that I have dedicated time to go “home” to God, it excites me to know that a path to happiness will be laid out with the guidance of the Lords word to lead me.  It also excites me to know that God never turned his back on me as I may have done to Him.  I am not perfect but I have changed since my journey began.  I thank God daily and try to read scripture when I can.  My prayer life has become regular and I feel that it really is making a difference.  I know that my children, as young as they are, can see a difference with “dad” and I know my wife can.  My journey is my rock.  It pushes me daily and allows me to find happiness and ways to become a better person.  I love the person I am becoming and hope that this experience will allow my wife and kids see up close and personal how great God is.  Even to sinners like me.

The Messengers

Today I have decided to share some thoughts on a movie I saw yesterday morning on Netflix and also a song that I felt was truly inspirational.

First the movie…It is called Left Behind.  It stars Nicholas Cage and it released in 2014.  It is certainly not a big budget film and it was definately a surprise.  Without giving to much away, the movie is partially about the rapture and partially about family choices.  I will say that as far as the rapture goes, the scenes in which it happens gives me hope that if I am alive when the rapture happens, this is how I want it to happen.  This movie is really about the beginning of the end of days.  The reviews on Netflix are mostly negative and it seems that the main reason is that people are complaining that it is a remake of another movie and it should be labeled as a Christian film.  Ridiculous, I know.  Anyway I feel that if you are a believer than it is worth a watch if you want to kill a couple of hours.

Now onto the song.  If you have read my recent blogs and possibly know me then you know that I have come full circle in life and feel like I was given a message that it was time for me to come home.  Long story short, I am doing all I can to become a model parent and provide Christian values to my children and even my wife.  I have been a regular at church for the past month or so (it was so easy to go back to the church that I originally attended regularly with my mom for nearly 14 years) after nearly 18 years of being away.  Daily bible study has given me some much missed biblical lessons and stories that I had nearly forgotten.  As well as given me spiritual joy and much needed source to lean on in tough times.  Now when I’m driving with my kids I had been trying to leave the radio on the Christian channel on XM called the Message.  Now I basically leave it on that channel regardless if the kids are in the car or not.  Well, that one or one of the other religious driven  channels.  Now sometime between picking my daughter up from school and going to Wednesday night service we were listen to The Message on XM and a song called Messengers came on.  It is by an artist named Lecrae featuring the band For King and Country.  You want to talk about uplifting.  Wow.  I’m not a fan of hip/hop or rap but this is alright.  It is lyrically inspiring and it truly has defined what we are as Christians.  Messengers.  Check out the video here:

The time is now for each of to spread the positive and life changing message of Christ.  Our world is in a bad way and we need to make a change.  Getting a nonbeliever to listen is tough but this is our battle that basically has been our mission from the dawn of the disciple.  Are you up for being a Messenger?

Finding Faith

On the path of my Journey I find myself reading through the Bible as I have been desiring.  I have found myself in the middle ground in the books of Moses and after completing Genesis and Exodus, Leviticus has started laying the groundwork of God’s demands and needs from his followers.  The in depth descriptions of his sacrifices that are required by his followers are somewhat unusual considering this day and time but were a staple of faith in the Old Testament.  I’m looking forward to finishing my reading of Moses’ works as his documents are the backbone of the Old Testament and are the teachings of a great man who was lucky enough to speak with God in the most personal manner.  It may seem hard to believe by some but the description of Moses as he comes down from Mt. Sinai as almost angelic and his face glowing simply defines divine works.  Although I know that after my readings my face may not be aglow but my heart and mind are tied into this great historical documentation of the earliest walks with God and tests of faith.  I try daily to keep my faith in the Word and I feel I  am making great strides in being the person that God wants all of his children to be.  I’m far from perfect, but, at the same time, I’m far from the person that I became nearly 20 years ago when I strayed away from the path of goodness and righteousness that God expects of his followers.  The power of faith in the Lord is incredible and can not only be eye opening but also heart fulfilling.  Faith is when you know that God is there when you can’t see him.  Faith is when your prayers may go unanswered because you understand that God has a better plan.  Faith is when you sit alone and wonder “where did I go wrong?”, and something out of nowhere brightens your day.  Faith is trust in what God has planned for you.  Faith is inspiring.  Faith is believing…

The Journey

As a continuation to my post the other called “The Message”, I’m going to post an update and let anyone who is following or reading my words can see what has changed recently.  Here is the brief summary of what has happened in my life with in the past two weeks, simply put in one sentence:  I felt an incredible urge to focus and study the Bible to gather knowledge and be able to present the word of God to others.  Now onto this “urge”…

With my new desire and reaffirmation of faith I have spent a long time researching study Bibles in trying to find the right one for me to continue this incredible journey that has been presented to me.  After two weeks of praying and waiting for the right time to determine what study Bible I was going to purchase, out of the blue my mother called me yesterday morning and wanted me to meet up with so that she could purchase my son his first Bible.  (As a precursor, Wednesday night I had told my mom that I was taking both my daughter and son to church for the Wednesday evening services.  With my current job schedule I am working Saturday through Tuesday and it has severely limited my ability to go to Sunday services for the time being.  Now on to the rest of the story.)  I agreed and by 10:30 am my son and I were on the way to meet up with my mom and head out to basically the only Christian book store in the Bristol VA/TN area.  As we arrive at the store and go inside, we quickly find the children’s section of Bibles and my mom literally sits in the floor and begins looking at each and every Bible that is for children that she can find. While my mom is going through the various Bibles, I decided to take a look at what was available for study Bibles for adults.  The selection was not bad but it was certainly not as good as I had hoped for and I felt that I should at least look and see what the various versions offered.  Before I go any further, I had previously made up my mind that I really wanted a John Macarthur Study Bible, a Charles Stanley Life Principles Bible or a ESV Study Bible.  I highly respect both Charles Macarthur and Charles Stanley and feel like that either of those versions of scripture would be perfect for my needs.  I also wanted to get at least a bonded leather for some longevity knowing that imitation leather and paperback would not be as long lasting.  After 15 minutes of looking around, it happened.  I initially found a Life Principles Bible.  I scanned through it and thought that this was fantastic.  It was the New King James translation and although I had wanted a ESV or NASB translation I figured that the NKJV would be fine.  As I was putting the Life Principles Bible back on the shelf and noting the price for future reference, I looked the top shelf and, almost glowing in my eyes, I found a Macarthur Study Bible in NASB.  I immediately pulled it from the shelf and scanned through.  I was very impressed in the notes and the fact that it also was a large print version was a bonus as I enjoy reading in the evening under somewhat lower light conditions.  This bible felt just right.  I will admit that it was massive and had some weight to it, it didn’t matter.  I made my mental note to find this Bible online and purchase it once I had the extra funds to make the purchase.  As I put the Bible back on the shelf I must have lost track of time as nearly 30 minutes had passed and still my mom was sitting in the floor with a variety of Bibles laid out in front or her and my son.  She asked my opinions on what she had selected and we found a version that we both agreed on, the Seaside Bible for Children in KJV by Nelson Bibles.  My mom then asked if I had found anything and I had told her that I did and would wait to buy it from the internet another day and then out of nowhere she told me to go ahead and get it it.  I told her that she didn’t need to do that.  The one I wanted was a study Bible and it was fairly expensive.  My mom basically would hear nothing of it and told me to get it and take both Bibles to the counter and have the salesman put our names on the Bibles.  I had my son’s full name imprinted and decided to simply have my last name imprinted on the Study Bible.  At first my mom insisted that the man imprint my full name of the bible but I explained to my mom that I wanted to do the last name only because I want to leave it behind for my kids when I’m gone and they will be able to have a personalized Bible that they could use in the future.  Needless to say, the imprinting looked great and I realized that a prayer was answered yet again.  As I walked away with my son and out new Bibles I had to give thanks to my mom and to God as I know that he had found a way to fulfill a request that I had in my heart.  I feel like my heart is in the right place and am genuinely looking forward to my journey back through the scripture that has been calling to me for the past couple of weeks.

To top yesterday off, this morning a close friend of mine called to catch up.  I had told him the good news of my recent Study Bible acquisition, he congratulated me and wished me the best and let me know that he is there for me if I needed anything, but in a crazy twist my friend also gave me some news of a great nature.  He advise that he was keeping the news private for now and was only disclosing to some close friends and family.  My lips are zipped for now but feel blessed to know his news and plans and I can only wish the best for him and his family.

All I can say right now is that the past two days have been incredible and I look forward to sharing this journey with everyone.

The Message

I realize that it has been a while since I have posted and with work and kids taking up lots of time in my life I let the things that aren’t that important kinda go to the wayside.  The reason I decided to shoot out a blog today is because of an event that happened a couple of weeks ago that I can’t explain.  Actually I can but it will be unbelievable to most readers.

I woke up one morning two weeks ago and had a desire to read and the study the bible.  I mean a desire.  Almost like the feeling you have when you wake up and you are hungry for breakfast.  That was the feeling I had.  Not only that, I almost feel like I need to be teaching sermons to believers.  I will admit that most would find this strange but I once had a position training and teaching employees in large groups about safety and security so the teaching part is not scary to me in the least bit.  Crazy, I know.  I have been a believer for a while and not knowing what has pushed me into this desire to study and understand scripture seemed to puzzle me.  Then I realized after frantically searching the bible for some answers that God sometimes choses those who are called to serve.  That fact is recorded throughout the bible from Moses to the birth of Christ.  Maybe this is my wake up call to do something that I was supposed to do all along.

When I say something has changed, I mean something has changed.  I have been reading scripture daily and now have a greater focus on living a better life through the teachings of the bible and being a better person.  Literally to the point I’m almost offended when I witness something that would not be ok in the view of a Christian.  As I said earlier, I have had a desire to study scripture and within that desire I have been searching out a study bible that will help me on my way.  There are a ton of choices out there and I’m torn in which version I’m going to go with.  I currently have the King James Version and have decided to expand my horizon and go with a different translation.  I do listen to the preachings and teachings of Dr. Charles Stanley and have recently started listening to the preachings of Dr. John Macarthur.  I feel that a Macarthur Study bible will be the way to go as that is what feels right in my heart.  I’m now trying to decide between the ESV or the NASB versions.  I plan to visit my local Christian book store (which isn’t so local) this week and get a hands on both versions.

Now on to the next dilemma, I’m in an unusual position.  I work Saturday thru Tuesday and never have Sunday’s off from work.  I need to find a local church that will accept that I can only be part of worship on Wednesday nights (until my schedule changes) and I typically have both of my kids with me.  It may be some time before I can actually get a Sunday off and I want to be part of something greater but it seems that I am in a crossroads and it is tough for me to know the direction to go.  I am going to reach out to the church that I first went to as a child up through my late teen years and see if they can accept my needs.  I hope that is the right direction.  I will be praying for some help and hope to find guidance from the greater glory.

Until next time, this is my thought of the day.  Thanks for stopping by!

Happy 2015

Yes, I know.  It’s been awhile.  First let me catch up.  I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and I wish each of you a Happy New Year.  It has been busy in my home this holiday season.  This is the first Christmas that my now 2 1/2 year son actually knew what was going on and was excited for the day.  Unlike last year when the day came more as a shock and seemed confusing to him, this year it was almost magical.  Although money was once again tight we were fortunate enough to plan, way, ahead thanks to my wife.  Gifts have been randomly purchased throughout the last year and it paid off.  On top of that my mom usually goes over the top with the grand kids so it made the day so much more exciting for the kids.  I hope that if you’re reading this, you had a great holiday as well.  I had to pull some extra time at work this season.  Even though the overtime was not required, I’m still a contractor and I want to make an impression with the company that I work for and hopefully all of my hard work pay off in the new year with a permanent position and a well deserved raise (at least in my opinion).  Now on to the new year.  I have plans to do something I love to do.  What is that you ask?  I am working on a project guitar that I was lucky enough to get for Christmas from my wife.  I plan to start posting info on my blog and update how the project is going in case anyone wants to see how it goes.  Here is a link to the first video of the project guitar unboxing.  Enjoy. –

Until next time….

Thought of the day-Oct. 12

I read and view the news every day. Whether it’s on the web or on TV, I generally check out what’s happening.  I also find myself getting depressed when reading the same headlines over and over again.  War is imminent.  ISIS is not going to fall as easy as we hope for.  They are like a cancer and there is no cure for cancer.  I worry about the well being of our country.  Fear fills my mind with the thoughts of home grown ISIS operatives being arrested here in the United States.  It’s happening just in case you don’t know.  Are you prepared? I like to think I am but I’m not sure.  I pray I never have to face that test and pray for the well being of everyone here on our planet.  Peace is such a simple prayer but a much needed one.  I encourage each of you,  that no matter your choice of religion, to pray, meditate, focus, etc… On peace and the well being of mankind.  We are only here for a little while let’s try to make it enjoyable. Just my random thought today.

Hidden Messages In Unusual Places

I am sore this morning.  Why????  Just a quick back story summary.  In my life I can proudly say that in my younger years I was a playground “legend”.  I mean that at 6’3″ and, in my early 20’s, weighing in at under 200lbs, I was known to be a good basketball player in the area I was born and raised.  I worked full-time at a recreation center (still do part-time to this day) and life was great.  Physically in great shape and living life to the fullest (at least I thought).  Daytime lifeguard, nighttime basketball star.  Life seemed so good.  Fast forward to age 41, a little overweight, a little softer, but the same desire to win.  Last week I was asked to join a team of younger guys that needed a “big” guy to help them out.  Of course I obliged and let them know that I would play with them at the next game.  Last night was the next game.  We lost to a team that was basically the Emory and Henry college basketball team.  Not bad for a team that had never played together, I believe that we started playing better towards the end of the game as we got used to each other.  Personally, I had a very good game.  I do believe it surprised the rest of the team as the “old man” showed that he had a few tricks left up his sleeve.  Now you know why I’m sore, but this story is only leading up to what I feel is the real reason I’m writing this post.  After I finished playing the 7:00pm game, it was my turn to keep score for the 8:00pm game.  Picture two games played simultaneously on a divided full court.  I’m keeping the right side score, a co-worker named Gavin was keeping the left side score.  During both of our games, we have a conversation discussing whats going on in our lives, jobs, etc…A quick side note on Gavin, he has been known to party, going out on the weekends and meeting girls and drinking it up.  I’m not condoning his lifestyle, there was a time when I was known to drink it up as well.  Thank goodness those days ended years ago, but back to the story at hand…When discussing our jobs, Gavin caught me off guard.  He told me that he was possibly looking to get out his management position with a very good company and going into another line of work.  Here is where it got interesting, he told me that he his life has been going through a change.  Little did I know, Gavin had been going to church and trying to follow a light that would lead him off his darkened path.  He told me of his desire to have something more in life and be spiritually fulfilled.  Gavin also told me how over the past few months he had been asked to give sermons on Wednesday nights regularly and last Sunday he preached the Sunday message to the entire church.  Gavin told me that his life, changing for the better, was being challenged in new ways.  He described more temptations were being tossed his direction.  He described the inspiration from the congregation was overwhelming and his church was offering to assist him in going to a seminary school to focus on religious studies.  I told him that it seemed cleared that God had indeed opened up his door and turned on the light to lead Gavin to a better place.  I told him that I was proud of him and discussed some of my changes in life as well.  We both spoke of admiration of Dr. Charles Stanley and the message he brings to this world of troubling times.  Gavin also let me know that he was going to Atlanta to meet with Dr. Stanley and tour his church.  I told him that I wish I could go as well as that would be a life changing experience.  Unfortunately my work schedule at this time doesn’t permit me to go to service on Sunday’s as I work Saturday through Tuesday for the time being.  Prior to last tonight, I believed that Gavin was on a path to destruction and now his words and story inspired me.  Gavin you have re-kindled my desire to learn and understand the message of God and his plan for me.  My prayers nightly for understanding my place in His world became a little clearer last night.  Thank you for the hidden message in the most unusual place.

The Never Ending Prayer

As I wake up and get my daily routine started…Coffee, help get my daughter ready for school and onto the school bus, and a few minutes of headline reading across the web.  As it has become daily news with either terrorism, ISIS or ISIL, there is a brief pause of fear and sadness that is hard to explain.  I will never understand why middle eastern religious zealots find no way to leave western culture and religion out of their agenda of destruction.  Could it be jealously?  Angry that the western world has become independent and acceptable to almost everything you can think of?  Probably.  Why is it that they can’t leave us and the rest of the civilized world alone?  I’m sure I’ll never know.  As a matter of fact I find it completely unusual that for a religious group so focused on their God that they can kill innocents so inhumanely and without remorse.  This is one of the things I pray for daily.  To protect our country and most importantly my family.  I often ask God to expose his plan for me.  I want to be a better person, a prepared person and also an understanding person.  Am I supposed to do something different with my life?  Is there a difference I can make?  I want my kids to feel the safety that I did as a child.  Never a care, never a worry throughout childhood.  That is the true goal.  With so many terrible things going on, I fear that neither of my kids will every have the freedom that I did as a child.  Knowing that there are so many terrible people in this world and also knowing that these same types of people are closer than what most Americans want to realize scares me.  I have no solutions and only seek guidance in the tough times that we may face in the future.  This is a truly random thought of the day and part of my never ending prayer.