Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do You Have the Right Stuff?

This past Sunday, my Pastor shared several messages on relationships.  And he was talking about how someone could be attracted to someone else based on their "stuff".  That could be attractiveness, poise, any of a whole slew of signs of wealth (cars, electronics, houses, etc.).  And he compared that to our relationship with God.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

And We Move Along

Update: As of earlier this week, Libby Spradlin had spent a day in the emergency room and hospital, getting thoroughly examined and being given a series of tests.  There's no news since then.  Sometimes, getting test results can take time.  So, please continue to pray for Libby and her family.

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I'd intended to add more here, earlier in the week.  Alas, the plans of mice and men....  I have pretty much always had an interesting time at the beginning of Spring.  I suspect it's due to temperatures fluctuating back and forth so much.  Along with that, I've gotten to spend an excessive amount of time with my phone manufacturer's tech support.  Problem solved, but time lost.

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As you can see, today's post has multiple shorter sections.  And more personal in some aspects.  And that may be happening more often.  Along with still including some in depth journeys into the Word.  I've been wrestling with which way to go -- long or short, one entry or multiple.  I've come to several conclusions.  First, that this is God's doing, so He's going to have to sort it out.  And, secondly, that I need to make myself available to God's leading so that postings here are far more regular than they were in the past.

I've toyed with the thought of multiple blogs, covering multiple areas of interest.  Besides Born Again Christianity being the focal point of my life and this blog, I have strong interests in a variety of styles of music, lots of techie stuff (particularly phone tech), business, leadership, etc.  You get the picture.  It doesn't all necessarily fit in one or even several locales.  Although I've more recently seen more complex sites where there are multiple sections. We'll have to see if that approach can work here or whether we need to move the blog.

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But, let's not forget the spiritual.  And today's thoughts turn toward entertainment.  And the effects on our souls.  The particular things that became highlights for me were mostly regarding sexuality, but they could just as well have been in any other  area of lifestyle.

It's easy to point out the way people dress and act at the various entertainment awards shows.  It's easy to point to lifestyles that come up in the tabloid papers and TV programs.  All of that is "out there" for people to see.  But there's a sometimes very subtle (sometimes not so subtle) agenda that has crept into the mass media.  For instance, there's a new police drama where the main character had a scene holding a conversation with his girlfriend in his kitchen, in the morning, she was in pajamas. The way it was handled, it was easy to conclude they hadn't been in separate beds all night, but the message was "this is OK".

Forgive me for asking, but Charlie Sheen got paid that much for portraying...Charlie Sheen?  

There are several comedies where one of the lead characters is a serial womanizer, but the character isn't quite totally masculine.  Not surprising in one case, since the actor is openly gay.  And why, on programs that are on in earlier time slots, do they have to have dialogue between unmarried couples in bed together?  And there are always the real life "nice" couples whose unmarried lifestyles and pregnancies garner headlines and approval.  Or the "nice" strait actors and actresses who suggest we should all be "tolerant of others".

Lest you mistake this for a diatribe against sex, let's look at another area that's handled in similar fashion.  I'd be willing to bet that most of us have seen some story where the villain is so evil, that Hollywood has tweaked our emotions into approving of the hero taking justice into his own hands, whether he actually did or not.  My favorite "procedural" series has a main character who leaves little wiggle room for imperfection and one of his talents is his sniper training.  In his past, prior to the point in time when the series starts, his wife and daughter witness a crime.  The drug lord involved has them killed.  In return, the main character finds out who ordered the hit and uses his sniper skills to assassinate the drug lord.  When this all comes out in a recent season of the series, those around him emotionally support his vigilante justice because it's him.  The writers were at least somewhat balanced in that the main character, although obviously not looking forward to the possible consequences of his earlier actions, didn't give himself any more wiggle room than he would anyone else. However,...shortly thereafter, some of the others around him decided that some of those involved in bringing his bad deed to light needed to become targets.  So much for balance.

And I've gone on pretty long to come to a pretty brief conclusion.  It's not the big scene with a submachine gun in each hand as grenades go off all around the hero seeking justice, or the obvious spouse-stealing adultery, or the blatant sexuality of a scene or show that will take us down.  It's the subtle messages and prodding that guide us down the wrong primrose path, as it gets past us before we really comprehend what we've accepted, sometimes with our own assistance.  And sometimes we don't fall for it.  But it's the acceptance of the little things that builds into the larger destruction of our souls.  The Bible says we need to guard our hearts.  In these times, that's even more true.  The message put out by the world isn't self determined justice, or self satisfaction, or self righteousness.  I believe those are only means to an end.  Because the real message of those things mentioned above is to believe anything except the Bible is true, except there is a God, except that God loves us, and except we can and must trust God in all things.  Guard your heart.

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Don't forget to pray for Libby.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Return for Prayer

It's been a year and a half since I was last on here.  God's kept me very busy in other directions. And it's been a fun ride.  But, recently, God has put it on my heart to restart the blog.  I had a bunch of ideas for my first post.  God had another thought in mind.  So, I'll start by asking you to pray for Libby Spradlin.  In a moment, I'll explain why.

Among my favorite subjects are spiritual leadership and the how-to of communicating via places like here.  And I recently found a blog that covers both (plus other things), written by Michael Hyatt.  Some of you may recognize the name, some may not.  Michael Hyatt is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.  You could very possibly be reading a Bible or Christian book published by them.  His blog can be found at http://michaelhyatt.com. It's worth a read.  

But I mentioned Michael here because Libby Spradlin is his granddaughter.  Libby has a very painful health condition that the medical people can't seem to pinpoint what it is or how to end it.  The details of the turmoil can be found on her mom's blog, here:  http://thedomesticexecutive.com/out-of-desperation.html.  When you read that, you'll understand the need for prayer.  That post brought me to tears for Libby.  Her grandparents and parents certainly have need for prayerful support, but they've certainly had time to develop their relationship with God and their understanding of Him.  Then there's Libby, who is going through a trial worthy of Job and her childlike faith gives her strength.  But how long before the pain gets to her spirit, before doubts come in?  The parents and grandparents need prayer for themselves in this situation, wisdom in keeping Libby as happy as possible and close to God.  So please pray for the Hyatts, the Spradlins and, most of all for Libby.

Also, there's a gentleman I'll call "Big J" (God knows who he is), who has made some spiritual missteps.  I've had the opportunity to give him some long distance counsel.  The next step is pastoral counsel from a local pastor in his area.  So, please pray that he finds the right pastor, receives the loving strength he needs from his friends and isn't held back in any area of his walk by embarrassment from his mistakes.

Those two situations got me thinking about prayer.  Yes, things happen because we pray.  But I think the biggest part of prayer is that it changes us.  As our focus and our concern grows for people and circumstances beyond ourselves, prayer allows our attitudes to become more God like.  We think more like Him, have more mercy like Him, give Grace like Him.  You can't stay angry at someone you really pray for.  And you can't help but grow in love for who you pray for.

So pray for Big J, the Hyatts and the Spradlins.  And, most of all, for precious Libby.