Why I don’t care if you cut me off… sometimes.

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Optimism vs. Pessimism

Getting out of my apartment is dangerous. There is construction, cars are speeding by, and not too many people have the courtesy of slowing down to let you out. Usually I just have to pull out and cut someone off. This morning was no different. I pulled out and cut someone off. They, of course, were livid and decided to share their favorite finger with me!

I continued down the road and took a right. I was having a nice drive until someone pulled out of an apartment complex and cut me off! I was instantly filled with rage. No one was in front of me or behind me. Why did this person have to ruin my day? Couldn’t they have just waited until I was passed them?

I’m sure you see the irony here. No more than three minutes ago I had just cut someone off and here I was livid that someone could possibly have the audacity to do the same exact thing. I can think of a lot of things that I look at the same way. I’m severely ADHD and if someone is talking I could unexpectedly interrupt with a random thought. But, if someone were to interrupt me in the same fashion I would probably be quick to say they were rude.

This isn’t everyday. Someday’s I get cut off and I’m fine. Sometime’s I get interrupted and I don’t care. Same situation but a different response. Why?

I Smother Things in Optimism

I think it is all a mindset. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Do you know when my best days are? When I decide early on that I am going to have a great day.

Admittedly this morning I woke up a little sore, tired, and pessimistic. So, when that person cut me off, I responded in anger. But, I can say there have been days I have woken up and decided that this would be a great day and nothing really gets to me.

The other day, for example, my battery died, I got a screw in my tire, my check engine light came on, and copper seeped into my brake fluids. There are plenty of reasons right here to be a sour patch. But, knowing where my hope and joy come from kept me optimistic as ever.

I get compliments all the time on my optimism, energy, and enthusiasm. This isn’t to brag at all but rather to let the cat out of the bag. I have just as many reasons as you and anyone else I know to be a downer. Bad things happen to me all the time. Unfortunate events (self inflicted or spontaneous) plague my life. I find myself praying to God asking Him to provide for things that I can’t handle or understand often.

So that being said, here are my three tips for smothering any and everything in optimism.

  1. Remembering God will provide
  2. You are blessed
  3. Christ died for him/her/them

No matter the obstacle or fear; God WILL provide. (I’ve talked about this before HERE)  I may be down on my luck; I am blessed. Someone may push you to a new level of anger or disappointment; Christ died for them.

 

 

Photo Credit

 

Are you scared to die?

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If reincarnation is real I want to be a dog…

Necrophobia is the fear of death. According to Statistic Brain, 68% of Americans have this fear. America and the cinema are obsessed with it. Death is all around us. Movies like to depict what it will be like in the end of times. Terminator, I am Legend, Mad Max, or any of your classic zombie films all have this in common. There is a list of many more but you get the point.

Everyone wonders what happens to them when they die. Some think it all goes dark. You die and then it’s nothing. You just cease to exist. Others believe in reincarnation where you die and come back as something else depending on how you acted in your previous life. If this were true I would definitely hope to become a dog. Life would be so simple. Chase a ball and get pets. What more can you ask for?

But what does God say about death and dying? What does God promise us?

Revelation 21:1-7 promises us three things:

  1. We will be made new. (vs 1-3)
  2. We shall be fully happy. (vs 4)
  3. We will become the top one percent. (vs 5-7)

We will be made new

This one is exciting for me. The word new here isn’t talking about from scratch. Unfortunately, I’m not going to come out a foot taller and exceptionally handsome after I die. But rather, I will be made new. All my mistakes, all my regrets, and all my bad will be wiped away and replaced with a new me.

We shall be fully happy

Oftentimes we find our happiness from worldly possessions. I can attest to this. My family has nicknamed me Willy. Why you ask? Well, because I have the biggest sweet tooth you could ever imagine. There’s actually a specific story of running away from my mother while scarfing down the candy in my hand before she caught me. It’s a long story but basically I needed to lose weight for a powerlifting meet and I got caught casually eating seven or eight candy bars. My mom chased me and I ran while eating so I could finish them before she caught me. It’s sad but it’s true.

The point is I clearly find happiness from things of this world. But eventually that ends. I was overly happy when I was running from my mom and eating my candy. But, when she caught me my happiness was stripped from me.

When I buy new things it’s the same thing. I buy a new bike. For a week or two it’s shiny and exciting. For a week or two it brings me a lot of happiness every time I look at it. But, eventually it just becomes a bike. Nothing new and nothing special.

However, we are promised full happiness in Heaven. Revelation 21:4 says, “…There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain…” Happiness forever.

We will become the top one percent

Our culture has become obsessed with money, objects, and possessions. The more you have the better. The newer all of that stuff; just a cherry on top. I drive around in some of the neighborhoods in the town I live in and sometimes envy the mansions that I will never own. But I start to remember a promise right here in Revelation 21:6-7.

“He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”

I’m already filthy rich. When I die I inherit more than anyone’s money can buy. I inherit all that is good. I will be eternally near God. All of this for the huge price of (wait for it) nothing. The Bible says I will drink from the water of life for no cost.

Necrophobia is the fear of death. I am part of the 32 percent of people who have no fear of death. There are others too that I would assume are not Christian. Unfortunately those are the people that need to be scared most. Revelation 21:8 describes a place that I am lucky that I don’t have to fear when I die because of the cross and what Christ did for me and anyone who accepts Him.

I’ll conclude with this, “Adjectives that the world fears the most (orphaned, hopeless, condemned, dead) can never truthfully be said of the Christian.” (Austin Holcomb)

 

 

Picture Credit: http://blog.dogtv.com/?p=1987

Is porn the new cigarette?

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It’s slow, it’s silent, and it’s deadly

A lot of us forget that cigarettes use to be cool. In the 1950s smoking was the epitome of cool. Hollywood stars were doing it. They made it seem sensual and sophisticated. All the while, slowly and silently it was killing all those who were using it. Second-hand smoke caused potential hazards for those next to the ones smoking.

There was a time when the creators of the cigarette denied there being any negative consequences from the usage of cigarettes. But when we looked inside the body all we found was cancer and rot.

There is a new cigarette: Porn. It’s addictive, it’s deadly, and it’s rotting the insides of everyone who views it. Here are a few bitter facts about porn that you may not know: (sources are List 25, Psychology Today, and Fight the New Drug)

  • most males experience porn for the first time between 10 and 12
  • the sex industry is the most profitable industry in the world
  • a new pornographic film is made every 39 minutes in the United States
  • studies have shown teenagers all over the world use porn to learn about real life sex
  • in 2004, nearly 500,000 marriages ended due to pornography in the United States

According to the website Fight the New Drug, porn kills our brain, warps our heart and ruins our world. Porn is addictive, it acts like a drug, it changes our behavior, it kills love, it lies, it warps sex, it leads to violence, it’s a main cause for sex slavery, and it hates families.

If all of this is true, why are we not talking about it? And, what does God say about this kind of sexual immorality?

  1. We should not become enslaved to anything of this world. (1 Corinthians 6:12, 2 Peter 2:19)
  2. Lust of flesh and of the eyes are from the world and not God. (1 John 2:16)
  3. Lusting after another is the same as adultery. (Matthew 5:28)

There’s no doubt that Satan has helped in the shaping and warping of the definition and purpose of sex. Sex is a beautiful thing between a husband and wife. Outside of marriage it has been tainted and replaced with pornography, homosexuality, rape, and lust. (Got Questions)

Got Questions has seven steps for those who are seeking freedom from pornography.

  1. Confess your sin to God (1 John 1:9)
  2. Ask God to cleanse, renew, and transform your mind (Romans 12:2)
  3. Ask God to fill your mind with the right things (Philippians 4:8)
  4. Ask God to allow you to become holy when it comes to sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)
  5. Understand the proper meaning of sex and rely on (or wait for) your spouse alone to meet that need (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)
  6. Ask God to learn to walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16)
  7. Take practical steps to reduce your exposure through pornography blockers, limiting television and video usages, and finding someone who can keep you accountable (Proverbs 27:17) Click Here for a software called Safe Eyes. It is a great PC software that can help protect you and your family from the dangers of the internet.

This last part is for the parents

I honestly don’t know how many parents read my blog. But if there are any, this last part is for you. My first bullet point on bitter facts about pornography should concern you. Most males are exposed to porn between 10 and 12. A lot of it is by accident or because they have heard about it from a friend.

Either way, you have a steep battle to fight. If you aren’t talking to your kid about sex, the purpose of sex, the dangers of sex, pornography, and the dangers of pornography then someone else will. I’m not here to tell you how to be a parent but I am here to present some chilling facts that our children and youth are facing.

I really encourage you to talk to your kid before it is too late. Here is a good article I found by Family Life that tackles the issue of talking to your kid about pornography and its dangers. Click Here to check it out.

 

Picture credit: http://hub.jhu.edu/2015/02/04/e-cigarettes-immune-system

 

 

I’m glad God doesn’t have my timing…

I sleep through alarms

Last year some time my pastor asked me to be at our church at 5:30 in the morning. I needed to be there to block off parking with cones because there was a dance competition. If we didn’t get there early enough then there was a big chance that all the ‘dance parents’ would steal our parking before church started.

Saturday night I laid down and went to sleep.  Sunday morning I was woken up abruptly to banging on my door at 6:45 am. I immediately started panicking because I realized the time. I was already suppose to have shaved, showered, and put cones in the parking lot over and hour ago!

Luckily for Fort Bend Fellowship we have an amazing volunteer who scaled some fences and woke up a lot of my neighbors in order to make sure that we saved our parking. To this day I’m not sure how he got into our gated community or knew where I lived but I am very thankful that he is such a great servant.

I’m glad God’s timing is NOT my timing

Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

There is a great song by Bethel called “No Longer Slaves” and in the bridge  it says, “You split the seas so I could walk right through it.” At the perfect time God provided a way for Moses as he was fleeing from the Egyptians. In the same way God will provide for you at the perfect time and in the perfect way.

Kristian and I have been married roughly one year now. When we first got married there were times that we threw our hands up in the air because, financially speaking, we needed God to provide for us. For a while I was the only one with the job and if God had not intervened then we wouldn’t have made it through. God provided for us.

It wasn’t easy but at the end of the day we trusted God and He provided for us each and every time. Not always in the way that we expected or wanted but always in the perfect way. He will do the same for you.

God is never late

It’s been said that, “God is never late and rarely early. He is always exactly right on time. His time.”

Could you imagine if God did have my timing? Moses would be approaching the Red Sea and God would be distracted and think, “Wasn’t I suppose to be doing something right now. Oh well I’m sure it wasn’t too important.” Then, Moses would have been captured by the Egyptians.

But He doesn’t. God doesn’t sleep in. God does not delay and whatever it is that you need, God knows. If you trust in Him, put your faith in Him, and ask Him, He will provide. And, just like He has ‘split the seas’ for Moses, Kristian, and myself He will do the same for you. Rarely early, never late, and always at the perfect time.