I received several nice comments regarding my "eight things about me" post (thank you very much) and, along with some gentle proding from the Holy Spirit, I think I am going to work on a write up of my testimony to share at a (hopefully near) future date. There are so many things that really do point to the incredible grace and mercy of God in my life. My career. My actually knowing Jesus Christ. My being alive and relatively unscarred existance. My beloved. My children. And so much more. I would like to say that I was once told that I was an answer to prayer from several friends in the church I first went to after being saved. They had been praying for God to show them an example of His amazing grace at work in the life of someone. And I am so grateful that He used me in their life in that regard. I am told that even my (first) name talks about the grace of God... John. When the time comes I just hope I can express all that God has done, and what He did to bring about my being able to call Him Lord and Savior. Verse for today: Romans 5:6-11, ESV For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


Eight things about me

Ok, yesterday I found out that I was "tagged" so here it goes: The rules: Each player lists 8 facts or habits about themselves; the rules of the game are to be posted first; at the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and goes to their blogs to leave a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged. 1) I believe that things like solar energy and geothermal technology for the home owner is an excellent idea. But right now the tech is generally out of reach for most Americans, and that is a shame. 2) I tend to speak very literally. I do not like to use "absolutes" when I talk. Even on things I am pretty confident about I will always leave room for the unknown. 3) When I was younger I lived for a brief time with a family that collected old beer cans. They went on outings to look for them and then brought them home to carefully restore them. It was an impressive collection, but I grew up hating beer so... I started collecting soda cans. Before I lost it (long story) I hade over a hundered and twenty different cans. 4) The only 'fight' I am glad I lost with my younder brother was over a woman. I was young and didn't see the signs. In the end she cheated on me while I was away in basic training with my own brother. They got married (which I did not go to the ceremony), had two beautiful daughters, and eventually got divorced. She took him for everything - three houses, two cars, and all the property. My brother ended up with his pickup truck and no cash. 5) I have a hard time with book learning. Subjects like English and History are very hard for me. But Math I can get into. There are things for me to do, problems to solve. History and English require me to read and remember. But I do find that when I take notes I often do not have to go back and review them. My memory and learning seemed very much tied into my hands. :) 6) It drives me nuts when things are left open. Cabinets, closets, drawers. I will open and close the same door three dozen times while working on something if I have to. I will often call my children down stairs from where ever they are, from what ever they are doing, just to close a door they left open. I'm probably scaring them for life. 7) I LOVE praise & worship music. Especially if I am able to really get 'alone' to focus on the words and on my Savior. It draws my mind into the wonders of all that God is. I especially love the songs that draw the attention away from myself and point towards Him.
Jesus, Lover Of My Soul (It's All About You) It's all about You, Jesus And all this is for You For Your glory and Your fame It's not about me As if You should do things my way You alone are God and I surrender To Your ways
8) I have, for all intents and purposes, lived on my own since I was 16. Granted, in the early years I was supported by a vary caring friend fo the family, but I was expected to pay rent, etc. Which I did not always do. After living in seven differnt houses/apartments, and attending three different schools in the 9th grade I had had enough. The next time my mother moved I told her I was staying where I was when she upped an moved again. (And that was after moving twice more in the 10th grade).
Well, I had to search my brain and come up with eight things I was pretty sure I had not blogged about before. LOL I am also having trouble coming up with eight people to tag. I will see who has not already been tagged and edit this post and let them know as well. :)
Verse for today:
God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, [1] but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’”


Yikes! I've been tagged!

Well, "Big Mama" has tagged me to post Eight things about myself. I am a little short on time so I will sort of work on it on the side and post it tomorrow. Not much new here. I've been gathering information to try and make sure I have all my ducks in a row for when I decide to retire from the National Guard. For my part, when the time comes, I really only have two obligations. One is to put my request to retire in written form. The other is to make sure I attend a briefing that outlines all the options and things that need to take place to retire. Ok, the latter is actually a unit obligation, but I think this is one I should really make sure of myself. ;-) Last night my beloved and I had a last minute BBQ. Nothing fancy, just us and the two other families that went with her to pick cherries. We threw hot dogs and burgers on the grill, cleaned off a few carrots, and brought out the bags of chips and that was it. The best part about it was staying up way too late to talk with some freinds who we rarely get to hang out with. One family (the one that stayed way too late) is heavily involved with Young Life and attend the same church we do. We got into some really good discussions about what we like, and what we would prefer to see, in 'church'. We are not out to change the world, or even undermine what is going on in our local church, we just believe there are things that could go better. Something I need to pray more on - and maybe step forward in some fashion. The other family have been good friends since my beloved was in College, and they have taken the lead to start a new caregroup (home group, biblical community, small group, whatever term you might use - you get the idea). We are planning on rotating between their house (only four doors down) and ours. We shall see. Well, that is all I have, and I've been rambling on for too long as it is... Verse for today:
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.


Living Cross centered

I actually managed to drag my tired old bones out of bed at 6:30 this morning so that I could go and walk for exercise. I really want to make this a habit in my life. I actually have goals in this....

1) I want to get back down to 185. I'd be happy to get back to 190! lol :)

2) I would like to lower my colesterol back down below 180. I would especially desire to get the good and bad ratios back to healthy levels.

3) To walk for 10,000 miles. Now, that seems like a crazy number... maybe it is, maybe it isn't... but it sets a "carrot" before me. Something to shoot for. One thing a marksman does before he takes a shot. He focuses on the target, not the sights of the weapon. This allows the eye to naturally adjust the weapon to line it up with the target. In this way I hope to keep my 'program' sighted in on the goal of 10,000 miles. By God's grace I hope it will be a habit so that when that goal is reached it may be a mere stepping stone to continue on.

Ok, this is getting a little off track... maybe. :) Who knows where this is going. "Is anyone driving this bus?"

My beloved got an MP3 player for me before I left for my two week training. It was my Father's day gift this year. Wow do I enjoy that little thing. What a wonderful little device that I can use to listen to Praise and Worship music, contemporary Christian music, AND (for me this is the biggest thing I was hoping for) I can download and listen to sermons. This morning what a wonderful walk. I listened to a sermon from what I would consider to be a "sister" church - Living Faith Church in Frankliln, WV. The sermon was on a subject near and dear to my heart, "A Cross Centered Life" (Pastor Steve Teter, 6-May-2007).

I have heard similar sermons before by CJ Mahaney (who wrote "The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the main thing, the main thing") and to be honest I struggled to keep my mind focused on the sermon, but God stirred my sould again. My mind fills with doubts, but God is good. I want to focus on what little morsels God places before me, and then allow His Word to nurish my soul and see where He leads.

The one thing that really struck me and inspired todays blog (finally getting around to it...) was that when my Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross and became a propitiation for my sins I am completely forgiven. My sins which are ever before me are completely and totally forgiven. So much so that I am considered to have kept the law perfectly because of what He accomplished. Not by anything I did, only by what He has done. And there is nothing in my life that my Father is surprsied by. Every day of my life is known to Him already.

Now, this does not give me license to go about and sin. The very fact that I am redeamed and forgiven, reconciled, changes my heart. I want to do nothing but please and obey my Lord, despite my failures.

The last thing that stuck in my mind was this. As we walk through this life, as we work more and more on our on going sanctification, we (should) become more and more aware of our sins. This side of heaven we never arrive, we are constantly being conformed into the image of or Lord, why? Because He loves us.

Verse for today:
1 John 3:4-10, ESV
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's [2] seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.


Back to the grindstone

Well, I just returned from my two week training cycle. For the most part it was a very low tempo cycle. The most excitement I had was getting to learn about the Mk19. It is an air cooled weapon and was a blast to learn about and then teach to other people within my battalion. I also had the opportunity to learn more about what an Artillery Platoon Sergeant needs to do. I learned about the Mils system and things like that. When I got home on Saturday the family schedule was already in full swing. Not having been home 30 minutes we were heading right back out the door to a friend's 40th birthday celebration. Lots of kids there, which was good for us. :) Afterwards we took him to see a movie - Evan Almighty (read a review here). Although some of the people I invited to go see it did not want to go as they felt it offended their beliefs somehow - I felt it was a good movie. I would not hesitate to take my kids to see it. Now, it was heavily slanted towards conservationism. but that is not always a bad thing either. After all, when God put Adam and Eve in the Garden he entrusted man to take care of His creation. To just waste willy-nilly is not being a good steward. That's all I have for now. But I hope to clear my mind of things and post a better blog entry tomorrow. :) Verse for today: Psalm 121:1-2, ESV I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.


A verse that keeps coming back up

Ephesians 4:29-32, ESV Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. This verse seems to have become a theme for me over the past few weeks. Especially as I continue to try and learn how to communicate better with my beloved. I'm a little nervous about sharing this with her... I don't want her to think I am pointing the finger solely at her... but if I feel led to a verse, and feel that God has given it to me to share... than in order to best serve my beloved, and lead her as I should... I need to step forward in faith. I will be away for a little while, but will be back and blogging in no time.


Strange emotions today

This morning I was jarred awake during a dream I had. I didn't remember much, but I remember roaming around what I think was a subway system - looking for someone. There were a lot of dark shadows... When I woke up I just remember being compelled to pray for those heading overseas. Especially since I know a lot of them. One being my brother - who I am not going to be able to catch up with before he heads out of town. :( I even read a story about Woodruff, the reporter who was severely injured in Iraq last year (maybe it was two years ago now), and it struck me that I may not see some of the guys again. Verse for today: Psalm 63:5-10, ESV My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals.


Cyclical evolutions of society

For some time I have been concerned about the future of America. I love this country, but I have serious concerns with how we abuse the priviledge of freedoms here in United States. The Bible tells us, ""Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." (1 Corinthians 10:23-24, NIV). Even a cursory study of ancient empires such as Rome and Greece shows that a slide into decadence preceeded their falls. Now I am not sure how long those slides were before the end - but it was clear that they defeated themselves within before their enemies from outside finished them off. What stirred this up in my mind of late was a recent show on the History Channel titled "Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed". In it the commentators talk about the Empire and how George Lucas used the falls of those empires as an example for his own story of corruption and the fall of his empire in the movies. But just like I can't figure out why the charecters in the movie did not understand that the fulfilling of the prophecy (in Anikan Skywalker) would bring down their precious order of Jedi - I am thinking that most Americans (and by that I refer to the citizens of the United States) understand that the "freedoms" they indulge in, that go against the ways of God, will eventually erode our society. Perhaps (in my opinion probably) the eventual rotation of America - similar to ancient Rome and Greece. A really good commentary can be found over at Focus on the Family. Yesterday I heard Pastor John McArthur preaching on this very subject. Focus on the Family has a two day series titled, "A Nation Abandoned by God". It really made me think, and it has really motivated me to pray for my country. I know I have been impacted by the very things I fear will erode this country. To my shame I know I have contributed to those very things. But it is by God's grace that I am forgiven - and our country is not beyond hope. Look to Nineveh to see what happens when a country receives the word of God and repents. I worry about these things because this is the country God has placed me. This is the country my children have been born in as well. And it is most likely the place where we will all grow old and die in, and thus generations will continue to dwell here. America is a great country. Her place in history is assured alongside those other great nations, and by God's grace she will see many, many, many more centuries of prominance within the world. A footnote here... I in no way endorse, or participate in, any actions taken against this government. I see people like those who shoot abortion doctors, or try to do things that harm others that do not agree with them as being a black eye on those of us who profess Christ. The only action I can endorse is the activity of prayer and the participation in our electoral system. Engage in the active discussions with elected officials - even the ones that do not agree with you - and let our voice be heard. Do not be the 'silent majority' - we need to be the vocal (not violent) majority. Verse for today: Jonah 3:6-10, ESV The word reached [3] the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.


Is the summer already over?

I have gone over the calender and I have exactly 8 days that I am not working or have something already planned. *sigh* Does it ever slow down? There are a lot of things I am looking forward to though. We are going to Hershey Park and Williamsburg (at different times). I hope to do a two day trip to Gettysburg with a friend of mine who wrote a Masters thesis on the battle of Antietam - specifically on the portion fought in and around Burnside's Bridge. There are some mundane/work tasks to be done as well. My annual two week annual training for the National Guard, which along with the two other drill weekends, accounts for about nineteen days of my summer. I need to just be grateful that I am even home to consider what little time I do have free. I know several of my fellow soldiers personally that are not going to be able to enjoy even that. Verse for today: Psalm 139:7-12, ESV Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.


The Power of the tongue

Recently I have become increaingly aware of exactly how much trouble I have communicating accurately with my beloved. I will say something and she will reply, "What do you mean?" And I think over what I was saying, and usually I end up repeating what I said before. It's not just one way either. She will be telling me something and I am replying, "what do you mean?". LOL But it's not just when we are talking to each other. In general it's about the overall assumptions.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)
And yet I struggle at times with this when dealing with my own wife. :( And there is so much I wish I could tell her... and vice versa. Verse for today: Ephesians 5:25-33, ESV Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. [1] In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.