Anyone knows the perils of too much alcohol consumption.  The same is true for a host of other substances such as illicit drugs that come in a variety of concoctions.  And too, no one wakes up in the morning with the idea of becoming an alcoholic or a druggie.

All of that is old news.  What I’d like to see is an approach to scriptures that reveal war plans for resolution of crisis.

For example: Rather than preach the evils of alcohol or drugs or what we are used to seeing in church and that is sermons over and over again about the same old subjects let’s attack real-life problems.

From the top of my head, I know two guys.  One is recovering from drugs, but hard on alcohol. Another friend is hard on drugs and alcohol.  Okay then.  While on Bible study why not get together and then locate scriptures on these problems and then go out as a church body and approach those afflicted?

You see we get inspiration continuously from days of old from the Bible but rarely approach anything going on now.

It is great that Job endured his suffering.  It’s fantastic of Jonah and the whale or any of the other great saints and their endurances and trials. But as great as these saints are, it doesn’t help me.

Nor does it help my friends.  I need passages that pertain to the homeless, the afflicted, the infirmed, the barren, the sick, imprisoned, and hungry and poor.  I need those scriptures that address their needs and for us to go out to where they are and be with them in their times of need.

Demonizing the problem such as adages concerning alcohol–for example: a way to keep warm in a ditch is simply not helpful.  It does not solve the problem.  As a church we need to go beyond finger pointing.

We need scripture lessons that take us to the scene and out of the comforts of air conditioned buildings. We need tools, weapons against the wiles of the devil and the dark powers of this world.

Anything else is really nothing more than a fantasy as Christians will continue to remain ineffective against a world that does nothing but rail against the church and God’s people.  If we want change– If we want effective results, then we must act on our faith and quit hiding behind the cloak of the scriptures.


Life Can Really Suck At Times

There is not getting around it.  Sometimes life really sucks.  No sugar coating or Pollyanna view, positive thoughts, positive imaging, or anything else or earth can change that.  And once life sucks, more than likely things will grow even worse.

It would be pure BS for me to say that you can take it.  Too, on top of that, if you are going to hang around, then you will take it in spite of yourself. Yes, that sucks even more but that is how it is for those who endure.

People endure because they are tough.  They endure because of an inner faith that pulls them over, because no matter how much the odds are against them, they make it.

Of course, this doesn’t help you one single bit.  I would have to be a liar to insist that it did and most of the time, that’s exactly what others will do for you.  They will lie.

Whenever a close one in the family dies, it hurts and it hurts like hell.  The same is true for a divorce or an illness or tragic accident that occurs.  All of these events are devastating. They strike down to our very spirit, our soul and we feel lost and dejected.

And while I told you nothing helps…no not our thoughts or fears or strengths, that’s when we go to Jesus.

If there is one promise that Jesus has made to us and that was that he would be there always.  His presence can make a difference.  No, the dead here on earth won’t immediately come to life or a whole lot of other miracles we’d like to see, but His presence can overtake our life as opposed to the darkness of the world.

In this experience we do not have words, we have presence.  We have comfort through the presence of others: those who love us and those who care about us and those who care enough to stick around.

Sure.  Life will still suck in those times.  But the presence of God’s son gives us hope in spite of the agony, in spite of the pain.  And your presence does the same for it will be the spirit of the Lord in you that they will see in times like that.

Life can suck and hurt like hell at times.  In times like those it is important for the rest of us to step in and be there.  Our presence, like Jesus, is one more comfort for those wracked with the fever of desolation and insufferable pain.  And for all of that, life will suck a little less.

How They Treat Their Enemies

If you want to know something about a friend’s character, watch how they treat their enemies.  You and I see this played out all the time with ex-husband and ex-wives.  They were friends one moment and bitter enemies the next.

But that’s not what I’m calling attention to.  I’m pointing to HOW they treat their enemies and in that treatment, one day they will probably treat you the same way.

We have all seen love, kind and tender people go postal and vicious once that relationship is over.  How people forgive speaks volumes about us.

The true character of a person is or should be based on how they forgive.  Forgiveness requires tons of love and thus is indicative of a person’s true, inner character.

So then, watch your friend or neighbor for in the Good Times we are the Best of Friends.  It is during the cloud of the storm which will reveal our inner self.  The same is true for us with others.  I would like to think that you and I would depart in peace. I would trust I’m not wrong.

Backed Up In Traffic

For 45 long minutes, John Paul had already waited at the corner of the expressway for his friend.  As usual, they were to meet each Friday evening for their weekly get-together and night out filled with eats and a movie.  However, as usual, Tifton was late.

Agitated, John Paul cussed under his breath and then stomped his feet hard into the concrete payment.  At that instant, a fierce gale blew up from the south followed by a cold, penetrating rain.

“Damn.”  John Paul swore.  “Damn Damn!”

Traffic from all parts of the city had laced the expressway, joining bumpers with no end in sight for at least a mile.  And with that thought in mind, several panhandlers approached and demanded money and cigarettes.  John Paul pushed them off with a menacing frown and a flat, “No!”

That’s just like Tifton,” John Paul said.  “Late.  Always late.  He doesn’t care about me.  Doesn’t care about my situation.  He’s only thinking of himself.”

An hour later, the traffic calmed down to a trickle and John Paul trotted home in disgust only to see a pair of blue stroboscopic lights flash in rotating circles on his front lawn.  It was the police.

“Are you John Paul Reddy?”  a police officer asked.

John Paul nodded and proceeded over to the officer next to a patrol car.

“Well, we have a report that your friend, Tifton was to meet you for his weekly appointment.  Apparently he was backed up in traffic and tried to speed around a group of cars to meet you.  In the mayhem that followed, he was killed at an intersection when a city dump truck was unable to stop.  Tifton had run that light . . . you know how accidents happen.”

Being impatient with our friends is a comment approach to our problems.  Our first thought is to blame THEM for whatever happens whenever it doesn’t occur the way that we would like.  The next time you find yourself pointing a finger at your friend, or your girlfriend.  Stop and think about the story of John Paul and Tifton.  Instead of blaming, simply thank God that your friends are alive.

A comment worth Reading (Agent X)

here is the comment I left:

How about this for perspective.  And I in NO WAY suggest to undercut a single iota of your post at all.  Rather, I hope to enhance it.

You are in good company, actually.  Not excusing a thing, but look at The Twelve in the Garden that last night with Jesus.  Who is praying and who is falling asleep?

The guy in the lurch is praying.  There are no atheists in foxholes, and even Jesus is praying to the point of blood/sweat.  He KNOWS what is coming.

BTW, I wonder if you are aware that Gethsemane is a rest stop about halfway of the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple Mount across the Kidron Valley.  The pathway through the valley makes switchbacks.  (I grew up in Colorado.  Driving in the mountains can be slow as you are constantly turning and switching back.)

I also wonder if you are aware that when King David is on the run from his son Absalem who wants to kill him in an act of treason and take his crown… David stops in this same spot (Gethsemane).  David can see his son’s army making their way down the switchbacks and takes his cue to run.  David escapes that day into the Transjordan wilderness, and proves that Jesus could have done this too.  But instead, Jesus prays.  And what the Bible does not describe, but we can surmise easily enough, is that as he is praying, he sees the torches of Judas and his entourage approaching through the switchbacks across the valley long before they get there to arrest him.  So let that form the backdrop to the story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane.

His Twelve Apostles, the pillars of the church, are just clueless.  They have ideas about God’s Kingdom that are a million miles from Jesus’s (Read Mark chapter 8 and see what I mean).  If they had woke up, they too would notice the torches, but would still not appreciate what Jesus knows.  The betrayer approaches.

And Jesus pleads with his closest 3 friends to stay awake and pray.  HE is not running.  He plans to face this battle armed only with LOVE, but he sure could use the help of his friends praying with/for him.  But they fall asleep instead.

Yeah.  You are in good company.  The pillars of the church – THE TWELVE – has some deeply broken ideas about Jesus and his mission.  They cant stay awake and pray…  Ever have that problem?  Yeah.

But I must say, if you RISK your life with Jesus and really go with him where he really leads – and you don’t actually need me to explicate that for you.  Your post makes clear to me that you are capable of window shopping this or of going through the door and emptying your wallet.  If you will risk your life with Jesus, there is such a huge adventure there to be had.  There are dry times too, but the rich adventure will blow your mind too.

I am praying about that for you now.  And not just for you alone, and not for readers here either, necessarily.  But for THE CHURCH we both belong to (if you don’t, you should).  For we are not meant to embark on this adventure alone.  We are not lone ranger Christians.  We need to do this in sleeper cells in communities all over the world waiting only for orders from the Lord to plant imagination bombs of love and worship that change the world and win it back to its creator who loves it enough to give his son up for it all.

So… your post is dead on right.  Every word.  But here is a bit of perspective to add on to it.

I am praying….

God bless you.

Agent X
Fat Beggars School of Prophets
Lubbock, Texas (USA)

What We Didn’t Give

A certain man once gave his friend a large parcel of property of about 100 acres.  Naturally, the receiver was ingratiated and happy for the gift and thanked his friend accordingly. After throwing a celebration for the gift, the two and other friends joined and blessed the event publicly by posting a write-up in the local newspaper.

After the event and that next day, the donor of the property came by and once again told his friend that he had given him the property. The same happened the following day and the next and the next.

Pretty soon, the received began to believe that he wasn’t given the property at all for he was plagued with the constant reminders.

And so it is with us and God.  We return to God constantly, reminding Him how we have given ourselves to Him.  We do this time and time again where our sincerity can truly be challenged.

So really:  have we really given ourselves to our Lord, or are we perpetually presenting ourselves anew as if it had never ever happened?

More than likely, the truth is that all along, we gave whatever it was we didn’t have to give and thus must give it over and over again.

Give only what you have to give.  This requires honesty and a genuine heart to do what is truthful and right.  Finally, we can’t give what we don’t have for generally most of us fail in the capacity in possessing a pure heart.  Giving less than that is giving all of what we didn’t give.


You Are Far More Important than You Know

The 2016 count of the world’s population was place at 7.4 billion people.  Imagine that?  And out of those 7.4 billion people, you probably think you are pretty low on the list when it comes to being important.

If you live in America, then you represent one out of about 350 million people.  While those are better odds, most of us probably think more or less that we simply don’t count.  That we are NOT important.

Some of us feel that way at the ballot box and thus, we don’t vote.  Some believe whatever will happen will happen so we don’t bother.  Besides, some think:  they are not important.

Anyone knows by looking at the news by whatever media, the celebrities and all the fanfare made about them. We even hear news about their pets or trivialities such as connections with their next door neighbors.  Not true with us.

However, you are much more important than you know.

If you get up and go to work: then you are a true hero as you provide for your family.

If you hang around your family and participate with them, again, you are a hero as you are the principal building block of a family and a strong community.

So too, you opinion counts, your feelings count and the earth is better off because you are here. Without you, your kids would never had existed.

More critical even is that you are important because it was GOD who breathed life into you in the first place.  You are the gift to this world, created in HIS image.

This means that you are important because God is important and God also said that you are Good and that is important as well.

And upon your return to God’s fold you are important enough that the shout of Angels can be hear for they and God rejoice for the return of their valuable people.

This means that you are valuable, and important.  This means that when you feel down and low down then we should return to the words of our Lord to be uplifted to our Father who resides in heaven.  It means your importance is great for it was God who put you here in the first place and it’s also important that we end up with our Father in His mansion for that all is so very important—the most important of all.

The Bad Guys

Some of us are experts in identifying the bad guys.  You know who I’m speaking about:  the druggies, the homeless, the cons and felons and liars and robbers, and arsonists and murderers and rapists, sex offenders and racketeers and all round bad fellows. We can spot these types from a mile away and are always great about pointing them out for others to stay away from.

We are just as good or even better about preaching against these people.  Oh, we mark their sins with expert precision, delineating one from the others. We have become pros in separation and in good moral encouragement.

We judge with absoluteness, with no sleight of hand, pronouncing our judgments on people with resolution fit for a king. In two large swaths, we have boiled down people into two main categories: we have us and then again, we have THEM.

All of this works more or less most of the time until something happens:  Terrible calamities fall and we find we have screwed up Big Time and the worst of the worst happens and we discover:  WE ARE ONE OF THEM!  Curses.

And even though we are one of THEM, we argue we are not so bad.  We argue there were circumstances that mitigate the situation and that we should be given a break, a pardon.

At this point, there is no possible way we are ever going to see our self as a bad guy, and thus, we, in all our denial excuse our behavior, our designation as a bad guy.

In this predicament, we reverse the roles and suddenly, the other people become the Bad Guys and where we were the Bad Guy, we are now the Good Guy.

As Christians, we should be much better than this:  we should not have all our Bad Guys marked without redemption.  Instead, if we were to see ourselves as the bad guys from the beginning, we could then work on what is really important:  and that is : not for us to change THEM, but for us to change our self.

So then, we see it is no longer important to separate Good Guys from Bad guys.  There is no We and THEM.  It should all be WE from the get-go.  Too, the truth is also clear enough.  If we do have Bad Guys for sure, then those Bad Guys should begin with the inner workings of our self

Who’s Talking to Who?

It is clear that most passages of the Old Testament were directly talking to people of that era and only of that era.

It becomes much trickier in the New Testament.  Here, we as Christians are either surrounded with doubt, explain away the situation or simply bypass it altogether.

Let’s examine one popular passage that is quoted frequently in Christian Circles:

“Whenever two or more of you are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of you…”

Another is:  “Ask whatsoever in my name…” The idea here is, that we can ask for the desires of our heart and we can have it.

Sometimes statements made only to the disciples obviously carry over to other people as well.  The Lord’s prayer comes to mind as an example.

But, for many things, it appears Jesus was speaking to and only to His Disciples.
For example:  getting something when the only requirement is as if only two were asking ‘as if touching it.’  Okay, now you and I can explain this away all day long, and we can agree on something just as often, but really, we don’t get those things that we say.  Instead, we lie about it, pray an extremely vague, general prayer so we don’t have to admit to failure.

Neither God, nor His son is a liar.  When He tells us something, it is true, and He means it.

However, as many times as we’ve heard the tale:  How many of us have walked on water?  How many have turned water into wine?  Or feed 5,000 with a hand full of fish and bread?

Surely, you might explain this all away by saying our prayers must be in accordance with God’s will, but in actuality we say that because we simply don’t have an explanations for our failures.

How many of us have prayed for an amputee and had the amputee’s leg grow back and replaced.  Heck, we don’t even see where Jesus performed this deed.  It doesn’t mean that he didn’t and clearly he could have, but the bible doesn’t say that he did.

If you have done it, I’d like to hear about  it.

More importantly, I believe the world would just like Christians to be Honest about what they actually, truly believe and admit the things they don’t know.  Too often we lie.  We say we believe something, but we don’t and we don’t for the proof is in what we do.  I do good to swim, much less walk on water.  And the last I looked most Christians do what I do and when they are sick, they go to the doctor or hospital.  The same is true concerning our teeth:  we go to the dentist.

Finally, Who is Talking to Who?  In most cases, I believe Jesus was speaking directly to His disciples and that was it.  In other cases, well it is a simple matter of pondering and I will have to take it that way until He speaks to me directly.  At all costs we should be honest and only state those items we know we believe and can demonstrate plainly by our deeds.  Those actions will speak far greater than words.

A repost from Agent X Most worthwhile post

Don’t let the formal training part speak TOO loud. Its of value, but not the deciding factor.
As to the living testimonies and beyond/without words part…
YES! In fact, I think pretty much the whole Bible is geared around this notion in some complex ways. We were designed to bear the image of God, but sin has tarnished that image.
Bearing the image means bearing witness – testifying -both with and without words. Adam (and EVE) originally was the perfect image of God in the world – put in place of dominion and reign over all creation – second only to God himself! We should see that plainly in Genesis 1 and 2. (Bible, in otherwords). But it poetically comes out in Joseph sold into slavery to Egypt and going to prison etc only to become the NUMBER 2 leader of the whole known world! We should see that God is working in him to restore that original vocation.
Was Joseph a sinful man? I am sure he was, but I cant think of a single sin the Bible witnesses against him. Still, we don’t deify him, but we find out that to err is not actually human – it is to sin. Humanity, in its truest sense is not sinful at all, not errant at all, but bears God’s image.
We see this time and again all through Israel’s history, but it comes supremely visible in Jesus. St Paul tells the Colossians that he is the image of the invisible God – the perfect image of God!
In today’s world of science and politics, we say you cannot see God. He is invisible to science and politics. But he is visible to LOVE. And we are designed to bear his image! And Matt. 25 would have us see Jesus in the poor, the vulnerable, the sick, the homeless, the imprisoned… And there is no doubt that when we act as Jesus to those people, they will see him in us. And where two or three are gathered in his name, there he is…. I am sure I have read this stuff somewhere…. oh, yeah… THE BIBLE!
And so all of this resonates with conservative biblical Christianity completely. AND YET, opens the door for the world to see God and know him IN the humans!
And notice that St Paul tells the Romans (chapter 8) that the creation (the world) waits eagerly like in birth pains for the revelation of the sons of God! That’s us! We have a job to do! We must rule this world as the second in command by bearing his humble image in it!!!! And that too is in the Bible, but not where it is actually seen. It is seen in us when we rule the world in LOVE – love of God, love of one another, and even love of enemy….
YES… your post is exploding with all this stuff.