Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I know it's been a while since I've written. It's been a busy couple of weeks with moving and Christmas. I haven't written anything really deeply spiritual, either, and today is no different. I am in the office for a little while just to do the Sunday bulletin, print and cut it, and go. I have to stop by the old house for a few things, and go back home. I'll finish up everything there tomorrow, and arrange to turn in the keys.

The kids had a great Christmas. Our family in Michigan sent money rather than gifts, so we could shop for them. My oldest girl got something she has wanted for some time now- an electric guitar like mine, and a small 9-volt battery operated amplifier. The guitar is a Squire Mini Strat, built by Fender, who made mine. My younger girl got a "Fur Real" toy cat that purrs, meows and moves. The boys got a Black & Dekker toy tool bench, among other things.

We had some good food, too. I cooked a turkey, a ham, stuffing and mashed potatoes. We had apple and pumpkin pie. And we ended the evening with "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian".

I hope you all had a good Christmas, too. Till next time, God bless!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is this cool or disturbing?

I don't know if this is cool or disturbing. Some guy in the Toronto area made himself an android girlfriend! The man is a software engineer, and he designed Aiko, in the picture above. She is quite lifelike, isn't she? He has equipped her body with sensors, including, ahem, the private areas. OK, that settles it with me. This falls into the "disturbed" category!

While this guy went crazy with the sensors, the technology is cool. It would be neat to have personal robot assistants running errands and cleaning the house, wouldn't it?

Until later, friends.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Caught in His Arms

This has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for us. It all started last Tuesday afternoon. Upon my return home to the house we rent, I found a huge eviction notice stuck to the front door. We were planning on leaving to move closer to the church, but I was unprepared for what I saw on that notice. It said we had 24 hours to get our stuff cleaned out of the house! I hadn't seen any notice, or gotten anything in the mail, yet we had a day to move. Talk about pressure!

A torrent of emotions washed over me. I experienced everything from fear to saddness to laughter. Mostly fear and saddness. I spent what seemed like hours on the phone with the Sheriff's office, the courts, and our pastor. We had a sleepless night or preparations for a sudden move, and the next morning I drove to Bartow to the circuit court to file an emergency stay of eviction. It was an unnerving day, to say the least. I eventually got the good news that the bank now owning the house gave us through the end of the month to find another home. That news alone brought me to tears of joy. All the torment of the past 24 hours finally let off. To say I was pleased would be a gross understatement.

To compound the matter, I had to deal with our minvan that was being serviced. It's fixed now, but then I had to spend my time looking for a new home. Well, that day has arrived. I got word yesterday that we were approved for a rental in Lakeland, and can start moving in Dec. 19th. We are excited!

But, what this whole ordeal has reminded of is that, though life may drop me, Jesus is always there to catch me. The whole time that I panicked and worried and cried, he was there. His hand was with me even when He seemed a million miles away. Those around told me that. My wife told me that. Somewhere deep down, I'm sure I heard the Lord Himself tell me that. But fear gripped me, and that was all I seemed to be able to process. But praise the Lord, He took me through that fire!

I didn't have a scripture in mind when I started blogging this, but now I do. Check out what Isaiah said-

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."

God's people somehow and someway must have been dealing with a situation they felt they could not escape. I don't know the circumstances, but I love God's answer. No matter what the trial, no matter what the problem, if God is for us, who can be against us? What circumstance is bigger that Him?

I'm glad on this side of the trial to have gone through it. I'm thankful that God used a bad situation and walked us through it. I don't ever want to experience that again, but I learned how faithful God really is thorugh this. I think that was what Paul the Apostle was getting at when he said to "give thanks in all circumstances". And the Lord has shown us again and again that he is with us. I've been blessed with a new home. God has provided for us financially just this week in ways I never expected.

I don't know who this is for today. It certainly isn't my best writing. Maybe it was just for me, but if you are blessed by this reminder today, pass it on to someone else.

God bless!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Televised Suicide?

I can't believe it, but it has happened. Over in Switzerland, on an assisted-suicide advocacy show, an American, who had been living in the UK, committed suicide. He apparently had some disease like Lou Gherrig's, or another motor neuron disease. It's a sick thing that we live in a time that we glorify such things on national TV. It probably won't be long before that stuff starts getting done on our own networks here in America.

While I find doing the deed on TV for all to see rather disturbing, what saddens me even more is the how this man viewed himself. Just read what he had to say before he died:

"You can watch only so much of yourself drain away before you look at what is left and say 'This is an empty shell,''' he said. "Once I become completely paralyzed then I am nothing more than a living tomb that takes in nutrients through a tube in the stomach - it's painful."

I understand the feeling that he useless. I feel down if I just have the flu and can't get out of bed. But I'm deeply troubled when I read this, because I know that God had a plan for this man, even in a paralyzed state. He viewed himself as nothing more than an empty shell. I wonder how this must make God feel. God can use anyone, he can do anything. He could have used this man.

When I read the Bible, I read lots of promises. One of my favorites is Jeremiah 29:11-

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

This was written during a time that these Jews may have felt "paralyzed". They had been taken away captive to Babylon, far away from the Temple, far from their homeland. They desired to be back home, yet they would spend the next 70 years enduring the judgment for their sins. Yet, in the face of all that, God sent them a letter through the prophet Jeremiah, who was still back in Jerusalem. He told them to carry on with their lives. He told them to build houses, and plant gardens. He told them to multiply. He wanted them to keep getting married and having kids. He wanted them to be fruitful in their circumstances. And that is when God told them that He indeed had good plans for His people. They had a future, and they had a hope, even right there in a seemingly hopeless situation.

This man who killed himself on TV didn't realize this stuff. It didn't connect that even in spite of his crippling disease, God could have used him. For him, it's too late. He is gone, but I know of at least one man who was touched by his story. I have been challenged personally to live my life daily as to the Lord, who has wonderful plans for me that I can't even fathom in my mind. When I look at where God has brought me, I'm humbled. But when I think of what He still has waiting in the wings, it boggles me. One of my favorite scriptures goes like this:

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Cor. 2:9

I can't even begin to imagine what God has for me down the road. Neither can you. So let this story remind you that life is worth living, no matter what. God's plans for you are good, and He wants to pour out His good blessings and plans on you.

God bless!