Nothing but Bad News

When news shows first aired on television it was solely for the purpose of letting people know what was going on in the world around them. Mostly political stories and weather. Now news is nothing more than gossip and tragedy with a speck of weather and a bit of world events. It seems that the news is more focused on murders, crime,and child abductions. I am sure that those things were present before but now it is all we hear about. I don’t even want to turn the TV on any more in the evenings or pick a news paper up in the mornings. Focusing on all the bad things in the news can lead to depression very easily to someone who absorbs it every day. There is very little good news reported. When there is a happy story it is not in the spotlight because it doesn’t sell papers or attract viewers. There is something morbid in the American psyche that enjoys bad news.

I have decided to stop watching the news, stop reading the news paper, and news web sites. Life is sad enough around me without watching other people suffer in the media. Instead I have decided to pray for my community, my country and the world. I am going to ask God if someone is going to commit murder, child abduction, or any other evil thing that God will work in their life and prevent the action if it is His will to do so.

I have to change the way I think about what I see in the news. I am not saying that being sympathetic to the plight of others is wrong, but there is very little I can do for any of the victims I see on the reports other than pray. So pray is what I will do.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon By Sarah Addison Allen

This book is a story about the reverberation of adolescent decisions that haunt adult lives and the lives of  future generations. It starts out with a teenage girl moving in with her maternal grandfather that she never knew she had to a town she did not know existed after the death of her mother. Then there is a shift in the narrative that you really do not notice about a grown woman who was raised in the same small town. After just a few pages the stories of these two lives twist and turn together.  They learn to survive despite the mistakes of  mothers, fathers and the mistakes of a  former teenage self.  Sarah Addison Allen spins a tale of heartache, happiness,love, rejection, mistaken impressions and healing. It is also a story of fathers and sons. The traditions that fathers force on their sons in the hope that the son will pass on a legacy. It is a very manly desire to leave a heritage here after they have died or are too old. I recommend this book to everyone, but especially to women holding on to hurt from their teen years.

How Can I be a Better Friend?

I count my friends among my blessing , gifts from God.  I have few close friends, many casual friends, and some family members that I would consider friends. When I think about how can I be a better friend, the first thing that comes to mind is time. I do not spend near enough time with any of my friends. There are several reasons why I don’t, but to be a better friend I would spend more time having fun with them. What better way to be a friend? Just being with each other can make all the difference in a relationship.

The main reason I do not spend enough time with my friends is I work long hours and have little time for anything outside of work. Sometimes I am at work so many hours in a week that I think my husband even forgets who I am. He spends those  hours waiting on me to come home from work. If you think he sounds neglected, think about how my friends who don’t live with me feel. They must feel absolutely forgotten.

So, to be a better friend I am going to make time for those in my life who want to spend time with me. I am assuming a lot, like the fact that they actually want more time with me. Even the Bible says you can wear out your welcome if you spend too much time at your friends’ house. (Proverbs 25:17) I will have to get creative with this, especially for my friend who lives in a completely different state 700 or so miles away!

Time, is the one commodity we never seem to have enough of and we can’t get back opportunities to share time with each other that we let slip by. I hope you think about all the friends that you have and spend some time having fun, enjoying their company or just being together.  Old friends and new ones too.

The Opposite of Me By Sarah Pekkanen

Started reading The Opposite of Me at 10 AM and finished it at 5:25 PM I haven’t read a book in one day in a long time! I couldn’t put it down. It is a story about how life isn’t always what it seems. Two sisters reinvent themselves completely and are better people in the end because of changing who they are. Some of the changes are out of there control, but all has a way of working out. Pekkanen is a wonderful writer and once I started reading I had to finish the story. Make sure you have plenty of time if you pick up this book, you won’t want to lay it down.

Mariposa Landing By Margaret Nava

Mariposa Landing is a charming book about a woman who discovers the miracle of life. She meets her grown daughter that she gave up for adoption, her grandson, and a cast of people who live life with determination. All of these relationships teach Angela a different lesson. The story is smooth but some of the dialog is forced. However choppy of the language is it does not take away from the story or distract the reader. I am going to go back and read the other books in the series. I recommend reading the books in order. I was a bit lost since I did not know what had already happened. With that said, Margaret is an excellent storyteller.

It’s Sunday, do you know where your church is?

 In May of 2009 I started attending the Episcopal church and eventually joined.I spent my entire life as a Baptist.  I have changed denominations, yet I am still not settled or comfortable in church. Where is that feeling of home that I keep hearing about?  Something  is missing.  

Last Sunday, frustrated I decided to go to an independent Baptist church with my father-in-law. The pastor said, “Jesus is still in the soul saving business and is still a radical guy”  To make a long sermon short, he said that people get stuck in the routine of church that they forget that Jesus is in the soul saving business. Are churches telling the world that? Are churches so busy doing church that they have forgotten why they do what they do? Are they so busy with their ministries that they have no time for winning souls for Christ?

 Then I turned my thoughts to my own search for a church. I ask questions like, what sort of women’s groups does this Church have? Do they have a food program for feeding  poor people? Do they have a children’s’ or youth group? How often do they do communion or Lord’s Super?  What  I don’t ask is what are they doing  to spread the Gospel and reach souls for Jesus? Are they teaching Biblical truth? No wonder I am not finding my church, I am not looking at it from the correct point of view. Is the church in the soul saving business?

 I am so wrapped up in finding a place to do Christian things, but forgetting about what it means to be a Christian. My top priority as a Christian should be to share Christ and His love with everyone. 

So many times I think people go to church do the thing and say, “ok, I did my  Christian duty this week” Being a Christian is more than that, it is a life, it is a responsibility to Christ to share the gospel with everyone we come in contact with. Yes we need fellowship, Bible study groups, preaching, teaching,  charity programs, communion, baptism…. all the things that Church offers us, but we have to get out there. Get in the world and get to the radical business of soul saving.  Lost people are not often in the church pews, but out in the community.

Is my priority in my spiritual life to share Jesus in all that I do? Do those around me everyday see Jesus in me? Am I personally  in the soul saving business? Do I share the gospel with people sacrificing my comfort, my feelings, and at personal risk? I did not like the answers that I got, I did not like what I discovered about myself and it was not pretty.  

If  my daily life with Jesus doesn’t have an element of radical then something is truly missing. It’s that missing element that I have been looking for in my search for a church and it isn’t there.

 I am not going to find it in any church, I am going to find it in God and in my living out of my relationship with Christ at the risk of looking radical and crazy to some people. God first me last. I have to step out of my comfortable place and share Jesus. Yes,  I still need a church, a home base…a  place to recharge my spiritual battery. But not one of my choosing, but of God’s….and it may not be the type of church I would choose for myself.

OK , Lord I get it….Now I am at the, now what are you going do about it point. Isn’t it funny how God always leads you on a path and gets you to a point where you have to make a decision….. Do I keep avoiding settling in a church till I find the perfect one that does all I want it to do and be all that I want it to be?  First I am going to ask God to lead me to the church He wants me to go to, to one that IS in the soul saving business, one that teaches the Bible, truth and is focused on sharing Jesus with the world EVERYDAY not just on Sundays. Where  I can say, this is who I am, this is what I am going to do for Christ and this is where I am going to do it…and hope they don’t call the men with the straight jacket.

No church is perfect, no church is going to fulfill all I am looking for…..that church doesn’t exist.  Can I make a stand for Jesus inside a church and out,  even if I end up  looking  like a crazy person?  Jesus is in the soul saving business and the bottom line is I should be in a church that is in the same business.

(Note: I always give credit where credit is due,so here is a link to the church pastor that got me thinking  http://pensacolabaptisttemple.org/about.aspx)

Life as we know it coming to an end? Maybe.

I was watching the news seeing the reports of all the animals that are dying in mass numbers. This time birds, last time fish…what is up with that? It has happened before, and it will happen again. What I find interesting  about the reports are the conspiracy theories that are coming out. Everything from the terrorist releasing chemicals in the air, our own government trying to reduce the population, all the way to God did it. I am leaning on the side of God. Not that I am scared of the coming Apocalypse, but that  animals dying in mass numbers  is a natural phenomenon. Some Christian groups are saying that it is the beginning of the tribulation. Really? The Bible says “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven” (Mat 24:36). If God didn’t let even the angels know when the end of the world was going to happen, why would He let people know? Yes I know the Bible talks about death of animals during the tribulation, but we will not know when that is going to happen. If by chance this is the beginning I say, “ON WITH IT! PEARLY GATES HERE I COME!”

The most recent prediction comes from Harold Camping. Mr. Camping  is the CEO of Family Station Inc. and on his show he predicts that the  Biblical date for Judgment Day will be May 21, 2011. Camping also had predicted that 1994 was going to be the last year of Earth, he was wrong. He says that he has developed a mathematical system to determine the expiration date of the world. Sorry Harold, Saint Matthew disagrees.

My theory is to not have theories, don’t try to predict what God will do and just have faith. Have faith that all will work out in the end according to God’s plan. The birds falling out of the sky, fish floating belly up and the unseasonal winter weather are all nature’s signs to tell us that God is in control. Deal with it, and move on people, nothing to see here.

Even if this is the beginning of the end what can any of us mortal human beings do about it? Nothing. We can’t stop it from happening, we can’t reason with God to please make it stop. All we can do is get ready for it. Which brings me to my next theory, I mean point.

With at least seven dozen end of world prediction dates that have not come true, people are getting numb to the idea. Scaring people to get them to surrender their lives to God is not a way to witness to people. Too many of them are ignoring those who are preaching the end is near to the point that they don’t want to hear any thing about God. This practice of trying to scare people to haven with threats of hell being just around the corner is dangerous.

When talking to people about God, stop with the scary stuff. Start with God’s loving traits and get to the wrath of God after the person understands how much God loves them. Let God worry about handling the end of life as we know it. We just need to handle our own life and share God’s love with others. Get your own life right with God, so when the rapture, tribulation and Armageddon do happen you will be ready. It could be today, who knows? Oh yeah, God knows!