Intermittent…is the word of the day. Annoyed is close behind.

Hours…spend on the phone with my ISP. Multiple phone calls for over a week. Failure to resolve the problem.

Seemingly lack of concern or care for taking care of the customer.

Fed-up! Move on…phone call to Time Warner Cable to go from DSL to cable.

My wings have been somewhat clipped this week…thus only a few postings squeezed in during the intermittent coverage. The pictures will have to come later.

It’s too bad really because I’ve liked DSL Extreme…until this last episode…they’ve always handled problems quickly and efficiently. Oh well…onward and upward.

Hope to be back in action soon.

Unanswered Prayer

Last night while fishing around for a pad of paper to starting recording a daily list of things I’m grateful for I discovered a partially used notebook. In thumbing through the pages I found prayer requests that I had recorded a few years ago. Passionate heartfelt prayers uttered to God as I keenly felt the desperation and loneliness of being single all my life…at least thus far.

With the perspective of a few years, the wisdom of hindsight and seeing character that time has revealed to be less than stellar…I am most grateful that God did not answer that prayer. In many respects…from a human perspective this guy is a pretty good guy. But as a Christian “pretty good” in not my measuring stick anymore.

First and foremost God tells me that I am to marry a believer, a fellow Christian. That I am not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever.

When I look closer, in all honesty I believe I deceived myself. While of the Christian persuasion there are little fruits to bear witness of a life committed to Jesus Christ, one who has died to self and is alive in Christ.

So tonight in my little notebook, I record prayer of thanksgiving to God for unanswered prayer. And yes…I did shred those earlier papers. In part because they were so personal and gave evidence of an immature faith, unwilling to wait upon the Lord and follow His direction and instruction for my life.

While mingling at the Audio Ministry table at Kindred Community Church this past weekend Merilynne asked me, in somewhat of a joking fashion, “Do you want us to pray about a husband for you Susan?” I heartedly and enthusiastically said “Yes! By all means, please do.” Merilynne then reminded me that any prospective suitor would be subject to examination and approval, to which I’m entirely comfortable with. Sometimes my discernment has been pretty stinky…or just plain goes out the door when it comes to men and love and my life long desire to be married.

I keep reminding God that He tells us that it is not good for man to be alone…and that there will be no marriage in heaven. So this is my one and only shot down here on earth.

Recently on Dennis Prager’s show a guy called in to talk about the risk in getting married when it might end in divorce verses staying single. Dennis responded why would anyone be content to live a life where you never fully bond with another person in the deepest, fullest possible way?

Why indeed? I’m not…but I am willing to wait upon God, His plan and leading.

Living Intentionally

This year I’ve become more aware of how our actions can impact others…both for good and bad. So much of what we do or say is unintentional…with nary a thought of how it will impact another person. But does that excuse it or make it better when we hurt someone accidentally?

Knowing how much my actions can impact someone…I need to choose to live my life more intentionally. To be more deliberate in my words and actions as I encounter and interact with people each day…friends, family and strangers too.

That may mean instead of getting in huff as the rattled cashier struggles with that register that just won’t cooperate…I now offer her a smile and a word of encouragement as she looks at the line that is growing exponentially. Or what about taking the time to listen to a frustrated friend…even when I think I don’t have the time or have no solution to offer? Instead I can offer a caring, listening ear and a prayer whispered in love. Or what about offering a warm smile to the person passing by who is carrying burdens that only God knows about. Not let them pass by as if they are invisible and don’t matter to another living soul. After all…they are a soul for whom Christ died.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of times…God has brought someone in my path, if only a brief moment….to offer a smile or words encouragement at some very low times in my life. That encounter at just the right time can make an impact far beyond that moment in time.

The question is…today will I choose to live intentionally? Will I choose to obey God? Will I choose to measure my words, actions and deeds according to God’s Word? “A new command I give unto you, love one another.”

Forgiveness & the Mirror of God’s Word

The tough thing about being a Christian is not so much studying and knowing God’s word…as it is actually putting it into practice. Especially when it doesn’t feel so good to do so.

To quote Mark Twain, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

For me…the thing that doesn’t always feel so good is forgiving. Make no mistake…I am most grateful to be on the receiving end of forgiveness. But forgiving others…well that may not feel so good…at least initially.

The most challenging time to forgive is when my feelings have been hurt or when I’m angry at someone for a wrong done. Instead of being quick to forgive…my natural tendency is to nurture my hurt feelings…or justify my anger. But as a Christian…the Holy Spirit doesn’t let me get away with that for too long before He’s calling me on the carpet and holding up the mirror of God’s word. Right about then…my reflection doesn’t look too pretty.

More often than not…I find that hurts and slights by people are done unintentionally. There is no overall plan or purpose to do me wrong. They’re not taking aim at me…but instead just living their life. But those hurts exist nonetheless. The question is…what am I suppose to do with those feelings? Will I choose to take those hurts to the Great Healer?

As I go through life…and get cuts, bumps and bruises along the way…I have the opportunity to learn what it feels like to be hurt. The question is…will I then apply that lesson in my relationships with others? Will I choose not to hurt others in the way I’ve been hurt?

Forgiveness will likely continue to be a challenge…this side of heaven. As such…forgiveness is something that I must choose to do, choose to obey as an act of my will. Just do it…and let my feelings catch up with my will as I seek to obey God.

God’s word is non negotiable…it’s unchanging and unwavering…and each and every person is held to the same standard. God doesn’t grade on the curve…and He doesn’t lower the bar so I can pass. Yet He already knows that I’ve failed…he already knows my sinful ways. But He’s credited Jesus righteousness to my account…and has given me His Holy Spirit…to guide, direct and coach me along the way.

My Colors Will Be Clear

The following quote is from an African Pastor who was overwhelmed by rebels that demanded that he renounce his faith, and he refused. The night before they took his life he wrote the following lines on a scrap of paper.

“I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The dye has been cast and I’ve stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotion, plotting, or popularity. I don’t have to be first, right, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded.

I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear.

I can not be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up or burn up, till I have preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus and I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till he stops. And when he comes to get his own, he’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear.”

As I voraciously consume the great Bible studies on CD from my beloved former Pastor Chuck Obremski…I came across this piece once again. This is found on the last CD in the study of the book of James. I remember when first hearing it in Bible Study…it captured my attention…as I hoped and prayed that I would one day have a strong, unwavering faith. Time has revealed…more wobbles than standing strong…but I find this once again stirs my soul.

When I read this…I think of the wonderful Christians I know at Kindred Community Church, in BSF, Christian friends…both near and far…and my Christian blogger buddies David, Debra and Terry.

So I ask…are your colors clear?

Remember…if you would like to receive some of these awesome Bible studies on CD…please click on the link for Kindred Community Church and let the audio ministry know what you would like to receive.

Elections…John Kerry…and All That Jazz

As I put my fingers to the keys this evening…I do so in a very warm southern California. It’s unseasonably warm…even for California…as it’s in the 90’s today the first week in November. I’m ever so envious of my blogger friends back east and even way up north in Canada. I see their beautiful fall scenery and find myself longing for crisp cool evenings and lovely autumn days as we near the holidays.

Okay…okay…okay already so it’s been a while since I’ve posted. You’d think after attending the GodBlogCon I’d be raring to go…and blogging like there’s no tomorrow.

The truth be told…I’m not going through a dry spell so much as I’m on idea overload. Good golly…just think of all the great news stories in the last couple of weeks. And here my blog sits with nary a post for over a week.

Some of those ideas swirling around my head that have yet to make it to the blogasphere include a response to Andrew Sullivan and his outrageous, comical and pathetic interview with Hugh Hewitt (still working on that piece). I want to take a closer look at Andrew’s beliefs that he alleges to be Christian…but in actuality contrast starkly with the Bible.

Of course…who can resist commenting on John Kerry’s assessment of our military…and his accompanying albeit tardy, non apology, apology? In looking up the operational definition in Webster’s online dictionary…I find Kerry’s pathetic attempt at an apology fitting to definition #1…a formal justification. It’s also a perfect illustration of definition #3…a poor substitute.

Apology…as defined by Webster’s:
1 a : a formal justification : DEFENSE : EXCUSE
2 : an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret a public apology
3 : a poor substitute

John…that was no apology…and because of your lack of sincerity or real contrition you should have just zipped the lip. I would like to be much ruder in my response…but I am mindful that I am a Christian and need to be careful in my response. But I would like to tell you to go pound sand…take long walk off a short pier. Just go sail away into the sunset buckaroo.

But no one had a better response than some members of our military. You go boys!

Lastly…tomorrow is Election Day…2006. The question is…will the House and Senate remain in Republican control? Or will the tide turn towards the destructive influence and actions of the Democratic Party? Just a few months ago…I would have bet that the Republicans would be soundly defeated…and deservedly so. After all the Republicans have had some not so pretty scandals which would seem to lend themselves to the term “hypocrite”.

President Bush…while well intentioned and initially entering into Iraq under the premises that Saddam and company were going down the “yellow cake road” the President has not been willing to step back and reevaluate the next best step in our war on terror. Removal of Saddam a good thing! Democracy in a Muslim country that would prefer Sharia law to liberty is not necessarily the winning ticket.

While I concur with President Bush’s view that the mainstream press is contemptible…I also believe that he owes the American public an explanation. To which he’s been repetitive at best…and silent at worst. I surely hope our President never has to depend upon good salesmanship…because he just doesn’t have the touch. Instead of combating the biased, skewed reporting in the main stream press…with stories of success he just remains silent. What about some of the success stories that resulted out of our surveillance on terrorists? Or how about showing the good things that are happening in Iraq? Why in the world have we not fully exposed the Hussein regime and what he did to his own people?

I’m fully convinced that President Bush figures that he doesn’t need to speak out about all these charges dogging his presidency. That in the end…he believes he will be proved right…and then we will all see. Of course you can bet that the media will continue to jump on everything that he does or says is wrong. But the American people deserve an answer…even when it’s carried through a tainted press. Besides that…you’ve got conservative talk radio to drive that message home.

Even with the above factors…I do believe that they Republicans will stay in power. Hopefully in both the House and Senate. I pray that the base turns out and the undecided or even the Democrats that are security minded will do that which is best for America and not give the Republicans the thrashing they deserve. Why? Because the American public will be the ones that pay the price.

They will pay the price by having a party in place that views terrorism as a crime…and not war. That think the optimal way to deal with the likes of a Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is in the courtroom, not the battlefield. The party that thinks that the “wealthy” should pay more money so that the poor can be taken care of. Only they fail to define what wealthy is. The people who think its right to shove homosexual marriage down the throats of American’s via the judicial system…rather than putting it up for a vote. The Dem’s are smart enough to know they’d loose if they went that route. People that think they know better how to handle your money than to let you handle your own money and be personally responsible.

I think John Kerry is a gift to the Republican Party…one that just keeps on giving. The terrorists that issue statements and commit acts of terrorism right before and election…underestimate and don’t understand the American spirit.

So a message to you my fellow conservatives…and American’s who understand that terrorists are evil and must be destroyed…get out and vote. Hold your nose if you have to. But vote for the people who have a grip and understanding on what true evil is…and aren’t afraid to call evil what it is. Vote for the people who don’t want to see judges legislating from the bench. For those who think if you want to make law…then you need to run for office. Not shove your opinion from the bench…as educated as it is…down the throats of the your fellow countrymen. Let the people decide.

Get out and vote…vote smart…not naive.

On a Side Note…Seeker Sensitive

Along a different vein…since my church Kindred Community Church continues its quest for a Sr. Pastor…something that weighs heavily on my mind is making sure that the man that God brings to us is rooted and grounded in the Word of God. That he is uncompromising in acknowledging the inerrancy of scripture. That the gospel message is preached boldly as it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. That the full council of God is preached. It scares me spitless to think that we could go down that road and fall into the pit that so many churches are…being “seeker sensitive”.

Watering down or dumbing down the gospel message and the Word of God. Preaching and teaching banquet style…picking and choosing that which the congregation finds appealing. Messages and worship songs that are man centered, not God centered. Churches that are unwilling and unable to call sin, sin…but instead call it a mistake.

Preachers that are worried about how someone is going to feel when they are called a sinner, dead in their sin, in need of forgiveness through Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death on the cross. Those who are worried how intolerant Jesus sounded when he clearly stated “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.” Churches that don’t want to risk telling people the bad news that they are dead in their sins and unable to save themselves. How in the world can you tell someone the good news of the gospel message, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God…when they don’t even know why they need a Savior?

I know first hand the destructive influence that results from NOT preaching and teaching the full council of the Word of God. It impacts the human heart. The heart…which God declares as deceitful above all things. I guess when it comes down to it…am I going to believe what God says in his Word about me? Or am I going to choose to believe what man has to say?

One rule of thumb…if you drive up to a church…and the folks are walking in and not carrying their Bible for Sunday morning service…turn around and leave.

This subject is a passion of mine. But even so…I’m not sure how much God wants me to write on this subject? How specific does he want me to be. Obviously there is only one standard and that is the Word of God. What I say is irrelevant if it doesn’t line up with scripture. The Bible is the gold standard.