If you hang with me right now, you are likely to hear me utter a bad word. That bad word usually occurs when I reach for the door or touch something metal immediately followed by the crackling sound of static shock.
I hate the season of static electricity.
I remember growing up living in a home that had shag carpet. That stuff could really generate a nice spark. It was funny to rub my shoes on the carpet and touch someone on the ear but you would have to do it with the expectation that you would also be shocked unless you had a metal object in your hand.
Static electricity usually happens when it is cold and dry and I hate it. It almost always catches me by surprise.
So why does this happen?
It happens when we collect electrons which are negatively charged and when they come in contact with metal, they jump to it. The speed of their quick movement causes the tiny shock that we feel.
Can we stop it from happening?
Having a humidifier helps. This helps deal with the dry air but unfortunately we can’t always carry a humidifier around in our pockets. You could use Static Guard spray but the smell for that spray is really difficult to deal with. It also wears off.
Static electricity can be dangerous too. The danger of static electricity comes when the transfer of charge is so great that it creates a spark. One of the most common dangers of static electricity is when refueling a vehicle. If the driver is carrying excess electrons, it could create a spark when they touch the fuel pump and risk igniting gasoline. Another danger is electrical shock. When an object builds up too much electrical charge within means of release, you could risk electrocution if you touch a charged object.
Okay, enough of the scary stuff.
There are some things that you could wear but would you really want to wear them? There are anti-static wrist wraps which is connected to a wire that connects to your belt. That doesn’t sound very comfortable. I think I would rather survive the spark than wear some goofy wrist wrap attached to my belt.
There is almost no way to avoid getting shocked from static buildup but there are some things that can help:
#1 – Touch metal with your knuckle instead of your finger. There are less nerve endings there. You’ll still get a crackle but it won’t be as electrifying.
#2 – Carry a metal object in your pocket like a coin or paper clip and use the object to touch metal first.
#3 – Wear leather soled shoes and cotton socks. In fact, wearing cotton will help reduce static.
#4 – Keep your skin moisturized. Dryness is the key culprit. The more you can stay moisturized the better.
I had hoped to give you some magical solution to protect us from the annoyance of static shock but it seems we have no choice but to get a charge out of life.
It is not about Donald Trump, Joe Biden or any political party.
Over the past four years I have been disgusted as I have witnessed Christians and Evangelicals engage in their unholy alliance with an immoral leader. I have been amazed how people who sold out just to promote an agenda. They embraced a president to support political platforms. Make no mistake about it, Trump used Christians to support HIS agenda. To disregard the morals of a leader is foolish.
So can Christianity recover from this? Christians have a serious public relations problem to repair the damage that has been done over the past four years.
FALSE PROPHETS NEED TO STEP DOWN
I rolled my eyes as the so-called prophets came forward to prophesy that God had told them without a doubt that Trump would be win the election. God told them nothing. These false prophets should be glad we aren’t living under Old Testament law or they would be a lot of stones flying around. The only appropriate response for those who claimed that God told them that Trump would be re-elected is for them all to step down from their leadership positions. This is the only option but none will because of their love of money and need to have a ministry. How can these people ever be respected ever again?
Franklin Graham even compared Trump to Jesus being betrayed by Judas when he was impeached for the riot on the United States Capitol on January 6th. It is disappointing how far Christian leaders have gone with their devotion. If there is any “Judas” here, it is those Christian leaders who have led their followers astray from God to a former reality television personality.
REPENT AND REFOCUS
Christians definitely need some good public relations now and it’s not going to be easy to repair their image. They can start by repenting. Repent that they took their focus off of God and put it on a man and a political party. Platforms and politicians don’t save people, Jesus does. I hope that evangelicals have learned their lesson and won’t endorse a political candidate or tell their people who they should vote for in the future. The pulpit is not the place for politics. Christians lost their way on that and got caught up in a man who pulled the Christian string whenever he needed it.
Over the past four years Christians have been gaslighted by Donald Trump. I was amazed that I never read a single article which questioned this alliance or any preacher who discouraged it in spite of Trump’s immoral activities. Instead, it was excused or completely overlooked. It has been very strange to see Christians vehemently support and defend his actions. It’s almost as if Christians were lured away. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The spiritual leader during Trump’s term was Paula White. That should have been a blazing red flag from the beginning. Many of the spiritual superstars lined up in Trump’s corner. They excused his behavior all for the agenda. The problem with making a deal with the devil is that you will get burned. That’s what has happened to Christians.
By the way, I have disabled the comments for this post. I don’t need to read anything from any haters of this post. You can create your own blog. I have endured four years of being afraid to say anything because of the culture we were in. I have regrettably had to unfriend people and distance myself from Trump supporters because they say that “agree to disagree” but they don’t. Fortunately I still have a remnant of Christian friends and pastors who continued to point people to Christ and not Trump.
So in this year’s election, polls revealed that 81% of white Evangelicals voted for Trump. This is a serious PR nightmare for the Christian church. No, not all Christians supported Trump and we shouldn’t assume that all Christians were supportive of the former president but the perception now is that if you are a white male and say you are a Christian people will immediately assume you are a Trump supporter and a Republican. Yes, this is unfair but this is going to be the assumption. No, not all Christians were Trump supporters but too many were silent in speaking against Him.
The Bible verse that often came to mind over these four years has been Matthew 24:24 which warns us that people could deceive the very elect. This, my friends, has happened. I did wonder at times if it were possible that the beast and/or anti-Christ were among us. That wasn’t the case but the scary thing this has shown us is how easily a charismatic leader could enter the worlds’ stage and influence so many.
FOUR WAYS TO REPAIR CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA
So if I were the PR person for Christianity in America, what would I do to repair the damage from the last four years? Here’s a few things to start with:
#1 – Stay out of politics
If you are attending a church where the pastor is telling you who to vote for or campaigning for a political candidate, leave immediately. There is no place in church for this. Actually churches are prohibited from doing this or they lose their tax-exemption status.
#2 – Put the focus back on Christ
The Great Commission says nothing about supporting a President or political party. That is not and has never been the focus. It is not about a political platform, it is a spiritual agenda.
#3 – Stop being a church building
The church needs to stop gathering at a building and more about being the church. It has become a club or secret society for many. I have seen some churches which, instead of going to a building, they go out to help the homeless or help those in need. There needs to be more of this.
#4 – Stop being Christians and start being examples
People need hope, not an agenda. Start by helping people and being the example that Christians SHOULD be. Many have defined Christians as being “christ-like” but the last four years have been anything but that.
Christianity in America has not been destroyed by former President Donald Trump but it has a lot of work to do to repair the damage that has been done over the past four years. Just as with any other huge task, you can only start working at it one day at a time. Don’t put your hope in the new president or a political party. It is time for Christianity and Evangelicals to repent, repair and get back to the mission of the Gospel which is the “good news” about Jesus Christ.
As we are firmly in the winter season and forced to stay indoors, people often look for games to play while being confined indoors. One of the games I have always loved is foosball.
So what exactly is foosball?
Foosball is also known as table soccer. It is a table top version of soccer which is played with rods with attached players to move a ball to score goals on opponents. The origin of the game goes back to the late 1890s in England.
I was first introduced to the game of foosball in 1983-84 while stationed at Thule Air Base in Greenland. Obviously there were many opportunities to do anything outside in sub-zero temperatures so entertainment had to be found inside. In the dayroom on my floor of the barracks was a foosball table. My co-worker invited me to play and he was good. He beat me in every game until I got better and eventually began to beat him. Since then I have always been drawn to a foosball table.
Foosball tables can often be found in bars, pubs, workplaces, schools and recreational centers. Each team of one or two human players controls four rows of foos men, one row each for the goalkeeper, defenders, midfield and strikers. Players manipulate the rods to control the figures, using them to hold up, pass or ‘kick’ the ball. The winner is determined when one team scores a predetermined number of goals, typically five, ten or eleven in competition. The professional players can move the ball up to 35 mph.
The International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) is the international governing organization for the sport. They have organized tournaments all over the world including a World Cup tournament. The next World Cup tournament was scheduled for June 22-27 in Nantes, France but has been postponed to 2022 due to the pandemic. Yannick Correia of Luxemburg is the current top foosball player in the world. Tony Spredeman of the United States was the top player in 2020.
You won’t get rich playing professional foosball. The average salary made playing foosball is about $74,000 a year.
Foosball grew in popularity in the 1970s with the sell of foosball tables and pretty reasonable professional tour. The game was nearly made extinct with the rise of arcade games in the 80s along with the Pacman craze. The game survived and has steadily grown more in recent years. Foosball has even made an appearance in TV shows such as Friends, 90210 as well as the movies “Longshot” and “Underdogs”.
Over the years there have been talks about forming team leagues but nothing has materialized into a legitimate professional team-based league. In researching this area of foosball I have thought that it would help the sport if Major League Soccer (MLS) would sponsor a tournament especially in cities with an MLS team.
If you don’t own a foosball table or have access to one, there are a couple of good video games that I have found. The best is Foosball World Cup game available on iTunes. Another good one is the Foosball Arcade on Oculus Go. I have played both and they are pretty responsive and very realistic in game play.
I don’t get to play foosball as much anymore and my reflexes have slowed down since I first started playing on that foosball table in Thule, Greenland but I still love the game. I hope that the sport will grow and regain its popularity from the 70s.
One of the most difficult spiritual disciplines is fasting. There is a semi-well known TV preacher who starts every year leading his church in a 21-day fast. He claims that’s why his church is thriving and has grown into a mega church. I’m not sure about that but I do know that a biblical fast can be beneficial to the believer. Not necessarily to grow a church congregation, but to grow you spiritually.
Fasting takes incredible discipline. It is not a diet and not something you enter into lightly. This isn’t a weight loss plan but a way to adjust your priority back to God.
The most important part of fasting is your motive. You’d better have a pure motive if you are going to voluntarily go without food. I was taught in the church that fasting was a way to get God’s attention and to change His mind. This isn’t a good plan to get your way. Fasting is getting your attention on God. Too many people get this backwards. You can’t make God do anything even with fasting. Fasting is how you align yourself with God.
Do you have to go without food to do a fast? Some people say they are going to “fast” TV or social media. That really isn’t a biblical fast but those actions are still good things to do. There are, however, different ways to fast. Most think they you have to go totally without food for a specific time. Certainly this is the ideal method of fasting but you can also do a partial fast or do without some of your favorite foods. There is also a “Daniel fast” which Daniel did in the Old Testament where he only ate fruits and vegetables. (Daniel 1:12) I wouldn’t recommend the extreme fast where you go 40 days without food AND water. We aren’t Jesus and it could be detrimental to your health to be that ambitious.
So how long should you fast? The preacher I mentioned earlier traditionally calls for a 21-day fast. That’s a pretty good length of time. Be very careful trying a 40-day fast. That one is pretty brutal. A 3-day fast is pretty reasonable. The type and length of time is between you and God.
That’s another important thing about a fast. It’s personal. Don’t brag about it. You will defeat the whole purpose of fasting if you advertise it to get attention or sympathy. (Matthew 6:17-18) It is important to let your household know of your intentions to fast so they will know why you aren’t eating or the change to your routine.
When you decide to go on a fast, this is when people will come out of nowhere to offer to buy your lunch or your favorite restaurant will have a special on your favorite meal. Once when I was in the middle of a 3-day fast, that was when someone in my house decided it was a good time to bake some chocolate chip cookies. This is why it is one of the most difficult spiritual disciplines.
Now I am not an expert on fasting and definitely not someone who can brag about being good at it. I have had some limited success but I have also failed and have had false starts many times. It isn’t easy and it’s not fun.
Do you HAVE to fast? No. It’s not a commandment or requirement to get to heaven however, it is important and something we all should do.
Here are some tips I have learned about fasting:
Don’t jump into a fast. Don’t immediately decide you’re going without food tomorrow. Work your way into it gradually. I suggest starting with one meal and working your way to your goal.
Do something else when you normally would eat. Usually this is a good time to pray, read your Bible or meditate on God. Don’t sit and think about being hungry and missing the meal.
Allow your body to adjust. You will probably get a headache when you begin your fast. Hang in there. Let your body adjust to the change.
Don’t advertise your fast. Bragging about fasting will cancel out your sacrifice.
Drink more water. More water intake will help with your headaches and help with the hunger.
Don’t get discouraged if you give into food. Regroup yourself mentally and start again.
Don’t feel guilty if you have any health issues and can’t physically fast. If you legitimately can’t fast, God understands.
Gradually end your fast. Don’t have a buffet right away. Once after I fasted I decided I was have Hardee’s for breakfast. Big mistake. It made me sick.
Leave the results to God. Don’t be focused on fasting changing God, let it change you.
If there is one thing I can leave with you is fasting isn’t to change God’s mind, it is to change you and help you to focus on Him. Certainly fasting can produce results but don’t just be consumed with the results. God will honor your sacrifice but He also sees your motives. Fast for the right reasons and when you stomach growls due to lack of food let that be praises going up to God.
Fasting is a fast way to get back to God. If you have lost your focus or need to get a closer relationship with God, fasting will help bring you back.
The football season is winding down. The NFL playoffs start this weekend. I’m really surprised that the NFL got through an entire 16-game schedule without any COVID forfeits or cancellations. They did have to shuffle the schedule a few times with some but every team managed play the entire schedule with either no fans or a small group of fans in attendance. Last year I watched our local Tennessee Titans surprise everyone with wins over New England and upset top-seeded Baltimore before losing to Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game. It’s a different scenario this year with Baltimore traveling to Nashville for the wildcard playoff game. Although the Titans are the home team, the Tennessee defense makes me nervous. I’m really not confident that the Titans can repeat the task of knocking off the Ravens. In fact, the Titans are the underdogs in this game even playing at home. So how do I see the games in this “super” wildcard weekend?
Buffalo Bills over Indianapolis Colts
Seattle Seahawks over Los Angeles Rams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Washington Football Team
Baltimore Ravens over Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints over Chicago Bears
Pittsburgh Steelers over Cleveland Browns
In college football, Alabama will play Ohio State for the national championship. I don’t even care enough to make a comment on this.
In high school football, the team I used to follow for many years – Warner Robins – finally won the state title after in their fourth straight championship appearance. There were heartbreaking losses in the past three years but they broke through in a big way with a 62-28 win over Cartersville to claim the school’s fifth state title. I only wish they would change their nickname. I’m not comfortable with supporting a team with “Demons” for their nickname.
IMG Academy from Bradenton, Florida finished as the nation’s top high school football team according to USA Today. Here are the final rankings:
IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida)
North Shore (Galena Park, Texas)
Grayson (Loganville, Georgia)
St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Thompson (Alabaster, Alabama)
St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)
Austin Westlake (Texas)
Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah)
Center Grove (Greenwood, Indiana)
American Heritage (Plantation, Florida)
Miami Columbus (Florida)
Trinity (Louisville, Kentucky)
Oakland (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
Dutch Fork (Irmo, South Carolina)
Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colorado)
Cathedral (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Cardinal Gibbons (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)
Pine-Richland (Gibsonia, Pennsylvania)
Bergen Catholic (Oradell, New Jersey)
This season I have been trying a new football simulation game call Pro Football Strategy 2021. Not much with graphics on the actual game but a very good simulator for stat nerds like me. It is also a good customizable league which allows you to create your own team, team names and league. The best one I created was the Tennessee Football League with eight teams. Here were the final standings in my league:
In the playoffs, Chattanooga beat Nashville 30-14, Clarksville defeated Jackson 30-27. Clarksville won the league championship beating Chattanooga 30-27.
I really had my doubts that there would be any football played this season. Football isn’t the most important thing right now. It has been a strange season for sure. I’m hoping that the football season will be back to normal next fall.
We all were eager to end 2020 to begin a new year after the year we have had last year. It is good to have a positive attitude and hope for the future but simply changing the number on the calendar’s year won’t magically change things.
Phillipians 3:13-14 tells us that “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Things will be no different in 2021 unless we reach forward and fulfilling our calling that Christ has given each one of us.
When people say “calling” most immediately think of preachers or someone in a church leadership position but not everyone are preachers or have a theology degree behind our names. Our calling is to do what we can do to point people to Christ. You don’t have to be a spiritual superstar to do that. You don’t have to preach to people, just point them to Christ. He is our hope and help in this new year. Even if more storms come into our lives, Christ can be our peace.
So what exactly is this peace that Christ can give us when we are sick or losing our business or when our lives are falling apart?
I honestly don’t know what it is or how it works. I just know that it can work if you commit to it. In fact, Jesus told us that we wouldn’t be able to understand the peace that He gives anyway. (Philippians 4:7). Just because we don’t “understand” it doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
I have experienced this peace myself and I know it works until you start trying to understand it or look at the situation instead of trusting in God. Time and again we must put our trust in God and leave the results to Him.
Easy to do? Absolutely not. We are human and we want results. We are impatient and we want to MAKE things happen. Believe me, I am not the expert. I am often the student who has to learn this way over and over again.
It takes incredible faith to let it go and let God take care of things. Peace isn’t something we can find in something tangible. We can’t drink it, we can’t touch it and there is no prescription for it. There is an old saying that goes “Know God, Know Peace. No God, No Peace.”
If we have another year like we had last year, we are going to need His peace to get through it.
Although we can’t understand the peace that Christ can give us, is there anything we can do to make ourselves open to it?
Here are some things that will help:
Have some quiet time – you would be surprised how just a few minutes of quiet time will help you to make room for peace. You don’t have to spend hours of meditation. Just start small. Begin with 5-7 minutes. Set your alarm and do it. Just sit in silence.
Put the phone down – unplug from social media. Take a break from your phone. Take a timeout from your phone and let your mind breathe.
Sing – find a song that encourages you and sing it. The right songs can make a huge difference. I can’t tell you how many times I have found the right song at the right time.
Encourage others – nothing helps you more than encouraging others. Be kind to people. Be someone’s answer to prayer.
Do what you can, not what you can’t – Know your limitations and let it go. Don’t try to control things that you can’t control.
The new year will be filled with challenges but it also has a place for peace. Give the peace of Christ a chance. Here’s a line from the song “Peace be Still” by The Belonging Co. featuring Lauren Daigle:
Peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can't see
I will trust the voice that speaks.
As many of us continue to scratch our heads here in Nashville and try to figure out why Tony Warner drove his RV packed with explosives and blew up a block of downtown on Christmas morning, Warner’s paranoia about the lizard people is some crazy stuff.
I will try to stay away from religion and the weird stuff people believe about their faith. It would also take way too much time.
So what are the crazy things people believe?
Reptilians “Lizard People” – This crap was started by a British dude named David Icke who wrote a book about it in 1999. He claims that there are some shape shifting reptilians living secretly among us which came from another planet with intent to take over our society through politics and entertainment. What’s even more scary is that 4% of American registered voters believed this in a 2013 poll. I’m pretty sure that number is higher now.
If you want to read more about this check out these:
The cat cult – I unknowingly discovered this bizarre group shortly after rescuing one of their cats back in 2015. (Read my previous blog about this – “We Got Our Cat from a Cat Cult“) Sheryl Ruthven took some end-times beliefs of Pentecostals and rolled them into some ancient Egyptian myths about cats. Ruthven taught her followers that cats were supernatural beings in disguise, carrying the 144,000 souls mentioned in the New Testament book of Revelation. Those beings would come to the rescue of Ruthven’s followers during the Apocalypse. I haven’t seen much about this group.
Flat earthers – The earth is round right? Nope, not according to this surprisingly large number of believers that want to tell you that they know for a fact that the earth is flat. These folks think that NASA has lied about the Earth being round. They allege that the Earth is actually a disc with the Arctic Circle in the center and Antarctica, a 150-foot wall of ice around the rim. They think NASA guards this ice wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off the disc. The group has grown over the years thanks to social media and people who believe conspiracy theories.
QAnon – This group has become more public during the 2020 Presidential election. A user posted to a Internet bulletin board in 2017 as a “Q Clearance Patriot” which was believed to be someone working in the U.S Department of Energy with a “Q Clearance” with top level secrets about the government. This radical group believes that there is a Satan-worshipping and child sex trafficking group of politicians and Hollywood celebrities plotting against President Donald Trump. QAnon alleges that a “deep state” took over the United States years ago and rolls most popular conspiracy theories into their belief about this “deep state” ideology.
The Zombie Apocalypse – Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has fueled this ridiculous theory by drafting a contingency plan. The belief is that one virus would turn humans into the walking dead that will infect the entire world. The belief is that zombies would eat the ones who are not infected thus causing them to become zombies. Of course, Hollywood has sensationalized this theory with movies and television series which lend people to actually believe this would happen.
Here are some other wild conspiracy theories people believe:
People want to believe in something – even if it doesn’t make sense to the average person. In most of these, people simply can’t handle the truth or that something can’t be explained. There are always conspiracy believers when it comes to anything related to the federal government. When something doesn’t make sense, there is a need for something to explain the unexplained. Something to fill in the gaps – even if it is made up. This goes to show us that people will believe anything. When I first heard about the “lizard people” theory that the suicide bomber in Nashville believed in, I thought that surely people don’t believe this crap. Well, I am wrong. Apparently lots of people believe this stuff.
Humans have a need to believe in something. Just look at all the different religions in the world today. People want to know the answer to their “why” question. Sometimes things just simply can’t be explained. It’s best just to accept it than to make something up. People believe what they believe. You won’t be able to change the mind of people who believe their theories even if presented with the truth.
Keep a level head about things you don’t understand and do NOT believe everything you read on social media. Just because someone believes something doesn’t mean it’s true.
If you’ve lived any length of time, you will have the opportunity to forgive. It isn’t the easiest thing about life.
As we approach Christmas Day, many will be exchanging gifts. Sometimes there are gifts you can’t wrap and put under the tree. To forgive someone is a gift that is priceless and it is worth doing.
I wish I could do a better job at being quick to forgive. It’s hard. When we are hurt or wronged, we want the other person to pay for what they have done. Time is an enemy of forgiveness. When something is not forgiven, it often turns into a grudge and roots continue to grow deeper inside of us. It’s difficult to let things go.
If there is someone you are estranged with, make the effort and give the gift of forgiveness. It won’t be easy and it won’t always be a feel good moment. Forgiveness does you as much good as it does the other person. Don’t wait until someone is on their deathbed before you decide to forgive. That’s cheap forgiveness. Forgive while you still have the opportunity to redeem the lost time.
For most of my adult life, I was estranged from my parents. We couldn’t seem to agree on how I should live my life. We would try to reconcile but unresolved issues always came up to cause problems. My mother went to her grave holding her grudge. My dad reconciled with me during the last months of his life. Yeah, it still upsets me. It never had to be this way.
Forgiving isn’t always perfect or neat. It’s one thing to forgive but it’s another when you try to get past the offense. It takes time and patience. Sometimes you can ask someone to forgive you and they might refuse to accept it. That’s hard. In those cases, you can only do your part in forgiveness. You can’t force the other party to accept. Just be patient. Sometimes it takes time for it to sink it or sometimes it may never be returned. It may never be quick with tears and a hug.
We are too easily able to simply write people off. If they hurt us, we shut them out of our lives. That’s sad. Sometimes the offense is a misunderstanding or assumption that was made. There are also times when the hurt is legitimate. There are some things that are difficult to forgive. The problem with unforgiveness – whether it is legitimate or not – is that it becomes a dark place inside of you. Unless you deal with it, it will be a problem with other relationships you have. Trust is hard to achieve again. Offenses from one person becomes an assumption against others.
Don’t let forgiveness take root inside of you. Be willing to forgive – and if you are the offending party – be willing to ask for forgiveness.
I have had relationships in my life when it was a forgiveness standoff. One side was waiting for the other side to make the first move. That’s so ridiculous and frustrating because all that this does is waste time. Time is lost because of pride in waiting for the other side to make a move to forgiveness. Some people hold onto the anger and bitterness because they feel like it punishes the other party. Our bitterness keeps the other party on the hook.
The Bible says that, if possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
Honestly I don’t know how it is possible for someone to forgive some things such as child abuse or other vile things that happen in our world. It’s not always easy or possible.
We also shouldn’t assume it isn’t possible in order to avoid the unpleasant step in forgiveness. If there is something that we should be good at doing, it is to be good at forgiving. We have many opportunities to do it. From the woman opening her car door and dinging my car to the years-long severed relationship with a relative. It’s never easy but doing so doesn’t make you a weak person. We should certainly deal with the issues and hold people accountable when it is possible but also look for the common ground and way to forgiveness. There isn’t a statute of limitations for forgiveness.
I will also tell you a secret, people always say “forgive and forget” but you won’t magically forget the offense when you forgive. It isn’t possible to suddenly have something erased from your memory but forgiving and forgetting means that you don’t continue to hold that offense against someone or remind them of it. This is the hardest part of forgiveness.
Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ into the world. God sent Him here as a way to repair our relationship with Him and forgiveness for our sin. If God cared enough about forgiveness to send us Jesus, shouldn’t it be important that we give the gift of forgiveness to others?
I have known about the Salvation Army all of my life. Most of us only think about this organization as the people ringing bells outside of stores during the holiday season. Aside from that and their thrift store, what exactly is the Salvation Army and what do they do?
The Salvation Army is actually a church organization which began in 1865 in London, England by William Booth who was a Methodist preacher. Soon after beginning his ministerial career in England in 1852, Booth abandoned the concept of the traditional church pulpit in favor of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ directly to the people. Walking the streets of London, he preached to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.
When fellow clergymen disagreed with Booth’s unconventional approach, he and his wife Catherine withdrew from the church to train evangelists throughout England. The couple returned to the East End of London in 1865, where many followers joined their fight for the souls of lost men and women. Within 10 years, their organization, operating under the name “The Christian Mission,” had over 1,000 volunteers and evangelists.
Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among their first converts to Christianity. And soon, those converts were also preaching and singing in the streets as living testimonies to the power of God.
When Booth read a printer’s proof of the 1878 “Christian Mission” annual report, he noticed the statement “The Christian Mission is a volunteer army.” Crossing out the words “volunteer army,” he penned in “Salvation Army.” From those words came the basis of the foundation deed of The Salvation Army.
From that point onward, converts became soldiers of Christ and were known then, as now, as Salvationists. The clergy titles are recognized by military ranks such as “major” or “lieutenant”. You will also see many of the officers wearing special uniforms in accordance with serving military service. This is to show their purpose in bringing salvation to the world. Their purpose is to bring salvation to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs.
The organization is currently in 131 countries running charity shops, homeless shelters, providing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to countries in need. The Salvation Army raises $2 Billion a year worldwide which 96% actually goes to their causes.
If you would like to read more about the Salvation Army or support their charities, please visit their website here.
I don’t know about the military stuff but I think the Salvation Army has the right idea of what the “church” should be. It shouldn’t be a building where people come to gather once a week in a building, but the church should be people like those in the Salvation Army who go out to help people in need.
There’s a lot more to them than ringing bells and thrift shops.
How do you spend your time? Is it time well spent or does it simply slip away from you?
Two years ago, when my dad was dying, he looked over at me and said, “I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time with you and your momma.”
I tried to ease his mind and his regrets but the truth was that for most of my life, church was number one in his life. He spent over 40 years as a pastor in small churches in Georgia and North Carolina. His church and its members were always his priority. I could probably count on one hand the number of times he ever missed church. It was on his death bed that he realized how wrong he had been with how he spent his time.
Why is it that we don’t realize this until the end of our life? The older we get, the more we reflect on how we have spent our time. I realized myself that I have worked for the past 38 years. Where has that gotten me? What’s the point of it all? In the end I will not wish I had spent more time in the office.
The problem with time is that we never get it back once it has been spent.
I have worked hard over the past 38 years and have had some interesting experiences but what has that done for me? Sure, I have been successful and promoted during this time but the more money you make the more bills you have. It never seems to be enough. There’s not much you can do about that because you still have to pay the bills. We all do what we can to manage our work/life balance.
The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.
The Bible says that time and chance happen to all men. How we choose to use it is what matters most. I don’t want to get to the end of my life with regrets about how I spent my time.
The pandemic has caused many people to focus on what’s important in life.
So how exactly do we spend our time?
26 years sleeping
11 years watching TV
4.5 years eating
13 years working
3 years on social media
235 days waiting in lines
Maybe we could change the way we spend our time. I have considered deactivating all of my social media accounts. Already deleted Twitter, Instagram is undeletable and Facebook is next. I lived before without them and spend too much time getting upset with what people post or their comments. Is it really important that I post anything on social media? Does it really matter to anyone? In the end, it doesn’t matter how many friends you have on your friends list or what others think about you. Life is too short. The average lifespan is 79 years. That’s not much time to waste.
We need to change it up. We can all start by unplugging from our phones. We are all slaves to our phones. If you don’t agree, just put your phone away and watch people and you will see most are looking at their screens. It’s way too easy to pick up our phones when we are bored or don’t want to interact with people. I have actually been in a room full of people before when I realized that we were all on our phones instead of talking. How ridiculous is that?
Every moment is precious. It’s just sad that we don’t realize that until either someone we love passes away or we are at the end of our own lives. This isn’t gloom and doom about how short life is but a wake-up call that we should examine our lives and see what’s really important in the way we are spending our time.