Thursday, December 31, 2009

Much Needed Spiritual Housecleaning...

So, I must admit that recently I have been struggling quite a bit with some personal sins. Starting today I have been purging many things from my life that have been causing me to stumble.

The main thing I did was deactivate my iPhone Cell service. I got a simple Japanese Cell phone now that works just fine. I have many reasons why I decided to get rid of it, but mainly it's just because it was beginning to become and idol in my life. I just really feel like I need to get back to the basics.

So I still need to get rid of the iPhone itself, and I have some ideas about how to do that.

Anyways...I'm very excited about what God has been doing in my life lately, and I look forward to seeing what else He has in store for me.

Finally I would just like to close this post with song lyrics that I think are appropriate for my situation right now...

God's Refining Fire
by Mac Lynch

Oh Lord we pray thy will be done, or Master here am I.
We pray you'd do a mighty work, that to the flesh we die.
And when the answer comes to us in form of trial and test,
We fail to see your loving hand, refining fire is best.

God's refining fire, God's refining fire.
May it purge me now and make of me what you require.
Oh Lord feed the fire, your refining fire.
Now as gold and silver must be tried, Lord may my heart be purified.
Lord send your great refining fire.

That I may stand when you appear, abide till your return.
Oh place the fire perfectly that all my dross be burned.
Whether furnace of affliction Lord, or unfulfilled desire,
Bring forth a vessel pure and tried, by your refining fire.

God's refining fire, God's refining fire.
May it purge me now and make of me what you require.
Oh Lord feed the fire, your refining fire.
Now as gold and silver must be tried, Lord may my heart be purified.
Lord send your great refining fire.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bound for Japan...

So tomorrow morning my flight departs Cleveland at 7:30 AM, headed to New Jersey for a layover, and then on to Tokyo from there. I have learned a lot from this leave that I will be taking with me. If anything I have realized how much I am going to be needing to depend on the Lord constantly. Many of you know about my struggles I have been through since I was home. Going to New Albany, and all the heartache there with Hannah. One lesson I have learned is that I need to just surrender to the Lord...surrender my loneliness mostly. Like I've said, I thought I had, but it turns out I hadn't. This is one of my New Years resolutions, is to just start spending more time in God's word, and just relying on him more and more every day.

I'm pretty excited also because Hannah's family sent me "My Utmost for His Highest" for Christmas, and I'm excited about getting into that this year. I also realized how much I need to start getting back into memorizing scripture...that has always been one of my weak points, ever since I was back in AWANA's.

So anyways...if any of you want to share your new years resolutions, I would be glad to hear them! May God bless you all this year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On an even lighter note...

So yesterday I took my mom and my sister Sara to Walmart to do some Christmas shopping, and Sara and I started fighting with these swords in the toy aisle. They were only $2, so mom bought them for us. Well when we got home we couldn't help but have an epic battle with them. My mom's voice is in the background giving the commentary. I hope it is entertaining for you!

video

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Come, Come Unto Me"

By: Ken Dosso

Come, come unto me, all you who are weary, all who are weak, tired and lonely.
Come, come unto me. Strong arms will enfold you, and lift you up. Oh, Come unto me.

Come, come unto me. Bring me all your burdens. Show me your wounds and I'll soothe them.
Come come unto me. Drink now of My goodness and rest your soul. Oh come unto me.

All are invited there's none who aren't welcome to know of my comfort and peace.
My arms are opened and My voice is calling to come, simply trust and believe.

Oh, come, come unto me. Live with Me forever. All those who seek Me will find Me!
Oh, come, come unto me. Strong arms will enfold you, and lift you up. Oh, come unto me.

I'll lift you up. Oh, come unto Me!

Friday, December 18, 2009

On a lighter note...

Well to brighten the mood, and help get us in the Christmas spirit, I'm posting this video. All the faces are of my brothers and sisters and I when we were little. I hope you enjoy it!

video

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tough decisions...

Certain times in our lives we have to make decisions. Some are easier than others, and some are so hard...they hurt more than any decision we have ever made. Well I recently had to make the hardest decision of my life. I finally met Hannah in person...and lets just say things did not go how I had pictured them. We finally met in person, and God revealed something to me. All along I had thought I was following God's will for my life, when in reality I had not been. I don't want to go into detail because some of it is just to painful...but lets just say things did not work out between "Bug" and I.

Please be praying for Hannah and I both as we pick up the pieces and try to move on...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Going Home...

As many of you know...tomorrow I will be heading home. It has been almost a year since I was home, and I am looking forward to it so much! God has been so good to work things out up till this point...providing me with the leave, and the money to pay for it all.

And as you can probably tell from my countdown on the sidebar...the days are getting really close till when I'll be able to finally meet Hannah in person...I can't wait...God has blessed me so much by bringing her into my life, and I will finally be able to see her face to face...

Please be praying that I have a safe trip!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Honesty Tag

I was just awarded the Honest Scrap award from Bug!

The Rules:
I need to...
1. Say thanks and link to the person who gave you the award.

2. Share ten "honest" things about myself (in some of these cases, I have discovered that the word "honest" is synonymous with "embarrassing").
3. Award this to seven people who's blog design/content I admire or who have encouraged me, and inform them of their win and of the rules of this award.


Now I will list my ten honesties: ;)

1. I really want to go to New Albany, Indiana!

2. My Mom’s nickname for me is “Bubba Stinky.”

3. I took about three lessons on the violin when I was probably 8 years old…but lost interest.

4. I have a love-hate relationship with my deployments. I love them because off all the cool places I’m able to go to, but I hate them because I’m away from my church family in Japan, and communication with Hannah is so hard.

5. I have a terrible fear of sleeping in too late…so I set 5 alarms on my phone to make sure I get up.

6. I really miss High School sometimes. I miss how all I had to do was get up each morning and go to school…it was so much simpler back then…growing up is not easy!

7. I can’t wait till I get out of the Navy and can to go college!

8. I really like spinach…I know it’s weird…

9. When I was little I wanted to be a sheep farmer…

10. I can’t wait till Christmas…for many reasons that most of you already know…

I award the "Honest Scrap" award to:

Bug just because…well, you know!

Kylo, because I have to award at least one guy…I can’t be too biased towards the ladies.

Rosebud, because she’s always been a good friend.

Ana, because her blog has always been a huge encouragement to me.

Leah, because she takes amazing pictures, and also writes some amazing stuff like her sister.

Rebekah, because she’s always commenting on my blog, and I feel badly that I don’t comment on hers more…

And Ashley Greenfield, because I miss hearing from her!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Message from a Patriotic Family...

This was a message I got in my inbox from one of the people on my ship. It had been sent to him from a guy and his family. I have left their names out because I want their identity to be secured...but this email was such a huge encouragement to me, that I had to share it...



Thank you doesn't seem like saying enough to all of you wonderful men and women of the United States Navy. I’m sure you’re wondering what motivated us to contact you, so please let me explain. Over the past few months here in our hometown we have noticed a change in peoples attitude toward Military Service. We don’t see the Yellow Ribbons and American Flags like we used to and it seems that the idea of another Terrorist attack is farther and farther from people’s minds. Some have gone as far as to forget that we truly do live in a dangerous world and there are indeed certain groups of people who wish us harm for simply being American. It seems a far cry from a few short years ago when everyone knew the quality of those that serve our country and were deeply committed to supporting their efforts.
I think that what is most often missed now days is the defense of Freedom, and with that, those who have committed their lives to do so. At a time when we, the ordinary citizens, are consumed with Carbon Emissions and Universal Health Care, we find it all too easy to forget those that truly make a difference in the lives of people around the world, the United States Armed Forces. Unfortunately, some of our fellow citizens ignore the amazing accomplishments of our Military over the past 8 years, and focus on issues that sound really good but in the long run don’t accomplish very much. I won’t pretend to understand the nuances of International Diplomacy or Domestic Policy, however I do know that there are tens of thousands of people in war torn areas who greet even a rumor of the arrival of the United States Military with gratitude and relief. They do this because they know that with these Men and Women comes a chance for peace, security, and the hope for a better tomorrow. I am not sure why we don’t see more of these facts on the Evening News.



Our family simply believes that your efforts are just, and they are having an impact far beyond the security of our beloved country. In these chaotic times we as parents often lament the lack of someone our children can look up to and aspire to follow. Faced with this, we begin to think there are no more Heroes left in the world that embody the qualities that we hope for in future generations. We want to believe in someone who will every day demonstrate the Respect, Self Sacrifice, and Moral Character that is so scarce in our society today even in some of our most trusted elected officials. If only we could open our eyes and see that there are those that still embrace these qualities and realize that they are what we have been hoping for. It is you, the Men and Women of the United States Navy, who are the HEROES that this nation so desperately depends on.


These are not merely empty words of praise, but are heartfelt and sincere due to our own personal experiences. The Sailors it has been our pleasure to know have been a source of strength and joy to my family and I through good times and bad. They have served as an inspiration to my children who view them not as the poor Sailor who is stuck on a Ship somewhere but rather as the Sailor who, as my youngest daughter puts it, “helps keep the bad people away and helps people when they can’t help themselves”. This selfless Dedication to others is what sets the United States Navy apart from the rest of us, and it truly does give, at least our family, peace of mind knowing that you are always there. I have often asked myself, how do you tell someone that is willing to endure untold hardships, danger on and unimaginable scale, and possibly sacrifice their very lives to defend us, how much you appreciate them? I truly wish that I could come up with something that would be an inspiration to you but all I can offer is the voice of one American family to simply say “Thank You”. I hope with this you will understand why you all mean so much to us and why that I felt I had to do something to let you know. If I was to ever ask you for anything it would be this, always remember that you are not forgotten and our only wish is that we could do more to support you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"I'm Goin' Home"

By: Ron Hamilton
***
I Am tired of the pleasures this old world can afford,
How I thirst for the fountain, that springs forth from the Lord.
Though my sin comes to haunt me, never more shall I roam.
O my soul is worn and weary, I'm goin' home.
***
I'm goin' home...I'm goin' home.
O, my soul is worn and weary, I'm goin' home.
***
I will bow to the savior, and repent of my sin.
He will bear every burden, and He'll cleanse me within.
I will praise Him forever, never more shall I roam.
O my soul is worn and weary, I'm goin' home.
***
I'm goin' home...I'm goin' home.
O, my soul is worn and weary, I'm goin' home.
***
I thought of this song tonight for a threefold reason. The first reason is for the most immediate reason, at least it could be the most immediate, that all depends on what the Lord decides...anyway...in a little less than two weeks my ship will be home from it's deployment. I can't wait to be back in my bed in my room on base, and to be able to be back at my church with my church family. I have missed them so much since I left!
***
The second reason is because in a little more than a month I will be home, in the states that is! I can't wait to see my family, to see Hannah, and everyone back there. By the time I go home it will have been a year since I saw them all back there! I can't wait, it is going to be awesome.
***
And finally the most important message of all, that I know are the main focus for the words in this song. We are all tired and weary in this life, and we long for the time when we will stand before our Lord and Savior up in heaven and be with Him forever. I long for that day so much...especially when I struggle so much here...I can't wait till I won't feel like I have to worry about anything anymore...I will simply be able to rest in the unfailing love of the Lord, and rest in His arms. What a day that will be...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Sun will rise again!

One day a young lady was driving along with her father. They came upon a storm, and the young lady asked her father, “What should I do?"

He said "keep driving."

Cars began to pull over to the side, the storm was getting worse.

"What should I do?" The young lady asked.

"Keep driving," her father replied.

On up a few feet, she noticed that eighteen wheelers were also pulling over.

She told her dad, "I must pull over, I can barely see ahead. It is terrible, and everyone is pulling over!"

Her father told her, "Don't give up, just keep driving!"

Now the storm was terrible, but she never stopped driving, and soon she could see a little more clearly. After a couple of miles she was again on dry land, and the sun came out.

Her father said, "Now you can pull over and get out."

She said "But why now?"

He said "When you get out, look back at all the people that gave up and are still in the storm, because you never gave up your storm is now over."

This is a testimony for anyone who is going through "hard times". Just because everyone else, even the strongest, gives up. You don't have to...if you keep going, soon your storm will be over and the sun will shine upon your face again.

This was in an email I got from Hannah's Mom today. It was very encouraging to me, especially right now. It's been hard for me, especially being on deployment, not being able to be with Hannah. I mean I know that in a little over a month I will finally be able to see her, but even after that...I still have to come back to Japan when my leave is over. There is a little less than two years till I'll be able to spend as much time with Hannah as I want. It's a little overwhelming at times to think about. Hannah's mom has said in the past, that if Hannah and I can make it through this, we can handle anything that life could throw at us in the future. If we push through this storm using the strength the Lord gives us, we will come through on the other side of this storm stronger because we didn't give up, we kept chugging along.

I hope and pray that this was encouragement to you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Christmas Leave!

So, I talked to my Division Officer today about my leave. I asked her if even though I haven't gotten my leave request back if I could still buy my tickets, because I don't want to wait much longer because the tickets are only going to keep getting more expensive. So she told me that if my name is on the leave matrix for my department, my leave was going to be approved. They do this to make life easier for the Executive Officer, so that all he has to do is check the leave matrix, and sign the leave requests that are on the matrix.

So my Division Officer told me who to go talk to about my leave...so I went and talked to him, and it turns out my name is on the matrix. It actually turns out that the leave matrix is on the ships network, and I could have looked at it at any time! So, I'm going on leave, it's official!

I will depart from Narita Airport in Tokyo, at 5:10 PM, and will arrive in Houston 1:50 PM for my two hour layover. I depart Houston Airport at 3:45 PM, and arrive in Cleveland at 7:34 PM.

I will be going back and forth between Indiana and Ohio, visiting My family, Hannah, and Hannah's family. I can't wait! By the time I see Hannah (Bug) in person, I will have known her almost 6 months. Believe me, by then I will be so ready to see the girl who has blessed my life so much!

Thank you everyone for all your prayers...they were greatly appreciated, and of course they were answered!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Complete in Thee!

Complete in Thee! No work of mine
May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And I am now complete in Thee.
***
Chorus
Yea, justified! O Blessed thought!
And Sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified, I too, shall be!
Complete in thee - no more shall sin,
Thy grace hath conquered, reign within;
Thy voice shall bid the tempter flee,
And I shall stand complete in Thee.
***
Chorus
***
Complete in Thee - each want supplied,
And no good thing to me denied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee.
***
Chorus
***
Dear Savior! When before Thy bar
All tribes and tongues assembled are,
Among Thy chosen will I be,
At Thy right hand - complete in Thee.
***
Chorus

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"It's the Heart that really matters in the end..."

I was reading in my bible the other day in Matthew 23. Some of you may know what this passage talks about. In my bible it says the topic is..."Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders." As you read it talks about how they do everything for show. They wear extra wide prayer boxes with scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. All of this is done with the intention being to appear more spiritual. This was a huge problem back in the day, but I believe it is just as much of a problem today, as it was back then.

I would like to quote a passage of scripture from Matthew 23:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear to be righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Just like the Pharisees in their day, we make the same mistake today! We go to church, because we know the people at church will wonder where we were, and they might question our spirituality...we pray overly wordy and long prayers, because it makes us appear to be spiritual...and the list goes on. I think you get the point I'm trying to make. The question we must ask ourselves, is..."what is my motivation for what I am doing?" or "do I have the right heart attitude about doing it." So often we allow our Christianity to become so much of a rote "religion" that we forget about the relationship that we are to have in our hearts with the Lord.

I would urge everyone to examine their lives. Look at what you do carefully, and make sure that you have the right God honoring motivation for your actions. Make sure you are doing what you are doing because you know it pleases the Lord, and you want to serve the Lord who died on the cross for your sins! What greater motivation can we have for our actions than that?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Haze Grey and Underway...

Some of you might know this already...but currently my ship on deployment. I cannot tell you exactly where I am...but I can say that so far I've been to Guam, and I have many other ports that I will be visiting while my ship is away from Japan.

The main reason why I wanted to post is because I wanted to make sure to let you know why it's been so long since I blogged. I plan on blogging soon...at least as soon as I can think of something to blog about.

Please pray for the safety of my ship, and also continue to pray for my leave request which has yet to come back. I think my patience and Hannah's patience...are beginning to run a little thin. So please pray that I get the request back soon, and that it approved of course!

Take care everyone!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Never Forget...

Like the generations that have gone before us we have a tragedy that stands out in our mind. Generations before us told us where they were and what they were doing, when events such as the Challenger disaster, the assassination of JFK, the assassination of MLK...the list goes on. What stands out as an event I will never forget? That would definitely be September 11th 2001.

Some days it seemed like it just happened yesterday. I remember that day pretty vividly...I was in the 7th grade. I remember when they made the announcement at my school...they came on the school PA during my Art class, and said that an attack had been made on the United States...I had no idea what they were talking about to be honest. I went through out the day hearing bits and pieces of what had gone on. They were saying that attacks had been made on the World Trade Centers, and the Pentagon. They said that planes had flown into them. I remember thinking..."Don't they have air traffic controllers to make sure things like this don't happen?"

I didn't fully understand the gravity of what had happened until I went home. I turned on the TV so that I could see what happened. I saw footage of planes flying into the World Trade Centers...I was completely horrified. If I remember correctly, originally I thought I was home alone, but it turns out Sara was home, but she was in her room taking a nap...I guess she had been watching so much of it, she couldn't take watching it anymore. I remember just sitting there in shock!

Unlike attacks like Pearl Harbor which we often compare it to...this event was much different. In regards to Pearl Harbor, almost everyone who was killed was in the Military...these were people who joined the military, understanding that they ultimately could end up giving their lives to save the country they loved. Sure it was still a horrible tragedy that we will not forget...but it was almost expected for a military base like it to be a target. The World Trade Centers on the other hand were civilian installations. They were your regular "Average Joes" going to work...not having any idea that they were risking their lives by going into work...they were just going to work like every other civilian was doing that day. Little did they know what would happen that day...

I myself can thank the Lord that he preserved my friends and family that day. I have a great uncle who works at the Pentagon, and he was going to be working in the area of the building where it was attacked, but he ended up having a doctors appointment that morning, and wasn't scheduled to come in until late...so he was spared. I also have a friend that I met while here in Japan named Ann Jackson...she was working in the Pentagon that day...but was in a different section of the building at the time of the attack. If the Lord hadn't seen fit to spare her...I would have missed out on the blessing of meeting her, and making a very good friend!

In closing I would just like to say that we should never forget the events of that day! To forget would be to allow it to possibly happen again. We must never forget so that we can ensure an event such as this never happens again...that we never look the other way when terrorism runs rampant. We must be careful to assure that countries that harbor terrorist's have a proper fear of our country, and that we ensure that no organization ever thinks that we have let our guard down enough that they can attack us again. We must never forget...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Garbage in...Garbage out...

So, I just got off the phone with Hannah, and were talking about something...and I decided...it would be a good thing to blog about...so here it is:

Many people have heard the expression above before, probably. Never has this expression become more real to me, than since I joined the Navy. You've probably all heard the expression..."to swear like a sailor"...well let me tell you...it is very true! People in the Navy, are some of the most dirty mouthed people I have ever met in my life. They talk about very inappropriate things almost all the time!

Well, one thing that has bothered me since I joined the Navy, is that you meet these "Christians" in the Navy...who swear just as bad as the other sailors. I've always been very critical toward them, and wondering how they can claim to be committed Christians, and say the things they do? But I came to a realization, that I want to present to you...

So, this is very hard for me to admit...but on two occasions, since I joined the Navy...I have slipped out with swear words. They came out so fast, that I didn't have time to pull them back. Of course each time I felt terrible, and apologized to the Lord profusely after each time...but it make me realize something...it's easier than I thought to slip into this "dirty mouthed sailor mentality." You hear it so much on the job in the Navy...that if you are not extremely careful, and relying on the Lord at all times...garbage can get in very easily.

So this made me reevaluate my Christian Shipmates...if I have slipped up these two times...how can I be so judgemental toward these other Christians? God created me as a very stubborn individual...I don't give into peer pressure very easily! I think I got the stubbornness from my mom...but anyways...if I'm so stubborn, and willfully trying my best to live my life right for God...and I slipped up those two times...what's to say that other Christians might slip up even more? I mean, I was raised in a Christian home...where many words that would not be considered that bad in today's society were considered swear words...so what's to say these new Believers, aren't going to struggle more than me?

Am I trying to justify my slip ups, or trying to excuse the actions of my Christian Shipmates? No! If anything this realization has made me more determined to live everyday, moment by moment with the Lord...so I can guard myself from slipping up like this. But this has helped me to understand them a little better. One thing I've realized is that the Navy is preparing me sooo well for the Ministry...because of my time in the Navy. The Navy has helped me understand sooo much more of the world, and so many new different kinds of people! He is broadening my horizons, so that I can better minister to a wider variety of people.

If I had gone right from High School, to College, and then on to be a Pastor...I would have had such a small range of people that I would understand, and be able to interact with. But now since the Navy...I honestly believe that the Lord could send me to almost anywhere in the world...and I would be comfortable with it!

I just want to close by saying that God knows what He's doing in your life. You may see the times you slip up, and see the mistakes you make, and allow that sin to eat you alive, but I believe that is the wrong approach. God has forgiven us of every sin we have committed, and He can use those trials, and tests to shape us into the Christians He wants us to be!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Prayer Request...

I have blogged on here already telling you all about my current "relationship" with the infamous "bug." Well as you know...we have yet to meet in person. This is when I hope, if all goes as we both hope, things will become official.

In the Navy we get 30 days leave each year. The last time I went on leave was last year for Christmas. This year the plan is for me to come home on the 2nd of December through the 26th. "Bug" and I have made so many plans for when I'm home, and we are praying so hard that it all works out!

I put in my request to take leave, and hopefully should know by the end of this month if it is approved! So if you think of me, or "bug" please pray! She has been such a huge blessing to me, and I want so badly to meet her in person!

The prayers are greatly appreciated!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Basics of Life

By: Ephraim Lewis
***
We've turned the page, for a new day has dawned.
We've re-arranged what is right and what's wrong.
Somehow we've drifted so far from the truth
That we can't get back home
***
Where are the virtues that once gave us light?
Where are the morals that governed our lives?
Someday we all will awake and look back
Just to find what we've lost.
***
CHORUS
We need to get back to the basics of life.
A heart that is pure, and a love that is blind.
A faith that is fervently grounded in Christ.
The hope that endures for all time.
These are the basics...
We need to get back to the basics of life.
***
The newest rage is to reason it out.
Just meditate and you can and you can overcome every doubt.
After all they say man is god, they say.
God is no longer alive.
***
But I still believe in the old rugged cross,
And I still believe there is hope for the lost,
And I know the rock of all ages will stand
Through changes of time.
***
REPEAT CHORUS
***
BRIDGE
We've let the darkness invade us for too long.
We've got to turn the tide.
Oh and we need the passion that burned long ago
To come and open our eyes.
There's no room for compromise.
***
We need to get back to the basics of life.
A Heart that is pure, and I love that is blind.
***
REPEAT CHORUS

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Passions...

Passion: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling of conviction.

When I was in Hich School my choir teacher was always talking about passion. She said that "No matter what you do, you put everything into it. You be passionate about everything you do!" I have adopted this as my own. I believe that this would be God's will for our life as well.

Col. 3:23 says: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.

I believe this word heartily can be substituted for passionatelely. We must do everything in our lives as if we are doing it for the Lord, and not for men. You see men in the world, will disapoint us. They will say things that make us want to give up, will make us want to allow ourselves to become apathetic. But God is always faithful to us, he will never fail us. I don't know about you, but that makes me feel passionate about doing things for the Lord!

This is one of the reasons why I decided to name my blog "My Life, My Passions, My God..." My idea with my blog is that it will be about things that go on in my life, it will be about my passions in life, and of course most imptortantly my God. My hope and prayer is that my blog would be a blessing to you all!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Feeling like a mole...

So as many of you know, I am in the Navy. Anyone who has been a follower of my blog for an extended period of time knows this. Well, my job in the Navy does not allow me the privilege of very much sunlight. I'm often so busy when I'm underway, that I go days without seeing the sun. Kind of weird to think about isn't it?

It's especially during the winter time. Over here in Japan they have no daylight savings time, so during the winter time, the sun sets by 4 in the afternoon. Many times, that is when I'm just getting off the ship. Not very cool... needless to say I get really pale.

Well anyways, getting to the point...today I actually got some sun! I was up on the main deck painting one of platforms, and I've got a little bit of color on my face, and on my arms. Pretty cool huh?

Alright so I know this is a really random post, and I usually don't post things that are this short, but I wanted to post something because it's been a while. This post was Hannah's idea actually. She told me that I should clarify that the title of this post says I "feel" like a mole, I don't look like a mole. That would be kind of weird if I looked like a mole...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How Are We Saved?

When faced with the above question, I in the knowledge I received in church growing up would answer as I was taught. But as I have learned through the years, we can’t always depend on what imperfect humans have discerned. Often we allow the wisdom of man to slip into our doctrines, and completely change God’s word to mean something else entirely. I would like to go back to the Bible, and examine specifically what it says is the way of salvation.
One verse specifically outlines the way of salvation in pretty plain English. I would like to go to Romans 10:8-10:
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
This passage of scripture, I believe very plainly lays out the way of salvation. We must come before God in a humble spirit, confessing to the Lord that we believe in Him, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead. Only then can we have salvation.
You notice how this passage uses the word heart? It says we must believe in our heart. The bible itself says that just merely believing that God exists is not enough. In James 2:19 it says Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. You see, even demons believe in God, but do we say that demons can have salvation? Of course not! This idea of believing in your heart is key!
So what does this whole heart thing mean? Well, I’d like to do a little bit of a side study on the heart. I think that examining this idea will help us better understand this idea of believing in our hearts.
It says in Matthew 6:20 & 21 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The bible uses heart as a way of signifying what our whole purpose is focused on. Whatever we put first in our lives, that is where our heart is. The very center of our being, our motivation for doing things, lies in our heart.
I would like to cite another bible verse that seems to point toward this “heart belief.” Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand in their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
This idea of “heart believing” I believe in my heart (pardon the pun) is where our salvation truly lies. It is that we realize deep down inside our very being that Christ died on the cross for us, and rose again on the third day. We realize that we did not deserve it, but He freely gave it.
One problem I know we as imperfect humans do, is we often like to add things to this. We like to say, well yes, you must believe in your heart, but you must also__________(insert action.). This I believe is where we get way off track!
I would like to examine scripture to support this belief. Galatians 2:16 says: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Another verse I would like to cite is a more well known passage…Ephesians 2:8 & 9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. I think those verses speak for themselves.
Along these lines I have found that some people believe that Baptism is required to have salvation. In part I agree with this. I will explain…
In Matthew 3:11 it says I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
Here you see what I mean by in a way I agree with this belief. When we accept Christ, He bestows upon us the Holy Spirit. We are then baptized by the Holy Ghost. This idea of physical baptism by emersion, being required in order to have salvation, I must take issue with. As I have stated before God’s word clearly states that there is no righteous work that we can do to earn salvation, how then can we argue that physical baptism is required to earn salvation? The bible often refers to salvation as “baptism by the Holy Ghost,” or similar like uses, as referred to in Matthew 3:11.
The Bible overwhelmingly points toward Baptism merely being a step of obedience for the Christian. For example, Saul after he is converted is baptized. Jesus, before he begins His ministry is baptized.
A verse that I found which seems to refer to baptism directly is I Peter 3:21. It says: The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answers of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I can’t get passed that word “save” in this verse. It seems to point to baptism being required for salvation, but it also says that baptism is the answer “of a good conscience toward God. This seems to point toward Baptism as a step of obedience. I must admit, at this point I could not reason an answer, so I referred to my Matthew Henry commentary for guidance. It states: "To prevent mistakes, the apostle declares what he means by saving baptism; not the outward ceremony of washing with water, which, in itself, does no more than put away the filth of the flesh, but that baptism of which the baptismal water formed the sign. Not the outward ordinance, but when a man, by the regeneration of the Spirit, was enabled to repent and profess faith, and purpose a new life, uprightly, and as in the presence of God. Let us beware that we rest not upon outward forms. Let us learn to look on the ordinances of God spiritually, and to inquire after the spiritual effect and working of them on our consciences. We would willingly have all religion reduced to outward things. But many who were baptized, and constantly attended the ordinances, have remained without Christ, died in their sins, and are now past recovery."
This look at this verse seems to be right in line with what the rest of God’s word says. I know that God’s word says we are to search his word for the truth, but it also says to seek Godly wisdom. I have not had an adequate education in this area, and therefore, feel I must appeal to someone more knowledgeable than me to better understand portions of God’s word.
So therefore in closing, I must conclude that salvation comes from a “heart belief” that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and rose again on the third day. We come to God and acknowledge our lack of ability to save ourselves through physical actions, and bow before Him humbly taking the righteousness he allowed to be bestowed on us through His death on the cross. Baptism does not save us, except maybe the “baptism” of putting on of the Holy Spirit which Christ bestows on us when we accept Him.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

2 More Years...

On August 6th, 2007 I went off to boot camp. I, to be honest, had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had done a little bit of research, but ultimately I was just depending on the Lord that He was going to get me through it. After going through the worst two months of my life, I became a United States Navy Sailor. I would have to say that Boot Camp graduation day was probably one of the proudest days of my life. I had made it, by God's grace I had made it! I learned so much too. I learned discipline, I learned how to push myself past my limit, to do what I would have thought impossible. I also learned how to "pray without ceasing. I would have to say that those two months in boot camp was a time in my life where every spare minute was spent in prayer to the Lord. I think boot camp was probably the time in my life where I relied on the Lord the most.

If you would have told me before I went to boot camp, that I would be in Japan right now...I probably wouldn't have believed you. I mean I thought, before I joined, that being stationed overseas was very unlikely. I thought that that was for people who requested it, that it didn't just happen to anybody. Well, of course I was wrong. Here I am stationed in Japan. God has brought me sooooo far! Way farther than I ever would have imagined! God has truly been good to me!

Now if you haven't noticed by looking at the date that I went to boot camp in the first paragraph, that was exactly 2 years ago. Do you know how long my contract is? It's four years! Do you know what that means? I have exactly two years left with my navy career! How do I feel about this? Well, I must say that in spite of all the blessings that the Navy has bestowed on my life, I would be lying if I were to tell you it has all been fine and dandy times. I have to admit there were times where I wanted to desert because the stress was overwhelming. That is of course where the Lord comes in. Without the Lord, I probably would have gone nuts already. In spite of the difficulty...I know that the Navy is just where God wants me right now. Do I have to admit that I'm happy that I'm half way through? Yes, I do admit that being halfway through, is very exciting! Especially since these last two years seem to have flown by.

I'm looking forward to getting out in two years, moving to Wisconsin, and buying that little Log Cabin I've been drooling over on the Internet, and of course going to Northland to get my degree. Of course hopefully some wedding bells somewhere in there.

As I reflect on these last two years, and these two years ahead of me, I would like to ask everyone to pray...pray for me...and for the other men fighting on the front lines for our country. The ones on the front lines definitely need the most prayer! The most dangerous thing in my life is the risk of being shocked (Sorry Hannah, I couldn't help it...). But those men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are the ones that really need prayer. Don't forget to pray for them, and for their families who are waiting for them at home!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Tremendous Blessing...

On June 1st, 2008 I arrived on the USS Blue Ridge, in Yokosuka (Pronounced Yoko-ska), Japan. Unmarried, single in a foreign country sooooo far away from home. To be perfectly honest, I was pretty scared. At the beginning the only time I felt comfortable was at church. I knew that God was going to use this time to teach me some things. To teach me to depend on Him, to allow Him to be the comforting friend I needed.

I struggled with this big time....I found myself spending a lot of time on the computer, and spending money on things I didn't need, to maybe make me feel less lonely. I tried to depend on the Lord, and it helped a great deal, but to be honest...I'm an imperfect human, I have a hard time learning lessons like this. I wanted so badly to have somebody with me. I found myself calling home more and more during the week to have some kind of feeling like there was somebody with me.

Finally the Lord brought my friend Luci into my life. Luci was just what I needed. She helped me feel less lonely, and I helped her by being a the Christian friend she needed. We spent so much time together. Every weekend it was me and Luci hanging out, whether going out into town, or just sitting on a park bench talking. There was nothing more than friendship between us...we just helped keep each other company because we had no one else to depend on but the Lord. Well, when May of this year came around, Luci went underway. Her ship was going to be leaving, and not coming back for a long time. In fact, by the time her ship was going to be coming back, my ship was going to be going on a long underway. So we both knew when she left, we weren't going to be seeing each other till the end of November. I didn't know what I was going to do. I knew that this was the ultimate test from God to see if I would depend on Him for strength. I think this is where it finally began to sink in. I was beginning to learn the lesson God was trying to teach me. I had resigned to the fact that I probably wouldn't find "someone" until college, and I was okay with that.

Well on June 16th I go to my shop to check my email like I always do, and I see I have a message in my inbox, from some random girl in Indiana, and the rest is History. It's been about a month and half now, and I feel like I have known her my entire life. We talk about anything, and everything! We've even decided that over Christmas, I'm going to meet her face to face, and see what happens then.

I said all this because I just wanted to express how much of a blessing she has been to me. As I've said, I'm terrible at finding contentment when I'm alone. I often become very unmotivated, and lazy when I'm lonely. Well I have found in the past month and half that I have become so much happier, and a much harder worker. It's like God put her into my life to help give me purpose. He knows my imperfections, and he knows that I need to have someone in my life. So he gave her to me. Oh, and I probably she should tell you her name...well at least her blogspot alias...her name is "Bug" (aka Hannah).

We've decided at this point that until we meet, and I get permission from her Dad, we're going to remain just friends.

Oh, and I probably should take this time to thank the one responsible for this little hookup. Thank you Rosebud, without you, this never would have happened. So...thanks!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Because Hannah Tagged Me...

The Rules
1. Copy the questions and then answer them (post it on your blog remember).
2. Tag 4 people and let them know you have tagged them.
3. Let the person [who tagged you] know that you have done a post for the tag.

-What are your nicknames? Bubba, Bubba Stinky (Mom's nickname), Bubby (Sister's Nickname for me), JJ (My nickname since I was little), Jay, Huns (Most common navy nickname), Hunsickey...those are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.
-What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD? I have NO idea!
-What is your favorite scent? Freshly Baked Apple Pie.
-If you had one million dollars to spend only on yourself, what would you spend it on? Well, since I can't really do anything with it right now because I'm in the Navy and I don't want a car over in Japan, I'd probably throw in into a CD so I couldn't touch it until I get out of the Navy. After that I would probably use it to buy a house, and keep the rest in savings.
-What is one place you've visited, can't forget and want to go back to? Corregidor, Philippines.
-Do you trust easily? Well, I'm usually a pretty good judge of character, so if it seems like I can trust them, I will, but if they don't seem like I can trust them I won't. It's worked out pretty well so far.
-Do you generally think before your act, or act before you think? Generally I have a tendency to where I over think things, and then act, but once in while, I'll act before I think.
-Is there anything that had made you unhappy these days? Well something that happened today made me a little frustrated, but I prayed about it, and felt better.
-What is your favorite fruit? Probably strawberries, or maybe Apples...
-What websites do you visit daily? Facebook, Blogspot, Navy Federal Credit Union, My Yahoo Email...
-What have you been seriously addicted to lately? My computer, especially around 1130AM - 1245PM. Oh, and also to my iPhone.
-What's the last song that got stuck in you head? I have had "Have Thine Own Way" going through my head for the last couple of days!
-What is your favorite thing to wear? A nice collared shirt, some comfortable shorts, and my converse shoes.
-Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy? Yeah, they're pretty good. I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan though.
-What items couldn't you be without during the day? My iPhone, a Computer...
-What should you be doing right now? Cleaning up my workspace...
-I now tag: Whoever wants to fill this out...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day by Day

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
***
Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He Whose Name is Counselor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.
***
Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.
***
I don't know about you guys, but this is one of my favorite hymns. This was a lesson I think my dad first taught me. He said that we as Christians should live day by day, living everyday for the glory of the Lord. Taking it one day at a time. Not allowing the problems of yesterday to affect today, but living each day as a new day in the Lord. I have found this outlook on life to be very helpful in the Navy. Some days in the Navy, are to be honest...terrible! But I can't allow that to affect my outlook on the next day. Each day is a new day in the Lord. I wake up every morning...praying that I can live that day to the glory of the Lord. I let all the other days of the week come, come and go when they come and go, but for that day, I will focus on that day. Any broader view that that will make you go nuts in the Navy! Some days I must admit that I live each moment, praying, "Lord help me make it to the next moment with out going nuts!"
Wow, looking over that paragraph, I realized it was kind of a confusing read. I hope you understood it, and that maybe it was a blessing to you!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Shampoo Disaster

I usually don't tell little anecdotes from my life, but something really interesting happened to me last night. So last night was our Wednesday evening service. I had a very good time, although it was slightly nerve racking at some points because Bro. Tajima was having me direct the singing, and while I enjoy doing it, I always get a little nervous. So after the singing and prayer time, Pastor Heath gets up to do the sermon. He spoke on James 2, about "Faith without works is dead." It was a very good sermon, and I got a lot out of it.

Anyways, afterwards Sister Ann and I practiced out duet that we're going to sing on the 19th (The Secret Place by Ron Hamilton.) After that Ann asked if I wanted a ride back onto the base and back to my ship, so I of course accepted her offer. So she drops me off on the ship and I head to my rack.

Well I get there and I open my book bag so I can take out my dirty gym clothes because I had worked out earlier in the day, and I'm pulling stuff out and noticing that there is this slimy light green colored substance on the stuff I'm pulling out. Upon further inspection I discover that it is shampoo. I realize the culprit is my bottle of shampoo that I had in my book bag from taking a shower after working out. I find the bottle, and it is almost completely empty, when I had just bought it a few days before. I thought, "Well, I guess this would be a good time to throw away a lot of junk that I have stowed away in my book bag!" So of course I had to sort through it all, and clean off a lot of electrical cords and such. I even had my old prepaid cell phone that had taken a bath in the shampoo. Funny thing is, is it still worked, even if it hadn't, I just recently bought and iPhone, so it was no big deal.

Anyways, so that was my adventure last night. After I pulled out everything that was in my bag and threw away a bunch of junk, I then took my book bag and rinsed it out in the sink in the bathroom. Now I have a nice clean book bag that smells like pert-plus shampoo! Fun times, fun times!

Monday, June 29, 2009

What a Friend we have in Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
***
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
***
Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.
***
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.
***
I think my favorite part of this song is the last 4 lines. When we are up in heaven there will be no more gloomy days, no more sorrow. We will forever bask in the light of God's amazing Glory. Pain and sorrow will be replaced with "Rapture, praise, and endless worship!" Wow...I cannot wait for that day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stuttering

"One of my friends has a stutter, and a lot of people think that's a bad thing, but to me that's just like starting certain words with a drum roll. That's not an impediment, that's suspense."
-My Sister (Sara Hunsicker)

Some of you might know this...but I used to struggle big time with stuttering. Well my sister posted this on my wall on facebook, and it had me rolling. I hope that this one gave you a little bit of a laugh.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Odawara Castle

Well...these pictures are all in the wrong order, and I can't seem to fix it, so I'll just have to make do. Anyways, last weekend I went to the visit the beautiful town of Odawara. I realized recently that I hadn't really left the city of Yokosuka in a while, and I was feeling like I wanted some adventure. So I remember when I went through AOB/ICR (Area Orientation Brief/Intercultural Relations. It's a class we take when we get to Japan that introduces us to Japanese culture and etiquette so we don't make any social mistakes out in Japan.) that they had talked about Odawara and the fact that they have a Castle there. So I decided last weekend that I should go there.

It was about an hour and a half train ride with one transfer half of the way through the trip. The ticket was only about $10. So when I got to Odawara I found the Castle and below are the pictures I took while there. As I said they are kind of out of order, so please bear with me.



This elephant was in a pen in the courtyard to the Castle.

This was the entrance to the Courtyard of the Castle.

This was on a Saturday, and just like in the States, Japanese do lots of sight seeing on the weekends. So needless to say, there were a lot of people there!


BONSAI!!

Odawara Castle

This was the gate to the Castle-grounds. I think the big doors were used for carriages, and carts, while the smaller door is for people on foot.


Gate to the Castle-grounds.

Bridge to the Castle-grounds.

Japanese people love flowers. They had flowers everywhere! You can also see the bridge up above. Going to Odawara was a wonderful experience. I hope to take my friend Luci with me to go see it again when we see each other again.

I also discovered while there that Odawara is really close to Hakone. Hakone is at the base of Mt. Fuji. If the day had been clear I probably would have been able to take pictures of the Mountain, but it was really overcast. I'm hoping to go to Hakone next weekend, so I'll hopefully be posting pictures from that pretty soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts from my Devotions.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

Romans 8:14 & 15

You know how when you are reading through the Bible, and one verse or passage just really jumps out to you as a very powerful passage? Well this verse really hit me hard when I was reading it the other day.

"For you have not received the spirit of slavery leading to fear again..." Wow! God did not and does not force us to serve Him. It is our choice. We make the decision to live our life for Him, or not. No one made us accept him. We came before the foot of the cross on our own.

"...but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" I like the fact that it says "...the spirit of adoption..." We weren't always the children of God. Christ provided us the way to have a fellowship with God, and we have been "adopted" into the family of God. We cried out to Him, "Abba! Father!" because He is our father! What a perfect example of what a father should be to us. All of us have earthly fathers, who did the best to raise us right, but they are imperfect men. We can look to our heavenly father, as the "perfect father!"

I hope and pray that this was an encouragement to you all!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why Can't God Just Ignore Our Sin?

If God really loves us, as he says he does, why must he let sin stand between him and us? He's God, after all, and he's all-powerful, isn't he? He can do anything he wants, can't he? Why can't he just forget that we sin and save us anyways?

On the surface this seems a reasonable question, but when we dig deeper we find that it has problems. The answer has to do with the twin concepts of justice and holiness. Let's talk about justice first.

We have all fallen short of God's perfect standards. Since he is the moral ruler of the universe, he cannot look on violations of his perfect standards with indifference. We may be able to do this when we offend each other, but God cannot, because to tolerate anything less that perfection in his perfect universe would be an offense against perfect justice. There would be outrage if a judge failed to administer justice in his court. Imagine a judge who, upon hearing a case involving a brutal murder and rape, decided to let the guilty party go free because he wanted to act lovingly! What would the family of the victim think about his ignoring such an outrageous crime? Naturally, they would cry for justice. Letting the killer off would trivialize the brutal act and make light of the lost life of their loved one. What kind of world would we live in if every judge chose to "act lovingly and kindly" and forgive crimes instead of administering justice? We can assure you, you wouldn't like it.

God is the moral ruler of the world. He is the judge of the universe--he is the ultimate King. His laws are not arbitrary; they stem from his very character and nature, and they are given to us in order to make us more like him. Essentially all of God's laws are for our own good. He designed humans; he knows what makes us tick and how we can achieve the best performance and greatest happiness. His laws work like a manufacturers instruction and maintenance manual. If we follow them, we will come much nearer to being in what God intended us to be and reap the joy, satisfaction and fulfillment that come from it.

God is truth, and his laws are righteous. In his plea for God to save Sodom and Gomorrah from his planned destruction, Abraham cried out, "Surely you wouldn't do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn't do that! Should not the judge of all the earth do what is right?" (Gen. 18:25)

Of course, Abraham misunderstood the situation in Sodom a bit. God knew that there were no righteous people in Sodom besides Lot and his family, whom he intended to save. But the point is, Abraham made a correct statement: God, as ruler and judge of all the earth, is bound by his own character to do what is right, and this means administering justice accurately.

Sin arouses God's wrath. It is not that he irrationally loses his temper because his plans for a perfect world were fouled up. There is nothing impulsive, random or capricious about God; he's not spiteful or malevolent. His anger is neither irrational nor mysterious. He is completely principled and controlled. His anger is always provoked by wickedness and the destruction of wickedness renders to the created beings he dearly loves.

The second reason God must respond to sin is because he is holy. In fact, the attribute of holiness is applied to God more than any other attribute in the Bible. Most people misunderstand the meaning of holiness. They tend to think of it as being overly religious to the point of being somewhat out of touch with everyday reality. Or more negatively, they think of holiness as being a little self-righteous and religiously elevated above ordinary folks. But the true meaning of holiness is nothing like that. God's holiness is simply incompatible with sin. God's eyes are too pure to look on evil, and because he is perfect, he cannot bear wrong-doing (see Hab. 1:13).

Because God is holy, he cannot look upon sin with indifference. He judges sinners because his perfect character demands it. The Bible uses a couple of phrases to indicate why God must do so: First, God is "provoked by sin." The Bible tells us that he was angered when idols or foreign gods were put before him in his people's lives (see Deut. 32:16, 21). This simply means that God's perfect nature causes him to react strongly to wrongdoing. He cannot tolerate idolatry, immorality or injustice. If he did, he could not be called good. He would not be holy.

Second, we are told that God "burns with anger" at the sins of mankind (see 2 Kings 13:3). Judges 3:8 says "The Lord burned with anger against Israel." Just as our eyes burn when we look at the sun, there is something within God's nature that causes him to burn with anger at the sight of evil. Because God is holy, he simply cannot respond to sin in any other way.

Because God is holy and just, he will always do what is right. He cannot overlook our wrongdoings, for he is obligated to do what is right. The British theologian Michael Green observed that "for God just to forgive without any cost to anyone would be sheer indifferentism. It would obliterate any distinction between right and wrong. It would say that right does not matter, and that evil is a matter of indifference."

From: Evidence for the Resurrection
By: Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Kindle 2

I recently purchased a Kindle 2.  It is basically an electronic book.   You can download books off the Internet and read them on the screen.

When I first heard about this, I was really reluctant to try it.  I thought "Wow, this could get rid of books all together," and being a little old fashioned, I didn't like the sound of that.  Plus I was thinking that I didn't know if I could get used to reading from an electronic screen.  But then I realized that this would be very convenient for me considering my limited space living on the ship.  I could have hundreds of books at my fingertips, in just one small electronic device.

So I decided to buy it.  I can definitely say that I do not regret my decision!  The Kindle is awesome!  I have downloaded most importantly the Bible, which makes my daily bible reading very convenient, plus many other books.  I even found a website where I could download a bunch of old classics for free, because they of course no longer have a copyright.

I have done more reading since I got this awesome device than I have in a long time!  The screen is also very easy to read from.  It looks just like a page from a book.  It also has a dictionary on it, that allows you to select any word, from any book you are reading, and get the definition within seconds!

Can you tell that I love this thing?  I would not say that this would be good with everyone, because I understand the reluctance from some to get something like this.  But if you travel a lot, or you just want to have your reading be a little more convenient, this is perfect for you!

They also came out with a newer version recently that is slightly bigger, it's called the "Kindle DX."  The Kindle and the Kindle 2 are kind of small, but they're not too small.

If anyone has any questions, you can ask me, or go to Amazon and read about it there.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How Can It Be

O Savior, as my eyes behold
The wonders of Thy Might untold,
The heav'ns in glorious light arrayed,
the vast creation Thou has made-
And yet to think thou lovest me-
my heart cries out, "How can it be?"
***
As to the cross I humbly bow,
and gaze upon Thy thorn crowned brow,
And view the precious bleeding form
By cruel nails so bruised and torn,
Knowing Thy suff'ring was for me,
In grief I cry "How can it be."
***
How can it be? How can it be?
Was ever grace so full and free!
From heights of bliss to depths of woe
In loving kindness thou didst go,
From sin and shame to rescue me-
O Love Divine, How can it be?
***
Chorus
How can it be? How can it be?
That God should love a soul like me,
O how can it be?
***
This is probably one of my favorite Hymns. It's not a very well known one. I was only able to find the words in one Hymn book and that was "Great Hymns of the Faith," and I also think it might be in "Majesty" as well. I thought of it mainly because I have a CD where the "Herbster Trio" sings it. I hope and pray that you are blessed by the words in this wonderful Hymn!