Been Thinkin about… Doing a blog.

…thought about it for a while, bought a couple of books, read a little, and finally decided I needed to just dive in. I’ve seen people teach their infants to swim by just tossing them into the pool. Amazingly, babies have a natural ability to float and most don’t panic. Being surrounded by a liquid is a natural state for them. After all, that is all they knew for 9 months. So, being in a nice warm pool surrounded by water is the most natural thing for them.

I’ve been on Facebook for a few years, as many who read this probably know. I also had a blog years ago, probably 15-20 years ago. I don’t remember anything about what I posted there. It doesn’t matter.  I’m doing a new thing, or maybe I should say God is doing a new thing in and through me.

Oh, yeah, I’ll be using the “G-word” a lot.  If that bothers you, you probably are on the wrong blog.  However, if you bear with me (and I hope you will), you may learn something.  I’m not a Bible thumper, but I do love the Bible and I do think it contains the Word of God.

The photo above shows the wall of a Salvation Army church just down the road from where I meet each Friday morning with a group of CBMC men (Christian Business Men’s Committee).  We are a half-dozen or so men who meet faithfully every Friday morning to pray, read the Bible and enjoy some Christian fellowship as we breakfast together.  I’ve been meeting with these men since 1990, but took a break this past year and am now getting back into it.  They are a great bunch of guys and welcomed me back with open arms, much as the father in the Bible story of the Prodigal son welcomes his errant son home after he went off and squandered his “inheritance”.

I’ve been writing some of the things God has taught me in Facebook posts and in my journal for many years.  Now I sense God asking me to put these thoughts online and share them with others.  What I’ve been thinking about mostly revolves around how this world works and what is important. In particular, what is God teaching me today and where is he leading me?

Ever since the election (and actually for a year or two before that), my world has been turned upside down.  Values I once held dear seem to be trampled upon.  I did some of the trampling.  But, the election of Donald Trump was like turning an elephant loose to trample upon them.  It just seems like things I hold dear like honesty and honor and integrity no longer matter.  I know if you are a Trump supporter you will probably be clicking away right now, and that is fine.  However, before you go, you need to know that I am not a supporter of Hillary Clinton, either.  Nor did I find Bernie Sanders to be someone I could feel good about supporting — he was too old and too angry for me.

Politically, I think our system failed us in this election and I was very angry about that for a while.  I’m getting over it now, but I understand the feelings of those who protest and say “Not my President”.  However, IMO, there are better ways than protesting in the streets.  One way is to protests online by writing to your Congress people and even to Mr. Trump and Mr. Obama.  Let them know what you think and why.  Above all, as Churchill said during the bombing of London during WWII:  “Never, Never, Never give up.”

But, the purpose of this blog is not to protest, though I may from time to time share a political thought or two and welcome your comments.

No, my purpose is not to oppose anything or anyone, unless it is Satan himself.  Rather, my purpose is to share with you things that are important to me, things I find interesting and things I think will interest you.

Recently, I promised my friends on Facebook that I would post a Bible verse every day from my morning meditations.  This morning I came across one  that I found particularly impactful:

“You cannot serve two masters… You cannot serve both God and money.”  Matthew 6:27

I know there have been books written on this topic and countless sermons have been based on it.  But, what does it have to do with me, today, here and now?

Well, as I considered starting a blog, it meant I should use it to serve God and not try to make money with it.  In the past, I’ll admit, making money with a blog had occurred to me.  Just yesterday my wife showed me a YouTube post about a woman who bought a penthouse condo in Tokyo using her earnings from affiliate marketing.  I know there is money to be made online, but that is not my purpose.  At some point I may have to include advertising to pay for the site, but I’m hoping God will provide other sources of revenue for me to keep it going.  I’m retired and making money with my blog is secondary, at best, and way down the list of priorities.

After the above verse, another caught my attention:

“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

I’ve had a cross-stitch of this latter verse on my bureau for the past 15 years.  It is one of the first things I see as I get dressed in the morning.  I’d like to be able to say I’ve done that every day, but that would be a lie.  Many days it has not even penetrated my consciousness.  Other days I’ve glanced at it and forgotten about it just as quickly.  Like most people, I’m just an average Joe Blow sinner.  Sometimes I try to do the right thing; often, I don’t.  Thanks be to God that there is grace enough to cover all my sins, past, present and future.

I find it interesting that in the “back story” context leading up to Matt 6:33, Jesus mentions food, drink and clothing, but he says nothing about shelter.  Of course, Jesus was an itinerant preacher who even said “foxes have holes… but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  He wasn’t concerned with having a place to stay.  With his reputation and ability to heal people and make them whole again, I’m sure he was welcomed by a variety of people to stay with them in their homes wherever he went.

Today, it is different, at least for us mere mortals.  We are not Jesus.  We are not God incarnate.  We do need a roof over our heads, at least most of us do.  Jesus understands that and provides.  He has certainly provided for me and my family in that regard, as well as providing food, drink and clothing.

So, what does that verse have to do with this blog.  Well, this is my way of giving back.  Of saying “Thank you” to Jesus for the blessings He has poured out upon me over the years.  As time goes on, I will tell you about some of those blessings.  And, it is not my aim to try to make money doing that.

One of the blessings, and it is a huge one, is sobriety.  By the grace of God and through the fellowship of AA I was able to put together almost 15 years of sobriety.  But, I have to admit, recently I had a slip.  This past summer and the summer before were not easy for me.  I love a cold beer on a hot summer day.  Of course, being the alcoholic that I am, one always leads to two and two to… well, you get the picture.

Thankfully, I am back on the wagon now and hopefully will stay there.  I still have those 15 years (5108 days to be exact).  I probably attended 2000+ AA meetings during that time.  I worked a good program and learned a lot.  So, why did I slip and take that first drink, you may ask.  That is a good question and one I will try to answer in my next post.

Another blessing God gave me is freedom from my addiction to nicotine.  After smoking for almost 35 years, I was able to kick that habit back in 1990 and have remained smoke-free ever since.  I always said that quitting drinking was relatively easy but staying quit was hard.  With smoking cigarettes, quitting was VERY hard, but staying quit has been fairly easy.  I gave up smoking with the help of Nicotine Anonymous, another 12-step program.

So, yes, I am a big fan of 12-step programs.  If you have an addictive behavior and you want to stop, there is nothing better, IMO, than to seek out a 12-step program that focuses on that addiction and start attending meetings, and keep on attending meetings.

I know the programs stress anonymity, and I’ve thought long and hard about that.  I will not intentionally break the anonymity of another member of any 12-step program; however, I have decided to break my own in order to better help others.  I think this is what God is calling me to do.

I hope you have found something useful here.  Something to make you think, perhaps some help for you or a loved one, and hopefully something to make you want to return and read my next post.  I will try not to bore you or waste your time.

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