Friday, September 5, 2014

Finally!!!

Back in 2003 when I got saved we had a visit from Gideon's International to our church where these men shared their testamonies, and stories about how the organization has changed their lives and the lives of countless others through the pocket Testaments and bibles given.  I was very moved by what they said and realized at that moment I wanted to join the organization.  But I quickly realized after not one but two times filling out applications and then being denied that my hopes were dashed and would never be a member.  This past winter a friend of mine who runs Forest Avenue Outreach became a member and begged me to come to some meetings and check it out.  I was reluctant being my past failures and didn't want to get my hopes up.  But after a few times trying to make meetings I finally went.  About a week later I filled out another application and to my shock they accepted, and I became a member this past July.   This past Wednesday I had my first Bible Distribution at the University of Northern Iowa.  It was a great time praying, and serving the Lord.  Out of 200 Testaments I gave out 47 and had a good conversation with a Muslim girl.  Total that day we handed out 3159 Testaments.  One man gave out 500 by himself!  I know that God will use this to draw more people to Himself and that it will be a fruitful harvest.  I am excited to see how God will use this and that I will use this time wisely for His glory. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Repent, Lest Anything Worse Happen To You.

Ever since I was a kid I and went to a Chuck E. Cheese I had a fascination with video games.  I loved video games.  I remember going to the arcades down the Jersey Shore and I would spend hours inserting quarters and trying to get high score.  Games like, Choplifter, Spy Hunter, and Star Wars Tie Fighter were some of my favorites (I guess I just dated myself right there).

Several years ago my wife wanted to bless me and bought me an X-Box, a headset, and the game Modern Warfare 3.  It was a great game, a first person shooter that was right up my alley and the graphics were intense.  I was starting to get really good at it and was talking and playing with people online. I was hooked and before I knew it I was playing about between 2 and 4 hours a day.  As my playing increased, my bible reading, prayer, and fellowship with God decreased.  The Lord convicted me, and within several months I got rid of the game.  It was a blessing because I was drawing close to God, praying, reading the bible and totally seeking Him.

Several years later I thought I had self control enough to play again.  This time I purchased, Battlefield 3.  It came out around the time of Modern Warfare 3, but this one you could drive tanks and fly helicopters and such.  Not to mention blow up buildings.  The graphics were even better than the other, and I started meeting new people online.  I told myself I would keep my playing to a minimum, and only one or two days a week.  At first it went well, but then I was in my old routine.  I played so much within a few months I made it to rank of 2nd Colonel.  Now what do I do?  The conviction started and I was ignoring the signs.

The night of June 10th I had a dream that was quite unusual for me.  I had dreampt that I was surrounded by white light and I was in the presence of God.  He told me that I was to get rid of the game and that he had become jealous and wanted my attention.  I had abandoned my post and forgotten about him.  If I wouldn't stop playing that he would chasten me and keep me from playing.  So that morning I shrugged it off and went to work.

The next day right after work I walked in the house, hit the on button on the X-Box and started playing.  Lisa had gotten home and needed to cook.  I went to help her cut some sweet potatoes while she went to the Chiropractor.  So I'm looking at these things, and trying to remember the instructions she gave me.  I was confused and cut them my own way.  With blade in hand I made a decision that to this day I have no idea why I did it.  The blade slipped, and went across my left middle and index fingers.  Blood poured out of them immediately, and I knew I was in trouble.  Panic set in, called Lisa, and off to the Urgent Care we went.  I spent the next 10 days with 6 stitches, and then another week with sutchers because it wouldn't heal correctly.

You would have thought that I would have learned my lesson right?  Wrong.  I was justifying my game playing, and within days I was back playing my favorite game.  So July 4th rolls around and the same dream happened that night.  The Lord was very displeased with me, and told me to repent lest anything worse happen to me.  Did I listen?  Hardly.  I was convinced it was just a dream and my imaginations were getting the best of me.  I just needed to put the game down for a while.

The next day I went into work.  As a Field Service Technician I use my hands constantly.  At 2 pm my shift was almost over and all I wanted to do was play that game.  A machine went down and I had t crawl under, open a panel which weighs about 50 lbs and remove the item.  All went well until I had to put the panel back on. It went on a little difficult, but screwed it in and started to scoot myself out from under the machine.  All of a sudden the door came off the hinges, and all 50 lbs of weight landed on my ring finger of my right hand.  I let out a yell, grit my teeth, and instantly teared up.  I ran out to the ice machine to stop the swelling and I was to late.  I had a grape on the end of my finger and I knew it had to be broken.  The pain was so bad it was almost as bad as when I got frostbite in both my legs in 1999.  The next day after another Urgent Care visit, it was indeed broken.

So, out of work on workers comp I have alot to think about as I sit alone at home with an ice pack and throbbing pain.  But I know what I don't have to think about...not playing the game.  That's right.  I was afraid if I didn't get rid of it, I was going to lose a digit, or my job, or maybe both.  So in the trash it went, and I had tremendous peace in the process.

So what is the moral of the story?  Do what God tells you to do quickly, thoroughly, and cheerfully.  Spend quality time with Him.  Put away the idols in our lives and be fully devoted to the Lord.  Now do I believe that I was talking to God in a dream?  I don't know.  But I have two messed up hands and alot of time to spend with Him.  I reflect on different ways the Lord got the attention of people in His word through a physical chastening.  Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32), Saul (Acts 9:1-9), the Israelites in the wilderness, along with others.  But you know...it's been great.  I have great peace, I'm getting things done, and studying for my Precept Inductive Bible Study classes I will be teaching in September.