He’s still in the miracle business

If any of you have read any of my other blog posts, you know that I deal with complex PTSD.  I won’t go into all of the struggles that come with it, you can read some of those on other posts.  I will say that I’ve been out of work because of it for quite a while.  I’ve spent many days asking God why?  I’ve also spent a lot of time wondering if I’ll be able to work again and how.  Who would hire someone who has this medical issue to work around.  After all, it’s a condition that sometimes makes it next to impossible for me to convince myself to even leave my house.  Depending on the day’s severity, I may have trouble remembering what I did 5 minutes ago.

 

I must say though that over time I have learned many new tricks to compensate for the changes PTSD has caused.  You can equate it to someone loosing their legs and then learning new ways to move around.  I keep learning these new ways of compensation and will probably continue to do so.

 

So, now to the true point of this post.  I had started to resign myself to an unemployed existence.  Although, my wife and I have continued to pray for a miracle of some sort.  We’ve prayed continuously that He would take care of us, however that may be.

 

And now the miracle.  A couple of weeks ago, Jodi(my wife) and I decided to drive up to north Georgia.  We had no particular destination in mind.  It was just another Saturday and we were board.  As we were going I saw a sporting goods store in Jasper and we decided to stop in just to kill some time.  While there we ran into the Compton’s.  We knew of them, but didn’t know them well.  Jodi and Beth started talking and find out that they needed a project manager in their company and I have done the job before.

 

In short order I met with Ken and Beth, took a personality test to see if I was a good fit for the job and found out that I was a great fit for what they needed.  So, an unplanned trip to an out of the way place lead to a job.  Neither of us could have guessed that God would answer our prayer in this way.  In fact, it’s a set of circumstances that we couldn’t have orchestrated if we tried.  There were/are too many parts and pieces that needed to come together in a perfect way for it all to work out.  That is something that only God could do.

 

To be completely transparent, I’m not sure exactly how it all happened.  God was working too many pieces for me to even attempt to grasp it all.  In the end it’s not my job to understand it all.  My job is to trust Him and move through the doors He opens and stop trying to open doors that He has closed.

 

No matter what someone tries to tell you or how you feel, God has not left you.  He will also never leave you.  This is not prosperity gospel by any stretch of the imagination.  We had to go through some very dark times to get to today and there will be more of those ahead.  But, if you and I keep our hope and faith in the God of the universe then we can see the dark times as nothing more than a training ground.  We can also rest peacefully in the fact that God also has bright and awesome blessings waiting for each and every one of His children.

 

It’s hard for me to end this post because I don’t feel that I’ve adequately conveyed the miracle that He did.  I think I would have to chronicle most of the last 2 or 3 years for you to get that picture.  But, you don’t have the time to read all of that and I’ve got work to do.

 

 

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Training without experience

Physical Fitness Test

Physical Fitness Test (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

 

I’m sure all of us have been through training of some kind.  Standard education, physical training, self defense training, firearms training, job training, etc.  We’ve all been through some type of it.  We study, we take a test and hopefully pass it and then believe that we’re now ready for whatever.

 

But there’s a missing component to all training.  Experience.  Experience is arguably one of life’s greatest teachers.  This is because it is nearly impossible to recreate a real life experience in a training environment.  We can come close, but can never truly match it.  Life does not fit into a training curriculum.  It’s unwieldy, and uncooperative.  When you know for sure that it will go left, it goes right.

 

Please understand that I’m a staunch supporter of training.  It’s the only thing any of us can do to try and prepare.  These same points hold true in our relationship with God.  No where in the Bible does God say “follow me and life will be a piece of cake”.  Quite the opposite is said over and over.  “Follow me and the world is going to do all it can to take you down”.  It’s good versus evil, it’s a war.

 

The idea for this post came from my reading in the Psalms this morning.  I was struck again at how David, described as a man after God’s own heart, was always going to God with petition and praise.  He didn’t get with God and then the road suddenly became straight and easy.  No, he partnered with God and all hell broke loose.  He seemed to be constantly fighting with one enemy or another.  Sometimes external and sometimes internal, but he was always in the fray.

 

Some would read the Psalms and think at first glance that God kept leaving David in a mess.  But what we need to understand is that we are at war.  A war of good versus evil.  There’s no way around it or out of it.  A person can choose to not fight, but that’s the extent of our individual choice.  We will be attacked whether we like it or not.

 

Many today proclaim that they strive to live in peace with everyone and everything.  It’s a great platitude, but unrealistic.  Let’s imagine something for a moment.  Imagine you’re standing in the middle of a battle field.  Bullets are flying, bombs are exploding, yells, screams, smoke, and soldiers running and fighting.  Now imagine that you decide that your not going to get involved, after all you live for peace.  So you sit or stand idly in the middle of the malay.  How long do you think you’ll last?  Do you believe that because you have chosen to create your own one person peaceful protest that you’ll be unaffected by the war?

 

I hope not.  Because if a person did this they would last a few seconds at best.  Those that are actively involved in the battle at hand don’t have the time to try to fight around you because you’re peaceful.  They’re going to have to go through you, and they will.

 

Here’s the bottom line for all Christians: YOU DO NOT have a choice.  You’re going to be on the battle field whether you like it or not.  You can’t escape it because it’s where you live.  No amount of peace symbols are lovely platitudes are going to protect you from it.  It may not sound fair, but God did not promise that if you followed Him that all of life would be fair.  But, the good news is you still have a choice.  God always gives you a choice.  You can live a pointless, at peace with everyone existence or you can get off the pew and fight for the lost.

 

Living in the desert

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in ...

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in Tadrart Acacus a desert area in western Libya, part of the Sahara. Français : Un marcheur laisse des empreintes sur le sable mou des dunes de Tadrart Acacus, une zone désertique de l’ouest libyen appartenant au Sahara. Italiano: Tracce lasciate sulle soffici dune di sabbia nel Tadrart Acacus, un’area deserta nel sud-ovest libico, deserto del Sahara. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Sometimes God has us live in a desert.  Not a literal desert, although that happens too I guess.  What a mean is a desert of no direction.  There are times when everything seems to stop and you find yourself stuck where you are.  Most of us will typically try to remove ourselves from this place, usually with no success.  We live in one of those mazes where you open a door, go through and then suddenly realize that you’re in the same place you started.  A lot of energy has been expended with no forward progress.

 

It’s hard to know what to do in these places.  Human beings by nature do not like to be trapped.  We want to be able to move freely and follow our instincts.  The problem is that our instincts can often be misleading.  No matter what we think we know, we can’t see the whole picture.  We are quite literally blind to anything the future holds.

 

Then there’s the fact that we usually have a hard time believing that God has not abandoned us for whatever reason when we can’t find a way out of a tough place.  We pray and pray, quite often for a specific answer.  Assuming all along that we know exactly what the right answer is even though we don’t know what will happen even 1 minute into the future.  It’s a very arrogant mind that we all have at times.

 

Every Christian is very lucky, blessed beyond measure, that we have a Father who will often refuse to let us out of the desert until the time is right.  I’ve been in a desert of sorts for 2 or 3 years now.  I’ve tried unsuccessfully to escape on several occasions.  I failed each time.  God allowed me to try, but then He lead me right back to the desert, gave me what I needed to survive and then went on His merry way.  Leaving me to pout and sulk like a spoiled brat for a while.  Then in time I would gather myself and attempt my next grand escape only to be sat back in the desert again.  Eventually I stopped fighting so hard to escape and relinquished myself to His will.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not some sort of super Christian.  I stilled whined and complained at times, but that was less often, much less often.  At some point I resigned myself to His will and not my own.

 

Only then did He open some doors and show me the way and time that was right.  So, as of this writing I’m slowly and tentatively taking baby steps out of the desert.  Praying with each step.  Practicing what I’ve learned about patience and dependence on Him.  I spent most of my desert time with no job.  No way to earn any money no matter what I tried.  Then suddenly, in the span of a week opportunities suddenly come.

 

I’m approaching each of these possible opportunities with the knowledge that these are gifts from God and He is in control of my path.  I am hopeful that now I can finally leave the desert behind, at least for a while.  I’m amazed again at God’s goodness, love, concern and care for me.

 

Being prepared is more than beans and bullets

Soldiers wearing the Army Physical Fitness Uniform

Soldiers wearing the Army Physical Fitness Uniform (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I, like everyone else, have been seeing and hearing more and more about prepping.  Meaning preparing for a “meltdown” in the U.S..  I must admit that many of these prepper people have some cool stuff.

 

But, there’s typically something missing in what I see in their preparations.  Specifically the missing item is often physical fitness.  Anyone that has spent anytime in the military knows that body preparation is as important as anything else.  In fact, it is crucial.  A person can have all of the coolest new gear, bags, plans, etc.  But, if they can’t physically move when the situation dictates a move then the boxes and bags of stuff are worthless.

 

I’ve been in the ‘get moving now’ situations.  It is physically and mentally taxing.  Having all of the ‘stuff’ packed and by the door is great.  But, let me say it again:  if you can’t carry it more than 100 yards then you’ve missed the most important key to survival.  A person in a survival situation must, MUST, be prepared on all levels.  IMHO the physical and mental aspects are the most important.

 

This brings me to the most important aspect of being prepared for any situation.  Be it some catastrophic event or just the normal twists and turns of life.  The most important aspect in prepping is my connection to God.  The promises from God in the bible are more than clear that He has your back in every situation.  He may not keep you living in a luxurious situation, but He will keep you.

 

Let’s think about this with extreme clarity.  If you are a Christian, meaning you have accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour, then you have the creator of the universe by your side.  This is the absolutely most important part of being prepared.

 

 

Keep praying for Pastor Saeed

English: Evin House of Detention فارسی: زندان اوین

English: Evin House of Detention فارسی: زندان اوین (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Some of you may know that Pastor Saeed Abedini has been held in and Iranian prison for sharing the good news of Jesus.  Here’s a link to the original article:

 

The U.S. pastor has been imprisoned in Evin Prison in Tehran for more than a year and is currently serving an 8-year sentence. The ACLJ, which represents Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, and two children in the U.S., has said that the pastor is being punished for his Christian faith.

 

http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-saeed-abedini-learns-that-obama-spoke-out-about-him-receives-hope-for-release-105673/cpt

 

The latest report is that President Obama has asked for his release.  Let’s pray and hope that God moves quickly in his release and safety.  Pastor Saeed is a husband and father, so there are many that need and miss him greatly.

 

Brodie

 

 

 

 

Finding the perfect light

English: Public path near Fiddington I was goi...

English: Public path near Fiddington I was going to go for the shot of the Motorway, but the colours in the bushes caught my eye. The light wasn’t perfect however the photograph captures the feel of the path drawing you in… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I make and sell bullet jewelry.  You can find my site at https://www.etsy.com/shop/Browntreedesigns if you’re interested.  But, I’m always trying to find the perfect lighting to take a picture of something I’ve made.  I don’t want to spend the money on things that are made for this, so I continue to hunt.

 

I was thinking about that issue this morning when God gave me a new thought.  He has provided the perfect light for all of us.  A light that guides our paths in the right directions.  It may not feel like the right direction sometimes.  Life happens and occasionally it seems as if we’re totally in the dark.  If you know Jesus, then I promise you that your not in the dark.

 

You or I may not be able to see past what’s right in front of us, but God can and does.  He knows where He’s going.  He knows the right ways.  All we have to do is follow.  I know what you’re thinking, because I think it too.  It’s easier said than done.  And that’s true.  But, the truth remains that His ways are better than our ways.

 

So, how do we stay on a path that we don’t always see?  I guess trust and faith are the only answers.  Trust that God is guiding your steps.  We may misstep sometimes.  That’s to be expected from a blind creature.  But God also knows this fact.  He’s not setting by watching you or I like a hawk waiting for you to make a mistake so He can pounce.  He’s guiding and teaching.  Sometimes from a distance, and sometimes He just picks us up and carries us along the right ways.

 

I don’t like missing the path.  In fact I hate it.  But, I’m glad the my Dad is there to pick me up when I fall.

 

 

 

 

 

God never quits

God never fails you or quits on you. It may feel like He’s bailed at times. But He has not. These are the times when you and I must trust Him. These are the opportunities to test your reliance on Him.
I fall short on this trust more than I’d like to admit.

Why avoid the death penalty?

No death penalty

No death penalty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve heard it more than once, but a story on the news headlines this morning made me think.  The headline said that a man on trial which would carry the death penalty if convicted is trying to get multiple life sentences to avoid death.

My question to these actions is this: why?  I’ve never understood the thinking in preferring living in a prison cell for decades instead of just ending it.  Why is it better to live like an animal rather than die and be done with it?  Do the convicts that choose this path have a hope that they will be set free somehow?  Or, is it a fear of what’s on the other side of death?

Let me take a moment to postulate an answer.  Let’s take me as an example.  I have accepted Jesus as my savior.  I have no fear of death.  I may have some fear of the pain involved in the dying process, but not in death.  I don’t fear dying because when I do I get to go home.  I go home to God because Jesus made a way for me.  Death for me as a Christian is a release to something better than I can imagine.

Now, if I had not accepted Jesus then maybe my attitude would be different.  Maybe I would be scratching and clawing to hold onto this life with all that I had.  I don’t even think I would have to believe in Jesus’ existence to feel this way.  I feel that when faced with imminent death a person knows what’s coming, good or bad.  I think some things that were hidden are revealed in those moments prior to dying when you know you’re going to die.

But, back to my question.   If you know that Jesus is your salvation, if you know that He has provided a free way out, then why fear dying.  Why fight to stay here?  Of course this line of questioning is rather specific to prison and the death penalty.  I don’t believe God is looking for anyone to just walk out into traffic just to make it back to Him.  He controls the timeline of each persons life, not me.

p.s. You can pray to Jesus today and ask him to forgive you for your sins and ask Him to come into your life and be your savior.  If you don’t know exactly how, then contact a Christian friend or call Christian church.  They can lead you.

Time is running out

I think that most people would agree that things in the world are changing.  Rapidly.  I’m not just talking about environmental issues.  I’m talking more about the heart condition of men and women around the world.  There is a coldness that wasn’t there before.  At least not to the extent that it is now.

Yes, there has always been violence and other depraved behavior.  But today is different.  The coldness that exists now is more pervasive.  It has reached into every corner of the world.  Every country, state, city and suburb.  Have you noticed that most people would just as soon run over you as let you go in front of them in line at the grocery store?  Do you wait forever and a day to turn onto a road because every driver is so absorbed in their own activity that they don’t even see you?  Have you noticed that the news, any news, is about things that you never thought would happen?  People of all different races and backgrounds are angrily trying to remove any reference to God out of public view.  News organizations that once prided themselves on dedication to the truth are now perverting the truth to suit their own needs and philosophies.  There are more murders on any given day than any one person could keep track of.  Wars and rumors of wars that have no end in sight.

God is allowing more and more of the wrong in the world to come into full view.  From the top leaders to the lack of common courtesy things have changed and it cannot be denied.  A country that was extinct for nearly 2000 years suddenly is reborn.  This happened just in 1948 and already most have forgotten, or no longer care.  Here’s what I don’t know:  I don’t know how much time we have left here and I don’t know how to make those that are blind to the truth see.  God has been proven to exist over and over again.  Things have happened that have no other explanation other than by the hand of God.  And yet the hearts of many only grow colder.  This too was predicted in the Bible and it’s growing more pervasive by the day.

Here’s the bottom line:  I am not a great orator.  I’m not a bible scholar.  I don’t know how to get the lost to believe.  I do know that God has placed it on my heart to do what I can with the tools available to me to sound a warning.  To sound a warning that time here on earth is drawing to a close.  My particular tool is social media.  There are many like me that are issuing the same warning.  Some online, some on the street, some in writing, some on a stage, some person to person.  Please accept Jesus before it’s too late.  If you don’t know how, then find a Christian that can lead you.

 

Are you a God hunter?

What's Opera, Doc? (1957) is the only Bugs Bun...

What’s Opera, Doc? (1957) is the only Bugs Bunny cartoon included in the registry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A God Hunter.  Sounds strange doesn’t it?  It brings to mind Elmer Fudd hunting that wascally wabbit.  But, that’s not what I’m talking about.  Like many well meaning Christians, I fail daily to be a God hunter.  Rather than hunting for all of the amazing things that God has created, all of the fantastic people, situations, and blessings He has brought into my life, I look at the negatives.

 

This may be partly due to the damage done by PTSD in me, but I feel that that is no excuse for failing to see the blessings all around me.  I’m not ashamed to say that money is an issue for us right now, as it is for many.  PTSD has removed my ability to work at a normal paying job.  But, that doesn’t mean that God has left me, or that there are no blessings to be found.  With God as my dad and me as the child, I need to go through each day like I’m on an easter egg hunt.

 

Remember those?  You and a bunch of other kids are suddenly release into the wild to find treasures that you know are there.  You knew they were there because you trusted.  You trusted that your parents and those in charge wouldn’t fail you.  You knew they wouldn’t bring you to an empty, desolate field and just send you out to find nothing.  They had as much fun watching your joy in finding the treasures as you did in finding them.  That is God’s relationship with you.  No, he is not hiding things from you so that He can be amused as you struggle to find them.  He has placed all that you need and more in the field of life before you.  But, the really awesome thing is this:  He doesn’t just stand on the sidelines and watch you try to find them.  He walks with you.  Holding one side of the basket, while you hold the other.  If we will relax and trust, then we can see all of the other amazing things that He wants to show us.  We can see all of the other amazing things, blessings, that he has placed in the field of life as well.  And then, in His timing which is always right, He will say “look! there it is! There’s what you need.  There’s the answer to you prayer.  I prepared it for you long ago because I already knew what you would need and when you would need it.”

 

Sound simplistic?  Yep.  But, that’s the point.  Although we all educate ourselves and then believe we have it all figured out, we do not. We are children of all ages.  And as children we need our Dad to take us by the hand and teach us.  We need Him to lead us to the next step in life.

 

Without Him, we are just lost children wandering an empty field trying to find to fill our basket when we don’t know the difference between candy and a snake.  Turn to Him today.  He already knows what you need and where it is.  He’s just waiting for you.