Christians, Stand Your Ground!!!!

With the recent changes happening in the United States I’ve been saddened, angered, disheartened by what I’ve seen.  Yes, part of my disappointment has been from the un-Godly changes in our laws, but more of it has been caused by seeing people who profess to be Christians bowing to the pressure to be politically correct.

It has been most evident on social media.  Seeing a person who one day shared a Christian meme, and the next day put a gay pride rainbow on.  Combined with everything else happening on the world stage, it’s enough to make me want to give up.

But, God did not call me, or any of His children to give up.  He called us to stand firm.  He called us to prepare for battle.  In Ephesians 6:10-20 every Christian is given his or her battle orders.  Eph 6:10 starts with the imperative to stand your ground.  It doesn’t say to stand down or give in so you can be nice.  It says Stand Your Ground.  Standing your ground doesn’t mean to hate.  It doesn’t mean to demean.  It’s not angry or mad.

What it is is a command to stand your ground in the face of what is wrong.  If no one is standing up for truth, then how can the truth be known?  Disagreeing with a lifestyle is not wrong.  In fact, continuing to point to God is one of the most loving things you can do.

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My first VA trip

It’s been a while coming, but it’s finally time for me to seek help from the VA.  I’ve avoided this for a long time in the hopes that I would just get better.  I haven’t.

I have damage to my lumbar spine and PTSD.  So, my wife is helping me start the process.

First, we have both tried to start the claim with the VA website.  Ummm, that’s not the way to go.  We both ran into nothing but problems and confusion with the website.  Loops to broken pages, links that don’t work, etc.  It’s an unpleasant experience.

So, yesterday we went to the VA hospital by Pensacola NAB.  The first step was to fill out some initial paperwork and then wait.  We filled it out, took a number and then waited.  It took about 30 minutes to an hour for our number to be called.  We then spoke to a gentleman that looked over our paperwork, made copies of my DD-214 and then told us to come back the next morning at 6:30am to put our name on a list to see a VA advocate.

We came back bright and early at 6:30am and put my name on the list.  We then went home for about an hour because nobody is seen before 8am.

We came back by 8am and then waited another couple of hours or so to be seen.  We overheard that Friday’s just happen to be the worst day to come to the VA because all of the counselors, except for a couple, are busy doing paperwork on Friday mornings so that they can get done and get out for the weekend.

Once we got called back to talk to one of the advocates, it was a fairly short process.  She went over our initial paperwork, made sure I was in the computer properly, and gave us the task of gathering my medical records.  We also need to gather any other medical evidence that we can.  From what I could understand from the advocate, this will probably not be a short, easy process.

Here we go.

Bring a Spotbot on vacation with you

If you have dogs like we do, then we have found that a Spotbot is an indespensible tool.  If you’ve got dogs like we do, it will save you a lot of stress.  Both of our dogs are well trained, but there are still the occasional mistakes in the house.  Speaking of mistakes, we also spill things at times as well.  I prefer to blame the dogs for everything though.  🙂

We had one when we still owned a house and it died right before we left.  So, Jodi found another one on Walmart’s website and had it delivered to our door.  We’re grateful for the rental owners that allow us to have pets and we want to make sure that their trust is not taken for granted.  The Spotbot ensures that we can leave the carpet the way we found it.

Personally, I wouldn’t put carpet in a vacation rental.  But, we’re the renters not the owners, so we will take the necessary steps to make sure we take care of the properties we live in.

On a side note, I’m wondering if Daisy, our Amstaff, knew we got a new spotbot and wanted to try it out.  She’s sneaky that way.

Comfort in the presence of veterans

List of United States Marine Corps installations

List of United States Marine Corps installations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My wife and I were in a restaurant tonight in Beaufort, SC.  Parris Island is very close to where we are staying.  I noticed two older couples sitting at a table nearby.  Soon I overheard one call the other gunny.  I immediately knew that I was in the company of a couple of Marine Vets.  I was Army, but there’s still a since of peace in knowing that I’m near some men who served like me.  I decided to leave them be and not interrupt their dinner, but secretly I was glad they were there.

3 day get home bag

Disaster or emergency preparedness is nothing new.  FEMA has had guidelines on their website for a few years now on how to handle various emergencies.  Most anyone who was in the military and did any deploying can tell you that there is an art to being prepared at any time for anything.  All of my military time was spent with bags packed in a specific way in a specific order.  And yes they were used.  This list is not a long term packing list.  It’s a “I’m suddenly caught in a crap storm and I need to get to base list”.

So, I got serious about making up a couple of new ‘go’ or ‘get home’ bags today.  One for me and one for my wife.  I used two decent backpacks that we already had.  They are not from the Hike, Camp, Fish, Kill a Dinosaur store.  They are from our closet.  Anyone can create some extra piece of mind by providing yourself with some items to stay prepared.  And most people have a majority of the needed items already at home.

I’m absolutely positive that you will see some items on the list that you would never take anywhere, and you’ll see some things missing that you believe I will be dead in a day without.  That’s cool.  If my pack fails me and you find me dead, you have my permission to eat me.  Also note that your packing list may very depending on your location and specific needs.  You may also want to adjust some of the payload based on the time of year you are in.  This is especially true is money is an issue.  So here’s my list:  Enjoy.

Knife

Primary pistol magazines(loaded)

22 pistol with spare magazine
flashlight
firstaid kit
Plastic bag & grocery bag
hand sanitizer
Water
Face Mask
Filtration straw
Mirror
Tennis shoes
gloves
Knit hat
hat
batteries
lighter
toilet paper
baby wipes
Toiletries kit-travel type
map
compass
Underwear-2
Socks-2
Tshirts-2
Flip flops
Whistle
Multi tool
Jacket
Towel
Wash cloth
Duct tape
Paracord
Poncho (Heavy Duty Trashbag)
Food – 6000 calories
House, car, personal docs

 

Cold hearts or just oblivious?

    In talking about the signs of the end, Matthew 24:12 talks about the hearts of men growing colder.  I’ve always interpreted this to mean that people will become more and more violent.  I think it’s pretty evident that this is and has been happening.  

But,  I’m starting to believe that this is about more than just violent behavior.  My wife and I went out for lunch today.  Then made the trip back home.  As a former cop, I tend to notice many things in my surroundings that some may ignore.  I’m always observing what’s going on.  

What I see on the road, in a store, at a restaurant and even at church is a general isolation of one from another.  Many people are simply so self absorbed that they don’t see anyone or anything else.  They have become the center of their own universe.  Their hearts have grown cold to those around them.  

Think this scenario through for a moment.  A man, intent on killing, walks into a crowded place, completely unnoticed and opens fire on a crowd.  In some cases someone has walked into a crowded space with a knife or sword and began killing.  Have you thought about how it is that someone can walk into a crowd and start killing with no one noticing beforehand that something out of the norm was happening?  (before you argue this point, I know that there are some instances where there has been no chance to react.  But not all events have been this way.)  

      I’ve thought for a while that I was constantly being cut off in traffic because people were being asses.  That may be the case sometimes, but I now believe that more often than not those people don’t even know I’m there.  They don’t know that anyone but them is even on the road, in the store, etc.  

      I think this is a part of the coldness that has infiltrated the hearts of men.  A coldness that leads to an amazing level of blindness.  I wish I could suggest an answer to this problem, but this one is way above my pay grade.  This is an issue only God can handle.  Are we nearing the end?  Nearing the return of Christ?  I’ll answer this question in two ways.  First, I hope so because I’m ready to go home, my true home.  Second, I’m afraid we are and I don’t know how to reach the lost before it’s too late.  

      What do you think?  Have things changed or is the world running along as it always has.  

You’re angering me post office

     I mail a lot of things that I sell.  Shipping is usually no problem because the transaction goes through my Etsy site and I’m able to access the least expensive shipping options thru the site.  

     What really ticks me off is that if I sell one of my pieces to a person outside of my site, then I have to go wait in line at the post office because they don’t give me the most cost effective options through the USPS site.  This doesn’t make sense!  The government has been yelling about being green for years now.  But, instead of making it easier to use USPS, they make it harder and require me to use gas driving to a branch office instead of doing it online.  

      Buying the postage online saves gas, cost for the post office itself thru staff, and prevents long lines.  If the post office wants to compete with FedEx and UPS, then start thinking outside the government box.  Make it easier to use you and then people will do so.  As it stands, if one of the other shippers provided inexpensive shipping options then I’d probably never use the post office again.  

Where’s the Jesus?

I had a family emergency on this prechurch Sunday morning. We were out of coffee creamer. As the man of the house, it was my duty to fix this dire situation, so off to Kroger I went. I found my parking space at Kroger and that’s when the true danger started. That’s when I have to navigate through the ‘I’m late for Sunday school’ crowd. I start by dodging cars in the parking lot. Then it’s time to dodge and weave through aggressive cart pushers on the inside.
Jodi, my wife, and I are not going to make it to church this morning. We’re both fighting colds, or some similar crud. Anyways, I made it to the inside of the store. The curiously missing smiles that I found outside are also jetting around on the inside. No good mornings, no smiles, no kindness or courtesy.
In short, if I didn’t know Jesus already I don’t think I’d find Him in this crowd. That’s a problem. A person could accuse me of being judgemental with this post. That’s ok. Accuse me as long as you will take a look at yourself and make sure that Jesus can be seen in you. Is his light shining through you? If not, then either ask God to help you with this, or make sure you get your shopping done on Saturday night.

Are we racing to the end?

     I know that I’m not the only one that has a funny feeling about the conditions in our country and the world as a whole.  I’m not just talking about the big things, like the possibility of war in Syria.  I’m talking about even the actions and attitudes of individual people.  

      Something’s wrong and everyone knows it, even if they aren’t willing to admit it.  I know the world has had many wars before.  Many times of strife and upheaval.  I’m thinking more about the general attitudes and actions of the average person on the street.  Very few people seem to care about whose around them as long as they get what they want.  That could be money or just the closer parking spot.  It’s not pretty.  

     I was hoping for a while that it was just me.  I hoped that I was just letting things get to me.  But, the more I look and listen to everyone and everything, I see that I’m not alone in this feeling.  Things are out of whack.  Many Christian churches are no longer strong in the spirit.  Many individual christians aren’t faring any better.  Please don’t be offended by this if you are a Christian.  I am one too.  Rather than be offended, open your bible, go to God, and ask Him to show you where you may be falling into this trap.  Ask Him to make you stand out in the crowd.  That every person with  an open heart will meet Jesus through you.  

     I’ve never been one to think that the end is near, until now.  I know that things could still be much worse than they are now.  But how much worse will it get for Christ returns?  That is a question that neither you, nor I can answer.  If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your savior, then now’s the time.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.