Rich for a Thousand Years

I was working on my budget today. Numbers are a hard reality that can be rather pessimistic. I don’t have the financial strength I would like. So Asaph, I get Psalms 73. It is so easy to look at the nice houses and nice cars then become envious. Contentment isn’t maintained by peaceful thinking but by a war of perspective.

I took a walk and prayed about it. On the walk, I smelled honeysuckles. Those flowers have history in my family. My grandma used to have neighbors that had a window box full of them. The smell drove my mind back to family vacations at her house and the joys of childhood. I stood smelling the honeysuckles and thought that I might not own the nice house but no one could take away that wonderful smell.

Often, we focus on the troubles of our current situation. But we ignore the joys that God has provided for us today. We would do very well to stop, remember the goodness of God, and smell the honeysuckles.

I have never been rich. But God has never failed to provide for me. More amazingly, God has kept me out of debt. There are so many things that God has blessed me with. I have a job I love, a family that loves me, and so many friends that care about me through my church, school, and family. So not counting money, which is such a fickle thing anyway, I guess I am rich.

The world is a scary place. Troubles, violence, and disasters are in the news daily. But that’s not our destiny; and, even if the world should fall into chaos now, God will win in the end. The promises of scripture tell us that God’s Son will return. Jesus will rule and reign on this earth with complete justice. So, in spite of the problems of today, the problems of the world, or any other problems, I can be happy because God promised the Christian that they will rule and reign with Him. For a thousand years, I will be able to enjoy paradise that Jesus’ rule will create.

You know, I can wait. God will provide for me now. Jesus is going to bring a paradise later. By keeping all this in my mind, I can be content with what I have.  I am going to agree with Asaph. “God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” And “I have put my trust in the Lord GOD.”

Follow the Recipe: Dangers in trusting yourself.

I love spices. Years ago, I experimented around with spices and created a pizza sauce based loosely on my grandma’s rich spaghetti sauce. I don’t make it often. Each year, before the last performance of our school play, I make the cast and crew pizzas using this rather intense pizza sauce. Many students have told me they like it and the director has told me it’s almost too spicy.

But a very weird thing happened this year, I got a head cold or allergies or something. I’m not a doctor, but I know I have not been that congested in a long time. So, I pull open the drawer and use the recipe to make the sauce. I let it simmer a bit and then I taste it. To my horror, it tasted horrible—barely different from straight tomato sauce. What am I going to do?

I’ll be honest. It didn’t occur to me right away that I might be the problem and half of a tablespoon of Italian spices went in before I thought it through. But then it occurred to me, I knew I followed the recipe. I had carefully put in all the parts and it should have worked. Then I remembered the fact that I had so little ability to smell.

I tested it by eating straight garlic powder. Nothing, well, not much anyway. I was obviously impaired. I could trust one of two things but not both. I could trust my own senses or I could trust the recipe.

I’d like to say that it was an easy choice. But it wasn’t. I obviously knew that I couldn’t trust my own senses, but I tasted it a couple more times anyway. Nothing-bland tomato sauce. But I could smell the spices; I knew I had followed that recipe. I was hesitant all the way up to when I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to make the pizzas.

The recipe was right.

Later, I received a compliment from my picky nephew. It was the best pizza he had ever had. His dad verified that he had eaten three slices. The lesson that I could learn from this was not lost on me.

The Bible clearly tells us that we can’t trust ourselves. Proverbs 3:5-7 tells to instead trust God, not our own mind or perception. In other words, our hearts and minds are fouled up, like my congested nose. I couldn’t taste the spices I put in my sauce; I also can’t trust my own mind and heart to come up with what is truly right. I have to trust the recipe for my sauce and for my life.

The Bible bursts with warnings against what I call the biggest lie of Hollywood— “Follow your heart.” If I had made my sauce spicy to my own senses it would have truly been inedible. If I follow my own heart, I will do what is wicked-what will hurt me and the people around me.

As odd as comparing pizza sauce to scripture is, God taught me that I have to trust Him and His Word even when it doesn’t make sense to my senses. After all, I am a sinner, my senses are messed up. However, the recipe is perfect.

Danger of Anger

This morning I heard loud noises outside my window. I glanced out my apartment window. A young man in his early twenties was yelling and swearing at the top of his lungs. Apparently, his car wouldn’t start.

He stormed into his house, kicking his picket gate in as he did so. This did not get the car to start. It didn’t turn over when he came out and chucked a piece of the gate across the parking lot. When he stormed over to the car and cussed it out, it didn’t start. It did not start when he kicked it and punched it multiple times, I can’t image that either felt good to his hands and feet. The car still didn’t start when he slammed the door. Then he popped the trunk and to prove his level of irritation he started beating the car with his skateboard. The car still wouldn’t start. It didn’t start when he stared into the engine compartment for twenty seconds or when he slammed the hood and then punched it again.

Odd, if you think about it. All of his hostility, profanity, and actions didn’t help the situation at all. Each action only destroyed something of his. The gate to his house, the car, the skateboard were all damaged as a useless sacrifice to the man’s anger. His own hands and feet were hurt too.

There was one other thing he probably hurt. You see this young man wasn’t alone. He had a friend with him. This friend wasn’t screaming, wasn’t angry, but I thought to myself that had I been that man’s friend, I would have left. I can’t imagine that the young man’s temper made him any better a friend or that by going through this it made their friendship any stronger.

The Bible tells us not to make friendships with angry people. I don’t have to imagine what would happen if this man was angry with a person instead of a car. Our world is full examples of people who have been beaten or even killed by people’s rage. Do you think a wife or kid would have fared as well as the car after being beaten? The car is still sitting there, not bothered at all for its many “wounds.” A person treated the same way would be in the hospital.

I may be being unfair. After all, the man surely knew the difference between a car and a person. He surely would never hurt a person, you might say. Unfortunately, I can’t count on anything of the kind. I don’t know this man but too many examples exist when people hurt others with their anger.

The young man’s friend was hurt. Not physically, but the Bible says not to be friends with angry people because what you learn from them will be a trap for you too. (Pro22:24-25) It also says that angry people cause trouble and are soaking in sin. (Pro 29:22) To act like that man did today proves a person is not a good friend, not a safe spouse, and not a wise man.

Just something I learned today.

Koontz and Emergency Rooms

I think that authors of creepy books, like Dean Koontz, spend time in Emergency Rooms. Besides nearly being fiendish with torture devices designed to help you, the people are pretty weird too. Everyone in the emergency room is sick or injured–including the doctors, nurses, and staff–I mean that in the “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps” kind of way.

When I was admitted to the Emergency room after my accident, I was strapped to a gurney and had a neck brace on–this meant I couldn’t go anywhere or look anywhere. That’s a weird feeling–they parked the gurney out of the way; leaving me to feel very much like a delivery of TP that someone would take care of later. From thereI went to a wheelchair–which was designed to only be movable by someone NOT in it. Again limiting my field of view to whatever happened to be infront of me and mobility to next to nothing.

Speaking of that wheelchair, it does have a flaw, by reaching behind oneself and disengaging the brake and reaching around oneself one can pull oneself along the furniture–a feat I marvelled at by some fellow scarfing ice on my second trip to the Emergency Room.  Did I mention how ODD people are in the Emergency Room?

Anyway, after having my blood pressure taken again and telling the story again–Remember in any bureaucracy everything is done in duplicate or triplicate–Or were they checking my cognitive skills in remembering the details of the accident? Hmmm. Sneaky doctors and nurses.  So anyway, my brother showed up and we had to make the call I dreaded–calling mom and telling her I had been in a car accident. I love my mom, but I hate thinking that I’m gonna worry her and a call that starts with “Well, I was in a car accident” would worry her. So we called dad.  Which was cheap of us I know, but  I’d just been in an accident–NOT a brave time of life.

After assuring both of my folks that they didn’t need to come down to the hospital, I waited. and waited..etc. This could be a boring blog, but that would be dull. So, ever notice that the emergency room is full of sick and injured people. I know, duh, right? It does make for interesting people watching.

After a bit, I was shown back to an examination room–more blood pressure and repeating my story. Did I mention I was in a neck brace. Imagine a piece of hard plastic that grinds against your chin and ears if you move your neck–or if you don’t. That’s a neck brace. I think my ears by this point must have been turning red. I got to lay on a bed, but in a neck brace that is almost worse. My brother and I have a good sense of humor. Which is nice–it really takes the edge off to have someone joke around with. Then finally, the doctor showed up.

Again with the blood pressure and repeating the story. Esh, Doctors, I’m sane, or at least no less sane than normal. At least I thought so, my brother said I was blabbering–maybe I should tell the story again.

Finally, I get a CT scan–Which means a cat scan–why they don’t call it a cat scan I don’t know. So, they run me through a giant plastic donut, and I watch as a the weird lights inside spin around my neck. Fun, fun.

This is when the story gets WAY too much like a Dean Koontz story. I get put in a recover section–which is half-a-dozen recliners not really separated by curtains. Two ladies and their husbands are in two of them. On the other side of me, is a Mexican fellow that has dozed off while hugging his work boot. So in this dimly lit corridor, the ladies and husbands are talking about how they swiped extra medical gowns for modesty, while the Mexican fellow is talking in his sleep about when he has to go work the next day. Add to this that the recliners adjust with all the subtlety of a ragging water buffalo. You put the feet up on those things and it will slam around with a tender sweetness that will likely put you in traction. All it needed to be straight out of a novel was some fellow who innocently drops a note and says something like, “The bugles are blooming in spring.”   

Eventually, for no reason I could see, I was moved back to an examining room, and after another wait, told I was fine. I got to take OFF that neck brace. And after an idle threat to burn it, I went to my brothers house and devoured a cheeseburger. Ahh, cheeseburgers.

I had to go back to the emergency room later though. A weird nerve spasm caused my right arm, cheek, teeth, and tongue to be numb and tingly. (Did you know that your tongue as a right and left nerve side?) Have that happen randomly in your day and you’ll wonder what is going on in your body. After another wait in the waiting room, where I saw the determined ice muncher move the impossible to move wheelchair. I was back in through the half-dozen blood pressure checks and was about to check out.

A fellow was there eating graham crackers. He looked awful–but that’s normal–you don’t go to the emergency room when your feeling fine. He looked early twenties with a hood on. Then he started throwing chunks of graham cracker around. -Ah, just when you think it’s sane to go back to the waiting room. His mom was there, thankfully, and she told him to stop it. Then while she’s cleaning up, the Cracker chucker gets up and leans over to tell me some sort of secret. Cue the creepy music! Of course, if this was a novel, the message would be something like, “It’s in the water.” I don’t know. I held him back far enough that he didn’t get a chance to spew cracker crumbs in my ear.

God has a sense of humor. Look at all the interesting people that He made. You can check ’em out at the zoo, Wal-mart, or, if you sick or injured, the emergency room.

The Day I Tipped a Suburban Over

This Christmas break, I will be honest, has not been a productive one. It wasn’t bad or anything, it’s just that, if I am honest with myself, I don’t think I used my time wisely. Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment at 3:30. So around about three I grabbed Charlie Chan in London and my brother’s Library book that I was going to return on the way, got in the car and headed to the appointment.

We plan a lot without really running it by God. I know I do. (Before you get all super spiritual at me, when was the last time you prayed about when to schedule your bi-annual dental cleaning.) I headed off for the dentist–minding my own business. I got into an interruption. Life is full of interruptions–As my brother is fond of saying, life is messy and that’s okay.–Well anyway, the interruption, by no choice of my own, was a red suburban. As I was traveling through the intersection, this red suburban pulled left out in front of me.

I don’t think life slows down in an emergency; not really anyway. I slammed on my brakes, but I knew it was too little too late. My mind let me know I was going to be in a traffic accident, and I believe my emotional response was something like “Oh, bummer.” My car, which I have always loathed, colidded with the red suburban, faithfully deploying the drivers and passengers airbags–which I now heartily endorse.

Airbags in real life are nothing like what you see on TV. It happened so fast, I cannot tell what it feels like to hit one. I just know I was driving, then this white pillow was in my way–it felt like being restrained by a seatbelt, which was thankfully doing it’s job too.  My car must have been just low enough to tip the suburban over on its side.–Turning this simple t-bone accident into a roll-over. (On behalf of my low-profile vehicle, I apologize to those of you in high profile vehicles–they tend to get tipped over.)

Another effect of the airbags deploying was that the Charlie Chan DVD and the library book were slammed into the passenger seat–this caused the library book to destroy the DVD–which is completely unimportant, but since I grabbed that Netflix DVD out of the car with the keys–it is good story telling to tell you that that broken DVD was with me through the rest of this story–the library book, riddled with guilt at having assassinated another form of entertainment, was hiding in the car and won’t be included in this account any more.

I doubt you care, and I certainly hope you never have to experience it, but Air bag gas is disgusting smelling. The car was now at a complete stop–it won’t be going anywhere under its own power again, and the cabin was filled with smoky disgusting gas. I remembered a commercial about what to do in an accident–turn off the car! So I did, and then not feeling any pain got out. Another fact slammed into my brain–if you’ve been in an accident, you could be in shock–so sit down! I never thought those public saftey commercials were any good–I now fully disagree.  So I sat down, next to the driver’s rear wheel and waited. I now knew I would NOT be making my dental appointment.

Response time is an important thing for the those in emergency situations–well, my accidents response time was less than a minute–A police crusier was going through the intersection at the same time and a fire truck was two cars back waiting for the red light. I never suggest accidents but if one must have them, right infront of the police and fire-department is a good place to have one.

They checked me out and the driver of the suburban I tipped over. I don’t know how she is. but apparently she was talking when they took her away in the ambulance–they also suggested I go to the hospital in an ambulance too. (I certainly wasn’t going to get there in my car.) I consented to go, the only thing that hurt was the tip of my nose, and the insides of both of my arms which got a little scraped by the airbag. But I could feel the huge jolt of adrenaline going through my body, and I firmly believe on erring on the side of caution.
The trip was uneventful, although I was tempted to wave at the people in the cars behind us. I’ll make two observations about ambulances–one, the gurneys are very narrow, not made for those of us that have as the paramedic said, “sucessful American syndrome” Two, God is good. As I was going I made the observation that maybe the accident was from God trying to get my attention. “That seems a little harsh,” the paramedic said. (his name is Randy–If you read this, thanks for everything Randy) I thought about it and said, “maybe this is God’s way of getting me a new car.” Randy said it was better to be optimistic about it.

I don’t know–the next day, my car seems ridiculously unimportant–but I’m safe and sound, and God has much more of my attention and gratitude. I don’t recommend it, but traffic accidents have two very good side-effects–one, they remind us we’re mortal. Two, they remind us to be thankful for everything. This morning I woke up, a little sore, but nothing like I was expecting. I have never felt more thankful for standing on my own two legs and being able to walk. It was easily the happiest I’ve been all Christmas break. It might be harsh, but I’m very thankful for it.

The hospital visit was interesting * (*meaning a whole other story made even more so by the stupid neck-brace! You’ll have to wait for another post about that one.) I am going to be a little sore, but I’m fine. They prescribed a mild mussel relaxer and ibuprofen. My family was very concerned and I thank them for their love.

So now to answer the questions I’m sure friends want to know. 

No, I don’t think it was my fault-neither did the police officer at the scene.

Yes, my car is totaled. No, I don’t really care about that.

Yes, I’m fine. It was a horrible experience I hope to never repeat.

I don’t know the other driver’s condition. I hope and pray she is all right.

I’m sorry it happened, but I wouldn’t have it any other way–God knows best. It was His car. And I’m His too. He’s fully allowed to with both His car and His son as He sees fit.  He’s never let me down before and even if I hadn’t been fine, He never would have.  I’ve never been so thankful to be alive or so aware of my mortality and dependence on God.

And it’s all thanks to the fact, that yesterday, I tipped a suburban over.

On Beauty and Women

Okay, I’m a guy. I don’t get it. I’m close; but really, I don’t get it. Let me explain. I came up with, what I thought was, a fairly nice movie plot. In it, an evil witch avoids death by body swapping with her attractive young apprentices. One of her smarter apprentices doesn’t trust the witch, but “tests” the spell—locking herself out of her own body. Enter heroes, sword fights, lots of daring do—and in the end the hero gets his girl back –but she is in the other apprentice’s body. I even made it fair! The other apprentice gets the first girls body and her own beau. And they all live happily ever after.

I thought I had made a pretty romantic tale. A man proves his love for his girl—loving her even though he thought she was dead; loving her, even when she moves into another body. It is HER he loves. Not her looks, not her beauty—HER! For crying out loud, it’s supposed to be romantic! Then the other apprentice gets a guy who is interested in her! Not her looks, Her! AND both guys tell their girl when she is in her new body-they totally think she’s hot! So I tell my little tale in a car drive in Colorado. I think it’s romantic.

I was wrong.

Both ladies in the car are like “Nope, won’t work.” Both of my poor heroines will be spending the rest of their days wondering if her man really loves her or that other one. Ouch. But looks aren’t what is supposed to be important so… “Nope, won’t work.” Hmm, I need to do some thinking about this interesting creature called woman.

Okay, yes, I agree God doesn’t make junk and women are pretty. Some a beautiful and some are able to reduce otherwise cogent men into mumbling fools. I get that; I’m totally NOT unintelligent in that regard. But, hey, beauty is only skin deep and all beauty fades in time and it’s what is on the inside that counts: that’s what’s really important, right? 

 YES! And No. Ah, don’t you just love clear answers. Get used to it men, women are an enigma. But a solvable one.

No, beauty is not what really counts, but don’t go thinking it doesn’t count either. According to Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn’s book For Men Only, women have this inner worry about their looks. They describe it as a little girl asking her daddy if she’s pretty. Women apparently want to hear and want to know that their significant other thinks she’s pretty.

So when my heroine switched bodies, she really would have this constant nagging child telling her, “He doesn’t love you, he loves that other lady.” And of course, your really can’t end a fair tale with, “and she was an emotionally tormented basket case for the rest of her life.” So any woman would look at my fairy tale and say “NOPE!”  

Hmm. Interesting. I’ve got a wonderful little romantic fairy tale all women would really hate. I bet there are men who would pay extra to see a romantic flick their wives are retching at. And it has sword fighting! I see a market niche! Hmmm.

I guess a better thing is to tell all you men out their with a significant other. I really didn’t know it was so big a deal, but it is. Hey, guys, women need to hear their beautiful—you think she is. So tell her!   

Credit Card Traps

Okay, I’m an oddball, but I’ve never been burned badly by the credit card traps. There are three that I know about.

ONE: The WAY to high interest rate. My credit card history is good. I don’t keep a large balance on them, but I’m still considerably over 20% in my interest rate. That’s steep. I can’t and don’t want to know what those numbers would be on a person with BAD credit history.  Solution: Don’t spend money you don’t have and pay off your credit card every month. IF you cannot do this destroy your credit cards and live by cash. (Oh, and grow up.)

TWO: Late Payment fees and credit history dings. The late fees for even a few days are annoying. Missing payments also goes on your credit report–which is the data that banks use to offer you loans for homes, cars, etc. Solution:  NEVER be late on a payment. Pay it on time in full each month. IF you cannot do this destroy your credit cards and live by cash and debit cards.

THREE: Spending more than you normally would. Most people will spend less if they use cash for everything. They start to be frugal since they see the dollars go bye-bye. But credit cards remove that from the equation so you spend more and save less. Solution: Develop a habit of frugal spending on every type of money–Cash, debit, credit, frequent-flyer miles, and Coke points. It’s is all money (which is only a means of exchange), so treat it with the attitude of frugal spending. IF you cannot do this, shread your credit cards and then purposely find the knowledge and maturity to grow into a responsible frugal spender and saver. I suggest Crown Financial Ministries, their website is Crown.org.  

Anyway, I thought I’d throw this information out for you. I’ve escaped these traps and want you to as well.

Hands Up

I am not, I certainly hope, picky or finicky about other peoples style of worship. I don’t fault others for doing what they do when they worship God. If they want to stand, raise their arms, shout Halleluah–go for it. (As long as they aren’t being obnoxious or fake–Like the man that shouts Amen every three seconds.) But for some strange reason, raising one’s hands has always bugged me. 

Now I don’t for a minute think this was or is anything but a personal taste–but when I’m in services when people raise their hands, I get monstrously distracted by it. Why? I never figured that out until recently. I remember at teachers convention, a group of people off to my left raised their hands in the praise service. I can still picture them, and even though I shouldn’t have been I was distracted the whole time by it.

Finally, the answer came at my Brother-in-laws church. It’s a smaller church, Gallup is a smaller town, but when the pastor on the front row raised his hand in the song service–I had to stop myself from calling on him. THAT’S IT! I am a teacher–For seven years, I’ve trained myself to call on those that raise their hands–so when people raise their hands in church I want to call on them and answer theirquestion. Hmmm, go figure.

Greed’s subtle seduction

I live in the grand state of New Mexico in the city of Albuquerque–It has glorious mountains on one side and on the other three sides is surrounded by casinos. I don’t gamble; the lottery is a tax on people that a bad at math. As they said, in Ocean’s Eleven “The house always wins! You can never change the odds.”

I hate gambling–for many reasons–but first and foremost it targets the naive. What idiot actually thinks he’s gonna win the lotto? What really gets my goat (not that I have a goat) is that arcade games are turning into gambling trainer games–remember those ticket games, like ski-ball or make the shot–you play the game and the better you were the more tickets you made. Not anymore, anymore those ticket games resemble slot machines–play for the big payout! GRRR. Okay, down boy!  

Let me be abundantly clear–You shouldn’t gamble!  Ever! It’s not worth it! It’s robbery you do to yourself–with greed as the accomplice.

But you know, greed is a very subtle seducer.

This last summer, I started collecting coke points–the silly little codes on coke bottles gives you points you can turn in online for stuff–like 30 points is a coupon for a free 20 oz. coke. And you know they have all kinds of sweepstakes you can enter too. For a mere 3 or 6 points you can enter a contest to win a $2,000 visa gift card or a cool new TV or a super vaction or some other awesome prize!

I love contests; I could win! It’s neat to daydream about winning the (you fill in the blank here), and honestly I don’t think anything is wrong with that!  BUT what’s it cost? Hmm. I know coke points aren’t money; but–woah–wait a minutes, what is money? It’s a means of exchange–I give someone something and they give me something back. Then coke points ARE money–sure they won’t buy groceries, but they’ll get me a 12 pack of coke. So, as ridiculous as it may seem, I was being a bad steward with Coke Points. I’ve thrown away enough coke points to get a 12 pack of coke!

I’ve collected a lot of coke points–but the only thing I was able to do was get a hundred bucks off my school’s hotel bill at the teachers convention. Yeah, that’s cool, but I’ve entered dozens of contests. I have won actually–nothing! BUT wait, they have NEW contests with cool NEW prizes! It’s awesome, it’s cool; it’s Vegas with coke points. Hmmm.

Okay, is coke point contests gambling? yeah–ish. I add that “ish” for you people. Me–the answer is yes–I’ve been convinced by reason and the Holy Ghost that rewards programs–like coke points–are something that God wants me to be a good steward with. That may sound stupid–but hey, God didn’t ask you to do it. Christian freedom is just that FREEDOM–If you want to enter coke point contests go for it! After you talk to God about it, of course.   

I didn’t give this testimony to hate on contests. I still enter contests–but only those that cost NOTHING–like that Papa Murphy’s gift card give away! I could win a pizza or whole lot of pizza! Wouldn’t that be neat! I’m just warning you that greed is very seductive–it lurks-like a piranha, in the beautiful blue waters of the lake of life. Watch out for it.

Maybe contests aren’t how it will attack you. I don’t think that was or even is the primary way it’s coming after me. Maybe you’ll be duped into greed through work–or that constant pressure to keep up with the Joneses. My brother pointed out that greed can hit a person in how much or how awesome the gifts are they give to others at the holidays! Wow–greed attacking a person through generosity! Ouch!

I realy just want to warn you to be on your guard! Greed is out there and it can get you! Be careful.  AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

There is no victory on “Easy”

 

Last Sunday, I came back to Junior church. They were playing octopus tag like a video game. James, the game director, would walk or run, try or really not based on the levels –easy, medium, hard, or (my fav) impossible. The kids would tell him what level was next, but as one little kid boasted about winning the game-James replied, “You can’t win on easy mode!”

I liked that. You can’t really win unless the victory takes work. We have a microwave mentality. Everything now-but that isn’t victory–we didn’t get our country by 55 men signing a sheet of paper–the founding fathers had to fight the revolutionary war. Hitler regime was beaten-not by the propaganda machine of the USA but by the joint effort of the entire allied war effort. Things worth doing, worth winning, take effort in real life–sure in games you can use cheat codes and become invincible but that really isn’t beating the game and it certainly doesn’t work in real life.

And since the essence of the truly real life is the Christian life, you can’t really win in easy mode against the forces that war against us spiritually.  It takes effort–real sustained effort to win in the battle against your flesh. It takes constant care, preperation, and above all devotion–to live the Christian life. This was proven by people like Bill Borden, Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot, David Livingston, Moody, and the many others that successfully joined Paul in saying, “I’ve kept the faith, I’ve finished my course.” Or in modern terms–“I won.”

But the truly awesome thing is that according to the promises of John 1, all of us that believe in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior have the power from God to win in the task of being a child of God. We can win–it’s not a cake walk. It’s not on easy mode, but we can have victory–but it takes work.