SUICIDE

It’s a thought-provoking label. Suicide. Just thinking about it causes all sorts of problems. But here’us the deal. I have nothing to live for. I am the poorest of poor. I am Bipolar and constantly in the throes of Depression. I have no joy in my life. I am bored with the Internet, with TV, and with people. Because of my financial status I cannot go out to the forest to get in touch with nature. And the forest is only twenty minutes away! But I can’t afford the gas to go there. I can’t afford to get a much needed brake job.

My options are limited. I have no interest in anything: exercise, walking, shopping, eating, drinking, games, etc. My life is a waste of time. My memory is shot, I can’t work, my mind does not examine things right. I am busted cargo. Damaged goods. There is no hope. Even God is uninteresting. There used to be hope there. But now I can’t see it.

So what do I do? Sit on my ass and stare at the walls. There is no productive force in me anymore. I have no hobbies and I couldn’t afford one anyway. My life is worthless. If it weren’t for the fact that my ex and my son are alive I would have killed myself long ago. They are the only reason I am alive. For now. I don’t want to kill myself, but what else is there to do? I’m tired of this existence.

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Prayer Challenge

My hand is still in a brace. Please be patient.

So I started this prayer challenge. It is hosted or rather, inspired by, Max Lucado. It is the simplest prayer challenge I’ve ever come across.

http://beforeamen.com/prayer-challenge/

Click on the link above to check it out.

This hunt and peck is just too much work. Bye for now. Ihope to be back in full strength soon.

Y’all be safe out there.

Is God Working Undercover?

Okay, so I couldn’t stay away. I just have to share today’s report.

You ever have one of those days when you don’t feel like doing anything? I mean you REALLY don’t feel like doing something in particular? And then you just do it and it turns out you go gangbusters? Well, I really did not want to read the Bible today, but, when I started in I just got into it and it didn’t feel burdensome at all.

I was reading in the book of Daniel and before I knew it I had read five chapters! It was all about Nebuchaneezer and Belshazzar, his son. I found the stories so very interesting. On a side note: I have to say that my left hand and arm are sore now. My right hand and wrist are still in a brace and I am controlling the mouse and typing with my left hand. It’s taken me ten minutes to type this far. Anyway, I have to stop and rest every now and again. I don’t know how those hunt-and-peck folks do it.

So, Daniel interpreted Nebuchaneezers dreams (2) and deciphered an ominous warning to Belshazzar concerning the proper object of worship – God, himself – and was rewarded with purple and gold and a high stature in the kingdom. Which brought me to wonder, “Why do we not see episodes like this in this day and age?” Seriously, we still have rulers, we still have Christians; men and women of prayer; spiritual gifts and so many ‘qualifying’ circumstances, I don’t see the logic in God hiding His face from us.

Twenty minutes.

With the explosion of faith in recent times, one would expect to see or hear of many miracles, dreams interpreted, etc. Wouldn’t this bring more glory and honor to God? Isn’t He in the business of healings and such?

I can honestly say that I witnessed, nay, was part of a miraculous event, so I know God is real. I just don’t understand the logic sometimes. Are we believers doing something wrong? Have we missed the mark? Whatever happened to all those ‘faith-healers?’ Has God gone undercover?

I’ll stop there. Maybe the answers will reveal themselves as I read more in my Bible.

Goodnight all. Thanks for sharing.

Better Days

There are better days ahead. I know that. I sometimes forget that though. I get lost in my misery and can’t see the sun shining on the rooftops.

Yesterday I went to church – online. I can’t afford the gas to go to a regular church so I do online church. It’s quite convenient actually. You can choose to attend a live stream with the praise music, the prayers, and the filler moments, or, you can view past sermons without all the hub-bub. A stripped-down sermon with just the meaty juicy truth. I chose the stripped-down sermon.

It was centered on the book of Daniel. I am, in fact, working my way through a series focused on the book of Daniel. This episode was on chapter two. The pastor labeled this installment “Crises”. It covered the events of Nebuchadnezzer demanding that his wise men tell him about a dream he had. And he wanted them to tell him what the dream was first of all and then interpret the dream for him. The chief astrologer told Nebuchadnezzer that what he asked was impossible, only the gods could know what the dream was and they didn’t share that information with mortal man.

Nebuchadnezzer was very wroth and ordered the killing of ALL of his wise men, including Daniel and his friends. But, Daniel was wise and asked the guard if he could speak with the king and ask why the hurry? The guard accepted Daniel’s request and soon Daniel was facing Nebuchadnezzer. When the opportunity arose, Daniel asked the king for some time to take care of this challenge and the king granted Daniel time.

Back in his quarters, Daniel came together with his friends and they brainstormed and decided to pray to the Living God and ask him for help. That evening Daniel was given a vision of the king’s dream and the interpretation. The next day he went to the king and the rest is history.

The crux of the message the pastor was trying to convey is this: How you act in times of crisis does not “define” who you are, but instead, it is a reflection of who you are. There is a key difference between the two. Your character is not defined by crises it is revealed by crises. Your character is shaped and molded through time, through your daily experience. As you go through each day you are given opportunities to choose and your choices, accumulated, shape who you are. So it is important to make deliberate choices. Choices that are the result of careful thought and reflection.

You don’t expect a child to make tough choices, but you do expect them to learn from their mistakes. And why do we not expect adults to have learned from their mistakes and make informed decisions? Aren’t we adults better equipped for considerate thought? Shouldn’t we be making better decisions than we did when we were young? Shouldn’t we rely on rational thought rather than emotions?

So, if we want to act rationally in moments of crises, we must harvest good decision-making practices. We must continually strive to learn from our mistakes and learn to judge a situation with keen eyes and a thoughtful understanding. Daniel showed that. He did not panic and get all emotional when the heat was on. Daniel, cooly and calmly, addressed the situation and was rewarded with his life. He went on to be one of the most powerful men in the kingdom.

Let’s try and remember, it is not circumstances that define our fate. It is the choices we make in those times of crises that reflect our character. And our character is shaped by the choices we make on a daily basis.

Please feel free to visit these online resources for bible study and worhsip.

Crossroads Community Church – scroll down to see the message library.

Indian Rocks Baptist – Current series link

Faith Church – message library

Just a note: I don’t ascribe to any one denomination. I think most all have merit. And if you want to turn me on to your church, please, feel free to offer suggestions. I  will be happy to include the information in future posts.

If all else fails…

I have been struggling lately. I am in quite a mess of depression. Nothing inspires me. Nothing interests me. Nothing soothes me.

I am a big music buff. I love my music. I listen to everything from classical to oldies to country to rock. And nothing is relieving this malaise. This numbness of thought.

I have no appetite. I only want to drink. But I have to stop drinking soda. It is killing my gut. The reason I am so thirsty is simple: the pills I am on cause extreme thirst. And it has been getting more extreme over the past few months. Whereas I used to drink 3 gallons of liquids a day, I am now up to 3 1/4 gallons a day. It’s nuts. I wake up in the middle of the night to drink. Not alcohol. Soda. Or chocolate milk. Or even lemon water. But the point is I am insanely thirsty.

I was working on a short story for a book I will publish “someday.” But I have no desire to write. I have no desire to research. I have no desire to be on the Internet, Facebook, or WordPress. I am standing without. Yet, people look at me and think, “There’s nothing wrong with him.” That is the stigma we mentally ill folk have to live with. The broken pieces are all inside the mind. Far away from prying eyes.

How do we get it through to those regular Joes and Joanies that we are suffering? I do not wish this on anybody, but boy would I love for everyone to have a touch of mental illness for a day. Feel what I am feeling. Live in despair for just a day. Feel the highs, the lows and the numbness.

I am listening to music that I used to close my eyes to and drift off in bliss. But that isn’t anywhere close to what I’m feeling today. The music does nothing for me. In fact, it is an annoyance to some extent. It’s like children playing outside of your window when you are trying to sleep or read. Music just fills the void. Keeps my mind off of itself.

If all else fails……try God. But God is not interesting to me right now. I just want to sleep away this terrible dream I am having. To keep my mind off of itself.  To avoid all of “this.”

In Transition

Caught in a cushion

Of gentle, sweet rain

Focused on a vision

That is blurred just the same

Looking for answers

On this pathway of life

Enduring small disasters

Oft-laden with strife

To speak of the Lord

Though bound to this dream

In hopes to once more

Reveal the unseen

To share with you all

the living True Christ

in words and in song

While here in this life

Spring of 1993

Today’s Bible Verse was on Suffering

Suffering for Christ

I did some Bible reading today (I get daily emails from Bible Gateway) because today’s Bible verse grabbed my attention.

“Philippians 1:29 – [NIV Bible]

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only

to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,…”

This passage conflicted me. I’ve heard about suffering for Christ before, many times in fact, but today it sparked an interest. I just had to look deeper into it. So I went on a hunt. Mind you, it was not a thorough excursion but merely a curiosity thing. What I found was the usual: people suffering for disobeying God; Job suffering; and Paul suffering for Christ because of his commission.

But what I also found through using the study helps was this:

Job 36:15 —

“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction. [NIV Bible]

Life Lessons – Charles Stanley..

“God wants to use our afflictions, and the way He delivers us from them, to lead us into a deeper and richer relationship with Him. We should treat adversity as a bridge to a closer walk with God.”

Stanley’s idea touched me. Years ago, when I first heard about us having to suffer for Christ I was bothered. Isn’t He supposed to deliver us from this stuff? Why do I have to live my entire life suffering?

I still have issues with that. Just because Jesus died for me shouldn’t mean I have to live my entire life suffering. But Stanley says this will lead us to a closer relationship with God. And that’s cool. So I am trying to open up my mind and grab this thing and embrace it. Maybe my suffering won’t be so bad. Maybe I won’t be as bad off as Job.

So, I looked further and found this:

Colossians 1:24

[ Paul’s Labor for the Church ] Now I rejoice in what I am

suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still

lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of

his body, which is the church

Paul is actually “rejoicing” in his suffering. Job didn’t do that, and God had mercy on him. But how can Paul be so gleeful in his persecutions?

1 Peter 4:13

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings

of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

There’s the answer. I have to change my focus. I have to look for the future – to God’s second coming. I have been so busy just living day to day, barely making ends meet – suffering – that I have lost sight of the prize at the end of the race.

I guess we can suffer without being miserable. But, for me, that will be awfully hard. Because….I am miserable just being here in this life. Again, my focus is not on the hereafter, but on today. I guess focusing on today could be good if I were to be accomplishing my mission step by step, day by day, but I am not. I am sitting here wasting away like a good little mentally ill person. OKAY! So enough to the negative stuff. Let’s get on to some happy stuff.

Paul’s motivation for enduring suffering was to benefit and build Christ’s church. That must be my attitude as well. And my mission. To build Christ’s church. How do I do that when I am homebound? How much can I do? How much is expected of me?

Charles Stanley again comes to the rescue:

“To live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to liveHis life in and through us.”

I never thought of it that way before. I mean, heck, I’ve heard of allowing the Holy Spirit to take up residence in my heart and soul, but it never really came alive for me. But Jesus actually “living” in me and through me? That’s profound!

So, my reading took me to more verses and somehow I got to

Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

It always comes back to prayer.

That’s it! I don’t spend enough time praying. I spend too much time complaining and not enough time being thankful. I need an attitude adjustment and I need it now. What was possible for Paul is also possible for me. I just have to change my focus. Change my whole outlook. Change my mind.

Salvation is available for everyone. You only need to ask. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and to take up residence in there. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to save you through the renewing of your mind. Take the Roman Road to Salvation:

Romans 3:23 NKJV  – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:10 NKJV  – As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
Romans 5:12 NKJV  – Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–
Romans 6:23 NKJV  – For the wages of sin [is] death, but the gift of God [is] eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 NKJV  – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9-10 NKJV  – that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation
Romans 10:13 NKJV  – For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

What to do after you’ve prayed that prayer.

Romans 10:17 NKJV  – So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Go. Find Christian outlets, Christian people. Go to churches. Go online to churches and read, listen and watch videos. Immerse yourself in THE WORD. And then reach out to Christians for fellowship, companionship.

Here are some online resources to get you started:

Bible Gateway – https://www.biblegateway.com/

Community Crossroads Church – http://crossroadschurch.net/

Indian Rocks Baptist – http://www.indianrocks.org/

Asleep at the Wheel

No, this won’t be a post about the band. Sorry to mislead you. But I do feel like I have been asleep at the wheel these past few weeks. Lately I have been battling sleep issues and faith issues. Last night I finally went to sleep around 11pm. That sounds normal right? Well, consider I had been up for 32 hours. Not so normal anymore, huh? I go through these cycles where I am on a “normal” sleep routine for a few weeks and then out of nowhere I am caught up in the world of insomnia and it takes me up to a week to get back on track. The flip side of this is that there are days when I am so tired I don’t get out of bed until late in the afternoon. I have no explanation for any of this other than the fact that I am Bipolar and with that I experience many side effects from the pills they have me on. Anyway, this happens far too often for my comfort and it interferes with everything. It’s hard to make appointments because I never know if I am going to be in a cycle or not. I have canceled many appointments due to this problem.

My faith issues are a direct result of me not being a regular church-goer. I don’t have the money that it would take to pay for the gas to get me to church every Sunday. So, I try and do my own Bible Study online and it has been difficult. It is not easy to do this as a one-man-show. I need people to bounce ideas off of. I need other folks’ input. The big question at present concerns my salvation and my standing with God. I am certain that I have committed the “unpardonable sin”: blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. You see, I have anger problems (bipolar, hello) and when I have an episode I could care less who I am talking to and who the audience is – I will yell and scream and cuss and say all sorts of things. And, I think on one occasion I cussed out the Holy Ghost. And if Matthew 12:31 is accurate (Jesus speaking) then I am in pretty hot water.

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. “

So, reading this and not having the knowledge that, say, a pastor has, I am worried that my episode will be held against me and that I am going to hell. Simple as that.

It would be a shame if God is so anal that He does not take into consideration a person’s mental health when He judges a person’s faithfulness but the Bible is not clear on this. Jesus says that particular sin will not be forgiven, but does that carry over into my salvation? I mean, if – and it’s a big if – I were to be saved, would He look at me differently in heaven? Will I be sent to the back of the bus, pushed out of His immediate presence? Will this affect my opportunity to store up treasures in heaven?

What are your thoughts?

Write for me a Story

Write me a love story

for only you and I

Make it a song of joy

so sweet it makes you cry

 

Give to me a rose

that I may touch your fragrant skin

And wrap me up in bows

lest the story has no end

 

And if, in time, my love

the world should come to war

We’ll sail up to the morrow

on safe and peaceful shores

 

For love shall  be our guide

our measure of holy truth

Our souls devoid of pride

shall beam as though anew

 

Each day I shall praise the Lord

for the honor of your love

And give thanks from this day forward

for the hope in stars above

 

Please write for me a story

and sing a song divine

Love me for all of God’s glory

til forever runs out of time

 

©Eric G. Hoff

Trust and Fear

I Have Issues With Trust

After posting yesterday’s blog I thought it might be a good idea to tackle my issues with Trust. Specifically, trusting the Lord.

It might have crossed people’s minds reading my blog that I am not a “good” Christian. And if you thought that, I would have to agree with you. I am a terrible Christian. Not one you would want to have as a poster child for the Faith. I cuss, I scream, I doubt, I fear, I do all sorts of things that are against the precepts of the Faith. But I do try…..occasionally.

I am not the Christian I once was. I used to be quite a devout follower. I could be seen everywhere with Bible in hand, at the ready. And I knew Scripture. I was good at it. I could quote you verse and I could tell you about the stories. And I believed. Strongly. But those days are gone. I have fallen away and I have forgotten.

Now the thing about forgetting, well, I can blame a lot of that on my medications but that is trivial. The real reason for my demise is fear. After my experience with the haunted house I began to fear the possibilities. I took my focus off of God being there to protect us and fight for us and I started thinking about Satan and his demons and how they so easily attacked that woman and her child. And we were powerless to stop him/them.

So, through the years that fear caused me to lose trust in the Lord. And then I ….excuse me, I’m searching for the word……I compounded the fear and distrust by adding in the reality that my mom, my dad, and my sister turned their backs on me when I was most vulnerable. If I couldn’t trust them how the heck am I supposed to trust someone I’ve never seen?!

So, today’s issue is Trusting the Lord.

When I seek out verse I usually use the New King James Bible. I began my journey with the King James Version, but that was too difficult at times to understand. So I moved on to the NIV Study Bible but that was and is “lacking” for me. I like the language of the old versions and the NKJV seems to fit well. I will add both the NKJV and NIV texts for a little perspective for you.

Let’s start with Proverbs.

Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. NKJV

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. NIV

This is pretty straightforward, isn’t it? This speaks to me in many ways. Not only of being afraid of man, but also of being afraid in general. I never was a burly-man, a fighter. In fact, I’ve never been in a fight in my life, so I don’t know how it would feel to take a punch. In my younger years I just never put my self in any situation where there was the possibility of an altercation. I thought that people who fought were stupid and foolish. What does a man gain from beating up another man? Then, as I got older, I became more angry and I started to call out people and their bluffs and got myself into situations where there ‘could’ be an altercation. This has only happened about five times. And, never has my call been answered. Thankfully. Although I do think it would have been a good learning experience for me to have had my butt kicked just once so I knew what it was like and then I could forever have a reference to be able to relate to some people better. But that is moot. So “fear of man will prove to be a snare” – Yes, I do believe that a person who is in fear tends to not think accurately. And I can say from experience that fearing Satan is stupid. It binds you and causes you to push away from God. It causes me to trust God less and therein lies my dilemma: How do I trust God when my own family turned their back on me? The fear of God doing what my family did is so great.

The fear that God will turn His back on me is a biggie. There is a lot of evidence to show that He will not turn His back on me, but that is all “old history” – stuff from the Old Testament. But Lord, What have You done for me lately? How do I know that after all of my sins and my blasphemy – how do I know you won’t hang me out to dry? What if I have sinned the unpardonable sin? What then? Am I to take my lot with the devil? How can I be assured that “whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe?”

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. NKJV

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you. NIV

Ah, there is the answer. Because if I trust in YOU, Lord, You will keep me in perfect peace. But how long must I prove that I trust you before you send that peace over me? Is the Holy Spirit still within me or has He fled due to my unworthiness and my fear? If He is there, how do I make Him flourish as He once did? How do I get back the power that was there in the beginning? My mind cannot be steadfast anymore because of my mental illness. I am a scatterbrain. I am angry. I am in fear. So then, can I ever again have that peace?

Isaiah 50:10

Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord And rely upon his God. NKJV

Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God. NIV

The only thing I fear about the Lord is that He will cast me into hell anyway – out of spite. Much like my family did when I was fifteen. This is not an easy fix. These passages make it look easy and simple, but it is not. It is a battle I have every day. And me, not being the fighter-type, I just give up and give in to the fear. I am not thinking straight. I am all screwed up. I ask questions that are stupid and believe the worst in everything. This is not an easy fix.

So there you are my friends. The great conundrum. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. And I mean that literally. I am afraid of three things:

  • That God will turn His back on me – even if I do everything right
  • That God will turn His back on me – because I’ve committed the unpardonable sin
  • That God will turn His back on me – because no one can be trusted, my family saw to that.

So what do I do? How do I proceed? Your assistance is greatly appreciated.