Merry Christmas to All

I just want to thank all of you for being so understanding and not turning away from me. Bipolar is a mean menchen and it had me in its grips for quite a while. I don’t know how the depression got so bad because I didn’t do anything different, I was taking my meds regularly and I have people close by who truly love me. I had it all. Then that big black dog of depression decided to wake up and stir up some trouble. Thank goodness for science! Without people experimenting all the time and so many people volunteering to be lab rats I would have gone out of my mind by now.

Good news! I am starting a freelancing business. For the new year I only want 1 customer. If that happens this will have been a success. I am focusing on writing and editing and proofreading people’s literary works. Wish me luck. 🙂

If you can, come visit my website. That would be really cool. It’s at The Inkwell

Let me know what you think. Thanks

So Christmas will be good this year. There will be presents to open and a turkey to roast. At this time of year I really get to thinking about all the folks who don’t have homes, or families, or food and shoes and friends to talk to. As good as it is for most of us, it is heartbreaking and heartwrenching for many others. This holiday season please take a moment to give to a homeless person. I know they are not the cleanest folks around but they truly are nice people and many of them will smile and in their own way thank you for your kindness.

Many of them are addicted to alcohol or drugs and many are also veterans who were willing to die for you. Give them that respect. Be thankful that it isn’t you on the streets begging for food or money. I’ve been there. In many ways I still am.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

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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.

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?

“Forever Roo”

 

My friend, I have found her!

After many years of relentless searching

I have happened upon a creature

So deliciously beautiful

That to gaze upon her melts the barren eye

She is a woman enhanced with an auburn mane

So brilliant, it’s luster is as if gold

And within the depths of her eyes, does a man lose his sight

For so enchanting are they, he is blinded

Her softly sumptuous lips conceal a savor

So erotically fresh and mild

My tongue remembers it still

She possesses a smile so inviting

My heart gave way while my flesh

Danced upon it’s frame

Everything about her is so fragrantly beautiful

And endearing, being near her

The mind is at a loss for words

Not just beautiful is she, mind you,

Her personality and charm is key

Charitable, patient, loving, and loyal only begin to

Describe her endless charms

I tarry now on the shore of a glimmering pool

Patiently awaiting the return

of my heart

And Roo!

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.

“PRAISE GOD”!

 

Many years ago was born a child, a wondrous babe, so gentle and mild. His life was in danger even before His birth, in that quaint humble manger laid with straw and earth. The family fled to a land far away, watching as He grew, day upon day. Through His heart He began to hear the words of His Father, ever-present and dear; “Thy tongue is a weapon…even a two-edged sword, use it wisely and let it not go free, for if you master this power it will surely set you free”.

He grew into a man whose foothold was sure, and became a rock…more than a diamond is pure. The devil came against Him with all that he could, he even slew the young Shepherd, on a cross made of wood. Satan rejoiced, unaware of what he had done. For in this lowly death The Victory was won.

The Savior of the world had been set free, and from this Rock grows a most beautiful tree. Our Lord Jesus is strong, loving and just…let us not forget His Victory, and the power of His Love.