Sunday, February 19, 2017

Temptation


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
But he answered, "It is written, 
"'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" 
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, 
"'He will command his angels concerning you,' 
and 
"'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" 
Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 
'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.". Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 
"'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" 
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Matthew 4:1-11
As the passage above shows, Christ faced temptation, though because he was God in flesh, he only faced temptation by Satan, but was not tempted. Temptation is something we all face as Christians, no matter how long we have been following Christ.  There are a few practical things, however, that we can do to grow stronger and smarter in our struggle against sin. We can learn how to avoid temptation by practicing these five steps.

Recognize your tendency toward sin.
James 1:14 explains that we are tempted when we become enticed by our own natural desires. The first step toward avoiding temptation, is recognizing our human tendency to be tempted by our own fleshly desires. Temptation is a given, so don't be surprised by it. Rather, expect to be tempted. Be prepared for it.

Run away from the temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."  When you are face to face with temptation, look for the way out that God has promised and then run as fast as you can.

Resist with the Word of truth.
Hebrews 4:12 says God's Word is living and active. Did you know you can carry a weapon that will make your thoughts obey Jesus Christ? If you don't believe me, read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 One of these weapons is the Word of God.

Though it can be helpful to read God's Word when you're being tempted, sometimes that's not practical. Even better is to practice reading the Word daily, so that eventually you have so much of it inside, you are ready whenever temptation comes. If you are reading through the Bible regularly, you will have the full counsel of God at your disposal.

Refocus with praise.
How often have you been tempted to sin when your heart and mind were fully concentrated on worship to the Lord? Praising God takes your focus off of yourself and puts it on God. You may not be strong enough to resist temptation on your own, but as you focus on God, he will inhabit your praise. He will give you the strength to resist and walk away from the temptation. May I suggest Psalm 147 as a good place to start.

Repent quickly when you fail.
In several places the Bible tells us the best way to resist temptation is to flee from it (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). Yet still we all fail from time to time. We fail to flee. Notice I didn't say, repent quickly if you fail. Having a more realistic view—knowing that at times you will fail—should help you to repent quickly when you do. It is not the end of the world when you fail, but it is very dangerous to persist in your sin. Going back to James 1, verse 15 explains that sin "when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

The following prayer may also bring some solace when we face temptation:
Dear Lord, 
You know the temptations that I am facing today. But your Word promises that I will not be tempted beyond what I can bear. I ask for your strength to stand up under the temptation whenever I encounter it. Your Word also tells me you will provide a way out of the temptation. Please, Lord, give me the wisdom to walk away when I am tempted, and the clarity to see the way out that you will provide. Thank you, God, that you are a faithful deliverer and that I can count on your help in my time of need. 
Amen

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Moment of Zen: Pump Jockey


This picture reminds me of the book The Winter of Our Discotheque by Andrew W.M. Beierle. It begins with the story of a surfer who is washing off the salt water behind a gas station when a customer pulls up. He quickly gets into his coveralls but doesn't zip them up and leaves them undone, enough to see his wet pubic hair. The story then continues from there and I am doing it no justice because it is one of the single sexiest things I've ever read in literature. Before it became the beginnings of a novel, it was featured as a short story in Rebel Yell called "Pump Jockey."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hands


I am one of those people who does not know what to do with their hands. Well, sometimes I know what to do with my hands, but I'm speaking of when they are idle, such as when you are standing and listening to someone talk to you. If I put my hand on my hip, I look effeminate. If I have my hands by my side, I look awkward. Where I work, hands in your pockets is deemed unprofessional (something to do with the military, I don't get it). If I cross my arms, I look angry or defiant. I never know what to do with my hands, so I tend to try to find something to hold on to, hoping that comes across as okay.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Breakfast


I don't often eat breakfast even though I know I should. However, if the man above was serving me breakfast I'd eat every morning. Usually, breakfast for me is a cup of coffee. But there are many benefits to eating a proper breakfast.

The literal meaning of the word "breakfast," is to break the fast between dinner and the meal eaten after a person wakes up the next morning. If you think about the amount of time spanning between dinner and breakfast, the meaning of the word is very fitting. For most people, it can be up to 12 hours since their last meal, and yet like me, they are quick to skip it as they rush out the door. Here are 10 benefits of eating breakfast and why it should be considered the most important meal of the day:

1. Energy Boost to Start the Day
2. Sharper Focus
3. Breakfast Helps Reduce Morning Crankiness
4. Metabolism Boost
5. Prevents Starvation
6. Keeps You From Overeating
7. Allows You to Properly Portion Your Meals
8. Helps Lower the "Bad" Cholesterol
9. Breakfast Can Be Nutritious and Delicious
10. Eat Breakfast to Lose Weight

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More Snow



Snow is supposed to start late tonight and continue on to late Thursday. Unlike the last 12+ inches of snow we just received, this new system is going to slowly dump 5-10 inches on us. I'm getting a little more used to the snow, but I still hate cleaning it off my car in the mornings. The snow keeps piling up though. At my office, it has already reached up past the first pane of my window. That's only like 2 feet, but that's more than I've seen since I moved to Vermont.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Funny Valentine



My funny valentine

Sweet comic valentine

You make me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable

Unphotographable

Yet you're my favorite work of art


Is your Figure less than Greek?

Is your mouth a little weak?

When you open it to speak

Are you smart?


But don't change a hair for me

Not if you care for me

Stay little valentine stay

Each day is Valentines day


Is your figure less than Greek

Is your mouth a little weak

When you open it to Speak

Are you smart?


But don't change a hair for me

Not if you care for me

Stay little valentine stay

Each day is valentines day.


"My Funny Valentine" is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. In 2015 it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker's version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry for the song's "cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy".

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow



Snow, snow, snow. Too much snow. We are getting more than 12 inches of snow yesterday and today. It is the most I have seen since I moved to Vermont. Quite honestly, I am not prepared for this much snow. I hope that they will delay the opening of the school (and thus the museum) or cancel school for the day. I doubt they will do either, but I can hope they will.

Luckily, they did plow the parking lot of my apartment. If the snow wasn't too much last night, I'll be able to get to work. So much uncertainty, but maybe I just worry too much.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Old Rugged Cross


This is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, hymns. "The Old Rugged Cross" has always been a song that fills my heart with emotions of love, joy, and nostalgia. It's a very spiritually moving song, and for me it is the epitome of Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to The Lord.

The Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

This popular Christian song was written in 1912 by George Bennard, an evangelist and song-leader. Though a native of Youngstown (Ohio), Bennard was reared in Iowa. He retired to Reed City, Michigan, and the town had honored him by maintaining a dedicated museum relating to his life and ministry. As a Methodist evangelist, Bennard wrote the first verse of the hymn in Albion, Michigan, in the fall of 1912. He was helped by Charles H. Gabriel, a well-known gospel-song composer with the harmonies and it was published in 1915. The song was popularized during Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns by Homer Rodeheaver and Virginia Asher (members of his campaign staff). The hymn tells about the writer experienced as a Christian rather than his adoration of God.

Friday, February 10, 2017

TGIF



Thank Goodness It's Friday...I fell asleep while writing this.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Twitter Censorship

Several pictures I've posted recently have been deemed sensitive material on my Twitter account. Each post I write is simultaneously published on twitter as well with the picture. However, yesterday's picture and Monday's picture were deemed too sensitive, or I guess racy, for Twitter. I don't get it. Today's will probably meet the same fate, the difference being that in today's picture the guy is completely nude whereas the other two had on briefs. Not even their butts were showing. There was no untoward nudity in the pictures at all, so why were they censored by Twitter. I guess it's like the number of kicks it takes to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop. The world may never know.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Politics, Ugh!



I could have written on a number of political things today. I could have written about the CNN debate between Bernie Sanders and the slithering lying fuckwad Ted Cruz over healthcare that aired last night. Or I could have written about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education when she knows nothing about the public education system in America or the upcoming conformation of racist homophobic Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and thus the protector of civil rights. Or how Neil Gorsuch is a step backward for our country as a Supreme Court Justice. Or the Muslim ban which the Trump administration says is not a ban, but you know it is a ban because that's what they originally called it. There were any number of things I could have written about, but I am sick of politics. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what new fuck-up Trump has accomplished today. Because let's face it, he fucks something up every day he's in office. Will we even recognize our country after he is done?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Love



Love
By Rupert Brooke

Love is a breach in the walls, a broken gate,
    Where that comes in that shall not go again;
Love sells the proud heart’s citadel to Fate.
    They have known shame, who love unloved. Even then,
When two mouths, thirsty each for each, find slaking,
    And agony’s forgot, and hushed the crying
Of credulous hearts, in heaven—such are but taking
    Their own poor dreams within their arms, and lying
Each in his lonely night, each with a ghost.
    Some share that night. But they know love grows colder,
Grows false and dull, that was sweet lies at most.
    Astonishment is no more in hand or shoulder,
But darkens, and dies out from kiss to kiss.
All this is love; and all love is but this.

In the poem entitled Love, the speaker views love as a dangerous force, destructive enough to require a wall to block it. The diction the author uses implies love is a security threat. Using the word breach gives the impression of an uncontrolled threat to ones being. The speaker points out the vulnerability one feels when allowing themselves to love, They have known shame, who love unloved. He expresses the feeling of loving someone who doesn't love back, the pain and shame that is felt.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Bowl



It was an exciting game. Overtime is always exciting, but damn I wish Atlanta had just kept their lead. I'd rather see a straight out win than an exciting game. Exciting games tend to mean that my team loses, which is what happened last night. I may live in New England but it doesn't mean I'm going to pull for them. I'm a southern boy at heart, and I wanted Atlanta to win. Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Power of Prayer



“Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” - Matthew 21:22 

We can never underestimate the power of prayer. When we are praying according to God's will, our prayers are unstoppable. Jesus made this promise: "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7).

First John 5:14–15 says, "And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him."

Therefore, we should never give up or back down. We need to keep praying. That is why Jesus said, " Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8). 

Jesus is very clear that prayer is very powerful, but it's not for just when we want something for ourselves.  It can also be for guidance or wanting something for others. Often we pray because something bad has happened.  Hardships and tragedies are a constant reminder to keep connected to God through prayer, reading, and reflection. It's important to keep our hearts open so we may reach out to others who may be in that same kind of situation we found ourselves. In helping them, we provide someone in need with the remedy that will soothe their broken spirit.

To maintain God's peace, we must give up the need to be right, along with the need to control. We must humble ourselves and give it all to God, trusting that we will be shown the way to whatever it is we need to know, as well as Who is in control. God always answers our prayers, but it might just be “no” on occasion.  The most important thing though is that it is always God’s will.


Friday, February 3, 2017

TGIF



I would say that it's been a long week, but it hasn't been. With the exception of yesterday, the week has kind of flown by. Yesterday was a bit of a snore. I had a few things to do, but I accomplished them fairly quickly, far quicker than I'd expected. That's the only problem with my job. I have things to do. I do them. They don't take that long, and then I have nothing to do. Unlike my colleagues who have more than they can do, I have things that take relatively little time. There are a few things in the works and once we meet certain goals, I will be much busier. Until then though, I get my work done and then discreetly look at Facebook, read the news, or go gossip with a colleague. Just fifteen more interviews and I will be busy, busy, busy working on the book that will come out of these interviews. I can't wait to get started.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Neil Gorsuch



Twelve days into his unquestionably chaotic tenure, President Donald Trump sparked the ire of liberal voters once again by nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

Though Trump touted Gorsuch for having “earned bipartisan support,” much of the Democratic pushback so far has stemmed from the fact that Republicans refused to consider Merrick Garland, who was former President Barack Obama’s pick for the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, for nearly a year. 

Trump’s choice of Gorsuch, a conservative federal appeals judge in Colorado, received a chilly response from LGBTQ groups in particular. Though his background on queer issues is limited, Gorsuch famously sided with the conservative Christian owners of Hobby Lobby, who sued the federal government in 2013 after seeking an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, citing their religious faith. He’s also been an outspoken admirer of Scalia, who was staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ rights.

A number of advocacy groups, including GLAAD and PFLAG, decried the judge’s nomination almost immediately. The president’s choice of Gorsuch, officials wrote, re-affirmed their doubts regarding his views on the LGBTQ community as a whole. 

“Numerous times in the last 11 days we have shared our concern that civil rights―for the LGBTQ community, for women, for immigrants, for people of color, for all marginalized communities―would erode under this administration,” Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm wrote in a statement on PFLAG’s website. “Now, with his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court, it is clear our concerns were more than justified.” Added American Civil Liberties Union’s Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, “Gorsuch’s record, including his decision in the Hobby Lobby case, raises questions about whether he would allow businesses and individuals to opt out of nondiscrimination laws based on religious objections.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Work



Several people have asked how my interview last Friday went. It was a pretty important interview and it went really well. My interview subject got off topic a few times but I was able to guide him back to where I wanted him to be. It was a good experience. I have another interview today. This guy seems very talkative, so it should be a good interview. Fingers crossed.

Luckily, I have had a string of interviews in the new year. I'm hoping for a few more so that I can travel a bit and see more of New England. While I can easily go on my own to explore New England, it's nice when someone else is payin for it. Anyway, things are good at work. I love when I get to do research for various projects. My writing skills are actually valued. I really don't have any major complaints.