when does God choose you and me

Actually that’s the wrong question … the correct question would be …

When did God choose you and me?

Oftentimes, in a salvation decision we incorrectly believe that God is waiting for us to choose Him … but the reality is it is God who chooses you … who gives you to Jesus … who draws you to Jesus …

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day … No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.    John 6:37-40, 44

Only the sheep of Jesus hear His voice …

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;          and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than ALL; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.  John 10:27-30 (NASB)

As believers, we are created IN Christ Jesus for the good works which God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in …

For we are His workmanship, created IN Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)

All the days of our lives were written in God’s book before we ever took our first breath

My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.  Psalm 139:15-16 (NASB)

God chose you and me IN Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world … our Abba Father predestined us to adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ … in love and ALL according to the kind intention of His will …

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN Christ, just as He chose us  IN Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 (NASB)

We have been predestined according to the purpose of God to obtain the divine inheritance …

He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed IN Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of ALL things IN Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. IN Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.  Ephesians 1:9-12 (NASB)

You have to do a little reverse interpretation of this passage … but what you come up with is this … from the foundation of the world the names of the children of God have been written in the book of life of the Lamb …

It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.  All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.  Revelation 13:7-9 (NASB)

God predestined us to become conformed to the image of Christ Jesus … God called us … He drew us unto Jesus … God justified us … He gave us to Jesus … God glorified us …

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.  Romans 8:28-30 (NASB)

So thankful my future is grounded in God’s choice, plan and purpose … and not my own … so thankful!

How about you?

Friends, I’m feeling the love of God!!!

So loved by our heavenly Father!!!

Bernie

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when did God choose Jesus to die and live for me

Some people believe that Jesus is Plan B and that God did not choose Jesus to die for the sins of man until after Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden … as if God was surprised by Adam and Eve’s choice. If that was the case, we could just toss out omniscience and omnipresence as attributes of God, couldn’t we?

There was always only one predetermined plan …

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know–this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. Acts 2:22-23 (NASB)

What happened to Jesus in route to and on the cross was predestined by God according to His purpose …

“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.” Acts 4:27-28 (NASB)

And God’s plan and purpose called not only for the cross … but for the summing up of ALL thing IN Christ in the fullness of times …

IN Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed IN Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things IN Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.  Ephesians 1:7-10 (NASB)

The Father loved the Son before the foundation of the world …

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24 (NASB)

Jesus and His mission was foreknown before the foundation of the world …

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers IN God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are IN God. 1 Peter 1:17-21 (NASB)

For the sake of you who through Christ Jesus are believers IN God …

A plan and a purpose predetermined before the foundation of the world …

For the sake of you and me …

WOW!

That said … let’s close with these words of Jesus …

For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.  John 10:17-18 (NASB)

Bernie

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what creation has to do with Jesus

Hopefully you read yesterday’s post … if not, I would suggest reading why the creation vs evolution argument matters … in that post, please note my definition of evolution.  For some folks, that may prompt the following question …

What does creation have to do with Jesus?

Some will say I believe in evolution and I believe in Jesus … while I won’t say they are wrong, IMHO I can’t help but think there is an issue with that combination of beliefs.  Yes, that’s personal opinion and personal conviction based on what I see in Scripture … please consider the opening words of the gospel of John … remembering that the Word is Jesus

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with GodALL things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  John 1:1-3 (NASB)

How ‘ bout the Webb paraphrase …

In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.  Jesus was in the beginning with God.  ALL things came into being through Jesus, and apart from Jesus nothing came into being that has come into being.

(Note: it may be helpful to take a look at Genesis 1:1, 26a, John 15:5 … for me; they add power and insight into the verses above).

Once more … ALL things came into being through Jesus Christ

… yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom ALL things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom ALL things came and through whom we live.  1 Corinthians 8:6 (NIV)

By Jesus ALL things were created … ALL things have been created through JesusALL things have been created for JesusJesus is before ALL things … ALL things hold together IN Jesus

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of ALL creation.  For by Him ALL things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–ALL things have been created through Him and for HimHe is before ALL things, and IN Him ALLthings hold together.  Colossians 1:15-17 (NASB)

Once again, through Jesus, God made the world …

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.  Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB)

You and I are the workmanship of God, created IN Christ Jesus for good works (remember that last part … it may be important in the next post)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created IN Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB)

Are you beginning to get a glimpse into the creation-Jesus connection?

A couple of verses that seem to speak to the topic of evolution might also be helpful …

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.  Hebrews 11:3 (NASB)

It is by faith … God-given faith … that we believe and understand that God spoke the world into existence (check out the eight occurrences of ‘Then God said, “Let …” in Genesis 1’).  It is also by faith … God-given faith … that we believe and understand that what exists was not made out of other existing and visible things (that throws a real monkey wrench in evolution for believers … sorry ‘bout the pun!)

Also consider …

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”  For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.  2 Peter 3:3-6 (NASB)

Based on the verses that follow verse 3 above, it is not much of a leap to align evolutionists with the foretold mockers.  Why?  Because rather than acknowledge the biblical truth that the flood of Genesis 7 actually created most of the sedimentary layers we see all over the world (one confirmation of this was discovered in the scientific observation, research and analysis of the Mount St. Helens eruption), the evolutionists ignore the flood and claim that each sedimentary layer takes millions of years to form  and ‘that all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation’ … actually scratch that last part and probably replace it with ‘from the big bang’ … no creator … no creation …

Yesterday … why the creation vs evolution argument matters

Today … what creation has to do with Jesus

Wonder what’s next?

Bernie

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why the creation vs evolution argument matters

This may seem an odd way to begin but stick with me …

My father established our relationship when I was seven years old.  He looked at me and said, “You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out.  And it don’t make no difference to me, I’ll make another one look just like you.”

Bill Cosby – “Himself” album

After you’ve taken a few moments to remember the first time you heard Bill Cosby (the original album was released in 1983) say that and laughed about it, consider this …

His father decided than since he brought his child into the world, it was his right to have expectations of that child, and also his right to take away the very life he had given that child if he did not live according to those expectations …

Sound familiar?

(Note: When I speak of evolution, I am speaking of the concept that theorizes but never proves that the universe has randomly evolved over billions of years out of nothing and that within that imagined process man has evolved from other species … actually through multiple species … while certain others of those exact  same species were unexplainably left behind ‘AS IS’)

Evolution would tell us we are fatherless … we are here by a sequence of random events …

Creation tells us we have a Father … we are here as an act of love according to His plan, purpose and will …

Evolution would tell us since we are here by a sequence of random events; we are free to do whatever we want …

Creation tells us since we are here as an act of love according to the plan, purpose and will of the heavenly Father; we should want to do what He wants …

Evolution would tell us that we are free to do whatever we want without concern for others …

Creation tells us we are free to do what God wants with concern for others … our neighbors

Evolution would tell us to love self …

Creation tells us to love God and love one another as He loves us …

Evolution would tell us “You are your own”

Creation tells us “You are not your own”

Evolution is a scheme of the devil intended to distract us from God …

Creation is the truth of Scripture intended to attract us to God …

See the dilemma?

The creation account in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible tells us that …

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Genesis 1:27 (NASB)

Now for you literalists who might say, ‘That’s just describing Adam and Eve’, remember Adam and Eve did not come from the womb as you read the following …

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.  Psalm 139:13-16 (NASB)

The challenge then for the natural man is to discover he was made for a divine purpose … and that the life he lives is one in which he is ensnared and enslaved to his flesh, his pride and the devil …

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.  2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NASB)

We need to realize the status quo is not what was intended … it is a deception.

The truth is that the ‘Father who brought us in this world’ is waiting and willing to give us life and bring us into His kingdom!

Evolution vs. Creation … it’s foundational to what we worship and believe!

Bernie

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Be found ready for the wedding feast of the Lamb!

Covering some familiar ground this morning … with a new stop or two …

“So then, you will know them by their fruits.  Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”  Matthew 7:20-23 (NASB)

Since I’ve hit the basics on this before, here are the key points …

  • Only he or she who does the will of the heavenly Father will enter into the kingdom of heaven
  • Those doing the will of the Father will be known by others by their good fruit
  • Those who do the will of the Father are known by the Lord (actually that order is backwards …)

So often we put the emphasis on coming to know Jesus … and that’s certainly important … but it’s more important to be known by Jesus.  A relationship is a two way street and requires being known by one another.

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.  Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.  But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’  Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’  And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.  Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’  But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’  Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.  Matthew 25:1-13 (NASB)

The biggest takeaway I have always gotten from this passage was always simply … Be ready. for you do not know the day or hour of Christ’s return!

But today I have different questions …

Why did the virgins need their lamps filled with oil to go into the wedding feast?  Surely the lamps of the other virgins and the rest of the wedding party would put off enough light?  And why virgins?  And why would the bridegroom not know them just because they had no oil for their lamps?

In Scripture, being anointed with oil is oftentimes synonymous with being filled with the Holy Spirit

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.  1 Samuel 16:13 (NASB)

God lights the lamps of his children via the indwelling presence of His Son and His Spirit that they might glorify Him before the world.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16 (NASB)

The virgins collectively are the bride of Christ … and with their lamps filled with oil … their invitations to the marriage supper of the Lamb confirmed … were found ready and entered in … Jesus knows them.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.  It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’”  Revelation 19:7-9 (NASB)

When one is born again of the Holy Spirit, he or she receives a pledge … a seal … a promise … an invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb …

IN Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed IN Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14 (NASB)

IMHO the filled flasks represent an overflowing of the Holy Spirit … an overflowing to be shared and poured out upon others prior to Christ’s return …

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”  But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.  John 7:38-39 (NASB)

And then again … maybe all Jesus meant was ‘Be found ready!’

Bernie

 

 

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Real Men DO Eat Quiche … and make it too!

About four months ago I received the Spring 2014 edition of NE Georgia Living Magazine and it had an article about quiche …  offering several recipes.  To this novice breakfast chef, the broccoli quiche recipe looked pretty simple and straightforward so I gave it a try … a decision that has pleased my wife greatly.  Over the last few months, I have experimented with adding ingredients and different spices until I arrived at the current recipe.

DSC01092

INGREDIENTS:

1 frozen deep dish pie shell

4-5 ounces frozen broccoli florets
(Thaw and drain all the excess moisture off the broccoli and
then chop into small pieces discarding the stalks – I usually buy
the 14 oz bag at 
the grocery store, then split it equally into three
ziploc bags … 
using one, while putting the other two in the
freezer for the 
next quiche).

Sliced mushrooms to taste … I use the little jar from Green
Giant – it lasts through several quiche

Chopped onions to taste

Diced ham to taste … I buy the vacuum packed pre-diced (not
cubed) package of ham at the grocery store … the little pack will
usually last for 
3 or more quiche.

¼ lb shredded Swiss cheese

2 tbsp melted butter

3 eggs

1 cup half and half

Mrs. Dash – Garlic and Herb (or salt and pepper) to taste

Optional ingredients: Feel free to substitute crumbled bacon
or sausage for the diced ham, can also add chopped peppers

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Distribute broccoli evenly across the bottom of the pie shell.  Then top with mushrooms, onions and the diced ham to taste.  Then season with the Mrs. Dash.  Evenly spread the shredded Swiss cheese over the other ingredients.  Beat eggs, half and half, melted butter and Mrs. Dash together.  Pour mixture evenly over broccoli, cheese, etc.  Then I usually sprinkle a bit more Mrs. Dash on top of it all.

Bake for 45 minutes.  I usually move it to the lower rack with 10 minutes to go to keep quiche from crusting.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

My final experiment with this recipe occurred tonight.  For a couple of months I have been considering using sriracha on my slice of the quiche to spice things up a bit.  So after I put tonight’s quiche in the oven it was off to Publix to buy a bottle of Texas Pete’s Sriracha Cha! hot chili sauce.

So I cut my slice of quiche into bite size pieces and the final experiment began … the trick was getting the right amount of sriracha on each bite … too much and I spent a few minutes in a fire drill dousing the flames with milk … the perfect amount ended up being a drop per bite … and perfection!

If you happen to try the recipe, would love to hear about it.  If you take this recipe and personalize it, I would love to hear about it.  If you have a personal quiche recipe you recommend, please leave a link or the recipe itself.

Happy cooking my friends … happy cooking!

Bernie

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a peek behind the curtain …

Remember that moment in the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when Toto pulled back the curtain for all to see that the great and powerful Oz was … just a man. While not nearly as dramatic, here is a little peek behind my curtain …

I’ll warn you this is a little long … approaching 3,000 words … so feel free to skip it. In conjunction with the warning, I’ll also issue a humor alert … I have some real peculiarities that may make you smile, chuckle or even break out in laughter.

I have a confession to make … actually a whole slew of them … I’m 60 years old … almost 61. I am part adolescent … part redneck … part nerd … part geek … and quite proud of all four.

My chosen profession is as an Information Technology aka IT analyst and this year marks 40 years in the IT career field. The good Lord led an aimless young man into this career field and has faithfully provided for virtually every financial need through it for four decades.

The vast majority of my waking hours are spent in shorts, t-shirts and crocs (My crocs count just increased to 5 – may my flip-flops RIP) … I probably have more t-shirts than any other type of apparel … and I’m always looking for more (Salty Dog Café, Old Navy, Life is Good and one of my new favs Southern Fried Cotton). When work went to business casual, all my suits, dress coats, ties and dress shirts preceded me to the grave.

Almost 20 years ago on a trip with my wife, in a moment of mutual shared honesty, she told me over dinner that my comb over really looked dorky … ever since she has been shaving my head with a 1 or none every month or so. Last summer I discovered the wonder of the cordless beard trimmer (the second greatest technological marvel of the past few decades) and retired my scissors … being follicly challenged has resulted in ball caps, driving caps and floppy hats becoming a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

Remember those oval plastic change holders (I refuse to use the word purse) that you pushed on both ends and they then open down the middle … well, I am one of the dying breed that still uses them. I recently got a new bright orange one at the local Mayfield Dairy … BTW you would not believe how many ‘I remember when’ comments I get when paying for something and I pull that handy little holder out.

After five decades of always keeping my wallet in my back right pocket, last year I finally bought a slim line front pocket wallet and got rid of all that junk I carried in my wallet but never used … guys, really shouldn’t be so critical of women and their purse contents … take a look in your backpacks, briefcases, desk drawers, glove compartments, toolboxes and tackle boxes …

Let me interrupt the flow here and say … I love to collect pocket knives and small multi-tools …

You know those silicone bracelets … the yellow LIVESTRONG one being the most popular … love those things and I’m usually wearing one or two. Excited to find out you can now get a survivor badge you can add to the LIVESTRONG bracelet. I also wear a precious stones bracelet my daughter made for me with stones believed to cure what ails me … she made it for me, she believes it … that’s enough for me.

I prefer driving my decade old truck over my wife’s new KIA Optima. If you’re curious about what I like … just check the decals, stickers and front license plate on my truck. I prefer paper maps, atlases and I’m a MapQuest loyalist … no Google maps or GPS for me (although a budding interest in geocaching may change all that … ) I keep a kazoo in my truck console and have been known to secretly play it during my commute to lift my spirits. After finishing a drink or fast food meal … I then toss the crumpled bag or empty bottle over my right shoulder into the back of the cab … trash pickup is usually once a week.

Everywhere I ever sit down for any period of time has index cards, post-it notes, colored highlighters, and colored gel pens (Gotta love those Pilot G-2 .7 gel pens!) … and a cluttered pile of books, brochures and catalogues … I’m proud to say this apple didn’t fall far from the family tree.

Oh yeah, and I love Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, 19 Kids and Counting, Walker Texas Ranger, Arrow and anything NCIS or CSI. And we are anxiously awaiting the resolution of the cliffhangers for Castle and Bones yet absolutely shocked at how A&E let The Glades end. And we are slowly but surely being drawn into Longmire. I’m not really sure that either of us quite understands exactly why we watch Downton Abbey or Once Upon a Time and the jury is still out on House as we’re only about a dozen episodes into that long-running series. Yes, we have television … but not broadcast, cable or satellite TV … Yes, Idu Roku … it’s NetFlix, HuluPlus, Amazon or DVD … or its not seen in our house. And the fact that Jack is back has meant we did not suspend our HuluPlus subscription for the summer.

I do everything in my power to avoid paying over $8 a ticket to see first-run movies … and I usually succeed, typically paying $2.50 to $6.50 … and kids, make sure you eat and drink before we go … unless it’s a special trek to Movie Tavern.

Being a transplanted Southerner for nearly 50 years, my body runs on sweet iced tea, sweet and creamy coffee (let’s tell it like it is) … iced or hot, and biscuits. Keurig gets my vote for the greatest technological innovation of the last decade … and based on my DD Perks card and love of coffee and donuts (My favs … DDs Chocolate frosted, vanilla frosting filled bismarks and KKs blueberry cake donuts), I’m not too sure I didn’t choose the wrong profession …

Without a doubt the greatest improvement in our dining choices near home occurred when Bojangles moved in … that plus every local BBQ and boiled peanut joint. Hey, and I love visiting different farmer’s markets and farm stands with my wife and grandson. Local honey, sorghum syrup, bean salsa, bread and butter pickles and homemade jams and jellies beat brand name-store bought every time. And I have recently also become addicted to pecan pralines and bear claws thanks to Savannah’s River Street Sweets. But sorry … no green thumb here … unless infection has set in.

I do twitter … I blog … I do linkedIN … I e-mail … I surf the web. I don’t do facebook and I don’t do YouTube. And while the Bible doesn’t really spell it out … IMHO Apple is the forbidden fruit. Anything that puts the focus of ‘i’ on everything can’t be good for me. My personal PC of choice is a Gateway netbook and most evenings you’ll find me and my wife in our PJs (TMI warning: mine are typically colorful patterned boxers with an equally colorful t-shirt) and recliners, enjoying a cup of decaf Maxwell House, TV on, surfing, etc. on our PCs. My wife loves playing the computer games that have solo versions on her PC and Kindle Fire … nope, I don’t do computer game either.

That said, pencil and book in hand I do enjoy Sudoku and KenKen puzzles … with KenKen being my favorite. Sometimes I will get on a streak and do them daily for weeks and months … while other times I won’t even look at one for months and maybe even years … currently I am in the midst of the latter.

I am a photography nut typically taking a hundred or more pictures everywhere we go … am some time even photo blogging a day in the life of our family … much to their chagrin. My camera of choice is a point and shoot SONY Cybershot … and yes, I had to accessorize with a bright orange silicone case … and no, I never lose it.

I love going to Barnes and Noble, Lifeway and Family Christian (also love the bargains I find on www.gospelebooks.net) … so I can figure out what I’m going to order next on Amazon for my kindle (I still have the original black and white keyboard model – a gift from my sister many years ago). Most years I read 50-60 books (most faith based), my Bible, an occasional magazine and very rarely the newspaper … headlines on FOXNews.com and USAToday.com keep me up-to-date on the latest news.

Obviously, if you’re reading this, you know I love to write and blog.

I love the mountains (NC and GA) and the beach (Hilton Head and Jekyll Island), but as a rule don’t particularly care for the big city (although I’m growing fond of small towns with city squares, main streets and tree-lined sidewalks.) Big cities are a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I still have a Samsung candy bar cell phone … and still treat it like my first bag phone … leaving it in the truck most of the time. I haven’t embraced smart phones or touch technology … yet … we’ll see how long that lasts. Oh yeah, and I keep my appointments/diary in a 12 month weekly spiral paper pocket planner … with a backup on IBM Notes at work …

Even at 60 years old, I love and respect my parents and NEVER talk back to them … a characteristic of honor and respect I have been unable to ingrain in all my children. My Mom and Dad built a strong foundation in my life as a child and have together been an anchor throughout my nearly 61 years of life.

My grandson and I love spending time in the mountains with my folks at their cabin … favorite activities … visiting and talking, rocking chair marathons, walking to the pond, shooting the BB gun, watching old movies, driving my folks Subaru and going out to eat at the local restaurants.

I have one sibling … a younger sister. Before I was born, my folks wanted a large family. After I was born, they thought 4 or 5 kids would be enough. After my sister was born … they wondered why they ever started … an oft repeated family joke. That said, after all these years my sister, her husband and their daughter continue to be a huge blessing and encouragement to me, my family and our parents …

Why oh why I’ll never know, but despite all my peculiarities, the Good Lord has blessed me with an extraordinary wife … beautiful both inside and out … of 32 plus years … way beyond anything I could possibly deserve. I could not have asked for a more loving and devoted lifelong companion than the woman the Lord has blessed me with … the woman of my dreams.

When my fat fingers outgrew my original wedding band, I bought a five dollar silver one with a series of Christian fish symbols circling the ring to remind me that for our marriage to last and grow involves three people … God, my wife and me. Whenever possible, I love bringing my wife Starbucks (venti white mocha frappucino – no fat, no whip) and the fast food meal of her choice … much like McDs … she needs a break today.

And the Lord continues to fill my quiver … we have been blessed and challenged in raising four daughters to adulthood (admittedly, it was primarily my wife who has instilled in them all their good qualities) … they in turn have blessed us with seven grandchildren … although due to the miles and other challenges we can’t stay connected with all of them … and the Lord has also given us the blessing, privilege, honor and responsibility of raising our grandson who is about to turn twelve … whoever says parenting ever ends obviously never had children.

As husband, father or grandfather … well, there is definitely room for improvement in all those areas … no doubt I’m a bit more self-centered and selfish than I would like to admit. Help me Lord … help me!!!

I have no doubt that my grandmother, Nanny, through many hours on her knees at her bedside, prayed me into the kingdom of God. My regret is that she did not get to see and experience it in person … one of her goals later in life was to live to 100 … and that must have been how the Lord recorded it in His book. She’s been gone 20 years now … and the heavenly reunion with her is one I eagerly anticipate.

Most everybody in my family breaks out laughing if mail addressed to me comes from Home Depot, Lowes or Ace Hardware. Home Improvement … despite the letter count … is truly a four letter word to me. To say I am mechanically challenged would be a drastic understatement. While I do the essential yard work … it’s not one of my favorite things to do. I keep waiting for the cost of Astroturf, concrete or asphalt to come down. The only thing I probably like less than yard work, home improvement and repairs … painting.

Thirty years ago I told my wife that ceiling fans would not help the air circulation in the house … three decades later I am the proud installer of over a dozen ceiling fans … you’d think ‘I told you so’ would have been enough of a punishment for my three decade old work and cost avoidance comment.

Tim the Tool Man has nothing on me … except his personalized coffee mug at the local ER. I once put a ten-speed bike together only to have the cables fail to reach the handlebars … as my wife watched, I was almost knocked out by a kitchen window flower box that preferred the laws of gravity over the laws of attachment … my first ride on my Dad’s tractor with bush hog attached (I was an adult) resulted in two amputated blueberry bushes … and I once drilled a hole in my car radiator … don’t ask!

Yes, I fall a bit outside the macho image … BBQ is something you eat not something you do … and if I eat 2 steaks a year, it’s a big year … I eat mor chickn! … and a variety of other things.

I do cook a little bit … cookies at Christmas … creamy peanut butter pies on special occasions … scones and quiche for weekend breakfasts throughout the year … coffee coladas from time to time … and I’m currently looking for a new chili recipe to accompany my newfound favorite cornbread recipe.

I enjoy day hikes, visiting scenic, historic, educational and quirky places and events with my wife and grandchildren (gosh … sounds like I’m placing a personal ad) … hey, I actually enjoy shopping too … yes, I’m domesticated … and enjoying it.

I walk two to three times a week and need to get back to my dumb bell workouts (no snickers please). I have truly come to believe that rather than needing more years in my life, I need more life in my years. Walking and exercise is my means toward that end.

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not anti-social … I’m anti-large groups (and I do enjoy times of solitude). You will rarely see me at parties or luncheons with large groups where the goal is simply to socialize. Yet I do love connecting with other men one-on-one and in small group settings.

From a political perspective, I would probably be labeled staunchly conservative … although I would be the first to say that I don’t really see any political parties fully aligned with the teaching of Scripture, Jesus and the Holy Spirit … oftentimes the only voting choice we make is the lesser of two evils. And without a doubt, integrity is an issue across the board.

I no longer believe in macro evolution, billions of years, psychology, religion, public education, law or politicians … and yes, you would be right to interpret that as I once believed in all of them.

I have Stage IV Metastatic Colon Cancer, have been a cancer warrior for 7 years, living with a colostomy bag the past 3 years … after two years of biweekly chemo infusions I have gone without chemo for the last 60 weeks … and I am also scheduled for a ureteral stent replacement twice a year … yet I am at my lowest weight and I am in my best shape of the last two decades.

And even with all my peculiarities and challenges, I eagerly and joyfully confess

“Jesus loves me … this I know

         and

Life is good … extremely good!”

Thank you Lord!!!

Bernie

(written July 11,2014)

P.S. If this has been TMI, please accept my apologies.

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