My Wordspace

A dumpster full of various musings over life, God, scripture, and any random thought that may fly by meanwhile. Comments welcome.

Archive for August, 2004

Blogadelic, Baby!

Posted by Iszi on August 26, 2004

Greetings, Readers!

For my 30th post (Yay, another “0” number, woo-hoo! – Actually, it really has nothing to do with that.) I thought I’d reflect on some stats that I’ve found interesting regarding my blog.

A couple days (maybe a week) after I started this blog, I ran across a site tracking tool called BlogPatrol. It’s free, and gives you basic details about traffic to your site. Some items of interest are the “Top 20’s” and “Last 10’s”, which they have for both Referrers (Sites with links to my blog that people cliked on.) and Search Tearms (Words people used on search engines that led them to my site.). Also provided is a breakdown of some basic computer information for the last 25 visitors (IP, Browser, OS, and Screen Resolution/Bit Depth).

I really don’t much care who does or doesn’t view this site, but it does fascinate me in a way to see what actually does happen to this page when I’m not looking. For instance, I can say with reasonable confidence that a large percentage of my visitors are running Internet Explorer 6, on a Windows XP machine, at 1024×768 resolution with 32bpp. Someone out there is running 1280x854x32 (Widescreen?) on a Mac. And some others are like me (and I am excluded from this listing, by the way) and like 1280x1024x32 on their WinXP machine under IE 6. The few Mac users that have stopped by are all running NN 7.x, and there’s some oddball XP user running something called Opera 7.x. (Never heard of that one… maybe I should give it a whirl.)

IPs barely tell me a thing, except for a few people that I know of. Like, I can say “Hmm… that’s a familiar domain, I wonder if so-and-so has stopped by?”. Or “That’s a local ISP, I wonder who I know nearby that’s visited?”. Which tells me my visitors like to tease and toy with my mind. I have one word for those… nyahh! 😛

What I find of particular interest is the Referrers/Search Terms lists. Most of my referrers are other BlogSpot blogs, probably via the handy-dandy little Blogger Bar up on the top of any BlogSpot site. That link all the way on the right will take you to another (random or recently updated?) blog that’s linked to BlogSpot, and I can only assume that’s the way I’m getting them listed as referrers to my site, since I don’t know these people and I don’t see my blog in any of their links lists. Aside from those, my next hottest referrer falls under the “Self-Referring/Bookmarker” category, which tells me that people actually do visit this link that I hand them once in awhile. Kinda nice to know. After this, things start to get interesting. My next hottest referrer, albeit unsurprisingly, is Jennifer Garrett’s Blog. It’s a pretty popular blog that I just started reading (Gotta remember to add her to my Links section), written by one of the editors at Blogger. She’d made a post one day regarding the new flavors of Mountain Dew popping up, and I made a comment to add Pitch Black to her list of Dew Mutations. Seems she was shocked enough to append that to her original post, and therefore now puts her on my “Top Referrers” list, and makes her the only specific one I can document that I did not intentionally genrate. (At least, not for this purpose.) So, thanks Jen!

The truly most intriguing thing I find, however, is the Search Terms list. So far, only 3 searches have hit my site. (Not that there’s much traffic here anyway, but the searches themselves are interesting.) Two of them were through Yahoo!, one for “money for returning students” (don’t ask me how Yahoo! found me that way), and the other for “green glass doors”. The latter I find particularly interesting since the third search was through Dogpile, also for “green glass doors”. After further research, I’ve found that the “money for returning studients” search actually picked me up due to a typo in one of my posts (accidentally added an “i” in “students”) and then some remote connetions to the other terms throughout my other posts. As far as Yahoo’s “green glass doors” results, I think the person must have had “valley” or something else in there when they did their search (the term itself has actually dropped off the list since it’s been awhile, so I don’t know exactly what it was, just that it was there and had something to do with those doors), because I can’t find myself anywhere within the first five pages or so of Yahoo’s “green glass doors” results. But for “money for returning studients” I’m number 12! (An error soon to be remedied, so I’ll not link.) And, for the Dogpile “green glass doors” search, I’m number 10!

Just some interesting things I’ve noticed, and thought I’d blog.

– Iszi

In the Valley of the Green Glass Doors, there are puppies and kittens, but no dogs or cats. O.o

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Rainbow-Dumping Koalas

Posted by Iszi on August 19, 2004

So… what if a koala bear really did crap a rainbow on my brain?

I mean, what would it feel like?

I think it would start with the fuzzy feeling of the koala’s bottom rubbing on my head, followed shortly by a warm mushiness as he starts about letting his business out in my hair.

Then, a slight tingling sensation as the colorful stuff passes through my skull.

Next, I imagine a veritable merry-go-round of images swirling in front of me as it all enters my consciousness.

I’ll find myself in another place, floating in the sky, chasing birds through clouds with the ground above me – not below.

At some point maybe I’ll come to rest on a mountaintop, to converse with a friendly goat about the weather.

Then, we would watch together as a thunderstorm brews in the distance, with beautiful flickerings and bolts of lightning streaking across the sky, and around our heads.

Suddenly, I feel the steady drizzle of rain running down my face, as if – anomalously – that is the only spot on earth being rained on.

I look up, and I see…

… Dangit, that koala’s really taking a piss!

This message brought to you by the Department of Random Thoughts.

– Iszi

In the Valley of the Green Glass Doors, there are Skittles, but no rainbows.

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Women

Posted by Iszi on August 18, 2004

Greetings, Readers.

Today, I’m going to write about something a little more personal than I have in awhile. That is, personal in the degree that it does not just involve myself. Hey, this is a journal, isn’t it? So bear with me here.

Lately it seems I’ve been going through some very trying times with my wife. I know some of it, if not a majority of it, is my fault through my own laziness. But still, some of it seems to have originated elsewhere. Where, I’m not entirely sure. But if it has to deal directly with me, I don’t know how.

Before my wife and I met, I had yet to know what it really was like to be “on fire” for God, as I do know. (And am learning more each day.) Conversely, from what I’m told, she was thoroughly active in her church and in various aspects of keeping up in her relationship with God, or at the very least maintaining a Christian attitude and outward appearance. This was even reflected in the screenname she was using when I found her online. Me? Yeah, I went to church now and then. I went to various youth groups and some social outings associated with the like, but I never had that fire, and my life outside any “Christian” setting was just that of any other ordinary Joe.

Fast-forward a couple years. We moved in together down here, and occasionally went to the church I’d been going to for a year or so, as our schedules and energy levels allowed. Later on, the “schedule and energy level allowing” part seemed to happen less and less often to the point of almost never.

(If you’ve already read My Bio, first I say kudos for sitting through that whole thing. Second, a lot of the following will probably be redundant of that post, but some previously unmentioned details are included. So you may want to read or skip.)

At some point, my brother invited us to the church we are at now, ChurchInTheSon. Originally, I stayed away because “I didn’t have the time.” or “I didn’t have the energy.”. I also didn’t want my wife to go without me because I wanted us to experience it together so we could make a decision as a couple on it. At some point, my brother convinced me to stop holding my wife back, and she went and loved it. She wanted this new place to be our “home church”. Still reluctant to change, but not wanting us to be divided on this, I gave it a shot and after a time formed my own connection to the church.

Meanwhile, my wife is on fire. She’d joined the choir and a cell group as soon as she could, and went on the first Encounter she could round up funds for. During this time, I was slowly starting in the direction that put me where I am now. I started getting involved in The Living Room, helping set-up and tear-down when I could, and helping with the PowerPoint presentations that assisted in leading Praise and Worship.

At some point my brother and my wife got me to go along on an Encounter, which was when I truly felt my Spirit get fired up for possibly the first time in my life. After coming back, I got myself plugged into a cell group, and started coming to church on Sundays more consistently than I ever have since my parents’ divorce.

Meanwhile, my wife started getting a little worn down. She’d been coming to church early to be in choir for first service, then go to Post-Encounter, then to be in choir for second service, then actually sit and listen to the sermon in second service. And that was just Sundays. Mondays she came to church to meet with the cell group she was in, but she had to show up early to get me there to help set-up for TLR. From there, I would usually catch a ride out to the cell group I was (and still am) in, and she would just come home after her cell group which usually met during or shortly after (depending how fast we were) I was done helping with set-up. Then, Tuesdays, we’d show up early so I could check the PowerPoint presentation for the night, and help with any last-minute setup issues at TLR. Then she’d stay late with me so I could help tear-down. Thursdays I had nothing, but she had choir practice to go to.

So, understandably, she was starting to get a little “burnt-out” of church. She figured it would ease things up if she dropped out of choir, instead of me dropping off TLR since TLR is usually the more short-handed of the two. I was reluctant to agree to this, but it sounded reasonable enough. It also helped fix my transportation issues on Sundays. (Usually she’d have to leave the house before I’d hardly had a chance to get home from work, so I ended up having to bum rides from friends and family if I wanted to go.)

Life rolled on a bit like this. She transferred cell groups to one that was being started by another member of the one she’d been in, and met on Sunday nights. She also went on a second Encounter during this time, as did I not too long ago.

Lately, though (not quite sure exactly when it started, probably been a month or two now) it’s been like pulling teeth to get her to come to Sunday morning services. And almost as much so to get her to go to cell group meetings. While I on the other hand have stayed dead-set determined not to miss a Sunday regardless of circumstance or her own choice. This week has been prime example of that trend.

Saturday, she told me I’d likely have to find my own way to get to church. Again her excuse for having backed off was because she was “burnt out”. Sunday, she didn’t start to change her mind until she began to realize that I was dead serious about riding my bike if I had to. However, I insisted that unless she herself wanted to go to church, I wasn’t going to let her take me because I didn’t want to have to deal with having the unpleasant company of someone who didn’t want to be there in the first place, whether it be my wife or otherwise.

I ended up taking my bike. A ride that lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes (albeit it’s no stretch I’ve not done on a regular basis before) in late-summer heat ended with my arrival at a church that had no power and was running on generators just enough to have lights and speakers up. (In case you haven’t noticed, I am in central Florida, and we did just have a hurricane through here, so it’s not an uncommon condition in this area right now.) Amazingly, the church building felt refreshingly cooler than the outside, despite the lack of air-conditioning. Where others were fanning themselves from the heat, I was thanking God for the cool atmosphere.

Also while I was there, I had to deliver the message to my wife’s cell group leader that my wife may or may not be showing up that night – she was undecided. Later on, I learn that she’s actually wanting to leave that cell group and find another, after she’s already formed bonds and relationships with the women in her current cell group – the kind that shouldn’t just be broken on a whim.

Monday came then, and I had to face the prospect of finding my own transportation to set-up for TLR. This time for legitimate reasons, but the past few weeks haven’t been easy either, when there haven’t been. Fortunately, set-up was cancelled anyway since there was still no power.

Tuesday – tonight – my wife’s original plan was to just drop me off at church for TLR and leave me to find my own way home (which I’ve never had trouble finding – praise God – but still never much liked imposing either). For some reason she changed her mind and stayed anyway, even though she knew I’d connected with some other guys and was going to hang out with them afterwards and have one of them take me home, therefore rendering her presence unnecessary. (Not to say I wanted her to go home and miss service – just that I wouldn’t have needed her to drive me home after.) In any case, had she stayed with her original plan, that would have left her without any connection to church for the entire week, and still leaves the fact that she’s continuously been a hinderance to all the things I’ve been trying to do there throughout the week. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering about my cell group meeting for Monday, it’s moved to Thursdays and I’ve got a ride that’s been pre-arranged and regular for awhile anyway. Makes enough sense since my wife has no need to be in that vicinity at that time anyway, so it’s no big.)

So, things have inverted themselves here. My wife used to be the most devoted, spiritual, and otherwise outwardly Christian of the two of us, leaving me in the dust. For awhile during my recent growth period, we seemed to be nearly on the same level. Now it seems I’ve grown more, and she’s pulling away to the point that not only is it likely hindering her spiritual life, but it’s also putting a lead weight on mine.

So far, the Bible has yet to encourage me much either. There’s several examples I can clearly recall where, when a woman (typically, a spouse) gets involved with affairs between men and God, they only serve to (at least try to) screw things up, whether that be their intention or not.

The first example sadly starts with the first woman. In Genesis 3:6-7, we see Eve being the first to sin directly against God, and then inviting her husband Adam to join. Albeit the man had his own free will, he’d probably learned by that time that it’s usually not a good idea to argue with his wife. 😉 Thus began what is widely known throughout the Christian world as “the fall of man”. In this case, the influence of Adam’s wife (who allowed herself to be influenced by Satan himself) served to distance Adam (and, consequently, mankind) from God, and to get them evicted from their original residence in paradise, to a near-barren wasteland where they (and again, consequently the rest of mankind) had to work hard to make the ground produce what they needed to survive.

Another example is Job 2:1-10 where, after Job has experienced much suffering and trial, and yet is still continuing to stay faithful to God, his wife comes to tell him to (verse 9) “… Curse God and die!”. Isn’t that just the most uplifting thing your wife can say to you to help a rough time in your relationship with God? (Note: sarcasm) This is one case in which a man has the bravery to stand up to his wife and say “… ‘You are talking like a foolish woman…'”, and not listen to her advice. Had he followed her suggestion, he likely would have been far separated from God in what was once one of the greatest man-God relationships in history.

In Genesis 15, God makes a covenant with Abraham, then known as Abram, saying that he will have a son and his heirs through that son will be as numerous as the stars in the heavens. Abram’s wife, Sarah (then known as Sarai), had yet to bear him children, although they had been married for quite some time. Moving on to Chapter 16:1-5, in order to make this miracle work – in a sense – Sarai told Abram to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar. Again, looking back to my comment on Adam and Eve, Abram did have his own free will and could have very well chosen not to listen to her, but who’s going to want to argue with his wife, particularly when they make something out to appear to be a part of God’s plan? So, Abram slept with Hagar, she conceived, and then Hagar began to despise Sarai for what she had done, to the point that Sarai came back to Abram and blamed him for the whole fiasco. So, not only did his wife’s interference lead Abram to sin, but it also served to make trouble in his wife’s relationship with her servant, and his relationship with his wife.

And so now I have to deal with a wife who is constantly hindering my own connection to God and the church. In fact, this past night, she kept asking me why I don’t stay from church this week since I had been having problems sleeping well lately and was quite cantankerous upon waking to get ready for TLR. It almost came to the point where I had to yell at her and tell her “No, I’m going and I’m not going to change my mind!”.

I do love my wife and my daughter very much, and further I do know that to divorce is sin, so I do not even consider that ever an option for me to take. Yet, at the same time I wonder how much longer I can take this? What is it I’m doing wrong that I have to change to fix this? I could understand if she was just wanting to back off from going out for things that are essentially just for me (i.e.: Monday and Tuesday nights), but now that she’s backing out of Sunday services and cell group meetings on top of that, it makes me feel like it’s not just something wrong with me. It makes me wonder what is going on that she won’t tell, that’s keeping her from wanting to do these things? Probably the most bothersome of my worries is this: If I am (And I am) called to be in ministry – to preach and minister to others – how can I fulfill that calling, to the best of my abilities and God’s satisfaction, when my wife is like a dropped anchor dragging along the bottom of the sea that my ship is sailing across?

I guess it’s time to weigh anchor, but the only question is how?

My prayer tonight:

Father God, I come to You in thanks for all You have done for me in my life. I thank You for the power that is in Your Holy Spirit which You have sent to dwell within me. I thank You that You have given me such a fire to have Your will done through me as needed. As always, I can do nothing in this world that is of You without Your help, and I need that help now. Please help me to understand what is going on in my family now, Lord. Give me Your wisdom, so that I may see what is necessary to straighten things out. How can I work to build Your house, Lord, when mine is in a shambles? Help me to better hear your Holy Spirit, so that it may guide me in the re-construction of my household, that it may grow to be a better representation of Your house, to bring glory to Your name. I thank you for the fruits your Holy Spirit has planted in me, particularly that of longsuffering – patience and perseverence – that has helped me to better stay the course through these times. Help me to not be angry, or to loose that anger upon my family when the days are harsh. Please help me to open up better communication with my wife so that I may come to understand what is going on in her life that is working to try to separate her from You. Help me to have wisdom in handling whatever this is that has come against her, to bind it and cast it out of our lives and this household. This, Lord, I pray so that our relationship with each other, and with You, may be strengthened, and also that I may grow to be a better servant in Your will, to better build Your household to the glory of Your name. All this, I pray in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Corporal Punishment Defended!

Posted by Iszi on August 13, 2004

Greetings, Readers.

Like scant few these days, I was raised to fear the wrath of a good spanking when it was deserved. Never was anything harsher than my mother’s hand used, and rarely was it done when I was not fully dressed. Always it was because I had done something wrong and needed some form of immediate, effective punishment. Never did it leave a mark, or did I feel need to whine to anyone outside the family about it.

So, I constantly found myself confused when I hear about people being taken from their parents because their parents spanked them or some nonsense like that. I have always considered a reasonable amount of corporal punishment acceptable when deserved, because that’s how I was raised. And just today, I stumbled across defense for it, should any Christian need it.

See, I wasn’t raised on corporal punishment because I lived in some “redneck” home, or my parents were “old-fashioned”. And it definitely was not because they were “abusive”. It was because I was raised in a Christian home, by parents who were raised in the same. This form of discipline is in fact supported, in Proverbs 23:13-14 (NIV):

“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.”

In the NLT text, these verses are translated as:

“Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death.”

The Message translation emphasizes verse 14 even clearer:

“A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death.”



The part about this that would scare people in today’s society is that, in the most commonly used translations (KJV and NIV), these passages are referring specifically to discipline with a rod! That’s talking about smacking the child’s bottom with a long, sturdy, wooden stick! And people cringe today when we talk about just a little slap with our hand?

The bottom line of a good spanking is that it’s the quickest and most effective way to get the message across. As humans, one of our primal instincts is to avoid physical pain. Which means that we will avoid doing things that we know will cause us pain. (i.e.: Touching a hot stove.) So, if we are shown that a particular action (such as telling a lie or bullying a sibling excessively) will result in us experiencing pain (a spanking), then we will naturally not want to do it anymore.

So, rather than “abusing” our children when we spank them, the Bible says we are using physical punishment as a tool to teach them to stay away from behavior that would lead their soul to eternal death. And no one, but no one, has any right to tell me not to try to stop my kid from going to hell. As long as they are left alive and well, and no worse for the wear, the Bible explicitly tells us there’s no reason not to spank our children as a form of punishment.

Just some thoughts I figured I’d put up, in regards to this scripture I stumbled across.

– Iszi

In the Valley of the Green Glass Doors, there is sleeping but no beds.

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People Say The Darndest Things

Posted by Iszi on August 11, 2004

Greetings, Readers.

Nothing big here. Just something that struck me funny that I thought I’d share. While playing Shattered Galaxy tonight, someone said something rather peculiar, and yet interesting to consider, in the chat box. I don’t know what conversation I walked into the middle of, but here’s the quote anyway:

“It’s like a koala bear crapped a rainbow on my brain.”

I’m not kidding, those were the exact words.

– Iszi

In the Valley of the Green Glass Doors, there are balloons, but there is no air.

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God is Just AWESOME!

Posted by Iszi on August 11, 2004

Hallelujah, Readers!

This has just been an awesome night for me tonight. Of course, this was a Tuesday night, so I was at The Living Room not long ago. The really awesome part about it is who came to TLR tonight.

It’s this regular customer I have at work that I’ve been trying to get to come. His life right now is a total mess, and he needs to get it straightened out, but he has been very reluctant to accept any help in steering in the right direction. I’ve invited him several times before; every time he’s said he’d come, and every time he’d stood me up. This week, however, he came to me (mentioned it first) about TLR one night at work, and said he’d come along with his girlfriend and her sister. The time for TLR to start came, and he wasn’t there yet, so I kinda freaked out for a bit. Got a hold of him and found out he was just running behind. He stayed for the latter half of praise and worship, and about the first third of the sermon before he had to leave to take his girlfriend home, but he said he’d try to come again. No one, myself sometimes included, ever seriously expected him to walk through the door of that church no matter what he said. So, for me, finally seeing him there tonight, and hearing him say he’ll come again was just totally awesome. Praise God!

Gah… You ever have a fire lit up in you, and right in the middle of your burning it, someone tells you something or something happens that totally kills it, and you can’t get it back up? A friend of mine, who has not even been married to her husband for two years yet, told me about 2 minutes ago that she’s getting a divorce. I can only pray that God helps her through this, and that she knows she can seek forgiveness through Jesus Christ in the end.

Now, however, I am left with a lost fire. I might tap up something more later on on to post, but this is it for this one.

– Iszi

In the Valley of the Green Glass Doors, there is marriage but no divorce.

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The Valley of the Green Glass Doors

Posted by Iszi on August 10, 2004

I now introduce The Valley of the Green Glass Doors to this blog. For the uninitiated (who would be otherwise horribly confused), this is pretty much a word game. In this hypothetical “Valley”, all things exist which have double letters in their names. Such as pizzas, or frisbees, trees, pools, and yellow. Nothing exists in the Valley that does not have a double letter in its name, like onions, or throwing, leaves, water, blue. So, what you do is you take something that does exist in the Valley, and something that does not, and put them into a comparison sentence. Like so:

In the Valley of the Green Glass Doors…

…there is pizza, but no onions.

…there are frisbees, but no throwing.

…there are trees, but no leaves.

…there are pools, but no water.

…there is yellow, but no blue.

I’m thinking for the sake of entertainment, I might just start adding a Valley of the Green Glass Doors entry to the end of my posts from hereon out.

– Iszi

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How Do They Do It?

Posted by Iszi on August 5, 2004

Greetings, Readers.

I came home from work today rather weary, as usual, and contemplated posting something up here, although I didn’t quite know what yet. Although the past few days have not been uneventful, it’s really not been much worth reporting either. Primary reason I hadn’t posted Tuesday or Wednesday morning was because I came home from work and went straight to the crash-zone, since I’d had to work the previous night on both those days. Monday and Tuesday nights are usually reserved off so I can go to cell group (Mondays) and TLR (Tuesdays), and not have to worry about feeling too burnt-out at work from having woken up several hours earlier than usual. But, to get the days off I needed for last weekend’s Men’s Encounter, I had to work Monday and Tuesday nights this week. So, it was definitely crash-time after work on those nights.

So, instead of posting, I went and browsed some of the Webcomics and other Blogs I keep track of, then went off and put a few levels on my units in Shattered Galaxy. Then, a thought came to me that I figured, for some reason, I should post.

How do they do it?

I mean, the guys that put out those Webcomics I read every day. How do they do it? How do they keep up with work, family, social life, and their webcomics all at the same time? And they don’t just do this one or two days a week, most of them do it close to every day of the week! UserFriendly updates 7 days/week, LeastICouldDo 6/week, and Real Life 5/wk. And most of them have forums and blogs on their websites, too! So not only are they having to plan, draw, and publish their comics every day, but they’re also having to keep up a reasonably regular posting schedule in their blogs and forums (which, I know from experience, keeping up with a whole forum at once can be a massive task), and on top of that, try to keep up with the (likely) massive influx of e-mails they must receive every day from their readers alone, not to mention family and friends.

So, my question is, “How do they do it?” and, more importantly “How can I do it?”.

That’s all for now.

– Iszi

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Wow… Long Time!

Posted by Iszi on August 2, 2004

Greetings, Readers.

Geez, has it already been two weeks since my last post? Somewhere close thereof at least. I guess that’s what happens when Satan very expressly tells you that he’s not happy with the direction you’re turning in. Well, Satan, here’s some news for you: You’re just gonna have to deal with it and go mess with someone else. Jacob is tired of putting up with your crap, so now you have to deal with Israel!

For those who don’t pay attention to my calendar (wait… I have one? No, I don’t. Maybe I should get one…), I just came back from a Men’s Encounter on Sunday. Since I had recently discovered the great plans God has for me, I went to the Encounter asking Him to show me what I will need to do to live up to these plans, and where to go from here to head in that direction. What I ended up realizing is that I haven’t truly given God first priority in my life. A large part of that has its root in the flesh-vs.-Spirit battle that I’ve been talking about now and then.

Part of the reason I haven’t posted in awhile is because I’ve just been getting too worn out at work lately. Whenever I come home, my flesh has just been telling me “Okay, it’s time to just chill until bedtime.”. While writing this blog, and reading the Bible and praying can be (and is) quite relaxing and “chilling” for the body and mind, that’s not what my flesh (and, of course, Satan) wanted me to do. So, instead I would come on and log on to one of my favorite games (See Links section to left.) until my body said it was time for bed. Then later on, get up for work and do it again. Through this behaviour pattern, I allowed myself to be distracted from God, and remained stagnant in my walk with Him, although my Spirit has so much longed to grow stronger, so that I would be able to do the things He wants me to do in my life.

Eventually, I began to recognize this as an attack from the Devil. See, one of the grounds that he uses to intrude upon our lives is called the Battlefield of the Mind. In this instance, his attack was for the purpose of distraction and delay. Satan knew I had received my calling to service from God, and Satan knew that I wanted to find out what God wanted me to do to work towards the fulfillment of His calling on my life, and so Satan wanted to distract and delay me as much as possible so that it would be longer before I would actually come to do God’s work, if I should ever overcome that distraction to begin with. For a time, I let this just slide. Don’t know why. Maybe in my flesh I just didn’t much care, and I wasn’t letting my Spirit take enough control to work otherwise.

Such is the Christian life, it seems: A constant battle of human flesh vs. God’s Spirit. One thing I always have said on this: God’s greatest gift and curse to humankind, rolled into one, has been free will. He’ll put the path before us that he wants us to walk, tell us that he wants us to walk in it, but we must choose every time to do so. He’s not going to force us, and He’s not going to stop us if we choose otherwise.

So now that I know that it has been the Devil trying to distract me from God’s will in my life, and I know what’s in the Devil’s tackle-box, I know how to better listen to my Spirit and focus more on God as my top priority, so that I can walk in the paths He wants me to walk in.

A Biblical expression of the choice we are given to make through the free will given to us by God, can be seen in Psalm 119:32, in which the Psalmist says: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” In this, he is expressing that because God was the one that set his heart free (gave him free will), he will walk in the paths God has for him, instead of choosing otherwise.

So, now is the time for me to get my priorities straight. I know I need to start putting God first in my life, in my schedule, in my mind. Then, focus on the family. Everything else can come after that. Only when I give myself completely over to God’s will and service, can He lead me to fulfill the calling that He has put on my life.

– Iszi

Song of the Moment: Scott Krippayne – I’m Not Cool

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