Blog #8: I am NOT alone.

Come close to God, and He will come close to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners, and clear your minds, you doubters.‘ -James 4:8

I’m going to throw caution to the wind and attempt to bare my soul a bit here. It’s VERY difficult to do (be vulnerable, that is) so please bear with me and try not to judge (cuz let’s be honest here… most things we recognize & judge others for… we are guilty of, ourselves, in one form or another).

I love God and have a desire to please Him… but my creeping desire to please myself seems to get the better of me (more often than I’d like to admit). This especially comes into play during my quest to squash the loneliness when it begins to ensnare my wandering heart. My amnesia kicks in… causing me to forget where my true joy and satisfaction comes from (God)… and I start believing the lies that lead me into temptation… like it’s ok to yield to a few glasses of 80 proof inhibition killer that causes me to throw my relationship with God into reverse, as I go on the prowl for my Eve of destruction. Even more disheartening is the idea that I would fall into or seek out relationships that I know God has not ordained either because the motives/intentions by one or both of us are self-gratifying… and/or our union does not produce the healthy fruit that glorifies God by making HIS will the focus of our short journey here on earth. Or maybe my spiritual wellbeing is in the red and I still have some more self-healing to undergo before I can be the ‘right person’ for my ‘right person’. Yeah. I’m pretty sure all these things are true.

Fortunately, my self-inflicting (80 proof) torturous plans rarely come close to fruition anymore these days because I’ve allowed God to carve enough of a home inside of me where His Spirit resides and rests at a low ready position to lay a holy smackdown on my bad fruit picking/producing fleshly self. God, I love you for that (and so much more). And in regards to the relationship side of things… I’ve learned some valuable lessons and gotten to know myself more through the mirror of getting to know others (the most recent of which is one of the most beautiful souls I know).

The only reason I stand a fighting chance against my own self-defeating thoughts and behaviors is because I made the choice a long time ago to believe God when He told me He loved me (He still does everyday)… and when is Son, Jesus, told me He loved me when He went to the cross in MY place. There IS NO GREATER LOVE than what He showed/did for us on that day. The least I could do is love Him back by treating those He loves with love and respect… starting with myself. He didn’t save me just so I could spend my waking hours searching out ways to satisfy my own insatiable desires. He saved me so I can turn myself and others towards HIM and His COMPLETELY satisfying love and acceptance only HE can offer. You can search high and low… far and wide… lift every rock and idol… but it will ALWAYS end up leading you to the same place: EMPTY.

LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future.‘ -Psalm 16:5

Be blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

-Jer

Blog #7: In Flaw of God’s Creation

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” -Matthew 7:3

So, I’m up in NY visiting fam and this is the view this morning off my aunt’s backporch. Beautiful, right? Even with the trees bare and the pool frozen… it’s still a sight to behold. Ya know… views like this are sort of like people: all the elements that make them up aren’t perfect… but we love and appreciate them anyway.

We, like the trees, go through seasons. Sometimes, we have to be stripped of all our ‘dressings’ to reveal our naked truths. And when that (which could seem like forever) long season of cold vulnerability calls a wrap on itself… a fresh new garment of life appears. Here’s the thing, though… If the old leaves are never shed, the new ones will have no room to emerge. The old leaves hang on… clinging to a season that has already run its course… whereby leaving the onlookers wondering where the new leaves are.

Change is inevitable. Either WE change.. or the people in our lives change the way they connect (or disconnect) with/from us. God created us to love and interact with each other. It. Can. Be. Hard. We are quick to judge others… be it family, kids, significant other… Instead, how about we flip the script and investigate what it is in THAT person that’s showing/reminding you of what YOU need to change? Because when you’re busy working on fixin yourself… that thing you saw in the other person, strangely enough, seems to shrink…whereby removing the barriers, making it easier to love on them. And the cool part is… that when the fullness of summer hits… that lush greenery reappears, reminding us of the beauty that God has created in, through and around us. And once love has melted the ice… we can all enjoy a nice swim together ๐Ÿ™‚

With love & not judgement,

-Jer

Blog #6: Cluttered Popcorn

I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as cunning as snakes but as innocent as doves.” -Matthew 10:16

So, my boys and I have this tradition of Friday nights being ‘movie night’… where we either pick up or I make dinner and we run down our list of choices on Netflix or Prime. And EVERY week it’s the same argument… WHO GETS TO PICK THE MOVIE. ‘You got to pick last week.’ ‘No, YOU did.’ And I interject with, ‘How about you guys both pick… and then I’ll decide which one we go with.’ You may be thinking to yourself, ‘Well, that’s not fair, because then you’re showing favoritism.’ And my response to you would be, ‘To an 8 and 10 year old it may not seem fair… but to their future 18 and 20 year old selves… it’s a valuable life lesson put into play.’

(A lot of) people, these days, seem to have this sense of entitlement that leads them to believe that just because they were born, they deserve to have things given to them. In a sense, they’re right. As Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We are ALL endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights’. Those rights, however, don’t always include us getting WHAT we want, WHEN we want it and HOW we want to get it. Just imagine if EVERYBODY in the world got THEIR way at the same time. Hard to imagine, right? That’s because it’s IMPOSSIBLE. Even if I lived all by myself on an island… there would still be limitations imposed that would prevent me from always getting MY way. I would, of course, want/need to stay hydrated and fed… but lack of food and clean drinking water (which I’d like to think I was entitled to) may force me to (wait for it…) COMPROMISE and ADAPT to my current situation. Unfortunately, the world is so full of voices (merchandising advertisers being at the top of the heap) telling us from the time we are born, ‘You DESERVE to have this’… or you might recognize this one.. ‘You deserve a break today’… (promoting, through a catchy jingle, a low cost alternative to nutritious ACTUAL food, but I digress) It’s so hard for kids (and many ‘blinds half closed’ adults) to see through the barrage of ill-intentioned, self-fulfilling ideologies that stretch the bellies of ‘big business’, while raiding the physical and spiritual pantries of the common (wo)man, as if they were livestock fighting for their place in the shearing (or, worse yet, slaughter) line.

With all that being said…

I want my boys to see through all the nonsense the world creates… and experience an ‘Adoption of Adaptation’. While the real movie called ‘Life’ is playing, I don’t want them eating ‘cluttered popcorn’ full of chemicals and artificial flavors that trick their tastebuds into thinking it’s good just because it looks/feels/tastes good. Because, eventually, it (along with the other fake things being shaken onto us) will lead to both heart AND belly aches that always piggyback on regret.

Lesson here – while we may not always get to pick the movie… we can always choose to compromise and enjoy popcorn with this round’s winner.

Happy watching ๐Ÿ˜

-Jer

P.S. – Dont forget the butter (organic grass fed non-GMO, of course) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blog #5: Keepin’ It Real (for real)

All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.

– Ecclesiastes 1:8 NIV

It has been guesstimated that there are around 500,000 feature length movies, countless television shows (almost 500 in 2017 alone) and more than 63,000 video games in existence. I’m going be silent for a moment to allow these #’s to sink in………

Ok, I’m back. Now that the shock has been fully realized… I have one question: WHY IN THE WORLD DO WE NEED THIS MUCH ENTERTAINMENT??

Don’t get it twisted. I’m not harping on the idea of entertainment. I love me a good epic flick or day-long Netflix binge. It’s good to be distracted sometimes from the weariness this world has to offer, BUT… there has to be a line drawn in the sand to keep the technological riptide from sucking us out to the digital sea of no return.

At what point do we divert our ears & eyes from the make-believe and fix their focus on the real? Instead of 12 episodes of love triangles and ruthless death squads… how about we brush our God sculpted hands across a clear blue sky and drag our carefully crafted feet through a tuft of lush green grass? How about we take it a step further and make a new friend: a living, breathing REAL friend that isn’t equipped with an ON/OFF switch? And after making that friend… maybe we can get a little crazy and be an encouragement to them… be the hands that God uses to administer a soul suture to an area of desperate brokenness they have been hiding for years behind a wall of jokes and sarcasm.

It IS possible, ya know… to live an unscripted life filled with real words and influential actions that would make your life and the lives of those around you a more fulfilling and enriched experience. Go ahead, I dare you… I dare you to put down the remote and pick up an oar and start paddling through the living waters that God has so generously provided for you to glide your gifted life through. Ya never know… you might actually discover a whole new level of joy ๐Ÿ™‚

With Godly love,

Jer

Blog #4: Scared, But Not Eaten

It was after 10 at night and my friend’s Mini Cooper couldn’t make it any further up the dirt road full of ever-widening potholes. The time had come for me to step out of the vehicle, throw on my backpack and trek into the darkness with nothing but an LED headlamp to light my way. It was a surreal moment. Was I really walking up a dirt road in the Georgia mountains looking for the start of a trail that leads into the dark woods only to look for a flat space between the trees to set up camp… at almost 12 midnight… by myself?? Why yes – yes, I was.
It was a defining moment of faith for me. Do I walk and spend the night in fear of who or what could ‘get me’? Or do I trust that God’s got my back and will guide my every step and keep the boogeyman at bay? I like God’s Word Translation of Joshua 1:9 that states, “I have commanded you, ‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.'” I did choose to trust in God, however… that’s not to say I didn’t have a ‘moment’ in the woods.
After slipping off my backpack, I made a quick scan of my surroundings. No bears. Cool. I start setting up my tent and make another sweep of the area with my headlamp. Oh crap – I see something. Two glowing dots next to a tree about 25 yards away. Panic mode begins to set in. I reach for my modes of self-defense in preparation of whatever may come my way. I look again, only to see they have not budged an inch. I decide to continue setting up the tent, since running was not an option (bears can run at least twice our speed). Every time I looked back over… the glowing dots had not moved. Suddenly, I see the ember of a cigarette go flying and realize it was just a fellow human being and the glowing dots were reflectors on his tent. Whew! Who needs coffee when you have scares jump-starting your heart like that? Zoinks, Scoob! So, I finished setting up my tent, hung my bear bag (which keeps them from moseying into my tent searching for a midnight snack) and hit the proverbial (and almost literal) hay. I wasn’t shot, stabbed or eaten. So far, it was a good trip ๐Ÿ™‚
A thought for us all to ponder: How many times does our anxiety level peak over things that don’t even exist? Don’t get me wrong… there very well could’ve been a bear stalking me that night in the woods… but what about that conversation you might’ve had with a friend or coworker yesterday in which they responded with silence? Before you know it, you have this grand elaborate scheme of a story manifested in your mind of how much they hate you and are judging you right now… when they simply could’ve just been preoccupied with a situation they have going on with their kid or significant other. The names and circumstances may be different in your story, but the same lies very well could be manifesting in your mind. It really all just comes down to choice: You can choose to believe the made-up stories… Or you can tell your mind to shut its trap and have faith that things really aren’t all that bad.

Choose wisely ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you’re having an awesome day and took at least one step in the right direction ๐Ÿ™‚
-(NOT bear-bait) Jer

Blog #3: Goats & Guns

He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelitesโ€”all their sinsโ€”and put them on the goatโ€™s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

– Leviticus 16:21-22

This is where we get the term ‘scapegoat’ from, which dictionary dot com defines as, ‘a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place‘.

Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do? It’s frustrating, right? It’s not fair. Not only do you feel undeserving of the blame, but the person dishing it out is also missing out on the opportunity to learn and grow… IF… they would only choose to take responsibility for their own wrong thoughts or misdeeds, instead of engaging in a game of ‘hot potato blame’.

When bad things happen… people with good intentions want to ‘make things right’ by trying to prevent these things from happening again in the future. This is a wonderful and commendable trait to have… IF… it is employed correctly.

Sin is a very deep and complicated topic that NO man can or ever will fully understand while in this present life. God designed it this way so that we would not be overly enticed to try and ‘lick it’ (anymore than some of us currently are trying or have already tried to do). SIN CAN NOT BE PERMANENTLY BEATEN BY A MERE MORTAL ON HIS OWN MERIT. In fact… it goes so deep… I’ve heard from a reputable source that anyone who willingly travels that path and is taken from this life while on that path… ends up in a place called HELL. Scary, I know.

So… back to the scapegoat thing and the title of this blog. Here’s the million-dollar question of the day: Is it possible that guns are the modern day version of the Old Testament goat? Is it possible that the depravity of man that has been growing ever increasingly more wicked due to the ‘politically correct – doing what feels good – I’m the boss of my own life – nevermind what the Creator of the universe says is good and right’ way of choosing to live life has gotten us into this mess? Is it possible that the blame could rest on a warped and desensitized reality caused in part by violent movie watching and videogame playing, psychotropic drug popping, God rejecting choices people have willingly allowed to take over their minds and wills?

Do we really need to start creating all sorts of regulations and bans of guns and their counterparts (simply tools of which the misuse of.. is a sympton of a much larger problem)… only to eventually discover that it will end up as a failed social experimental attempt at ‘trying to stop sin’? My friends… listen… SIN CANNOT BE STOPPED. Just as sending a goat with all of the sins of the Israelites ceremonially attached to it will not stop them from sinning… taking away people’s guns will not stop bad men from obtaining guns (illegally) or other weapons of mass destruction (explosives, vehicles, airplanes, etc..) from killing others. It (sin), however, can be ruled over…

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law (which is impossible to follow to a T), but under (God’s) grace (which creates a desire in you to do good).

-Romans 6:14 (emphasis added)

So, instead of trying to lay our hands of blame on an inanimate object and sending it away to ‘no man’s land’… whereby, hoping to ‘abolish evil’… how about, instead, we lay our hands on the book that contains the TRUE WAY to battle this evil. The book that has outsold all other books that have ever been written. The one book that has never failed in its teachings (as long as they are followed correctly). The book often referred to as the instruction manual to life… THE BIBLE.

Instead of trying to battle evil by forcing law-abiding citizens to put down their guns… how about we encourage lost and confused people to pick up a Bible? And yes… there is a great possibility it would cause them to break and kill… to break down the barriers that cause hate… and kill any lies that cause us to believe we are not loved with an all-encompassing love from a God who created us to be with Him for eternity.

I love you. GOD loves you. Now go love others.

God bless you guys.

Blog #2: Where Are You Setting Your Coffee?

‘Wait a minute’, you say. ‘I thought this post was supposed to be about how to be in God’s will??’ Be still, my friend, and allow me to incorporate coffee into this journey. #itsthesmallthings… So, the question I pose to you is, ‘Where are you setting your coffee?’ Is it in front of the television while you’re taking in the world’s (bad) news updates? Or maybe across from a friend while you guys discuss in a judgemental, SMH kind of way how another friend is making poor choices? Or, perhaps, it’s possible you’re just resting it on a patio table while you listen to the birds tweet their tunes as the sun warms your face? That sounds kind of nice, actually ๐Ÿ™‚ But, here’s the real question… Are any of these coffee drop spots bringing you closer to God? Yes, the patio spot could… as long as it’s intentional. Pastor James McDonald’s says, ‘Peace is not primarily about feelings, but about the cooperation of Truth and action.’ If you want to be in God’s will and have peace in your life… YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO HIM. One of the best ways to do this is by getting into His word: aka – the Bible. Hold up… what was that? Did I just hear your mind murmur, ‘But it’s so hard.’ You need to tell your mind to shut its pie hole and quit being a wuss. Being a roofer in the middle of a Florida summer is hard. Sending your kids to bed on an empty stomach because you live in the middle of a desert in a third world country where there is no food… is hard. You most likely don’t want to read the Bible because there are too many things in your life that are distracting you from doing what you know deep down in your soul is the good and right thing for you to do. God’s word is like a guide (or instruction manual) to life. Psalm 119:105 states, ‘Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’ Maybe it’s because you’re walking in some pretty dark places that you don’t want the light to penetrate? Oh, my bad… did I just hit home on something? I’m actually preaching to myself right now with the hopes that somebody else might be listening. Look… We ALL have junk in our lives and we ALL make ‘less than desirable’ (sinful) choices every day. We may not be plotting murder, but we’ve gotten really good at pretending we’re busy scanning emails behind our glassed-in social barrier vehicles at the stoplight, as the ‘Please Help… Hungry… God Bless’ sign is dangled in front of us by a thin string of shame and near hopelessness. When you get a chance, take a look at Matthew 25:42-45 referring to how we treat ‘the least of these’. Listen, I’m not trying to make you feel bad here. I just want us to be awakened to what really matters in life. Are you striving for a life of comfort? Or are you seeking out ways to show love to and help others? THAT, my friend, is a REALLY good indicator as to whose will you ARE following. I’m off now to examine my own motives. I hope I’ve inspired you to do the same. Feel free to sign up for email updates and share a comment below. I’d love to dialogue with you about ideas of how to make this happen ๐Ÿ™‚

God Bless!

-Jerminsky

‘Seek peace and pursue it.’ -Psalm 34:14

Blog #1: Being Outside of God’s Will Sucks

I’d like to start off by saying that if you’re one of those ‘religious types’ and are offended by the title, there’s a good chance you will be offended by a lot of what I have to say. So, now might be a good time for you to stop reading and move on to the next person’s blog page. As for the title and what it means: There are those moments in life when you’re going along with the status quo that is your current geographical location with the places you’re going, the things you’re doing and who it is you’re going to those places and doing those things with… and one day you open your eyes and say, ‘Whoa! I’m out of God’s will.’ You may ask, ‘How will I know if I’m out of God’s will?’ And I’ll answer, ‘You’ll just know.’ One of the sure signs of being out of God’s will is that you won’t have any peace. You’ll be second-guessing yourself with your choices and then be unsure of the choices you DO make… which eventually translates to confusion. 1st Corinthians 14:33 states, ‘For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.’ And the more you try to figure things out on your own (without God’s help), the more lost you will get until frustration and anger sets in… and then pray it doesn’t get to the point of resentment. I don’t know about you, but I’ve screwed up a lot of things in my life: how I’ve treated family and friends, relationships, finances, my relationship with God… all because of poor choices stemming from being out of the will of God. But, there’s good news! There’s a way to keep from screwing up (mostly, anyhow) and we are going to discover that together in my next blog. So go ahead and sign up for e-mail updates so I can spam the snot out of you – JUST KIDDING! (you will NOT be spammed) See you next time ๐Ÿ™‚

Your dude friend,

Jerminsky

‘Seek peace and pursue it.’

-Psalm 34:14