Category Archives: self-worth

The Benefit of Darkness

Some people will insist that a Christian should never go through a dark time in his life. The idea is that “joy unspeakable” should empower a perpetual smile even in the middle of imminent doom.

What’s more, it’s the people in the Church who most often criticize the discouraged and depressed, treating them like whatever is bothering them could not be bad enough to challenge their faith, that is, if their faith was genuine.

It doesn’t help, either, when the rest of the world’s problems are weighed in the balance with ours. It’s like, “There are people being burned alive for their faith and you’re having a spiritual identity crisis?” It’s no different than saying, “If you think YOUR pain is bad, you should feel MINE.”

There’s songs and sermons galore about persevering through the storms of life and coming out stronger on the other side. There’s even much talk about joy in the midst of sorrow, about peace in the midst of spiritual attack. But what I don’t think I’ve ever heard is a recognition of the value or benefits of the “dark” times we may experience.

When I say I’m in “a dark place,” what does that mean? For different people it can mean different things, of course, but what do you typically think about? What do you associate with dark places?

I’ll tell you what I’ve seen in the dark places: anger, regret, sorrow, resentment, bitterness, resignation, self-doubt, self-hate, weariness, loneliness, helplessness, worthlessness, and a “deaf heaven” and “bootless cries” (to borrow from Shakespeare). It’s probably not necessary to tell you of the thoughts that accompany such darkness.

So how could there be any benefit to such darkness, such despair? How could there be any value to such moments? Well, I’ve wondered that, myself. Yet is our God not sovereign? If truly redeemed, am I ever out of His hand?

There exist rare and refined elements which offer solutions to problems yet to be discovered. In other words, there are things that, until they were discovered, we didn’t even know we had a need for them. Sometimes these things are discovered in the remains of previous failures.

I have come to believe that the strongest faith is produced in the dark, when all appears lost, when all efforts have failed, and when there’s nothing solid left on which to stand. Faith is then the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

The strongest faith can only be found, not in just weakness, but when there’s no strength at all.

When I’ve messed up so much and so many times that I’ve not even a single seed to plant in a dry field with no rain in sight, faith is the evidence of the crop to come.

The benefit of darkness is the failure of myself and the hope of Him who will not let me go.

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Filed under Depression, Faith, self-worth, Struggles and Trials

Would Someone Help Me Understand?

Lately something has been on my mind. It’s not something that’s openly in the news or often talked about, yet it’s everywhere you look, if you’re looking.

Please don’t get offended or triggered by what I’m about to ask, just help me with it. Call me ignorant, if you’d like, but ignorance is only a lack of information or understanding, and there is nothing wrong with that – unless it’s willful.

Here’s the question:

Why is transitioning to look like the stereotypical appearance of the gender to which you’re transitioning not an affirmation of the very stereotypes with which you disagree?

    You see, I’ve been around long enough to remember life before yesterday, even before Obama. In a not-too-distant past Barbie was condemned for her looks because she seemed to exhibit what culture deemed “feminine.”

    I can remember when the supposed male-dominated culture’s idea of female looks included long hair, makeup, dresses, high heels, extended lashes, bras, silk stockings, and a certain sway of the hips when walking. If all done right and in the correct proportions, a man could look at that package and say, “Man! What a woman!”

    Oh, but then came the biker chicks, the tomboys, and all the “butch” females who railed against the stereotype. Looking “female” was about being whatever you felt and not limited to what culture expected. Girls didn’t have to wear dresses and makeup; they could have short hair, wear wife-beater shirts, and still prefer the opposite sex.

    Yet, what do we see today? Biological males who claim to female that can only be satisfied if they change their appearance into the epitome of the stereotype to which actual women of the past rebelled!

    Why can’t a man who wants to be a woman still be a woman yet look like a man? Why can’t a woman who wants to be a man retain her feminine appearance while assuming all the roles of the male of the species? Why does transitioning necessitate the changing of appearance when appearance is only supposed to be skin deep?

    Seriously, help me understand, because I really don’t get it.

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    Filed under Culture Wars, General Observations, self-worth

    Is It Really a Matter of Gun Accessibility?

    President Joe Biden said today that he was “deeply disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The ruling struck down New York citizens from having to provide proof of need to have a concealed carry permit. As usual, he believes that this will only lead to more gun violence and death.

    Biden believes that there should be less accessibility to firearms, not more. He is calling for all “Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line.” Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) of New York is said to have stated that the 2nd Amendment was written when all we Americans had were muskets, and that she is prepared to go back to muskets.

    But is the accessibility to and the availability of firearms in America the reason for recent violence? Will stopping a New Yorker from carrying a 9mm pistol under his stop the next teen in black from illegally obtaining an AR-15? Will changing laws that allow law-abiding citizens to carry legally obtained weapons convince the average criminal to lay down his? Of course not.

    I would say that it’s not the availability and accessibility that’s the problem; it’s what’s causing people to use them in ways they never did 40 years ago.

    If you were to remove all the guns from America overnight, you would still have people who are bent on killing as many others as possible. And when they do, they will become stars overnight.

    As I was thinking about this today, I began thinking back to the 90’s when all this really started. What caused that shooting at Columbine? What have been the common denominators between nearly all mass shooters? Was it simply the fact that they were able to get their hands on a weapon?

    What I see as common factors are depression, isolation, feelings of futility, low self-worth, bitterness and hate toward the innocent. Where is all this coming from? Are guns making people this way?

    No. But when you remove intrinsic and objective reality and truth from souls in search of meaning, acceptance, and genuine love, what you get is a dark, hateful void where honor, duty, responsibility, and love used to be.

    When America was a nation with a collective vision and understanding of right and wrong based on moral absolutes, mass shootings were unthinkable. But now we are rearing generation after generation without offering objective truth while also promoting a technological culture in which the individual becomes the center of his own universe. In this universe, the other people are only in the way.

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    Filed under America, self-worth

    When Less is More (becoming less white)

    When it Bubbles it Foams

    Who doesn’t love a good, cold Coca-Cola (or as we say down here in the South – where it was invented – Coke), especially on a hot day beside the pool, after some yard work, or a good workout at the gym? Wow, not that many hands, I see. Hmm.

    OK, I get it, Coke is a fun addition to a meal, especially in a big foam cup from a Sonic Drive-In, but it’s not the most thirst-quenching beverage, nor the most healthy. Yet, it’s a multi-billion-dollar powerhouse. And when it comes to their brand image, I’m sure heads could roll if some petty little inconsequential white employee was allowed to make a fool of the execs in Atlanta.

    So, when a story began to bubble up about employee training that included a slide presentation suggesting we all be “less white,” the media and the company began to foam, and for different reasons entirely.

    You Want Me to be LESS White?

    Now, when I Googled the story about the training in question, the first thing that popped up was a Snope’s article decrying the “opponents of critical race theory and diversity training” claiming they had “no real evidence.” Typical.

    A screengrab from Snopes.com

    However, the non-evidence produced by Karlyn Borysenko (or as Snopes describes her, “a prominent online opponent of critical race theory and many aspects of corporate diversity training“), that of a leaked photo of the slides, clearly confirms what she has reported. And what is that, exactly?

    We should all try be be “less white.”

    If Less, then More

    I am going to skip ahead and pass over the opportunity to discuss the reasons why every person of less pigment should be grossly offended by the obvious inferences. Yes, I am going to choose to tone back the offended victim feelings and look at this from a different perspective.

    I’m not that great in math, but let me propose an analogy. Let’s just say we have 100 dollars in hand (which would be nice, wouldn’t it?). How much money would you have in your hand if I reached out and took 99? You’d only have $1 in hand, correct?

    Now, what if I had $100 in my hand and kindly, graciously, and typical of WAPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) gave your friend Scratchy $10 when he asked for money to get gas to see his dying grandmother? I would have “less” than $100, wouldn’t I? I would only have $90, but it would be far more than your pitiful, lonely dollar bill, correct?

    Both of us would have less, but my “less” would be more than your “less” by far.

    Considering the inferences are legit, and if I’m not any of the the negative stereotypes suggested in the leaked slides, then I need to have some of those qualities in order to have LESS of them.

    Creating a Monster!

    So, I need to be “less” than what I’m not. Therefore, I need to become a total monster of a jerk (I’m avoiding using other descriptors for the sake of propriety) in order to find room to lessen my “whiteness.”

    First, I need to become oppressive. How do I do that? Slavery has been outlawed, so I don’t have anyone to beat with a whip (I need to get a whip). I don’t have enough money nor manpower to take over anyone else’s property, so I don’t know how I can force them to dig up the gold in their back yard. I’ll have to think about this one.

    Second, I need to become supremely arrogant. OK, that I can do. I mean, I am smarter than those who don’t look like me. The only reason I’m not a wonderful, godly scientist like George Washington Carver; a legal brain like Justice Clarence Thomas; a political genius like Dr. Thomas Sowell; or a musician like B. B. King, is because I have all my servants do my work and study for me. I guess I could do more for myself.

    Third, I need to become certain that everything I do and believe is right. I need to be absolutely certain that my way of worship is better than others’. I need to be really confident in all my decisions regarding finances, marriage, family, ministry, etc. That way all I will need to do in order to qualify as “less white” is doubt myself every once in a while.

    Next, I need to become defensive and get offended at every time someone accuses me of something just because of the color (or lack thereof) of my skin. Then, who knows? Maybe I’ll write a humorous and slightly sarcastic article, yell at the dog for looking at me funny, or join up with some group who wears black, lifts their fists, and wants to be paid for their great great great great grandfather’s troubles. Then all I’ll have to do is tune it down a little and be loved by all!

    The fiph ting I need tuh do is come more da ignorunt. Penceforth i’d b’n upin my noledge wid edumacation. Buh now I gotta go in da re … re … reversssss … reversal, yeah, that’s it! and become stoopid sow I kan be less stupider. Oh, wait, were they simply suggesting that I become more informed? Well, duh, wen u ignorant ju eggspect?

    The last two things, well, that’s a different story. I don’t have to become more prideful to become more humble; I’m always too prideful, and that has nothing to do with whether I’m white or not. It’s always a struggle to be humble in all things. Unfortunately, God has a way of breaking down our pride.

    And when it comes to listening, if I hadn’t been listening, I wouldn’t be writing this, today. If I had not been listening, I would not have become indignant with the insinuations that people of my color are horrible people by nature. If I had NOT been listening, I would have never noticed how a training like the one at Coca-Cola is as racist as anything from the KKK.

    I tell you what, how about we all pass on the Coke, drink Perrier, and continue to treat people based on the “content of their heart, not the color of their skin”?

    Nothing less.

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    Filed under Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, politics, self-worth

    You Might Be a Sinner If…

    (L-R) My paternal great grandfather and grandfather.


    I’m a Redneck

    Yes, I confess. I am a redneck, especially considering how burned my neck is after standing out in the sun for five+ hours. Which leads me to ask a question of myself…why do I never remember sun screen unless I go to a beach?

    And I also know that I am a redneck because Jeff Foxworthy told me so. If you remember, Foxworthy’s comic routine made famous the line, “You might be a redneck.” Here are some that I know have applied to me at least once over the 50-plus years of my life.

    You might be a redneck if…

    • You read the Auto Trader with a highlight pen.
    • Every socket in your house breaks a fire code.
    • The taillight covers of your car are made of red tape.
    • Directions to your house include “Turn off the  paved road.”
    • Going to the bathroom at night involves shoes and a  flashlight.
    • You use the term `over yonder’ more than once a month.

    I’m a Sinner

    Unlike a whole lot of people in this world (and in a world of their own), I can admit that I am a sinner. The only difference is that once I confessed my inability to change my nature, I traded my “filthy rags” for the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9). Now, I’m still a sinner, but I’m am a saved sinner.

    So, based on the actions of Adam and Eve in the third chapter of Genesis, I took a cue from Jeff Foxworthy and came up with my own list of “you might be’s.” From that list I preached a message entitled “You Might Be a Sinner If…

    You might be a sinner if…

    •   You have ever talked to a Serpent – and taken its advice (v. 2).
    •   You know the difference between “Naked” and “Necked” (v. 7). Side Note: If you consider fig leaves appropriate attire, you might be a sinner.
    •  You feel like running when the law shows up (v. 8).
    •  God is searching for you, and not the other way around (v. 9).
    •  You feel self-conscious or defensive about anything you’ve ever done (v. 9-10).
    •  You ever play the “blame game” – Others, “The devil made me do it” (v. 11-13).
    •  You were born (Romans 5:12).

    Change of Status

    Some people try on their own to change their status in life. Sometimes rednecks move away from Redneckville in order to become a different person. But what they find out is that Redneckville never left their heart. They still have those same desires to grill Spam and fish with dynamite.

    In the same way, many people think, once they finally realize they are sinners, that change can come with a simple change of atmosphere, or the turning over of a new fig leaf.

    The fact is that sinners don’t become “saints” on their own. It takes outside intervention.

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

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    Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, clothing, Humor, Preaching, salvation, self-worth

    Let’s Talk About Moses and Righteousness

    Been Busy

    Someone whom you may know as Angel made a keen observation: I haven’t been posting much, lately.

    Well, there is a reason why that observation is correct… It’s no more complicated than the fact that I’ve been busy, busy, busy.

    And when I’m not busy, I’m usually just too dang tired to get my brain into writing gear. But I’m sure it’s just a phase.

    Been Preaching and Teaching

    But one thing that hasn’t slacked off is the time I have spent in front of an iPhone camera. Literally, the only time I am not recording and uploading preaching or teaching content is on Saturday. But it’s twice on Sunday, so…

    Therefore, even though I’ve not been doing a lot of writing, I have been speaking. And that’s OK! I love it! So, when you have the time, I would encourage you to check out the following two videos. They are the latest that I have edited and uploaded to YouTube (and that’s work, too).

    Oh, and I’ve been walking every day and doing my best to lose weight, especially for my daughter Katie’s wedding in October.

    Love you guys!

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    Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christianity, Church, ministry, Preaching, self-worth

    Are You a Cracked Vase?

    Have you ever had one of those times when you felt the Holy Spirit was at work, using you in a special, sorta like He’s-in-control-not-me kind of way?

    Today was one of those days. 

    Every day at around 2pm I do a live, short devotional  for our church members. That’s what the following video is, only uploaded to the church YouTube channel.

    Have you ever felt that God can no longer use you? Have you ever felt like your best days of ministry are behind you? Are you a cracked vase?

    This message is for you! 

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    Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christianity, Church, ministry, self-worth

    A Doctrinally-Worthless Bumper Sticker

    I’m facing a pretty busy weekend, so instead of writing something new for today, here’s an observation and commentary, more like an open letter to my readers, that I wrote back in 2018. It’s an example of what can wake me up when I’m tired: stupidity and shallow doctrine. Enjoy!

    Happy Friday, everybody! 🙂


    Dear blogger friends,

    Have you ever had so much to write, but being sleepy, tired, worn out and ready for bed kept you from it?

    Have you ever wanted to launch into the deep waters of controversial topics only to realize the sails of your little boat were too tattered to catch the wind?

    Well, that’s about how I feel right now. I’m tired, sleepy, and I need to get up early in the morning.

    However, I saw a bumper sticker today that really got my goat, so I have to say something.

    You see, just tonight I was going through a small book that was given to me by a Muslim “apologist,” and my head is still spinning from all the twisted scripture he used to “prove” his obscenely ignorant arguments. The former Baptist converted to Islam, then he wrote a book meant to “prove” that Jesus never claimed to be God nor died on the cross.

    If there was one verse taken out of context, there were ten. If there were ten times he made ignorant inferences, there were a hundred where he proved nothing more than that he never studied the Bible as a Baptist, much less as a Muslim.

    Maybe, just maybe, if this man had spent more time in the Word of God studying what it actually said instead of being caught up in some social or racial “gospel,” he might have never fallen victim to the foolishness he now believes.

    And that’s where the above bumper sticker comes in… It’s about the most useless attempt at profundity I’ve ever seen; it makes no sense whatsoever.

    You may think that “Jesus [loves] Feminists” is a wonderful truth, but let’s take a moment or two to unpack it.

    First of all, Jesus loves feminists. Yes, He does.

    However, Jesus also loves prostitutes and murderers, so what’s the point?

    Jesus loves sinners, and that’s why He went to an old, rugged cross to suffer and die for the sins of the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

    Are feminists sinners? Is that what they’re saying?

    Or, is the bumper sticker implying that Jesus loves feminists, but not chauvinists? Is it saying that Jesus prefers tree-hugging egalitarians over traditionally conservative complementarians? Does Jesus love some people and not others? Is that the point?

    On the other hand, maybe it’s simply trying to say that Jesus loves feminists, also. Like, Jesus loves the chauvinists, the complementarians, the macho men, AND the feminists.

    If that’s the case, then Jesus loves everybody, right? So what’s the point of the bumper sticker?

    Unfortunately, the above bumper sticker does nothing glorify the love of Christ. All it does is pander to those who need to be affirmed.

    Truth is lost in ambiguity; the reader learns nothing.

    What a doctrinally worthless bumper sticker!

    I did say I was tired, didn’t I?

    And just for fun… watch Allie Beth Stuckey as a feminist (thank the Lord she’s only acting!).

     

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    Filed under Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, Marriage, politics, self-worth

    Unliked, But Respected (a repost)

    It’s going to be a busy day, today, so I was scrolling through the past and came across this post from 2017. I thought it would be good to repost it. Why? Because it shows how one person can make a difference in his/her community. It shows how just one person can affect even the direction of the government, if only temporarily.

    You may feel like you are a nobody, but God made you a “somebody,” and all it takes is somebody to make a difference. And in the process, even if it doesn’t make people like you, it will earn you some respect.


    A Bad Law

    Not long ago a tragedy occurred in my town of Chattanooga, a tragedy that was felt across the nation, even around the world. Back in November of last year (2016) a school bus transporting children from Woodmore Elementary School crashed, ultimately being nearly cut in half by a tree, resulting in many injuries and 6 deaths.

    Almost immediately people familiar with the story, and especially the affected families and friends within the Woodmore community, began calling out for seat belts on school buses. Actually, it was at Erlanger Hospital, where many of the wounded children were taken, that I heard grieving parents scream in anger, “That bus driver was wearing a seat belt, and he’s still alive! Why did he get to wear a seat belt and my baby didn’t?!!” When I heard those words I knew what was coming.

    It wasn’t long before Tennessee State House Representative JoAnne Favors (D) of the 29th District put forth a bill that would require all school buses in the state to have seatbelts. The argument was that if the children from Woodmore had been wearing seatbelts, many would not have been hurt, and some may not have died. “How many more children have to die,” they would ask, “until we make seatbelts mandatory?”

    The problem, however, was that the only ones arguing for requiring seatbelts on all school buses were those who never drove a school bus or had to deal with all that takes place on one. When bus drivers were given the opportunity over social media to express their opinion, the overwhelming consensus was that seatbelts on a school bus was a bad, bad idea.

    I  Had to Act

    The bill calling for requiring seatbelts on buses began to work its way through committee after committee, and it began to appear there was no stopping it. As a school bus driver I desperately wanted to state my case in front of one of these committees in Nashville, but how could I? Every time they had a meeting where the public could voice their opinions, we bus drivers were actually on the job. About the only thing I could do was resort to social media.

    Early on, way back in December of 2016, I posted to Facebook a short video giving reasons why the seatbelt bill would be a bad law. That video got a little response, but nothing came of it.

    Then, on April 28, on WRCB (Channel 3) I saw David Karnes interview Rep. JoAnne Favors and the attorney for the Woodmore families, C. Mark Warren. What they said ticked me off so much I had to do something right then, so I went directly to Facebook Live and recorded the following rant 😉

    Click on the screenshot from my phone to watch the video.

    The above Facebook Live video was quickly shared among the bus-driving community, and several suggested that I do more, even take off work and go to Nashville. The overwhelming proof that bus drivers do not want belts, and why, became evident in the thousands of views and hundreds of comments which continue to accumulate.

    Taking It to the News Media

    It is now the evening of May 5th, and David Karnes has yet to return my requests to counter Rep. Favors’ claims on his April 28th television program. Needless to say, especially with the urging of others, I made calls to other news stations in our area, expressing my belief that bus drivers were not getting a fair deal – we were not being able to share our side of this issue… and WE were the ones who were going to have to deal with the results of its implementation!

    At first, I called the newsroom of WDEF (Channel 12). The gentleman I spoke with there assured me that nothing would come of Favor’s bill, so there was no need for me to share my thoughts. Well, then… la ti da.

    Then, undeterred, I called WTVC (Channel 9). The lady I spoke with, unlike the gentleman at Channel 12, thought what I was saying sounded worth investigating. She told me that what I was saying was definitely interesting, and with the programming director listening in she informed me that a reporter would get back with me on Monday. She asked, “Would you have any problem talking on camera?”

    “Heck, no!” I replied. “I’d be happy to talk on camera!” I mean, what kind of question was that? I then referred her to my Facebook page.

    Monday came around, but no one called; I figured nothing would come of my call. Then on Tuesday morning, the very day on which another vote was to take place in another committee in Nashville, a reporter called me and set up an interview.

    From around 10:30 to 11:30a.m. I sat in front of a TV camera and cameraman, a reporter, and a program director. For a whole hour, I was given the chance to respond to some very pointed questions and give my thoughts on the whole seatbelt issue.

    The rest of the morning and afternoon, even until the evening, I felt sick. What worried me was the fact that I was an employee of the company that had been sued over the deaths and injuries resulting from the Woodmore crash. Going back to November of last year we had been instructed to avoid interviews with the media. But this was different, for I was acting as nothing more than a bus driver in Tennessee who was concerned about a possible bad law. I didn’t know how the news media would edit my interview, and all I could think of was how much trouble I could be in on Wednesday.

    However, I wasn’t fired! The following video will show that the resulting editing was not only fair but quite favorable to my position.

    The Point of This Post

    Wednesday morning I went into work, not knowing what to expect. What I got were “high fives” and multiple joking requests for my autograph. After a few humorous requests, I held up the sign-in sheet where all drivers are to sign their names each morning and said, “Now that I’m famous, all of these sign-in sheets will be worth money, so don’t throw them away.” Ha!

    Then, as I was standing there, an older woman, a driver of a special needs school bus (a small bus), walked up to me and began to talk.

    “Mr. Baker, I need to tell you something.”

    “OK,” I said. Now, keep in mind I had never, not once, spoken with this woman ever before.

    “This is me…” she pointed to herself, “…so this is me talking…”

    “OK,” was my response, again.

    “You know,” she began, “I have never really cared very much for you…”

    What was I supposed to say? How was I supposed to respond? Like I said, I had never even spoken with this lady, so what had I done to offend her? Anyway, she continued…

    “But I want you to know that I respect what you did…what you said on TV. What you did was courageous, and what you said on our behalf as drivers is very much appreciated.”

    Well, now! I got smacked in the face and complimented all at the same time!

    Then, in regard to my concern that the management of the company could fire me for being interviewed on television, she matter-of-factly assured me, “And if those people in the office have a problem with what you’ve done, then I will go down there with you and tell them to their face they can kiss your a**, and my a**, too!”

    With raised eyebrows and a nod of my head, all I could say in response was, “”Well, uh, thanks…I appreciate it.”

    When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. – Proverbs 16:7

    All I could think about was how that when we stand up for what is right, even those who hate us may find some reason to respect us. That was the only way I could explain why this older woman who “never really cared much” for me would put her own “a**” on the line.

    The Aftermath

    Believe it or not, JoAnne Favors pulled the bill! CLICK HERE for the story.

    Did my actions have anything to do with it? Honestly, I’d like to think so.

    This afternoon, the lady who I mentioned earlier stopped by my car window as I was leaving work. She asked, “So, are you proud of yourself?”

    “Well, to be honest,” I began, “I’d like to think I had a part in what happened.”

    “I’m sure you did,” she said.

    So, yeah, it feels good to have accomplished something…maybe. But it feels better to be respected, 

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    Filed under community, current events, Life Lessons, politics, self-worth

    My Pre-Salvation Testimony

    Testimonies

    I’m a Christian. So, when I talk about my testimony, I’m talking about my personal story, not what’s given from the witness stand.

    You see, we Christians, particularly we church-going folk, like to talk about what God has done in our lives. We like telling others about where the Lord has brought us from, how he’s changed us, and what He’s currently doing in our lives. We like to “testify.”

    But as I say that, it seems to me that more Christians than not are pretty silent about what God has done to transform them. To be honest, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been to a “testimony service” where there’s no preaching, just people telling their stories – their testimonies.

    The “Great” Testimonies

    But maybe it’s because so often what gets the most press, so to speak, are the testimonies that wow the audience, the “great” testimonies of how God delivered a horrible sinner and turned him into a saint. …Yeah, I know, that’s what salvation is, but work with me for a moment

    What people really want to hear are the salacious details of debauchery and crime, the drugs and alcohol, the millions blown on a life of sin … you know, sort of like Kanye … and THEN how God miraculously saved them from all the excitement.  You don’t draw a crowd with a boring testimony like, “I was saved as a small child and lived a relatively God-honoring life the last 40 years.”

    Why would the average Christian want to stand up in front of people and watch them yawn? For the most part, a lot of people who are born again by faith in Jesus Christ think their story isn’t worth telling, at least not worth making a big deal.

    That’s why I want to share, for the very first time, my pre-salvation testimony… to encourage the average believer who’s never been a murderer, a drug dealer, a dope addict, a wifebeater, a famous musician, or a politician.

    My Story

    I’ve written before about my life after God saved my soul, but I’ve never written about what I was like before I gave my heart to Jesus. I didn’t want to give the devil too much credit or make my past life look attractive to those who might be tempted by the depravity to which I was bound.

    Honestly, some people talk about their lives before Christ like salvation was only something they resigned to. It’s like: “I had everything money could buy – women, drugs, fast cars, airplanes, houses on the beach, and a modeling contract – but then I got saved, and now I go to church.

    But not me… I was a true sinner, lost and on my way to hell, and I’m glad Jesus saved me!

    Before I got saved, I was an immature, unpredictable, maladjusted mess. For a few years, I was in such a world of my own that nobody could understand me; my vocabulary was horrible, worse than a sailor’s. My language was so bad I’d even make up words to express the neediness inside.

    For at least a year I drank all the time. Rarely ate a bite of food.

    I never cared about my own well-being, but lived every day without any thought of life or death. I took every risk, broke every rule, and in trouble with authority on a regular, sometimes daily basis.

    Before Jesus saved me, I was self-centered, self-serving, and entitled; I felt everything should be done for me, that I shouldn’t have to do anything for myself. For a couple of years, I didn’t even try.

    I was like the homeless in San Fransisco; I’d defecate anywhere and anytime I wanted. Once, while attending a party at my parent’s house, I literally walked into the middle of the living room where the church people were sitting, and urinated into an ashtray on the coffee table!

    The face of an unrepentant sinner full of unholy potential.

    I took advantage of everyone who loved me, especially my mother. Fortunately, I had good parents who loved me through those unredeemed years, even though it seemed like every paycheck of theirs was meant to keep me alive.

    That is why I could never thank God enough for what He did when He saved me on September 26, 1973… when I was only six years old!

    God spared the world from what I could have become.

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