Kumusta, Philippines!

Image result for philippines flag

I’ve never been to the Philippines, but I know people who have. As a matter of fact, my daughter was planning on going there several years ago, but then there was a tsunami.

Just recently I saw in the news that the President of the Philippines was going to kick the U.S. military out of the country, because America is “rude.” I hate that. I hope it doesn’t happen. Think of all our nations have been through together! Our military and our people still think of the sacrifices you made during WW2. Thank you!

I don’t know who in the Philippines reads my blog. Maybe they just stumble upon it. But to whomever you are, thank you for stopping by. It’s an honor.

May God bless your country with peace!

Anthony Baker (The Recovering Legalist)

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Filed under community, Countries

An Addiction Or Tool? Would Cigarettes Be Safer?

I didn’t think of the cigarette part until I started writing the title, but it’s an honest question worth exploring.

Is there one addiction more dangerous than another? Of course. Honestly, cigarettes would kill me sooner than cancer from my phone.

The point that I want to make this morning is that I think I might be addicted to my cell phone. And if I am, then admitting it to the world is a good way to overcome it.

Hello, my name is Anthony. I’m an iPhonaholic. I think.

Official Terms and Stats

OK, so let’s look at what the professionals have to say. When I did a quick google search of “what do you call someone addicted to looking at their phone?”, I discovered that much of the research and writing that popped up was several years old. Even the most recent professional articles referenced research that was done as far back as 2008.

The official term, nomophobia, was derived from combining “no mo-bile” with phobia (irrational fear). Simply defined, nomophobia is “an extreme fear of not having your phone or not being able to use it.”

Since this is not an official research paper, and I don’t really want to get into the work of sourcing everything I read, just google what I did and you can find it all. But when it comes to the numbers, they are pretty disturbing.

  • In the original 2008 UK study that coined the term nomophobia, 57% of men and 47% of women suffered mobile phone anxiety.
  • In another study of college students (2013), 64% were at risk of developing nomophobia, while 77% checked their phones at least 35 times per day.
  • A 2010 study showed that 61% of adults check their phones first thing in the morning.
  • In 2014 it was observed that with college students there was a correlation between low GPA’s and frequent cell phone usage.

If you are reading this and wondering, “Do I have nomophobia?”, then social psychologists at Iowa State University have put together a 20-item questionnaire meant to help you self-diagnose. Now, this, too, was from several years ago, so I don’t know if anything has changed. But if you’re like me, we’ve got problems.

Not So Fast

But on the other hand, back in 2015 Brian Fung, a reporter with the Washington Post, questioned the legitimacy of equating nomophobia with ” real, clinical addictions.” Fung argues that true addictions and disabling phobias generally affect only 10 to 12 percent of the population, so, cellphone “addiction” might not be as bad as described.

And let’s think about this… Before there were cell phones, how did we stay in contact? We had pay phones, didn’t we? And before we had Waze or Google Maps, how did we find our directions to destinations? We either used maps or wrote down directions. Yet, where are the pay phones these days? Have you tried to buy a map, lately?

Before there were cell phones, business was conducted over land lines, desktop computers, in stores, and on paper. Nowadays, as you know, business, shopping, and even legal documents have  been adapted to mobile devices. And what’s more, a lot of our daily activities now require we have a cell phone, or the immediacy of the transaction demands it.

As one researcher rightfully noted, the increased usage of cell phones may not be the result of increasing addiction as much as it is the increased demand put on individuals by the culture and evolving economy.

But We Can Do Better

So, back to the original assertion that I have an addiction… Do I? Probably not, at least not in a clinical sense.

Am I going to give up my iPhone? No. Do I go to bed with it and wake up with it? Yes, because it has replaced my clock and my alarm and the “white noise” app helps me sleep.

But do I look at it too much? Are my daily “pick ups” excessive? Am I comforted by feeling of the phone in my left hand? Do I reach for my phone at the first sense of boredom? Do I panic if I leave home without it? Do I take it with me to the shower? Is it the first thing I look at when I open my eyes in the morning and the last thing I look at before i go to sleep?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. and Yes.

SO…

Below are MY stats from this morning and last week. Are you willing to share yours?

This Monday morning, with Sunday’s stat’s setting the average.

Last week’s average per day, along with a breakdown of what I viewed.

The average number of pickups per day – 74.

Let’s come back to this next Monday and see what changes can be made. I will not quit using my phone, but I am going to try to lower the screen time stats and change what is most commonly viewed.

Would you like to post something like this and join me? 

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Filed under Christian Living, Culture Wars, fitness

Unrepentant Adultery and the Christian: Can the Two Co-Exist?

Gotta Say It

Have you ever been in a room full of people… maybe even a few… and they were talking about something… something you’re passionate about… and they were either arrogantly boasting like they knew what they were talking about,  or they were talking like there were no answers to the subject at hand… or, even worse, they were completely off their rocker with their conclusions?

And, if you’ve ever been in a room like that, have you ever gotten fed up to the point where you couldn’t take it anymore, stood up in your chair, and belted out, “OK, I gotta say something!”?

Well, that’s what I’m doing right now…

I’ve gotta say something.

Good and Bad

Today is Valentine’s Day (happy Valentine’s Day to you). It’s a day that, for me, always comes with a mixed bag of emotions and thoughts. For one, I’m glad we have a day that promotes the good things about being “in love” and the valuing of other people, especially women. For the record, it’s a holiday that is banned in several Muslim countries, including the Muslim districts of others, all because it’s considered a Christian holiday and overvalues women. Think about that for a second.

On the other hand, Valentine’s Day is rife with the stereotypical misrepresentations of true love and overflowing with encouragements to sin. And by sin, I mean fornication, adultery, lust, envy, you name it. The worst part is that it’s a day when the sexual aspects of relationships are elevated above everything else, including fidelity, trust, compassion, and selflessness.

So, it’s because of the subject matter of the day that I come to you, dear reader, to vent my frustration and hopefully offer some common sense and biblical wisdom.

Too Many

Image result for divorce imagesIf there had been only one broken relationship, only one divorce, only one potentially devastated child come to my attention in the last couple of weeks, that would still be too many. Yet, just this week I’m looking at several couples and families being destroyed, or potentially destroyed, by adultery and divorce.

On that note, let’s get real and ditch the nice-sounding labels and socially-palatable descriptions of sin, shall we? Married people don’t have “affairs”; they commit adultery.

The word affair makes it sound like you’ve done nothing more than go out for a walk, picked up some coffee, then – oops! – somebody flirted! But whether or not you sipped a milkshake with somebody besides your spouse; looked at porn in order to get the affirmation your wife wouldn’t give; or told yourself he’d be better off with you than his wife, so you pushed his buttons until he undid yours… it’s ALL ADULTERY.

I’m seeing too many people who call themselves Christians shacking up, playing house, competing with spouses, sharing spouses, buttering up kids that don’t belong to them, and jumping under the sheets like it’s nothing more than a workout at the gym! Folks, it’s called fornication, adultery, greed, idolatry, and, if you want to be honest, murder (because you’re killing – putting “assunder” – what God has joined together).

What’s Even Worse

And get this! As if committing adultery wasn’t bad enough, there are those out there who do these things on a regular basis, then brazenly go to a place of worship!

Think about that… they are sexually active, committing adultery, and going to church together… in public… with no shame or regret. Does it ever occur to them that they are there to worship the Savior who died to save them from the wages of sin? That He bore their pet sin on the cross?

This is the very sin of which Jesus was speaking when he told the woman about to be stoned, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).

And people wonder whether or not God is merciful! God killed Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5), yet they use HIS house to play house? Do they think that God approves of this?

Blind, Hardened, and Lost

Why am I writing this? Because I am sick to my stomach. I’m heartbroken. People I love are playing with fire and risking the judgment of God.

I am fearful, also, because those who are doing these things are convinced they are right with God … saved, born again, going to heaven. They have assumed their ticket for the Glory Train has been punched, that their spot is secure, nobody’s perfect, and God is going to love them, anyway. Worst comes to worse, they will deal with the consequences when they come… then, when they are ready, “He is faithful and just to cleanse them from all unrighteousness.” …which, by the way, is the sin of presumption.

Dear friend, if this is you, I fear you’ve been blinded by the Enemy, your sinful heart has been hardened, and you are most likely lost without Christ and on your way to eternal destruction.

How Can I Say That?

Right now there are some of you who are probably thinking I’m some pulpit-banging, self-righteous preacher spitting and yelling at you. You might have a picture in your mind of a red-faced, polyester-suit-wearing, hateful wingnut pointing his finger at you and yelling “sinnerrrrr!” through gritted teeth.

But I’m not; I’m weeping for you! Because somehow, somewhere, you’ve forgotten some very important facts:

  • “But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself.” – Proverbs 6:32 NLT
  • “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV
  • “Marriage [is] honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4
  • “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” – James 4:4

You might also be convinced that since somewhere in the past you “got saved” or “became a Christian” that even if you regularly fornicate or commit adultery, your salvation is secure. If you are referring to “eternal security,” I believe in that!

However, it’s one thing to mess up and give in to temptation, be remorseful, repent, and ask God to forgive you; but continually and willfully living in outward disobedience to God is something altogether different and is evidence you’ve never been redeemed. If you are truly a new creation, old things are passed away (2 Cor. 5:17), and what is “new” will want to “keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

The FACT, as stated in the above Scriptures, is that adulterers and adulteresses are ENEMIES OF GOD and WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God!

In other words, those people who are not born again believers in Jesus Christ, but deceived souls whose nature has never been changed (which is evident by their unrepentant, unashamed, unabashed regular actions that fly in the face of God’s clear commands) will, unfortunately, go to hell.

Am I perfect? No. I don’t pretend to be.

Do I sin? Yes. But I regret it every time and try to avoid the next time.

Blatant rebellion is not what I’m known for; I’m not characterized by it. I have a new nature that fights with the lusts of the flesh in which I live (Rom. 7:14-25), but until this “mortality puts on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:54), the struggle will always be difficult and real. Temptations are around every corner these days.

But if you call yourself a follower of Jesus; if you know what God has said about marriage and adultery; yet, you continue in your sin, like it’s no big deal, you might do well to reexamine your salvation.

“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT

Because I care, I had to say something.

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Filed under Christianity, Family, Marriage, Relationships and Family

Love Is Love?

The following, posted in March of last year, holds profound meaning for a day like today.

Especially today.


Not long ago I was riding with my youngest daughter through the Nashville, TN area. We were visiting a couple of colleges that she is thinking of attending, one of them being MTSU.

Since I was the one riding, and since I wasn’t too afraid that Haley would get us killed, I felt more comfortable looking at the sights. One of the sights I saw was a little sticker placed on the back window of a vehicle in the lane next to us.

The first thing I did when I saw it was say out loud what I was thinking: “Love is love? What kind of definition is that?”

And that’s really the point of this little post (rant) of mine: What does it mean when you say “Love Is Love”?

Let’s change the words a little and see if the same way of defining love works with other stuff.

  • Rock is Rock.
  • Lamb is Lamb.
  • Bob is Bob.
  • Cola is Cola.
  • Dirt is Dirt.
  • Poison is Poison.
  • Hate is Hate.

As you can see, the words above are not as easy to define by stating that one is what it is. To say that a rock is a rock is to say a diamond is a piece of driveway gravel. To say that dirt is dirt is to equate what my flowers are growing in with stuff people dig up to smear politicians.

Is every Bob the same as every other Bob? Is Coke really as nasty as the generic stuff? Is a stuffed lamb in a toy store the same as the living, breathing, pooping animal capable of growing wool?

If “hate is hate,” then is it equally immoral to hate murder as I could hate my neighbor?

LOVE IS LOVE tells us nothing. All it does is confuse, belittle, elevate what is not the real thing, and degrade what is priceless.

Is there no standard for what love is supposed to be? Is self-love the same as sacrificial love? Stating that “love is love” doesn’t even clarify whether or not love is a verb or a noun?

That is why the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle John to write (1 John 4:8,16): “God is love.”

What love is supposed to be is directly related to the nature of God. God is the standard. God is the Definer.

Love without God in the equation is a scary, vague, unstable, dangerous, self-serving, undefinable, always-changing emotional term that can be used to justify anything (which can be verified by doing a Google search of “Love Is Love” memes).

Poison isn’t just poison, but love without God is a poison that blinds the heart. 

 

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Filed under Culture Wars, General Observations, God, Love of God

How Badly Do You Want to Be Loved?

Jingles (not the bell kind)

Do you ever catch yourself singing commercial jingles for no apparent reason? Well, when I am driving, bored, and a little (or a lot) sleepy, I tend to start singing songs I learned as a child. In particular, one song is tops on my repertoire

The Oscar Mayer Wiener Song.

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / That is what I’d truly like to be ‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / Everyone would be in love with me.

First appearing in 1965, this song has become boiled, grilled, steamed, fried, and even micro-waved into our memories. But recently it struck me…what in the world am I saying? Am I so desperate for the attention of others that I would be willing to become an unhealthy food source?

The Need for Love

There are many hurting people in the world who would wish for nothing more than someone to love them. They go to great lengths to be prettier, richer, more popular, or even more “available” – all to find love. But do you really think it’s a good idea to wish you were a hot dog?

What most people don’t know is that there was a second verse to the Oscar Mayer wiener song. In the 1965 commercial a truly intelligent boy quickly understood the true ramifications of the song’s wish and sang the following:

Oh, I’m glad I’m not an Oscar Mayer wiener / That is what I’d never want to be/ ‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / There would soon be nothing left of me.

Sing it, brother! You tell ’em! Why would anyone want to be a hot dog? Do you really want to be loved so badly that you would sacrifice your humanity and allow yourself to be eaten? It’s not worth it, people…believe me!

The lyrics to this song could be re-written to expose what people are really saying. “Oh I wish I was something else instead of human / A tube of meat is what I want to be / I’d gladly die alone in boiling water / If you would only say that you loved me.

in potLook, there is no reason to want to become a hot dog (you might get eaten by one). Really, there is nothing to be gained by having your body boiled or grilled on an open flame; covered in chili, relish, mustard, and onions; then chewed repeatedly until you’re swallowed by someone who will forget you an hour later (unless the chili upsets them). Stay human. It’s better that way! 

You ARE Loved!

Ironically, someone did become something He was not in order to die for love. The big difference is that He was God and became Human, not a hot dog. And what’s more, He didn’t die to be loved – He died because He loved. His name is Jesus, and He died for you.

“For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 KJV

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 NIV

You are VERY loved!

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Filed under Food, General Observations, salvation, Uncategorized, Witnessing

Valentinerie’s Love Song

Image result for happy birthday valerie gifsToday is my wife’s birthday!

She is ___ years old! (see what I did there?)

Unfortunately, I am not with her; she decided to go to Charleston this week to spend time with our granddaughter. But that doesn’t mean I can’t wish her a happy birthday via the world wide web, right?

Happy birthday, Valerie! I heart you!

Holiday Names

My wife’s name is Valerie. Is it any wonder? I mean, she was born just two days before Valentine’s Day (and, coincidentally, on the day my parents got married). Valentine > ValerieLogical.

You have to admit, Valerie sounds a LOT better than Valentinerie.

Valentinerie… Now that’s a name worth passing around at the maternity ward!

Hmmm. That makes me wonder. What other names parents could name their daughter’s around this time?

  • Valentina?
  • Chocolatta?
  • Qishentyne?
  • Vilntin (pronounced Valentine)?
  • Lubnote?

Yeah, I think “Valerie” was the best choice.

The Lubsong ♥

Anyway, I wrote Valentinerie…excuse me, Valerie…a love song several years ago (You can be the judge of how much was truly autobiographical).

When I couldn’t figure out how to film myself doing a music video, I went to work with marker, paper, Monkey, and iPhone.

Here is the chocolate-covered fruit of my labor (I said labor…I’ve really got to get down to that maternity ward!).

“Try Me”

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Just remember, the truest example of love is God’s love for us. May we love others with such extravagance (1 John 4:19-21).

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Filed under Love of God, Monday Monkey, music

Who’s Giving You Directions?

Today I thought I’d go back and see what I wrote in the first February of this blog. Unfortunately, I didn’t start writing until August of 2009, but then I stopped after only a few posts. I didn’t start back up until July of 2010, so my first February wasn’t until 2011.

I wanted to see what I had written 10 years ago, but this is the best I can do 🙂

“Blind Leading the Blind”

Do you know what a “small bus” is? Maybe you know it as the “short bus.” Either way, it is a bus on which the physically and mentally handicapped ride to school. Fun, fun, fun.

One day I was filling in on what was called a “Special Needs” route. Being that I was not familiar with where all the stops were, it would have helped to have someone on board, like an attendant, to give me directions.  You see, even though drivers are supposed to write out directions, the ones that get left for the sub drivers aren’t always up-to-date. Attendants regularly help with the “rights and lefts.”

Oh, I’m sorry! You need to know what an “attendant” is, don’t you?

Usually, on all “Special Ed” routes, there is what is called an “attendant.” This is the person who rides along to watch the kids in the back, making sure they stay seated and buckled in, ensuring their safety. However, many times the attendant’s job consists of being cursed, spit on, puked on, drooled on, kicked, and even looked at “funny.”

Anyway, I did not have an attendant this special (pun intended) day. I had a list of directions, but they were pretty vague. I might has well been driving blind, cause I was totally in the dark. I needed a little help. Then, I pick up my first student…maybe she could help me?  Nope….she was blind.

Me: Good morning. How are you doing?

Girl: I am doing great! You don’t sound like our regular driver. You filling in for him?

Me: Yeah, and I wish he had left better directions to get where we need to go. I wish I had some help.

Girl: Don’t worry, I’ll keep you on track. (EXCUSE ME!!)

Me: (Puzzled) What are you going to do, whack me on the back of the head with that stick? (Yes, I said it.)

“Life Lesson”

When the “blind lead the blind,” nobody gets picked up; nobody rides; and the Destination is never reached.

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. – Matthew 15:14 KJV

Teachers of the Word, be mindful of your doctrine…

Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. – 1 Timothy 4:16 NKJV

Followers of the Word, be mindful of your teachers…

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. – 2 Peter 2:1 KJV

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