Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

It happened, while they were there, that the day had come that she should give birth. She brought forth her firstborn son, and she wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn. There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.”

Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,

on earth peace, good will toward men.”

It happened, when the angels went away from them into the sky, that the shepherds said one to another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” They came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough. When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child. All who heard it wondered at the things which were spoken to them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told them.

When eight days were fulfilled for the circumcision of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2:1-21, World English Bible translation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Admitting tasteless faults

This isn't an easy post to write. The Lord has been working on me for some time to talk about this, and I've always found some excuse not to post about it. He didn't like that, though, and has convinced me over the last few days that I needed to post about my troubles here.

I am addicted to pornography. Since starting college, this has manifested itself in an addition to porn on the Internet.

(I'm going to take the rest of this to the extended body, in case you don't want to read the details)

Fathers, it is incredibly important that you have no access to any porn within your house, either on your computers or in printed material. My experience mirrors every other male porn addict I've heard about: I had access to pornographic materials when I was 11 or 12 (certainly early enough that I wasn't even aware of sexuality). Not to attempt to deflect blame, but there seems to be something about exposing a boy to porn in early puberty that makes developing a porn addiction easier later.

In college, I had access to Porn on Usenet, and then many of the free web sites that exist on the network. Access to high-speed Internet didn't enable my addiction, it simply made it easier to get.

As an addiction, it did grow until it impacted my relationship with my family and especially my wife. I know it has hurt her and made her insecure in our marriage, and no matter how much I have asked her for her forgiveness and how much she has extended it, I know that this stain will never quite wash out.

Finally, the Lord worked on my heart to convict me that my behavior is wrong. I admitted to Milady that I was looking at the porn. Our marriage was strained, but she felt led to forgive me. I thank the Lord every day that she has forgiven me, and that He has forgiven me as well.

Just like Paul's thorn in the side, the Lord hasn't completely removed this addition from me. I still have urges to use porn, and will until the Lord chooses to completely remove it. I haven't had a personal accountability partner, which was (and still is) a mistake. What is worse is that I am succeptable to pseudo-porn outlets like Stuff, etc., and I see how close to porn they really are. Sometimes, the Lord lets me keep this thorn as a way to humble me, so that I am aware of my own sinfulness still. This is, of course, no excuse on my part, and is not meant to be, but if you're in the same situation, please know that prayer and working in the Word will help you too.

I am even more scared by the trash-girl industry being inspired by the pseudo-porn and porn industries. Women like Brittney Spears have inspired girls fashions that look like trash. Dolls like the Bratz dress like prostitutes, and Milady has to buy Little Miss (at 6 years old) boy's clothing at times because some girls clothes sling too low or are too exposing.

If you are fighting problems with pornography, go to someone in your church or a local Promise Keepers for help. Go to for other links. Stay away from porn and the pseudo-porn that is currently marketed as "Men's Entertainment". Stand against the selling of porn and pseudo-porn in your local stores.

Most of all, Christian men, you need to provide an example to your son to stay away from Porn and the pseudo-porn trash currently being produced. Tteach your daughters to have enough respect for themselves to stay away from the porn and the pseudo-porn industry, and their trash-girl image offspring. Teach them modesty, and have them cover themselves in modest, decent clothing. It isn't "empowering" to teach your girls to dress like sluts, or to let your boys look at girls who are dressed like sluts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I could complain

It's been a busy 8 days. Last Tuesday, the bathroom almost burned down, as I mentioned in the last post. On the way home from work Thursday, I couldn't tell that the Mercedes in front of me was stopped, and I locked the brakes on the poor Saturn up trying to stop. The Saturn nosed-down, so all I did to him was scrape the bumper, but the Saturn lost the hood, hood latch, and about $1000 more damage. I do have comprehensive on it still, but that's $500 deductable and yet another wreck on my list (you know it's bad when Geico wants to raise your insurance by $75 a month....). Little Miss is (I think) reliving her seperation from us last year, and now takes a crying fit every time I tell her no. Yesterday evening, the toilet in the bathroom that I'd just put laminate in a couple of months ago started leaking again, requiring me to start pulling the toilet out at 7PM, and pull the laminate out at 9 (I'd botched the cut-out around the toilet enough that it just wasn't worth saving). My wreck has cost us the money we'd have used to go to Gatlinburg after Christmas, and instead I'll probably be laying the laminate in our bedroom the week after Christmas. And let's not even talk about the Christmas present bill. I really could complain.

But I'm not complaining at all. It's not always easy, but I do know that God is still in control. This week last year, Number 1 Son was laying in the hospital with a heart rate over 175 while the doctors rushed to get a second chest tube in him to drain the pneumonia that almost gave him Congestive Heart Failure. Last year, we spent 5 weeks waiting for the Lord to use a surgeon to heal the remaining half of his right lung. Last year, I was trying to keep a new job and having to work days at the job and spend nights at the hospital so that I could measure out the few sick days I had stored up & not have to go to unpaid days (which we couldn't afford).

This year, I have my family home for Christmas. This year, we're all reasonably healthy, blessed with riches that most people in the world couldn't dream of possessing. We have been able to participate in a couple of ministries to help others. We can go to both sides of the family, and celebrate Christmas together. This year, Little Miss has been baptised, meaning that I can know my entire family is saved.

It is a good Christmas, you know.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

A prayer of thanksgiving

It's not the least unusual for my dog to want to get up in the middle of the night and go out and pee, so I didn't think much when I got up to let him out this morning. Until I came downstairs and smelled smoke. Even as asleep as I was, I knew that this wasn't good.

We got downstairs, and I could tell it was coming from the bathroom. Our downstairs faucet isn't well-insulated, so it can occasionally freeze in 15 degree weather (like tonight). I'd turned on a heat lamp. That heat lamp had fallen off the clip, and was proceeding to scorch its way through the bottom of the sink cabinet.

I grabbed the plug to the heat lamp, and pulled it so hard the lamp flew back out of the cabinet, causing it to burst the filament (i.e. nice flash, no damage). There's now a two-inch wide scorched wood mark in the bottom of the cabinet. It's solely God's hand of protection that the cabinet didn't burst into flames.

There really wasn't even any smoke downstairs, so <mumble> even if I'd had the smoke detector working downstairs</mumble> it wouldn't have helped. I'm just glad that the dog had to go.

Monday, December 5, 2005

The silence isn't intentional

I'm not meaning to be quiet, I am just still working on my Hebrew manuscript, as well as mulling over whether it's worth collecting my 1990s era writings together for a book. Lulu makes the printing of the book cheap, I just doubt anyone would buy it once I'd bothered to collect the thing...

Anyone willing to spend $2-$3 for an electronic copy of my 1991 & 1992 newspaper articles, with commentary added for value? :)

Needless to say, the projects that might possibly bring in real money are overriding blogging. I'm hoping that will change tomorrow, but I thought that last week too.