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Friday, June 14, 2013

The Road Back To Egypt

Well, I suppose I can't keep this a secret any longer. 

It's getting harder and harder to hide it. 

Friends, I hate to break it to you, but I've gained weight; I'm fat again.



I know what you all are thinking--"Ernie must think I'm blind or something."

I don't know exactly how much I've gained since I haven't gotten on a scale in months. I'm guessing it's somewhere in between "Dayum!" and "Oh. My. God."

The only real reason I can think of as to why this happened is because I just like to eat, dang it. Food is so yummy!

Plus, watching what I ate and counting Points was too hard.

I want what I know. I want what's easy. I want to go back to Egypt. 

I can relate to those poor Israelites who were taken from their homes  out of their slavery and then forced to walk in a hot desert with hardly any food or provision. 

They voiced their concern asking why they had to come on this journey. I mean, at least in Egypt they had homes and jobs and food. Out here in the desert? Nothing. 

Sure they were free from the oppressive bonds of the Pharaoh, but that was at least familiar to them. Being out in the desert was new and scary. 

They wanted to go back to Egypt. 

What do you think would have happened if they went back? Would they had been welcomed back like they had just gone on vacation? Doubtful. They would have gone right back where they were--worse even. 


Can you even imagine what the walk back would have been like? They would have  to pass all those cities or landmarks they had passed on their way out. When they passed them the first time they were a marker of how far they had come and how close they were to their promise. 

I imagine them passing a highway sign that says, "Land of Milk and Honey: 100 miles." Then "Land of Milk and Honey: 50 miles."

But on the way back they would read "Egypt: 100 miles," and "Egypt: 50 miles."

"Welcome to Egypt."

Imagine getting halfway up Mt. Everest amd then thinking, "Meh. This is too hard." Each marker that was once a shining reminder of how close you were to your goal is now a slap in the face. 

The thing about the Israelites is that they   didn't turn back; they just took the long way there. 

Sometimes reaching an intended destination just takes longer than you expect. Eleven days becomes 40 years. Five years and four months will become six very soon. 

Thankfully I'm not all the way back to Egypt yet. 

There's still time to get back on the right path


Mmmm...milk and honey. 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14th

Originally posted on Facebook, 2/14/11.



You’re probably going to dismiss this tirade as that of someone who’s bitter because he doesn’t have a “valentine.” And you may be right, but stick with me.

Aside from the fact that it’s a Hallmark Holiday, the fact that we take one day in mid-February and set it aside for the sole purpose of showing someone how much we love them by way of pretty flowers and fancy chocolates, is just silly.

What I’m saying is, we should be showing that love every day of the year, not just February 14th.

1 John 4:11-12 says: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

His love for us can’t be contained to just one day, nor should our love for Him and for one another. Some people may not know the love of God because they’re not seeing it in us.

God’s love for us manifests itself each and every day, but some of us fail to see it. It’s in every little thing—the nice weather, the free coffee you got, the friends and family in your life—the list goes on and on.

Why should we do this? We do it because it’s what God does and what he is still doing. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”

In John 13:34, Christ says, “‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’”

As his love for us is true and real and not based on status or any kind of reciprocation, so should our love be for others.

God is in us and we are made in His image (Genesis 1:26), so let’s try to be more like Him and make every day Valentine’s Day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Liberally Speaking

If you know me at all, it should come as no surprise that I’m what some might say a “Liberal.” It’s a dirty word to some of you, but not to me.

 
 

However, now that I spend time running in some Christian circles, it certainly makes me the minority. Sometimes logging in to Facebook gives me a twitch when I see all of the right-wing propaganda that shows up.
 
Occasionally, someone will try to engage me in a debate/discussion and I usually deflect it as best I can. I do this because, frankly, I don’t need to explain to you why I feel the way I do, and partly because I can’t.
 
On several occasions people have asked something like “How can you be Democrat?” My response is usually “It’s easy,” or “How can you not be.” A friend of mine once answered the question with, “Because I care more about people than I do about money.” Bazinga.
 
Truth be told though, it’s hard for me to verbalize why. I just am. Why is someone conservative? Why does someone like Coke over Pepsi? Why does someone like the Yankees or whoever? You just do. Yes, you can make cases for taste, price, players, etc…, but what it all boils down to in the end is personal preference. Everyone has different “tastes.”
 
I believe that people are important and that helping people should be a priority.
 
 
 I’m going to avoid an airing of grievances against Mitt Romney, mainly because I don’t want this to be too long.
 
 
I will say one thing that concerns me is that it seems a lot of people aren’t voting for a President, they’re voting against a President.
 
“Anyone but Obama,” I’ve heard. Really? You dislike the President so much that you’re willing to allow this guy to be leader of the free world?
 
Anyway, I digress. Onto the issues. I think I can sum up the conservative agenda in a few points:
 
·       Abortion
·       Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare)
·       Immigration
·       Same-Sex Marriage
 
There has to be more, but these are the “hot button” issues that people seem to be the most vocal about.
 
In the coming days I’m planning to post some opinions (hopefully supported by facts) on these issues.
 
Abortion
 
I think Vice President Joe Biden stated it pretty well in this debate with Paul Ryan when he said that he agrees with and accepts his church’s doctrine that says life begins at conception, but that he doesn’t want to impose his beliefs on people of other faiths nor do we have the right to control a woman’s body.
 
One of the best things I’ve heard on abortion was way back in the ‘90s when I heard a speech by Dr. Henry Foster who was once a candidate for US Surgeon General. When asked for his opinion about it, he said “Men should stay out of it.” [paraphrased]
 
I can agree that life begins at conception.
 
Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”—Jeremiah 1:5 [AMP]
 
However, I can also agree with VP Biden on not forcing belief on people. I sometimes think we’re guilty of trying to force morality on people whether it be through laws or elections or whatever. This could lead into another discussion on the separation of church and state, but I won’t go there now.
 
I view abortion as fruit and not root. It’s an outcome of other issues that I think need to be addressed.
 
If people would spend some time dealing with what leads up to abortion which is promiscuity, lack of education, lack of available contraception, and lack of quality, affordable health care.

According to this article, a recent study suggests that availability of contraception helps to curb both abortion and teen pregnancy rates. And, since the implementation of “Romneycare” in Massachusetts, abortion rates have dropped in that state. (A future post on health care will arrive soon).
 
Now, I’m not saying we hand out condoms in elementary school or anything. We don’t need to fully encourage pre-martial coitus, but we do need to educate.
 
Of course, abstinence is the best way to avoid the whole sticky situation…wait. What?
 
 
Kind of like how the best way to avoid getting into a motorcycle accident is to not ride a motorcycle. But for those that do choose to ride a motorcycle, there are certain precautions that can (in some cases must) be taken such as a specific training course, helmet laws, etc.
 
Furthermore, I would very much like it if those that referred to themselves as “pro-life” were actually pro-human-life and not just pro-unborn-human-life. I would expect someone who is “pro-life” to oppose the death penalty and even support programs that promote medical care and healthy lifestyles.
 
Did you know there’s a proposition on the California ballot to basically eliminate the death penalty? I would vote for it, but of course I’m a bleeding-heart liberal.
 
Can I justify the act of abortion? No. But, can I justify forcing a moral belief on someone? No.
 
 
I think what comes across in the conservative message sometimes is, "I think what you're doing is wrong," or "What you're doing is outside of my comfort zone, so I don't think anyone should be able to do it."
 
 
I know conservative lawmakers and their constituents mean well, but at the end of the day we don't have the authority to tell someone how to live their life.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hi Neighbor

Hello!

I'm assuming most of you found this blog because of my guest post on Jon Acuff's Stuff Christian's Like. If you didn't, then you must be deep into the Google search results. I can't even imagine what you were actually looking for.

First, I'd like to thank Jon for allowing me to squat on his internet property for a day. It's truly an honor. I think Jon is an awesome writer and I've been reading his blog for several years.

Second, thank you for checking my little blog. I've been doing this for just about a year. I'm finally starting to come to grips with the fact that I'm not a bad writer (you may disagree after you read some posts). Feel free to click around and check out my posts. There may be one or two that contain some grown-up language, but not many.

A little about myself: I live in Fresno, CA which isn't really as bad as people say. I've been writing for a while, but I never really shared any of it. I've been saved for about three years. It's quite a journey considering how I used to feel (read more here).

The post that was published on Jon's site was one that I actually started writing about two years ago. I do that a lot. I'll start to write something and leave it for a while and then come back to it. Anyway, I started it and left it. Then, I saw this post on Jon's site and one of the comments about an introvert not attending a charismatic church made me go back and finish it.

When I finished it, I thought about it for about two minutes and then sent it to Jon. Alomost instantly I had that what the heezie did I just do feeling. I wasn't sure how Jon operated, so I didn't know if I would get a canned rejection email or what. Then one day, I was...um...sitting somewhere...by myself...looking at my cell phone (I'll let you guess where) when I saw the email saying my post would be published! I only told a small handful of people up until just the other day. I'm weird like that.

Also, let me explain my Twitter handle: @RabbiDoom.

When I was in high school, way back in the carefree days of the late 1990's, I was in the school's production of Fiddler on the Roof. In this production, I played the Rabbi. During the time rehearsal was going on, some friends and I went to play laser tag. I had to come up with a nickname, so I chose Rabbi of Doom. Apparently this was too long, so whoever entered it into the computer shortened it to RabbiDoom and I've used it ever since. You should follow me. I honestly don't tweet all that much, but I might start now.

I follow and know some pretty cool writers, check out their links too.

If you want to know anything else, feel free to shoot me an email at erniegarcia95 at gmail.com, or leave a comment here.

Thanks for lookin'!







Ernie

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Be Like Rachel

The guy in this video is a jerkwad. Seriously. But, watch how Rachel handles the situation.


Now, I don't agree with the CEO of Chick-Fil-A's view on gay marriage, but I wouldn't dream of berating an employee like this.

I like how Rachel kept her cool even though I know she wanted to jump out of the drive thru window and come at this guy like a spider monkey.

She showed true composure and I think that's how we sometimes need to handle situations and people.

Sometimes people and situations are going to get all up in yo' face. Haters are indeed going to hate.

It's often our gut reaction to flip out and go off, but it's not always the right one.

Sometimes you just need to let it go and smile until it leaves like Rachel did.

Don't get me wrong, there are still situations where you should get mad and yell and scream, but I guess I would say to choose your battles. Obviously that's what Rachel did.

Be like Rachel.

Oh yeah, this guy got fired.

And, he "apologized."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dog is good--all the time


I was flipping through the notebook I take with me to church (and occasionally use to take notes in), and I found a blurb I had written on the last page. I don’t even remember how long ago it was that I jotted it down. I laughed a little because it seemed kind of silly.

Then, a few days later as I was taking the 45 minute or so drive up to Sierra Pines Church in Oakhurst (where I heard an awesome message) and I was thinking about what I had written and started to add to it. Since it’s suggested that you don’t drive and write, I had to try to keep it all in my noggin. It wasn’t until I got to SPC that I had a chance to scribble it down. Now it’s been neatly typed for your reading pleasure.

  

“Sometimes our vision is so backwards, that we sometimes we treat GOD like a DOG.”



I know it’s a little silly, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are elements of truth.


Sit, UBU, sit. Good dog.
Just like we train a dog to sit, roll over, shake, or do “jazz hands” like my sister’s dog, we expect God to follow our commands (instead of the other way around). I’m not sure we can order God to do anything. We can ask like the Bible says to do:

“ ‘So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ ”  –Luke 11:9 [NIV]


Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone.” –Zechariah 10:1 [NIV]


 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” –1 John 5:14 [NIV]

We can’t command or demand God to anything just like a child can’t demand anything from his parents. Imagine your child comes up to you and says, “Give me money.” Your hand’s either going to go one of two places—your wallet, or their cheek.

 Unlike a dog, God doesn’t do “tricks.”



Holding the leash
I’m amazed at how many people I see walking their dogs without a leash. I’m pretty sure it’s against the law in Fresno. Oh wait, it is. I’m also amazed at how many dogs I see walking their owners. A giant mastiff practically dragging some poor lady in her matching track suit and bebe sport hat.

The leash is meant to control the dog so we can prevent it from going wherever it wants. I think sometimes we put God on a leash. We allow God to roam free in regards to our health or our finances. We allow God to sniff all he wants when it comes to our messed up kids, but if he gets too close to something we don’t want him to—we yank on that choke chain! “No! Bad God! Don’t you go sniffing around that porn addiction. Don’t you go near that pride!”

Eventually you’re going to have to take the leash off and let God sniff it all out.


My dog ate my homework
I know there are several things that get blamed on the dog (right, fellas?). There’s nothing like walking into the kitchen and seeing a broken dish on the ground, or wondering who exactly tracked mud into the living room. “The dog did it!” Yeah, right! The dog’s been in the same spot all day.

It’s common for us to blame our circumstances on God. “Why would God take away my job?” “Why would God take my car?” Death is a big time when we blame God. I’m even guilty of that.

However, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” –James 1:17 [NIV]

I learned this principle a while back: If it’s good, it’s from God. If it’s bad, it’s from the devil. Or, it may actually be your fault. Just sayin’.


Company’s coming
One of the first thing dog owners do when company comes over is they lock the dogs in a kennel, or they lock them outside. They get them out of the way so they won’t bother their guests.

We do this with God too. When we’re around certain people we hide God. We hide Him so that it won’t bother whoever we’re with. Once they’re gone, we can let God out and go back to that version of our lives.


Beware of Dog
The “Beware of Dog” sign is extremely popular even for people how have chihuahuas instead of real dogs.

It’s a way to warn people that if they get too close to the fence or take a wrong step, that they’ll get mauled and eaten alive. Can you guess where I’m going next?

Yep: We do this with God too. We warn people of all the dangers of not doing what God says instead of telling them all the good that comes from doing it.


 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”—Psalm 107:1 [NIV]

We preach a gospel of fear rather than of love. God is good. No warning needed.


Table scraps
I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to give your dog people food. I don’t know a single person that abides by that either. Everyone I know feeds their dog from the table or takes home leftovers from a restaurant and gives them to their dog. Wait. Is that why they’re called “doggie bags?”

 Anywho, I think we sometimes give God our table scraps, our leftovers. God doesn’t want our leftovers. He wants our best—the best of our time, the best of our worship, the best of ourselves. He’s not an “If-I-Have-Time God,” or a “Right-After-Maury God.”

 I just read website that said there are four ways in which we can give God our best:
Service, Obedience, Attitude, Praise.


I’m sure there are many other ways in which we treat GOD like a DOG. Leave some comments and let’s figure out some more.

I did think of one way in which they're similar:


Friday, June 8, 2012

Take These Broken Wings



Truth be told, I don’t much care for birds. I don’t hate them, I just don’t like them. They’re dirty scavengers and I don’t like that they poop on my car. Does any other animal do that? Not really. It could be worse I guess. Dogs or horses could start doing it.
Anyway, I’m starting to digress. I don’t care for birds, but a bird actually inspired this post.

The other day I was sitting at a stoplight and I see this blackbird. Blackbird singing in the dead of night.
Ok, not really. I just wanted to get the song stuck in your head.

So, I see this blackbird and he’s using the crosswalk to walk across the street. Did you catch that? Walking.

I laughed and thought, “Stupid bird. Why are you walking when you know you can fly?”
Then I stopped laughing and felt something inside ask me: “Why are you walking when you know you can fly?”

Burn.
I feel like I’ve been hearing that my whole life. “You’re so smart, why don’t you apply yourself?” “You’re a good writer, you should write more.” “Why don’t you sing anymore?” “You should audition for this and that.” “You should get a Master’s degree.”

I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s felt this way. You know there’s potential in you, but you refuse to test it. It’s kind of like the dog that doesn’t know he can jump over a fence or doesn’t know he can go inside.
I guess it’s something for me to work on for the rest of this year.

In what ways are you holding back your potential? In what ways are you walking when you know you can fly?