Baptism

Baptism

So you’re standing near a man waist deep in water. You’re nervous. All eyes are on you. Someone places a hand on you and pushes you down. The cold water moves up around you. Over you arms. Your shoulders. It moves over your face. For a moment the world disappears.
Silence.
There is an absence of sound.
Darkness.
There is an absence of light.
Cold.
There is a absence of warmth.
Your senses are gone. Everything you received from your senses is gone.  It is as if you have moved out of the world you knew. In that moment who are you. What are you. If the world you knew is gone, what are you then. What are you now.  Up. You move up. Sound rushes back, light rushes back, warmth rushes back. You are not what you were. You are still you, but not the same you. You are the same, but now different. You are a something new that didn’t exist before.

Baptism is how we show our commitment. It is like a second birth. We go down into the water and we leave the old man there. The person we were. We are made new creatures in Christ. We are not just committing our lives to God, but also to not living as who we were anymore. After becoming a Christian everything we were or did no longer matters to God. He wipes the slate clean. If there was any baggage you have been carrying, let it go. Be made new again. This is part of your identity in Christ Jesus.
So, Jesus was baptized and we model our lives after him. That is why  do it in most cases, but what does it really mean. There are actually two types of baptisms. The physical and the spiritual. We must have the spiritual, which happens automatically when we become Christians. The physical is the one most thought of. Where we go to the front of the church and  get dunked under the water. Both serve an important purpose.

Lets start with the physical. It is a symbol of our new life and the joining of ourselves with Jesus. When we are baptized we are joined with him in his death and also in his resurrection. The old us dies and is crucified with him and we are made a new creature in Christ Jesus. Born again. Emerging from the waters is symbolic of a new birth.

It is also considered a type of minor exorcism. The devil will flee before such statements of faith. Before dunked you are asked  to make a public confession of belief in the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the main purpose of the  physical baptism. As it is said, Confess him before man and He will confess you before the Father. The physical baptism is not required for salvation, but many who become Christians want to do it for the public statement before people for the above reason and because Jesus did it in his life and wish to follow in his steps. It is good to have such memories to fall back on when times get hard. We can place this moment as the moment we were born again and the start of our new life with God. When you are baptized in a church setting by a pastor you will usually receive a dated certificate and a bible. Being the Christian adventurer you are you may opt out of the church baptism for the outdoor lake baptism like in the bible. It is how Jesus was baptized and how Philip baptized the Eunuch in Acts 8. 38”And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.”

Anyone can perform a baptism, as it is from God not man. If the church setting is not for you and you don’t want to wait and wish to be baptized immediately as you are reading this. You can have anyone you wish to perform it. There are only a few requirements.

  1. You must be a believer. You must understand the basics of being a Christian. That all are sinners and that Christ Jesus was the son of God come in flesh and died for the remission of sin.
  2. That this baptism is not a requirement of salvation. It does not save you and only by Jesus is salvation found.
  3. The person officiating must also be a believer.
    If you are planning to be baptized there are a few things you can do to prepare. First search your continence. Then pack a change of clothes and a towel. Don’t forget underwear. It is a good idea to pick something easy and fast to change out of and into. Your first set of clothes are going to be wet. Wet clothes are heavy and hard to get off. When i was baptized by brother Jarrell Woodhull, in our little church i brought a plastic sack with a change of clothes in it. I thought i should look nice and dressed in a long sleeve button down shirt and even an undershirt. Bad idea. It was wet and heavy and got tangled up when i tried to take it off. My shirt clumped and got caught on my glasses. My pats legs rolled tight and i couldn’t get my foot out and my boxers rolled up. Go simple. T-shit and jeans or even shorts would be a good idea. It took me a while to change because i was self conscious and the changing room was just a little open room and the pastor stood just out the doorway that had no door and waited for me to change out of my wet clothes and i was embarrassed to get completely nude. But, this was a small church with little rooms. If this is a concern or embarrassment would keep you from following Christ just talk to your pastor before hand. It is understandable and something can be done about it.
                              The Spiritual Baptism. This is performed by God at the moment we begin to believe. It is when the Holy Spirit come into us to live and teach and to guide us in our lives. He never leaves us. This happens when you are hearing the word or reading it, or maybe right now as you are reading my blog and making the decision to become a Christian. The Holy Spirit moves into you and makes his dwelling there. You accept that Jesus died for you and He begins working in you to root out all evil. He will slowly start to change you for the better. This happens suddenly and without bells or whistles some even wonder if it has happened. If you believe in Christ Jesus, then it did, don’t worry about it, but this is another reason why some desire the physical baptism as well. Some believe that the Holy Spirit is given at the point of physical baptism. In the story of Jesus’s baptism the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, but later on the apostles and many other later received the Holy Spirit without being baptized again and many without being baptized. So being physically baptized in water is NOT a requirement of receiving the Holy Spirit. If you want it you may receive it. If you are not certain right now ask. God doesn’t hold back any good thing that is asked for in faith. He will send it straight away to anyone who asks. While your at it ask for wisdom.
Some practice the Christening. The sprinkling of water. Usually over infants. A sort of dedicating them to Christ. They will still have to make the decision when they are older to be baptized. This is more for the parents and God parents. They make a public statement to raise the child in a Christian home and teach them Christian values. They also use this ceremony to name the child. This is not a baptism, but is sometimes called a baptism. My dad was baptized in this manner when he was in the hospital as an adult because he had a trake in his throat and couldn’t be submerged in water. It was close to the end of his life and he wanted to be baptized. The pastor at the hospital did it for him after talking to him a while to make sure he understood salvation. It is not liked by most Baptists such as us, but when the person is incapable of being properly baptized, there is no real harm in it. It is only an outward statement of faith after all.
Also in a like manner, in Catholicism there is the rite of confirmation which is the point at which a person is mature enough to understand the law of God and to be held accountable. Usually in their teenage years. Similar to the bar mitzvah in Jewdism. The idea is you are not an adult and will be held accountable for breaking the law. Before this your parents were responsible for you and in teaching you. In confirmation you take on a saint’s name. One that you identify with and you add their name to your own as a sort of second middle name. The idea is that you study their life and learn from their examples. I have done this because it is now a secret name between me and God. If i were to receive a messenger from God they will know this name. It is a way of testing them to know they are from God. Also if you believe in black magic (which is mentioned in the Bible) curses are more effective if the caster knows your full name. Thereby adding this extra name adds to protection. Not that you need more than God for protection.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find a nice cold lake and take a few friends or your survival team and get baptized. In fact get your whole team baptized. This would make a good start for your journey together. Dedicate your lives and families to God. This will prepare you for the hard times to come. Good bonding experience too. If you have already been baptized (some say not to do it again,) but i say go ahead. No harm. Do it as a group. Some are more comfortable that way.
The usual formula for the ceremony is that the one who is performing the rite goes out first and states why they are there. Asks the person to be baptized to come out to him. He then asks him, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God and accept him as your lord and savior who died for the remission of sins.” The person being baptized will say “Yes” and he goes on to say “Then I baptize you in the name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.” Bend at the knees a little and support your weight too. They will lower you into the water and then pull you back up. Hold your nose and close your eyes. After that is done everyone sometimes sings a hymn.
                     So why should you go through with the water baptism if only the spiritual baptism is needed for salvation? The physical act of the baptism is important. It is a public display of faith. Not for everyone who is watching, but for you. It is you moving forward. It is easy to do something and then stay right where you are. (spiritually) Doing something especially in a public setting gets you out of your comfort zone. Doing something physically causes something spiritually as well. Starts changes inside. Makes you more determined.  As long as you are serious about your commitment. It is about taking that first step. Once you make the first step the Holy Spirit help you take another and another. But fear can cause us to stall out. Back away. Stay where we are. Where we are comfortable. Taking the physical baptism is your first step in a new life with Jesus.
            Further, It is an act of faith. It is the first step to further your faith. Faith needs action behind it. It can be a tangible force that effect the world around it, but it must be put into action. Faith is power. Strong faith can act as a defense, a shield, or a guide in times of uncertainty, an inner strength and calm when troubled. A grounding force to keep one from flying off the handle or loosing control. Faith is an expression of the person who brings it and is shaped by their beliefs and moral compass. Faith does require a commitment. A loose commitment will result in weak faith that will falter and fail quickly.
Here is a simple certificate you can print out and use if you like.
baptism

Spirit/Attitude Pride

Pride

They say scratch the surface of any sin and you’ll find pride just underneath. Pride corrupts everything it touches and infects every part of your life if you let it. It can give you a self inflated opinion of yourself and cause you to look down on others. A false sense of entitlement. That you deserve whatever you want and it is alright to use others to get it. It can blind you to how you use or hurt others. perhaps worst of all you may wind up hurting others to make yourself feel better. They have insecurities and try to build themselves up by picking on others. Which only reinforces the victims’ insecurities.

This leads to low self esteem and feelings of loneliness. A sense of worthlessness. This can lead to depression and serious problems. For the bullies this will lead to no respect of anyone else. They will believe they can just take what they want from others. That rules or laws don’t apply to them and they can avoid consequences.
Others will just live a life of vanity. using others to get complements. Seeking praise from others. Look what I have done. Aren’t I such a great person. That can be a slippery slope. Doing things for others to get attention. You may appear to be doing good, but it is all for ego. In the end they will say, but look at all the good I did, but al they will have is emptiness inside because it was built on a false self image. The problem with pride is that there is no such thing as a selfless act.

Pride can cause you to develop the idea you are always right. That you alone know how to do something or the RIGHT way to do anything. When you become so full of yourself you stop listening to those around you. Doesn’t everyone hate bossy people. You should always listen to others. Even if they are not right, it is respectful. Respect others to get respect. You know what happens to those bossy people. They get left behind by others. People don’t like them so they begin to avoid them. Sometimes even plot against them. Those are the people who get backstabbed. However the ones who are respectful, even when telling others what to do, they are exalted by others. Lifted up and called wise. If someone has a problem they say “Oh, Go talk to so-n-so, they always know what to do.”  But when the prideful try to tell someone how to handle a problem they respond “Oh no, there they go again. I can’t stand them.”

 

 

To develop Humility
Look at someone. Pick five people you know and really look at them. Their lives. Their families and find one good thing about them that you admire. Tell them about. It is good for people to hear that.
Use coupons.
Yeah not much of an experiment. Coupon clipping in many areas has always carried a stigma with it

Spirit/Attitude Envy

Envy

It can be very damaging to constantly compare yourself to others. It can lead to desiring for others not to have the things you want. It can lead you to doing stupid things like destroying what others have or even harming or killing others that you envy. Look at Cain and Abel. Cain envied Abel so much that he lead him into a field and killed him there. You see others with new cars, nice clothes, impressive talents. You think they are so blessed and what you could do if you had even half what they have. If you start looking at what others have, you stop seeing what you have. This can lead you to jealousy. You start desiring what others have so much that it leads to resentment towards them. It can damage your relationships with them. It can damage your state of mind as well. You start thinking what is wrong with you. That there must be something wrong or you would have these things. Or these skills. They achieved it so why can’t you. Since you haven’t, there must be something wrong with you. These can be dangerous paths to stumble down. You stop seeing what you do have in your life and focus on what you don’t have and what you achieve will not seem like success.
You have to stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone is unique. Everyone has their own talents that are important. We are all part of something much bigger and everyone is important. You just are not on the same path as them. Doesn’t mean your achievements are any less important.
I have an aunt, who is a victim of envy. She is always looking at what others have. At times it can be hard to go a day without hearing her say “You can buy me that.” or “It can be my early birthday/Christmas present.” To the point where it becomes annoying. She is always looking for that next thing that is going to make her feel better about herself or her life. Someone at work gets a new I pod touch. Within a week she has one. Someone gets a new phone with some feature, she gets one even if she already has a good phone, but doesn’t have that one feature. I got a tablet for my birthday within a week she went out and bought one. If you have the money to spare, buying yourself something is no real problem, however she usually doesn’t. She is usually behind on her bills. Spending 400 on a new laptop when you need to get caught up on your car payment before it gets repossessed is important. She spends a lot of money on things she doesn’t need to the point that she gets very behind on her bills and has to call them to make arraignments to keep them from shutting off her utilities. When she got sick and had to miss a lot of work she ended up loosing her car and getting her satellite shut off. She spend so much time and effort looking at what everyone else has and comparing her life to theirs  she isn’t content with what she does have.

It can be easy to look at everyone else and compare yourself to them, but everyone’s situation is different. God made us all different. He has a different purpose for each of us and will bring us there in his own time. Consider the story of the Fern and the Bamboo.

Fern and Bamboo

One day I decided to quit…I quit my jo                  b, my relationship, my spirituality…. I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
“God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”
His answer surprised me.
“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”
“Yes”, I replied.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
“In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
“In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. The same in year four.
“Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.
Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant.
But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.
It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.
“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.
“Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.
“Your time will come”, God said to me. “You will rise high.”
“How high should I rise?” I asked.
“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.
“As high as it can?” I questioned.
“Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”
I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me. And He will never give up on you.
Never regret a day in your life.
Good days give you happiness; bad days give you experiences; both are essential to life.
–Author Unknown

 

Here is an experiment for you to help get things in perspective.
Count your blessings.
Make a list of things you have achieved grand or small.
Make a list of things you have. Start with the most expensive (home, apartment, car, big screen) Whatever and go down to the smaller things.
Make a list of the friends you have and the family you have. (be sure to put God on this list)
Make a list of your skills, things your good at no matter how mundane they seem. (making a loop with your tong. I can’t do it.)
Angel’s Hands- Rodney Atkins

Change of Spirit Change of Attitude

Change of Spirit Change of Attitude

Here is where the real changes begin. I don’ exactly believe in karma, but I do believe you get out of life what you put into it. If you want anything to change you must first start with you. Think about your attitude. Everyone has things about themselves they want to change. If you are looking for a new and improved life that means you will need a new and improved attitude. Looking inside. Imagine you are in a dark room. It is big and empty. You can’t see, you’re feeling around, stumbling in the dark. You don’t know where you are. You are lost. As you are feeling around you find a chair. So, now you have a navigation point. Where ever you go from this point you will be able to navigate from this position. It becomes a fixed point for you. You know where you are relative from your fixed position. You are no longer completely lost.
It is the same for our moral compass. You have to have a fixed point. Some place that the needle points to. Some thing completely pure and moral. An absolute good. Will we ever be that perfect, no, obviously not, but we need that point of reference to determine right from wrong. The immoral world wants to remove such a fixed point of reference to slide that point wherever they want to justify themselves doing anything they want. Steal, murder, rape. Would you go out and do these things? Why, we were raised with a fixed moral compass, but there are many who do. We know these are wrong. Why, we were raised this way, but many are falling away from that in this world.
Consider this. What is a monster? Monsters are very real. A monster is a creature with no conscience. No one is born this way. People fall into the darkness and are consumed. Darkness exists at the very end of a broad spectrum of light. You get there after a long period of bad choices one after the other. Eventually you loose sight of goodness and yourself. People end up there for many reasons. Usually from influence of others. They fall into the pitfalls of hatred, jealousy, anger, fear, greed, pride, loneliness. Once they get to the end of the spectrum and they fall off, they can’t see the good anymore. Not in the world and not in themselves. They feel as though the world hates them and is against them. They can only see it if someone else shows it to them. People can be influenced in the right ways also, by others actions. Everyone is a force in the world. It is up to you to decide which direction you will go. It is up to you to decide how you will effect the world and how you relate to others. Will you be a force of good or a force of selfishness.

So our attitudes and our spirit are connected and how we present ourselves towards others shows this in how we effect the world. This conversation between me and my hippy friend came about after a bad week at work.  I loaned my brother 200 to get his car fixed and my uncle Gary 200 for gas to get him back to his job in another state. My friend asked me “Why” She claims to be nice, but it is only as far as very close people and if it suits her. She said you only have a responsibility to your mother, not anybody else. I thought about that. I disagree.
No that doesn’t mean I should financially support anybody else, but as Christian we do have a responsibility to others in our life. To help others whenever we can. The Bible says that in the end God will open the books and judge everyone according to what they have done. This also includes what we have not done. As in when others were in need and we knowingly did nothing.
In the near death experiences I have been reading, many people had a life review where they say their life flash before their eyes and saw all the things they did and how they effected other people. Even in ways they couldn’t see in life. Both good and the bad. One day we will be called into account for all the good and evil or just selfish acts we did in life.
Even if you are not a Christian, look at the state of the world. As a human being you are called to be better. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  Just because others are self serving gutter brains doesn’t mean you have to be.
One more thing as far as it goes with my family, I may be in need one day myself. I may have to count on these people. They are less likely to be willing to help me if I shunned them now. Life goes in circles like that.

We are called to be influential to the people in our lives. There are some people you can not  help. They have chosen a path of self destruction, but did you stand back and let it happen or did you try. Sometimes a person has to hit bottom before they can get back up on their feet. The words you say to them can come back to them at that point and or can bury them if they were words spoken in anger or hatred. A sharp tong cuts deep. You can not control them, and you can not do everything for them. You can live as an example and help them to see the options around them. You can show them the light or you can be the light for them.
You can also be the final not in the noose. You can just as easily tear someone apart. You have to choose your words carefully to someone at the end of their rope. But in summary, We are responsible for those around us. Family or friends. No you can’t do everything for them, but you can be an influence. An ear, a kind word, criticism (in loving kindness), advice on matters. We are our brother’s keeper. Their life is their own, but our lives are intertwined like a knitted blanket. If one breaks there is a whole and it can’t be fixed. Every thread has to work together.

A friend of my brother had a death in the family. Her brother was in a car accident. Thankfully he got his life straight and found God before this happened. He was texting on the phone about his new job when it happened. Before this he had a drug and alcohol problem. He went through rehab. I know it must be hard on them. I can’t help wonder what kind of influence she was on him. I know she is a heavy drinker. So is her husband and my brother. I know when i was younger i idolized my brother and our cousin Randall, who he ran around with. I wanted to be like him and I would have done anything they did, but I saw how their actions hurt other people and even still to this day. They drink a lot and he has a gambling problem. What kind of influence did She have on him or didn’t have on him. She was his older sister, could some of the things he did been avoided. What path could he have taken if she had lived differently. Our cousin Tommy followed in Randall’s footsteps. He did everything Randall did. He was a big influence on him. Tommy fell into drugs and eventually into gangs where he once got kidnapped by them. Both have turned their lives around now after a long hard road, but how much of that could have been avoided.
We always influence the people around us even if we don’t see it. Every day we cross paths with someone and people see how we behave and treat other people. Even if you are not a Christian you can agree that we should be an influence of good on other people. Let the children see an example of how people should be. Every action we make will effect someone weather it is immediately in front of us or unseen down the road. Some people say we have a choice of  influencing and directing the path of someone’s life. I disagree. We don’t have that choice, we always direct the path of someone’s life every day by our own choices. We only have the choice of whether it is in a positive way or a negative way.
We should always remember that our lives and how we choose to live have an impact on other people. What we put out into the world will not only come back to us, but also to those around us and the people we care about. It can easily turn into a vicious cycle if we let it. Change is inevitable and we can direct the direction of it as a positive force. We need to focus on our attitudes and our relationships towards others.

These are some other posts to help with our attitudes.

AngerLustEnvy, PrideGluttony, Greed, Sloth

Further Study: (movies)
Edges of the Lord
What if
Sliding Doors

Spirit/Attitude Lust

Lust

Lust is a big one. Pretty much every guy has dealt with it.  Not to say this can’t be a problem for women too. It is just a bigger problem for men. If you have read or plan to read Every Man’s Battle. That is what this book is all about. Victory over sexual sins. It tells how some women were surprised at how big a problem it is for men. Men are VERY visually stimulated. When those hormones start, self control drops drastically. It works like a drug, thinking becomes harder. It can become addictive. It effects every area our your life. It has been scientifically studied to effect the brain like heroine.  The sexual high. The release. Leading to needing more of a fix sooner rather than later. Even causing every day things and activates you once enjoyed to hold less value or pleasure for you.  Can you believe that. That even sounds like a drug.

That is mostly referring to porn and masturbation. Sex is fine as long as it is with your significant other. Men feel most connected to another person right after sex. However when that person is not your wife. That is called adultery. It can lead you to feeling more intimacy for someone else and breaking apart your marriage. Especially if anyone else finds out. My uncle found this out. As a truck driver he spent a lot of time away from home. One thing led to another. You know the drill. He fell in love with another woman. (not his wife) Tried to convince her that they could get more back on taxes if they divorced. (He wanted to marry this other woman) Well turns out another woman he had slept with previously was pissed at him and called up his wife and this other woman and told them everything. His wife was pissed. Did divorce him, and sold off all his stuff for chump change. When he asked her why her response was “Because it would hurt you.” Were you surprised. He actually was. He did eventually marry that other woman although she almost left him too. He had told her he was single. She was religious and wasn’t happy about being the other woman. She forgave him and they adopted two kids.

Lust gets you into many problems if you don’t reign it in. Put a bridal on it and bring it under your control. We live in a highly sexualized world that bombards you with sexuality at every turn. It is like a mine field where if you don’t watch every step you will be blown to bits. Possibly quite literal. The thing about sexual highs is that your body will eventually get used to it and need bigger thrills. Leading you down dark paths and bigger risks that may not end well. The more you chase after one thing, the less you are able to connect with people. Even the ones in your life you are not trying to bed. It keeps a certain level of distance between you and those in your life. In life we need people. Friends and family. People to connect with. If you aren’t able to get close to people, you will never find real intimacy, with loved ones, with close friends, with spouses, or with God. You will never feel truly satisfied. No amount of sexual high will achieve that in any form. Whether it is sex with a person or sex with pornography. Any feeling of satisfaction will be short lived. We are hard wired to need connections. To be close to other people. God said “It is not good for man to be alone.” That is not just about Adam and Eve doing it. Yes we need sex, but we also just need intimacy. Closeness with others. Wives, husbands, friends, family, and most importantly God. As long as there is sexual sin in your life, you will never be able to be close to God.

Physical, Mental, Spiritual

So what can yo do about it? To start off with yo can bounce your eyes. It can be hard at first. If you have been seriously into sex and porn. You probably haven’t even realized how much your eyes fall on lusty images. The trick is simple though. When you see something lustful, look away. Focus on something else. Simple. But not really. It is actually difficult to do. Your eyes don’t want to. It take time, but it can be done to train your eyes to look away. Until it become second nature.

Memorize scripture. Just find one passage that speaks to you. Memorize it. When these images start to bombard you and you try to bounce your eyes. Bring this verse to the for front of your mind. Capture your thoughts. When you start to think sexy things. Push those thoughts out and bring that verse to your mind and roll it around. Contemplate it.

Lastly. Guard your heart. Pray and focus on your loved ones. Nothing kills the mood like family. That is, someone you have no sexual desire for. Remember your loved ones and how disappointed they would be if they found out what you were thinking. What you were doing. How would God feel if he knew. Well he does know doesn’t he. As long as you repent he is faithful to forgive. Fight for purity.

Well this is where I would place an experiment for you to do. Not sure what to do for lust though. Maybe I will update this with something in the future.

 

Spirit/Attitude Gluttony

Gluttony

Over indulgence. Over consumption. Over doing things.

Obsession can take away from life. Take the joy from what you love and what you have. It is okay to love to do things, but how much can you love something when it becomes a constant obsession to do them. It can become a chore to fit them into your life. Say you love collecting stamps, you have several now and you start looking at what you don’t have and you begin searching for ways to get them. Every day you spend hours looking for them on the internet and driving all over looking for what you need to finish various sets. Do you still love them the way you did. Because now you are getting frustrated when you can’t find what you need. You get angry at people who remind you of what you don’t have. You spend so much time on your collections that you have no time to spend with your friends or family. Obsession can be damaging for your relationships. Look at Ahab and his white whale and where his obsession got him in the book Moby Dick. He was pulled to the bottom of the ocean. Passions can be great. They can be a joy and bring people together. Families can be made stronger when come together with them, but they need to be kept in perspective.
Gluttony is often thought of as over eating. It is the easiest thing to over do. We love food and it feels good to eat things we love. The ancient Greeks did too. They loved to eat so much that they had feasts where they would eat as much food and drinks as possible and then go to a specified area and purge themselves (vomit) so they could go back and eat more.
I have a friend who is no stranger to over doing things. When she was young she was very thin. She loved to exercise. She was so thin she could lay on her side and push out her rib bones and see them clearly defined. She also smoked a great deal. She would be puffing on her ciggs while power walking down the road. Exercise is good. Smoking (okay not good, but there are some benefits if you are a usually stressed out person) but if your going to do it, moderation is important.

Any activity can become gluttonous if we give too much attention to it. If we put it first in our lives. If we spend more money on it than we have. Living to pay off the credit cards, because we over extend our budget on these activities. Or maybe shopping or budgeting is our gluttony. Watching every penny can be bad for you too. It can be stressful and time consuming. The Bible tells us to do all things in moderation. That there is a time for all things and they should be done in their time. That is why we put God first. Placing God first means we live by his standards. God says to put him first and all things then fall into place, because we put his values on them. We follow his examples.

Physical, Mental, Spiritual

Physically we need to access our lives. Are we over doing any part of our lives. Are we making something our god, that isn’t God. Consider this, what can you not live without. How much of your life does it consume. I of course am not saying you must give this up, but you need to bring in under god’s control.

Now that you are making that list, you need to come up with a strategy for dealing with it. Learn to capture those thoughts that are consuming you. If it has a hold of you, you must be spending a lot of time thinking about it. Learn to bounce your mind. When those thought come into your head,, change your mind to something else. If you have a friend you can talk to, find them when you find you can’t distract yourself. Talk to them about something.

If you find you have areas of gluttony, then you must not be putting God first. It is common with these sins that they become so important to you that they become your gods. You live to serve them. As a slave. You are no longer your own master,  you live for them, to do them. They only problem, they didn’t die for you. As long as you live for them, you soul will wither and die and when you die, you soul will be lost. God is the only God that can save your soul.

 

For an activity to do to avoid or get out of gluttony.
Fasting is the most obvious one that comes to mind. Fasting is more than just abstaining from easting. It is giving up of an activity (any activity) for a period of time to give that time to God. It is an exercise in self discipline. Self control.
There is something empowering and spiritual in denying the body of carnal desires. We get into the state of mind that if we enjoy it, it must be ok. Well some people enjoy hurting others, does that make it ok. Of course not.
Another activity is having a Sabbath. A day of rest. Most people have heard of it, but few really know what it means. It is more that avoiding work and giving rest to the body. It is setting aside our usual priorities and focusing on the things that are truly important. God is suppose to be the center of our lives, but also is family. We can get caught up in so many things that we loose touch with the people in our lives, even the ones we live with. We assume everything is okay because we see them every day. We assume they know how we feel. This is often not the case. People need to hear the words I love you. They need to see our actions and feel important to us. Set aside one day in the week to set aside everything else and focus on God and family.

Spirit/Attitude Greed

Greed

Greed can be a dangerous emotion. To desire everything. It can be easy to fall into if you are the kind of person that is an impulse buyer. Buying things to make you feel better. To get that little rush from getting something new. It can become a crutch. It can also lead to very bad results. You can set up your budget, have everything set up and in place, You got it all worked out, then something bad happens. You have a really crappy day, you are feeling very low and crappy. You spot some shiny thing, you like it you want it and that little nagging voice pops into your head and you crave it and buy it. It puts you over drawn and a check bounces. Like dominoes it puts you behind on your bills and you end up paying late fees and over draft charges. Now you are really in debt.

                                  This not the case for everyone obviously, but it is true for some and it can be a trap for all of us. You can end up spending money you don’t have. But it is not just spending, greed can impair you life. Look at hoarders. Compiling so much stuff and spending so much time obsessing over it. It can take so much of your time you forget to live and it can take up a lot of your space. So much that you have no room to move. I’ve heard a story of someone dying because some of it had fallen over one them and they couldn’t get out. Reminds me of when a shelf fell on my brother. My dad was kind of a hoarder, but not to that extent exactly. He wanted everything he saw and spent a lot of money on it and even ran up several credit cards getting it. He had stuff stuffed away in boxes and drawers and anywhere he could put it. We are still paying on his credit cards. We are still tripping over some of his stuff. If he saw something he wanted he would try to get them to sell it to him. If they didn’t he would get really mad. Sometimes even cussing them, because he didn’t get what he wanted. Things he had no use for and we would never use. He believed it would somehow make his life better, or to just be able to tell people he had it. Like his Cadillac, He loved to tell people he had it. It didn’t run and it sat there for a long time, but he had it. Along with other cars that didn’t run and or were not good for much more than junking.
While we are on the subject of money. Finances are the number one cause of divorce. Money problems bring a lot of stress into a relationship. Couples need to come together when it comes to budgeting. Where your treasure is, your heart will be also. What you do with money tell a story of who you are and where your values are.
Also on another note. If you are someone who is struggling financially, you need to remember this about your spouse, for a woman money represents security. If you don’t have any put back or not coming in, they are facing terror. They are scared. They are in a frightened state, even if they are not outwardly showing it. For men , ladies, if you are having financial trouble, He is not feeling like a provider. He is failing in his husbandly duties. This is making him feel insecure. He may feel on edge and if you don’t give each other understanding or it can erupt into something dangerous. You need to reassure each other. Touch is a powerful sense. A non-sexual touch (non-sexual) like a hug or shoulder touch can be very powerful. Especially for women. What you really need to do is set a budget. You have to come together. Agree on where your money is going. Agree to it and stick to it.
I have a friend at work, who has a wife who does all the budgeting and she gives him something like an allowance. She tells him how much he can spend per week and that is all. He is fine with it. He likes it this way. I guess it works for them. I have another friend at work, who I work with directly most of the time. She is always budgeting. Almost to the point of obsession. She will zone out while we are working and just stand there while she is managing her bills. I will just stand and stare at her with my hand on my chin waiting for her to snap out of it. She will look up at me and realize what just happened and apologize. I find it funny. She is like this because her husband is a spender. Women need that security. This causes lots of conflicts in their relationship. I can tell when there are money problems happening. When big expenses come up. She becomes more sullen. More grumpy. Gets mad easier. This is because she has less security. It can feel like your whole world is falling around you. I would encourage you however to be involved. It can strengthen your relationship. It can provide unity. It is okay to want nice things, but you have to consider whether it is affordable and practical. It may be better to wait.

Physical, Mental, Spiritual

Guard your eyes. Do you always look at the newspaper adds, flipping through all the new pretty things. You may be addicted to the high of NEW. Especially if you are not  happy with where you are in your life right now. Shopping can be an addiction. That feeling that the next new thing will make your life better. The reality is that you life wont get better to you take a good hard look at it. No THING is going to fix it. It has more to do with your attitude about it.

Mentally, as I have mentioned, is how you look at your life. If you are not happy with it, you can look for outside things to make you feel better. You have to understand that it is ok to want things, but not everything you want is going to be productive in your life, and it can be a hindrance. Be practical and smart about managing your money. Don’t make things your priority in life.

Understand chasing money and possessions in life will only stunt you  spiritually. That which you make your master is where your heart will lie. If you allow your possessions to be the most important thing in your life, your relationships will suffer especially your relationship with God.  You need for things will consume you and you will feel more unhappy which will fuel your need for more things. An endless cycle.

Experiment time
Set a Budget.
Get together and figure your weekly income or close approximate. Get your bills together and see when the due date are and set a weekly budget and a monthly budget. Figure up what is spent, what is for spending, and what is set aside for saving. It will provide a sense of security and a sense of accomplished duty and responsibility. I have another post about finances and budgeting Here.