Sunday, May 29, 2005

Simple Obedience

"And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and soul... to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to hold fast to Him...No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you." Duet 11:13, 22b,25

Recipe for success: follow the above, repent, repeat. Sounds easy, huh? I can easily say that I have not been obedient most of my life, even most of my Christian life. I screw up, I walk the other way, I go back to old habits. I repent, I draw near to God, and then I repeat the cycle.

God's made it simple, the recipe seems simple, why the hell is this so freakin' hard then? I have choices to make every day. That chapter in Deuteronomy continues with the consequences of obedience or disobedience. Again, it's simple: if you obey, you're blessed, if you do not obey, you're cursed. Why is it so easy to choose the latter? We already know what to do. We already understand the consequences. It's simple...yet there's such a battle for our soul, that temptations are made so easily available that disobedience looks good, seems good and feels good.

Making a choice of disobedience most often seems like it would be the path of less resistance, and sometimes it is that way. At least in the beginning it is that way. It soon becomes apparent though, that our choice of disobedience begins to weave a complicated web that entraps us and gets us stuck in places and with things we do not want, or are hard to get rid of. Habits.... feelings... thoughts.... patterns... addictions... pick your favorite. The bottom line is, God makes it simple. We screw it up.

So in this walk with God, I have to deny what has no profit to my soul. I must turn my back on things that only provide temporary and empty promise for the life God intended me to have: one of great promise, blessings, and authority. It just seems so simple.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

stressful day

I have such a hard time every time I come to San Antonio. I don't know if it's because I have to leave my house by 5:00 a.m. to get here before the traffic gets horrendous, if it's the 2 1/2 hour drive, or if it's just the general atmosphere when I get here....but something's not right about this trip.
I always feel restless and depressed. In addition, I am feeling like I am wasting my time being here. I could probably take care of this office from back home. On top of all that, since this is a new office, things are just getting started here, so it's a little slow until everything starts to fall into place. I'm in the process of getting letters approved, having brochures printed and getting leads contacted. I just want things to get going.
The one good thing is that I get to see my mom once a week now. She is always glad to see me. But it's hard to deal with all the stuff that comes with being away from home. It's just not the same not being there. Added to that is the stress of knowing there are issues back home and I'm not there to deal with them.
Life is hard, and in 47 years, it hasn't gotten easier. It would be nice if I had a friend here to talk to. Maybe I'm just tired, and a good night's sleep might make a difference. yeeesh...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Morning, Believing, and Trusting

This morning, like the last few mornings, it is cool outside. It's a pleasant low 70's, with a slight breeze. I know the temperature will break 90 again today, so I enjoyed taking advantage of the coolness while drinking my coffee outside on the back porch.
I love the sounds of the morning. It's quieter than the rest of the day, but there's a special sound of the world getting ready. The birds are certainly active. There's the sound of people driving to work, and generally it's a sound of preparation. I love it. It's totally different than the sound of the evening.
Either time, I love being out on the back porch, drinking my coffee in the morning or having a cold drink of something in the evening. But the morning....ah, the morning. It seems like it's the best time to think about things. I have a fresh start, a whole new day in front of me, and I can choose the direction and what I can do with the rest of the day. I can pray. I can listen to what God may be saying to me. I can cry out to Him in desperation, or I can just sit there and listen. Sometimes I just sit there and tell Him what I'm planning for the day. I'm sure it amuses Him at times.
The important thing of it all is that I get to just spend some time alone with Him, before Izzy wakes up, before the phone starts ringing, and before I have to start being busy. There are lots of demands on me during the day, but in the early morning, when I spend time with God, there are no demands. It's just a time of communion and fellowship. Two friends talking. Yes, friends...
God considered Abraham a friend, simply because "he believed God." (James 2:23) Believing God means trusting God, they are the same word. And Moses, in Exodus 33:11, spoke to God "as a man speaks to his friend." Yes, God is a friend, if you would allow Him to be.
For most of us, it's easy to believe IN God, easy to believe there IS a God, but do we dare believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on,AMP) God? Do were dare consider Him and talk to Him as a friend?

Today, I choose to believe God. I choose to adhere to His precepts, commandments and judgments. I choose to trust Him for my provision, my direction, and my understanding. And I will rely on Him to get me through whatever today will bring.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Yesterday's Big Adventure.

My sister-in-law and her boyfriend were spared their lives yesterday afternoon. We took a trip out in the country to go to a fish fry at my brother-in--law's (my wife's brother) house. I was driving ahead of my sister-in-law's car. Her boyfriend was driving, and probably a little too close to me. I was kicking up a considerable amount of dust, so thick I could not see him in my rear-view mirror. 2 1/2 miles down a gravel road, the road suddenly took a 90 degree turn to the right. I had slowed enough to negotiate the turn, but there was another car that had come out of the turn first, coming toward us, that was also kicking up a lot of dust. Well, as soon as I made that turn, I thought to look in my rear-view mirror and saw boyfriend skidding toward the outside bank and watched their car flip over on its roof. I immediately turned around and as I approached the car was yelling, "Are you guys OK?" I went to the driver's side first, but knew I could not open the door and could not see the boyfriend. My wife was on the phone with 911 as I ran around to the other side of the car where I saw my sister-in-law hanging upside down, still in her seatbelt. I smelled the beer that was in the back seat that had broken when the car flipped. Still no response from them. I ran to my car to get a knife I keep in there for just such an emergency, in case I needed to cut the seat belt. When I got back to their car, sissy was saying she was OK, and boyfriend was crawling around in the back. We were able to open the rear passenger door and get them both out. The car was totaled, but both of them were fine. Neither one of them even had a scratch.
It took DPS 45 minutes to get there, and the wrecker another 30. After 2 hours in 100 degree heat, the drama was over. It was a long trip home last night, since we had to drive them back to Killeen, 30 miles west of where we live, them double back to Temple.
I wonder if they realize what a wake up call they just had. I will have to talk to them about that. They could have easily been going a little faster, and had a more violent flip. They could have easily been killed. To them it was just another thing... the 5th accident they've been involved in this year. I'm beginning to wonder what the hell they're doing.
Life is short. I don't know how many days I have left here on this earth, but a few weeks ago, I felt the Lord whisper to me that very is short. I need to be living my life as if today is my last day. Death takes some a thief in the night. I'm not scared to die, and I am looking forward to an eternity with Jesus, but frankly, I'm not ready just yet. I'd like to stick around here a while longer. Nevertheless, I need to be ready, today could be my last day.
Pray for me that I can speak softly, but firmly to my sister-in-law and her boyfriend. Pray for me that I can give them the gospel message in a way they will understand and receive it. And pray for me that I will continue to live out this life on purpose.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

For What It's Worth...

I took this test...hmmm...ok... The link below has been squirrely...but try it again, I think it's working now.

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (corrected...again)
created with

Friday, May 20, 2005

Real Live Preacher

I got to meet a real famous person today... the guy that inspired this blog...Real Live Preacher! We had a good, but short, conversation...even so, we squeezed a lot into 45 minutes. I enjoyed the peace and sincerity of it all.
I am still trying to understand how all the pieces fit. Out of the blue one day, I ran across a quote in an email attributed to him. I visited his blog, and the rest is manifested right here, in this blog. And today I actually met him. Funny how all the pieces came together. Maybe someday I'll know why.

A meme from Dave

"Meme" - In casual use, the term meme often refers to any piece of information passed from one mind to another. Meme (pron. meem): A contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. (Term coined by Dawkins, by analogy with "gene".) Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic.

1. Total volume of music files on my computer?

pffft.... I don't download music on my computer... that's for young white guys from Delaware and geeks

2. The last CD I bought was?

Bought? Hmmmmm..... probably "Los Lonely Boys" ... I usually have CDs given to me. I picked up several today from a friend...
"Guitarras & Tequilas" Frank Corrales - one of the legendary masters of Tex-Mex music
"Border Spice" Frank Corrales
"Guadalupe, Virgin de Los Indios" San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble - 16th century Aztec and Nahua spiritual music, inspired by La Virgen de Guadalupe
"Guitarristas" a mix of Cubano, Spanish, Mexican and Brazillian guitar musica
"ad vielle que pourra" Musaique - a very ecclectic blend of European folk music
"Sephardic Romances" - Ensemble Accentus - Traditional Jewish Music from Spain
"Flamenco Southwest" Ruben Romero

3. Song playing right now:

La Malaguena Salerosa - Frank Corrales

4. Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):

"How Far is Heaven?" - Los Lonely Boys
"Breathe" - Michael W. Smith
"Bright White" - Shawn Phillips
"Money" Pink Floyd - it's about the message...
"Crucified" - Salvador

5. Which 5 people are you passing this baton to, and why?
No one...I hate forwarding things.
Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Me, The Dead Guy, and His Buddies

Sometimes I feel like I have a giant hole in the middle of me that can't be filled with anything, no matter how hard I try. Truth is, I really do... I was feeling particularly empty today, for whatever reason, and the old life started bugging me. You know....the old dead man that lives inside me...the old guy I try to resurrect every time I feel that way.

I drag out the dead guy and say, "Lets find something to do that's exciting!" The dead guy just follows me... No matter what I do or how excited I get, the dead guy just can't get satisfied. He begins to get heavier and heavier as I continue to carry him around. Somewhere along the way, we pick up Shame. The dead guy holds him quite well. Then a little further down the way, we pick up Guilt, who happily comes along for the ride, even adding his own guilt as we go. Not much later, Old Habits pop up. They're familiar company.

Now I remember....some time ago, I put this old dead guy on the altar, but I keep going back to pick him up. What's wrong with me anyway? Before long he always gets too heavy for me to keep carrying around. So today I finally decided I was not going to carry that old, dead rotting flesh with me and decided to take a walk without him and just talk with God. No burden there... in fact, he lifted whatever burden I had, and filled that hole inside. I needed just a little time with Him, to fill that empty space.

I feel much better now.

Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Louis Santoy Tamez - November 23, 1929 - May 15, 2004

Today is the 1st anniversary of my father's passing from this life to the next. A few months before his death, he pulled me, my brother, and my brother-in-law aside, made some confessions, and asked, "How do I make it right with God?" It blew me away. I saw a humble and contrite heart. My response to him was, "You just did, Dad. You have exactly what He wants...a humble spirit." We prayed for him and spoke into his life. We cried. We forgave. It was a moment I will always cherish.

Several more times in the months that followed, he pulled me aside to tell me something he just wanted to get said and off his chest. I believe he "cleared his plate" before he checked out. I believe when he breathed his last breath, he was clean and right with the Lord.

The moment he died, he was surrounded by my mother cradling his head, and me and my 2 brothers and three sisters touching him. We prayed him into glory. He died with a smile on his face and the most peaceful look I have ever seen. I know he is at rest.

It was an honor to do his eulogy. His life was so full and rich, and there was plenty to remember, plenty to speak of. Because he had one of the best senses of humor I have ever known someone to have, it was easy to joke and tell funny stories about him. I know he would have been proud to hear all the funny stories, and might have thrown in a few of his own. I wish he was still here to tell me stories. There was so much he didn't finish sharing that I wish I could have heard.

For such a little guy physically, he sure was a giant mentally, spiritually and morally. He loved my mother to his last breath. He not only told me, he showed it. He taught me about women (what he could) and was always a good example for me. We cleaned his closets after he died. There were no skeletons. He was a man of integrity. I struggle sometimes trying to fill those shoes, but I know if he was here, he would tell me I had my own shoes to fill. I cherish the times I heard him tell me that he was proud of me.

I miss him a lot, but I am comforted with the fact that one day I will see him again. He was, and always will be my father. I am proud to be his son.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Grace: Unmerited Favor

I have struggled with unworthiness and depression due to bad decisions and even worse timing. I have been reading in Ephesians, and the other night, I even thought, "This doesn't apply to me. I'm not worthy and I am beyond grace." But God, in His gentle way, quieted my heart and reminded me that His grace is all I need. He loves me... and He even likes me.
We're human; we make mistakes, miscalculations, and errors in judgment. It doesn't make us any worse, or for that matter, better than anyone else. We just "are." But there is one thing I know that I can always hang onto: it's more important to know "whose" I am. God created me for a purpose.
Sometimes I think I have defined that purpose, but every day reveals something new. I have learned to be content with what I have, even though I never quit striving for more....more wisdom, more understanding, more creativity, more ideas, more whatever.... the secret of contentment though is to be thankful for what I DO have. That in itself is enough. I believe if I can be thankful for just one thing, I'll learn to be thankful for more as it comes my way.
"Becoming a better person" is a process, but to what end? When are we actually "better", and then what are we better than? content with who you are, whose you are, and what you are. You are God's creation, created for a purpose.
I think this guy needs a little encouragement, so if you've logged on today, to see what I've written, your purpose and mission is to see his blog and respond. Now, GO DO IT!

Today, I am thankful for the ability to connect with people in whose lives I can have an impact. My purpose is to leave a positive impact, not just an impression. My mission is to find just one person to do that with. And today, before I go to sleep, I will learn at least one thing, and I will teach someone at least one thing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Key quiet
Push the butt....push the button
I quiney....I'm crying
Macawono cheese....macaroni & cheese
"Therewasaoleladysheswallowed a .... wha-she-swallow????...wha-she-swallow, mommy???"
Sung to "Itsy-bitsy Spider," in the deepest, lowest voice a 3-year old can muster..."GWATE BIG SPI-LAR wen up the walaspout..."
Posted by Hello

If you can't say something nice...

....then don't say anything.

Notes from my Economics professor regarding grades:


Results for Quiz 3 and Assignment 3 follow. Not a stellar performance. Your final grade is the simple sum of the 3 quizzes and the minimum grade distributions given earlier. So, it is as follows:
Final Grade=B. Barely


So I never cracked the text....shouldn't I at least get a "Good job" ???

Some people you just can't make happy...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Things I Take for Granted, But I'm Really Thankful For...

Here's a few things I thought of...thanks, Anne for getting me thinking!
  • fresh ground Columbian Cucaramunga coffee
  • electricity (ours was out for 9 hours because of a storm yesterday)
  • making a pot of coffee BEFORE the lights went out
  • getting served coffee in a real mug at the local coffee joint
  • wireless connections
  • cell phones with internet capability
  • passing Economics with a B without ever opening the textbook
  • getting to preach most Sundays
  • having a sermon where everyone can participate
  • being able to build a birdhouse out of old cedar fence boards
  • being able to paint a Mother's Day card for Linda
  • habanero sauce
  • fresh, hot, homemade tortillas
  • Izzy-isms (things my 3 year old granddaughter comes up with...I'll do another post for that)
  • lightning and thunder
  • beagles
  • sunsets
  • sunrises
  • clouds (the sky is God's canvas, and it changes every day)
  • finding the perfect picture frame at a garage sale for 50 cents
  • buying a book for $1 at a garage sale and selling it for $20 on Amazon
  • rocking Izzy to sleep
  • being forgiven when I least deserve it
  • being able to come up with so many things I'm thankful for
It would be too easy to come up with a list of things that irritate me. In fact, last week, as part of my final English exam, I had 2 hours to write a final persuasive essay from scratch. One of the choices of topics was "The most irritating qualities a man/woman can have." My challenge was keeping it to 3 points and less than 500 words...

Feel free to add your own to this list!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Weeds in the Back Yard

Yesterday Linda and I were in our back yard digging up weeds. This is a difficult thing to do if 1) you're not used to it and 2) you've let them populate for a while. We decided to attack our back yard with the best "Weed and Feed" product we could buy. It killed most of the weaker weedy grass we had back there...but these weeds that are left not only are aggressive, they are hardy too.

The only way to get rid of these weeds is to actually get a spading fork and dig them up by hand. Not only did I have to dig up underneath them, but then we had to get on our knees and actually pull up the root (which had tangled up with the roots of our good grass), and then knock off the clump of dirt that was packed around the roots. It's a tedious and difficult process.

I commented that our front yard looked great, and I was glad we didn't have these in our front yard.... all of a sudden I realized a spiritual truth. Our front yard is what our neighbors see... they never see the back, so for all they know we have a perfect backyard too. Linda commented, "This is where we actually spend our time", (in the back).

Weeds represent sin. If we allow them to grow, they entangle their roots in the fertile soil of our hearts and lives and also with the roots of the good things we have planted. They eventually choke out the good grass and take all the nutrients out of the soil. All of a sudden we find our hearts overtaken by things that are difficult to get rid of.

The "neighbors" (our coworkers, church family, friends, etc.) only see our "front" yard. Few people, except those really close to us, ever see the "back" yard. Most people assume that our lives are fine, because they only get to see what we show them from the "front". They don't see the things we keep hidden...those secret places in our hearts that only we know about.

Repentance is spiritual weed killer. It gets rid of some of the sin in our lives simply because we begin to change the environment (soil) in which we have allowed it to grow. It simply dies. But there is some sin that has aggressively taken hold in our lives. It requires the painful process of digging deep, getting on our knees and untangling the root system from the soil and the good things in our lives. It is also a process of taking care of one at a time, one section at a time. It may take days, weeks, months or even a lifetime of digging and separating.

One other thing I noticed... where the weeds were, there are now holes in our ground. It will take a while to fill the holes and for the grass to grow back. It's unsightly and needs to be tended to. Uprooting sin sometimes leaves a hole that needs to be filled in. We may feel wounded, empty, or ashamed because we're scarred. The good news is, that if we allow God to restore us, He will.

Recently, my daughter brought up something she knew about me that I thought I had kept hidden. It was about something that happened a couple of years ago, and I have since repented. But I never dealt with it and it has been the cause of shame and guilt in my life. Now that it has been exposed, Linda and I have been able to talk about it and deal with it. Hopefully my daughter has forgiven me.

It's time to look in the backyard of your soul. Time to get back there and pull up those weeds we keep hidden. God knows what the back yard looks like... and His grace is sufficient to fill in the wounds and scars that getting rid of the sin will create. While it is a process that may be difficult and painful, it is not an impossible one. It may require help to get rid of the more aggressive stuff... but go for it. The process and work is well worth it.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

What's Your Brazen Serpent?

Occassionally I want to bring you something from my friend, Robert Fitts.
Robert always challenges me with his messages. I hope he challenges you too. More tomorrow. I'm dealing with some strong issues and conviction right now and what I really want to do is just close myself off.
by Robert Fitts

It is altogether possible that you have a Nehushtan in your life. If you do, you need to deal with it in the same way that King Hezekiah dealt with it. He broke it in pieces.

But what is a Nehushtan? For the people of God in II Kings 18 it was a brazen serpent. For you and me it is something else, but it is still a Nehushtan. The meaning of the word is "An unclean thing."

To understand the spiritual impact of this we must go to the book of Numbers. In chapter 21 we read of the judgment of God upon the Israelites because of their constant complaining about their circumstances. (Take note, complainers) The Lord sent fiery serpents among them, many were bitten and many died. The people cried out to Moses and Moses prayed to the Lord for the people. God gave Moses instructions to make a brass serpent and put it on a pole in the middle of the camp where all could see it and said, "Everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." The intent of the word "look" is not a casual glance but an attentive, expectant, steady and absorbing gaze. And so it was that if any were bitten, when they looked at the brass ser­pent, they were healed.

Now there was certainly nothing evil about looking at the brass serpent in that way within the context of that pressing need. It was God's means of deliverance in answer to the prayer of Moses. But we read in II Kings 18 that, many years later, the people were burning incense to that brass serpent and looking to it as some sort of fetish. They had made it a little brass god and had their attention focused on it instead of on the living God. Hezekiah turned his fierce anger on it the same as he had done to all their idols.

God has had to deal with Nehushtans in my life. Some years ago I began to experience the release and power that fasting will bring to our lives as believers. That was OK. Then I got my eyes on fasting. It became a "thing" to me. I even got to the place where I didn't feel spiritual unless I was fasting. That was NOT OK!!!

I have had to "break in pieces" that Nehushtan in my life. Not that I no longer fast. I still fast but there was a long period of time in which I could not fast until I was able to see it in its proper light again.

God wants us to focus our attention on Him and not on some brass serpent that represents some aspect of truth or some means of His deliverance that happened in our past. He doesn't want us to build a shrine to anything. The first thing that Peter wanted to do when he saw Jesus transfigured on the mount was to "build three tabernacles . . . " The Lord rebuked Peter with a strong voice right out of heaven, saying, "This is my beloved son! HEAR HIM! God wants our focus of attention to be on JESUS, not even on an experience we have had with Jesus.
It seems we're continually trying to wrap something up in a neat little package so we can put it under our arm and say, "Look what I've got!" It is just too risky to put our trust in something we can't see or feel.

But God is cutting away all our outward props. He will deal severely with our false gods. Some people's Nehushtans are them­selves! Their focus and their trust is in their own strength, talents, intelligence and ingenuity. Others have their eyes on some plan or program. Still others have their confidence in their job, their company, their money, their reputation, their friends, their good looks, their charismatic personality, on and on.

God is very merciful and patient with us and will wait on us for a long time and with great tenderness, but the time will come when he will turn up the heat in order to burn off our lives all things that hinder our coming into the perfection of his plan for us. It is a painful, but "worth it all" experience. Will you pray this prayer with me? "Lord, be relentless with me! Please don't give up on me until I'm thoroughly purged from all things that defile or that grieve your Holy Spirit. And don't give in for my crying. Amen."