Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Tactics?

I was phoned recently by some random third-party collector. She spoke seriously about an old debt that she claims has fallen off of my credit report, but could still adversely affect me. Apparently, when certain debts are charged-off (or rendered uncollectable), the business can send the IRS a 1099-c. This is a form used to report a settled (discharged) debt, and the government can tax it as earned income. There are conditions for which you can reduce or avoid this impact altogher. Please visit the following website from the IRS for more information:

Friday, March 4, 2011

2011 Fast and Consecration - Day 6

Today was the day of judgement. A day of absolution. I declared that as long as I made it to this morning that literally could stop me, and nothing did. I face quite a few challenges today, but I got quite a bit accomplished. I guess my astonishment is not just that I made it through the entire fast for the first time successfully, but that I don't have to consider it as indentured servitude. I honestly admit that, quite often, so much of what I do go unrecognized, that I assume that it's me reaping what I have sown. I was very incorrect in that mindset. God was just setting me up for another level in Him. Now all I have to do is stop being a wuss and starting being a king. And I really don't have anything profound on top of that to say! I thank God for His goodness and mercy, and I fully embrace this new level of holiness in Him!

Now, to some chicken salad and He-Man (and I hope to have a conversation with my wife *inside joke*)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 Fast and Consecration - Day 5

To live every minute of every day is ideal, but it is ultimately challenging. I have felt every minute of every day for the past five days. I wasn't "allowed" any of my usual vices; the things I told myself was just to kill time, but were really killing me. I lived this week, and will be all the more powerful for it. Do we take the time to live? We slave for these employers, and then they toss us a small stipend. We sacrifice and dedicate time and effort and energy for our families, but it's mostly habit, and a lot of times is fruitless and unheralded. We are faithful in ministry, attending every service possible, being on post, fasting, studying, worshipping. I ask you again - - do we take the time to live? When do we realize that a certain amount of time was appointed to us, and we can't spend it getting ready to try to do anything. I love the rant in Ecclesiastes about how fleeting life is, and how everything has its season, and, my fave line of all (to paraphrase): "eat, drink and be merry". I'm sad when I hear about other married couples having problems, especially when they are young just like my wife and I. I mean, really, what problems could you have? Most of the couples are childless, so you KNOW what that means for the household (wink, wink). Most of the couples in mind have multiple incomes in the household, so unless one is frugal and one is anti-frugal, still no real issue. I suspect, without knowing or caring to snoop into their business, that the real problem is not living. I have been homeless twice in the past two years, and saving is a hard subject to tackle. But I'll be a monkey's uncle if I refuse to find a way to show the love of my life a good time. I'm using coupons, discounts, friends of friends -- whatever it may take in godliness and honesty-- to let her know that the struggle is the struggle, BUT IT IS NOT OUR LIFE!

So with that sentiment (which I literally just spilled, this, nor any of my writings are ever pre-planned) I suggest that we cheat, steal and lie: cheat death of victory, steal more moments to thoroughly enjoy our loved ones and lie aside every burden and lift up hope instead. Now, that line has been used different ways, but, eh, I liked mine better! Victory is nigh!

24 hours....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2011 Fast and Consecration - Day 4

The closer I get to the inevitability of a thing, I feel this amazing surge of power. And not just excitement, I literally feel like I can take on and do anything that I desire! Nevertheless, Day 4 was brutal. I was pulled in my flesh, I was pulled in my tummy, I was pulled on my attitude not once but twice by work related drama. But I believed that I behaved the best way possible, and my reward is at hand. I care to reach people, and I do so in a way that I know that that will be changed after the fact. I see so, so many people, many at church, many at work, who are literally shells of themselves from letting life beat them up so much. Now, some put on the facade of strength, a mask of vitriol and smugness, hiding the scared child inside. Others refrain from speaking, seem surprised by intimate contact, and speak either very low or very fast (or both).

I am going to pull a "Neo" on people. I am going to wake them up out of their secular media-induced comas, and realize that we've but only a few more sunsets left on Earth. I want to let them know that they have souls that can be lost, and it would behoove them not to live through Hell on Earth, only to spend eternity there as well. I want them to see beyond the boundaries of their right now; whether it be the rich man becoming more philanthropic and humble; or the beggar who needs to put down the sign and pick up a trade. But that is what I want, and I am truly a Gethsemane saint -- one who says, "God, nevertheless, thy will be done!" I refused to give up on this fast because I need Him to do something deeper in me. I am so sick and tired of living up to people's accolades of me when I know I have truly not done anything at all. That's why I love the Soul Seekers/Marvin Winans track "It's All God". More than half the time I exist using mathematical calculations and projections, estimating that a certain thing can only happen a certain number of times, and more often that not, I am successful at literally guessing. I want something more authentic than that. I don't want to gamble the rest of my life, constantly retreading and rebuilding. I am ready to build up, stay up, and then die, or rapture. Or die.

48 hours.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2011 Fast and Consecration - Day 3

I declare that I love listening to the K.D. Bowe Morning Show (broadcast locally on AM 1400). His thought of the day stemmed around care in how you receive words. Paraphrasing him: "Words are like seeds, and they can grow in your life; receiving a bad seed can yield a bad harvest in your life". I thought it was a tight piece, so I took it and kept. I returned to work today after an impromptu vacation. As usual, someone had a complaint about management and their expectation. Now, normally, though very much saved, I fall into this trap when I love the sound of my own logic so much that I love to throw my bosses under the bus. I had a different response today. I surmised that, no matter how bad leadership really is, it was up to me to perform all the more exceptionally, and exceed the expectation of the least skilled of management. Thank God for a future, and a vision.

So that was work. After work, I had to the chance to be in the atmosphere of a church goer. Once my wife shared about the details of this week's services, her (the church goer) "spirit" went into overdrive. She proceeded to misquote Matthew 6:16-17, which does NOT at all state that fasting should be kept a secret, it clearly states that fasting should not be done in order to draw attention. But since I didn't respond, I guess she had more ammunition. She went on to state how: you can fast from other things than just food (this is a common excuse used by people who aren't that disciplined; likened to a former co-worker who is convinced that the 10% tithe God demands is not strictly financial. Both of these assumptions are incorrect.) She wrapped up her spiel on fasting by attempting to correct another person who called her out for her obvious lack of previous fasting, by stating she fasted from a certain time until a certain time. It is a successful practice, but as Pastor Williams teaches, if it isn't stirring up your spirit, you just basically dieting. I so love my pastor.

She is one of the people for whom I am believing God for a change in heart. I am glad that I didn't react or respond, and I see it as proof that I have grown some. There is much more work to do, but I'm not dead yet, so clearly I'm going to win this race. Be careful of what is said around you, and be mindful of the things you say. Sometimes, before you say them, let it play out in your mind and check the spirit from which the statement comes. I'm just telling you what I already practice; though, even things I say currently still seem to affect people. If only they knew the unabridged version of my true feelings sometimes. God, mold my heart.