Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beaking he Curse

Silver shadows bouncing off ferns and small trees
That lined the ancient path
Moonbeams illuminating the old trail
To where the spell was cast
Where a bargain was struck with the dragon
The old serpent of old
As six young souls were sacrificed
Upon the bloody stone
The priest walked onward towards the spot
Crucifix in hand
With a resolve in his heart and purpose in his steps
Going to make a stand
Out in the clearing sat the stone
Where the children died
And beyond that rock stood the creature
With green fiery eyes
“Hello my friend, how can I help?”
With a hissing voice
“I am no friend of yours, you liar of old”
The priest said with holy poise
“You know the rules, no blood no deal
The curse will truly stand”
“The rules are different now deceiver of men.
See what’s in my hand”
“It’s just a cross, a trinket of men.
Should I be afraid?”
“Not of the cross, but the one who hung there
To seal your bitter fate”
The creature laughed a hideous laugh
That reeked of sulfur and smoke
The priest just lifted his eyes upward
And these few words he spoke
“By the sin of men and children’s blood
The land was once defiled
But by the blood of Christ the Son of God
The curse I now defy”
A bolt of lightning shot from the heavens
Splitting the stone in half
Two men in white appeared with chains
And the creature grabbed
As the beast was chained he screamed in despair
For he knew his time had come
He knew that he could not break the bonds
And that his time on earth was done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Job Opportunities in North Georgia

With Americans facing with such a bleak outlook on the job frontier, one sector to consider is the restaurant sector. One of the casual dining chains in America that is still offering employment opportunities is Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

If you live in Blue Ridge, Georgia, one of the closest Cracker Barrels is in Canton, Ga, about a 55 minute drive from Blue Ridge. If you can work with the management to let you work long shifts to avoid driving everyday then this may be a job opportunity that you want to consider.

Additional Cracker Barrels near Blue Ridge, Ga include Cleveland, Tennessee and Dalton, Ga. The store in Cleveland is the closer of the two and as far as drive time is comparable to the Cracker Barrel in Canton. However, driving to the store in Cleveland involves driving down a curvy river road that borders the Ocoee River.

I know from experience that restaurant work is hard work, but in the current job environment people cannot afford to be choosy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We Must Go On

In unspoken words cloaked in a shroud
In darkened sentences not spoken aloud
The piercing pain of loss invades the heart
Overshadowing the soul with a ominous cloud

Mere phrases and syllables’ cannot convey
Nor oil and paint on canvas portray
The overwhelming, life-draining crushing blow
That death leaves in its cruel, cruel wake

Those left behind who have felt the sting
Who have tasted the bitter, biting loathsome drink
They must keep marching on into the tomorrow
To face what the days ahead may bring

Go on, go on, yes we must
To finish what measure of life entrusted to us
Till we've walked the last mile of frail existence
         And we too, have returned to dust

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Set Free from Drug and Alcohol Abuse by Jesus

God’s intervention in my life wrought a change in my life that is as distinct as daylight is from dark. I was transformed from a hedonistic, drug and alcohol abusing, immoral, filthy-mouthed, drug dealing shell of a young man who lived simply for the sinful pleasures of this life to someone who confessed Jesus as Lord and placed his life under the Lordship of Christ Jesus. Although the change was immediate, there was a long road leading up to the change; a road that took a young preachers kid from the church house to the devil’s playground before taking me back to God.
I was raised in what is known in the Deep South as “Hard-Shell Baptist Churches”. In these churches, hellfire and brimstone is preached and preached hot I might add. With my dad being a pastor and me being taken regularly to these churches, it did not take long for me to realize that I needed Jesus in my life. At the tender age of eight, on a Sunday night, while at home with my mom, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior. After a session with our pastor, he concluded that my profession was genuine, which led to my baptism.
I was a young ardent follower of Jesus; I led songs in church, prayed with other sinners, read my Bible, even witnessed about my faith to other children at school. However strong my faith was at the beginning, it did not take long for doubt to creep in. I have my speculations about some of the reasons for doubting my faith, but I will not divulge those reasons at the present time. The point is that I begin to doubt whether I had a genuine experience with Jesus, was I truly a Christian, saved, born-again, true believer or whatever you want to term it. I doubted to the extent that I begin to believe that I had never true saving faith; this is where the downward spiral began.
I begin seeking God, I would go to revival services, special services designed to get people to come to Christ. I would pray at these services for Jesus to save me but nothing seemed to happen. I was seeking an experience, a sign, something to let me know that I belong to Him. Since nothing seemed to be happening I assumed that I did not have enough faith. Eventually, I almost gave up. I say almost, because deep inside of me I hoped and prayed that someday I would have the faith to be saved.
Even though it was good to have hope and faith that someday I might become a Christian, it did little to keep me from the pitfalls of sin. From the age of around fourteen I started down a wicked road that involved pornography, alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, violence, theft and towards the end doubts about the existence of God. I will not go into the details about my sordid past; I would just have you to know that it was a very dark time in my life. I was in a darkness that took some of my comrades to prison, some to lives of addiction, some to an early grave and some to only God knows what kind of a life.
It could be said of me that I was a sinner, a very wicked young man. While I was involved in a whole host of wicked activities, there was one activity that stood out above the rest, substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol was my god. My life revolved around getting high, in my opinion, it was idolatry. Party after party, going from one binge to the next that described my life.
In the midst of my partying days I met a young lady at work, she had a boyfriend but that did not bother me. We began an affair that led to marriage. Her former boyfriend who she left to be with me was heavily into drugs, so she partied too, which was fine with me. We partied together and managed to stay married for almost a year before she left me.
I need to make something clear before I proceed, when I talk about using drugs I am not talking about casual drug use, my drug abuse ran the gamut from smoking pot to LSD, PCP, meth, cocaine, synthetic heroin, sticking needles in my arm and any pills or substance that would alter my mind. I was an equal opportunity drug abuser, I accepted all drugs. As far as alcohol goes, I was not a social drinker, I drank to get drunk. I would start drinking on Friday after work and sometimes drink until late Sunday night or early Monday morning and then sometimes get drunk through the week as well. Sometimes I would drink all night, come in and take a shower and go straight to work.
Some significant things happened during that brief marriage. I managed to get my first-degree black belt under a Christian karate instructor, who encouraged me to get back into church. I went to some of his Sunday school classes, which I believe helped bring me closer to God. Another thing that happened was that God spoke to me. Call me crazy, but I believe He spoke to me, not in an audible voice, but it may as well have been. I was laying in bed next to my wife one night when I felt that God spoke to my soul saying that I needed to pray Him. I did not want to, I was afraid my wife would make fun of me. But I could not shake it, so I told her that we needed to pray. She blew me off. But I could not shake it, I was ashamed to pray in front of her, but the Holy Spirit brought some scripture to my mind where Jesus said “If you are ashamed of me I will be ashamed of you.” This sealed the deal for me, I was going to pray. I kneeled by the bed and asked Jesus to save if I had not been saved and let me know if I was saved. I may have said some other things but that is what sticks out in my mind. After prayer, I got back into bed and tears begin streaming down my face and the words bless the name of Jesus started coming out of my mouth. That had never happened to me before. The next day things went back to how they were before, I didn’t mention my experience to anyone or for that matter give it much thought myself.
In the fall of 1986, what marriage that my wife and me had begun to disintegrate. By early February, 1987 our divorce was final. The divorce was a very painful experience, a pain that I tried to ease through my continual abuse of drugs and alcohol. The party went on, but a growing realization that had begun during the separation from my wife prior to the divorce surfaced, a realization that the party would soon be over. Deep inside I believe that I knew my partying days would soon be coming to an end. I just did not realize how soon and how it would happen.
On March 28, 1987, Saturday night, I went to a night club with my buddies.
We drank, smoked pot and had some meth, alcohol and meth was one of my favorite combinations of drugs, the alcohol helped you lose your inhibitions and the meth kept you awake and energetic. After leaving the club we went to some drug dealer’s motel I shot up some more meth and then went home. The meth kept me awake all night and when Sunday morning rolled around I still was not sleepy. A religious show came on TV, which sparked some interest, so I watched it. Still not able to sleep, I decided to take some laundry to my dad’s house and get caught up on my washing. As I pulled into the driveway they were heading for church, God was already dealing with me because I wanted to go with them but didn’t feel right about it after being out drinking and drugging all night.
I went on up to the house and still couldn’t sleep. My dad and little brother came home from church and then went to Grandmother’s house for Sunday dinner. When they left, it hit me, an overwhelming sense of you need to get right with God hit me like a ton of bricks. I fell to my knees and prayed a simple prayer for God to help me change the way that I was living, and then jumped up real quick so that nobody would walk in on me praying. After that simple prayer I believe the Holy Spirit begin a conversation with me about my life. Here is how it may have went:
Holy Spirit: “So Paul, you asked God to change your life. If you are serious you need to get rid of some things.”
I knew what He was talking about; I was carrying some drugs with me, a quarter ounce of pot and about a quarter gram of meth. This was my treasure or my idols if you will have it.
Holy Spirit: “Paul, what you going to do with your drugs.”
I thought to my self, I will keep in case I change my mind about living right.
Holy Spirit: “That is not faith Paul.”
I then thought about selling the drugs, after all, I paid good money for the drugs.
Holy Spirit: “No that is not right either, that would help someone else mess up their life.”
Then I thought of throwing the drugs into the wood heater in the living room, it was a cold March day. The Holy Spirit did not object to this, so I went to my duffle bag, dug out my stash and through them into the fire. Right then and there God met me with freedom. I knew that something had changed in my life and I felt that the shackles of sin fallen off. I was free.
My dad came home and I told my experience and went to church that night and stood before the congregation and told them what great things God had done for me. I have not been perfect since that day, but I have never been the same either. God is still working on me, and the great thing is that I know He is still working on me.