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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Netflix offers The Nightmare. Sleep disorders or spiritual forces?

What to do with a long holiday weekend?  

Black Friday shopping perhaps? I've been there and I've done that and I think never again  most aptly describes my attitude towards that experience.  

Decorate for Christmas..... Soon but not yet. 

Work on a paper for Bible college or the book I'm writing?  I'm proud to say I did do some work on both but maybe I was suffering the effects of tryptophan from the turkey consumed because i didn't write much.

Be it tryptophan or the fact that I was  paying off a sleep debt but this weekend was spent in my chair in front of the television in varying states of consciousness.  

Seated in my chair I decided to be productive and started to eliminate items from my Netflix watch list.  One of the movies I  decided to try was a documentary called "The Nightmare".  



I know what is a Christian doing watching something with a macabre title like that?  Shouldn't I be watching Highway to Heaven or Vegitales?  

Well, honestly I do enjoy a good scare and I like to remind myself that even though I live in the relative safety of Middle class America there are dark forces to be aware of either in the evil that men do or in the spiritual realm.  

With that said although I was a huge horror fan before becoming born again I am noticing that I don't have the stomach for the macabre as Much as I did before, especially when  a film is violent or gory just for the sake of violence and goriness with little or no story.  I recently said good bye for ever to AMC's the Walking Dead as a case in point.  

Anyway so I sat down to watch the Nightmare.  To be honest I didn't know it was a documentary before I started watching it but was somewhat relieved because watching a documentary is educational right? 

The  Nightmare is about people who suffer from a sleep disorder called sleep paralysis.  It was really quite interesting and honestly a little creepy and unnerving.  I won't give any spoilers here really but a common thread through the victim's of sleep paralysis is the presence of malevolent "shadow men".  


The film does a good job of taking a wide view of the experiences of the sufferers of sleep paralysis and theories of what is happening.   The explanations range from the scientific to the spiritual and even the extra-terrestrial.  It is definitely worth the watch and could actually help a Christian's worldview, that we are in an "open system" where God, and good and malevolent spiritual forces can and do interact in our lives.  One of the suffers came to faith in Christ as a result of her experience and another admitted that they were no longer an atheist because of what they had experienced.  

I have had a spiritual experience, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real and cares about us.  To quote the x-files, there's something out there but I think that the something is not extra-terrestrial in the sense of aliens but are most likely beings in the spirit realm.

I often quote Matthew 6:33,

33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. , 

Because in my experience I have sought Him and the truth has been revealed, and continues to be revealed to me.   

So enjoy the film and considered the questions of life,death, and the unseen realm of the spirit.   

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you the only way through to God and an afterlife of peace and joy is through Jesus Christ.  John 14:6 says 
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 









Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! A Year of Blessings to be Thankful for


It's Thanksgiving eve, and once again I will be going out for dinner with my brothers and their wives (And fiancĂ©,  Tommy still is yet to close the deal as the last holdout but like tomorrow's Turkey his goose is cooked!)  We're going for Mexican and a few laughs.  I won't be drinking.  I'm happy to report I've been sober sine 03/22/15 and I ain't going back! I am truly blessed because God has freed me from the prison I created for myself. Alcohol's lies have been exposed and I will remain vigilant to steer clear of the drink that consumes you.  Hey man to each their own I just know how I am and I am happier to leave it behind forever.  

Sobriety is enough to be Thankful for all by itself every single day of my life but God has given me so much more.  

The year in review of thanks! 

January, I was happy and thankful that a transition to a new foreman in the Schenectady line crew went off without any problems.  After some doubt and last minute changes, I ended up in a situation I was content with.

This January had virtually zero snow and I was extremely thankful for that because I work outside and I pay to have my driveway plowed.  I don't ski or snowmobile so I'll take all the snowless winters I can get! 

February- I went on a mission trip to Zimbabwe and Zambia. I also went on a safari in Botswana and saw Victoria Falls.  I honestly felt I was my ideal self on Mission, all my thoughts and actions were directed to the service of my Lord and Savior. 


As fate would have it while I was away. My wife Michele suffered a recurrence of a kidney infection/ stones. She was in a great deal of pain and terrible health.  I am thankful for the doctors and my parents for helping her  in my absence.  And I thank God that she has been healed. 

March - I was thankful that my eldest brother Matthew finally got married at 47 years old!  Kat Flynn is a wonderful person for taking this burden upon herself, welcome to the party Kat! 

April- I'm thankful for Easter where we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive!  It's no zombie movie,  Jesus was risen to show that He is the Son of God and that through His work on the cross all who put their faith in Him will be forgiven of their sins and live forever with Him in paradise! 

May - Verizon went on strike, so I am thankful for my Union brothers and sisters that took a stand for the middle class by sacrificing income to insure we there could be good jobs in this country.   In the face of corporate greed who make billions in profit there is no reason they can't pay a wage where their employees can prosper.  I pray for other workers to band together to insure good jobs and dignity for all Americans.  

June - Verizon and the union came to an agreement.  It was back to work and I thank God Almighty because I was able to work again and to grab enough overtime to meet all my financial needs after being out of work for six weeks. At times I didn't think I would make it but God was with me.  

When I say that I really mean it.  One Sunday one of the women at my church that I did not even know was led by the Holy Spirit to give me a financial donation at a time when every penny counted.  I hadn't told anybody that I was in need and I didn't know this woman.  She told me that during her morning prayers the Lord directed her to give to me.  The money was appreciated but the thought that God moved this women to give to me, that God was thinking about me, and sending help is a blessing that I will always be thankful for.  He is real. He is alive. Salvation is through Christ alone. Please believe me and put your faith in Him! 

July - I took my family on a vacation to Niagara Falls Canada.  It was fun, even with the two angsty teens although it may be their last trip! Lol.   So In retrospect in 2016, I beheld the glory of God's creation by seeing 2 of the most magnificent waterfalls on the planet, Victoria & Niagara Falls! God is awesome. 

August- Michele and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary by going to the Rhode Island ocean and had all you can eat lobster at the world famous Nordic Lodge. The weather was sunny but not too hot. It was a nice weekend away. Recalling this I am reminded that through all my insanity and the wrong I've done, life's tragedies, the good times and the bad, Michele has continued to love me.  We've lived together since 96, so I am truly thankful for the 20 years of Michele's love and life that she has given me. She hosting my family for Thanksgiving so that proves she loves me! 


September - This was the month my Son Brennan,who had been a slacker for the past two years by not doing his homework and getting in trouble at school, decided to change his life.  He decided that a life of irresponsibility and the chaos that came with it wasn't the way he wanted to live anymore.  He started doing his work unprompted and has a real desire to succeed.  

My daughter, Haley, who had made that decision a few years ago after being a slacker, continues to do her work.  

So both my kids are staying out of trouble, they do their school work, they don't fight one another and they do whatever is asked of them.  They may be a little obsessed with video games and watching you tube but they haven't bugged me for cellphones...yet.  They talk to me and we are endlessly joking around. I am so proud and thankful because I honestly couldn't be happier with them. 

October - Autumn in upstate New York is a sight to behold.  Fall Foliage!  Also I got assigned to the double wood crew in Albany,  right where I wanted to be at the beginning of the year. It's a shorter commute and it's just in time before winter starts roaring.  

The kids both decided to sign up for drama, both getting small parts in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.   Like I said before, very proud.   

The kids had a Halloween party with their at the house to end the month! 

November- The election happened and the world didn't end.  I don't comment on politics, other than to declare that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

I took the kids to see Julius Caesar in Chatham and it was really good. The kids of course sat with there theater friends but I'm cool like that.  
A day later I had the pleasure of seeing my kids in Romeo and Juliet. They were great and I think they really found what they are good at.  I wonder how they became so dramatic? 

The same weekend, Michele and I had the pleasure of attending Matt & Kats Wendy reception, 8 months later? It was a great venue and it was good time for all (even with Matt's tribute to all things Heavy Metal).  

And tomorrow is the big feast! 

All through the year I have had the honor of attending rock solid church, I am so thankful Pastors Jaron Halsted, Chris Romano, Mike Lambert, and Ethan Thomlinson, who has taken the reigns  as youth pastor this year.  I am thankful for the worship team and all those who serve and attend.  

I am thankful for Celebrate Freedom, my sponsor and mentor Bob Costello and the opportunity to teach. I am thankful for Paula williams, Cheryl Manchuck for leading the women's group. I also extremely thankful to Chris Manchuck for picking up leading worship.  Guitar hero I am not! 

I am thankful for Pastor Bob Engelhardt's preaching that has inspired me to write a book about Spirit-filled Christianity.  It's his work that will be the basis of the book and I pray my efforts will bring more people to the Lord.  The work is rewarding and challenging and I hope to have it completed soon.  That's why there's been no blog entries for months.  I've been working almost ever morning since the strike.  

I am so thankful for all of this and of course God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit who are responsible for it all!  

To all my friends and family, trust in Jesus and Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

It really is a wonderful life!