Dopplegangers and a turkish waiter really make life better.

Did I mention that I went on a cruise in May? If you are sick of hearing about it then stop reading. I think this will be the last post I will make about it. Maybe…maybe not. We’ll see. =-)

So you have heard about the food. Swimming with sharks? Did that one. Just being on such a huge vessel with so many options. Wow! It really was one of the best vacations that I have ever taken.

There is one aspect that I have not shared much in-depth about from my experience. We set sail on Sunday. On Monday, we met another couple. This couple, Fred and Wilma*, turned out to be our best friends for the week. We spent almost all of our time on the ship with them! They even changed their dinner reservation so they could eat with us! And that brings me to another point. Our waiter, George*. You see, George was fantastic! I think the food tasted better because he served us. But let’s get back to Fred and Wilma.

doppleganger

Fred and Wilma were Doppelgängers for my wife and I. They have kids. Church is a huge part of their lives. We all enjoyed the shows. Fred and I were excited about the sports stuff. The wives kept finding things they had in common. We kept talking about our lives and sharing our experiences. There were so many connections! It was eerie at times. I would say that the cruise was twice as nice because we met this couple. Everything was so much more enjoyable because we got to share it with them.

And then there was George. He was from Turkey. From the first night at dinner, his smile drew us in. Of course he was knowledgeable and could answer all of our questions. Any server should be able to do so. But it was his demeanor and attitude. We were completely comfortable around him from the get go! By Friday, I didn’t even look at my menu. He ordered for me. And he hit a home run every time! One night, we (me, my wife, Fred, and Wilma) all laughed really hard. I asked about some berry, fruity dessert thing. George, with an expressionless face, said, “No.” He denied me of that dessert! It was awesome! There was no malice in his voice. It was as if he knew what I liked and also knew that the particular dessert I inquired about was not right for me. He just said no! That was a running joke for the rest of the trip.

waiter

Doppelgängers and a turkish waiter make life better. Life is all about relationship. Sure, my wife and I would have enjoyed the cruise even if we had not met these three wonderful people. But nearly as much. Everything was enhanced and improved because we had a relationship. Almost every problem or conflict in our life can be traced backed to a broken or injured relationship. But, when the relationship is good, life is so much better. Example, read this post again. =-)


 

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Jesus was speaking of relationship. The devil seeks to break relationship. God wants to mend it. See John 10 and 2 Corinthians 5.

My time is up so I leave you with this: Are you relationship with God? You can be today. Click Bad Words #2 for more information.

 

*Fred, Wilma, and George are fictitious names to protect their privacy. And that picture of a waiter is not George.

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Are you living in a bubble?

Bubbles! What a great summertime activity to do with the kids. Even adults can enjoy a good bubble-making session.

I think I mentioned in one of those previous posts that while I was on the boat, I didn’t have my cell phone turned on. It got shut off while in port at Galveston and was not turned on again until back in that same port a week later.

I felt liked I lived in a bubble for that week. And it was terrific!

bubble

Only when you can go on a cruise for yourself do you understand the culture that is created on the ship. There are so many things happening almost all the time.

  • Rock climbing…did that.
  • Pizza at midnight. Totally there.
  • Dodgeball happened twice.
  • Live shows…every night.
  • Three separate comedy acts.
  • An ice rink!?!? Yep.
  • And list goes on…

I was in a bubble for a week. That bubble was popped when, in Houston, our flight home got cancelled. Reality hit pretty hard at that moment. And then, finally, we arrived home, an entire day later. It took a week to get back into our “normal” lives and routines.

It has been great back at home but I still wouldn’t mind going back to “bubble life.”


As a followers of Christ, our lives are in God’s hands. His will and purpose is fleshed out in our daily walk with Him.

But we, as humans, can choose to not live out God’s will in our lives. We can choose to go another way. This is where the great Bubble-Maker comes on the scene.

Listen to some of these Bubble stories:

  • Go on, have one more drink. One more won’t kill you.
  • Have you heard what Sally said? Well, I shouldn’t say anything thing…
  • Pornography is okay because it is only a picture, not an affair.
  • Are you going to really believe what your Pastor just said? Seems pretty judgmental.
  • You have not read your Bible in a few days? No big deal, God will give you grace.

You can probably add your own Bubble story to this list.

The devil, since the dawn of creation, has been weaving Bubble stories to distract men and women from the truth. He gets us to start questioning our faith, the Bible, even God’s existence. When this happens, our lives become bubbles. In other words, we stop living in reality and start living in fantasy.

Satan is a liar. Today, as you are reading this, can you identify any lies he has been whispering to you? It does not take real long for me to see what lies he tells me. But these bubbles can easily be popped!

In Acts 17, Paul is in Athens. Verse 16 says, “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” The people were living in a Bubble. Their city was full of idols. They even had one named “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD”. Bubbles everywhere!

Paul begins to explain the gospel. He starts teaching about Jesus. God’s truth is flowing out of Paul. There were bubbles popping in people’s’ minds. Verse 28 gives us a massive bubble popping truth, “For in him we live and move and have our being.”


Can I caution you today? STOP living in a bubble! Let God and His Word pop the bubbles in your life. It is in Christ that we have life. We are not living until we live in Christ. If you recognize a lie heading your way, pop that sucker! Pull out God’s word (which is likened to a sword) and start slashing through the bubbles that the enemy is blowing at you.

Jesus sums it up like this, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Living in a bubble will cost you more than you want to spend, take you further than you want to go, and eventually will destroy you.

So let today be a bubble-popping day in Christ!

Once a year then once for all. Pretty awesome.

My tan is fading. Bummer. My memory is still sharp though and I have a great memory from my cruise. Let me tell about it, alright? =-)

People had told me that you could eat anytime you wanted to while cruising. Really? Anytime? Yes. You could get food literally, anytime of the day or night. My wife and I met some friends on the ship. We ended up hanging out with them most of the week. Around 11:30 or midnight, we would find ourselves at the Cafe Promenade. Pizza. Yep, right out of the oven. Hot pizza. There were desserts and sandwiches as well. But I liked the pizza. It is a lasting memory for me.

cafe promenade

So it is true. You can get food 24/7 on a cruise ship. Wow.

Let me rephrase that last statement. A person has access to food 24/7 on a cruise ship.

That word, access, caught my attention.

Along with food on a cruise ship, there is something else that we have access to 24/7.


The book of Hebrews is one of my favorite books. There are two specific verses that I want to point out. They are both in chapter 9.

Hebrews 9:7, “But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”

and then verse 12, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

temple layout

The book of Hebrews is filled with comparison. In this instance, Christ is being compared to the High Priest of the Old Testament. Verse 7 is talking about the priest. The “he” in verse 12 refers to Christ.

  • Every year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the most holy place with animal’s blood to offer sacrifice for the sins of the people. This was God’s way of bringing forgiveness to the people. Once a year.
  • When Jesus was crucified, he took on the role of high priest. However, he did not enter the earthly temple. He entered the heavenly temple. But Jesus had his own blood to bring forgiveness. Once for all.

Do you see the difference? And what a difference it is! And because Jesus used his own blood and entered the heavenly temple, eternal redemption (forgiveness) can be obtained!

YOU AND I NOW HAVE ACCESS TO GOD. Complete, full, and unhindered access to God. We can be forgiven. Life can now be truly lived because of the access granted to us by Christ. Forgiveness for sins is already been paid for.

I just need to ask.


And being forgiven is far better than pizza at midnight at the Cafe Promenade on the Navigator of the Seas sailing in the Caribbean Sea.

Why don’t you try both and see which one you like better? Bon Voyage!

Swimming with Sharks and Eating Pizza at Midnight.

I made it. I am back from my first ever cruise! Wow! It was one of the best vacations that I have ever taken! This is the route that our ship was on for the cruise.

cruise map 3

Where do I begin? Not just being optimistic here but there is nothing bad to say about the cruising experience. In fact, the only bad thing happened after we got back. We had our flight home cancelled. Obviously, we got home ( a whole day later) but that had nothing to do with the cruise. So I say to save your cash and book one today. Just be careful on which airline you want to fly. =-)

There were two highlights that I want to feature. In reality, the whole experience was a highlight though.

The food. More accurately, the access to food. It was great being able to eat, literally, anytime you like. We visited the cafe for pizza around midnight a few times. =-) I love to eat.

The sharks. I got to swim with sharks. One of the excursions took us snorkeling with nurse sharks. I guess the stingrays and sea turtles were bonus items! What a feeling to be almost weightless and have all these marvelous (yet scary) sea creatures floating all around you! Awesome!

Again, you should just book your cruise today.


So after having been back home for a few days, the question came to mind, “Are cruise ships similar to heaven?” I had no concerns. Everything I needed was available to me without having to leave the ship. There were numerous entertainment options. In fact, I did not even turn my cell phone on while we were at sea. I turned it off in Galveston before departing and it didn’t get turned on again until back in port.

If it is okay, I will answer my own question. Yes, cruise ships are similar but not the same as heaven. I read this morning from John 6. Specifically verse 40. It reads, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

From the verse, it seems that God desires all to see Jesus and believe. If that happens, eternal life is the result. That sounds like heaven to me. Eternal life with the Creator of the Universe…yep, that is heaven. Being on a cruise ship is a small picture of what that can be like. The bible talks about no more death and suffering. No more tears. My knees won’t ache anymore. While I was on that big boat, I felt like I was in heaven but I know that it is not real heaven.

Someday, when God decides that it is the right time, I will enter the real heaven and spend eternity with Him. The best part about it is that there is no return flight (that could possibly be cancelled) because I will already be home.


I have a few more ideas that I want to share about my cruise so stay tuned. See you next week.