Sunday, March 5, 2017

Things That Abide

Lately I've been going over the Love Chapter again, 1 Corinthians 13, and something new jumped out at me the other day. The chapter is about Love, what it looks like to love, what it is to love and what it isn't. There is something tucked away, about halfway through, that I've been aware of for some time. Namely, this Love proclaimed in the chapter is Perfect Love. It says, "Love never ends. As for prophecies they will pass away, as for tongues they will cease, as for knowledge it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part but when the perfect comes the partial will pass away." [bold and emphasis added]

What is being said here is that this Love never ending means that it is perfect already. It has arrived in its perfected form. This is Jesus, entering into His own creation, living a perfect life and dying a perfect death in our stead. 1 John 4 says, "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world."

All of that I knew previously about the Love Chapter. What I didn't see previously but see now is that there are three concepts outlined as having already achieved perfection, not just Love. It comes near the end of the chapter: If partial (non-perfect) things pass away (prophecies, knowledge, tongues, etc) but perfect things abide (IE, never end) so then faith and hope are perfect along with love. "So now  faith, hope, and love abide these three; but the greatest of these is love."

They are perfection injected into imperfection: the Creator bringing light into creation. Jesus brought all three and is all three. He is perfect faith, keeping perfect faith where all others are faithless and is the author and perfecter of our faith; gifting it to us. We, the faithless, called to faithfulness, poured out in abundance through our blessed Creator. He is sure and steadfast and no one can take us from His hand.

He is hope. The perfect hope that will never put anyone to shame. We have a hope that will outlast all else, that will outshine the sun and outlive the earth. We have a hope that will drag us as sure as an anchor-line into Heaven itself and bring us with joy to the judgement seat of God. Hope can get no better than that.

But the greatest of these three is Love. Love in chapter 13 is more than a concept, it is a being. Love embodied is Jesus, the light of the whole world. Jesus loves us, His sheep, and lay down His life for us. He gave imperfect eyes a vision of perfection and on fallen minds dawned a perfect light. May we always glory and wonder in that.

We have been gifted to abide in these three: grafted into perfection. Let us revel in that.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Shack: Human Wisdom Rather Than Biblical Truth

The first thing I would like to say is that I have not personally read The Shack, nor have I seen the movie. I do not intend to either. If you think that that automatically disqualifies me to write an article about it feel free to stop reading. I freely admit that I am relying on second hand sources.

What does qualify me to be upset about the message of this popular "Christian" book is that I have suffered loss in a somewhat similar fashion as that presented in the book. Maybe the world doesn't count miscarriages as such, but the pain is very real to those who have experienced it. As someone who would theoretically fall into The Shack's target audience range I take exception to the message trumpeted by the book.

In brief here it is: Human pain and suffering is due to the fact that God wanted to make us beings with free will but in order for us to truly have free will God can't get in the way and stop suffering. IE, for us to have free will God has to allow suffering to take place in the world. In the words of the character Papa (supposedly God the Father), "There was no way to create freedom without a cost."

The book is, I'm sure, full of such warm, touchy-feely sayings. The problem though is that they are based solely on human wisdom, not the Inspired Word of God. What does the Bible say about human "freedom?" Let's glance at a few passages.

Ephesians 2: 1-3 "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience -- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."

Galatians 4:3,8 "In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. … Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods."

Romans 6:6-7 "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin."

So, human nature apart from the work of Christ is enslaved to sin. Slaves to our sinful nature. It should be fairly clear how diametrically opposed this Biblical concept is to the idea of human "free will."

I realize I am dangerously close to opening a huge can of worms that I do not intend to deal with in this blog post. Suffice it to say that the Bible is clear on the fact that human nature, ever since the fall, has been enslaved to sin and that it is only those whom the Son sets free who are indeed free from their natural inclination to sin. (John 8:31-36).

Why then is human free will lifted up as the highest good in The Shack? In short, human tradition. And, I would venture, that this idolizing of freedom/free will has never been so well received as it has been here in American "Christianity."

The great issue I have with promoting human free will to the highest good is that the truly comforting, Biblical Truth is completely undercut. God's purpose and plan are entirely thrown out in favor of human emotions. We think we will feel better when we hear "Well, God does everything he can but freedom comes with a cost." But that is a human-centered lie.

The Biblical Truth is this: God is Sovereign. He is more than capable of holding all in His Hand, the pain and the joy, the suffering and the triumph. If you're suffering/in pain and need to know where God is in all of it look to the Bible, not The Shack. Look to Job, not to Paul Young (the author of The Shack).

Job puts it in no uncertain terms after his real encounter with God (which didn't, by the way, involve God changing the way He presents Himself in order not to offend Job's sensibilities): "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." - Job 42:2

Job finds comfort, after hearing from God, in the fact that God is God and that none of His purposes can be thwarted. He is comforted by the fact that God rules supreme, even over the disasters in his life. This fact is one of the only truly comforting things that a Christian can cling to in the midst of his/her suffering: Their Rock and Redeemer in the middle of a swirling hurricane of pain and sadness.

Human free will is a cheap stand in comparatively. It plays to our natural self-centeredness; that idea that we all like to hide deep down that the world does revolve around us. Let me just point out James 4:13-15 "Come now, you who say, 'today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' -- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'"

God's will is the highest authority. He is in charge. He is sovereign. Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from Him. Take comfort then in the fact that He is working all things together for His Glory and for the Good of those called according to His purpose. Take comfort in the Bible and the Truth about God and suffering and pain revealed in it. Don't waste your time reading The Shack or pain your eyes by watching the movie. The Truths of the Bible are far deeper and more satisfying than any half-baked platitudes human wisdom can cook up.

My source: Book Summary

Better articles on the issues in The Shack: Desiring God Article
Tim Challies Blog

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Halt. Pause. Plunge.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana
In recent days this phrase has been more often paraphrased as, “Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are destined to repeat them.” I cannot help but reflect on this notion as the year unfolds…

This past week has been full of tragedy and horror. First a shooting in Louisiana, then a shooting in Minnesota, then a mass shooting in Dallas. Just last month forty-nine people were slaughtered in a nightclub, a toddler was eaten by an alligator, and a well-known youtuber was senselessly murdered after a show. To state the obvious: quite a number of people have died.

Before these horrors, for the first part of 2016 we had the presidential nominating debacle. We watched as the parties that have come to frame politics and public discourse across the land almost literally ripped themselves apart and two of the most heinous people to have ever run for the office of president of the United States of America took the leads.

People compare Trump to Hitler but the same has been done to Hillary for many a year. Now there are those who are legitimately pointing out the flaws in such comparisons but others who have illuminated the uncanny similarities.

Public discourse is all over the place on the topic as the nation jerks on towards the inevitable nomination of these two, convulses violently as the FBI abdicates its role as a part of the justice system, writhes and roils as faction turns on faction: citizens on officers and officers on citizens, Muslims on gays and gays on Christians, and anti-gun fanatics on gun-rights fanatics.

Many are convinced the nation is imploding. Frankly, it would not surprise me. I've said it before and I will say it again (not a week after the 4th of July, mind you) that united we stood but divided we will fall. Nay, we shall plunge.

“But can't we stop it?” you ask. “But can't we, as reasoning people, look back on those mistakes made in history and move toward a brighter, better future?” “Can't we look past our petty differences and squabbles and turn and love one another as fellow human beings?” “Can't we all just get along?

My answer to you is simple, “Can we? No, we cannot.”

You see, cute little platitudes tweeted and re-tweeted by a general populace that on average only barely uses half their brain-capacity still don't carry any weight. But there is a sliver of truth there, shining like the speck of a star in a very dark sky.

That's what got me to thinking. Really, there is a lot more to the specks of stars in the night sky then one would ever guess, and I mean more than even the smartest scientist can see. Pray for wisdom on the subject sometime. But only if you're brave enough, because God will answer you.

I thought about the past as our future, the Germany of the early 1900s as the America of the 21st century. What could we learn that would change our course? So many people say one thing, and so many others another… What was the common theme?

The comparison that is most apt and terrifying is between the mindsets of those days and now. The schemas that allow for the undermining of who a person is:If you're black you're less of a person and probably a criminal.” “If you're gay you're abnormal, diseased and a lower class person.” “If you're unborn you're not a person at all and can be legally murdered.” “If you're a gun owner you're a psycho waiting to happen and should be feared.” “If you're a police officer you're a sadistic monster that should be hated or killed.” Not that these are actually vocalized very often, but they are the whispers on the prevailing winds as it were. They all sound an awful lot like: “Jews are less than human beings, they are monsters that ought to be eradicated.”

But then it hit me: As awful and horrid as these schemas are, they are not what the fundamental mistake is. The mistake, the flaw, the lie is underneath them, supporting and giving them sustenance, feeding them with a steady diet of poison.

The destruction of Germany's and America's societal understanding of what a human being really is came from three “great” people: Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. These gods of the marketplace have told us that we're little more than apes, have very little singular worth on our own, and are sexually depraved monsters to boot. They told us that we are the highest authority and that our desires are the highest good. They knocked their point home with the gavel of “science” and crowed that we have no choice but to believe. They are their ideas and their ideas are poison.

You see, their poisonous legacy has all but killed the old way of thinking, the old way of understanding human beings. Human Beings are made in the image of God! Human Beings are created, each one of us, by the one and only God! Human Beings are glorious works beyond compare in the physical world, a union of immortal spirit and mortal body!

“'And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.'” - Genesis 9:5-6

If man is a work of God who is eternal, perfect, and righteous, then what happens when we forget that? Even worse, what happens when society's schema turns on those truths and buries them in favor of their lies? Hitler happens, people. Abortion happens. Slavery happens. Mass shootings happen and rampant, riotous disregard for human life takes hold.

No one gives a rip about anyone else anymore because how can they? They have no reason to regard human beings as special or valuable at all! If God didn't make human beings then who the hell cares if they die? What difference does it really make if we're descended from apes and pond-scum?

In the prevailing schema of the times human beings are essentially worthless, pawns in everyone's individual game of chess, to be used, abused, or thrown away per the whim of the strongest, fastest, most “evolved” person on the playing field. They say the strong will survive. Too bad the strong don't seem to survive bullets very well.

Does my sardonic tone upset you? Sadly, if there is no intrinsic value to every human being I don't have to care about your feelings. This is why I say we cannot look to history and better our future and we cannot see past our petty differences to love one another and we cannot just get along. The lies that destroy human worth also make self service, self gratification, and self worship all so much more appealing and possible.

No one wants to admit that they were wrong, that society has been wrong, that scientists have been wrong. Too many people want it all to be true so that each and every one of them can play god in their own lives. Don't like guns because they are used a lot to kill and hurt people? Take them all away so we'll all live happily every after and never die again. Don't like black people because they supposedly make policing harder? Shoot them while you think no one is looking and claim self defense. Don't like babies because of the inconvenience? Simply abort them and don't think about it. Don't like police because they're all somehow evil? Pick them off with a sniper rifle while they're trying to protect you. Don't like gays because you think they are evil beyond all reason? Just go slaughter a few dozen for the cause! Don't like Muslims because they make you nervous? Let's just throw them all out of the country!

Sorry, this is making me sick just writing about it. We are about to take a plunge as a nation like we've never seen before, people. And without dealing with the root cause in each and every person's heart, the idea that human beings aren't created by God in the image of God, every evil you can think of is possible. Hitler, Hillary, Trump, who gives a rip? Let's pick a poison and die! All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

After all, who really cares if no one is worth a thing?

“Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

“As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;”

- The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

 Proverbs 17:10 “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Child of Woe

How deftly does the sorrow and flowing pangs of woe,
Tear my heart wide open, but where else will I go?
How to escape the clouds and raucous cares of life…
Where will you find happiness and no relation to strife?

If I just keep my distance maybe it won't be so bad,
Maybe with every progressive passing I won't feel so sad…
And hollow words don't echo, they fall dead to the floor.
So I must go out and seek an answer once more.

God, my soul is rending in pain!
Is the 'Why? that' it cries in vain?
Who am I to seek answers that the wise could not find?
Yet, to quell this agony as my heart unwinds…

All I know is who I know and He is Faithful indeed,
To my Rock and foundation I must go to plead.
For my Lord has the words of Life, to whom else can I go?
He is the only one that can comfort this child of woe.

For He is sovereign in all things, body and soul.
And He doesn't let a sparrow drop that he doesn't know.
Come to Him both weary and overburdened men,
For He will uphold you, He understands.

And I can count it joy, even as tears flow.
For passing pangs of life produce steadfastness you know.
Because Jesus is my Hope and I know that one day,
Every sorrow will pass and every tear will be wiped away.

Not forgotten but maybe crystalized, as silver glass,
So in their memory the joy and glory will overpass,
And triumph and trumpet and overpower beyond…
What the imaginative could imagine or put into song.

And child of woe will turn and child of joy become,
And mourning to laughter and rejoicing and then some.
Oh those without the Lord, how is it you cope?
For do you not know? We have the one true Hope.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Losing One's Grip

To have a focus for the written word one must have a grasp of what they are trying to say. To facilitate such a focused grasp one must learn to blend a sense of discernment with the ability to grip an idea and not let go.

I imagine it would hurt to fall off a hundred foot cliff to the rocks below. I’ve tumbled head-first down a thirty foot incline that was very cliffesque (somewhere between 78°-80° rather than 90°) that had rocks below it. That fall hurt a lot. I’ve even had a branch of a tree I was climbing snap beneath me, giving me that sickening, surprising-drop sensation that lurches through you when you dream of a fall. But to fall… All that way…
The dread would most likely start as your fingers slipped. That piercing feeling to your very soul as the adrenaline rush kicks in and the hairs all over your body stand at attention. But it doesn’t matter anymore. You’ve lost your grip now. You’re falling.
The adrenaline has only served to make you excessively aware of every single second as they whiz by. There’s nothing to grab hold of, nothing but the wind and open air all around. It jabs and pulls and laughs at you as you fall, fall, fall to your imminent demise. Those rocks below, like colossal, unforgiving truths, stand silent sentry, awaiting your embrace. It is two seconds away now, and there is nothing else to focus on. Nothing else to grasp except your fall, how it happened and why, and how those rocks will destroy you now.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how one’s focus can be wrested away toward something pressing if that pressing thing tries hard enough. Or maybe it’s funny because the reverse is true: Some people’s focus cannot be changed no matter what until it’s too late; until the rocks they hate so much break them, or the waters of that red sea they ignored take them (more precisely they ignored God, but He used the waters to get their attention at last).
This topic of attention, focus, and grip comes to me at a poignant time. Or maybe ironic is a better word… Let’s use both: an ironic and poignant time. The thing is I’ve noticed my attention slipping. I’ve been losing my ability to track multiple conversations at once and even have trouble sometimes with just focusing on two at a time. That’s the ironic bit because I’ve noticed the rest of the world getting worse and worse with their attentions as well; the poignant part.
It’s not just how the world gives it’s attention but what they give their attention to. Right now, the world has gripped onto the story of poor Cecil the Lion’s death. If you somehow haven’t heard, the poor cat was hunted and killed by a dentist. Now, it seems, everyone and their mother wants the poor dentist’s head. All while ignoring other more pressing atrocities that they don’t want to think about.
Before you think I’m going the route of, “This isn’t that important and That is so important and you all should be spending so much more time focusing on That rather than This!” let me just say other, more eloquent people have already said what needed to be said on that front.
What I’m focusing on here is a little simpler than all that. I’m focusing on the fall when one loses one’s grip on the thing they thought they could hold onto, and the pain that comes with crashing and shattering down upon truths one has been trying to ignore. In that moment of the fall, as your world comes apart and your paradigm shatters, you inherit the wind and find the prince of the power of the air a very poor comforter.
Time would fail to tell of all the examples throughout history of people who thought they had a hold of something rock-solid, only to find themselves falling, grasping at air. I think of Pharaoh, Nebuchadezzar, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Nicholas, the last Czar. My mind flies to Oscar Wilde, Samuel Clemens, and Earnest Hemingway. There was Friedrich Nietzsche, John Lennon, Al Capone, Groucho Marx, and George Reeves.
All of these men fell. All of them trusted in something or someone that just did not come through. They paid their attentions to these false saviors in hopes that they could hold them up and keep them from falling. All of these attentions were paid in vain.
As I said before, it hurts to tumble head first down a steep incline with sharp rocks at the bottom. I was running and it was raining. If it had been dry the incident probably would have been avoided. It was a path I’d run a thousand times without falling, without tripping, without a single misstep. The rain changed everything, though.
The feeling of the fall is akin to the feel of betrayal. It’s like, “Why did you give out on me? I trusted you…”
See, it’s all what you focus on, what you trust in, what you grip onto. Today’s world is being trained to focus their attentions on meaningless, unsubstantial ideas, hopes, and dreams. They have temporal goals derived from fleshly minds and lustful hearts. They are taught to borrow from the future, think only of the present, and do what will make them happy. We are, as a culture, being tricked to focus on feelings.
Hardly surprising if you really are a student of history, but let’s focus on that word: Feeling. What are you feeling right now? What makes you feel good? How do you feel about Cecil the lion? How do you feel about a mound of dead baby parts? How do you feel now that I had you read that and perhaps envision something you didn’t like and don’t want to envision?
Thing is, though, life is full of raw deals and raw feelings and things you just can’t avoid. Even if you click away right now it doesn’t change reality, it just changes the part you’re paying attention to; what you’re focusing on.
I know! I know! Just change the channel to something uplifting and kid safe! Something that will never offend or upset, never shatter your dreams about the way the world should be. That will fix everything!
Except you still have that fall… It’s coming for you, you know. It will get you in the end. It gets us all. Sooner or later you’ll be standing at the top of the stairs or in the bathroom, or driving a car, and something will go pop in your head, and the stairs or the tile or the steering wheel will come rushing up to meet you…
Only you won’t see it. You’ll see blackness, rushing up and in and all around. Suddenly you’re falling but in a different way then you ever thought possible because your body isn’t there. You have no anchor to reality, nothing to shield you from those cold, unforgiving, bright truths speeding headlong toward you.
You can’t look away. You can’t click away. You can’t change the channel or even scoff the ideas into quiet nothingness because they’re blinding and overwhelming and roaring and tearing at you. Suddenly you’re exposed, the cheap treacherous wretch that you always were. A horrible being born from horrible beings and there’s nothing you can say or do to change it; Nothing at all because it’s too late. You ignored your chances. You’ve hit those rocks and broken into a thousand pieces and if anyone is crying you don’t know it and it doesn’t matter, you’re gone. For all eternity you are gone.
This is why I love little falls here in life. They keep me focused, keep me grounded, keep bringing me back to Jesus. He is my God and my only hope. He is the rock upon which I stand. I would be in for the same fall at the end if not for Him. But Jesus redeemed me and saved me from what I was. He fell on me and crushed me and saved me from myself.
You see, everyone will come to God in the end. It just depends on how. Will they fall, toppled from the heights of their own vain hubris and tumble on down on top of Him to be shattered and lost for all eternity? Or will they be taken into His arms and brought into His presence to be with Him for all eternity?
Everyone has to choose between the two. The former choice is easier, less painful in the present and you get to be happy for a little while. The later is painful and hard in the present but comes laden with joy that will last past the bounds of time and space as we understand them.
It’s all in what you grip onto, which way you choose. Will you grip tightly onto your own strength, or money or power or something else equally temporal and fatal to the human soul? Or will you give yourself up as nothing and grasp and cling to Jesus the Savior and cornerstone to be saved for all eternity? The choice is yours, my friend.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.” – Psalm 20: 7-8

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf. Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.” – Proverbs 11: 28-29

Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”? Therefore I tell you the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.’” – Matthew 21: 42-44

Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!” – Psalm 73: 17-18

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Journey

Let me take you on a journey, of the mind. If you don’t mind, that is.

First, a Fact: The entirety of my conscious life has been filled with vivid imaginings. I've dreamed of walking on clouds, sword fighting in libraries, and dodging along a cliff-side overlooking the sea. I've imagined reasoning with enemies, striving with friends, and dancing with my wife. If I were to paint you a picture, it might overwhelm: hence, I think, the reason I can't paint.

I've seen the impossible, the improbable, and the frightening. I have rejoiced at the glorious, the beautiful, the sublime. I could conjure images of twisted, gangly black beasts leaping from the shadows and imagine rappelling out one of the grand library's windows.

I used to take such great comfort from my daydreams. Now...

Secondly, a Question: How many of us care to admit the depths of the pain we may find ourselves going through? How many of us have let or will let our children see us cry? Children...

I told myself once that my daydreams were not a way of escaping reality but of dealing with it, of processing it. I believed that thought as a profound revelation. I was lying. See, life is full of pains. It is a bitter truth and one that some (including me) can sometimes too easily focus too much on. In that focusing we feel the need to run, to dim our eyes to reality and imagine our way out.

(Side note: daydreams never, ever trumped reality for me. You see that in Hollywood movies and it’s completely ridiculous. I could never disengage from real life. Daydreams happened in the gaps between, giving me what I supposed was a much needed breath to help me deal with life.)

Third, a Vision: Imagine for a moment dust, everywhere. There is a roaring sound, gripping, tearing at your hearing. There are white bones of structures sticking up out of the debris. For miles and miles you can see because there is nothing there to see; nothing except the billowing, pluming cloud that looks like cotton candy and smells of acidic end. Everything is unrecognizable and dust, and death.

I won’t dwell on that, because it’s only part of the journey. It’s only the halfway mark. Sure, I had some hard days and nights. I’ll never be the same, really, but I don’t really want to be. And I didn’t share it for pity or help. Frankly, I shared it for the conclusion.

For home is made all the sweeter by the journey, and Easter Sunday made brighter for the darkness of the Friday before.

Fourth, a Hate and a Hope: I cannot share my journey without these two, my constant companions. The dust in my mind settled and my bitterness realized. I have hated not life, but my life, for all the time I have spent trying to escape it, trying to make it better. Now my daydreams lay in a wreck around my feet. Now I couldn’t escape.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26

All I could see through all that dust was a sliver of silver light: A silver-lining for the mushroom cloud. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen…” – Luke 24:5-6

My hope that has steadfastly followed me for years and years now; held me in the palm of his hand. Let me share Him with you:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:7-10

Fifth and Final, an Answer and an End: I prayed just recently that God would rekindle my first love; remind me of my hope. You may have noticed that I’ve mentioned the 1 John verses before. That’s because they mean a lot to me since loving people is what I find most difficult in life, but when God helps me love is when I know I am most alive.

See, I love and live (they are really inseparable concepts) through the Son who grants them both to me. The world often confuses what love is because they know not God. If you don’t know God you can’t know real love. Loving other people and caring for them above and beyond myself is what was my first love. It is what He brought back to mind for me recently.

So the answer is yes, I want to share my pain with my children and others, but only under one condition: That in doing so I can help and care for them, showing them the love of Christ. More then that, though, I want to share in other people’s pain, in order to better care for and love them.

In the end it is how I find life tolerable, even joyful. Yes, believe it or not, it is a joy to lose yourself in love for others. Ask God to let you try it sometime. If you’re courageous enough, that is...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Gentle Die

Twin fires danced beyond his eyeballs,
As molten lead was poured on his heart.
He felt it going solid,
As his soul fell apart.

Can one describe the rage without knowing?
Drink deep the black rivulets of night?
Know hopelessness without hoping?
And darkness without the light?

‘Don’t go gentle,’ someone once said,
But what good does fighting really do?
Can you get even a moment more,
Before that moment they all rue?

He knew better, once upon a time,
His own old words gave hell.
Yet, wrathful, he did the crime.
The purposeful stride and fell.

In his heart he railed well,
‘If they all go, why not I?’
‘Should I alone suffer,
‘The fightless life and, gentle, die?

Then he was let to fall,
A granite pinnacle allowed to rise,
His heart was pierced asunder,
And the fire left his eyes.

“Who are you to wonder?
“Who are you to ask why?”
Let his sweat bring forth thorns,
As the gentle get to die.

Remember words shared in your youth,
It’s what I can recommend.
For to wrestle with death is futile,
Your heart will break after it bends.

Then he was brought to mountaintop,
The world below to see.
Watching as people ran without stop,
And their efforts cared them out to sea.

“Observe all of their ragings,
“Against who they do not know.
“They try to forget, pursue happiness,
“Do anything to replace my Glow.”

Tears quenched the final embers,
As his heart broke open anew.
A flower rebirthed from winter death,
Recalling what he once knew.

The hole his heart had suffered,
Would be with him till he died.
But remembering his soul was gentle,
He had no reason now to ask why.