Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Of Monsters and the Son of Man

Why do we always fight who we are? We do! Don’t believe me? When was the last time you were content with who you are? We’re all desperate to change! That’s another way of saying we’re fighting who we are.
Sure, maybe it’s a just cause. Maybe we’re fighting against a monster that might come out and wreck havoc on society as we know it if we let down our guard. What a gloomy existence though… Is that who we’re supposed to be?
Short answer: no. Now, let me take a second and say, I’m not a believer in positive thinking. I am not about to spout some mumbo-jumbo about turning your whole life around by yelling aloud at it to change or thinking really hard about who you want yourself to be. Sure, there might be some value there. Personally, though, I don’t think there’s a lot and that’s not my point at all.
My point is just to suggest that, while the monster is a part of all of us, it’s not who God sees us as. And if God is focusing on something, someone else, ought not we do the same? So the question then is who does God see?
In keeping with the clipped tone: Jesus. He’s the answer to everything, right? No, I’m being serious. He is.
You see it doesn’t matter what kind of monster you were or are, Jesus is the answer. His sacrifice on the cross allows Him access to every human soul. Jesus cleaned house on the cross. You can tap into this house cleaning simply by believing in Him and what He did.
That’s an old metaphor, by the way, the heart as a house. But where that metaphor stops is that the house of your soul isn’t left empty… Jesus is there. He remains, He resides. The Holy Spirit in you is Him and that is who God sees.
Side note: This is not about stopping the fight against the monster. On the contrary, it’s about redoubling your efforts! It’s about looking in the mirror and seeing a work of God! But when you see a work of God, suddenly the monster’s strength is broken. When you use God’s strength then the monster can’t stand.
Think me crazy? If Jesus is with you and you start looking then you’ll see Him. You’ll see Him in your work ethic, in your smile, in your kind words or you kind deeds. You’ll find Him in your laughing joy over beautiful things, or in your tears of sorrow for those lost.
If the Holy Spirit is really there, honestly abiding, then you can’t help yourself. Sure the monster’s remains might bark and posture, but deeds speak louder than words. And what do the deeds done show?
Either God is there and you’re saved: Rejoice! Or you need to find God and run from the monster. It’s that simple.
So, stop fighting. Face yourself. Look yourself in the eyes and tell it like it is. Relief is either immediate or imminent, trust me. Personally, it’s immediate and I’m going to revel in the joy.

What do I see in me when I gaze into those deep brown eyes?
A cat with a Cheshire grin, a fox knowing every surprise.
A little boy filled with laughter and a jester who can’t help but jest.
Or a tea wielding, cynic who even critiques the best.
Most of all I see a broken man who was forgiven of all his sins.
A man who finds strength from the Father from whom new life begins.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


It’s a new year. 2014. Doubt any of you are surprised. That’s as pessimistic as I’ll get, though, which I know is odd. But last year was so bad, 2014 is a welcome breath of fresh air in comparison.

I know, I know. I’m starting to sound like all the other writers, waxing poetic about how a New Year actually means something new. Changing trends, changing habits, changing people… To hear everyone talk you’d think a “New Year” is an event verging on cataclysmic which brings about miraculous change in people’s lives. Sorry to rain on all y’all’s resolutions, but the New Year doesn’t mean a darn thing.

Know how I know? Because my change started a week and a half prior to the proper New Year. Yes, if change is supposed to come with a “New Year” then my 2014 has been ten days longer than all of yours. It was Christmas Eve for those of you who have started counting backwards.

You see, on that day I was reminded of a solid truth, a truth so powerful that it singlehandedly wiped away all the pain and frustrations of 2013. The truth is that Jesus has always been here.

The context line that led up to this truth was the question, “What has never changed about our candlelight Church service?” You might say, “Sure, that’s obvious,” but that would be avoiding the truth.

I can’t help but imagining a rope, tied up to the dock and stretching off into the darkness. It’s like I forgot what that rope led to, and that on Christmas Eve someone grabbed that rope and pulled. Suddenly the point of a humongous vessel appears out of the dark, drifting your way, and you realize that this truth is far, far too large to be ignored.

That’s where I was at Christmas Eve. Jesus has always been here! This truth doesn’t just apply to that service, or the day following. IT IS EVERY DAY! HE IS EVERYWHERE! Jesus has always been HERE.

He is the reason for our being beings! He is the one who gave us years to begin with! Through Him were all things made! Without Him there is no New Year, nor any day to celebrate it! Most importantly of all, Jesus Christ is the only one who effects true change.

Sure, we could argue that point. Some might say they’ve overcome vices through their own willpower, taking up better habits. My short answer to that is that vices are idols and exchanging idols for idols that you or the world have labeled “better habits,” doesn’t qualify as real change. It might benefit society better if you’re doing yoga instead of drinking and driving, but worshiping a workout session instead of a bottle isn’t any better for your soul.

If you think that truth hurts like a ton of bricks, just imagine that titanic of a truth again, tearing out of the darkness, hitting home and rending in two. That’s how I felt on the 24th of December.

Oddly, it was a kinda good feeling. Knowing Jesus was with me every day of 2013 made me feel great. It also made me feel pretty stupid for not really realizing it until nine days shy of the end of the year.

In a flash I knew I had been thoroughly selfish throughout 2013. The more joyous realization, though, was of how to change for this year. Yes, 2014 will be different. Not because it’s a New Year or because we all try harder, or something like that. 2014 will be different because every day Jesus is here, whether we remember it or not.

I’m pretty sure I’ll remember it this time, though.