Category Archives: Christianity

The healing Needle

Sometimes writing is like putting a puzzle together, I put out all these thoughts on paper but after I have laid it all out I have to go back and sift through them in order to make a complete thought. That is how this blog has been coming out. I wasn’t even really sure what it was that I was trying to say other than just getting out some thoughts that have been plaguing my mind and heart. Sometimes it is just the confession of the reality of my mind that helps me to heal and see the reason I am dwelling there. I have been so hurt and angry lately. I tried ignoring it but the out come of that is always the same. It is still there when I choose to stop hiding.

When I was a kid I was walking on top of this wooden fence. Don’t ask me why I was walking up there. Maybe it was the thrill of doing something dangerous, or the fact that I thought I was quite invincible when I was a child. As I was walking a crossed it I stepped on this loose board and it swung up and hit me in the back of the leg, taking with it a large chunk of my flesh. Quite morbid I know yet it happened. I was staying at my aunt’s house, and so when I walked into her house with this gushing wound, she freaked out and rushed me to the hospital. I have always been quite fearless yet I do not handle pain well at all. I avoid it at all cost. When I was at the hospital they needed to give me a shot to make sure I didn’t get any bad deceases or infections in my wound. I know that the shot was for my own good but there was know way in hell I wanted a giant needle entering my body let alone my wound. It took 4 nurses to hold me down, as I yelled and kicked and protested there needle sticking. I was 10!

The reason I bring up this story is because sometimes walking through the hurts and pains of our life is much like someone sticking a giant needle in us. Even though the out come is healing, the pain of walking through it sometimes feels unbearable. The past few years have been the most painfully times I have ever had to walk through in my 33 years of life, some self inflicted yet some not. But through all of it there is still this small still voice that beckons my heart to live. To not give up or throw in the towel, and believe me I am beyond throwing in the towel, I am at the point of burning it. I have tried praying it away yet it remains. I do not understand the evil that prevails in our world, and how we let it prevail in and threw us. But I guess we would never know the light if there was no darkness to compare it to.

I have been praying for my enemies, praying that god would bless them, that he would pursue their hearts and teach them about love. But even more than this I have been praying that God would give me a genuine love and care for their life over mine. The Gospel is easy when we only give it to those who we enjoy and love already, but when we choose to walk the gospel out with those who make it hard, then I believe we start to see the real power that it holds. There is nothing harder if you ask me then choosing to love the people who hurt and rob you of life and joy. But there is nothing more freeing either!

 


The simples!

I have been taking a journey back to the simples of my faith and trying to just get back at the core of why and what it means to be a Christ follower. Sometimes I believe I get so caught up in the deep that I lose sight of the Simple. I have been reading a Book called “The Spirit of Disciplines- understanding how God changes lives” by Dallas Willard. He is painting the picture of the importance of spiritual disciplines and the growth and power that that has in our daily lives. Sometimes Fundamentals are not given enough weight and value, and the power that they hold. Some how in all this the church has painted the deeds of our lives as not as valuable as the faith that we hold. But I believe that as James has put it so clearly it say this- ‘But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:18’ the deeds of our lives are not as much about what we do, but they are a reflection of our heart and faith as we choose to follow Christ. We have deeds not because we are trying to earn anything but because our faith in Christ produces Fruit that in turn will be called deeds. There are so many Christians today that have lives that are powerless and really live no different than those who profess no belief in Christ at all. These disciplines have been looked down upon as things you do to earn Salvation, but what I am learning is that these disciplines are the very things that bring us to what I believe Christ came to fulfill and that is “life in abundance”. I think that if we really get a true understanding of lets say, the power of prayer, the reading of gods word, fasting, worship, and things of this nature we will begin to realize that they are more for our good than anything else. God doesn’t need any of things to be God, he just is. These things are what bring us to life and free us from the things that kill our hearts. God is for us and the power of these disciplines, are to bring us to a place of what it means to be apart of the kingdom of God. I believe that if our motives are just one thing and that is to please God then the power of this Gospel will do great things in our lives. So look at it this way, I read my word not because I was told to but because I believe that it pleases my father and that it is by the truth and truth alone that sets are hearts free. I read it because I have put my faith in something that is much great than my self! I pray not because I need something but because it brings me closer to the heart of God, And it is at his heart that we find the answers to all that plague our lives.


Masterpiece

Tonight I watched Forest Gump and I would say that it has been a long while since I had seen it. I do say a great movie, and I think I had forgotten how good it really was. As I found myself lost in the character of Tom Hanks, my heart fell victim to his simply way of life. Live life honest and full and never look back wishing you would had done this or that. There is something about a good story that brings hope to our lives and stirs something deeper inside of us, or at least in me.

I wept all through the movie, not because of the story of Forest Gump but because of the story of my own life. I was saddened tonight at the fact that I sometimes just shut off. That I let my life go into what I would call, Autopilot. I am coming to the realization that sometimes to face the truth, it hurts, and it hurts a lot, and in order to heal and over come we have to face the mountains that lay before us. Just sometimes it is easier to not feel or least that is the lie that tempts us.

I want to love myself! That is in a way that says that I am satisfied with whom God has made me to be. I am learning that in order to love others we must first learn to love our selves. That until we feel true value of who we are there is no way we can see value in other people. I believe that is why the bible teaches us to love others the way we would love ourselves.

I was talking with a good friend tonight about the way we see ourselves. About how that view alters the way we live and the things we do. If we feel small or dumb, useless or ugly it affects how we act and the life we live. Yet if we feel beautiful and loved we radiate with joy for there is nothing better in the world than to be fully loved. I am trying to let the love of God penetrate my hardened heart. You see I have a hard time seeing the good in myself. I struggle with the view of who I am more than you would ever know. You might think that because I stand on a stage that somehow I am granted some kind of bubble the shields me from all the impaling hurts this life throws at us but it is far from the truth. I am insecure and scared just like the rest of us that is if we really get honest with our selves.

But the truth is that we are perfectly and wonderfully made in the image of God. That regardless of our history and our fault that God still sees the potential of greatness within our human shells. We are the making of his hands and the wonder and glory of who he is.
We are his masterpiece!


Unfailing

“That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

And now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. To him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through out all generations, forever and ever, amen.” Ephesians 3:16-21

I was reading in my journal this morning and came across this scripture out of Ephesians. Sometimes it’s hard for me to rest in the fact that God loves us perfectly. I know my sin and selfishness all to well, and if it were me, I would not find a place of love for myself. It is incredible to me that God finds us lovely. That some how he can see through our mess and see something that is beautiful and without blemish, and what I think is even more amazing is the fact that his love for us is the very thing that brings him glory. There is nothing that we have done, or that we are doing or even that we are going to do that can separate us from the love and glory of God.

Jesus please forgive us of our messy lives, and our inability to love fully. Please give us the grace to rest in the fact that it is by you and your glory only that we might find life. I give you my life today and pray that I have the strength and courage to lay down my life tomorrow and everyday after. I pray for strength to trust in your unfailing love. I ask for your shelter from the lies of this world and the clarity to see the truth that only you give. I ask for joy to rise in our hearts that our lives might become pictures of an unfailing love, and an unfailing God. Let us boast only in the cross that has conquered all death and let your love transform our minds to see the world through your eyes. Amen!


Winters End!

A couple days ago I was in the kitchen when I heard Cohen screaming “dada” I rushed to see what it was he was yelling about and low and behold I found Cohen with my Wallet. He had found it laying on the coffee table and started pulling out my cards and well found my Drivers License and was joyfully waving the license in the air yelling “dada”. He was so enamored with the fact that my picture was on this card. The wheels had started turning and he wanted so badly to inform me that I was on this tiny little piece of plastic. Sometimes I wish I could get in his head to see what the discovery process of his little mind looks like. If something could ever melt your heart it is the joy and love of a little human excited about who you are. I fear for the day that daddy is not as exciting as he had once thought him to be. But for now I will take what ever I can get.

Cohen is such a little love bug. Sometimes I will be sitting on the couch and he will climb up next to me in just start impaling me with hugs and kisses. He will give me the biggest hug then stand up and just giggle as if he some how knew I needed just that very thing. The joy God is bringing me through him is so undeserved and yet so needed all at the same time. God is healing my lack of a father through the fathering of my own son.

This last week has been a melting of the heart kind of week. I feel that spring has finally come and the winter’s ice is starting to finally melt away. My heart has been in a very cold place for a while and I would have to say that I have found my self very angry with God. But know matter how much I want to stay angry, when he chooses to come in the anger just seems to melt away and all that is left is a very hungry heart that is longing for more of the father’s warmth. He has been whispering sweet words into my heart and mind, the gentle “I love you” and the “hang in there kiddo, I will never leave you nor forsake you”. My life has felt like a hurricane now for over a year. I have found myself screaming to God, “where are you”, “why won’t you show up and heal this mess”. I don’t understand God by a long shot but he never fails to show up. Sometimes it is just not on my timing, well most of the time it is not on my timing. But I stand here in the warm spring day with a hunger of God’s love saying, “I am yours, all of me, anything and everything, I belong to you”.


Oh Little Town of Bellefontaine!

I grew up on the west coast in a little mountain town in the heart of Oregon. I was a wild little child with an adventurous type of personality. I loved the outdoors (still do) and I spent a bigger part of my youth in the Oregon wild. I love to fish and would fish a river about a couple miles from my house called the Deschutes River, A beautiful wondrous river placed down in a rocky canyon full of browns, rainbows, and cutthroat trout. It is a hard river to access and it is fly-fishing only making it a dwelling of large fish.

I also lived on a canyon that was full of dark crevasses and caves and miles of cow country. I grew up exploring this land, dreaming up grand adventure, and all the while, trying to be a kid in the midst of the departure of my parents. I know that God was healing my heart, even though I didn’t know him, through the beauty of his creation. 

I lived on the west coast about 30 years and swore I would never leave. I swore I couldn’t handle living somewhere where mountains & oceans didn’t exist. Where stars were so many that they made a cluster of white and the air that was so dry, crisp and fresh you can hardly get enough. 

It is funny how life changes and sometimes takes us to the very places we don’t want to go. I am now living in Bellefontaine OH and well there are none of the things that I love here. The town just got its first coffee shop, and well that is nice but the coffee is still just average. There is never live music, little to none trout fishing, no mountains to climb and defiantly not much to do. I find my self with a lot of time on my hands. The craziest part of the whole thing is that I am the most satisfied I have been in years. I am finding that is better to be where God wants you then to be where you want to be. I am learning that God desires obedience more than sacrifice. I am also learning that I had gotten really distracted by everything around me, and had lost sight of the truest of my loves, that being Christ. I am learn to lay in the bed that Christ is putting before me and finding that his ways are so much better than mine. I have said I believe these things for years but I don’t believe my belief really became a reality until I stepped forth in faith and started handing over my desires. My passion is returning, my heart is softening, my mind is strengthening, my goals are changing, and my life is becoming meaningful. If you wait to step out until you believe you might be waiting a really long time. You see if you already believed you wouldn’t need faith. Faith comes before belief. Sometimes letting go is really hard to do, but let us care more about his will than our own. 

“Trust in the lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6


Strangleholds and Video Tapes

“Egotism is pathological self-obsession, a reaction to anxiety about whether one really does count. It is a form of acute self-consciousness and can be prevented and healed only by the experience of being adequately loved. It is, indeed, a desperate response to frustration of the need we all have to count for something and be held to be irreplaceable, with price.” Dallas Willard – The Divine Conspiracy

When I was a child I remember making up these grand ideas of how I was so great at something in order to make myself feel like I was someone. The stories I came up with were absolutely ridiculous and now thinking back on them I find them quite funny, yet sad all at the same time. For example, I use to like to tape movies, being that DVDs were not invented yet. I would be able to get 3 movies per tape and I would take such pride in the order and organization of them. I remember going on and on dreaming about how people would stumble upon my tapes and would be just blown away at how good I was at taping them. I would dream about hero moments of being hoisted up on shoulders and wondrous chants being said in name of Shawn the amazing taper. Silly I know and looking back on this I am almost embarrassed to even confess it, being how stupid it is in light of real achievement. But the truth is I wanted to just feel important. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to just know that someone thought I was all right.

I grew up with my grand parents and even though I know they loved me very much, they didn’t love me the way I needed to be loved. I needed Parents that cared about my heart and while mine were off somewhere mostly likely getting high I never knew what that was like. I grew up affirming myself. I grew up dreaming grand Ideas of who I wish I were. I was never good at anything, never the kid who made it, never the athlete, never the straight A student, I was never cool, never funny, I wasn’t even a good nerd, I just was. And so I would make up these, to me, glorious achievements, of how I was someone. You see I felt so unloved, or even a better way of putting it is that I felt unlovable. That was the definition I came up with to explain my parent’s departure. And so I lived a bigger part of my life living in a fantasyland that took me to a place of deep self-obsession. I even to this day struggle with thoughts of self-worth. I am trying to learn how to reprogram my mind and heart. Hoping that someday that when the storms of “self-worth” flood in, the rock of “true-worth” will out weigh and I will be able to stand firm in the fact that I am uniquely made and deeply loved void of fantasy. It is one thing to say you believe these things, like being loved, but it is another to actually live in a way that proves it. I say I believe god loves me and my, oh so small life issues, but the fact I didn’t have a father makes relating to “God the father” a very hard thing for me to grasp.

I have been reading “The Divine Conspiracy – By Dallas Willard”. A really deep and slow read but very profound. That being said I wanted to state another quote that I think goes along the lines of reprogramming our hearts.

“So any significant change can come only by breaking the stranglehold of the ideas and concepts that automatically shunt aside Jesus, “the Prince of Life” when questions of concrete mastery of our life arise.” Dallas Willard

I am finding I have lots of strangleholds. That I have grown up believing life is one way but I am finding that my believe system to quickly falling apart. That the survival modes that I used to pull my self through the pains of childhood are the very things that are killing my life and the ones I love around me today. The self-centeredness that saved my heart from dieing as a child is now my greatest enemy. I think the only hope for life is on the movement of our father to bring us out of the shell of self. It is only there that flesh and blood separate and it is by the blood that we have life.


Will!!

I will seek his will not his power!

A simple quote yet a really deep thought. I read it in a little book called “tale of two Kings”. I have had this thought on the tip of my mind all day. In every conversation and every deed I have done today. It has been haunting me, enticing me to enter into it presence.  Like the bull and the red flag, Saying I dare you to come close. I dare you to charge.

I don’t know how many times I have found my self on my knees screaming out to God to change my circumstances, my feeling, my heart, my mind, my strength and so on and so on. I have cried and cried for Gods power. For him to do something, for him just to show up. I have challenged him over and over. Claiming if you are there then move. Prove your God. I have tested God, Cursed Him, even yelled at him in anger. I have sought his power over and over. I am not proud just being honest. I am amazed that God still delights in me.

I will seek his will not his power!

In 1 Corinthians 13 the chapter on love it says this-

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but I have not love, I gain nothing. 13:2

There is a way to have the Power of God and not be in his will. We seek it all the time. Weather it be insecurities that drive us, or glory and fame or what ever. The power of god is something I think we should be carefully on asking. Sometimes he gives it. And sometimes it is the very thing that destroys us.

David was a man who sought after God and God alone. Even when Saul tried over and over to kill him, he never took his eyes off God. Through trial after trial he never cursed nor sought revenge. He trusted in the Will of his father to bring him through. He trusted that god’s will was sufficient to sustain his life. He sought Gods will and in the end God raised him up made him a king gave him all his power and called him a man after his own heart. David never used the power that he was given to his gain but gave it back when the time came for his life to move on. Wow!

I am at a place in my life that the will Of God is the only thing I need. I can’t even say I am here on my own, cause that would be dishonest, but more so, say God has brought me here. I have tried this Christian faith for so long on my own. I am tired and my heart is broken. My mind is numb and my legs are weak. I have failed so many times, and yet the truth is that failure is still something I will most likely find in the future. I am excepting that this brokenness that God has been taking me through is somehow for his glory. That this unraveled lump of yarn will someday be woven into a beautiful blanket. I am trusting that god is not done with me yet. That his will is not yet complete and no matter the storm I hope I can sustain the test.

God Willing

 

I will seek your will not your power!


Love!

Hang my locket around your neck,
Wear my ring on your finger.
Love is invincible facing danger and death.
Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.
The fire of love stops at nothing-
It sweeps everything before it.
Floodwaters can’t drown love,
Torrents of rain can’t put it out.
Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold-
It’s not to be found in the marketplace.”

Song of Songs 8: 6-7

I am kind of awed by this passage. I came across it yesterday and was kind of stopped dead in my tracks. I have been studying love a lot lately, mostly because it is something I am not very good at. Jesus said it was the only way. That all else is nothing without it. The scriptures even go, as far as to say that god is love. My whole life I grew up thinking love was a feeling. Something that happens within me, but what I am learning is that it has nothing to do with any of that. It is something we are, a way of life. Jesus said we must die to ourselves, take up our own cross, and follow. In essence I believe he was saying that we must become love. Love is selfless. It is for the good of others. Take a look at “1 Corinthians 13”

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then; see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three thing to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Can I pray?

Jesus we are taken by your ways of life. I pray for you to take us deep into the essence of love. Let it become our way. Let it flood our minds and our hearts. Let it impassionate us. Let it become more than words on our tong. Let it consume us like a blazing fire and engulf everything around us. Transform us into what brings you glory. Transform us into your very essence and that is LOVE! Thanks and amen