Where’s the oxygen?

Sinkin’ in the deep
water surrounding every crevasse of the body
can’t breathe
was searching for a greater purpose
now drowning in a sea of burden

Sinkin’ in the deep
water sneaking through every crack in the body
can’t see
don’t know which way’s up or down
drowning in a sea of confusion

Sinkin’ in the deep
water’s pushing me lower and lower
can’t believe
vulnerable to the vast creatures that guard the sea
drowning in the ocean of fear

Rising to the surface
God’s oxygen of love surrounding me
can finally breathe
found my greater purpose
now floating in a sea of love

Rising to the surface
faith seeping in through every crack in the body
can finally see
His light guides me up
swimming in a sea of clarity

Rising to the surface
encouragement pushes me higher and higher
can now peacefully believe
His strength guards me against all evil
flourishing in a safe ocean of love

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Beware- temptation slyly slithers into the heart

As he’s strutting his stuff, dominantly strolling through the garden, Eve walks up and says, “hey babe, that snake’s lingering around the tree again.”

“Really? He hasn’t overheard me any one of the times I’ve specifically instructed you and all the creatures to not eat from that tree?!” Irritated he strides through the mysterious garden where the forbidden tree dwells. It looks different than the others. God didn’t have to mention anything about it for Adam to know there was something special about this one.

“Hey punk, are you hard of hearing? You can’t tell me you didn’t hear me any one of the times I’ve warned Eve against touching or even looking at that tree! You’re a fool, your very life could be taken from you by being in such close proximity with it. You have no idea, none of us have any idea what this tree is capable of. We could merely just touch it and our lives could be taken from us.”

The serpent glares into Adam’s eyes. Adam can’t quite figure out what he is thinking but since the very first day his eyes caught a glimpse of this creature, and every time after that, his blood always runs cold. Something just isn’t right with him.

Shifting his cold, dead eyes from Adam to Eve he stops. Aha, I will use her. She’s the perfect one to deceive. She expects Adam to protect her and when he curiously and weakly backs off, she will try a bite of the forbidden fruit. She’s curious, trusts her man too much, and never heard directly from God herself that she must not eat from the tree of knowledge.

Pppsss, the serpent give a disturbing sigh as he says to Eve, “come here woman.” She inches forward as Adam slightly stumbles back, weary of the serpent’s creepy tone.

“I do not fear you,” she says.

“Hahaha” the snake sings a sly chuckle, “[pppsss] good, you shouldn’t be afraid. You have Adam and your God to protect you. Now tell me Eve, if God really told you to not look or even touch it  or you will surely die, how is it that you are looking at it right now and are still alive?” Quickly he tosses her an apple, triggering her reflexes and causing her to  automatically catch it.

She screams, immediately dropping it as her blood runs cold. “Why did you do that? I could have died!”

“But you did not die. If God said you would die if you touched it but haven’t yet perished, how could He have been telling the truth? You had full contact with that apple, Eve, and are still alive.”

He’s right. I don’t feel faint, I don’t even feel affected by it at all. Could God have made a mistake? Adam saw the whole thing and is astonished by it too. The serpent picks up the apple and reaches out to hand it to her. She looks at Adam and a hint of curiosity washes over his face. He hasn’t said no yet, I guess I can at least hold it since I already know that I won’t die from touching it.

Amazing! Adam can’t believe she didn’t die. Curious of what will happen Adam gives her a silent look of approval. If something goes wrong, I didn’t start it and I didn’t give her verbal permission. If something goes wrong I’m totally in the clear.

“Why don’t you just try it and take a bite?” The serpent’s lies flow like a bloody river off his tongue. “Go ahead, God is just afraid that when you eat it you will understand all. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil will give you wisdom beyond your wildest dreams. Does God not desire to give His children the desires of their heart? Why would He want you to have more wisdom like Him?”

He is right! I’ll take a bite unless Adam says otherwise. Slowly the apple inches towards her rosy lips and hesitantly takes the bite, then turns around and gives it to Adam.

Time flies by and sin now runs rampant in a once perfect world. Hugging his deceitful pride Satan came in the form of a serpent to prey on God’s beloved. Eve couldn’t believe that she fell for his dirty trick but even more, she couldn’t believe that Adam stood there the whole time and couldn’t gather the courage to stop her from allowing sin to enter into the world. Worst of all he even blamed HER for what happened.

“You were standing there the whole time and never said a word! God charged you to protect me and you didn’t obey! It’s not just my fault, it’s both of our faults!” Another fight between the couple runs wild as the serpent smiles. He’s done it. He tricked them and now they can’t even help but bow down to him and sin.

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Trying to make a small difference

I’m trying to make a small difference here. I’m fundraising for an organization called Zoe that works hard to get kids out of human trafficking situations. There’s not much I can do besides pray, give, and ask others to do the same.

Here’s my page and if you could give whatever you are financially able to give backed up with prayer that’d be awesome and such a blessing for these hurting children!

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Leaning on the Lord- taking the next step on the ladder

I haven’t blogged more than twice in the last two months. The funny thing is that I’ve had plenty of time, I think I’ve just been stagnant. I haven’t been tapping into my creative side at all these last few months and it’s been wringing me dry. Well I’m not sure what motivated me to get on here the last few days but I’m sure glad that whatever it is pushed me to be creative once again.

Any of you who read my last blog about the ladder and 2 Peter 1:5-8 might want to reread at least a part of it because you might need a quick refresher- this post is a sequel to the last one.

This image of a ladder helps me to take a lot more out of these few verses in 2 Peter. The last step I was at on the ladder was knowledge, now it’s time to move on to self-control. The problem is that I wanna do what I wanna do, when I wanna do it. I lack the strength to say no when I should say no and I lack the discipline that I need so badly in my life.

This generation doesn’t like the sound of that word- discipline. It sounds boring, overrated,
and they feel like it symbolizes the end of youth; however, discipline is FAR from all these things. Discipline does not tie chains to young adults’ wrists and hold them down.

 

It opens up rusty doors and allows one to experience life to it’s fullest. How will I fulfill my dreams and get to where I want to be without discipline? How will I live as loved without enough self-control to abstain from what will hurt and thwart my ability to grow into the person God created me to be? How will I learn to see myself as God sees me and see my future as God sees it? I have to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in the way of discipline so that my rusty old door might open my life up to a whole bunch of new experiences.

This seems to be the step I’m hanging out at for the near future. I have to learn more about this whole self-control thing. I have to learn how to control and restrain myself so that I might flourish and do everything I can to bring God’s kingdom here on earth.

When I get there the next step on the ladder will be perseverance. I like the English Standard Version’s word choice more here- steadfastness. Once I learn self-control the next logic step is to live in a place of steadfast, unwavering loyalty, to my God. I can’t wait to experience this season of life where I am thriving and the Holy Spirit is just having a field day running through and out of my body into the rest of the world!

It’s funny, at this point taking the next step seems to get easier and become more of a subconscious fluid motion. Self-control to steadfastness, steadfastness to godliness, godliness to brotherly affection, brotherly affection to love. I could keep breaking each step
down but I don’t feel the need to at this point. Once I get past the fear and the struggle to discipline myself to keep climbing the ladder through the power of the Lord, it’s not that hard. Steadfastness will lead to godliness, godliness will lead to brotherly affection, and brotherly affection will ultimately lead to love.

Notice how everything is wrapped up in love.

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Let’s brush off the fake and get real

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions (basically means the wing of a bird), and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness is a shield and a buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night now the arrow that flies by the day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness nor the destruction that wastes at noonday,” Psalm 91 1-6.

Well this is an encouraging verse. It was definitely what I needed to read after the sermon today. I also needed to read it before I wrote this blog so anxiety wouldn’t try to creep in on me. I need this protection, I need this fortress to run to when I feel overwhelmed and stressed.

So now moving on, Pastor Zack hit on many other things today, but I took away one simple concept: God moves a lot slower than I do. It amazes me that He doesn’t get frustrated. I’m SO impatient and most of the time I’m SO blind.

Here’s what goes through my mind…
I can’t see that He has big plans for me. I feel like I’m wasting my time. I can’t clearly      see my purpose. I feel completely overwhelmed and stressed out. I don’t know what to do. I think about how I’m allowing more anxiety to creep in. Blah blah blah…

Honestly, I know the “right” answer to most of these things. Take for instance, “I can’t clearly see my purpose.” I know that my main purpose in this life and after is to be loved by God, give it back to Him, and let it pour out into a broken world. I know that I’m here to worship Jesus, to be loved by God, and to be mentored and taught by the Holy Spirit about how exactly I do all of this. So… this is the good “Christian” answer, but then why do I still feel like I don’t know what my purpose is?

See, I could be fake. I could find the perfect answers and appear to be the “perfect” Christian, but I refuse to do that. God wants people to be real. Well this is me being real, this is what I struggle with.

Back to the sermon… God moves a lot slower than I do. I feel like if I’m not accomplishing BIG things every day, if I’m not working towards any goal whatsoever, and if I’m not checking off things on my to-do list then I’m not really putting all I have into this life. How do I fulfill my purpose or figure out His plans for me if I’m not trying to figure it out and staying crazy busy? Well, God doesn’t work like that. He chooses to reveal things to me in His time. The Holy Spirit knows that my head might be able to comprehend the fact that my main purpose in life is to live as loved but He also knows that it hasn’t really registered in my heart… and that’s okay. He’d rather open my heart and give me wisdom so I might truly understand these things in His own perfect time, not overnight (as I expect or would like).

So at this point I’m not even sure what’s making me worry. I guess sometimes I feel like I’m in this alone because God seems so distant. Well I’ll tell you He seems distant ’cause I’m pushing Him away. I’m trying to movemovemove and workworkwork all while He’s saying, “CHILD STOP! Just be with me! Just breathe me in and out. I’ll help you to let it all go.” I believe I will look back on my life when it’s all over and see clearly what His plans were for my life and I will understand why things didn’t go the way I predicted or hoped they would. His way is better and His plans are FAR better and FAR more than anything I can or will ever be able to imagine.

If you worry about these things as I do, God says to let it go. STOP thinking! Verse 4 in Psalm 91 talks about God shielding me with a buckler. It’s basically just a shield but looking at a more detailed definition brings even more into the light. A buckler is very light weight and makes it easy to use when being attacked. The shield I try to use is full of worry and burdens. It is heavy and difficult to use. It rarely protects me from the strong attacks of the enemy; however, the shield God protects me with is light and free of worry, stress, and burdens. A buckler is also used to attack the enemy. God uses His light, yet strong shield to protect me and fight back against the enemy. I’m not fighting alone.

God, help me to be still in You. Help me to understand that You have big plans for me and please let it register in my heart. Help me to be content here where I’m at and help me to slow down and be satisfied even if I feel like nothing is being accomplished. Help me to be wise and smart, I don’t want to be lazy, but I also don’t want to feel this overwhelming feeling anymore. I want Your plans to be a surprise and I don’t need to know what they are right at this second. Please help me and all the others out there that struggle with this same issue; please help us Lord!

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Today’s the Day

It’s been a while… I plan to finish the last post I put up a few months ago, but for now I’m just going to start with this.

Today’s the Day

Woe to my broken state
this fragile frame
can’t guard my heart
from the tragic fate
of loneliness and despair

Is there a hope
no one knows
they just stay on the go
fast forward down the road
hope and pray that they can say there’ll be a better day

Maybe one day
I don’t know, I just might find
rest for my soul
find a way that I can say
today is the better day

Pick up my staff, throw it down
and give it up
Jesus is my hope, He is my day
He’ll show me the way
to contentment and joy

I no longer fear
I no longer say
what is the point of this day
He gives me meaning and gives my joy
and for this I will say

want to live, I want to sigh
and let all the stress just die
no more worry, no more lies
His kingdom has come and to my flesh
I say goodbye

It’s an active choice
I must declare every time I feel despair
I refuse to wallow, I will not cry
I will cast selfish ambition to the side and
pray for the lost souls to arise

Only now I can say to the sleeping hearts
wake up, open your eyes
life is more than the work, money, and fear
His kingdom has come and now is your time
to see his love shine

Beloved arise
I pray you open your eyes
your purpose is great
this life is divine
go on and let His love shine!

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Take the ultimate leap of faith- get on the ladder

This is going to be a long one… I’m going to break it up into little manageable segments, publishing the whole thing into two or three separate posts.

I’ve been stuck on that same verse I blogged about just a little while ago. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says “… make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It dawned on me that there’s a process to what Peter is saying. It all starts with faith; however, I can’t just jump from having faith to knowing how to love like Jesus does. I have to climb the ladder. The first step is getting on, and that takes faith. Stepping on takes guts because I could fall, I could freeze, or the ladder could lead to nowhere. It takes faith to step on and stay on, trusting that Jesus has got my back and won’t let me fall or freeze. I need to recognize that the rest of the way up the ladder my faith has to be my backbone. I need Jesus to give me the courage, the strength, and cue me on the correct timing as to when I should take another step.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I look at the ladder, it’s not all that impressive. It looks old. Beat up. Neglected. I left it chillin’ in the attic for so long and now that I’m finally pulling it out it makes me afraid to take that first leap of faith. Jesus says, “don’t worry child, don’t be afraid. I’ll be holding that ladder and holding that hand of yours every step of the way. Oh, and the ladder might look old and from this view, but just wait till you get to the top!” Huh… what? Well I’m curious now, it seems like quite an adventure!

Once I’m on the ladder, some time later Jesus says “okay, you’re ready to take another step.” That next step is goodness. Without the Holy Spirit inside me I’m just no good. I do not think about doing good and I don’t care about doing good. But once I take that leap of faith and get on the ladder I find myself wanting to good for others like He has done for me. Once I’ve been hanging out at goodness for a while Jesus says, “okay, you’re ready to take another step.”

That next step is knowledge. Sometimes knowledge can get in the way. Looking back… the original Greek the word for knowledge is gnōsis. It pretty much means head knowledge. This is the step on the ladder that introduces intense Bible study. Delving into the Word is SO important but one can’t be forced into the Bible before s/he has a foundation of faith and has practiced using that faith for good. Remember… there’s a process and there’s a reason for this process.

I’ve spent a lot of time here on this step. I just can’t seem to know the Word good enough. However Jesus says, “you can’t stay here forever. I just wanted you to learn the importance of knowing My Word and to practice learning how to read it and make it a part of your daily life. It’s time for you to move on to self-control.”

…to be continued

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