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Archive for June, 2021

Stumbling blocks

I almost wrote a story for a contest. The prize was $20k.  I laid it out in my head and almost wrote it down to submit. 

In the end, I talked myself out of it. I know no one needs another voice cluttering up space on the internet with useless words. 

Maybe I should have?

But I didn’t 

And another opportunity to change my life passed me by without fanfare or notice. 

It’s not that I have nothing to say… Lord knows I’ll talk your ears off if you’re around me very long. But that’s just diarrhea of the mouth, words being ejaculated without meaning or substance. I should have something to say, something of substance and worth.  In the end it was the lack of substance, the lack of worth, and the lack of courage that kept me from submitting anything. 

Would I read what I wrote?  

Probably not… so why burden anyone else?

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So tonight I was looking over some of the things that Liz is having to go through to prepare for college now at my Alma Mater, UNCG.

Of course my brain started wandering down through the halls of time dragging up memories. And I really tried, but I don’t have any really good memories. One or two half decent ones but it’s mostly just a blur. I have a few good Memories of Little League Baseball. But even they are overshadowed by the bad ones and my failures both on and off the field. Sports in general were not good to me. I did have a perfect record going in wrestling in highschool but then I won one.  (Actually it was a forfeit) Eventually I did legitimately win a match.  It was a bitter victory because it hit me that there was a bigger loser than me out there.  I kept thinking, “how bad do you have to be in order to be beaten by me??”

For the life of me I can’t dredge up more than a handful of good memories. Fishing and hunting with Bill Harris are a few. Camping out in the woods, eating Beanie Weenies and farting all night with the four guys I grew up with, (two sets of brothers and me an only child… Keith and Greg, Bill and Craig) too bad we drifted apart. Rather I drifted away. 

I was always so busy trying to get to the next stage in life… I never really lived life to the fullest where I was at.  Now, as the song says:

“The friends I made all seemed somehow to drift away

And only I am left on stage to end the play”

My children are all adults now. Yes, 18 is young but she’s still an adult and I’ll treat her as such. I have found people tend to rise (or fall) to the expectations you set for them. Treat them as adults they will be adults. Treat them as weak victims…they will become weak victims. 

Reminds me of another song:

“Where do we go from here now that all of the children have grown up

And how do we spend our time knowin’ nobody gives us a damn”

Socrates at his trial said, 

“The unexamined life is not worth living”

I would also include the life that has been examined and found wanting is also not worth living. It’s merely an existence to be endured. 

So, as I look back, all I can see are the pot holes, the overgrowth, the failures, and nothing of worth. I never knew how to live so I’m saddled with a current mediocre existence bent on the necessary before the good, and the immediate rather than the best. 

And before I get sermonized, I get it. See, this is my lot in life. This is where I am, where I’m supposed to be. And I am trying to come to terms with my place in life. 

Yes, I know who I am “in Christ Jesus,” that does not change who I am, and where I’m at in life. One is spiritual, the other is in the flesh or physical. My salvation does not change my past, put rose colored glasses on my past or improve my past. The facts of my past, and my rembrance of my past remain unchanged.

So tonight I waded through the wastelands of my memories hoping to find a few good memories to salvage and all I can come up with are counting the weenies in the beanies and all night farting contests. That’s about par for my life. 

C’est la vie, c’est la guerre

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Have you ever really read the words to the hymns you sing? Read with meditation the words Robert Robinson penned in 1758. 263 years ago, yet still as powerful as the day they were written.(truth is like that you know)

“Come Thou Fount”

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothèd then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

1758
Robert Robinson.

May verse 4 become one of my daily prayers.

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In the Father…

John 17:15-22

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

Is this real to you?

Did Jesus pray for you? Are you his? Are you in him as he is in the Father?

Here is our sure and certain hope: that we are in Christ Jesus  just as he is in the Father… because the Father has given us to him and all that the Father has given him… he has lost none! 

Here in this verse we see that Jesus prayed for all of those whom the Father has given him… not just the 11 (12 counting Paul, the disciple out of time)  but all those who believe because of the word that they preached from that point forward. Think about it… Jesus Christ, before going to the cross, prayed for every believer that was his. 

Here we also see the truth of sanctification and holiness.  Both of which are not works that we do, it’s not something we gin up and is accounted to us because of our efforts. Actually just the opposite, we do the works because of this reality… that we are being conformed to his likeness, that as we grow in Christ we become more holy because he is holy and our sanctification is the outworking of becoming more Christ like. 

Our works are not what sanctifies us, our works are the result of our being sanctified. Our works are the results of our becoming holy just as he is holy.  As we become more “in him” we can’t help but do those things that show outward authentication of who we are becoming inwardly.

If our Holiness and our sanctification were something that we could do something that we could work up then we would boast in it. We would be prideful in our boasting “hey look at me, look how sanctified I am, look how holy I am” but we know that there is nothing good in us. All we can boast of is who we are in Christ because of what he has done, because of who he is, because he has redeemed us to be his own!

If it was something that we did in and of ourselves how would we ever know that we had done it right enough, or well enough, or sincerely enough, or righteously enough, or that we did it with enough humility because at that point our humility would become boasting. No… it’s all Christ! It’s all him and it’s all who we are in him. What an awesome reality that it’s not what we do it’s what he has already done, it’s who he is and because of his love for us.

Selah 

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Awaiting Eagerly

Hebrews 9:27-28

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Here again we see the reality and distinction of the resurrection. We see the reality of the finished work of Christ’s death on the cross; sin and the consequences of sin were dealt with and paid in full. Most Christians even, fail to fully grasp the enormity of this. It is seen as a one-time thing that saves them. Something separate from their daily life. I know I certainly have been guilty of this.

Christ was offered “once” so that we could benefit continually from his sacrifice, that we might live daily, in remembrance of what Christ did on our behalf so that we are “eagerly waiting for him.”

I know the world and the flesh have been defeating me for some time now. My eyes were focused on me, my thoughts were only on me, and all I could see was darkness. Then about a month or so ago a verse popped into my head and took root:

Ephesians 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

And so began my climb out of darkness back into the light. That light is Christ, and Christ is the resurrection and the life. He is the Good News!
It is the Gospel we need!
Every single day!
Especially we Christians!

How can we share what we don’t possess?
If it’s not real to us, tangibly real to us, and precious to us… then what do we have to share? Some moral, self help, snippets?
There’s no power in that!
The power is in the Gospel of Christ!
What Christ has done!
When THAT is real to us, real in us…THEN we can’t help but share what Christ has done for us, and who Christ is to us.

Remember when you were first saved? Remember the joy?
Remember how you were so grateful for what he did that, like the woman at the well, you wanted to tell everyone??
That’s the power of the Gospel of Christ in our everyday life! That’s our eager awaiting!

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Life has Meaning

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

If there is no resurrection then our faith is in vain and we are left miserable for our life is only here and now. If life is only here and now then there is no consequence for how we live, if that is so, then we should live to fulfill every desire of our hearts here and now.

Aldous Huxley understood this.
I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever

But we have a sure and certain hope, expectation, evidence, of the resurrection. We are sure of our future resurrection because of the example of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. And with it, life beyond death. Life greater than our mortal minds can even comprehend.

Proving:
That this life does have meaning.
That it does have moral absolutes.
That there are consequences.
And that life is found in the one who has conquered the results of man’s disobedience to his creator (death, hell, and the grave)… Jesus Christ.
That is Good News indeed!

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