Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Here is the latest variation I have been playing.  



Friday, August 26, 2011

Proximity Matters

This last Saturday, my Nanna (grandmother on my Dad's side) died.  She was ninety-one years old.  It has been an interesting week inside my heart.  I have already expressed much of that, and don't care to rehash.  I would like to talk about something that applies to us all.  It is a discovery.  It is hardly new, but is something that has been refreshed for me. 

Proximity matters.  It makes a difference.  I have tried long and hard to fight this idea.  In my mind, I have tried to hold onto the notion that people you love just dwell inside you, and with that logic, should be able to feel their presence at all times.  This is simply not true. 

Once someone becomes a part of your heart, a part of your being, they are forever embedded into your soul.  They become a piece of you. 

My mistake was in thinking this would make things easier.  I can carry them with me wherever I go.  It is a mistake, at least in part.  Proximity matters.  Now that I think about it, I don't know how it could be any other way.  If I could get the full joy of being near someone by simply placing them in my heart, then I would never need to see them again in order for that piece to remain full.  May it never be. 

I think of every time I ever went to go visit Daddy Jake and Nanna.  When I was with them, I was more alive, more real, more whole.  At first, when we'd leave, I was just sure that this new piece of me would carry on.  I would simply be new.  Usually, I didn't even make it all the way back to New Braunfels from Uvalde before I found myself feeling emptier, more diminished.  After a while I new that would happen, so I would simply dread leaving their presence.  They are a piece of me. 

Tonight we will be driving down late to be in Uvalde for Nanna's (her name is Doris, just thought you might like to know) funeral.  We will be staying in their empty house where so much of me was formed.  All the furniture is gone.  The house is sold actually, just not yet closed.  All that is left is the beds.  I will be saying goodbye to Nanna, and a huge chunk of myself that I will not get back in this lifetime. 

Proximity matters.  People can never leave your heart once they are their, but their lack of physical presence cannot be made up for by affection alone.  Like I said, then we would never need to be near anyone.  One time would be enough. 

No.  We are built to long to be near each other, to need each other, to make each other better.  We are meant to look each other in the eyes, and hear each other's voices, to feel the frequent and gentle touch of each other's hands upon the other's shoulder.  For being near, there is no substitute.

That has been one of my greatest comforts.  Yes, I will never be the same in this life.  A piece of me has died with my friend, my grandmother.  Yet, it is different this time in compared to the death of Daddy Jake.  You see, now they are together again.  only the thought of being near Jesus could be more comforting than the thought of two soul mates reunited in heaven, nothing to keep them apart.  They are no longer old and hurting.  Nanna's broken and bent body is now straight and whole.  She will speak clearly, even sing, and he will be able to hear and treasure every word for the rest of eternity.

Stained-Glass Window in the First United Methodist Church in Uvalde, Texas

Together again, redeemed and renewed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My father came up to Dallas last week in order to get his torn bicep checked out (please pray for his arm).  Before he went back to Brownwood, we had a lunch together.  It was great.  About half way through our meal my dad just stops, and says, "I've been afraid to push.  I've been so afraid that I would tip you over the edge.  I can now see that you are better, that you are back from the abyss.  So, I am going to push you..." 

It was like water to my parched soul.  We set up a time to have enough of Light Blue finished to send in (Sept. 29 at the latest).  He also admonished me to get back into ministry while I pursue getting published.  I tried to wuss out and remind him that I got rejected twice, to which he wisely replied, "So what."  That was one place.  It wasn't meant to be.  There are thousands of ministries.  So, after a week of thinking about it, I am ready to start looking again.  So, be in prayer for me.  I have not decided anything beyond that I want to apply for ministry while i finish my book.  I have no idea where, or in what capacity.  Those details will come later.  I am simply excited to move forward and try again to share God's love and grace as my career. 

May God be with you this day.  May He guide you toward Him, being quick to right your missteps, faithful to remind you of what will bring you the most joy, the most delight, the most truth.  May He afford you every blessing, whether pleasant or not.  May the Holy Spirit be active in your heart and mind, keeping you heart soft and moldable to His will and delight.  IN Jesus' name, amen,

The Abyssic: Poor Boy

The Abyssic: Poor Boy: Self Pity by Nicholas L. Laning
pity |ˈpitē| noun ( pl. pities) 1 the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the sufferin...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tab Revision

|---2----2---2----2----0----0----0----0 ---- 22---22---22---22---11--11--11--11----
|-----------------------------------------------3-----3-----3----3-----2----2----2---2 ------
Standard tuning.  This is the exact tab of what I was trying to show earlier.  It is super easy, but I really think it could be something to build upon.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Waltz

Another song I have been working on has been a waltz.  I mean, it isn't a real waltz.  My inspiration as far as template is Flightless Bird/American Mouth, by Iron and Wine.  Standard EADGBE tuning.  Obviously to be played in 3/3 time.  I think it is best played melancholy, somewhere in the slower Andante range.


With this first chord, you are going to pick with your thumb on the top string on the first beat of the measure, then pluck the bottom three the last two beats.


Same thing, only the D string is opened.


Move to the middle four strings and follow the same pattern.


Slide your fingers down and add the finger to the G string.  Then, just start over.  I think it is a really good base.  I don't know though.  I am doing my best.

Prayer for the Day

Father, you are why we live.  You are the source of everything that is good.  You are so faithful.  Thank you for that.  Thank you for never letting me go.  Thank you for bothering with us.  Forgive us our sins.  You have been faithful in helping me overcome the temptations to be angry.  Though you and I both know that I failed at times as well.  Forgive me for leaning on myself, for thinking myself to have had any wisdom apart form you.  Forgive me for making too much of myself, and not running to you at every turn.  Father, don't let us go.  Hold on to us.  Don't let us stray.  Rejuvenate our hearts.  Do not with hold any blessing, pleasant or not.  Do not let us be.  Make us yours.  Mold our hearts and minds.  Help us to see the lies, see the battle, and fight with truth and light and love.  You are why we live.  May your name be glorified throughout the Earth.  May the more come to know and enjoy you.  Your will be done.  In your son Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The End Does NOT Justify the Means

The End may justify the means for some people, but not for Christians.  The means is tied into the end.  It isn't about just scoring the touchdown in Christianity, it is about how you get to the end zone as well.  If you kill someone in order to spread the gospel, then you have missed the boat.  That is dramatic, but let's be more realistic.  If you lie in order to maintain the balance of your ministry you have failed.  Time and again I have seen ministries preach grace, light and love, and then fail to practice them.  It isn't that I don't understand why.  We think about the calling we have, to share the gospel to the world.  It is such a great end.  However important that end is, God doesn't give us clearance to skip steps. 

I have seen a ministry fire a man because his wife left him, and the idea of having a divorced person on staff was an embarrassment.  I have seen ministry leaders belittle and berate those under them.  I have seen massive abuse at the hands of those who are leading ministries.  In each case, the heart and excuse for the abuse is the same.  Though it will be worded in Christian words, the message is that the end (sharing the gospel) justifies the means (the abuse).  This happens when men take their eyes from God and His word, and start leaning on their own understanding. 

Why else would these organizations be so cruel?  So harsh?  Is that real ministry?  Is that the heart of a ministry?  We have all met people who smile to your face, but are cruel underneath.  That is the truth of most ministries, sadly.  The awful part of this is that there are people just dying for an excuse to reject submission to God.  No one is ever to blame for anyone else's sin.  Surely, though, we can help or hinder.  Such legalism and lack of grace just hurts.  I have been told quite a few times in my life that I would make a good pastor.  Though it is not the reason (I have never felt called) the idea of working at a church absolutely horrifies me.  Much of this is my own problem, as my expectation of humans has been too high.  Pastors, elders, deacons, ministry directors are all just Christians, and I don't follow Christians, I follow Christ. 

In the end, we must come to God and cry out to Him to guide us.  What scares me is that I know I am no better.  I see these injustices unfold, and all I can do is throw myself at the cross and beg God to strengthen me, to guide me, that with His grace, I would not be cruel, ungracious, and tepid in leadership. 

It is with a heavy but hopeful heart that I write all this.  Let us pray for the church.  Let us pray that we would be slow to judgement in anger of others, and quick to forgive and willing to trudge through the mess that is human relations at time.  Pray that God would bring about a change in our hearts, that our place in ministry would be seasoned with wisdom and a heart that clings to the foot of God, and does not lean on our own understanding.  Pray that those people who would use such strife to excuse their sin would be rebuffed and drawn by the Holy Spirit.  Lastly, and on another note, let us pray for rain where it is dry.  


Exodus 23:1 ESV

"You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.

Deuteronomy 5:20 ESV

"'And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Psalm 27:12 ESV

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.

Temptations to Sin

1 And he said to his disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him."  

Luke 11:4 ESV

and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation."

Forgive the Sinner

5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure--not to put it too severely--to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Charity Water

With the drought that we are going through, my heart is extra burdened for those who don't have the resources to fight it.  We may be short on water, but we have AC and we have shelter, and we can afford to have water imported.  Not so for millions of people in East Africa.   And in the Central African Republic, there is water, but it is so contaminated and dirty that it is killing people every day.  So, here are two sites that are resources to help.  I am not a planner, I am a communicator.  If anyone has a good idea as to how to raise money for Charity Water, I would love to hear it.


Anger and Judgement Crumble

There area a lot of random things on my heart and mind today.  I will start with the mundane and work to the more profound.

First things first.  My father in law got a Kuerig Coffee Machine.  This is not healthy for me.  I am not even a coffee buff, and my intake has doubled if not tripled!  It is like having heroine on tap.  Press the little button, the machine makes some noises, and you get really good coffee or tea in ten seconds.  I fear the toll will be most heavily taken on my pearly whites.  I have been blessed with relatively straight and white natural teeth.  Until I was a junior and high school, my teeth were nearly perfect naturally, to many people's envy.  That would be when my not so wise wisdom teeth decided to come in, and shove my bottom teeth forward, banking my two front teeth in ever so slightly.  You can't tell unless I open my mouth real wide, but it's there.  Anyhow, this Kuerig situation is bad.  Need to pray for some self control here!

Now on to serious stuff.  Anger has long been an issue for me.  I battled it mightily as a young teen.  Part of this was because I was picked on heavily and my mom, with her newly rejuvenated faith, was under the understanding that it was my roll as a Christian to let the other boys beat me up, and not do anything about it.  "Turn the other cheek."  I did just that, and it left me feeling emasculated and confused.  Also, I had some crazy hormones raging.  When you can grow a full beard when you are a junior in high school, you know that the testosterone is in full effect.  So, I have spent two decades now trying to understand anger.  What is it?  Where does it come from?  What do I do with it?

When I was younger, my mother and dad would try to assuage my anger by telling me to go take out my anger on something inanimate.  Living in the country, there was more room to let this play out.  One time my dad and I shot cartons of water with shotguns (highly recommend it.  The water just explodes!)

This long, arduous battle has been one of my worst.  We are all afraid of our own selves in some way.  We are afraid we will do this or that.  For me, (until maybe two years ago) I have lived my life in fear of my own temper, and I have lived in fear of my own forgetfulness. 

God is always faithful.  I have been begging Him for help, and He has surely given it over the years.  As with everything, it seems, He didn't just zap it.  No, He has lovingly shown Himself in the process of understanding and maturation.  This year has been the biggest year for this.

The biggest change came in Ireland, when, as I have already written before, God showed me that I was angry at Him, and that my anger was deeply unfounded (understatement of the year).  Since then, when anger toward God has popped up,  I have been able to fight it off with what I now know.  But, what about with people.  God is perfect.  People aren't (another understatement).  Surely I can be justified in being angry with people...  Wrong.

Due to someone justifying bitterness with the scripture about Jesus having righteous anger and turning over the tables in the temple, I have begun to study what the word says about anger.  What I have found is terribly interesting.  For one, Jesus got angry more than once.  There are quite a few verses that talk about Jesus being angry.  Here is the key though.  That anger was always of the moment, it didn't lead to sin (though I am sure some of you are thinking about the table situation scratching your heads), and it never lasted.  It never became bitterness or resentment.  Think about Jesus' response to those who were crucifying Him on the cross.  Though He had the power to stop it all, He took the pain, and even interceded for the ones crucifying Him!!!  Luke 23:24 "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Here is a man under ultimate injustice.  God became man, lived blamelessly, then got tortured to death in the place of a murderer, and He has the where with all to intercede for those torturing Him.  I have been wronged a few times lately, and my response in my heart is to struggle not to pray evil prayers, things like, "Lord, please bring a plague of... (deep breath)"  "Father, make sure that they suffff......... no."  I have to keep at it until I can actually pray for them in genuine.

The biggest change in my understanding of lingering anger (as opposed to feeling anger in the moment of revelation or injustice) is that anger is tied to judgement.  It is always tied to judgement.  You cannot stay angry with someone unless you think you are better than them, that you deserve better than them.  I recognized this as I was lying awake thinking about someone whom has deeply wronged my family.  My anger was turning into hatred, and I could feel the chasm between God and I growing.  I knew there was no place for it, but not how to stop it.  I cried out in my heart again and again.  Faithful, the Holy Spirit showed me that I thought I was better then the man I was angry at.  That I had no right to feel better than him.  Yes, He had wronged my family deeply, but was I better?  If I am better in action, is that because of me?  Surely not!  It is ALL grace.  not one speck of the goodness is me.  So, even if I am wiser, or more mature, I cannot take credit for that.  And, if I cannot take credit for anything but that which I do wrong, then what leg do I stand on to remain angry at someone who is EXACTLY LIKE ME?!  I can't.  I can't do it.  Every time, I have to submit to the reality of who I am, and when I do, the anger fades!!!!  I mean it really fades.  How amazing is that?!  Without anger, that chasm in my heart closes up, and I find myself nearer to God than I was before I was tempted to let anger linger, turn to bitterness or even hatred.  I am free to love those who harm me.  Prayer can be sent with a genuine and humble spirit.

May God ever be faithful in reminding you and I of that.  That our joy would be always from Him.  That the lie of pride would be overcome, and humility would be daily given to us.

On the music front, here is the chord progression I am working around.
Standard tuning
|X mute w/ thumb

then to:
|X mute w/thumb

I go back and forth between those about twice before reaching over to the Cadd9
|--3 It is tempting not to put this finger down, and just play a normal C Major, but it really does sound better with it.

the second time around I finish with a G Maj, then usually repeat.  Anyhow, it is a start.  I think it has a nice sound that is nothing fancy, but not just G C D Em and so on.  I play the chords very slowly, and I hit heavier on the top strings, sometimes I can't even here the bottom ones.

Lyric of the day is July Flame by Laura Veirs
 I have had this song stuck in my head all day.  
The line: "Ashes of a secret heart" is my favorite.
So descriptive on so many levels

July flame
Fiery kite
Lead me through the night

July flame

Sweet summer peach
High up in the branch
Just out of my reach

Can I call you mine?

Can I call you mine?
Can I call you mine?
Can I call you mine?

July flame

I'm seeing fireworks
They're so beautiful
Tell me why it hurts

July flame

Ashes of a secret heart
Falling in my lemonade
Unslakable thirsting in the backyard

Can I call you mine?

Can I call you mine?
Can I call you mine?
Can I call you mine?

Romans 3:21-28
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- 
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  
27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 
28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Creative Impass

It has been an interesting day for sure.  I have spent most of it here in our apartment working on various things.  I have been meditating heavily on the beginning of Light Blue.  Most people seem to complain about not having any ideas for what to do.  This is almost never my problem.  My problem is creative overload.  There are so many ideas coming so fast, that I can't decide which to pick.  The variations are endless.  I have three new beginnings in mind to replace the original.  Please pray for clarity. 
Also, I have set my mind to writing music, though not for myself.  In all honesty, the music I want to write requires more skill to actually create than what I possess.  But, I can hear it in my head.  God has shown me some interesting ways to unlock my musical creativity in writing.  One way is to have music be muffled.  It never ceases to amaze me how, if music, even familiar music, being warped through a door, or wall, or whatever, that the changes in the sound can really unlock cool new ideas.  Another crazy one has been to not play any instrument.  Without a doubt, I write music better without an instrument in hand.  I think this is because you are not focusing on performing.  You aren't limiting yourself.  It is all being created in my head.  I can hear the voices, the drums, the piano, so much clearer and freer when performing isn't on the table. It has been a long time coming, but I finally asked myself what was holding me back.  Time is what I would say, but that isn't true.  There is time.  I simply spend it doing things that pass the time, but have no value.  Some of what I do online is great and wonderful, much of it is really just a waste, a time killer.  I don't want to kill my time.  I want to use it for God's glory, and to show my affection for others!  So, no more.  Not that it won't be a battle.  It will.  But, I am resolved to take my heart to the Lord and beg our Father to imbue you and I with spirits that don't make excuses for not doing what we really want to when we can. 

I believe. 

Holding On.

These last few nights, I have had trouble getting to sleep.  Tonight obviously is no different.  It is nearly one, but I cannot sleep.  Despite having spent a good hour in bed, I cannot sleep.  For one, I think I have been drinking too much caffeine too late.  This is one of the first signs of old age.  I can no longer drink caffeinated drinks past two in the afternoon or I am pretty much toast come sleep time.  Also, my brain was reeling with new additions to Light Blue.

Light Blue update.  About a dozen people have read the original draft.  It has been an interesting time of taking in their encouragements and criticisms.  My spirit has never been more lifted and yet frustrated from other's words.  The highlight has been having several of my selected readers tell that they were brought to tears.  I was especially surprised to have one of those people be my dad.  There has also been a battle Satan has tried to discourage me often in the process, to get me jealous at other people's works, to get me frustrated that my first (and rough) draft wasn't perfect (smacks self in face due to own stupidity and just all around prideful idioticness).  God has been faithful to bring me through, and Light Blue is soooo much better now that I havebeen able to take all the wonerful input given, especially that of Jason.  He has been absolutely integral in keeping me moving forward, excited, and thinking clearly on it.  Keep praying for Joel Kneedler, the literary agent I will be sending it to first, and for the Holy Spirit to make the vision for the finished version clear, and that I would be faithful and obedient in writing.  I must confess I have all too often allowed myself to become distracted or just allowed my frustration to stop me. It is time to push on.

God has been so very gracious to continuously keep me on the path, keeping me looking to Him.  My moments of straying have been shorter.  I think unlike times previously, God has been maturing me to the point to where I am now just running to Him for everything.  Good, bad, easy, hard, my default is becoming more childlike.  I am like a little kid running to his dad, clinging to His pant leg.  I have nearly no pretenses anymore about earning anything or having any real capabilities for any real good on my own.  This has been amazing for teaching me to love Him, to enjoy Him.

One of my biggest struggles has been wanting to minister, and always being placed doing other things.  My heart yearns to spend all my days pouring my time and energy and thought and whatever else into loving others in ministry.

At first I questioned my motives for wanting to always wanting to preach, teach, write, blog, discuss what I have come to know.  Is it arrogance?  It would be possible, but I have taken it to God, and I know the truth.  I am simply gobsmacked by the wonderful things I have been shown and I want others to experience it. No, I HAVE to share.

It is like going to another country.  Ever since Ireland, I have burned to take my loved ones back.  It is one of my greatest Earthy wishes, that I would get to drive through the countryside with them, climb the Mournes with them, take them to the Maghera (my favorite pub), and have them stare down the long shores of Murlough Beach down toward Slieve Donard as it tapers gently from the sky down into the sea.  I want to look at their faces as they take it in, and I want to take THAT in.

That is what it is like.  Yet, so far, God has chosen to have me do other things.  All too often I have bucked it.  I have tried to tell God what a waste having me email people, or research dog blogs is.  I tell Him I should be writing, or teaching about Him, or encouraging groups of depressed brothers and sisters how to make much of Him in the midst of their pain.  God keeps telling me to obey, and stop telling Him what I would be good at as if He didn't already know.  You will be in ministry soon.  How soon?  Just be faithful is the answer.  Obey.  Love me regardless.  Learn to submit to not only me, but others.  Learn to lead, by following often.  See how others do their ministries, and take note of when they fail and when they succeed.  I believe it is coming.  I believe He is building you and I for ministry.

So, I am being faithful in reaching out through this blog, and The Abyssic.  I am trying to reach out to those whom I can in person.  I am starting to write my second song ever, as I must do better than my first.  HA.  I am learning to be a better husband every day.  I am learning how to always press on regardless of other people's reaction to my work.  It has been a long journey indeed.  I am looking forward to what is to come.  I know that big things are ahead.  They may not be big to other people, but they will be to me, and to those whom I love, and to God.  Intimacy with Him is ahead.  Joy is ahead.

I cannot wait to see what He does.

Excerpt from "Til The Sun Turns Black" By Ray Lamontagne

Can you see the working classes
Trudging through their days
Time goes slowly when you're only waiting
Till the sun turns black

Can you see the wise man simply
Living, loving quietly
Every breath he takes eternity
Till the sun turns black

Psalm 77: 16-19
16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.  
17 The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side.  
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 
19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.

Psalm 16:6-11
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 
8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.  
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.  
11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

Father, forgive us our many sins.  You are why we will live.  May the Holy Spirit be active in our hearts and minds.  Don't ever let us go.  Don't withhold a single blessing, pleasant or unpleasant.  May your hand be heavy in our life.  Thank you so much for all that you have done in saving and sanctifying us.  Each day is a testament to your faithfulness.  You are everything.  May you guide into ultimate joy here on this Earth, that we would know you.  Give us more of you Father.  Give us as much as you would allow.  Open the floodgates of our hearts.  Break them open, for they are surely hard, harder than we even know.  Establish us in work and ministry.  Father we beg for this.  Again I will say it, establish us in your ministry, that we would get to enjoy sharing our herts desires with others, that we would speak and sing and write of Your glory all day long.  Amen.

Funny side note.  Imagine me sitting here alone in the living room in the dark, no light but that which is coming from my screen.  Off in the dark behind me I can hear Basil dreaming, and it is ridiculously cute.  His little paws are moving.  I can hear them against the carpet, and his little muffled barks are like when a human talks in their sleep, not fully formed.  I can just imagine his little bloodhound thoughts floating in the air above his massive head.  Anyhow, good goodnight.

My Epic – beloved

Oh, and one more thing.  I finally figured out how to goo into the comment settings, and allow people to comment anonymously.  So, if you are reading this and want to comment, fire away.  You no longer have to be signed in to anything to do so.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why are so many atheists so angry at God?

It would be a lie, and condescending for me to say that I don't understand it in any way, shape, or form.  Part of being a Christian is understanding that there is a part of us that longs for God, and a part of us that wants be god.  So, it isn't that I have no emotional understanding.  I do.  I have believed many things about God.  I have believed myself better than God at times.  I have judged Him in my foolish anger.  I have elevated myself time and again. 

So, I ask this question not to be snarky or condescending.  I ask it to simply have us think about it, because it is a very eye opening question on many levels. 

By the way, I am not simply generalizing here for rhetorical sake, and just going off what I see.  Time and again, actually at a growing rate, studies have shown that more and more atheists are not just angry at Christianity or Islam, but angry at God!  Every time I see this it breaks my heart, because I remember being tempted by those same lies that so many people have given into.  The lie that you will be happier if you control your own life, that getting rid of God will let you do what you want (usually this revolves around sex mostly).  When I think about it logically it hurts worse.  Here is a fact that should be eye opening.  You cannot coherently be mad at something you don't believe exists.  I don't get angry at Santa Clause when he doesn't bring me presents, because I don't believe he is real. 

What atheists are doing in this case is saying, "I don't believe in that stupid Santa Clause."  Then bursting in anger, "Why would I believe in Santa?!  Huh?!  What he has ever done for me?!  NOTHING!  I asked for a pony when I was a little kid, and I got a water pistol instead.  A WATER PISTOL!!!  So NO!  I don't believe in Santa Clause.  Santa Clause is evil."  

Do you see how ridiculous that is?  What hurts me is how many times in my youth this nearly trapped me.  It teased me.  My foolish heart wanted so badly to believe it in some ways.  I thought I knew what was best for me too, that God was simply a road black to happiness.  He was out to make me miserable.  Especially as young teen, with all my hormones firing.  I have to admit that it angered me that I was being told to control what was going on with my body. In that moment, my logic was willing to be bent.  Fortunately, the Holy Spirit had a firm grip on me, and kept me from falling.  Instead, I grew.  It was painful, but I grew.  By grace, I submitted, and rejected such twisted, self-serving logic. 

The most amazing thing we as Christians can take away from this is just how much it falls into what we know to be true.  The reason atheists are mad at a God they don't believe in is because they (on at least some level) wish he was real.  Every human heart longs for God.  It is just whether or not God gives us the grace of humility to relinquish our own desire to BE god. 

Let us not be condescending, or act like we are better.  I look back and I know that without God's very heavy hand in my life, I could have been an atheist too. Let's pray today that God would bring down those lies that have ensnared so many, that they would take a hard look at their lives and ask the hard questions.  Are they really happier?  Are they really better off?  Let's pray that God would extend His mercy to whomever He sees fit.  All glory be to God. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Approvaholic I Am (revised)

Pretty much everyday, I go to crosswalk.com.  Many days, it is where I actually read the bible. Today I was pleasantly surprised by incite about myself I hadn't expected, and the admonishment that followed.  Take a minute and read this article called Approvaholics Anonymous.
Before reading this, I had never spent much time thinking of myself as someone who particularly worried about approval.  However, I surely am.  

I have never shied away from approval, as I have found the commonly praised idea of not caring what other people think to be ridiculous.  Everyone cares, and should care, about what other people think... to a degree.  Approval isn't a bad thing.  Like most things, it can be good or bad.  Food can keep you alive and well, and it can be used for gluttony.  Many commands are given to us about encouragement.  Approval is a part of encouragement, though not the whole of it by any means.  It is all about the heart, as always.  We want to make it a set of rules, but instead we have a living breathing God who wants a relationship with us.  He wants our hearts, and for our hearts to want Him.  

Lately I have been discouraged in my heart by lies pertaining to approval.  Just the other day I was telling Kathleen how much I wish that someone would believe in me, and take under their wing in ministry, like Simon under Jesus, or Timothy under Paul.  How wonderful.  Wanting that wasn't the problem.  Waiting for it has been.  I have basically told God and myself that such approval was necessary for me to move forward.  How wicked and selfish is that?  When I read those verses she put up, I was blown away by how Paul really did move forward in ministry without even bothering for the approval of men.  He had the approval of God himself.  Jesus had met him on the road to Emmaus, and changed him forever.  That was enough. 

Father, you are mighty and holy.  Thank you for your abundant grace.  Thank you for everything.  Help us to count our hardships as nothing in comparison with the joy of knowing you.  If we do not have such joy, then may you have mercy on us, and help us break down our walls, Father, for we are incapable.  Give us courage to follow your will despite anything else.  Help us to overcome the lies that bind us, that tell us other things will please.  Apart from you, there is no lasting pleasure.  Allow us to know you.  Withhold no blessing from us.  Be merciful to us, even if that mercy is severe.  Do not withhold.  Do not be idle with us.  Move us Lord.  You are the reason that we live.  You are the sum total of our being.   I ask all this in your son Jesus' name, amen.

P.S.  By "sheer luck" I found myself onto the website of Amy Stroup, a singer/songwriter I have recently discovered and come to appreciate.  I was reading her biography on her site, and found it very interesting to know that she studied classical guitar (unsurprisingly) and marketing (surprisingly).  The site mentions how at first this might seem ridiculous, but that Amy knew that the market had changed, that the old way of getting your music out dying, that you now could be independent, and get your music out grassroots through the web, without a record deal.  Think about that.  I know that it has encouraged me to explore the possibility of self publishing should I not get picked up by a traditional publisher, something my approvaholic self was too prideful to allow as of even yesterday.

I had to put this up, as it talks about ukuleles.  
Lyrics of the day:
Love changes everything
I see my life in daydreams
Little scenes of you and me
And there you are singing to me
Soft little melodies
On your ukulele
Swinging in the summer breeze
I could think about it
A thousand more times
I could think about you love
The rest of my life
Uo ohh I could
Uh ooh I could
And I know love has treated you coldly before Left you lonely
Oh but not anymore
I was made to love you strongly
Verse 2:
Time doesn’t exist
Melts away in a mist
With the touch of your lips
Oh oh
I could think about it
A thousand more times
I could think about you love
The rest of my life
Uo ohh I could
Uh ooh I could
And I know love has treated you coldly before Left you lonely
Oh but not anymore
I was made to love you strongly
Writer: Amy Stroup

I believe in you, and am so very proud of you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This Moment in Verses

Psalm 86:6
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace

Proverbs 26:24-26
Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart;
when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart;
though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

Psalm 6:16-19
There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

1 John 2:9-11
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

John 20
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld."

1 Timothy 5:17-21
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages."
Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.

Titus 1:5-11
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you--
if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
For an overseer,as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,
but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction insound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those ofthe circumcision party.
They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

Matthew 5:21-26
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.'
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hellof fire.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.
Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Ephesians 4:25-31
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and give no opportunity to the devil.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, sothat he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Colossians 3:8-18
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,humility, meekness, and patience,
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

1 Tiimothy 2:3-8
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

Lyric of the day:

Portion of every teardrop is a watefall, by Coldplay