Posts Tagged With: Christianity

Yeshua in Psalm 13

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Yeshua in Psalm 18

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Brokenness…Leading to Intimacy?

The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here but the truth is that I’ve been going through a process of breaking, and I’ve needed to take the time to experience it.  It’s hard.  Many times I’m emotionally incontinent and prone to tears.

Truth be told, there is much that is either cracking, been broken already, or has been divinely taken away.

As it turns out, my new job is anything but a good or easy fit.  From the moment I walk through the door to the time I leave, it’s a constant barrage of demands from either the corporate leadership or from frustrated residents.  So far I’ve dealt with multiple threats of lawsuits from residents over petty issues (everyone seems to have a lawyer), evictions and then helping the residents prevent evictions, and a multitude of complaints about noisy yet necessary deferred maintenance construction.  It seems there’s very little time to breathe or even get my real work done.  I also found out through our open enrollment that we cannot afford the cost of the benefits through work.  And then last week Caity and I found out that our main commuter car will need to go to that junkyard in the sky.  And at times I have to ask myself “why”?  What could possibly be the good, divine purpose to spiral my wife and me into what appears to be more pain and loss?

It seems that everything about our circumstances right now are designed to break us entirely.  And it’s working…but not in the way toward depression, only in the way toward dependence.  Dependence upon God.

Just like human relationships, crises and brokenness can either drive people apart or bind them even closer together.  The trick of it all, however, is that the choice belongs to the people involved.  When Caity and I have found ourselves broken before each other, we draw close and give comfort to the other.  The same is true of a relationship with God.  If we truly desire awesome intimacy with the Creator and Savior, then we must be willing to be shattered and surrender to the process of being broken.  It’s painful and necessary, and ultimately it’s our own choice to allow it to foster intimacy; to learn how to depend whole heartedly with every feature of our being upon the King of the Universe.

Another dirty little secret of the sanctified life is that brokenness will continue to happen throughout in big and little ways.  It is because our broken pieces are gathered together and mortared one upon the other with God’s grace until a firm foundation of a sanctification emerges.  We must surrender to this uneasy and painful process in order that everything that we are and everything we have will be transformed into the best that we can become.  It’s not the circumstances that matter so much to God, but our heart conditions.  God can change circumstances with the flip of coin, but our hearts will only change when we surrender everything we hold on to so tightly.

I’ve decided that I will not fight my breaking process.  I will accept it…with joy…in the knowledge that God is bringing me into a deeper level of intimacy.  He desires Oneness, and now so do I.  Perhaps He may find some use for me yet.

If you are currently being broken, it’s alright to cry out in pain.  I would also encourage you to accept it as an honor, for you have been chosen to be brought deeper into relationship with the King of the Universe.

SOLI DEO GLORIA!

Categories: On Faith, On Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Just Be: The Art Of Stillness

man-in-field

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~Psalm 46:10

How often do we take the time to “be still”–physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually?  This idea today is as foreign to the average man or woman as would be the idea of living on Mars.

We live in a culture with the just do it mentality.  Keep busy.  Perform well.  Look good.  Make sales.  Be professional.  Attain success.  And ultimately when we become overwhelmed by all of these things, to where do we escape?  Television.  Video games.  Shopping.  Disconnecting in our relationships.  Yet there never seems to be enough time in the day to take one minute and just be: just breathe and remain still.

Caity and I have been learning (over this last summer) how to exercise the art of stillness and the act of resting.  In other words, we’ve been learning how to just be.  Just be silent.  Just be calm.  Just be alive.  We fill these moments with prayer and connection with each other and with God.  We learn how to be in each others’ presence without needing to fill the silence with words.  It’s a form of meditation where instead of trying to disconnect from ourselves, we instead submit our individuality before the feet of the Creator in silence.

I knew that taking time to be still would help to relieve stress and usher in calm, but I was unprepared for what would happen next: hearing God’s voice.  It seemed like all of a sudden I would hear a clear message in my head, or gather something profound from a passage of scripture I’d read several times before, or hear a message on the radio or snippet of passing conversation that would change everything and lend a fresh perspective.  Every time I turned around, God was saying something new to reassure me of His presence and that He was gathering Caity and I under His will; enacting a divine plan.

And before I knew it, I had stopped the wild flailing and ceased fighting against the current, trying to just do it on my own.  I am learning how to just be still, listen to His voice, and be ready to participate when the divine opportunity arises.  I am no longer on my own.  I am in a partnership with the Creator of the universe.

What do you think would happen if you took 15 minutes out from your day to simply be still and sit in silence with no obstacles between you and God?  I encourage you to give it a try…and see what happens.

SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM

Categories: On Faith, On Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Beyond My Pen

My hands do long to bless the lost with hope,
My pen does long to soar long the pages,
I stand, I run and stumble down the slope,
Will my work be unreached through the ages?
Are my efforts feasting last on Maundy?
My work be shattered on the Corner Stone,
Eli, Eli lama sabacthani?
Oh Father, raise my light that once had shone.
God of mercy, bless this shadowed spirit;
My God of grace, descend and make me whole.
I am humbled, grant to me Your merit;
Creative work does much to joy my soul.

My spirit is broken beyond my pen,
Oh Lord, when will this purgatory end?

***

Originally written sometime in March 2009 as a prayer sonnet.  I was obviously struggling with feelings of inadequacy regarding my writing and any lack of progress thereof.  Funny enough, this prayer has indeed been answered line for line (although not in any way I would have wanted or imagined at the time).

Categories: On Faith, On Writing, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soul Sisters Round 2: A Review

Last Thursday, August 22nd, I was again invited to go and meet with the Soul Sisters book club at Crista Ministries.  Last time I went and Caity accompanied me; we spent a majority of the time sharing our own stories, our joint testimony.  And it was wonderful because for the first time we both had our sight unveiled and were able to see God’s handiwork through all of the turmoil and layers of crises we have been going through recently.  It was a complete joy to share that time together with her among the Soul Sisters.  And the women we bared our souls to were kind, gracious and filled with compassion.  It was pure glory.

This second visit was different in contrast.  We were unable to secure a sitter for our kids so Caity stayed home with the kids and I ventured out alone.  When I told her about how nervous I was to go by myself, she simply replied (in her wisdom and to her credit), “You’ll be doing this on your own at some point in the near future…it might as well start now.”  We both prayed for divine guidance to give direction in the evening, and boy-howdy did it go.  Some of the ladies who were unable to read OLDE MYSTERIUM at the last visit had finished the book by this second round.  So many questions were asked about the characters and their struggles; it was truly fun to relive and walk through those portions of the story and expand upon the layers of meaning hidden within those moments.  Finding Jesus in the hardships of OLDE MYSTERIUM was utter joy; but most of all, I was able to observe the Soul Sisters diving into their own exegesis and expand upon their own personal findings from the book.  This was most meaningful to me because all I had to do was sit back and watch these dear readers in their exchanges.  It felt like sitting next to Jesus and watching his glory flow outward.  And I realized there was nothing I had done to cause this moment, it was all designed ahead of time…a divine appointment.

I must give a goodly amount of thanks and credit to these gracious ladies who invited me into their group for the evening; they invited me again into a lovely and safe space to be able to talk about ideas, characters, plot lines, personal struggles, and loving others like Saba…the way Jesus loves each and every one of us.

To be loved unconditionally; to love others unconditionally no matter how broken they are in body and soul.  We can do this because Jesus first loved us in our brokenness.  He is in the business of collecting broken people for restoration; it is his divine hobby and I know that Jesus is filled with delight at each point my personal restoration because I too am filled with the same joy.  This is, after all, the heart of OLDE MYSTERIUM.

SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM

Final notes of thanks:

To the Soul Sisters for both invitations to visit, I give you all the greatest of my thanksgiving.  You have blessed my wife and me with your love, support, prayers and ultimate cheerleading for OLDE MYSTERIUM and for us personally.  Your kindness and generosity in a multitude of ways have filled our cups in knowing that Jesus is hard at work, both upfront and behind the scenes.  Should you ever decide to invite us back to continue our discussions about the return of Jesus, we would be happy to join in!

And finally, it was brought to my attention that OLDE MYSTERIUM was initially introduced to the Soul Sisters by Julie Gwinn Holve via an old friend of mine, Tina Bustamante.  Tina, thank you for all of your encouragement through the years of writing, editing, publishing and other things that require blood and tears.  I’m excited for your book AS WATERS GONE BY to come out in November; and as I’ve already had the honor to read and enjoy it, be assured that I am excited to be a cheerleader for it.

 

Categories: On Faith, On Life, On Speaking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thank you Soul Sisters!

So last night was a first for both Caitlin and me.  It was the first speaking engagement to which we were invited by the Soul Sisters–a raucous and fun-loving group of ladies who fancy themselves as a book club…but they are so much more.  The Soul Sisters meet at Crista Ministries campus twice a month and review all kinds of books from fiction to bible study publications.

Why were we invited to speak?  A couple of weeks ago they ended up choosing to read and discuss OLDE MYSTERIUM, and apparently they loved it!  Caity and I had no idea what we were going to say when we showed up, and we were both a bit nervous, but as it turned out, the Holy Spirit completely took over and we ended up sharing our joint testimony with these very sweet ladies.  Somehow allowing that to connect in conjunction with the message of OLDE MYSTERIUM was more moving than I could have expected.  It was powerful to openly acknowledge that while going through a difficult journey of writing and publishing, all the while experiencing our own joint journey of trials, surrender, redemption and triumphs…that at the heart of it all Jesus is the hero of our story.

This is why God’s timing is amazing and perfect; that in the midst of a very difficult, hot, and transforming summer when it looks like I am surrounded by chaos, God would extend an opportunity for my wife and I to open up and share our stories with complete strangers.  However by the end we were the ones to get the most out of it because the veil was lifted; we could see God’s handiwork along the whole way…and He has never missed a beat or skipped out on us or let us down.  He hasn’t yet and He won’t start now.

The Soul Sisters invited us into a safe space to share.  We told stories.  There was a din of laughter.  And they saw a grown man cry.  Caity and I were refreshed and all the way home we held hands and issued prayers of thanksgiving.  There could not have been a more beautiful time spent together…a true balm to my soul.  Thank you Soul Sisters!

And an extra special thank you to Julie Gwinn Holve, who found my book, read it and suggested it to her book club.  Thank you for being a cheerleader; I am truly humbled by your enthusiasm.

SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM

Categories: On Speaking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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