12/30/07

temptation

i have successfully slain the dragon of temptation this weekend. it felt really, really good. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

let me share with you something from my journal. i'm not sure it's a poem, per se, but i wrote it nonetheless. a friend of mine was struggling with an addiction at the time, and he inspired me to write this. he never read it. he never got the chance to. however, i think it applies to every person's experiences with temptation.

my life motto is "Here we go." the reason for that phrase's personal significance to me is found in part in this writing.


Trapped
Here I am, surrounded by pain.
I want out, but to where do I turn?
To the left, a future impossible.
To the right, my past mistakes.
A hand reaches down to lift me out,
But as I am raised, something grabs my ankles.
I am forced to turn and fight,
but I have fought too long.
This is my last shot,
One last chance to break free.
As the dragon which is me rears its head,
I square my shoulders and raise my sword.
We shall soon see if they were right,
The nay-sayers who claim that some things never change.

How many times in our wide world
Does an entire life come down to one moment?
And all the paths of our life meet at a single crossroads?

Do or die.
Hit or miss.
Sink or swim.

Here we go.

12/29/07

Christmastime

Christmas is a special season. Several things happen every year without fail. First, I absolutely love the laughing and smiling that happens at my and Marion's families. Second, I get frustrated at my lack of self-control at the dinner table the days following Christmas (long after the turkey is gone). I always consider a post-holiday fast for its combination spiritual and physical benefits! Third, I always get Scrooge-ish about gifts. What I mean is that I don't think Christmas is about presents. But I manage to couple that anti-materialistic fervor with joy when I unwrap my own gifts. How hypocritical! "We should have spent this money on a worthy cause... ooh, look the CD from my Amazon.com wish list!"

I really enjoy family, though. There is a great deal of laughter there. We are very loud. It is everything you'd imagine a Christmas family thing should be. It is wonderful to take a break from work and think about nothing but Cajun-seasoned fried turkey, dressing with giblet gravy, and pumpkin pie!

12/8/07

want

have you ever noticed how you react to disappointment? what happens in your head? in my own, there is the loud voice of frustration.

i wait all day for something, only to see that it doesn't come. life sends something else instead. it doesn't matter what it is, because my selfish reaction is always the same. i whine like my two year old. but do you know why?

it starts with a sense of entitlement. whatever i want is something i think i deserve. hmm... that sounds like selfishness to me. i know where that path leads. been there too many times.

Lord, help me learn patience, and remove from me my belief that I deserve whatever I want.

And do it now! Because I want you to!
(chuckle)

12/3/07

confession

it's been awhile since i blogged.

have you ever had one of those conversations at church where you have to drop your voice to a whisper, because the subject material is too personal?

if confession is good for the soul, then why is the church the one place where we can't seem to confess? or if we do, we do it in a whisper and only to someone we really, really trust.

hmm...

shouldn't the church be the one place that we can be honest with each other? but we've got our Christian reputation to consider. why? what is a Christian? a sinner who happens to be forgiven, a screw-up that realizes that God can forgive anything. that's all a Christian is. but i can't confess anything to you, unless it's some "minor" sin. how sad that the church became that way.

speaking of confession, i read an article written by someone who spoke at chapel services on college campuses and reported a hunger for revival taking place. she mentioned that at the end of the service, she would have confession.

not an invitation, not salvation, not rededication, not discombobulation.

she meant a time where someone could come down to the front and confess to God or to her. in Baptist circles, she was describing an invitation time. but she called it confession.

at long last, i have a term i love for what i used to call "invitation."
confession.

Romans 10:9-10
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. "

1 John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

4/24/07

dedication

We are in revival this week. As I often do, I listen closely to the beginning of the sermon, but by the end, I am hearing only closely enough to take a few notes. Usually, God and I have these talks. He beat me over the head with a verse the evangelist shared with us.

Luke 14:26 (NLT) “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple."

The part that is most disturbing is the last phrase. "You cannot be my disciple." I often feel dedicated to God and His purposes, but I also often feel more dedicated to my family.

How much of friends are God and I really? How often do we talk? How close are we? How does our closeness compare with my closeness to my wife?

Umm...
Ooops.
This isn't good. I have decided to hunt down an accountability partner specifically for Bible-readin' time and prayer time. May God have mercy on me, a sinner, as I seek to change the level of ministry by reconnecting with the power source.