Monday, June 28


Fading memories ignored
I crawl across the forest floor
Pool reflects an orphan child
Dirty, lost, alone and wild
Fatherless and nameless still
Fallen heart and broken, will
there ever be a place where I belong

I cower ‘neath the monster trees
And try to stand on tired feet
But gravity knocks me to the ground
Where I give up, and tears roll down
I claw the dust and beg the end
Curse the day that I began
to hope there’d be a place where I belong

I hear a sound I recognize
You lift my chin and seek my eyes
Song of love You sing to me
I ache to sing it back to Thee
"Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong!"

How did I miss this wondrous song?
The forest sang it all along
"River rinses all your shame
Father offers you His name
Father Love prepares a home
Brother Jesus leads you on
Follow to the place where you belong!"

"Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong
Follow to the place where you belong!"
Belong by Chris Rice

Friday, June 25

Love the LORD Your God

26He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" 27And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
28And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."
- Luke 10:26-28 English Standard Version -

15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
- Romans 7:15-25 English Standard Version -


Here I am
One more day of not
Loving Him the way He asks
In fact my heart is singing praises to the things
that make me feel alright

So I’m sinking fast like a stone heart should
And on the way down
I’ve done what I could
To try and try to turn this stone to flesh

I’m haunted by my God
Who has the right to ask me
What by the nature of my rebellion
I cannot give

So I beg for you to move
I beg for you to move
I beg for you to break through

So here I am
Got my deeds for the day
All my cute little words about
How I am saved
Am I saved?

Could I love you with my mouth like a church kid should
At the end of the day
My words get burned as wood
Oh, but I was good.

I’m haunted by my God
Who has the right to ask me
What by the nature of my rebellion
I cannot give

So I beg for you to move
I beg for you to move
I beg for you to break through

These songs are noise
In your ears
A clanging drum
You want my love

So I beg for you to move
I beg for you to move
I beg for you to break through
"Beg" by Shane & Shane

Thursday, June 24


In the silent hour I can hear them
I pray to the mother
But the mother doesn't love my soul
In the blackened earth lay my secrets
The hounds of hell know everything
At the moon they howl
I cut away, I get away,
I hide away from the light
Still they smell my fear, and they will hunt me like the animal I've been

Cut cut cut a hole in the night
The voices of the innocent are coming to life
Cut cut cut a hole in the night
The voices of the innocent are coming to life

In a graceless world, I was graceless
I'm just a murderer cause murder was my only chance
Though I'm wretched, I am not faithless
The ears of God hear everything
And He hears them still
Every cry, every breath
In every land that have slain
Just to save myself
How can God show mercy? I was merciless to them

Cut cut cut a hole in the night
The voices of the innocent are coming to life
Cut cut cut a hole in the night
The voices of the innocent are coming to life

"Your greatest sin is not the abortion that you've asked forgiveness for, or the adultery, or whatever it is that you did in your life, in the past, that you're ashamed of, that keeps hounding you -- your greatest sin is not that; your greatest sin is not believing God's word when He says that you're forgiven! You wanna' repent of something, friend? Stop repenting of sins you've already repented of, and repent of your unbelief!"

The voices of the innocent are coming to life
"Voices" by House of Heroes

Things I Don't Understand

I keep thinking that I'm beginning to get things figured out, and then God shows me more scripture. I was reading the beattitudes this morning and saw some things I just don't get. Then I read 1 Corinthians 5 and my entire Christian attitude dynamic was thrown for a loop.
Matthew 5:8 NASB: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
They shall see God... with their eyes? They will go to heaven and be in His presence? What does He mean when He says "they shall see God," anyway?
Matthew 5:3,10 NASB: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
What is the Kingdom of Heaven? Is it the presence of God? Is it "heaven" as most Christians tend to think of it? This white place that we "go" to worship God after we die? Thus far in Matthew, Jesus and John have each said "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near." So what is the Kingdom of Heaven?
1 Corinthians 5 ESV: 1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

Romans 14 ESV: 1As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11for it is written,
"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God."
12So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Looking at Romans 14 again I see that it's a different context -- eating unclean foods, rather than sinning sexually -- but I'm still a little confused. While it is obvious to me that sinning sexually is unacceptable -- Paul frequently condemns sexual sin in his letters, and Jesus told the adulterous woman to "sin no more" -- I am not sure that I understand how it is that some of the old law, like circumcision and unclean foods, are no longer necessary, but other parts, like sexual purity, are still necessary.

I understand that holiness is a must for Christians. Does 1 Corinthians 5 change how I react to my friend who claims to be a Christian but is living with her boyfriend? What about someone who claims to be a Christian and says she is a lesbian as well? I know I'm supposed to love them, but Paul seems to be saying that love towards a sinning Christian is not always "nice." He tells the Corinthian church to exile a man for his sin! I see that it is so that "his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord," but it seems so harsh to me. Am I making it more complex than it needs to be because I'm reluctant to accept a difficult teaching?

Does his council even apply to me, since the friend who is living with her boyfriend is not part of my church community? The Corinthian church was made up of all the Christians in Corinth. Does this mean that my "church" is made up of all the Christians in my logistical community?

I'm not looking for an answer from human reason, but from scripture. I am sure that there is an answer and that I will find it eventually. I apologize for asking so many questions without offering many answers.

Tuesday, June 22

Loved By A Relentless God

I am so thankful that God never lets me go.

In the beginning of the fall semester of my Freshman year I began dating a beautiful young woman. This happened at a time when I had inexplicably ceased to study my bible or pray on a regular basis for several weeks straight. I tried a few times to pick the habit back up, but it never stuck and I spent the rest of the semester exhausting myself mentally, spiritually, and physically. I was not behaving as I should have and I was not walking with God. I remember once weeping in a worship setting and asking God where He was; begging Him to come back to me. It was not until after my girlfriend dumped me a week before the Spring semester began that I realized it was not God who had left me, but I who had left God. The day that my girlfriend dumped me I went out to the prayer garden near my house and got honest with God. I read Psalms 16 and 18 aloud and put all my hope in the God they spoke of.
1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
2I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You."
3As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
8I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
11You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
- Psalm 16 NASB -
1"I love You, O LORD, my strength."
2The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
4The cords of death encompassed me,
And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
5The cords of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
6In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.
7Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
8Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
9He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
10He rode upon a cherub and flew;
And He sped upon the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
13The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.
15Then the channels of water appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Your rebuke, O LORD,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
16He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
18They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the LORD was my stay.
19He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
20The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
21For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
23I was also blameless with Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
24Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.
25With the kind You show Yourself kind;
With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;
26With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the crooked You show Yourself astute.
27For You save an afflicted people,
But haughty eyes You abase.
28For You light my lamp;
The LORD my God illumines my darkness.
29For by You I can run upon a troop;
And by my God I can leap over a wall.
30As for God, His way is blameless;
The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
31For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God,
32The God who girds me with strength
And makes my way blameless?
33He makes my feet like hinds' feet,
And sets me upon my high places.
34He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your gentleness makes me great.
36You enlarge my steps under me,
And my feet have not slipped.
37I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
38I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise;
They fell under my feet.
39For You have girded me with strength for battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
40You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
And I destroyed those who hated me.
41They cried for help, but there was none to save,
Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.
42Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind;
I emptied them out as the mire of the streets.
43You have delivered me from the contentions of the people;
You have placed me as head of the nations;
A people whom I have not known serve me.
44As soon as they hear, they obey me;
Foreigners submit to me.
45Foreigners fade away,
And come trembling out of their fortresses.
46The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation,
47The God who executes vengeance for me,
And subdues peoples under me.
48He delivers me from my enemies;
Surely You lift me above those who rise up against me;
You rescue me from the violent man.
49Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O LORD,
And I will sing praises to Your name.
50He gives great deliverance to His king,
And shows lovingkindness to His anointed,
To David and his descendants forever.
- Psalm 18 NASB -

I felt pretty low for a while after our breakup. The whole thing was very negative and I felt very much like "a worm and not a man" (Psalm 22:6).

Looking back I can see the way that God allowed me to suffer through that fall semester to learn valuable lessons about life, relationships, and most importantly, myself. What I am truly thankful for, however, is that God did not leave me where I was. He has brought me back to Him and is continuing to work in me to redeem my story. He is so good to me, always.

Tuesday, June 15

Say When

I see you there, don’t know where you come from
Unaware of a stare from someone
Don’t appear to care that I saw you and I want you
What’s your name, cause I have to know it
You let me in and begin to show it
We’re terrified cause we’re heading straight for it, might get it
You been the song playing on the background
All along but you’re turning up now
And everyone is rising to meet you, to greet you
Turn around and you’re walking toward me
I’m breaking down and you’re breathing slowly
You say the word and I will be your man, your man

Say when and my own two hands
Will comfort you tonight, tonight
Say when and my own two arms
Will carry you tonight, tonight

We’re coming close and then even closer
We bring it in but we get no further
We’re separate, two ghosts in one mirror, no nearer
Later on if it turns to chaos
Hurricane coming all around us
See the crack, pull it back from the window, you stay low

Say when and my own two hands
Will comfort you tonight, tonight
Say when and my own two arms
Will carry you tonight, tonight

I come across you lost and broken
You’re coming to but you’re slow in waking
You start to shake, you still haven’t spoken, what happened
They’re coming back and you just don’t know when
You want to cry but there’s nothing coming
They’re gonna push until you give in or say when
Now we’re here, and it turns to chaos
Hurricane, coming all around us
Double crack throws you back from the window, you stay low

It all began with a man & country
Every plan turns another century
Around again, another nation fallen
Maybe God can be on both sides
Of the gun, never understood why
Some of us never get it so good, so good
Some of this was here before us
All of this will go after us
It never stops until we give in, give in

Or say when and my own two hands
Will comfort you tonight, tonight
Say when and my own two arms
Will carry you tonight, tonight
"Say When" by The Fray