Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You Are Loved

I was cruising the net when I came across this video. Being reminded that I am loved is something I don't get tired of. A week from today is Christmas day--the day we remember Jesus' birth. The day we remember that God so loved us, He gave us His Son.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A New Frontier

Perhaps yesterday's post was confusing. No explaination or resolution, just a dark story. Not to worry, there's more to the story. I have decided to try my hand in penning fictional stories in addition to what I've been posting on this blog. The fictional writings will be posted on another blog. If you're curious enough to continue reading, the rest of the story will not be posted here, so you will have to make note. The address is philsfiction.blogspot.com.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Flash. The momentary brightness left the darkness blacker, if that were possible. Boom. The thunder sounded on the heels of the disapating flash. Rain pelted my face, driven by an angry wind. My stomach clinched as the floor left my feet. It was not long gone, coming back to smack me in the rear. Rolling onto my hands and knees, my body convulsed, my stomach trying to rid itself of what was already long gone. I felt my scream leaving my throat as I dry heaved, but I couldn't hear it above the roaring waves.

Where am I? How did I get here? Boom. I'm alone with this ocean. This ocean bent on destroying me. Spitting in my face, beating my body, stripping me of any dignity. What have I done to deserve this?

In the split second of light, I saw the ocean around me. It looked more like the rolling hills of Kentucky than the Pacific. Boom. Which way to land? I was blind and deaf, even if I had any strength left to do anything about it anyway.

Flash. My life was speeding through my mind. Boom. Staring into the maw of this watery grave, I realized this was the end. I'm dying. Black.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thankful: Day 2

I have been truly blessed for an opportunity to grow and learn to love others better. Life Skills International has a course called Learning to Live, Learning to Love. This six month course has shown me how I have hurt myself and others for many years because of things I falsely believed to be true. For many years I have hidden from people I love because I have been afraid they wouldn't like the real me. This is a battle I continue to fight, but I now have tools and knowledge to fight a winning battle instead of losing again and again. I am thankful for the opportunity to take this class, to become healthier emotionally, to be freed to live and love. I am thankful for Living Waters Counselling, Dr. Randy Young, and Pastor Jay Milojevich for bringing this class to Medford, Oregon and being positive, encouraging influences in my life.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thankful: Day 1

In light of this being Thanksgiving week, I thought I would take this opportunity to express publicly what I am thankful for. I would love to hear your thanks, too. Please use the feedback button and add your thoughts. Anonymous posts will not be rejected, so if you're shy no one will have to know who you are. Today's subject: God.

God, I would like to thank You for being a real part of my life. I'm thankful that You're not an impersonal force, but an individual Who takes an interest in me as a unique individual. Thank You for Your promise to never leave me. So far You've kept that promise and I believe You always will. Lord, I've been hurt, disappointed and defeated this year. You didn't save me from it, but You were with me through it. Thank You. You can take anything meant for evil and use it for good. That is awesome and I love You for that. Not only are You the source of my life, You are the reason for living life. I admire that You are creative, humorous and passionate. I publicly embrace You as my God, my King and my Savior.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Broken Praise

At church this weekend, I had the opportunity to hear one of the most beautiful offerings of praise I have ever heard. Andrew sang Give Thanks accompanied by piano and flute. Nothing extraordinary. A simple solo with simple accompaniment. Still, this offering is one I will not soon forget.

You see, Andrew is handicapped. At 11 or 12 years old, his body has not developed the way it was supposed to. He cannot walk. He cannot use a wheelchair. He cannot even keep himself from drooling. He is completely dependant for his every need.

So as I listened to Andrew singing with his broken voice, unable to stay with the melody, I was moved to tears. It wasn't his talent that made his offering beautiful. It was his heart and his desire to express his heart publicly, regardless of what people thought. I was ashamed for every time I have played for the people's praise instead of from my desire to express my love for God. These thoughts had barely sunk in when Andrew sang, "Now let the weak say I am strong ... because of what the Lord has done ... Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks."

Seeing, hearing someone so broken, so weak singing these words brought a whole new understanding for me. I may not be handicapped the way Andrew is, but I am handicapped. Perhaps my handicap was more crippling because I was so blind to it. I have been handicapped by sin, pride, and my selfish desires. I was so busy feeling sorry for myself, I couldn't honestly sing that song. I didn't have a grateful heart.

I believe it is broken praise that God most desires. In the Old Testament, God told His people that their offerings were offensive to Him because they hearts weren't in it. He knows who and what we are. He isn't impressed by how practiced or professional we sound. He isn't Simon from American Idol looking for how our praise isn't good enough. No, His favorite offerings are broken praises that come from hearts that love Him.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What I Really Want

I was reading past entries in my journal when I found this. Somehow this thinking was lost since I pinned these words. This time I have decided to declare it publicly.

I realize I have been looking all over for something to satisfy my soul. I have been a collector of stuff. I have played games. All said, I have lived so as to make my life as comfortable and pleasurable as possible. But that isn't what I really want. I want to make a difference. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to be a hero of sorts. Instead of going out and spending my life on this pursuit, I have stayed home and tried to save my life. Now I see that as I clung so desperately, my life oozed out from between my fingers leaving me without the life I tried to save, having spent it on nothing.

Lord, I want to live valiantly for You and Your kingdom. I want to spend my life living for You. Help me to see when I am living out of selfishness instead of love. Fill me with You so I can be filled with love. Fill me to overflowing. Help me to spend it lavishly.

Monday, September 04, 2006

What Does Life Mean?

Meaningless. It's all meaningless. That's what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes. One man works hard, saves his money his whole life. In the end, he dies. He can't buy life. So what does his life mean? I can't help but feel hollow thinking of living my life for money. What I would have to sacrifice to achieve great wealth? Can money love, encourage, or simply give company when I'm lonely?

If I'm not living for money, what am I living for? Wealth can be measured in more than money. While money has some appeal, I am more drawn to pleasure. A person doesn't have to be wealthy to indulge in pleasure, either. I can hang out with my friends for no cost and have a great time. Lately, I've found I will choose to have fun with my friends when I shouldn't. I short myself on sleep. Laundy is left unwashed. Obligations are forgotten. Is this really what life is about? When I get to the end of my life, will I be satisfied that I had a good time?

There are so many pulls on my life. Do this, go here, buy that. The commercials always show beautiful people completely satisfied. I guess ugly fat people who are miseralbe don't inspire people to go for a product. How do I get to be good looking and happy instead of fat and miserable?

I woke up this morning with a bad taste in my gut. I had a whole day in front of my to use however I wanted. Problem was I wanted to save it, not waste it. As I hemmed and hawed deciding how to best take advantage of my day, half of it slipped away. I wanted to what I would most enjoy and now half of it has been used for nothing. I wish I could say that is only true of today. However, I see that I have lived my whole life this way.

What is the meaning of my life? The question Solomon asked. The question The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had fun with. With all the resources available to help people find the answer, you'd think this question would have been answered. Maybe my problem isn't in finding the answer, but in finally deciding to live it. I read a quote that goes something like this, "Life was meant to be spent, not saved." This quote has haunted me since I read it. I think because I know I have been trying to save my life. Today, I am deciding to spend my life on something. Not something that will leave me hollow in the end like money or pleasure. I want to my life to mean something to somebody. I want to make a difference in this world. Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." I hear him saying, "Follow me, and I will give your life meaning."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Where's My Easy Button?

Have you seen the commercials with the easy button? People who find themselves in difficult situation reach for a red button and everything turns out fine. I would like one of those buttons. It would be particularly useful on days when everything is going wrong. Or those times something pops up at just the wrong time. Just one click of the easy button and everything is back to smooth sailing. The other day I saw one of these buttons for sale at the store. I pushed the button only to hear a voice commenting on how easy that was. What a disappointment! My difficulties were still staring me in the face, smirking at the Easy Button.

Life is full of difficulties. If your life is like mine, the difficulties come at the most inconvenient times. Expenses come when money is already thin. At the end of a frustrating day, an irritating person enters the scene. Without an easy fix, I sometimes want to run away and hide.

This is not the time to run and hide, but to stand. Arnold didn't get his muscles by working out only when he felt like it. Even though I know and understand this, it is when I don't feel like standing when the difficulties come. I think of 78 reasons for why its ok for me not to stand today. Lately I have found I'm ashamed of myself when I give in to fear, when I listen to my reasons and I don't stand in my time of difficulties. In the end, the difficuly didn't crush me like I thought it would. Instead, the difficulty is an opportunity for me to grow.

For now, I'll let Staples have their Easy Buttons. Not just because they don't work, but because I would rather go through the difficulty and come out stronger than I was going in.

Monday, June 19, 2006

How Far Is Too Far?

To say that we live in a sexually charged society would be stating the obvious. As a single Christian, I know it's God's desire for me to be sexually pure. Every person I talk to has drawn a different line in the sand that shouldn't be crossed. So how far is too far? I found a new perspective in John Thomas' answer at Boundless Webzine. Even though his answer is being applied to sexuality, it can be applied to anything in question of how far is too far?

Boundless Answers: How Far Is Too Far?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Empty. Nothing left. It had been full when I started my journey, but now my water bottle was bone dry. I thought I had more than I needed. In fact, I was happy to share with anyone who asked. When I saw I was nearing the bottom, I guarded it carefully. Taking only a sip now and then, I made it last as long as possible. That last drop was several hot miles ago.

"Lookin' kinda thirsty." Startled, I looked for the source of the voice. He looked as old as the dirt he wore.

"I ran out of water the day before yesterday. This bottle was full when I started out. I thought I'd have more than enough."

"How long ago was that?"

"A week ago."

"Why don't you fill it up again?"


He cocked his head and raised one eye brow. "Well, let's think about this. Your thirsty. Problem is your water bottle's empty. Way I figure it, the way to solve both your problems is to refill your water bottle." He chuckled, I assume in reaction to the look on my face. "How long have you been walking beside this creek with an empty water bottle?"

* * * * *

I started my spiritual walk with my heart full and overflowing. I was so full up with God and His love, there was no way I'd ever run out. I shared with anybody and everybody. After a couple of years, I got settled into my walk. I realized my heart wasn't overflowing like it was, but I still had plenty. One morning I woke up and realized my heart was almost empty. There was a little left and I made it last as long as I could. Inevitably, the day came when I was bone dry. I was becoming a walking dead man. I was dying of thirst within reach of the Water of Life.

Taking time to spend with God is challenging to me. The alarm clock already goes off too early. It's all I can do to get to work on time already. The rest of the day is spent trying to keep up. Night time comes and I am so tired, I cannot stay awake for fifteen minutes with God. Tomorrow, the whole cycle starts again.

It is easy for me to forget about spiritual realities in this physical world. I'm dying of spiritual thirst while focused on things that are dehydrating me. Meanwhile, I'm walking right next to an endless, pure Source. Thankfully, He doesn't hang me out to dry. He continues to persue me, continues to remind me where real life can be found.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Battle For a Man's Heart

Pornography is a big problem amongst Christian people today. The internet makes it easy to access without anyone knowing about it. I read the other day that there are about five porn websites for every other website. Because it uses the drive God created within us, we are all tempted to misuse His gift of sexuality.

I found a pair of articles that have brought a whole new perspective to me on the battle of pornography. John Thomas of Boundless.org argues that pornography is a weapon of the enemy to destroy a man's masculine heart. To keep men from living effectively for God. I encourage all men who desire to live for God to read these articles even if you are not struggling with pornography.

Boundless Answers: Alternatives to Porn, Part 1
Boundless Answers: Alternatives to Porn, Part 2

If you are losing the battle to pornography in your life, I encourage you to check out Setting Captives Free.

Monday, May 22, 2006


"God made man in his own image and man returned the compliment." -Blaise Pascal, Pensees (New York: Dutton 1958) p. 58

More and more I see my problem is not what I haven't learned yet, but rather the lies I have learned all too well. That God is obsessed with sin is one of the lies I have learned quite well. Sexual misconduct, drinking, and smoking He especially delights in. Once caught in sin, I grovel hoping to find something to trade with God. Something He'll find to appease Him enough to forgive me. It's hard to find something God enjoys more than a good sin to obsess over.

The truth is God doesn't obsess over sin. Rather, He obsesses over sinners. It's His desire to rescue the sinner from sin, not destroy the sinner along with his sin. 2 Cor. 5:19 says, "God was in Christ, making peace between the world and himself. In Christ, God did not hold the world guilty of its sins."* 1 John 1:9 says, "If we admit our sins - make a clean breast of them - he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing."** The Bible is full of statements declaring God's desire to forgive sinners. Like the father in the story Jesus told of the rebellious son, God is watching and waiting for the sinner to come home so He can lavish His love on him. The question I have to ask myself is, how long will I wait to go home?

*New Century Version
**The Message

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What More?

A man desires to plant a vineyard. Being an intelligent man, he searches for the best ground for his vineyard. After purchasing the property, he goes to work. Tilling, planting, watering, weeding. He spares no expense or labor so he will get the best grapes possible. The work is done and the grapes are ready. He finds himself salivating as he picks the grape, anticipating it's sweetness. Bitterness shocks his tastebuds, numbing his tongue. Gagging and coughing he spits the fruit out. What has happened? Vine after vine reveal sour grapes. What more could he have done to produce good grapes?

This story told by the prophet Isaiah illustrates what God has done for me. He has done everything to restore our broken relationship. Even sending His Son Jesus to take my place in dying the death I deserve. After all of this, I find that I still hesitate to trust Him completely. I still question whether He loves me. In the midst of my doubts and questions, Isaiah asks me, "What more can he do?"

Monday, May 01, 2006

Further Along the Valley of the Shadow

Yesterday I shared a state of mind that I have been wrestling with for a few weeks. My question for today is, what is the battle I am fighting? Is it the devil himself attacking me, trying to destroy me? Perhaps it is one of his henchmen. A scene from Frank Peretti's book This Present Darkness being played out in my life, demons and angels fighting for influence over my mind. Looking at my actions, I am afraid I have been listening to the wrong voice. Fortunately, the answer is in the book. I need to pray. That's where the angels get their strength, right? If I pray for my angels, they will be strong enough to win, they will lose me from my chains of depression and everything will be right.

But is this my battle? I believe there is a battle between the spiritual forces of heaven and earth. Where, then, is my battle field? My heart, mind and soul. I am fighting to hold on to the One who can save me. The truth is I am not strong enough to defeat Satan or any of his minions. Good news. I don't have to be. Satan is already defeated. Defeated by Jesus at the cross.

So whose side am I going to be on? Obviously, I want to be on Jesus' side. I sometimes get caught up in the little bit I can see. Walking in the valley of the shadow, I see a lot of darkness and not much light. After all, Jesus never said following Him would be easy. In fact, He promised it would be hard. But He hasn't left us to face the difficulty alone. In Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) God says, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

I painted yesterday's bleak, dark picture on purpose. I wanted to express the view from the window of my soul. I want to be real with people, not just putting on a happy face so as not to upset anybody. I hope the gleam of light in my writing was not missed. The sliver of hope. That even in my darkest hour, even when I felt like giving up, I was holding on to the promise God made. Yesterday's expression broke a dam in my soul. It showed me how much I really needed to connect with God--to get a reality check. It wasn't easy to get through my pain and despair so I could feel His presence. The battle was worth fighting. Once again, God proved that He will not leave me.

The Valley of the Shadow

It has been three weeks since my last post. I have been really struggling during this time. When I'm around people, I forget about my struggles and enjoy the company. People, like aspirin, kill the pain so I forget anything is wrong. But, when I return to my lonely apartment, the medicine wears off and I am faced with the reality of a hearting soul. What do I do? I find other pain killers. Instead of facing the problems, I go after the symptoms. The longer I continue killing the pain, the more the wound festers.

Why am I so afraid to treat the problem? Fix the problem, the symptoms go away and life is better, right? I find myself staring at a rope bridge spanning a canyon over a raging river. Fear clutches my mind and soul leaving me paralyzed. I know I need to cross. But all I can see is the bridge swaying in the wind. The missing boards make me wonder which of the others are the next to go. I don't want to fall.

I am afraid of reality, so I escape to a fantasy world. A world in which everything goes my way. A world where there is no pain. Maybe something goes wrong once in a while, but it is something I can handle. I never accomplish anything. I am passified. Entertained. After a while, I find myself... bored.

Now I am back to the real world. Do I have what it takes? I'm afraid I don't. In the real world, there is no bridge. In the real world I face people who I might disappoint. Others who I might hurt. Dreams I might not catch if I chase them. I could be hurt by people who get close to me.

All these things have happened before, leaving me cut to the core of my soul. I wonder, was it worth it? If the answer is no, I am left with two options. Spend the rest of my time here on earth existing. Not alive but not dead. Or, kill myself now and spare myself the trouble. Neither of these options have any appeal to me.

Truth is, I want to live. I want to make a difference. To have confidence in who I am and why I'm here. It is a dream I'm afraid is too good to be true. Why would anybody waste his time with me? I'm nobody. I have no higher education, no degree. I have no accomplishments. I have wasted my opportunities.

I would like to wrap this up with a nice bit of encouragment telling how I found enlightenment and have found my way out of this funk. I would like to say I'm back to my old self and the future looks bright and I am full of hope. Right now I feel like a failure. I know my perspective is totally selfish. I know there are a lot of others who face harder lives than I. Somehow, this perspective leaves me looking even more pitiful.

This is partly why I have not written. I have been hurt, frustrated and angy. I have nothing to say to encourage. I have no bit of wisdom to share. I am counting on my belief in God to come through for me. That He won't leave me or forsake me, like Hebrews 13:5 says. I am banking on Romans 8:32 that says, "Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things?" (TEV)

Dear Lord,
I don't know what to do. I can't see You and this is scary to me. I want to know You are here and that You are caring for me. I look around and I see people who shun You and they look so happy. I have desired to live for You, yet it seems I have not been rewarded but punished. Help me to see the truth. I want to really live.

Friday, April 07, 2006

What Does it Mean to Be a Christian Writer?

This question was posed to me during my current writing class. This is my response, posted as requested...

I can’t say I have come to an ultimate conclusion on this question. I can see arguments from many angles that make sense. Perhaps I am seeing these different parts individually and have yet to put them together to see the object they are all a part of.

My first thought is of the parable of the talents. The master leaves talents with his servants to manage while he is gone. Two of the servants invest their talents and end up with double what they were given. The third buries his talent for safe keeping. When the master returns, he scorns the servant who played it safe and gives his talent to one of the others.

It is curious to me that the master does not give the servants instructions concerning the talents. He didn’t say, “Buy up on Microsoft stock,” or “Start this business for me.” Instead, it appears that he leaves investing the talents to the servants. From this story, I believe that God wants me to look for ways to invest the talents He has left me.

When the master returns, I imagine he is curious as to how his servants have invested his talents and what kind of returns have come from these investments. I see pride emanating from his face, listening to his servants recounting their reasoning behind their investments and sharing their success.

Now there is one servant the master is not pleased with. In the story, this servant was afraid of the master. This servant was afraid of what would happen if he failed. So afraid of failing that he chooses to play it safe and not risk it. In the end, he became exactly what he feared. A failure. Achieving nothing.

I believe God has called us to use our talents for building His kingdom. Whenever we step out and take a risk in investing these talents for the building of His kingdom, God is pleased. I do not believe we are without guidance in our investments. I believe there are times God desires us to invest in a certain way at a certain time a certain talent. However, I also believe God is pleased when we are creative and look for ways to invest the talents He has given us.

Is a Christian writer called? Yes. Some specifically, some as one of the options God has given for an investment. Am I personally called to be a writer? Because I see a return on the investment I have risked, I believe I have been.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Question

"If you could do anything in the name of Christ and know that it would succeed and not fail, what would you do?"

Just the thought of such power puts a smile on my face. Obviously with that kind of power, I don't want to waste it on something small. It has to be something big, something great. Sorting through an onslaught of ideas fear begins to grow.

Fear? If I can't fail, why am I afraid?

I am afraid because the reality of my responsibility is starting to take hold. I would succeed and not fail. But at what cost? You have to understand, I have enough on my plate already. I work 40 hours every week. Sometimes more. I go to church twice a week. I play basketball one night a week. I go to class on another night. That leaves me with only a couple of nights a week for the rest. My music, writing, and keeping house. After all that, I hardly have time to relax, let alone take on a huge responsibility as this.

This is just a hypothetical question, Phil. No one is expecting anything great from you.

Sweet relief. Of course it would be awesome to something great in the name of Christ. But that's not for ordinary people like me. That's why God has chosen His holy ones. People like Elijah, Paul, and Billy Graham. No one expects anything great from me.

Now I am feeling disappointed.


Why disappointed? Just a second ago I was relieved by this thought. Am I really doomed to an ordinary life? Destined to a life of watching TV, playing games, and talking about those who are making a difference? Am I a bench warmer in the Super Bowl of life?

So here I am, left with a decision to be made. Do I want to make a difference? Do I want the power to do something in the name of Christ and succeed? It will cost me. It will mean that I will be uncomfortable. It will mean that I will have to give up things that I desire. It will even mean letting go of the things I am already holding on to. The thought of giving up these things makes me sad at first. These are things that bring me pleasure and comfort in my life. I've worked hard for them. But, are they worth giving up the opportunity to make a difference?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quote of the Week

"Living out of the false self creates a compulsive desire to present a perfect image to the public so that everybody will admire us and nobody will know us."
-Brennan Manning

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Score

"Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only His child redeemed by Christ" -Thomas Merton

Even after numerous sermons on grace, Thomas Merton's words pierced my heart with new revelation. It is so easy for me to see God as a the scorekeeper. I imagine Him shaking His head in disappointment everytime I fail.

"Phil, Phil, Phil. When are you going to learn?" He must say to Himself.

I have disappointed Him again. Knowing this, I look for some way to even the score. Some kind of peace offering. All those sermons on grace has taught me that Jesus isn't holding God back from striking me down with lightning every time I sin. But I still think I need to appease Him.

Then come Merton's words with the new perspective. I can't help but cry when I realize it isn't God who's keeping score, but me. He sees me as the His child, the one that Jesus died to save.

Father God,
I am so glad that You love me more than I can imagine. I know if You loved me the way I imagined You did, I would be lost. Please continue to break down my misconceptions of You, showing me who You really are. Fill me with Your love. Fill me so full I can't contain it, so it spills onto everyone I meet.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

An Irish Blessing

As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fear Revisited

I have this reoccurring fear. I am afraid that I will disappoint the people who care about me. Once I disappoint them, I am afraid they will no longer like me. So, I do everything I can think of to please the people around me. I say I agree with them when I don't. I laugh at the their jokes that aren't funny. I agree to do things I don't have time for or interest in doing. Then when I am unable to meet someone's expectations, I hide from them. That is the easier thing to do. Better to think someone is disappointed in me than to know I have failed.

This fearful person is a liar. I do not like this person. I chastise myself for not being the person I want to be while I remain in hiding, my heart paralyzed by the fear.

Why am I so afraid of what other people think?

Reading my Bible, I find a story near the beginning about Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were hiding from God knowing they had disappointed Him. They had been friends with God. They walked with Him often in the evenings. Now, they didn't want to face Him. I wonder if they were afraid God would no longer love them when He found out how they had disappointed Him. This is my greatest fear. I fear I will disappoint God and He will no longer love me.

At first I think God no longer loves Adam and Eve because He throws them out of the garden, never to return. If that were not enough, he curses Adam and Eve causing work and child birth to become more difficult and painful. But then I read something that seems out of place. God gives them clothes. A new picture came to my mind. I now saw Adam and Eve like a couple of teenagers who have knowingly broken the house rules. God, as a responsible parent, is enforcing the rules and the punishment for the infraction. So, as these rebellious teenagers are sent out of the house, this loving parent God filled with love and concern makes sure they have clothes.

I don't like the consequences of my actions. Especially when it disappoints someone I love. But, I am finding that people don't love me for what I do. They love me for who I am. This is even more true about God because God loves perfectly when we do not. In Hebrews 13:5 He says He will never leave us or reject us. There is no condition to this promise.

I am still afraid. I think because I don't completely understand yet. But the more I look at God, the more I learn about Him, the more I spend time with Him and really get to know God, the less I am afraid.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I wanted to write something very profound about beauty. I imagined people saying, "I never thought of beauty that way before." However, it seems that what comes out is anything but beauty.

I have noticed that I haven't been appreciating beauty recently. Especially simple beauty. Instead, I have been looking far too much at ugly. Failures, disappointments, lies. Have you noticed how ugly ugly is? It only takes one ugly to ruin a beautiful day. The stranger making a rude gesture at me from the car next to me. My friend doesn't like what I spent the last two months writing. I overdrafted my bank account again. While some ugly is small and only annoying, other ugly cuts to the core of my being. The ugly I hate most is the ugly I find within. When it is the ugly in me hurting others.

Because ugly occupies my mind so much, I find myself wondering if ugly is more powerful than beauty. After all, how often does one glimpse of beauty make my day? It happens rarely. After a day full of ugly, beauty is a dawn after a long dark night. It gives birth to hope when ugly is all around.

So what is the difference? Why is it on some days one ugly spoils and others beauty restores? It comes down to what I have chosen to look at. On a day when I am being annoyed by a small ugly, I storm by the simple beauty along the path. Any of which would bring a shaft of sunlight through the dark gloom in my mind. Perhaps this is one reason the Creator made flowers beautiful. To give me a reason to stop looking at the ugly and look at the beauty.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Desert

Here I stand in the desert. Sand, sage brush and dead wood. I would call it lifeless if it were not for the carrion circling about waiting for my demise and their dinner. How do I get out of this place? North, south, east, west? I was going somewhere... I'm trying to remember... The memory is fading like last night's dream. It was important to get there, I remember that much. In fact, I was willing to die trying. But now, lost in this desert, I wonder. The desert is all I can see. My heavy pack bites into my shoulders. The vast emptiness is crushing my soul. If only there was someone, anyone out here with me. Someone who knows the way. Someone who can help me remember. Someone to confirm that I am still alive and I still matter.

Life is like this desert. Everyday is the same. The details differ, but each day has the same meaning. Looking back, these days look like the desert. Sand, sage brush and dead wood. What is the point? I went to work. I have earned money to pay for a little corner of this world to call home. In my little corner, I fill it with stuff. Books, music, entertainment. Stuff. I have stuff I haven't seen in years, but it is important to my life. Why? Tomorrow I will go to work so I can continue to have my corner and continue to buy more important stuff to fill it with.

So what is the point? Where am I going? I feel like I'm standing in the middle of the desert, pack full of stuff slung over my shoulder wondering which way to go. Truth is I don't know where to go from here. My only company are the carrion who cry out discouragement and criticism. I wonder, am I dead or alive?

Just when I have decided to give up, the disgruntled carrion scatter. A fresh breeze chases off the stale air. A spark of hope flickers in my soul. It is my friend. Joy I believed to be dead danced with life. I remember now. This journey is worth the risk. He has told me about a place full of life and love. A place where joy never ends and sorrow is left behind. I could never afford the cost of living in such a place, I told him. I was confounded when he laughed. He had already paid my way. All I had to do was follow him there. Leaving my pack behind, I ran to catch up.

I am still following him through this desert to the promised land. There are times that I'm right behind him. I sing as I walk, telling everybody about my friend and his extravagant offer. I wish I could say it was always this way, not just times. There are other times I get distracted by stuff. Something I find along the way that looks cool and is exciting for a while. I put the stuff in a pack so I won't lose it. After all, this is important stuff. It isn't long before my pack is full. I've lost sight of my friend. I have become discouraged. Eventhough I have let my friend down, he always comes looking for me. He usually shows up just when I'm ready to give up.

Thank you Jesus for being my best friend, my savior, my God.