Love In Limbo

John 20

The Empty Tomb

    1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

   3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

So John was the one that’s being referred to as the one that Jesus loved most in that passage, his bud, his best friend.  He got so worked up over the news that someone may have jacked with his best friend’s grave site, whom he just lost and was freshly mourning over, that he outran the other guy and beat him to the tomb.  However,  he maintained discipline when he got there, to respect Jewish tradition about not entering a place of death or something.  It was only after Peter got there and busted past him to see what the heck was going on with that shroud, that he finally went in to witness the mystery that he knew for a fact that Christ had died, but all of a sudden Christ is not there. 

The Truth, which, considering John and Jesus’ history and friendship together, John finally truly believed at that moment, as he stand there looking at empty cloths, was that Christ had risen.  Now, John was a faithful disciple to Jesus, a true bud, in fact, just before he died, Jesus passed those most important in his Earthly life over to John’s capable heart and and hands, his mother and other disciples…not to mention, every soul in the world, from then until the end of time.

Fast forward through time, a little bit along the way, as the disciples tell and retell stories of Jesus, and other witnesses testify, and there’s major movements, and breakups between what it actually means to believe in Jesus and what Jesus actually wants from us.  The “operator” game continues on and before long there’s even question about Jesus’ existence at all, scandals and deceit hide within holy walls, and the world is no stranger to holy wars…all because they claim to know the truth about whatever their “truth” is, and there is no other way…as I sit here proclaiming Jesus is the way.  But that’s my job, I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ, so to wear my armor means to proclaim my Love for him and announce the Truth that IS Him.

But in the meantime, between the days of John and Peter and me and you, all my brothers and sisters, what I’m saying is that things have gotten slack.  Some of our faiths have become one of convenience and not one we put too much effort into.  We may walk a good life, not be too sinful, but we can’t just walk through life playing it safe and call ourselves a good Christian either.  I mean, what does that do for the person standing next to you who doesn’t know or doesn’t quite believe in Jesus?

Time is short, spread the Word, spread the Love, for we didn’t know love until we were first loved by Jesus.  Jesus loved John, they were best buds…so much so that when Jesus was not in that tomb when they rolled back that rock, he knew the Truth instantly.

The Truth is that Christ will come again.  Don’t you want to know Jesus that well that He knows you, no questions asked?  Wouldn’t it be nice to know that He’d already know exactly how you feel about Him?  What you would do for Him?  How much you Love Him and talk him up to people?  It’d be a relationship you’d regret missing out on…just don’t wait until it’s too late to believe…or tell…

Hungry

I’ve been sick for the past month, which has played hard on my motivation to post my blogs, when I’m not feeling well in most aspects of my life, physically, emotionally, mentally, and even sometimes spiritually.

But that doesn’t matter at this particular moment.  Because at this particular moment, I’m hungry and I’m in a weird rage.  I’m on prednisone which is jacking up everything about my emotions and thoughts, and I quit smoking five days ago, although two of them were spent in the hospital.  I want to get better…in so many ways.  I know the way to get better in so many ways.  I’m hungry for that betterness…the betterness the Lord offers us.

I’ve been wanting to make a video for a long time to the song Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran.  I love wolves, without sounding like a hypocrite against my Christian beliefs, I wouldn’t be surprised if the wolf was somehow my animal kindred soul spirit or whatever.  So I made the video, and while it’s not one of my most spectacular, it’s one I’d like to share.  I only hope that it works, because of all the blocks that YouTube puts up on me.

Anyway…be hungry, brothers and sisters!  Be hungry for that salvation and that peace and joy that the Lord has offered us and has waiting for us in exchange for our faithful discipleship.  It’ll be worth the journey…

****I MADE A VIDEO TO THIS SONG?  :: BLINK BLINK:: WELL HERE’S THE ORIGINAL ANYWAY****

~Dear Lord, please give us the strength to go on, even in our worst days of hunger, for all of our needs, for all that you offer us, Lord.  I trust and believe in you that you will provide, as you always do, and will continue to share the word and testify of the glorious blessings you bring.  Please continue to watch over our health, happiness, and all of our needs, as you know what they are, Lord.  In your most precious name, I pray.  Amen~

Sweet Truth

We’re taught, as Christians, that The Truth is The Word, is The Lord, God, the way to Heaven.  But what is it?

The Truth is that there is an absolute Divine Father who put us here and put his precious and holy son here, knowing full well that he was going to be…HAD to be hated, beaten, and crucified to die for our sins.  The Truth is that we have a purpose for Him, to serve here on earth, to learn and apply The Word so that we can spread the word in order to further populate his righteous Kingdom of Heaven…which is where we really want to go.  The Truth is that the path is already set and Our Lord has left the decisions up to us to figure out how to get there, but He’s always there for us, waiting for us to call on Him should we need a hand along the way.  The Truth is He is always there for us because He loves us and never wants any of us to get lost and has left His mission on his disciples to find those who may stumble or get misguided along the way…so let’s all lend a little helping hand when we can.  The Truth is it is okay to just be Christian, which means you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and that you have accepted Him as you’re Lord and Savior.  The Truth is that it’s okay to admit it in public.  The Truth is all written down for you.  The Truth shines brightly on your face each morning.  The Truth is something I’m grateful for.

~Amen~

A Giant Praised God

“This place is only for sinners!”

My pastor just knew it would wind up somewhere on the internet just after he proclaimed it at church this Sunday.  He got quite the laugh, as he normally does, but he knew he not only had our attention, but had the truth, and knew that we knew it.  We…sit down now, are sinners.

Although, believe it or not, it seems over 90% of the world believe they are not sinners.  It’s easy to notice if you’re the one watching the sinner, but easy to miss if you’re the one sinning, even if you know it’s just a tiny one, or one of those ones that really don’t matter anymore, ya know? 

I’m part of the 10% that knows that I’m a sinner.  Yes, I, the wordy-nerdy, message in music Christian, am a sinner.  I’m not a bad one, just you’re average little white lie to get off the phone, or saying I don’t have a spare cigarette when I do, and even sometimes not giving spare change to someone in need.  Of course there are other areas that I could probably use some work on as well, but hey, some things are better left between me and God.  (If only they would invent a better way to workout and be healthier)

But a lot of America, the world, is in denial about themselves and their sins, be they small or big time.  Each sin comes down to a battle within ourselves to maintain our faith, and then a vicious cycle begins…which is to maintain faith within each other.  From there, the real battles begin.  From the political stages, where men and women are selling us something they don’t have the power to give us, to the war grounds, where men and women are dying to give us something they don’t have the power to protect us from.  Even in religious arenas, different “faiths” proclaim that they know the “better” way to Heaven, and tear at our potential for Love and Unity even more.  When at the end of the day, the guy with the more money and the guy with the better story wins, it’s safer that way.

It’s certainly a battleground.  Not unlike that of a football field!  Two teams lined up against each other, perhaps a team built of men who have power behind them, popularity, votes, safety, promises, and a team built of men who possess nothing but faith and service, God on their side because that’s where He put them and through Him they won’t let Him down, Christians who use His word as strength, stamina, and pride.

It’s not that I watch a lot of t.v., but I watch enough to know that I see a lot of Mormon commercials lately, especially considering we have a Mormon candidate running for president.  I say that to say I’m cautious of false prophets.  I didn’t see any last night, that I can recall anyway, during the game.  But then again, I didn’t see any straight-up Christian commercials either…actually, I never see any of those any time I watch t.v.  Why is that?

But what I did see was some really cool touchdowns by the underdogs.  And one of those underdogs, one of those Giants, blew a kiss, looked to the heavens, and glorified God.  That was the best moment of the game!  Other than when my man sat down right over the line for a touchdown…that was pretty sweet!  And the Giants won the game!

So, trying not to sound too much like Forrest Gump, life is like a game of football.  You run around trying to avoid things coming at you, trying to play out your strategy, getting sacked and bumped back and losing control along the way.  But you keep playing, going back and forth, taking what life throws at you, taking the hits, getting those touchdowns when you can, and moving along to the next play.  As long as you play a hard an honest game, God won’t flag you.  Just read the beatitudes in Matthew again and you’ll be just fine!

I missed Hank’s version yesterday so I had to get it on here, just for this post.

~Jesus, I pray to you today to give us the strength and stamina to keep playing after each sack, to guide us through your field and your strategies for us, putting us to use in the best way for your service.  Lord, I glorify you in all that you do for me and my family, in all the blessings we receive, and ask that you continue to look favorably on us.  Please help this post find it’s way to those who most need it and please help those who most need it.  In your precious and holy name, I pray.  Amen~

Truckin’

I started writing this Friday night, and actually had about two paragraphs written already. Alas my train of thought kept getting knocked off track and, since I couldn’t get that train rollin’ back around to pick it up again, I figured it just wasn’t the one I was really supposed to hop.  Instead, I just let my daughter talk my ear off about nothing that mattered to me, other than the fact that sometimes our kids, even our teens, just want to know that we’ll take a moment to listen…about the dumbest things.

I’d catch another train eventually…no use in sweating it.  Especially when the entire week had gone off without too many hitches.  I’ve been trying to unhitch myself from a lot of the things going on in my life, surrendering it to God, and just letting him show me the way, give me my day, and go where I can with it.

There’s stumbling blocks, obstacles, detours, pitfalls, torn maps, and enemies all through life, and those of us who try our hardest to follow a life of Christ, a life of value and morals, seem to get hit with a lot of the above backfires.  Tests and trials, “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” same old stuff that we get tired of dealing with…but it makes us who we are.  It’s all in how we deal with each situation before us!  We can either jump off the train of life/spiritual progression and let the situation claim what we and our lives are going to be, or we can keep riding and see where it takes us, each day something new and capable of taking us new places.  Yeah, it gets demanding, worrisome at times…if you falter on your faith in that Great Conductor, but He’s the one that laid the tracks for you in the first place.  Who better to know where you should be?  And most importantly, where you should be going?  We just can’t worry so much about how long it takes to get there, or the route it takes, or how many stops and changes we have to make. The journey, and all that comes with it, is there for us to improve ourselves before we get to our stop, be it the need to re-evaluate ourselves, our lives, our jobs, our homes, our friends, our values and morals, our finances, our habits, etc.  It’s not necessarily a fun journey, but depending on where you decide to get off, it could be totally worth it.  And don’t forget to enjoy the view!

A few days back, the song “Truckin'” by Grateful Dead came on my HimP3 player.  I know it mentions a few things that don’t seem too Christ-like, but if you lived in my brain, you’d know how easy it is to think of God as cocaine!  Besides…it’s all about the message!  There’s always tomorrow, don’t forget to look around, and just keep truckin’ on!

My week started off not so great, stress from our daughter came like a punch to the gut first thing.  We handled it, handed out punishment, and surrendered the rest for her to be accountable for.  And then…we kept truckin’!  Everywhere we seemed to look, except in our bank accounts, it was a beautiful day.  We spent a good amount of time with my mama-in-law this week, I won fourteen dollars at Bingo at the senior community, I was able to get my meds again, we spent time at a social event/dance at the senior community, we helped out a couple people at the same place, we’ve enjoyed all of our time together, and despite our daughter’s punishment, she hasn’t been giving us too many problems.  Of course, there is a lot more to tell…many blessings, many good and just fun or nice things we were part of, but to sum up a week of goodness is hard to do right now, as I’m a little wiped out from an early asthma attack.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what blessings and what good/nice things we did, it matters that there were plenty of them, and made for many beautiful days.  The best part of it, was that each day, as I woke, I prayed for it to be such just by my mere surrender to what was going to come of it.  Yes, I stumbled a few times in emotion and stress, but I’m human, imperfect, me…and God loves me, and I love Him. 

Thank you, Lord, for our beautiful days…even when we don’t see them as being possible!

The Mountain and The Word

So how is everyone else’s 2012 going so far?

Mine has been blessed, perhaps a few aggravations here and there, a couple set backs, but nothing to dive into the darkness and dwell about.  Just have to find alternate ways of getting a few things done ’round here, is all. 

But that’s life!  Full of obstacles and challenges, unexpected pitfalls and blessings.  Gotta love it!  Or at least try your best to keep loving it and having Faith throughout it.

My wife has been out of town since Thursday, off to celebrate her son’s graduation from Navy boot camp.  Words lack the actually expression of pride from his accomplishments as a young man of God.

I wanted to go but finances and household management wouldn’t allow for me to join.  Instead, I stayed home with our daughter so she wouldn’t miss any school.  I wasn’t really looking forward to this time spent without Babe, we miss each other terribly when we’re apart from one another, but I had to suck it up anyway.  To tell you the truth, I was more worried about having to spend five days alone with our daughter than anything.  As I’ve said in the past, she can be the cause of some grief around here, between her mother and I, and just with me.  It’s not that we don’t get along because we do.  When she is alone with either her mother or I, she doesn’t give much grief at all and makes the time seem well spent, most of the time.  The problem is, she needs to find a way to be able to handle herself in the same manner when it’s all three of us, instead of pitting her mother and I against each other, and furthermore, show the same respect for us both while we’re together that she does when we’re apart.  Conversely, we need to be able to open up to spending more time with her individually when we’re all together, perhaps “date days,” so that maybe she doesn’t feel left out.  Maybe, and I’m praying for this, that between both theories, we can all live together in a more peaceful, less tense, less aggravated, and less saddened environment.

Knowing our daughter the way I do, I would say that the task would be like trying to move a mountain.  Well, we can’t do that, we just don’t have the strength, even all three of us combined.  However, it’s not so much about moving the obstacles and challenges out of our path, as it is trekking through them, actually making that climb instead of just moving the mountain.

So that’s what we did!  In addition to a couple other fun things my daughter and I did in her mom’s absence, we climbed a mountain.  No, it wasn’t a big mountain, and it wasn’t a scary terrain, but it was the biggest and steepest rocky hill I’ve ever attempted to climb, not to mention the fact that I wasn’t even going to do it in the first place.  But our plans for Saturday derailed because of a big event going on in the city, so instead of heading back home to do hours worth of nothing, she talked me into climbing “A” Mountain.  I was worried about doing it because I’ve been battling a cold with a nasty cough for a couple weeks, I didn’t have my inhaler, I was wearing my black converse, which are not good for hiking, and my attitude toward the climb, and how much effort it was going to be, was shying me away. 

Faith!  Just climb the mountain and don’t worry about what “might” happen.  Like my mother-in-law said the other day, “if” is a big burden for a little word, and that would have been a lot of extra weight for me to carry up those trails if I hadn’t just left “if” at the bottom of the hill and just started walking. 

It was steep, I was out of breath, my legs were burning, my shoulder was hurting (chronic situation but gets worse with more movement), but it didn’t take long before I looked back and we were halfway up.  Yes, I would have liked to have my inhaler, but I decided that I would make it without it, because this was a challenge, it was fun, and it was going to be worth it…that’s what my daughter said whilst walking, anyway.

We made it to the top and it was beautiful.  We rested on some rocks for a while, talked to a couple people, took some pictures, and just hung out.  “I feel closer to God up here,” she said.  Whether she said that to please me because she knows the pride I carry in being a follower of Christ, or if she said it because that’s how she truly felt, then she was right in what she said at the bottom of the hill.  It was totally worth it.

This morning in church, we continued our study on The Book of John and the prayer that Jesus prayed in front of those chosen eleven, from whom the gospel has spread generations later to you and me.  I took notes like I usually do but, honestly, I don’t really have much to say about the sermon, although it was great.  The best part of service was, at the very end, watching my daughter, on her own accord, go up to the front to pray with someone.  I’m not sure what it was about…I didn’t go with her.  I thought that if this was her making another step toward a relationship with Jesus, then there was no room for me to be there in that moment with her.  If she wants to share, she will.  And furthermore, her mother and I are always here to help with her conflicts in faith, or at least try.  But we are only capable of so much.  Her relationship is hers and Gods, and there is nothing anyone can do to lean it one way or the other, regardless of our hopes. 

The only thing we can do is do our best to live in The Word, as it has all been put in writing for us what it is that Jesus, His Love, and His covenant is.  It’s a simple, yet, tough guide to follow and be diligent with.  However, our Love for Jesus should be the easiest way to guide us through life, as it is simply to Love. 

I know, there are many other “rules” in The Bible, and trust me, I have a hard time grasping some of them too.  In 2012 it’s just kind of hard to wrap your mind around some of the teachings, but I’m doing my best and I pray to help me not fail…or at least fail too badly.  And when I start to stumble, as we all do, we just need to remember that The Word is there to help us, encourage us, guide us, and teach us.  It will never change, it will never waiver, it will never lessen.  Our job is to live within The Word while living in this world, whilst not being part of it…with Jesus, we are so much more than what this world is and what it has to offer. 

Know it, live it, love it, Love Him and Love it forward…and we’ll all get where we want to go.

~Dear Lord, thank you for your many blessings this week, especially for the safe travels of our loved ones and for the time well spent with our loved ones.  Please help us to continue to shine in the light of your Love so that we may count ourselves among the multitude of those that may enter your Holy Kingdom.  Please forgive me my sins, and help me work on correcting them, especially my dirty mouth, so that nobody may ever condemn me in my speech.  Lord, I pray that my Love shines as bright as yours.  In your Holy and Precious name, I pray.  Amen~

Drive

It’s been a week since my declaration to better my lifestyle in attempt to live a healthier physical, emotional, and spiritual lifestyle.

We actually did work out…and on New Year’s Day!  And we’ve worked out three days since, as planned, despite my ongoing cold.  I can’t say that I’ve done that great of a job at eating any healthier, but in a few days when we go shopping, our choices will get better.  I’ve limited myself to eight to ten cigarettes per day this last week as well.  I normally smoked nearly a pack a day, having usually about three, definitely one, left at the end of each night.  So far, I’ve done amazing with that commitment.

Yes, I used a post it note for that, but I also broke out my Scarface cigarette case and prepacked it each morning with eight cigarettes, taking the ninth out with me for the first one of the day.  I kept the rest of the pack in my dresser drawer, out of sight, out of mind.  The only thing I could see was that I had those amount of cigarettes in that case for the entire day, so I had to ration myself and make use of the “halfie” system.  And no, just because you’re up past midnight does not mean you get to start over.  As my wife put it, you don’t take from tomorrow to pay for today…or something like that!

I’ve read once through Corinthians and intend on reading through again, this time reading the study notes.  Wow…what a strict book!  I’m not quite sure what to make of it.  It’s something I’ll have to ponder on, I guess.

We finally got our back patio back this week.  It was held hostage by a love seat that has been waiting patiently to get over to it’s new house at my mama-in-law’s.  It finally got there and we’ve finally, since we moved in, have had the time to fix it up to make it more inviting for us to spend time out there, especially considering all of our different personalities.

Other than Thanking God most every morning and maintaining my eight to ten smokes a day plan, and of course my blog time, every other plan I had failed to take a good root this week.  I guess that’s what happens when we make plans…God laughs and says, “that’s not my plan for you…yet.”  I guess I still need to work on surrendering what I want and accept what just comes.

Which brings me to this song that has been haunting me, so I thought, for a few weeks.  I’m not sure why I’ve been avoiding it;  I actually like the song.  But I think yesterday when I surrendered my ears to the song the message finally came to me.

First of all, one of my most favorite things I’ve always loved to do was get in the car and drive, turn my music up, and just…drive.  Whatever was going on at the moment would somehow be handled within me after spending time in the car.  I would just get in and take off, giving little thought to direction, although I would maintain a certain perimeter around my home.  I didn’t see any reason for worrying anyone, so most of the time people would have an idea of where I went if I was going somewhere or around what area I would be in if I was just driving around.

Now, ironically, I no longer have a vehicle of my own.  I sold it about a month and a half ago because it was starting to require some repair that I wouldn’t be able to afford and I had to take the loss.  Yes, I was bitter.  But, the truck served it’s purpose!  It brought my family out to Arizona, to a city where I really don’t need a vehicle because if I don’t have access to our other one, there is a huge mass transit system.  Plus, I don’t have many places to go!  But that’s not the point.  The point, actually, has nothing to do with driving a vehicle at all!

Similar, perhaps…

When you get behind the wheel of a car and get out on the street, you only have control over very few things.  Your own personal environment is one of them, the turns you make are one of them, but the road you are traveling on and the drivers traveling around you are completely out of your control.  So while you’re in the car, you do your best to pay attention to everything, use your skill and knowledge to keep you safe, but in reality, there is nothing you can do about what is coming at you out of nowhere.  The best you can do is to listen to your music and stay alert and just drive without being hyper-conscious of everything.  That only takes more of your attention away from what’s happening around you and within you.  And you can’t plan for anything anyway…so just drive…you’ll get where you’re going.

The same is true with our days.  If we wake up with a plan of what we’re going to do, if it is anything outside of a routine, then we’re doing less than listening to what God has in store for us that day.  Hop in the car, rev the engine, turn your music on, and just listen.  Let God point you in the direction you’re supposed to be heading that day, after you’ve said your prayers, of which He already knows what you desire, and know that you both have a destination in mind.  Every day is a continuation of a lifetime road tip, on your way to Heaven, and every day may be a change of scenery or a detour because that’s what God has in store for us that day.  Just take the wheel and drive!

~Dear Lord Jesus…Please forgive me my indiscretions this week as I tried to my myself proud in an aim to start living my life with better choices and with better discipline.  Thank you for being a merciful God, that I may screw up and keep trying and know that my faith in you has a direct impact on your faith in me, and you, Lord, are the most faithful of all.  Thank you for all the blessings you shared with our family this week, Lord, we certainly felt comforted in your good graces and look forward to next week with more opportunities to better ourselves that we may better our service for you.  Please watch over my family’s travel this week, keep them all safe and at peace while on their journey to share in crossing the threshold of my wife’s son’s military life.  Lord I ask that you keep him and bless him throughout his service to this country and his service to you, Lord, and that you bring my family safely home to me.  Also, if it’s not too much to ask, if you could help my daughter and I have a good week and help us both work on what we need to work.  In your precious and holy name, I pray….Amen~