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This idea was given to me by Dusty, to take the arrows that the enemy hurls at me and receive God’s response before I put them away in a box. Or something like that. I wanted to share it with you. Speaking of Dusty check out his front page now featuring.. my blogsite. Front page, if that doesn’t cheer me up what will?

I feel that I am in a battle field and thousands of the enemies arrows are coming straight down. I get relief for a few minutes by a thin shelter that offers water to refuel me, but in this desolate area there is never enough to keep me going for more then a day. So I return to the battle, the arrows have writing on them. Some that are laying at my feet are scrawled with the words: worthless, addict, false friend, murderer, self loathing, distrustful and some that are in such a blur I cannot make them out.

I am peppered with arrows as I step out, my shield is battered and wearing thin. I reach down and pull one that is stuck deep into my chest, it reads ‘alone’. It stings deep, spreading through to my heart with a venomous burn. I look around and I see other soldiers helping with the battle, some look over toward me with a wink as they continue to fight. I fall to my knees, look up to the sky and scream to my Commander, ‘Where are you?! The enemy is in force and darkness is closing in. They are showing their face, what shall I do but surrender?’

My eyes grow weary, as the soldiers fade away, I see a dark figure. The enemy is approaching. With hands trembling I reach out for some relief, even if for a moment. Even if I fall back as a slave, I will be in a familiar area. I fall out stretched, my hands graze the figures hand, and my eyes shut with the weight of a thousand sleepless nights. I wake to an empty battle ground, the enemy has left, the soldiers that scattered the area are not to be seen. I look down to see a lone arrow in the ground beside me, it is scrawled with the word ‘alone’. I scream with anger to the heavens.

The echo of my screams reach across the deserted plain, after that silence. I see a corner of a box peeking out of the dirt a few feet from me. I dig and dig until my fingers bleed, but the hunger to bring the box up to the surface numbs any pain that it brings. Pulling the box out with what feels like the last bit of energy I have, I fumble with the catch to the lid. Getting the latch free, I fling the lid open to reveal nothing. An empty box. Tears flow heavy. Is this my fate? My thirst is greater, my throat parched burning to the extent of no escape. A cloud approaches with it comes a wind that cools my skin. The parched fabric of my throat is slowly replaced with a coolness, water cascades down my throat like a never ending well.

Then the skies open, the ground shakes violently. a rush of sound comes from the heavens like that of drums. Arrows are falling down all around me, I cover myself, but as I see them around my feet I notice that they are broken in half. I pick up two pieces that are bundled together with a note. I take the note and read it.

‘This is the Lord your God, your Comforter.

I hid my face when you were with the enemy, but I have always been waiting for you. Do you not remember when you came to Me from the enemy, how battered and torn you were? I summoned My army to gather around you and clothed you with a robe of comfort. Were you so blind to the times that you fell? Each time I had my soldiers carry you back to the shelter. Turn your face to the place of shelter, cleanse your eyes and open them wide to see how great that shelter is. There in the corner you will see a great shield that I had placed there for you.  You did not see Me but I AM always here with you. You refuse the growth because you refuse to lay down the memories of the false promises that the enemy offered, do you not see the trickery? You refused to see My soldiers because you felt unworthy of their comfort. You returned to Me and I AM faithful to My lovers. Your ears are caked with deceit, and a desire to fight alone. Your eyes are filmed with a past that is no longer yours. How can you hear the comfort when your ears are dead? How can you see the love of My children when your eyes are blind? How can you feel My loving hand when you are buried so deep in the dirt of lies? I have long forgiven you, yet you wear your past around your neck as an emblem. You are with me, your sins are dead. Bury your necklace, and the arrows that are littered around your feet in this box I have given and I will hide them from you, but you have to give them to Me freely now. Wipe your eyes, cleanse your ears. Free yourself from the grave for the battle rages. The enemy will continue to attack, and when it does, come to Me and know that you are not alone. Knowing I AM with you, I will give you strength, to not only carry yourself but others that fall beside you to the shelter that I offer.  Now return to your Brothers and Sisters and know that I AM.

The Great Commander

D.

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Tonight was a beautiful night. As the Wednesday night series continues a woman’s testimony on her journey of strength, doubt, and felt betrayal of God touched us. Dusty weaved (wove?) a correlation between Naomi and our dark days when we don’t always see God. He did this in a very uplifting way. The woman’s story was that of the struggle with having one autistic child and another with mild cerebral palsy. The path started with her standing up one moment telling everyone with conviction that God was going to give the help that was needed, and then feeling a betrayal when the help did not come. Wrestling with God during the struggles where light could not be seen through the darkness. The hand of God that she relied on for help through her life, was no longer there, in it’s place felt like avoidance. She and her husband dealt with an autistic child that they no longer felt they could handle on their own. She struggled with seeing God, she bargained with God about her good deeds and the love that she always had shown Him, so where is His love now when she needed it the most? The place that they were waiting for to help their child called on a Friday and told her that they will let her know on Monday. This was good news but she had reserves, ‘What if God didn’t answer her prayers again?’ Monday came and their child is getting the help he needs. There are a lot of struggles ahead and as Dusty pointed out this is not the end of the story but the beginning.

It is interesting to see peoples reactions to the different stories some were pretty nonchalant about it, some were touched deeply, and in some was avoidance. The Spirit is working in this congregation, as Noreen pointed out though it is like the Spirit is playing duck, duck, goose. The life stories are pricking something inside some, probably more then we know of, and with their struggles will find a growth that will touch others, and so on and so on. I can see that there is an alliance that is being formed by sharing our struggles. Lovers leaning on each other through tough times, whether those tough times are out in the open or not, God is giving comfort in letting others know that they are not the only ones in the game.

D.

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Lowly

The one thing that I enjoyed the most while I was doing speed is the feeling of confidence it gave me. I would do it before I played guitar, draw, lift weights. I am naturally a shy person, but when I was on it I had the courage to carry on a conversation and feel comfortable in doing so. Unless you were familiar with the tell tale signs of it no one would even know that I was on it. That is what I thought anyway.

Our router on the computer went out Thursday, so I have not been able to write about how Wednesday night went. It feels good to be lowly. The one thing that I avoided, and fought against is the one thing that is giving me a little peace during this time. Before I stood there in front of our church family that we love so much, thoughts of being asked to leave, or avoided were racing through my mind. I was having a real bad time battling the depression Wednesday and I was asking myself why am I doing this in the first place?

After we got there I was sitting with my friend AJ, and others greeted us as they always do, I just couldn’t help to think how will they view me afterwards? I knew that this is where God has guided us, but I couldn’t help but think that I failed on the road that He put me on. Once again I felt that we would be searching for another church family and how we would start over from square one. As I got up there and blubbered my way through telling first of when I started as a teenager, and continued using through adulthood, the first time I tried to quit eight years ago the recalling of the agoraphobic moments, the anxiety attacks, and the devastating depression that had set in at that time, and then letting them know that I have quit again but this time I knew that I would make it because of everyone in my life now. It felt like I was trying to convince them of something I believed at one time, up until that moment, and then I think that I was trying to convince myself that I will make it.

Before I spoke a handful of people at church already knew. One being a man whom I respected, would not speak to me after he found out. It felt like he avoided me as I walked toward him where before he would greet me and talk, he would turn around or go toward someone else. I thought of what Dusty told me before, it might not be about me, it may have been that he had more on his mind. Just as I got up to talk Wed. night I looked up toward him and he got up and left the auditorium. Again it might have been a coincidence I don’t really know, but the point is at that moment I stopped caring. If it did effect him then maybe that is what God wanted, if not then I was wrong and it’s all good. Before I would have allowed it to bother me, it would eat at me until I found out one way or other, but honestly it didn’t hurt my feelings. It may have been that I already had it in my mind that is how I am going to be viewed anyway, not from everyone but the majority.

It was nice to see afterward that others that I looked up to, and some that surprised me, came up to me and told me of the courage that it took for me to do that. I had one lady tell me that she would like to talk with me about her sons sometime. One gentleman told me that he used to use not that he suffered from addiction, but if I ever needed to talk to him I could call him. One of the eldest ladies from church came up to me she had a big smile on her face, accompanied with love, and told me how she appreciated me doing that and how brave it was to do what was needed. I catch myself saying that I want to use this thing that caused so much pain in my life to help others. I thought of drug problems, but I have seen that God has used this more then I could have ever thought.

It was not about me standing out with a dark past, it is about how we all carry a weight with our hidden pains. God has opened my eyes to this not just within the congregation we attend now, but I have seen it through the blogging world, not just by my post, but I have noticed others post as well that, as far as I know, do not know of mine. It seems that God picks a time for growth and will use different people, in different areas of the world, to reach others. God made me do it. I am glad to be lowly, I am glad to know that instead of standing out, I was joined in a group of sinners leaning on each other for growth. I have become closer to an elder and his wife, whom I have looked up to and respected since we have been here. I have became closer to my friend AJ, something that I was concerned about. I have met others that I did not know before. This has strengthened us in God’s family, not weakened it.

Dusty’s lesson Wed. night was comforting, and it meant a lot not just to me, but others as well. My fight is not over, I fight back against depression, I yell at God sometimes to let Him know I get it, please release me. Sometimes I beg for more growth. I’m a mess, I don’t feel worthy of God’s love or His acceptance. And it seems that other things are happening in our life that is making the struggle more difficult to bare, and we don’t understand why. I was looking for a ‘but’ sentence to end this with, I couldn’t find one that I truly believe at this time. I just know that we have found a family, a true family, where we can be lowly and not feel alone.

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As struggling lovers of God, are any of us able to have a church funeral?

 D.

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Reruns

My TV has been showing me reruns lately, so I thought it only fair to do the same thing on my post. Actually, I have noticed that the Jesus Wept post has been getting a lot of hits lately, and I thought that I would bring it up to the forefront again. Also, during class Sun. I noticed some people still question why Jesus wept, I think that it is important for comfort to know that it was not for sympathy, and that death is our goal to be re-united with our Father. Since they are longer post, I put a ‘read the rest of..’ tab on them.

Please feel free to comment.

D.

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“Where is God?…go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent in time of trouble?” – C.S. Lewis’ -A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis wrote this after his wife Joy Davidman passed away. More of a journal really than a book. As his Step-Son stated in the forward it is simply as the title states, an observance of grief. Lewis never denies God, he struggles with who God is. To me it feels like God was a close friend who let him down when he needed to call in a favor. 

We find ourselves sometimes in that same spot, we care for people and we seek God’s will, we love God with a passion, just to find out that He has a different agenda then ours. (more…)

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If I were an Angel I would want to be sent to a Church service, a really nice Church. Doesn’t matter if it was big or small, I would just want to request a Church service. And then I would want to be dressed scroungy, a row of ear rings in each ear, tattooed, and unkempt hair, yes even unkempt hair and probably a cigarette pack in my front pocket. But I would not enter into the auditorium, I would linger in the lobby, or the alcove. I would listen intently to what the preacher had to say. I would see if I was offered the communion, if indeed the communion was passed. I would count the stares of the elders or others that were walking in the passageway during service seeing if they were wondering why I have invaded their space, or if they were wondering if there was anything that they could do for me. Knowing all along that there was something that I could do for them if given a chance.

I will then continue to stand there to see how many people approach me. I know that there would be a few. I wouldn’t want a handout, I am just looking to know more about my Father, will anyone offer me that? Will they offer me studies, or would they just invite me back? How much time would someone spend with me? After this, I would ask to go back but this time I will dress nicer, no tattoos, no jewlery, and a nice full head of hair, kempt this time. I would join the Church in the auditorium and I would listen to the preacher intently, I would take the communion if it was passed. Then I would stand in the back to see how many people would approach me. There would be a few. They would assume that I did not want a handout, would they feel more comfortable inviting me to their House Church? Would they simply invite me back, or would they offer further fellowship?

Minus the stares, the outcome might not be that noticeable, or it might be as different as day and night. It depends on you doesn’t it?

D.

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Happy MLK,Jr day. The verse I would like to meditate on this week is: Mark 9:33-37

 May God bless your journey.

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