Fare Thee Well

Simply put, I will not have time to post as I finish up this college semester, and I will not have time to post this summer as I will be traveling on a summer drama team. These things being said, what will I write about considering this will be my final post for maybe four months?

I will write about Jesus.


One of the most basic facts about the Word of God is that it reveals His love. Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the centerpiece of all Scripture. Why His crucifixion? Because it sets the context of His love! He loved us such much that the Father sent His only begotten Son to bear His wrath towards our sin! He loves you, and He loves me. It’s simple, but it’s true. Yet somehow, this is something that I have struggled with..

I am never good enough! I am never smart enough! I am never disciplined enough! I could have done this more excellent! I could have said that more plain! I could have been more kind! I could love Jesus more! I must sacrifice more!

I am a child of God, and Jesus Christ, as weird as it is to say, is my spiritual brother. Therefore, Christ’s Father is my Father. He has given me commands on how to live my life, beginning with, “Love Me with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength!” Honestly, that’s a hefty command, and without obeying that command first, none of the other commandments will follow. Yet because I have fallen short..

God, I am a failure!

It’s sad as I type that, because even though that statement reflects my heart before God worked in my life, I am still tempted to believe it. Here’s the thing, this is why we must understand that everything in life comes back to Jesus and His Word! Why?! Because our success is not determined by our track record, but by Jesus’ track record! We will all fail time and time again! We will all fall short! Yet every day when the Father looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son!


This is the beauty of the Christian life: we do not obey to earn the Father’s approval; we obey because Christ has earned the Father’s approval. We may be chastened, but we will never be destroyed. We may be rebuked, but we will never be cast away! We may fall, but we will never be forced to stay down!

Yes, we will all stand before the judgement throne and everything we have ever said or done will be brought into account, but as my track record is listed off, my eyes will be fixed on the scars in my Lord’s wrists.

This is why we must strive every day to pursue God with complete abandon! Christ is worthy! He deserves it! The most incredible fact is that He doesn’t force us! He let’s us! He woos us! He longs for us! And when we trip and stumble when running after Him, we will not be remembered by our trips and falls!


I was dying in the prayer closet around a week ago, arguing that statement with God, “I am a failure!” “No, you are not.” “Hah! Yeah, right! Remember my laziness this past week?! Remember that comment I said?! Remember that person I neglected?! Tell me how I am not a failure!” Instantly a picture came to my mind of Jesus showing me the holes in His hands were nails went through. “This is why you are not a failure..”


I have one desire for these next four months: more of Jesus. In spite of how weird C. J. Murray is, Jesus is faithful. I am thankful for my Lord and Savior. I can never love Him too much, and when my love for Him falls short, His love for me never falls short.

What a wonderful thought!

Fare thee well, all.

The Body (of Christ)

Suppose there was a person who quickly fell and died.
Maybe part of who he was said “innocent!” but lied.

So..

What if his hands said to his feet,
“We’re jealous of your toes,”
And in so doing forgot that
They’re holding a fire hose.

What if his toes said to his eyes,
“We’re jealous of your sight,”
And in so doing forgot that
They’re running in a fight.

What if his eyes said to his heart,
“We’re jealous of your beat,”
And in so doing forgot that
They’re spotting dangerous heat.

What if his heart said to his tongue,
“I’m jealous of your voice,”
And in so doing forgot that
It’s sustaining every choice.

What if his tongue said to his brain,
“I’m jealous of your head,”
And in so doing forgot that
It’s a spokesman aforesaid.

Maybe such is how he died:
His body parts were proud.
We’ll never know, but maybe so,
Could it be said too loud?

This past week, God has been teaching me how to appreciate the body of Christ. I have previously struggled with being jealous of others’ walk with God, envying different traits of theirs and how God has built them when that is actually pride. He has been teaching me to appreciate others’ walk with God and look at their spiritual lives for encouragement. We may be running a race, but this isn’t a competition with each other. We are a team, a unified body. We are to look to Jesus Christ, the author, and finisher of our faith, and push each other to Him, regardless of where we are or they are in the race.

It is a wonderful thing when the body of Christ is simply.. the body of Christ.

Faith

In Scripture, the facts of the Gospel are obvious. What we have in Christ is very clear. “For ye are dead to sin” is Christianity 101. Yet in our (my) life, there is a contrast. “Why am I not what the Bible says I am in Christ?” What is the kink in the system, the jam in the gears, or the clog in the pipes?

The first and greatest commandment is to love God. Then, “of faith, hope, and love, the greatest of these is love.” Yet, although the foundation of a relationship is love, how can the relationship function without faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Therefore! Without faith there is no substance and there is no evidence!

Many of us moan and grown about the lack of substance and evidence the Bible says we have in Christ, yet we neglect the lack of faith in God’s Word. We will never know the substance of what we have in Christ until we first accept it by faith.

The Bible is always talking about doing things through Christ. How does that work? It’s like an oven-mitten. We can’t grab a red-hot pan out of an oven with our bare hands, so we need to grab the red-hot pain through an oven-mitten! Here is the big question: how do we put the oven-mitten on?! Faith! You don’t have joy? Laugh it off and thank the risen Lord for the joy that you have in Him! You don’t have peace? Laugh it off and thank the risen Lord for the peace that you have in Him!

We are always told in Scripture to pray with thanksgiving! Why? Because you can only be thankful for what you already have, and to do so is nothing less than exercising faith.

Praise the Lord for the simplicity of the person of Jesus Christ.

It’s already there. Be thankful.

When The Beautiful Tank Goes Really Fast

This past week was the first week of my second semester of college. Seventeen credits, papers due, scripts to memorize, notes to study – it’s been a quick start on a rough road.

None-the-less, I have but one priority: time with Jesus Christ in the Word and prayer, and thus far, this is what I have discovered: the Word is like a blueprint for a car (history manual included), and prayer is like the fuel for the car. I read the Word to saturate in knowing who my God is, who I am in Him, what He’s done, what He’s going to do, and what He commands me to do. Good stuff right?! Yeah! But the Lord’s prayer was, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This means that, without prayer, God’s will has no channel to come to earth. The car will never start. I can look at the car all I want and say, “Whoa! That car is like a tank, space shuttle, and Porsche, all combined into one beautiful monster!” but without fuel (and space shuttles require a lot), it’s completely worthless!

All of that being said, I suppose the question is, “Okay, that’s a great analogy and all, but what’s happened with you the past week?!” Well, all I can say is.. the car has gone really fast!

Actually, instead of calling it a car, I’ll call it the Beautiful Tank! I say “tank” because it’s unstoppable! Nothing can hinder it, deter it, veer it, change it, or break it! “How would you know?” is the question. As I stated previously, I have spent the last week inside the Beautiful Tank (aka Jesus Christ), and It has proven undefeatable.

My burdens pile up, my stress levels rise, my diligence wanes, my energy levels fall, my thoughts go haywire, and then I look to Jesus. He looks back at me with a smile and says, “Step on the accelerator.” “I can’t!” I shout back. “You’re right, you can’t, but I can! Just ask Me and I will!” and as the prayer closet takes a forefront priority in my life, suddenly, the car’s mechanics are lubricated, and it’s full of unlimited fuel! Me sprinting ten miles per hour is suddenly me reclining in a Beautiful Tank going two-hundred miles per hour.

There is nothing that I have between God and I that is not a result of simply asking in prayer.

When I read the Word, God shows me how the Beautiful Tank works, what It can do, how fast It can go, Its track record, and how to use It. That is why it is so important to be meditating on God’s Word all day along, but more specifically, Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Why? Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the Beautiful Tank. His crucifixion is what brought Him into me and me into Him, and when I am in constant communion with Him and constantly being filled with the Spirit, it is just as Paul says, “It is no longer I who live but Christ in me!”

That being said, I look around to many students who are struggling already or maybe even running very fast, but I can’t help but cringe. They are running in their own strength! They will get tired soon enough! And even if they make it to the end, I doubt God will receive much glory. Why? Because they were maybe in the Word each morning, and maybe spent some time in prayer. Is that bad? No. Is that sufficient? No! “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, all thy mind, and all thy strength!” Being in the Word and prayer is a 24/7 lifestyle. Even if a little time is spent in the Word, we must meditate on it all day long and chew over everything with much prayer and communion throughout all we do.

Has God taught me to spend a lot of time in the Word and prayer? Yes. Have people called me crazy? Yes. “Leave time to study and stuff..” However, I am beginning to think they’re the ones who are crazy. God has been giving me more wisdom on how to use my time in school work and study than I have ever had in my entire life. The more time I spend seeking the Lord, the more I learn to use my time throughout the day. I think of Martin Luther who said, “I have so much to do today, I will spend the first three hours in prayer.”

Granted, it’s only been a week, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t found the secret! It has been my prayer that what God has shown me will be guarded and applied the entirety of the semester, and I have no doubt that He will! I am so excited to see what’s down the road, and I intend to take it on full force side by side with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It’s a Beautiful Tank. Every Christian is inside. Seek Him,
And He’ll show you just how beautiful it is,
Just like He’s shown me!

The Angels’ Grief

The Son of God falls to His knees. His arms can’t bear the weight!
He looks up through His flowing blood to see His gruesome fate.
He tries to stand but falls again. His chest can’t bear the strain.
Yet still He presses on to where He will bear all hell’s pain.

But just beyond the veil of man, we mourn above the hill.
The Father aches along with us, yet cries, “This is My will!”
We know the plan, we know the hope, we know He’ll resurrect —
The horror though still breaks our hearts, for we dare not protect.

The King of kings lays down His limbs to feel the nails drive through.
His crown digs deep into His skull in royalty askew.
He’s raised up high on Calvary with two thieves at His side
Who bleed in shame along with Him, the Christ so falsely tried.

But how the thought runs through our minds! “We’re just a prayer away!”
“We’d rescue You at bid and call, but still You choose to stay.”
The Father too holds fast His ground as oceans become tears,
Until His grief turns into rage and darkness halts man’s cheers.

Three hours first, but now’s the worst. Sin’s punishment is come.
Today hell claims its finest prize, the Lord of lords undone.
With pure for vile and love for hate—His torture none can know.
The Son of Man becomes all sin and takes hell’s every blow.

But just beyond the veil of black, we count the seconds gone.
The Father pours His wrath on sin until He is withdrawn.
“My God! My God!” cuts through our ears as we all hold our breath.
“It is finished!” ends the work as Christ embraces death.

The bitter ground then claims His corpse, a stone to hold HIs head.
How could the One who blessed with life now be one with the dead?
We bide our time, and three days pass. The stone rolls from the grave
As Jesus Christ strolls from His tomb triumphant, strong, and brave!

Now how we sing and bow in awe as heaven’s gates life up
To let the King of glory in who drank the Father’s cup.
“My Son, it’s done! The war is won! You bore the weight of hell!
“Forevermore, let it be known, that You have finished well!”

Of Superheroes and Saints

On May 4th, I saw The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the second Avengers movie.

Without spoiling anything, it will suffice to say the obvious: it was epic. And although I could write a fascinating post about Biblical parallels with certain superheroes and plot-lines, I will focus all my attention on a certain aspect that I find within every single superhero movie that I watch.

So to bring out this aspect, I will paint a picture which is of some vague resemblance to one of the battle scenes that I remember watching:

The small band of nine-ish superheroes stands back to back, facing their present foe with his massive army behind him. It appears as though that these few superheroes are outnumbered a thousand to one, but as their foe gives his signal to attack, this band charges into the fray with one accord! The magnificent soundtrack music in the background begins, adding to the glory of the scene as each superhero aids the other in kill, after kill, after kill. From every direction, the enemy is leaping and bounding, but each offensive attempt is met with an equal, yet greater force by the superheroes. Right! Left! Up! Down! Out! In! Around! Up-side down! Inside out! Ten birds with one stone, as the (skewed) saying goes. Every blow with full strength. Every leap with full agility. The one with the bow never seems to run out of arrows (I’ll leave that issue to the critics)! The blonde one chucks his hammer through five bad dudes in one throw. The patriotic one deflects an enemy’s blow with his shield, does a back-flip, kicking his foe from under his shield, lands on his back, blocking an enemy that lands on top of him, pushes his enemy upwards with his shield, then kicks him forwards, proceeding to get up and ram his shield through his enemy’s throat. The iron one continues to not run out of electricity or bullets. The mean and green one continues to do the brunt of all the kills, smashing bad dudes like a hyped-up child in day care, thinking he’s at Toys-R-Us. The spider lady continues to wrestle bad dudes to the ground and somehow win, even though she’s still a woman. And in the midst of such chaos, the leader of the superheroes goes after the main bad guy as his fellow comrades fend off the plethora of littler bad guys..

But pause, take a deep breath, and let me ask you this:

Are not God’s battles even grander?

If the battles of the spiritual realm were visible to the naked eye, would not every knee crumble to the ground, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all? Of course! But we Christians are not called to fight by sight; we are called to fight by faith: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Why? Faith is the only lens through which we are able to see the enemy forces charging at us, the only weapon through which we are able to deal blows to the enemy, and the only armor which is able to withstand the pressures of darkness.

However, without faith, we seem to confuse Saving Private Ryan for High School Musical. We prance through the (knock-off song) halls of life, thinking everything is sparkles and glitter when we’re really hopping over dead corpses and calling them our lively friends. We laugh about the subtly of sin in our lives, thinking it’s “tolerance” and “living under grace” when in reality, Christ’s face is dripping with the spit of His own children.

Such being the case (and despite popular thought), God is not looking for positive thinking! He’s looking for faith! His army is built upon nothing but faith in who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s going to do. But not to worry, He doesn’t expect us to walk up to a mountain right away and say, “Move!” But He does expect us to walk up to a pebble and say, “Move!” And although a pebble might sound really pathetic, if we can’t look at a small pebble and say, “My God cannot lie!” what could possibly make us think that we can look at a mountain and say, “My God cannot lie!”

That is exactly why there are so many tiny pebbles in our Christian walk. If we can confidently tell a pebble to move, God will place a rock in our path. If we can confidently tell a rock to move, God will place a boulder in our path. If we can confidently tell a boulder to move, God will place a tree in our path. If we can confidently tell a tree to move, God will place a hill in our path. If we can confidently tell a hill to move, God will place a mountain in our path and listen for us to say, “Easy!”

Here is the problem: contentment. Too many are content to tip-toe around the pebbles. All hell is waging war against heaven and so many of God’s children are whining because of bruises and paper cuts! The travesty is that these children act as though there isn’t even a war at all. “It’s not so important anyways..” “God wants me to be happy, and I’m happy where I’m at!” “Well, I’m glad you have such strong convictions, but as for me..” No! Time and time again the Apostle Paul tells the Church to grow in grace and strength in Jesus Christ! Embrace the fact that there is a tiny pebble in front of you and believe that God can and will move it! Then, don’t be content with the fact that God moved the pebble! Charge into the rock, the boulder, the tree, and the hill!

Because when I see the climax battle of an epic superhero movie, I see God’s will. I see a small band of superheroes counting themselves as nothing, sacrificing life and limb for a greater cause, and I get a glimpse of God’s Holy Giborum behind the scenes. But as I watch the tiny group of nine-ish superheroes fend off an entire army, I realize that God’s army is very much the same way. Only a handful of people will ever lay everything down on the line and start charging down the narrow way. And though few may ever truly take up their cross and fight the good fight of the faith, what a privilege it is to stand among the few, only to stand side by side with Jesus Christ!

Man can make an epic movie, but a movie is still a movie. It is nothing but a fantasy filled with special effects, mere actors, and a multi-million dollar budget. God, on the other hand, is interested in nothing but reality and eternal life. He longs for faith, and the amount of faith that each of His children has, He intends to grow. And even though it may not seem like we’re these awesome superheroes hopping around and winning these mind blowing battles, who’s to say that God doesn’t have even greater exploits for His children who pursue the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

For through man’s eyes, the life of faith is ultimate stupidity,
But through God’s eyes, the life of faith is ultimate victory.

And that.. is epic!

What I See

For the up and coming MACS Fine Arts Festival, I was selected to do the Creative Writing – Poetry test. The instruction was this, “Write a poem about how an elderly person sees the world through his or her eyes.”

I wrote this:

When I was young, I was kept safe
And nurtured in the light.
My school, and Church, and family
Had held me from the night.

And as I grew, they told me that,
“The world means to kill,
So, therefore, you must never touch
The world, but be still.”

And in those days, they made the world
Seem like a foe that won.
“Don’t try to fight what’s hard to beat!
Accept that you’re but one!”

But then they said, “Of course God wins,
For in the end, He’s Lord!
But until then remember that
The world holds a sword!”

Yet as I aged, God took my life
And fashioned it with Christ.
He showed me, though I’m in the world,
That He alone sufficed.

He washed my eyes and showed me that
The world tries me true.
Its fires reveal His true gold!
“Therefore, My child, walk through!”

Now in my age, I see the world
Through skillful sailor’s eyes.
For every storm has truly proved
My Captain never lies.

And in my age, I see the world
Through bloodied soldier’s tears.
For every charge has truly proved
My Leader never fears.

And in my age, I see the world
Through journeys near and far.
For every mile has truly proved
My Shepherd heals each scar.

And in my age, I see the world
Through sixty-six old Books.
For every page has truly proved
Our weapons seek not looks.

And every day I’ve dared to live,
I’ve lived it as God deems.
For victory is not the end,
But also His choice means!

Now when youth ask me what I see,
I smile ever grand.
“I see a world lost, yet loved,
And in my Savior’s hand.”