Letters to My Children

Letter 2:

Life at times appears to be full of circles, the same thing happens over and over again.  (Maybe this is why I think that repetition is the mother of insanity :o).  Do we need a different outcome, or to learn something new?  Or maybe it moves linear: like nothing new ever happens and see nothing new on the horizon.  Maybe, just maybe, it is both.  That is something to think about.

In leadership courses they talk a lot about vision: vision for the company, for a small group, even for oneself.  Each person’s life has something significant that guides them.  For me, I’ve not really relied on a vision.  I’ve experienced that life is full of small signs that says, you either go this way, or that way, like a fork in the road.  Why?  Because you cannot really pigeon hole life.  It grows in understanding, knowledge, and wisdom.  You grow, if you desire it so.

Yet you will find something that spurs you on to either do bad things or good things.  It is up to you to decide what moves you.  We act out of a choice, although it is never clear cut like that.  At times, you will see nothing but fog, like depression, some other type of mental illness, or even a terrible event in your life.  Or drudgery.  These are a type of lens which we see our life through.

A purpose comes into play here.  Vision and purpose go hand in hand.  Our sense of purpose gives us some sense of reality.  Vision, or even the road signs, can help us to walk through this life.  We live our lives by what we believe (this is purpose), which directs our course of action.  (I want you to understand, regardless of a person’s belief, they have some idea or belief they live by.  It does not even have to be “religious”.  Looking how they treat others is a good way to see this.)  I’ve learned more about this in my life many times: my relationship with women, with me, even my relationship with God.

One of my circles, which I mentioned earlier in this letter, has been my relationships with women.  In my relationships, even the small ones I’ve had with women, taught me several things: letting go, being myself, even leaving.  A big lesson I learned is that my value wasn’t in what others wanted or needed, but in how I treated myself and others.  In a way, my past relationships were a search, subconsciously, for finding that person who I choose to be.

As time passed, with each one, I felt more comfortable letting go, seeing who I could become, or who I am.  After one short relationship, around 3 months, I saw where I could go and what type of women I was being attracted too.  And it wasn’t good.  I decided to not be in a relationship for 5 years to explore who I was without pursuing a relationship.  It was the best 5 years of my life.  And you know what?  I wasn’t lonely.  I felt as if I were changing, growing.  That was from 2003-2008.  After my last relationship from ’08 – ’12, I am learning to apply this even more.  If you value yourself, you will not allow a person to abuse or use you, regardless of the so called promises.  Remember kids, love gives and expects nothing.  But it will say to respect yourself.

My sleep apnea took away the basic part of growing up during my early years.  Somehow, I feel, they are being restored.  This restoration I am having is not a catching up, but a growing into.  It took away my years to learn to be social with my family, friends, even strangers.  It was depleting my health, both mentally and physically, where it was carving away my life, like a knife on a stick, taking away the bark and slowly carving down the stick piece by piece till there was nothing left.

The sleep apnea, for 18 years, slowed my growth in certain areas, social being one of them, as well as my own self-perception.  I figured, as long as I stopped slowing myself down, and start doing what I felt I needed to do, instead of trying to rush things, to catch up with my peers, everything would be alright.  But that is not true.  Although for the past 15 years with my trach have been gradual, I’ve had to come to terms with many things.  Just as you will encounter various changes like being yourself, knowing yourself, even learning not to compare who you are with others in the way that you think you should be, I want to encourage you not to compromise yourself.

I might not be able to remember much from days gone by; I do have to think quite hard to remember.  But I do carry lessons and memories.  My purposed 5 years I believe prepared me for the future.  This is why I tell you, what you do now, can either strengthen or weaken your hearts and minds for what will come.  Everything happens, regardless if we are ready or not.  That might be a serious note, but live, have fun, experience life and its passageways.  I am not talking about having different sexual experiences, or trying drugs, or doing things you know will damage you.  This is all in hindsight.  But go to a place you’ve never been to, talk to strangers, help people who are deemed unworthy in society, and even the “established church”.  And dare I say, welcome the help of others.  If I could give a small steps to living life daily, they would probably be to love God, love others, love yourself, go against what you know will bring harm to others and yourself.  And also, please, do not envy others.  The grass might be greener on the other side, probably because they have had more, well, crap on their end.  But imagine this, they might be looking at your grass as well.  So look at your own.  Foster your field.

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Letters to My Children

Letter 1:

 

Falling asleep is easier then waking up; for some, waking up is a necessity.  Like me.  During my almost 35 years of life on this earth, have come to learn that the world is full of pacifists, of dreamers, and those who wait for someone to lead.  A human being has the capacity to consciously wake up.  Waking up was something I had to do, otherwise, I would die, both metaphorically and physically.

 

I sit down now, 15 years later, to write a letter to you.  Somehow I feel telling my story might benefit you and others.  I have thought a lot about a legacy, some idea, some power I leave behind to those I spring forth from my loins, and even to those I know, or maybe those who read this, might gain access to.  I have asked of myself over the past few years, how would I want to be remembered?  They say that hindsight is 20/20, or maybe 50/50 or 70/30.  We cannot know everything that happened back then.  We can’t change the past, but we can change our minds to what we want, and even who we want to be, in the present and the future.

 

I remember falling asleep on the table.  The next: waking up with the very thing that would change my life.  It’s kind of funny they call it an operating table.  It’s not a bed.  A bed is a place where we go to rest, or make love, or watch television, maybe a place to go to pout that we didn’t get what we wanted, or even to talk to friends.  But the operating table is where we go to lie down, to put our life into the hands of someone we pay, that we trust to fix, or change, or to look into our bodies that they open.  It’s an exposure you can’t get any place else.  Mine was on my throat.

 

What I remember is being afraid of falling asleep.  But somehow it over took me.  It’s funny how that happens, doesn’t it?  Survival kicks in, and we have to do what our natural inclination wants.  It was recorded in 1999 that I stopped breathing over 1,000 times a night, and each apnea (meaning, “without breath”) episode was between 35-40 seconds each.  I was born with it.  The body growing within the womb is an amazing feat.  There’s nothing like it, in the human or animal kingdom.  The mother fights, the child is born.  My mother had to have an emergency C-section.  Although my mother has passed away, she never stopped believing the best for me.

My parents did not know what was wrong with me, nor the doctors.  So for 18 years, I didn’t know I had tissue in my throat, causing my throat to collapse and my breathing to stop.  The power of suction, huh?  The person’s whole body relaxes, and voila!  The inevitable happens.  The inevitable always happens.  If someone throws a rock at a person, it is bound to hit them, unless they see it coming or told about it.  Unfortunately, removing this “rock”, would be possible, but the effects of it, unforgiving.  There was another procedure called the UP3.  I would have to undergo more surgery to get scarring tissue out as well as still use the BiPAP (Bi-level Positive Air Pressure) machine.  I still look back and wonder about the path that would have been, could I go where I have gone?  Could I get the jobs I didn’t get?  Meet the people I have met?  But either way, I have learned to accept what was.  But I can still change the things I can, and be at peace where I am.  It is difficult to do, but when you put your mind to what you need to change, regardless of the circumstances, it can be achieved.  I know my faith in God and the love of him and my family has been that arm which carried me.  A human being is a biological organism that amazingly, is set to learn and grow.  We are only limited by what we think and believe.  Influences abound about us, and what we chose to have inside of us conform us what it wants to.

 

I was quiet growing up, more of an observer then a participant.  But somehow people still wanted to be involved with me, I couldn’t understand why.  My vision was slanted by what, I didn’t know.  I was your normal child growing up, I did have a few friends, but something inside of me haunted me, confounded me, for what, it baffled me.  Alone in my head, I had the habit of pushing people away.  In 1997, I tried to run away, but something pushed me back home.  I felt like I did the right thing.  But something still haunted me that night, so I got up and tried to put a knife to my wrists.  I didn’t succeed, thank God.  But a door opened in my life which I knew I had two ways to enter it: to death, or to life.  I knew if I didn’t get help, it was going to get worse.  I did get some therapy.  But that only helped some.  Then in 1999, I finally found out about my Sleep Apnea.

 

Everyone has something that can haunt them.  It can come from unforgiveness, maybe even a terrifying experience from childhood.  No matter what, it’s there.  Question is, what do we do with it?  Do we hide it?  Explore it?  But let me give a warning here: whatever it is that is causing harm, however deep it is, can be the ruler that can regulate a life and direct it to some very harmful things.  It can be scary trying to take it down, it will fight, it will try to harm, but I will say this, the more it is understood, and dealt with, the less power it has.  Being ignorant of some aspect of ourselves gives us lack of power.  And then a powerful realization is revealed: unknown to you, the power came from your own unknowing, from your own unwillingness.  Creator God has given you a Will far more powerful than anything else in this world.  And the events in your life, and the people who’ve tried to destroy you open doors and wounds in your heart and mind, or your soul, can control you.  If you so desire, this can stop.  But it takes strength and a realization of Love and partnership with the Creator God, who can direct you and help you to destroy this power.  I speak this from experience.  I’ll get to this later.

 

I had my acquaintances and friends.  I had a few best friends, like anybody else.  My problem was accepting the reality of the situation.  People come and go out of each other’s lives, on their way to some place or someone, or coming out of a relationship.  What mattered is how I showed my friendship, my vulnerability to others.  Then maybe that person I was trying to be friends with can become closer than a friend, they become a brother or a sister.  I had a hard time finding someone to relate too.  I had my periodic friends and I’ve had a few close friends.  But I remember one close friend, he died in 2011.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend his funeral.  He was a very caring person and wanted to be close to everyone he knew.  He listened to others and left a very lasting impression on those he met, even after a year into his departure.  This is his legacy: his openness, his friendships, his loves.  He figured out that, the wounds he suffered in life, he could turn for good, and be himself and others actually liked him.  Although he had his fears, he continued on to love other people and listen to them, and trying to help them.  This became his strength, his own bequest to others, and they in turn, would do the same.

Bind Me and Lose Me, Break me and Make Me

I shall be brave and firstly start off with this article by saying that there is a huge debate, as well as many people who have been hurt, with this belief in of binding and loosing in spiritual warfare.

When reading these verses in their context, a certain element and power, let alone authority and revelation, we find a meaning of reaping and sowing.  And when it comes to our ministry we have with others, it becomes even clearer.  How we help others as the Body of Christ, even as the Body helps itself when hurt, has consequences by understanding of these verses, let alone, the binding and loosing concept that is so prevalent within the charismatic movement.

Let us look at the word bound and loose in the Greek that is found in Matthew 16 and 18:

Bound:

G1210

δέω

deō

deh’-o

A primary verb; to bind (in various applications, literally or figuratively): – bind, be in bonds, knit, tie, wind. See also G1163, G1189.

 

Loose:

G3089

λύω

luō

loo’-o

A primary verb; to “loosen” (literally or figuratively): – break (up), destroy, dissolve, (un-) loose, melt, put off. Compare G4486.

 

This is a powerful belief.  If we really do take this doctrine seriously, we are really teaching someone a doctrine, our belief, and they take it on, we are binding them to it, and they are binding themselves to it.  We bind them to that idea and that idea can cause damage, or bring healing.  I myself have had this happen to me.  I’m thankful to God that I have been freed.  And with loosing, we either destroy them, or destroy the very thing which was holding them captive.  That is why it is important to understand the definitions Christ was using, that is, if we are taking this binding and loosing seriously.

First, I want to address a few observations: one: as anyone who chooses to read the Scriptures where Christ encountered the demonic, he never “bound” them, before casting them out, and he never cast them to any pit.  We do not have a higher authority than Christ, so how can we do things different than him?  Two: if binding and loosing were so important to spiritual warfare, why was it not written in any of the writings?  If the verse in Matthew 18 is what some say it is, and all of what Christ did and who he is, and even the authority he has, is written in the New Testament writings, why isn’t this important concept expounded upon, like the effects of Christ’s death?  And third, we’re told to resist Satan (James 4:6-8), never to attack.  We do have power, but we’re not to rejoice that the demons submit, but to rejoice that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).  Does this mean we need to be careful of the songs we sing?

If we want to be serious about this binding scenario, we must take other scriptures into account, such as Jude 8-10, “In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”  Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do not understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals-these are the very things that destroy them.”

And of course, we shouldn’t forget how our Lord Jesus responded to Satan in the wilderness after his 40 days (Matthew 4:1-11).

So what about the binding of the strong man?  That demonic spirit which has control over a person in Matthew 12:22-37?  There was a man who was demon possessed whom the demon made blind and mute and Jesus healed him (22-23), the Pharisees than accused of driving out the demon by Beelzebub, the prince of demons (24).  Then Jesus essentially rebuked them in his long reply, which we’ll look at closer (25-37).

In verses 25-28, we read Jesus is saying that any kingdom divided against itself will not stand.  So neither Satan’s nor God’s kingdom is divided against itself.  Essentially, the kingdom of God has come upon people when we see demons being driven out of people.  So we realize more that Satan’s kingdom is of this world, and the kingdom of God has come to destroy it (Matthew 10:7, John 18:36, Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 1:3-14).

In verse 29, Christ is again, emphasizing this point, just with a different picture.  In the NIV it reads, “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man?  Then he can rob his house.”  So, if this is Satan’s house, how was he bound?  Through Christ’s death and resurrection!  His authority has been destroyed, taken away from him by what Christ accomplished.  And what are his possessions?  The people he has kept in bondage!  So why isn’t this emphasized more than the binding of demons which people are so into?  I’ll bring up two points.  One, they are either ignorant or not having faith enough in what Christ accomplished on the cross!  Secondly, it’s a power trip, an ordering around of a spiritual being which has taken over people.  These two points also go hand in hand.  Since this is not a blog about spiritual warfare, I will leave this here.  That is for another time.

As I was reading over this, and I am sure others have see it too, that what the Pharisees were doing were equating the work of God with the work of Satan.  This is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (verses 30-32).  We should also ask ourselves this to understand what I am trying to say, which spirit were the Pharisees of, and which spirit was Christ Jesus of?  Verses 30-32 was only a reiteration of verses 25-28.

And last but not least, we read how careful we should be with our words.  Verses 33-37 are a key component to how we should be with our lives.  Are we speaking truth in love to others and ourselves?  Are we watching over our tongue?  Are we learning to watch what we say?  Are we forgiving?  Are we asking for forgiveness?

I am sure this blog might have stirred up some ideas, thoughts, maybe questioning me if I am judging a doctrine or teaching you hold dear, or maybe your way of life.  But I am not. I am only, with prayerful consideration, writing out, sharing, and even doing my best to live life by the grace of God.  What comes into my own heart from the Father, I have to deal with, and learn, and work through.  The Body of Christ is to be a family.  Families are not perfect, but that does not mean God is not.  We continue to grow, whether we seem divided or not, but the main point is, that as long as the love of God, the love of Christ continues to help us grow and learn to live this life, to break bonds, to make amends, even that there is spiritual warfare, that love, as the world sees, is that light that seems to cower in the darkness of the kingdom of this world, shines bright.

Perseverance: Part 1

As Christians, we are called to abandon all things, if they become more important than our faith in Christ our Savior.  We are called to have all things to be lived through our faith.  We are to place eternity above all things temporary.  Surprisingly, this faith which we say we hold dear is the point of contact in our everyday lives: how we treat others, to how we act in our very own private lives (Romans 13:8-14; Ephesians 4:17-5:21; Philippians 1:6).  So what is perseverance?

Unfortunately, the appearance of the dangers in life can take us away, if we allow them, from the confidence we are to have in our Faith, which is in Christ.  The Faith in Christ is a, to quote a popular saying, “Do or do not.  There is no try”, way of living.  Regardless of what the world says, what popular notions are, what the latest passing fad is, or what others say about the Faith, it comes down to Who you know, and what exactly that person is saying, and what you choose to believe.  What we choose to believe comes down to what we value about ourselves, and what we choose to think about ourselves.  Our Faith in Christ is not just about the future, but is the fermentation of the seed of the Word of God in our hearts, in this present age, whether we realize it or not, if we believe or deny it, God has placed us.  So what is perseverance?

Due to peoples’ lives being different, we can share our lives, and because of the differences, we must be leery of comparing our lives.  When we are ready, God reveals things, and challenges ourselves, our concepts, to finally help us realize, that we are to have a pure and simple faith.  What is perseverance?

Receiving something new, like our Faith, that which is precious to us can be stimulating and exciting.  Soon, we turn it over and ponder it and look closer.  We question the Faith and try to view our lives through the Faith like we’re told to do.  Soon we’re not too sure of it, but we continue to hold onto the Faith, or we set it aside, waiting to see if anything will cause our Faith to live on its own.  But we shouldn’t forget that our faith is to raise us to new life, to open our eyes to the different Way of living.  We must persevere.

So what exactly is this perseverance?  What does it entail?  Why should we hold onto this Faith?  When we are plagued with doubt, what should we do?  What do we have to hold onto in this despairing life?

In Scripture, we are called to watch out for those who seek to distort the teaching we are taught.  We are also told, if not encouraged, to study the Word of God!  How often do our studies go deep and cause us to press Scriptures into our hearts? (Colossians 3:12-17; Psalm 107:20, Psalm 119:9-16, 105, Psalm 139:23-24; Proverbs 30:5-6)

Studying Scripture and hiding it in our hearts is key to perseverance.  When we hide the Scriptures in our hearts, it does what it says it will do.  We on the other hand, attend to it.  We must care for it.  Plus, we must also watch over our hearts.  When we look at the word persevere, in the Greek, we find its formation coming down to the word, ‘attend’.  It means, “to be steadfast… denotes to continue steadfastly in a thing and give unremitting care to it.” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary)  The Merriam-Webster definition of persevere is: “to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition or discouragement”.  The word, ‘attend’, as an intrusive verb, means to “apply oneself <attend to your work>; to apply the mind or pay attention: heed; to be ready for service <ministers who attend upon the King>”, among others.

This is fascinating considering we are called to not just persevere under trials and tribulations.  The word persevere is blatantly said in Scripture all the time, but we see examples of it and are encouraged in what it is.  We must face many kinds of trials (James 1:2-18).  So during these trials, we find four items which we must attend to, and let alone, these items are also under attack by the enemy.

The first item is Scripture.  We must allow it to do its work within us.  In other words, we must pay attention to it, take care that we know what it says.  Study and examine ourselves against it.  More often than not, we can fail to realize that we have the best view of ourselves in front of Scripture, when we are going through trials and hardships.  It is our mirror.  Let us not forget what we see. (James 1:19-27)

The second item we must attend to is each other.  It is not about denominations, or which teachers teach what is more important, although we must watch our doctrine; these can be detrimental and cause us to lose sight of who we are called to be, yet more importantly, who we serve.  Lest we forget, we as Believers in Christ, or followers of the Way, Live as the Body of Christ, Suffer as the Body of Christ, Die as the Body of Christ, and are Resurrected as the Body of Christ.  All in Christ.  The Community of Christ.  Christ is our example.  Our pure and simple faith, to overcome this world, as Christ has overcome this world.  And when we walk the path, we can say with certainty and faith, we are overcomers; we are who we choose to follow, in Christ.  We must remind ourselves and each other that our confidence will be rewarded!  Also, when we see each other, even others who are not believers, they can be mirrors of us.  This can help humble us. (Hebrews 10:35, 2:5-18; Titus 2:11-3:11; 2 Timothy 3:22-5, 2:3-26; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Colossians 3:23-25; Philippians 3:7-16, 2:1-18, 1:27-30, 1:6; Ephesians 2, 1:17-23).

The third item we surely should attend to, is attend our relationship with Father God.  When we look at the first two items, this one should productively follow, if not the first.  Our relationship with Scriptures and other people is an overflow of our relationship with Father God.  For how can we ignore the others without contradicting ourselves in Christ?  We are identified through Christ to our Father.  He views us in Christ; this was the only way to him.  The Father loves us while we were still sinners, but we cannot get to him, or gain eternal life with sins.

We attend our relationship with the Father by humbling ourselves before him.  Another is accepting what he’s called us to do, that is, to walk with him and do what he has given us, purposed us in our hearts to do.  Not just as individuals, but as a family.  The third way to attend our relationship with the Father is by prayer and fasting.  The fourth way is worship.  And lastly, the fifth way, and I believe is very important, is to enjoy what he’s given us: Life.

The last item we are to persevere through, or attend, and every human being is familiar with are the hard times: the trials, the tribulations.  But as children of the Father, our views, and even the reasons, are different for us for going through them.  Even so, the end result is grand.  We are molded into the image of Christ, we will live in Eternity with the Father in his Kingdom, and we will also have a place in this Kingdom which expands beyond everything we know. (2 Corinthians 5:1-21; Galatians 2:15-21; Galatians 3:26-4:7; Ephesians 1:3-14, 2:1-22)