Silence

Silence, I once thought, was my enemy.

Slowly, my friend, it has become.

It is not judgmental towards our weaknesses, our strengths, even

the bad and good acts we do to ourselves and others.

It is there when I am rejected or accepted.

It is willing to help me understand my weaknesses and gives me

insight into my character.

Through abuse, neglect, and rejection,

I was taught to keep silent, for I was not worth hearing.

How could I speak when I had trouble speaking?

By the judgments of others I learned, I was not valued,

I was not seen for who I am as a human,

only a body that is not measuring to the expectations

others so gallantly exalted to what is true, noble, right,

or what can help them feel better about themselves.

How sad I am finally knowing what silence is now.

My own silence and the silence of others.

The Mornin’

I’ll go to a place where no one knows me.
For here they don’t even see:
Recognition is key to existence.
Knowing you’re alive without anyone else seeing me is glorious.
But being acknowledge and wanted by another human is extraordinary. They have forgotten the essentialness to their existence, while overlooking the cutting. The painful reminder that continues on.
Knowing there’s the Divine is immortal and powerful,
But so far away and yet so near.
How can this one Being know one so close?
No one around, I continue to let go of my heart’s desires,
Everywhere I go I see and use it to remind myself that to be is Being.
Happy faces, sad faces, all around the whiskey masks the breaking heart.
Overlooked and not understood, forgotten by those who smiled, waved, called me friend, and said, “See you next week.”
So much do I know I may never awake the next Mornin’.
It is what it is.
Existence is bliss and yet creates memories so dear, so deep, so powerful reminder to reach out to the dying. Inside.
Rest assured, those who say they love, forgetting what/who/them/they is in front of them, and they say once again:
“There is love and now go on your way. Be blessed I’ll have my own to be.”

Forgiving Pain

Into the depths, I go once again.
Wondering if I’ll meet a different Presence.
Deeper back, into the pain and sorrow,
isolation, rejection, accepting what may.
Is there someone else?
Is there a mighty Presence awaiting
to help me through?
Although sins are forgiven,
the effects of the harm from others
and myself have altered perception
that should never have been.
Yet slowly, in an innocent consumption,
I feel love and acceptance,
but not from any human to who cares not,
sees not, feels not, hears not, touches not.
Someone deeper. Consuming.
Like a fire, burning up the pain which is a part of me.
Although I’m not seen or heard,
I’m learning to see beyond the self appointed grave.
Religion says, “I’ll help yet at a distance so I’m not tainted or by your pain.”
Yet they see not their own pain, the depths of their God’s forgiveness.
Society says, “I’ll help! Yet stay away, I’m happy as my own. I refuse to see what I need or confront my own.”
Blinded by their own self-righteousness like the religious they blame they judge not.
These voices, quieter they become.
Slowly drowned out by the depths of the pain,
where I meet the Presence who loves.

The Single Truth

(Warning: This post might seem tongue in cheek or angry in certain cases, but let it go, don’t take it seriously, but at best, take the points I make as something to actually consider. It so happens this post is a single’s look at a married look, at singleness. Too often I hear these myths and being treated like I’m part of some pack that isn’t important (although some would deny this), till I get a kid or a ring on my finger, and it’s getting very old. I know that I do have desires: to give myself to another, to have sex, to share life with someone, raise a family, but that doesn’t make me less or more than a married person. The point being: regardless of marital status, dear readers, what we do with our life, and how we treat others of a different marital status reveals how we view them, and our view of ourselves.)

Singleness can be a hearsay, a burden for some, an opportunity for others. As a Christian single, male and about to turn 36 this year, (yahoo), there seems to be misconceptions about singleness from the married folk, alas, those who’ve been married, and not limited to, since their 20’s, so I keep running across. Why a person gets married early is their own choice, but for Pete’s sake, don’t tell singles who are single longer than you were that marriage isn’t something to rush into. After all, you’re the one who got married early. Not unless you’re trying to teach us something 😉 And if we’re single into our 30’s or 40’s, you should say how blessed you were, and in our since, blessed as we are. NO more comparison, please.

In the church there’s not much going on for singles, the social structure is terrible anyway, especially in the metro areas or small towns. Let’s throw this out here:

If marriage is a symbol of Christ and the Church, why doesn’t the Church offer some better guidance to singles and involve them in the church to meet other singles, maybe not necessarily for marriage, but for community? If marriage is suppose to be this sacred bond, why is there no teachings to guide us into this bond? If singleness is better, than why don’t you teach and offer something to those who are divorced, or a widow/widower, in helping us grow as Christians? If someone wants to argue this in saying, “Well you should be involved more,” etc, etc. I ask you, Why then is the church open more to children, old people, and married people and not understanding of singles, who are, as you say, in a better position? If we’re in a “better position” then why don’t you listen to our opinion more often? Why do you point and say that since we’re single, stay single? I ask you, from that very chapter, since you’re married, do you act as if you weren’t? (1 Corinthians 7:29) Alright, enough of this, time to move on.

So why does it seem as if we’re left out? Well, from my experience, it’s automatically assumed, without words, because we don’t have families, we are not equipped to do some type of ministry in the church. (Although there’s some that can be done, married people are looked to first. If you want to disprove this, please, do so.) After all, if someone can take care of their own family, than they can do ministry in the church and help take care of the family of God. (Although this is a verse about eldership, it is ingrained into our beliefs that transfers to other church positions.) So to kick this off, let’s look at an article provided by a Christian counseling website that talks about the myths of singleness and see how actually, they’re not true, but based off some married peoples’ conception of singleness. I guarantee, you’ll find these “myths” written by many married people about singleness. And I have read these “Myths and truths” before. I won’t mention the site (and I do respect the counselor in charge); they do offer very good help for those who need it, yet it is difficult when I read these “myths” almost everywhere. So here’s the first one:

“Myth: ‘God’s best is marriage. Singleness is second best.’

Truth: According to Scripture, singleness is referred to as the preferred state that allows undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:8,11)”

That’s the myth and that’s their truth. Now I’ll mention the truth from the “single perspective” from my years as a single and study of Scripture. (If anyone ever wants to say more than this, please do so!)

The Single Truth: Our life in Christ is best, regardless of marital status, and the verses mentioned, was written during a time the church in Corinth was having some trouble, and Paul was telling them what can be beneficial for them. During that time, the church was closer as a family then today’s church, and adamantly believed that the end of the world was coming soon. Couldn’t this account for the reason why Paul wrote as he did to the church, more so, in this letter?

Let’s look at these verses and understand their context, please. One thing I’ve found is that when dealing with singleness and marriage, is that the married people love to tell the singles how to be single, and these verses are often used. Anyway, here’s are the verses in their full context (I will also bring other verses from this chapter that question what singles are being taught about their singleness).
1 Corinthians 7:7-11: “I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows, I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”

Whew! Did you get all that? We finally have the verses that are often left out. See how dangerous it is to only pick the verses to back up what one wants to teach? Always question! Believe me, it saves peace of mind. Gotta move on here due to length, but as I said, here’s the other verses which can cause some good questions to surface, and hopefully encourage single Christians that they’re not doomed, and their hope for anything is in Christ, regardless if we stay single or get married: 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, 25-28, 29-35, 36-40. [concerning verse 28, all Paul wanted to do was spare the unmarried from facing many troubles, but it was still up to the person if they wanted to marry or not. Don’t let anyone judge you if you choose to marry or stay single, even yourself. It seems people are double minded about this chapter, and it can get discouraging. I’ve been there and still at times get discouraged, but it isn’t about what others are telling us, it is what we have decided in our hearts and minds, and it is best to keep that privately with God. Remember that as you finish reading this chapter, what have you settled in your own mind? What do you truly want? Not what someone wants or what others say Paul is writing in this letter. Remember, some of this letter is written by a guy who is trying to help these people during this rough time, and he’s encouraging them to be free from too many worries. But overall it’s basically what we decide and have set in our hearts. This is coming from a single, and on occasion you’ll hear a married person say these things, but not really.])

“Myth: ‘All you need is a mate.’

Truth: The Lord will be your mate if you’re earthly mate chooses to leave. (Hosea 2:19-20”: ‘I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.’)”

The Single Truth: Alright, so there’s the verse. Hosea was a prophet and his message to Israel from God was to come back, like an unfaithful wife, (Hosea’s wife was a prostitute at first, and even after marriage); Hosea married her and their marriage was a representative of God and Israel. Basically God was saying to Israel to come back to him because he loved Israel and that he wanted them to know him and love him as he loved them. So to use this verse in such a manner is taking it out of context. As we know through Christ we have access to God and become like Christ throughout life and into the next one. So if a mate does or has left us, God is there, yes, but there will also be the pain of rejection that will slowly be healed over time, if we want to be healed. We do have a faithful God who loves us and he knows us better then another human being, let alone ourselves. So in this context this verse is correct, but to use it for a single who’s been left out in the cold, is rather… cold. There are more appropriate encouragements. Being realistic, we can’t touch God’s body, or feel his hand on our face at night. We can believe we do though.

So is all we need is a mate? Of course not. There’s plenty of happy content singles out there, in their own ways, but if we are struggling with that desire for a mate, or not struggling with that desire yet have that desire, as believers we are told our priorities in Scripture: seek first God’s kingdom…

“Myth: ‘After your mate dies, you are left incomplete and unfulfilled.’

Truth: As a Christian, you are given complete fullness in Christ even before your marriage. (Colossians 2:9-10”: ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’)

The Single Truth: First off, when a mate dies there will be a feeling of incompleteness and being unfulfilled. I’m not going to lie about that. Ask anyone who’s mate has died. But as Christians our faith can help us through this very difficult time. To deny when one has left the other, can harm us and it denies the love and years we had with that spouse. As Christians, this verse isn’t just about death and marriage, it encompasses our whole life, not before and after marriage, but even includes marriage, and as singles, it includes our singleness, even that loneliness and ache we have on occasion.

“Myth: ‘Since God uses the family to build character, you will never become mature if you remain unmarried.

Truth: Your marital state does not determine maturity. When you become a believer, God took the responsibility to bring you to maturity. (Philippians 1:3, 5-6”: ‘I thank my God every time I remember you… because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’.)

The Single Truth: This can hit home. If being single is the best state, than why don’t we see singles included more in churches, or the church board, or leadership some place? These positions have to do with what? That’s right, maturity. I’m sure we all know that family does not equate maturity. If this is so, than why do those who are immature have a family? This is pretty much a given. And those who are singles can be mature because their focus is what they need to be doing, even while knowing an emptiness. Acknowledging emptiness and continuing on, finding ways to grow with that even when the frustration hits, and even falling down, and GETTING BACK UP, includes being mature.

So what equates maturity? Focusing on the right thing, forgiving ourselves when we stumble and make mistakes, and getting back up, and admitting we have problems, and even admitting that at times we do get lonely as singles, but so do the married folk. Guess what that is called? Life… Let’s deal with that…

Been a While

Well I’m back to writing on here. I know it has been a while since I’ve written anything but a lot has been going on: meeting new people, old thoughts and feelings come back up during this process. But I’ve been letting go and learning to become part of the new. Also I have begun my online classes, it’s going well. Anyway, I thought I’d come back on here and share a poem out of my journal I wrote the other night. And I do plan on getting back on here and writing more on some things that have been coming to my mind. So here it is:

Don’t tell me your love story of rosy cheeks and starry eyes,

but tell me of your inner struggle and pain of rejection,

and how love healed you.

I don’t want to hear how wonderful the honeymoon was and

desires were finally fulfilled,

I want to see how love reconciled two hearts and mended into one.

Love strengthens and resurrects the dead, emotions and hearts,

it rejuvenates the mind and will,

sacrificing for the other, giving of self.

That’s the story of love told throughout ages to come,

where maidens and knights fought side by side,

letting not evil overpower them,

but fought for each other,

not to win but to know, as one;

and fought for others,

signifying Love conquers all.

Death has no power,

but only used to rise again, to be reborn

as lovers unite uniquely as one.

So under Love’s banner, do tell, which battles have you fought?

Have we loved another and Loved ourselves?

A Dignified LIfe is a Dignified Death

It’s been almost a year now, just one month and five days since my mom passed away (Dec. 9, 2013). Although she was in my life around 34 and a half years, there will always be major changes in life where I’ve had to reconsider even the things she’s taught me without realizing it, both good and bad; I’ll always be thankful for her and want to honor her memory by continue to change and set out what I know I desire and need to do in my life.

Mom

One thing I did learn: we are not always in control of what happens to us, but in time we can learn to be in control of how we react. People can seek to control us or manipulate us and others can actually be genuine in helping us, even when that so called help can hurt us. My mom wasn’t perfect, but she did what she could do to contribute and dedicate herself to what touched her heart. Although there were things out of her control, she trusted in God that at least her strength and understanding of herself and her world would come from that faith. Her death might not have been in her control, but she learned to love, trust and encourage others, and bring that shining smile.

We may not be in control of how we die, I really don’t see how we could be, let alone should be, after all we are not the ones who bring ourselves into this world of chaos. What we leave behind, even at the very end can, in some unseen way, bring hope and dignity to others that they can continue and make their own. If we were in charge of how we died, would we change how we live? That’s a rhetorical question by the way. Just something to think about. Since death and life can happen in an instant of love or hatred or absolute carelessness, let dignity not be something to grasp with flailing hands, but since we already have it and can be careless with it, we must be careful how we hold ourselves, and be an example of love and respect to those who have difficulty taking their next breath, yet yearning to be alive.

It was difficult seeing my mother on a breathing tube as she passed away on that bed. Even now I can feel some emotion rising. She might have looked “undignified”, or strange or even without life in that moment. But it was her endearing spirit that rose above her own struggles and complexities to the life she was given. I can say that, that was and always will be more than dignified, that is love. And love has to get her hands dirty.

Stumbling Blocks not Building Blocks

There’s about 41,000 denominations across the world today in Christianity; with the extremism separating family and friends, and yet somehow people find hope in Christ, it is not hard to see why people find this faith so troubling. But have we brought it on ourselves? Or have we allowed Satan to get the better of us? Should cast him out all the time? Or is it possibly that God has set something up that we are blind to in his Church that is separating and defining us by this stumbling block? After all, God sending someone to a person or upon a group of people to cause a transformation is not new.
So what is this stumbling block? It can be an object that becomes an object of worship or terror, a perception that can became a teaching that we do not question or maybe a way of life that we do not see we are living. Maybe quite frighteningly enough, a stumbling block that can be a test from God not just in personal life but in Christianity as a whole. This stumbling block can be a repercussion of the sins that we have done or unconfessed sins.
The stumbling block is an object that we see throughout the Bible. It is an aspect of the Bible we do not hear much about. It is placed by God, by others, and by ourselves from our own sins.
In the way it is placed by God: (Ezekiel 3:16-21; Romans 11:1-10)
Romans 11 is about the relationship between Israel and the Gentile nation and through Christ the Gentiles are grafted in with Israel through that same faith that Abraham had. “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:25b-26a). This chapter not only reveals God’s plan and mercy upon the Israelites, but it also encompasses the mercy of God upon the human race who not only believe, but also chooses to abide in his grace. To stay we must abide, or live in that faith We see this reminder to believers not just in Ezekiel, but see it as a rebuke and reminder in other portions of Scripture (John 15:1-17; 1 Corinthians 3:1-23; 1 John 2:24-29).
A very important fact to remember is that the New Testament letters (Romans-Revelation) are not written for non-believers, but for believers. There is encouragement but also warnings that we have to abide and turn from our old ways to the new ways given to us by God to live through the power of the Holy Spirit. So when there are reminders, (such as Galatians 5:16-26, Ephesians 4:1-5:21) these are told to us as reminders that if we truly believe after hearing, we will follow his commands to do what Jesus has told us to do. It so happens that there were believers in the early church that still lived that sinful life style, and Paul, but more importantly Jesus in Revelation through John, told the churches to turn back, to make up their minds what they really wanted to do. We should not use our freedom as a license to sin.
Ezekiel 3:16-21 reveals more about how God holds not just the sinner, but also the person who is under God’s command to tell someone about their sin. Now I am not saying that we should protest or go around and point out “flaws” in others, this is jumping the gun, not to mention arrogant and forgetful of which Christ rescued the believer from. Just carefully read Romans 3. Fact is Christians have forgotten what Jesus has brought them out of. If we remember, not in the sense of remembering our past and living in it, but know what God has brought us from to keep ourselves humble. As Christians we are a part of the body of Christ, and we have a responsibility not just to the world, but more so to our fellow believers to guide and help each other in our walk with Christ.
So what is this stumbling block from God? It is interesting to find in Ezekiel 3 that the wicked man’s blood will be on the one who was told to warn but did not, and if you do warn, you saved yourself by telling him. But here we have the righteous man who turns away from his righteousness and does evil, the Lord places a stumbling block before him and he will die. If we do not warn him and he dies, we are held accountable for his blood. Either way we are accountable. Even looking at Ezekiel 18 we find that those who sin die for their own sin. No one else is held accountable for it.
Could this stumbling block in today’s Christian world be that we have not confessed our sins to God as a whole? Have we allowed certain teachings or doctrines from other religions to come into the faith and become a part of us? Have we allowed certain perspectives upon certain types of people to influence us more than God’s grace in our lives? What are your thoughts?

In the way it is placed by others: (Leviticus 19:14; Romans 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13)
In today’s American culture, there really is no issue with meat being sacrificed to idols or a huge debate about which, or even if there should be holy days that are to be celebrated. We all pretty much decide to respect others in this sense, although there are those out there who think Saturday is the day of worship, or that Christians should be celebrating Jewish festivals, or God’s festivals. But as the writer of Romans helps us to understand, “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters… Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand… Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind… For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone… Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living… Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way… Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves…”
As believers we are to help those who are weak, we are to bear one another’s burdens. Why don’t we do this? “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” What is happening more and more in the world are people who have difficulty in today’s society that have emotional problems, financial problems, etc. We see this everywhere and it affects everyone. Society is not a respecter of person. There are those who do get left behind, unfortunately we see this even in the Church.
In Leviticus 19:14, we see a law that is a warning and a rebuke: “ ‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the LORD.”
In Christianity we are taught that how we treat others, even in our speech, is how we act in our faith, our belief in how God loves us. I know I have said this before, but it is very powerful. So here’s a series of questions for us: How do we see others, even those who might be attention seeking, or always speaking negative? How do we see those who are homeless, or even a different skin color, or a different nationality? How do we treat them? Are we fault finders in others without realizing it? Do we believe we are speaking truth when we are finding faults and judging them? What if God is working in them, and all we’re doing is speaking the same lies others have spoken against them, which they battle not to say themselves? These can be some hard questions to ask ourselves because it means finding within our own hearts our secret sins.
In the way it is placed by our self by sinning: (Ezekiel 7:20, 14:1-11)
As too often spoken time and time again, sin, or offense to God, or even others, can harm our relationships; with Christ as Savior, if we really forgive others than we believe that God has truly forgiven us. It also creates within us, unknowingly at times, a narrowed path in our thinking about ourselves and others. This way of thinking can harm us and impair our relationships. Although not all negative thinking or personal problems come from this act against others and God; due to emotional trauma or some type of psychological disorder these issues come forth through that, yet it is a place to start. For example if there is unforgiveness in the heart of the person, this causes bitterness and resentment toward others. (Personally, it can cause distrust and some paranoia, yet to have a healthier mind, or to decrease this way of thought, it is not just enough to forgive the person or group of people and move on, this is too much of a blanketed statement, or “healing”. Forgiveness is only part of it, the rest is having to change one’s thinking, or changing the way the brain has become hardwired when encountering situations where our trust is challenged. From personal experience this takes time, but it is possible.)
Sin in the Torah is an offense (H2403) against another, either it be God or another human being. In the letters of the New Testament, it is an offence (G266) or missing the mark (G264). Offence against God or another person is essentially missing the mark on something. Instead of helping, we hurt, instead of loving, we maim. What is difficult is at times we can be blind to this. That’s why we must know we are not perfect, but growing children of God through Christ. Learning is a sign of growth, even when we stumble over our own, or another’s stumbling block.
Repentance is an essential element in the Christian walk, for when we not just believe, but choose to have Christ as Lord of our lives, we must do what he has commanded.
Repentance (G3340) is “to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction.” (Strong’s). It is a changing of the heart and mind to a different way of thinking. When we commit and offence against someone, are we trying to justify ourselves in how we feel and think about the person or group of people, or do we just plain despise them? This is even a difficult question to ask myself, but as a Christian, it is essential to change. Do we dare ask these as the body of Christ?
Earlier today I was considering that pivotal sentence in 1 Corinthians 13: “And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (NIV) Why is love the greatest? From beginning to end the writer expressed that without love, no matter the amount of faith or other gifts of the Spirit, love fulfills them. It slowly dawned on me that even though faith and hope are essential, love can restore hope in people, love can restore faith in God. 1 John 4:8 states that he that does not love does not know God, because God is love. If we take the word love in the small portion about love in 1 Corinthians, and replace it with God, it surprised me how different it sounded. God is patient, God is kind, God does not envy…
Love came to man in Christ Jesus, and through his blood “we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5: 9-11)
There is more to Christ than just believing, there is a purposeful living. Isn’t this what God has called us to? Isn’t this what the world wants to see? Isn’t this what those in need for love and truth desire? We should stop and ask ourselves, “why did we first believe?” Let’s not forget our first love. Through this the world can see the power of Christ and God reconciling the world to himself through Christ, for this is the power that God uses to call people to repentance.
There is a call to repentance today, for today is the day of salvation before it is gone and the night has come.