Slugging it Out

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I can’t really explain how this thing works or how it begins.  I mean I have read the books and been privy to some very good teaching on the subject.  Heck, I’ve even taught a few lessons myself.  None of that really helps right now though because even though I know what to do, there remains a stubborn inner desire to experience the release and the estacy that erupts when I let lust run its course.  I feel like I’m slugging it out everyday just to survive.

Honestly, I do have accountability partners and I do know how to pray and fast but none of that removes the taste, the desire, the inner drive to let my flesh have its way.  At times its so dibelitating and confining.  It shapes what I do or what I plan to do and it makes me feel so empty, so guilty and ashamed.  I know that I have the cross of Christ to bear my burdens and I also know that His helping hand is just a prayer away, but for some reason the need remains ever present.  It’s like a fungus that just grows and grows no matter how I try and clean and scrub and sterilize things.  It just keeps coming back and I for one feel so foolish having to constantly ask for forgiveness.  But I do anyway because I want to live and not die beyond His grace. I have to keep slugging it out!

I do understand that God’s grace is sufficent for all my needs, for my every weakness, but I really do want to stand on my feet and hold my ground for once.  I want to walk away from it and know that I got the victory, that I didn’t bend or break, that I held fast to His unchanging hand through my temptation.  I want to be as strong as Christ was when He was tempted in the wolderness.  I want to be like Him and refuse to give in to the tempatations that were presented.  He is my hero and I mean that in a real way.  He suffered so much but He made it through and sometimes He made it look so easy.  I know, I know, He was God manifest in flesh but He was also very human thanks to Mary.

I’m just venting tonight because I’m tired of losing and coming up short.  I believe I am more than a conquerer.  I just have to learn to be more like Him and trust Him.  I have to keep slugging it out no matter the cost.  Actually as I sit and contemplate this even more I realize that what it comes down to is a slug fest, a brawl, a knock down, drag out fight to the finish.  It’s not about playing nice or being honorable with my opponent.  I can’t fight fair in this thing.  I can’t afford to.  I have to utilize everything at my desposal.  I can’t even take prisoners!  It just too dangerous to let anyone but me survive this fight.  This I believe is the mental attitude I have to have.  I have to think this way because if I only approach the fight in a half hearted way, myy enemy will see my weakness and rip me a new one.  I already have enough of those and don’t care for any more.

So yes, I may be down for now but I am definitely not out. I have to keep slugging it out. I have to go nuclear.  I have to use all the weapons God has made available to me.  This is what I haven’t been doing.  I have been making assumptions about my future based on past victories.  I believe this was a grave error on my part.  Everyday is a new day and lessons are learned afresh.  I have to change my mind set to break from the past notions that what I achieved before is sufficient high ground for me to stand upon today.  I cannot fight tomorrow’s war with my flesh using my past victories.  Don’t get me wrong.  Past victories are very motivating and help me remember that He who delivered me before yet reigns and is able to do so again.  But I have to make new commitments, new promises to myself and new affirmations that I can live victoriously through Christ. So I will continue to slug it out and survive even though I may fall from time to time.

I know that my Savior lives.  I just have to make sure I act like that every day.

Sharing Is Caring

Sharing is Caring

Sharing Is Caring

I have been reading and listening and contemplating many of the discussion outlets and forums concerned with the Affordable Care Act.  Arguments are all over the map.  Passions for and against are high and all parties seem unequivically solid in their conviction about the good or bad of the new healthcare law.  Common ground is extremely rare in many of these discussions, but I want to point out that sharing is caring and that is what we should be about as an evolved and compassionate society.

What seems to be missing from many of the discussions I have seen is compassion, compassion for the guy or gal next door, the single parent, the child of that single parent and so on.  There doesn’t seem to be much room for inclusion of the least among us these last days.  The discussion always seems to center on an objection to paying for something that doesn’t directly benefit me…the individual.

I was listening to a radio discussion on the Diane Rehms show on NPR and they were talking about how many people were upset about having to buy a healthcare policy that included benefits not directly related to them or their condition, i.e. a guy having to buy a policy that covers child birth.  I can understand the confusion but I think the point is being missed.  United we stand but divided we fall remember and sharing is caring in my book.  Having compassion for someone other than yourself is what I deem a signature facet of a superior society.  It’s the healthy society that survives the longest and when we get to the point where we only think about what’s in it for me, well then we’re on our way to oblivion.

I believe we are stronger when we consider the whole and not just the individual.  I believe we are most ready to stand the tests of time as a society, as a species, if we ensure that there is no weak link in our chain of humanity.  So yes, it may cost more to buy a healthcare plan but in the long run it is actually cheaper for the whole of society because it’s always been easier to stop the bleeding when a pin prick is all we have to deal with vice a severed artery.  When we don’t take care of the least among us, we will over time have to tend to those who have been gravely wounded via neglect at grave cost, a cost that could have and should been avoided.  In today’s world can we really afford to not care about one another?

Personally, I would just like to give the new healthcare law some time.  The program website certainly needs some major help but I’m an optomist.  I believe it will get fixed and eventually we will all see some good results, results that will benefit the whole and not just the individual.  Sharing is caring and that is a joyous message that we might want to remember especially during these holidays.

Nigh Cries, Part Eight

StranglingBy

Timotei

Erik did not consider himself to be overly brave.  In the normal flow of events, bravery was another emotion to be discarded like any other.  It was an alien concept anyway since, until today anyway, it was not necessary.  Cold World did not have any crime.  The more society divested itself of emotion, the less likely strife and turmoil arose.  People didn’t steal, kill or destroy one another.  The people of Cold World were simply too involved in the pursuit of knowledge.  All other occupations were a waste of valuable time.  Erik could not even remember if he had ever had a fight, an argument, or anything with anyone.  Just the thought made him feel lost and confused.  Having never raised his hand in anger toward any other living being, how was he supposed to confront the nightmare waiting for him in Professor Voguebuk’s lab?

Erik tried asserting his rational mind over the question.  Whatever had shredded the professor was probably done.  It stopped with the professor when it could just as easily have ended his life.  But it hadn’t and he was still alive; therefore, he wasn’t the target and could proceed to investigate further.

Erik stepped cautiously towards the professor’s lab, careful to step over the pool of blood that was spreading slowly around one half of the professor’s body.

The door to the lab was not locked and gave way easily to Erik’s gentle push.  The lights inside flicked to life in starts and bursts of pale green and yellow until a soft white light filled the open space of the lab.  The lab wasn’t very big Erik thought.  His own study hall was far larger not to mention his experimental space.  Somehow Erik expected more but with a shrug he moved towards one of the work benches that lined the eastern side of the lab.  There spread out on the bench surface was a large but deep saucer type plate with trailing wires that ran through the liquid in the plate.  The liquid itself was not quite sheer enough to see the bottom of the plate but seemed to shimmer as tiny waves crossed its surface.  It was then that Erik noticed a dull hum that lingered about his ears without any apparent direction.  Erik wasn’t sure exactly where the humming was coming from but it did appear to be strongest just over the plate of liquid.

The wires leading out of the liquid were connected to patch panels that fed a row of circuit cards that pulsed with translucent green and yellow lights.  Small LEDs pulsed in rhythm to the tiny waves dancing across the surface of the liquid.  Erik centered himself in front of the work bench and slowly peered into the liquid.  The liquid had a metallic appearance and Erik could almost see his image on the surface.  He wasn’t sure exactly what he was seeing but the liquid seemed to react to his presence.  The tiny waves that had been gently racing across the surface of the liquid froze then proceeded to move in a directly way as though orchestrated and on cue.  A small image appeared to Erik on the surface of the liquid.  It was a planet but it wasn’t one Erik had ever seen.  It was dark and menacing.  This was the dark realm Erik reasoned.  The professor had discovered a gateway of some kind to the dark realm and Erik was looking right at it.  How had he done this Erik queried?  This was stretching his imagination to believe that the professor had achieved something like this without his knowledge.  Erik put the selfish thought aside for the moment and peered again into the face of the liquid.  A new shape began to take shape and when Erik realized what he was seeing; her hand had full possession of his throat as her arm stretched out from the center of the plate.  Erik tried to jerk away from her terrible grasp but her grip was like steel.  The liquid in the plate was splashing all over the bench surface and some of the trailing wires came out of the liquid altogether.

Erik could not even scream.  He knew that he had only a few moments before he passed out.  His air supply was completely cut off and his vision was starting to blur.  He had never encountered another physical force so powerful.  He felt helpless, stuck like a fly in maw of a Venus fly trap.  Just as Erik was about to pass out, he tried one more time to dislodge her hand from his throat.  He failed and as he felt himself starting to slide to the lab floor his flailing hand disconnected the wires from the plate and with a blood cuddling scream she let him go.  Her hand paused briefly, her arm extended above the liquid’s surface to the elbow.  Her palm was facing Erik like a cobra preparing to strike and then she curled her hand into a fist and started trembling in rage as the arm started sinking back into the plate of liquid.  In an instant, the hand was gone and what liquid remained in the plate was unmoving and clear.

Erik gathered his thoughts and on wobbling knees he backed away from the bench.  In the space of a few minutes, Erik almost died but he also discovered what Dr. Voguebuk was trying to tell him.  There was a way to bridge the distance between Cold World and the dark realm.  There was something in the dark realm that wanted him dead and Erik thought he knew why.  Erik was one of two individuals that could understand what adhesion breakage was and how to stop it.  With the professor dead, he alone held the key to stopping this cataclysmic event and someone or something in the dark realm knew this.

Cancel that Date with Hate

Cancel the Hate 4Cancel the Date with Hate

So what do you do when faced with someone under the influence, the influence of hate? I say Cancel that Date with Hate. There is nothing written in any book, in any song, in any form whatsoever, that mandates that you have to subject your life spirit to hate’s poison. We sometimes are faced with so much hatred, so much bitterness, so much anguish and turmoil that our spirit driven lives get bogged down, even sullied occasionally.  We can sometimes inadvertently become magnets to such negative energy when we ourselves start to wear clothing not meant for us, when we discard the whole armor of God.

During this very political season and the one to follow, you will see the enemy’s horns more and more and in almost every place you look.  Reading through various social media sites it’s very easy to spot.  People don’t really discuss the pro and cons of a thing, they just scream blindly at one another, casting disparaging remarks upon one another, using the vilest of language and the anonymity of the Internet as a cover.  And if you dare to step in, participate, comment from a corner tempered in reason, you will certainly experience the hatred first hand.  I think because of the anonymity of the Internet, people are emboldened to be as rude as possible, as hurtful as possible, and spew as much hate laced hyperbole around as possible.

But the Internet isn’t the only medium where this red devil shows its tail.  You see it on the highways and byways, the street corners and office spaces we encounter in our daily grind.  It’s the whispers and the mean spirited comments that are spoken when speakers think no one is listening.  You see it even on the play grounds and classrooms all across America.  It’s unavoidable as long as one draws breath. The longer one is exposed to so much negative energy, the more likely they will lose focus on that which is good, on true life, on the promises that lie ahead.  So I say Cancel that Date with Hate.  Let someone else take up that dance card.

What do you do when the enemy attempts to destroy you, belittle you, and push you down into submission?  This after all is one of hates many objectives.  Some might say you punch him in the nose and teach him not to mess with you!  How many bullied children do you think that actually works for?  How many little guys, when faced with a towering pile of fat, muscle and intimidation, rise up, cock back and launch a haymaker smack into the nose of their antagonist?  Odds are that there are very, very few that do and succeed.  Why?  Human nature?  Fight or flight instincts?  Common sense?  All of the above?  So if the little guy does go on the offensive, the majority of the time he…or she is going to get their clock punched because the bully normally has the numbers and the size and the experience.  Whenever this tactic does work it’s because of the element of complete surprise and timing.  So how then do you Cancel that Date with Hate?

Cancel the Hate 3

Easy.  The Word of God says that if we resist the devil he will flee from us (James 4:6-8).  Does this mean that we lay hands and fight the devil?  Is this what is meant by resistance?  Not necessarily.  You resist by refusing to participate in those activities that enrich the enemy.  When you submit your life to God you are resisting the enemy.  When you draw closer to God, He comes closer to you (James 4:7).  Darkness will never be able to overcome light, never has and never will (John 1:5).  The enemy cannot withstand the presence of God in your life.  There will always be an over balance and overabundance of power in you when God is in you…and the enemy knows this (I John 4:4).  The bully may be a roaring lion but that is all that he is.  He knows his end and you must remind yourself of that elegant truth as well.

But how exactly do I Cancel the Date with Hate?  Hatred is one of those emotions that craves company.  So practice resisting the enemy by walking with the Lord and steer clear of those filled with hate.  Don’t participate, don’t engage, don’t touch and agree on statements of hate, and don’t even walk in the same paths as those that revel in hate’s toxic atmosphere.  Don’t be drawn in.  In other words don’t expose your goodness to darkness (Matthew 7:6), don’t lay down your integrity or your good name.  The playground bully can’t be a bully if there is no one to bully.  The playground bully draws strength from fear but perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) and God is that love!  When you draw nigh unto God, when you find your secret place in Him, His shadow will be your cover, your protection and insulation from all the fiery darts of the enemy (Palms 91:1; Ephesians 6:16).

Cancel the Hate 2

Last, when confronted by the hatred of others in whatever form, remember who you are.  Remember who is at work in the life of the hate speaker.  Confront hate with the peace of the Lord God Jesus Christ.  Turn the other cheek and by this I mean, refuse to engage in a verbal confrontation.  Use your tongue to speak life and that more abundantly.  Use your tongue to create a new reality, a new condition in the life of the hate speaker and then exercise your will upon that which you have spoken.  Pray on that planted seed and watch it grow and produce new life in that which was dead.  This is how you Cancel the Date with Hate.  The enemy won’t get it, he won’t understand it, but he will flee from you and in his place…a garden of peace abides!