Testimony: Sonnets for My Savior 2

Testimony: Sonnets for My Savior 2

Six Days

With words He took nothing and created everything;

six days, and all that was done was good.

The day, the night, earth and seas did His power bring,

six days, He worked and all was made as it should.

Vegetation and plants He made, which all yielded seeds

six days, which can be measured by the stars He also made.

Then He created the fish and birds and animals of all breeds;

six days, He spoke, and His work shall never fade.

Then He made man in His own likeness,

and gave Him dominion over all other creations.

six days He worked, and all was flawless,

six days He created with nothing but His orations.

He gave man and woman blessings of faithfulness.

Six days he worked, and He needed nothing more than declarations.


The Lessons From The Master

He promised the poor his kingship;

He said those who mourn will always be comforted.

He offered the earth to the meek of his fellowship;

Let our hearts and his lessons never be parted.

Those who hunger for righteousness shall be filled.

Those who offer mercy will receive it.

Praise our Lord Christ, through whom the prophecies will fulfilled,

To you, dear Jesus, and your teachings do we, your servants, commit.

He took the things said to those of old,

and clarified them so we may know

the truth and context of what was told.

With Him we learn and hope and grow.

Let us follow his teachings and commands.

Let us follow him, every woman, child, and man.


The Glory

To Him who saved the Israelites from the Pharaoh of Egypt,

to Him goes the glory always.

He is perfect and mighty; to Him goes the praise;

For He raised His son from Death, now empty is the crypt.

To Him who delivered Jerusalem in fulfillment of an oath,

To Him goes the glory forever.

His love and mercy always endure, come whatever.

For he is the God of jews and gentiles both.

To him who gave us the profits, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Moses,

God of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham,

He who judges and has mercy, He who curses and blesses,

He who granted Salvation, His son was the lamb,

the glory goes to Him who sees humanity through its distresses.

To Him goes the glory, He who calls himself I AM.



What a glorious thing I’ve been given

from the God-man incarnate from above.

It matters not how much I’ve striven,

Only His grace, which was given from love.

Even though I am undeserving,

He paid the price for my transgressions.

His care for me is ever unswerving;

All I can give back are my confessions.

He is my Savior for what he’s done;

His substitution is my redemption.

His blood and sacrifice my soul have won;

His death the key to my adoption.

I accept you, my Savior, in my heart,

With that and repentance my new life and sanctification start.


The Armor

Let us clear away our hypocrisy that we may fight free;

let righteousness cover our hearts, Lord, so temptation can’t get in.

Let your good news grant our feet certainty, so we won’t slip by a single degree;

Let us trust in you, and let that trust cover our bodies and keep us from the darts of sin.

Let us always remember we are saved, let doubt never enter our minds;

Help us to train, oh Lord, to study your word like a blade master trains with his sword.

Help make your word a part of us, for we know that he who seeks finds;

Let us recall the right verses when we face temptation; then victory over sin will be our reward.

Let us wear your armor, Lord, and never remove it;

Let us be guarded by you always and never let down our guard.

We pray to be alert, Our Father, lest to our own natures we submit.

We pray to be alert, Our Father, lest our walk with you be jarred.

Let us stand with you always and trust in your grace.

Let us wear your armor, Lord, and let us walk in the faith.



We are able, Lord, we are able;

They spoke to him to gain his favor.

They wanted the left and right seats of his table,
but they did not understand our Savior.

They did not understand the true cost

of service and submission.

He was about to die for the Lost,

and they would suffer on his commission.

They did indeed find the glory they sought,

but not before paying the price.

The value of service is what the master taught,

and they learned so well through his sacrifice.

Now we are asked if we are willing;

let us be so for all the days we are living.


Rule Us

Let us humble ourselves to your mighty hand;

let us strive first to be righteous.

To seek to do or accomplish for ourselves is erroneous,

for you exalt, in due time, those who do as you demand.

Let us trust in you with all our hearts

and think first of how to glorify you.

For without your will, there is not point in what we do

We seek your kingdom and scripture to be our ramparts,

Our own works count for nothing beside your great plan.

The true blessing is to submit and trust in your grace.

Let us do so, oh Lord, and bring you to smile.

For we know disobedience is where our sin began,

and it was obedience of your son on earth that this original sin is erased

because our own understanding is not worthwhile.

Sonnets for my Savior #1

Sonnets for my Savior #1



I’m trapped in my own sin.
Willfully stagnate and hidden from light.
There is nothing in me that can make my wrongs right.
Against my flesh I can not win.

I’m lost and can’t find my way.
I’m sick and can’t be healed.
The sins I bury will inevitably be revealed.
Who can turn this night into day?

Jesus, my Lord and Savior can find me.
His sacrifice the price for my inadequacy.
His death in mortal flesh gives my spirit eternal life.

Because of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I am free.
My sanctification he produces patiently.
With him in my heart, I am at last made right.


Note: I’ve never claimed to be a poet. This is designed to do a few things: First and foremost, it’s designed to praise God. Please let these sonnets be a tribute used to glorify him. Don’t let me be like the Pharisees of old, making a show so that I might look pious. Instead, please let this be a tribute to Jesus, and through him, the God of all. Second, in considering what to do to continue testimony, I wanted to do something that would glorify him by helping me grow.  Some of my favorite parts of scripture are in Psalm. The idea is to grow in Christ by growing in this skill with which he’s blessed me. I’m still not certain I’ll continue this path. Again, I don’t want this to become a false show of faith, but rather, a genuine praise of him and artistic show of the gospel.


That said, I’d appreciate feedback from any poets who might read this. As I write these, I’d like to grow.  I think this is technically sound.  I’m think it would get an A in a class for structure, but I’m not sure how effective it is.  Your help to grow here would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading,


Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 30 (The final part)

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 30 (The final part)

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

See Part 7 here.

See Part 8 here.

See Part 9 here.

See Part 10 here.

See Part 11 here.

See Part 12 here.

See Part 13 here.

See Part 14 here.

See Part 15 here.

See Part 16 here.

See Part 17 here.

See Part 18 here.

See Part 19 here.

See Part 20 here.

See Part 21 here.

See Part 22 here.

See Part 23 here.

See Part 24 here.

See Part 25 here.

See part 26 here.

See part 27 here.

See Part 28 here.

See Part 29 here.

A Changing Life

As I type this, it’s been nearly two months since my mother died.

I think the first week back at work was the hardest. I ran into a number of people who only wanted me to know they were there for me, but the hard part was the number of reminders. “How are you doing?” (You know, ’cause your mom died).  “How are you holding up?” (You know, ’cause you’re mom died).  I was stuck in this weird place where I was trying to show my appreciation for their concern while balancing the desire to explain to them that the questions were just more constant reminders. I mention it now only because I’m trying to explain my mindset at that time. I have so many people who love me so much. They want to be sure I’m OK and know they are there for me.  I’ll always love them for that, but it was a struggle at that point.

It’s been nine Fridays since my mother died. I use to call her just to talk and see how things were. My first Friday back at work, I caught myself picking up the phone. It was Friday. I’ve always talked about what a creature of habit I am. If something becomes a part of my routine, it’s trained into me like an athlete.

Whenever we lose someone we truly love, the simple fact is we’re never going to be the same. This is because love is sacrifice. We train our bodies to behave a certain way around our loved ones. We deny our instincts to the point to where we change our habits. Maybe you stopped smoking because your husband or wife didn’t like it. Maybe you started working out to shape your body for that girlfriend or boyfriend. Maybe you stopped biting your nails because it annoyed a friend. Those changes are sacrifices we make. Sacrifice is the greatest show of love anyone can offer. God sacrificed his only son for us, and Jesus willingly obeyed, sacrificing himself for us. This was so that the price for our sins could be paid, which would grant us a way to be with them.

For us mere mortals, that sacrifice becomes most apparent when the one for whom we’ve sacrificed is no longer there. So we have this choice to make. The temptation is to let go of those sacrifices. Some see it even as freedom after a time. But if we let go of those sacrifices, I’m of the opinion that we also then let go of the person we were, thus changing from that person who loved us.

Anyone can sacrifice for someone for a short time. Even I can clean my condo if I know I’m having a visitor. Any guy courting any woman can put the toilet seat down the first time he visits his girlfriend’s house. But it’s only sacrifice if we truly give it up. And it’s only sacrifice if we let it go even after we lose the reason for which we’ve sacrificed it. Otherwise the sacrifice was only tolerance. Tolerance isn’t the wonderful mindset I think people make it out to be. The word tolerate means to allow the existence or practice of something one doesn’t necessarily agree with, without interference. Merriam Webster adds this short alternative, “to put up with.” But if we only tolerate, the more we’re forced to tolerate, the more we want to resent. Resentment then leads to frustration, which leads to anger. I’ve even seen that anger build into genuine hatred.

No, readers, I feel that tolerance is only a delay tactic that ultimately leads to even more hostility. Sacrifice yourself for those you love, or don’t. You have that right to choose. But if you only tolerate, you’re setting up that relationship for utter failure.

So now I’m looking at my life, and I find it odd sometimes.  I can’t say my life is completely different. At this point, things are running just about how they used to run. The differences are in the little things, and those little things (when they come), hit hard.

Now for the part some might not like to hear.

Did the death matter?

That sound’s like a cold question doesn’t it? But we always talk about how “we’ll never be the same” or “this death had such an impact on my life.”

But if you go right back to the life you had after a nice “show” of remorse at a funeral, did it really matter? If two weeks after that death you’re right back to who you were, did the death matter?  Looking at my life, I would say no. It doesn’t remove the emotions. My point is that if I go right back to the man I was before my mom got sick, her life, her suffering, and her death become meaningless, and I refuse to disgrace her in that way.

I choose to show my endless love, a love not bound by existence, by changing because of that love. I want to be better because in doing those things, I prove to myself that the lessons my mother taught me matter.

Wasn’t it the same for the Apostles after Christ died? Shouldn’t it be the same for all who are saved? The Apostles mourned. They had the honor of seeing Christ risen, but he didn’t stay with them in the flesh. I have to think they missed him after he ascended. I can’t think that Peter was perfect after the ascension. I wonder if he was ever tempted. I think he was to a degree. In Galatians 2, Peter pulled away from a meal with gentiles because they wouldn’t be circumcised.  Paul rebuked him.

But there were other displays where Peter showed he’d changed for having known Christ. Peter, for those who are unfamiliar with scripture, is (in my opinion) the greatest example of change. Greater even than Paul.

I suppose this tangent is coming.

You see, Peter’s given name is Simon. Jesus called him Peter as a sort of nickname. That nickname was a form of positive encouragement for Peter to act like the man Jesus wanted him to be.  Yes, Paul did terrible things, and then stopped, but the terrible things he did, he did out of misguided zeal. He thought Jesus wasn’t resurrected. He thought the Apostles were wrong. When Jesus revealed himself and called Paul to be an Apostle, yes he changed his actions, but that zealous heart and manic drive to do what he believed was God’s will was still the core of his personality (Acts).  Paul changed his actions. Peter changed his ways.

Both were great men, and Paul is more of a favorite of mine (personally) than Peter. (Andrew, who I’m the least like, is my favorite because I’d like to be more like him so that I could then be more like Christ.)

We therefore change who we are for the people we love, and I am changed for having known my mother and, through this trial, better known Jesus. Before my mom got sick, I watched sermons on my lap top and read the Bible. But I was stagnate. The more I studied and the more I fed my spirit, the more I came to understand Jesus. It also helped me understand my mom and the example she provided.

Love is sacrifice.

I can’t imagine the number of things Mom wanted to do in life from selling her house and taking trips to I don’t know what else. But she constantly denied herself things I know she wanted simply to provide for those she loved.

Christ humbled himself, then allowed himself to be punished for our sins just so that we could be saved by his blood.

So who are we then if we continue to be who we were? (Romans 7)

This is the question that drives me every day.

I loved my mom. No, that’s wrong. Her death does not mean the end of my love. That’s stupid. If that love is gone my remorse and desire to change should be. I could consider myself free from the willing sacrifices I made for her because she’s not on Earth any more. I don’t have to get along with my sisters because she’s not here to be saddened by it. Her mortal death would make me free from her rules. But I still love her. Her presence on this Earth doesn’t remove that love, so I’ll honor her memory because I still love her now.

This is how we should act for Christ, if indeed we love him too.

Christ wasn’t there to rebuke Peter, playfully calling him Simon as a gentle reminder of the man he used to be. But Peter still remained the man Christ had helped him become.

I believe (because my mother had proclaimed Jesus her savior when I was a child and had been baptized) Mom is in Heaven with Jesus.

Jesus certainly knows what I’m up to. I’m not sure what scripture says about those who’ve left this world or not, but I still like the idea of mom watching from above.

So let me be changed. Let the death of my mom and, more importantly, the death of Jesus Christ change me. Let me be the man that honors my love for them. Let me let go of the man I was. Let that show my love, and let that be what gives meaning to my mother’s death.

Can I claim to be changed? No.  Foolish, selfish, and (if I may quote Paul) wretched man that I am, I still act far more like the man I was than the man I want to be (Romans 7). But I will claim to be changing. This evolution of my body to align with my spirt isn’t going as quickly as I’d like. I constantly ask myself if I’m any better, especially days when I find myself resentful at work or even with one of my siblings. That’s the old me. I shouldn’t be that man anymore. Am I really any different?

Yes. At the very least I now instantly realize I’m not acting the right way and re-focus my thoughts to be in line with how I’m supposed to act.

There are changes in my life I do recognize. I fear to lay claim to them because I have this odd habit. Every time I proclaim, “I’ve changed!” I amazingly do the very thing I so proudly claimed to have stopped. It’s silly how it goes. “I don’t cause anymore!” “What the #### are you doing!?” “I’m not so prideful anymore!” he said proudly.

So please simply accept this claim that I’ve greatly reduced the number of sins in my life from “too many to count per day” to “I’m sometimes discouraged by how many I count.” But this is a blessing. When God reveals our sins to us, we have the chance to feel remorse, repent and change. I think I need a bit of humbling realization here and there. To me it shows that I’m changing. I’d rather not keep seeing the exact same sin.  I’m struggling most with my pride and selfishness at the moment.

The point is, I’m working toward being better every day, and I wasn’t doing that before Mom died. I was content. I was satisfied with my state as it is.

The greatest change I’ve seen, the one I feel is the best tribute to the memory of my mother, is that I’m trying again. I’m trying to be better.

I’m sure there will be those who say, “See, doesn’t work.  This guy prayed and testified and trusted God, and his mom still died.”

News flash.  My mom was always going to die. She could have been hit by a bus or struck by lightning.

That person might argue, “But she died of cancer, and you had faith God would heal her.”

He did. He healed her so well she’s in Heaven with him. And when his son returns to earth, all those who were saved will return also, in perfect, sinless, cancer-free bodies. I just have to keep my faith and be patient. Sure, I have to be far more patient than I wanted to be, but how much patience has God needed just to see me reach this still wholly unacceptable state I’m in now?

If I were to have stopped this testimony the moment my mother died, did I ever believe in the first place?

But by this loss, I’m granted the wonderful opportunity to proclaim my faith (which He has given me) remains because my faith in him is not based on what he does for me any more than my love for my mother was based on her presence on this Earth.

And there, again, is another example of God’s unknowable judgements and inscrutable ways (Romans 11:33). If God had granted my supplication, sure I would have been happy. I’d have testified. I’d have sung in joy and praise of his name. But then what lesson do I have to teach the world?

Pray to God and he’ll give you want you want?

That’s not the lesson. And how many people would have been lost for the misconception that faith and trust in God will get you what you want rather than what you need.

Instead, the lesson I am blessed to teach is that faith and trust in God remain. Even if we don’t receive those things for which we ask, we always get what we need. The things we receive are always for our good. My love and praise of him is no more based on what he does for me (in giving what I want when I want) than my salvation is based on what I do for him (Romans 1-3).

Faith is the lesson. Faith in God. Faith in love. Faith that my mother and I will indeed be reunited. Faith that no matter what, my salvation is assured because of God’s love and grace and for no other reason.

I didn’t want my mom to die any more than Job wanted to lose all he had (Job 1). But the Lord gives, and he takes (Job 1:21). It is his sovereign right.

I used to think it was like a kid playing with a cat and a string. Yanking away the string just as the cat snatches it.  Horrible isn’t it?

But the thing is, I’ve come to understand that he gave them to us to begin with. They were never really ours. Instead, we receive (by His grace) these wonderful gifts, but any mortal gift is temporary. Nothing we gain here on Earth can come with us after we die. Even atheists will admit this.

So rather than lament what God’s taken, I praise Him because I had them to begin with, because I’m going to lose them sooner or later. My own mortality testifies to this. I wasn’t ready. I miss her, and it’s not sinful at all to morn her death.

But, I have now an even greater gift in that I’m changing. My relationship with God is closer. I have a better understanding of salvation. I have a greater awareness of my sin so I can turn from it (even if it’s with great struggle and effort).

This lesson is far more valuable than the selfish one I originally started working from.

Yes, my life is missing something for the lack of my mom’s presence in it, but I have so much more because she was in it to begin with.

Yes, my heart is sad because someone I love is gone, but it’s so much more filled because God’s love has been poured into me through the Holy Spirit who has been given to me (Romans 5:5).

I pray for you reader. I pray you’ve been inspired by this testimony. I pray your faith is encouraged or that God has worked through this memoir to call you to him. I pray this gives you comfort if you face a similar challenge in your life. I pray you don’t make the mistakes I made when I was facing this trial.

Mostly, I pray you be filled with love. I pray you remember that love is sacrifice. I pray you sacrifice the person you were for God first, and those you love. Husbands, I pray you love your wives as Jesus loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Let love be the way in which you live your life. May you have love in abundance from those around you, but may you first receive the love of God Almighty whose love for you was demonstrated by the most difficult sacrifice one could ever make. Amen!

Thanks for reading


Book Review: Saved Without a Doubt by John MacArthur

Book Review: Saved Without a Doubt by John MacArthur

51T3zOu2KEL._SL500_I picked up Saved Without a Doubt by John MacArthur immediately after finishing Found: God’s Will. What I appreciated most about both books is not just their Biblical basis, but the explanation of those passages and why they apply the way they do.

Saved offers readers two things: A test to determine if you are indeed saved, and assurance that if you are, your salvation is assured forever.

Both were incredibly important to me.

One of my biggest struggles in my walk with Christ is that I’m full of questions. What if? Why? How? What if is the biggest question. I’ve known a great many people who claimed to be Christian. Only their actions don’t have any adherence to Biblical guidance, and they constantly glorify themselves over God.

So my natural inclination is to wonder. If I were really saved, wouldn’t I be as self-righteous and judgmental as “those people.”

It’s here that I have to make sure you understand that I am Christian. I can’t know the hearts of other men. But what this book provided me was a way to ensure I’m saved by testing myself against Biblical ideals. I’ve come to learn that people can say and do whatever they want. God knows the hearts of man, and it’s his place to judge. What I needed to explain was my fear that if I pursued a closer relationship with Jesus, I’d start acting more like people who frightened me, even terrified me when I was a child.

The thing is, the saved, those who are truly saved, act more like Christ. And those who are truly interested in knowing how Christ acted should simply read the Gospels. Even for intellectual edification, that would at least provide a basis for understanding.

Portrait taken from Dr. MacArthur’s bio page on the Grace to You website. Image used for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

MacArthur does a fantastic job of being honest without being hateful. He doesn’t insult or demean; he simply checks actions and comments against The Bible.

With all that said, this book comforted me. The most important thing I learned from it is that just because I have such a long way to go, doesn’t mean I’m not on the right path. The greatest temptation I feel is the thought of, “You’ll never be ‘good,’ so why try? Why not just give in because you already know you fall short of Jesus and the Glory of God?”

I don’t know about you all, but that line of thought had a powerful hold on me for a long time. This book provides ways to check one’s self, encouragement in the faith, and things to watch out for when that faith is challenged.

I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in becoming Christian as well as Christians who are interested in a Biblical checklist for assurance.

Thanks for reading,


Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 22

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 22

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

See Part 7 here.

See Part 8 here.

See Part 9 here.

See Part 10 here.

See Part 11 here.

See Part 12 here.

See Part 13 here.

See Part 14 here.

See Part 15 here.

See Part 16 here.

See Part 17 here.

See Part 18 here.

See Part 19 here.

See Part 20 here.

See Part 21 here.


Days after Mother was supposed to have already left the hospital, she finally received a diagnosis. I’m not sure what the medical term is, but the way it was described to my family was that it was as if, “someone dragged razor blades down her throat.”

The diagnosis wasn’t good to hear, and the time it took only served to frustrate my mom and cause heartache to my family.

My sister, the one who originally agreed to take care of Mom in Phoenix, offered to stay in Yuma to help care for Mom.  It was a comfort to me to know that Mom had that much support. Mom was weaker and in more pain than ever.  I’ll confess that by this point I had thought that any end to her pain, be it through healing or passing, would be a mercy.

I called that weekend. Mom was struggling to do much of anything. I learned that July 19 was an important date. The doctors had decided it was time to ask Mom if she was willing to continue treatment of if she’d had enough. This was more than a week from that phone call.

It was such a struggle. I wanted desperately for my mom to get well, but I understood that in any measurable way, I had no power.

Trust in God doesn’t mean trusting God to do what one wants; it means trusting in His Will. I can say honestly I wanted to have faith, but if I’m being equally honest the truth is I don’t know how good a job I did.  What I can say for certain is I reminded myself that God is the shepherd of my life.

As I stared at the calendar and that all-important appointment, I could only pray and trust. The hard part was distinguishing between trust and expectation.

As I reflect on those days, I find myself more frustrated by the Israelites after the Exodus.  They had a promise of relocation to a land of milk and honey. They didn’t have the same lack of overt assurance. They were told they’d be delivered, but they still rebelled. They grumbled and turned away at every opportune moment.

Then there’s our Savior Jesus Christ. He was promised only pain, suffering, and death. He was guaranteed these things, but he choose to accept and endure them that we sinners might be saved.

I believe that these examples serve as the extremes, or perhaps more importantly a contrast, of how we Christians should act. Christ, in his perfect wisdom and infinite mercy, suffered willingly for us without turning from his path; however, the Israelites in their foolishness and selfish, fleshly desires wanted instant gratification and eventually dug in their heels so much that ultimately, none of that generation were permitted to see the promised land.

I sadly lacked the Christ-like trust I should have. If I’m being nice to myself, I can feel better knowing that when I grumbled or worried, especially at this point in the journey, I picked up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and used it to stab at my temptation to doubt or be anxious.

I’d only need that sword more and more as time passed.


Questions and Revelations


Who can have that much trust?

Other than Christ himself, I’m not sure. I’ve known some who were clearly better examples than I am, and I’ve known others who were more prone to worry.  As always, I’m of the opinion that we should strive to be more Christ-like.  We’ll fall short until he returns to Earth, but we’re under the law of grace, in which our sincere effort and desire to be so matters.

What verses help?

For starters, somewhere around there, I’d started reading Dr. John MacArthur’s book Anxious for Nothing, which was titled after Philippians 4:6-7. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I found that verse very affirming in my beliefs. I’ve always felt that we pray in supplication, believe in God’s plan, and trust.  That trust becomes difficult in dark times. I’ve failed on numerous occasions, but I remind myself he’s in charge, and I honestly feel better.

I find the Psalms a fantastic resource for comfort and trust in times of crisis. I’ve mentioned a great number of verses I take comfort in, and I have a few I’m reserving for later posts.  I would need them more and more as time passed.

If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading


Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 12

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 12

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

See Part 7 here.

See Part 8 here.

See Part 9 here.

See Part 10 here.

See Part 11 here.


With my mom back in her home, I’m happy that things are starting to gain a sense of routine. Routine is something I cherish. It keeps life moving. It helps everything feel like it’s all OK.

It even feels a bit normal. I called home. My mom was more interested in my relationship with my girlfriend than seemingly anything else. That’s a strength my mom has always had. Whatever is going on in life, she wants to know we’re OK. If anyone were to ask why I feel my mom is the best, I’d reply that it’s because my happiness is her priority. She and the family are working to get the house ready to sell, and the first thing she asked when I called is if I need any new clothes.

It’s startling to be honest.  I sort of struggle with that. I try to show she’s raised me right by not needing her, and she’ll never stop wanting to provide for me.  It’s one of the cornerstones of love.

What I want to be happy is for this to be over. I’m mentally exhausted at work. I’m exhausted with the pace I’ve been turing out stories. And this concern for my mom is always right there in the back of my mind.

So today, I speak about patience. I don’t feel I’m bad or sinful for expressing my desire for this trial to be over. However, I do realize that my purpose is to preserver.  God wants us to stand strong through adversity. Doing so shows God we trust him and have faith in him.

I had a bit of a high-and-low moment at work last Friday. One the high side, one of my friends watched me teach.

“I don’t know how you keep bringing that much passion every day.”

I replied, “Are you ready for the answer?”

He nodded.

“When you know you’re doing what God wants, it’s easy.”  As true as that is, I was, again, pretty arrogant.  My point was that we should always evaluate what we’re doing. If we’re suffering, there’s a reason and purpose.  My argument was that sometimes suffering shows us we’re not doing what God wants.

Less than an hour later I vented (it was venting, but I shouted, loudly) to my friend and team lead about an issue that came up.  Someone wasn’t aware of a change we had to make. That person didn’t know why the change was made. He went to talk to our mutual boss about it.  When you have some 30-something (at least) instructors working with more than 120 students in four different iterations of the same course, things are bound to fall through the cracks. My anger and frustration took the wheel, which means I turned from God in that moment, hours after I said it’s easy to do what God wants.

The fact is, it’s not easy to do what God wants.  The reward, the joy I feel when I know I’m doing what He wants is priceless. That doesn’t mean there won’t be trials, and I failed that test. I failed that test less than an hour after I talked about keeping one’s mind on serving God.  This is because I lack a skill that’s critical to being a good christian: Patience.

Romans 12:12: “Be Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

I’m not often patient in any manner. Now, in this portion of my mom’s treatment, all there is to do is wait. At work, when things took an unexpected turn, all I needed to do was wait.  I didn’t.  This is something I need to practice and demonstrate in my life.

There’s a phrase I’m currently studying in some christian circles. “Let go, and let God.”  I’m not honestly one who believes that if I just sit idly praising God, things will just fall in my lap.  At the very least I’m not so foolish as to think I can work outside of God’s will. I’ve mentioned before that one has to work toward a goal and then wait for God to enact His will in His time.  But that patience has to become a regular part of my life.

Romans 8:24-25: “For in this hope, we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Everything that happens, not matter how horrible it may seem at the moment, is for our own good. For those who wish to dispute this, I feel compelled to note the words “for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This sort of puts a sharp, unsympathetic modifier on things. This verse clarifies that God works specifically for those who love him and those who’ve been called.

Some, like Paul may suffer so that they might hear God’s call.

So, to create context, let’s establish some necessary assumptions.

  1. Those who don’t love God may or may not suffer, but their acts, though permitted by God, are not for the good of those individuals unless that good is intended to bring those people to hear God’s call and come to love him, which is the greatest good there can be.
  2. The ultimate good is a life alongside Jesus when he returns to Earth.
  3. Glory is promised to those who love and honor God, but that Glory is defined as the love of God. Some people consider glory to translate to “what I want.”

That third aspect of context is the one that really gets some people. I’ve spoken frequently about things I want, but each of those desires must be secondary to loving and honoring God. That’s the glory. If one recognizes that as the definition, then one can understand a major question of religion.

“If God loves us, why does he let bad things happen?”

Paul lost everything. He was imprisoned and later executed for loving and following God, but he maintained faith and conviction because he understood his ultimate glory was already guaranteed.

Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

At this point in this journey I find myself “wanting.” I want to get married. I want to be better at my job. I want to be a best seller. And, I want my mom to be cancer free.

I feel confident that most who read this wouldn’t blame me for any of these desires. The hammer meets the nail when one realizes those are all worldly desires. God may or may not choose to allow any of those things to happen. I’d obviously praise God for each of those things if they happened just as I praised God by telling my coworker I have passion when I teach because I believe that’s what he wants me to do.  But what do you do when you don’t get what you want?

What was your motivation for following God? Readers, if you follow God because you believe he’s the ultimate  “Godfather” giving you things in exchange for what you give, I’m compelled to tell you to pray. Pray for understanding and wisdom. You don’t follow God because of the earthly things you might get. You follow him because you love him and fear him.

So if I’m denied every single one of those earthly desires, what I should and will do is praise him. Praise him and testify that this, like all things, is ultimately for my good. I might not see it. I might not understand it. It might be a test, a test I’ve failed a lot in recent days.

I have a dissagrement at work, and off I go, shouting and yelling because I’m afraid.  This demonstrates no faith in God and no respect of this will.

My girlfriend’s divorce isn’t final, and I fail to control my mind and body, ultimately seeking out fornication to satisfy my fleshly desires.

My mom has a few turns in her treatment, and I balk when my sister calls for help (see Part 7).

Why should God bless me if I keep turning from him every time my life is going well when measured by earthly desires and accomplishments?

Is that who I really am? I am I that hypocritical? Am I one of those who responded with, “Only just let me” when Jesus says, “follow me.”  See the Gospels.

This is my repentance. It’s hard to be christian. It’s hard to follow God because you have to always follow him. I’m as faithful in prayer as anyone I know. I’m great at rejoicing in hope.

Now, in this portion, where I must wait, and I’m sad and hurting because I want my mother to be okay, I must be patient.

Pray for me in this readers. Pray for me that I might learn to be as calm and happy in my trials as I am in my joys.



Questions and Revelations

What happened at work?

Honestly, nothing. There were things I was very afraid could or might happen. But it was a hole lot of wasted anger and frustration over nothing. This amplifies my shame, readers. Things have gotten blown out of proportion in my life and in my workplace. I won’t assert they are more or less than any business or school, but I have to be better than I am in how I respond to them, even if they go result in my persecution or suffering.   In this case, it was all fine by the time I left that day, but I think I learned more from this instance than I ever have. I fear the next time something like this comes, but I hope that I’m ready for it.

What do you mean “bad things happen for my good”?

Just what I said. Listen, I sometimes get frustrated at people or religious books that proclaim bad things happen for good reasons just as I get frustrated at those who smile and say to perceiver or not want worldly things when they seem to have an awful lot of worldly things.  That’s jealousy, plain and simple. I’m not pretending to know your pain. But here’s some of mine:

I come from a family created through rape and brutalized by molestation.

I’ve seen children of those I love given away for adoption.

I’ve seen a child burned (not killed, but badly burned).

I’ve seen parents of those I love die.

I’ve seen dreams of people I love crumble.

I’ve told young men and women who wanted nothing more that to be storytellers for the Navy that they couldn’t do that.

It hurt. I wept. Most times I have to let a student go, I weep.

I have nightmares about this.

I’m not comparing my suffering to yours. But I have suffered, and I will suffer more. They were horrible. They were sad. Some of those things took me decades to come to terms with.

How was any of that for my good? For starters, I exist. I’m alive. Ester’s rape was a horrible thing. The molestation in my family wasn’t any better. But here I am, a man at the end of a long line of tragedy, a faulted, flawed, sinful man, but one who understands God loves him, and forgives him these sins.

Here I am, a man who feels like he had to fight through years of abuse and heartbreak, and now I’m about to become a part of a family with three boys, who might just need exactly that kind of knowledge, so that I can help them through their parents’ divorce. Is that how I want things to happen? No! But I’m better for it. I’m more prepared for future, harder trials because of it.

It’s easy for non-believers to point at the bad in the world and wail, “What sort of God would allow this?”

My response is a God who knows what’s to come. A God who’s calling others to action. A God who loves us enough to prepare us. Yes, he tests us. He allowed Satan to wipe out Job’s family. Job’s my favorite story. I don’t know that I could fill his example, but he suffered that so that he could be an example.

Jesus: God sent his only son to earth to die for our sins. Oddly, I’ve never heard anyone argue about that. I’ve never heard any non-believer say, “What father would ever sacrifice his son for anything?”

First off, Jesus also chose to die for our sins. He loved us so much he willingly died, obeying his father’s will and paying for all our sins.  How much do you imagine either actually enjoyed that?

I’m not saying don’t be sad. I’m not saying look to tragedy with a smile.  I’m simply stating my firm belief that as a child of God, everything that happens to me is for my own good.

Do you look forward to the next test?

Oh there’s no way that’s not coming. Even Peter was tested three times just as he denied Christ three times. Honestly, I don’t look forward to any of my trials or tests. Jesus didn’t skip to the cross and smile as they nailed him to it. He was, however, far more benevolent and honorable as he endured those things. So must I. No. I don’t look forward to it. But I do long to show God I can endure. That means I have to be put in a position to endure though doesn’t it?

If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading


Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 5

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 5

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.


I wish I could tell you I intended for this particular part of the story to fall on Easter Sunday, but honestly, I’m not planning very much. On the day Jesus rose from the dead, three days after he died on the cross for our sins, I felt it was important to clarify something.

I promised God I’d worship him. I promised him I’d testify. I wasn’t foolish enough to say I’d stop sinning. I can tell you how afraid I was. I told my brother at some point during the events I’ve already discussed, “I’m afraid to do anything. I’m afraid I’ll mess up, and God will punish me.”

That fear is still current even as I type this weeks later. The two greatest temptations were that of rage (I feel wrath would be an overdramatic word) and lust. While I tried to keep my calm and professionalism, I went into my command chaplain’s office one day because I’d realized I was gripping my podium, ready to literally (I’m using that word correctly) throw it across the room. I can’t even remember what happened at this point. Even as I reminded myself that whatever the student did was normal, I had to admit that I was angry. I was furious. I spoke to a few friends, and even considered asking about removing myself from the class. I realized I wanted to fight someone. I’m not being metaphorical. I honestly, truly, wanted someone to give me a reason to get into a fight. To help you see the perspective, I want you to understand that I’ve always felt physical violence was the most disgusting thing ever. If we can’t reach a point where words and calm discussion can’t resolve simple matters, we’re animals. For me, feeling that desire, honestly wanting to do that, was a warning flag for me.

So I went to my chaplain. The fact is I felt powerless, and I wanted a fight I could win (or at least could fight). I talked to him about it.

“Peter put away your sword,” he said.

That quote is given in both John 18:11 and Matthew 26:52. Most of the time, I talk to chaplain already knowing I’m wrong. I’m just looking for guidance on how to fix myself. I already had a few plans in place. My team knew what was going on and where my head was, and they have a good feel for me. It’s been weeks since that day, and while my temper has been tested, I haven’t so much as shouted. This is because of an extreme amount of prayer and a team of great people who know when to tell me to take a walk. At one point, one coworker even brought me my favorite feel-good food, a cookie with hot chocolate.  The point is, I felt those desires. Sure, it’s great I didn’t act on them (well…didn’t I?  See below); but we sin with our minds every bit as much as we sin with our body.  I struggle with this so much. On my best day, I think about sin a lot. Remember folks, sin is a much broader term than we’d like it to be. Being judgmental is a sin. Pride is a sin. I’m not (nor have I ever been) walking around plotting Darth Weechus levels of evil, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think things I know I shouldn’t.

At some point in this part of the story, my girlfriend was texting me. On my best day, I think texting is stupid. Texts annoy me. At that point, I was waiting for a call regarding my mom’s condition and well being. I was actually also in the process of typing the first part of this very story. She invited me over to hang out with her friends.

What I felt was temptation. I didn’t want to go hang out with her friends (I knew they lived near her). I wanted to go over there and bury my sadness and rage in lust. It felt like a test, which isn’t something I handle well.  I frankly called her and lectured her for a solid hour or so. I did that. Sure, I asked questions and let her give her side, but I didn’t listen. I had already (in my mind, and in my mind only) figured out what her angle was.

By that point, I felt like I was the rope in the world’s most competitive tug of war. It was a challenging time for my students. My girlfriend and I were already fighting our natural desire to be intimate. Oh, and my mom was sick. So I handled it poorly. We talked. I still handled that poorly. Then, after I had a few days to think, pray and talk to the chaplain, I got to the place I needed to be. My fears and emotions are as valid as anyone’s. The way I articulated and addressed the miscommunication was simply wrong on every level.  I apologized, and my girlfriend and I have since done an outstanding job of talking before things become too emotional to handle. We worked out a better plan, and I was honest.  It’s hard to be around her without wanting to have sex with her. This would be hard in any situation. In this instance, the temptation is that much stronger because it would feel good to lose myself in lust to forget my fear.

All I’d have to do is forget the fact that I told God I trusted him to handle this.

My number one head-scratcher in the world of faith is the idea of our salvation.

The easy math:

Believe and accept that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, and I’m in. Most people  I know do a great job with those deadly sins and such. Me, I was single for 38 years. I struggled with lust before I had a girlfriend. Before I met her, I’d been out with another woman who I’d actually had sex with. Before I met my girlfriend, I’d think every night. “All I have to do is ask.”  That might not literally be true, but I felt confident if I asked, it would happen.

Now I have someone who wants me every bit as much as I want her, but the fact is if we’re together before we get married, we’re sinning. I’m not going to stone anyone who had sex. (Remember above how I said I’d had sex only a few months before meeting the wonderful woman I’m with now? I’d had sex before that too.) I’m just saying I knew it was wrong when I did it, and I didn’t want to be wrong anymore.

That’s not accurate. I absolutely want to be wrong. And that’s where the struggle is.

The question: Does salvation remove temptation?

That day, the chaplain gave me a lot of comfort by telling me that’s not true. It’s hard to believe. You see, my boss is the most devout man I’ve ever known. I’ve seen people do down-right wrong things to or around him (work related).  The guy is unflappably calm. Now the chances might be he’s just way (waaaaaaaaaaaay) better at controlling his emotions than I am. I am, for the record, the worst at doing that. I need space. I need time to “feel.” I can find my professionalism, but I’d rather stop shoving it in a drawer until I need it.

I want to be the same way with my faith. My new quote (I like those) is that, “I wish the decision to do the right thing eliminated the temptation to do the wrong thing.”

It doesn’t. What’s also proven true though is every time I remind myself that God is working with me, it gets easier. The less I’m focused on God, the more likely I am to handle things the way I used to. So I have some more quotes (I told you I like them).

“Orient on God.” During a sermon, my girlfriend’s pastor said when you turn to God, you, by default, turn from sin. It’s like orienting on North.  I turned that phrase into something I can bark at myself when I need. I say it about every three times I think of my girlfriend. I don’t think it’s unusual for a man to desire the woman he’s with. I do think it’s lustful. I’m honestly not sure what the rule is once we’re married (if it’s God’s will that such an event happens), but we’ll be married, so I’m confident thinking about us doing things married folk are allowed to do will be less wrong if not okay.  I also focus on the other things that are great about her. I think about her endless optimism and her child-like desire to be helpful. These are reasons why I feel the way I feel about her. I want her for those reasons, and the fact that she’s hot. That’s not love; it’s lust.  So when I catch myself thinking about “taking her” rather than being with her for all the other reasons she’s wonderful, I order myself to orient on God. I might have to say that some 20-30 times a day for a number of reasons. I’m mad about work. A student was particularly uncooperative. The order helps me, and maybe it’ll help you.

I think of it like turning to God when I want to turn to sin.

“God’s will in God’s time.” This is what I say when my famous impatience get’s unruly. When I want work to run smoothly, and someone walks in and plops a hefty dose of extra work in my lap.  I think of it when my mom has a bad day at the doctor. My impatience is all about my desire for God to bless me right now. That’s not how he works.

My fear is that someone has been reading this and wondering at how Christian I’ve been. I wanted to be blunt and honest about just how hard it has been. I was tempted every day before my mom got sick. Those temptations are honestly stronger now. Orienting my thoughts on God and remembering that all things come at His will in His time helps me control it, but I’ve broken. I’ve broken a few times in several regards. While my girlfriend and I still haven’t been together, that doesn’t mean I’ve been pure. Also, remember that we sin with our thoughts. Sure, I turned away from that sin (thinking of her) back to God, but that also means I turned from God (even if only for an instant) to sin. I’ll be judged for that. I’ll be held accountable.

Good Friday is when we remember Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He stands at God’s right hand to advocate on our behalf. Those who believe in him aren’t judged. God disregards their sin. (At least as I understand it from sermons I’ve attended. I’d like to be notified if I’m wrong about this.)

That brings me back to that struggle I mentioned above.

Truth: The decision to do the right thing does not eliminate the desire to do the wrong thing.

Truth: We were, are, and will be sinners our whole lives. Jesus is the one and only perfect person ever.

Question: Does that mean I can sin as much as I want because I know Jesus died for those sins?

Answer: By no means. Romans 6:2.

Yes, I’ll break. I have broken. The task is to fight. Every day, I want to wake up closer to God, even if it’s only fraction of a millimeter closer. Those thoughts of mine come unbidden.

I mentioned that to God. Part of that is a result of learned thinking.  So now I have to learn to fight the addiction of sin as a concept, a drug. That’s something I’ll struggle with for a long time. Even after (if) I’m married. My temper is still there. I’m not a violent temper guy. I mean it when I say I think physical violence is disgusting. But man can I say some hurtful things. What I’m thinking and how judgmental I’m being when I have those thoughts are still sins.

So me and my two verbal reset buttons will continue to be good companions for the rest of my life. Because if I start sinning just because I believe Jesus died for those sins, even if it worked that way (it doesn’t), I’m basically sinning and chucking at Christ’s own crucifixion. In my mind, every time I sin, no matter how great or small, I hang him back up on that cross. Please note, that’s not accurate in reality or doctrine, it’s just how I feel. He only had to die the one time for my sins. But how many times have I had to remember that after I sinned? I’m human, and I acknowledge the fact that I’m a sinner. I just want to be less so.

As time goes on, I still struggle with this. I feel it every minute of every day, and sometimes I snap in some regard. I don’t throw podiums or shout (well, I shout but never  at a specific person). This is hard. I feel like every single moment of my life is this epic struggle for not just my soul but my mom’s well being. I don’t think it’s accurate to say God will take my mom if I sin. I’m honestly not sure about that, but I feel like that’s the case. To make it worse, I’m telling you all frankly I have sinned.

Do you understand that? Forget (for an instant) that I feel like sinning puts Christ back on the cross. I even fear that doing so actually puts my mom’s life at risk. I’ve had some people tell me that’s not the case. I don’t honestly know what The Bible says in this regard. Regardless, I still did it.

So I wake up some days feeling just so guilt-ridden. I pray for forgiveness. But mostly I pray for more strength. What I honestly want is less temptation. There are some shows I used to watch on NETFLIX. I don’t watch them. TV doesn’t make me sin, but it sure makes me want to. I don’t put myself in too many compromising positions. My girlfriend and I have actual exit strategies because I know if I make it anywhere near her car, I’m going to lose control. (Not like some sort of monster. But we want to have sex.) So we know that any opportunity to have sex is basically the decision to have sex.

Watch out for those fake tests. I do. Before I call a sibling I might be mad at, I talk to someone. I get information. I make sure I take the time to sort out my feelings and gain a sense of grace before I unleash my temper and sharp judgmental opinions on someone I love.

I’m not perfect. I’m not sitting here free of sin and blame patiently waiting for my mom to be rid of this cancer. I’m fighting. I’m fighting every moment to resit that temptation. Even imagining the cost (whether that price is biblically accurate or not), I give in. But then I have to move on. I have to try harder and be better.

The more I’ve done it, the easier it’s gotten. Those first weeks I was saying my little verbal resets about three or four times an hour (I actually counted one day). Now, I feel a smidgen of pride when a lustful or judgmental thought pops into my head. I’m shocked, humiliated and ashamed of the thought. I orient on God and move on. (Some days I still need those orders a lot more than others).   The pride comes from how long it’s been since I’ve even thought about it.

I just didn’t want people thinking this trail has gone on without evidence of my unworthiness. The simple fact is I’m unworthy. But I still believe my efforts and work with Jesus will lead to the miracle of my mom’s health. David sinned in (I think it was) 2 Samuel. David was held accountable, but God didn’t abandon him.

Goodness I think every book in the Old Testament is essentially a rerun of the Israelites turning from God, getting punished and then welcomed back. I’m in 2 Kings now, and God has taken kings and tribe members back over and over again. The only thing more constant than his sovereignty is his forgiveness for those who repent.

I just wish I didn’t have to repent so much.



Questions and Revelations

You hate violence? You were in the military?

Yes, and as a Sailor, I protected my country from those who wanted to inflict violence upon it. We protected. Sometimes we went on the offensive, but only with information and reason to believe our country was in danger. Also, I never hit, punched, shouted at or killed anyone. In my 10 years of service, I only had to raise my rifle in combat one time (for about three seconds). I’m grateful I never had to pull the trigger or even aim at a person. Would I have? Yes, because we were in a bad place looking for bad people who we already knew wanted to hurt us. Don’t mistake violence and protection. At least not as I see them. We in the military protect our country. We don’t just bomb people because they didn’t do their homework before a global meeting.

What kind of sin are we talking about?

I think about my boss and Christian friends here a lot. They seem so perfect to me. So one day, I sat down with a few of them and simply spoke candidly about my my temptations and my struggles.

There are people who walk to work (not my work, I say with pride) and brag about that girl they met or that place they went last night.

Why can’t we even talk in the most private areas about the sins against which we’re struggling?

Half my struggle comes from the shame I feel at even acknowledging my temptation. I’m not just ashamed at the desire. I’m ashamed because a good number of people I know (and even those I love) would think it’s ridiculous to feel ashamed for wanting to have sex with my girlfriend.

For the record, I’m not going to publicly itemize my current list of sinful desires and feelings.  I can click on the “Fantasy” search bar on my blog to look for a review on a book and find all sorts of other types of “fantasy” information, but where does one go to talk openly about their actual temptations in order to fight them?

It isn’t any church I’ve been too. It isn’t anywhere I know of. Then I just asked someone. I sat down with two of the finest Christians I know and asked them to hear me out. They offered to double date with my girlfriend and me. They offered an open ear when I wanted to work through my anger and judgement. I almost always feel I know the right thing to do, and those who disagree are wrong, even if in a well-meaning way.  It’s worse because I usually find a number of people agree with my thoughts.  That’s true. I’m very logical. I’m logical and rational to a sinful degree. Logic and reason don’t make me right.

I think we Christians need a “safe space.” I said above it’s no church I’ve been to, but I’ve seen some pretty bad churches, and I’ve never felt safe in one since my mother divorced my bio-dad. So your church might have one. Everyone needs it. We need someone to speak to frankly. I’m having lustful thoughts. I’m having judgmental thoughts. Pray with me. Help me turn from this sin.

It’s so unfortunate we live in a world where it’s socially acceptable to talk and laugh about sins we commit, but no the moment someone says, “Hey, I’m trying to avoid this,” they’re met with mockery or judgement.

My advice for those listeners? Don’t mock a person. Don’t challenge them. If someone says, “I’m trying to be less judgmental,” don’t reply with, “That jerk is wrong, and you’re fine pointing it out.”  Maybe open The Bible and look up passages that relate. If you’re not a person of faith, you can still help anyone struggling with sin. You can listen. You can offer to distract them. I have one friend who distracts me with talk about books.  I don’t think he’s religious at all (we haven’t spoken about it at length). I think my coworkers are just amazing examples of how to help.

How much better is it?

I have good days and bad. I go on some win streaks I think are impressive. Before my girlfriend, and before my mom got sick, I struggled against sin, but I almost always lost. I think my own soul wasn’t worth enough in my own eyes. I’m like that. I don’t actually care too much about myself in some ways. (I promise I make up for it with selfishness in other ways.) But I typically think others are more important than I am. I didn’t (and maybe I still don’t) think enough of the worth of my soul. But my mom’s well being? That’s worth anything to me. I have slumps too. But those friends I mentioned above are critical then. I hope you feel how I feel one day. This security knowing I can turn to someone. I can say, “Hey, I’m thinking of sinning,” and not only will they not judge or condemn me, but they’ll also do their best to help me orient on God.

You said you sinned, do you honestly worry that sin might cost your mom her health?

Dude, God wiped out entire bloodlines for sin. 2 Kings is pretty much a literal record of, “That guy sinned in God’s eyes, so his family was wiped off the face of the earth.”  The overzealous people I refer to as Bible-thumpers love pointing out those sections of The Bible. But I’m actively reading that book right now. Those sinners are willfully, without remorse or contrition, sinning and worshiping other gods. If you read the rest of it, while all who sin were punished (and they were), the punishments for those who repent and show remorse are far different than the others.

I talk about David and how he got a man killed so David could have his wife. He took her, she became pregnant. God said that baby would die, and it happened. God didn’t stop that from happening. David showed remorse. He did everything he could to act right after the sin, but it didn’t stop the punishment God said would come. However, that same woman bore David another child. I’m not saying, “Don’t worry, they made another.” I’m simply pointing out that David was still given blessings even after being punished.

Why should anyone follow a God who’d kill a baby just to punish someone?

Well, I struggle with a direct answer. First, God didn’t pop down and smite the baby. The baby just died (I think I remember it had gotten sick).  There are things I’m still trying to work out. One thing though: Dude, David killed a man just so he could have sex with the guy’s wife. Some may argue, kill David. I’m not in any way going to pretend to know God’s will or plan. What I do know though is that David did a lot of things afterward that helped establish Israel, and his children had a lot more to do. What could that child have done? Anything. It was a baby, and I don’t want any baby to die, born or not if we’re speaking on the record. I can’t tell you why you should do anything. What I can say with confidence is that God punishes sin, but he still forgives and grants blessings to those who show remorse. I’m honestly terrified every time I catch myself fantasizing about my girlfriend. One time, my sister called. If I’m being honest, I was in the middle of a particularly vivid and long lasting fantasy. I saw that call and nearly had a heart attack. (As I type this, My mom is still well for those who might be worried at this point).  It doesn’t stop me. That fear, keeps me in line a lot more than the desire for blessings do.

If any who are more trained and understanding of scripture care to chime in here I’m happy to listen.
If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading