Visits From A Man Named Nobody 45

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 45

PT1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 // PT 12 // PT 13 // PT 14 // PT 15 // PT 16 // PT 17 // PT 18 // PT 19 // PT 20 // PT 21 // PT 22 // PT 23 // PT 24 // PT 25 // PT 26 // PT 27 // PT 28 // PT 29 // PT 30 // PT 31 // PT 32 // PT 33 // PT 34 // PT 35 // PT 36 // PT 37 // PT 38 // PT 39 // PT 40 // PT 41 // PT 42 // PT 43 // PT 44 //

Her hand in his sent shivers along his body. She led him down a hallway, and all he could do was stare at her hair as it swished around her long, slender neck. She opened a door and guided him into a bedroom. 

An enormous bed dominated the room. It had a red quilt that matched the color of the wooden frame. A vanity sat along the far wall. She stepped over to the it and pointed at another door.

“Bathroom is in there,” Stacy opened a drawer and started shifting through its contents. “Take off your shirt.”

“Um, what?” Paul stood dumbfounded trying to look at the door and Stacy at the same time. 

She turned around, holding a white pull-over t-shirt. “You gonna wear that beer covered shirt for the rest of the party?” One of her eyebrows curled up. 

Paul shrugged. He took the shirt and went into the bathroom before taking off the old shirt.  When pulled the soiled shirt off, he saw Nobody sitting on the white lid of the toilet.

Paul cursed in shock. 

“What’s wrong?” Stacy asked from the bedroom.

“Nothing,” Paul lied, staring at Nobody. “I just almost tripped is all.”

“This path only ends in heartbreak.” Nobody spoke softly. Apparently he didn’t want Stacy to know he was there any more than Paul did. 

“What are you doing here!?” It was hard to shout while whispering, but Paul managed it. 

Other than the sink and the toilet on which Nobody sat, the only other fixture was a bathtub. A muted-glass wall with a small door topped the rim of the tub, allowing it to serve as a shower without the use of a curtain.

“What are you expecting to happen?” Typical. He ignored Paul’s question to ask one of his own.

“Even you have to know what I’m hoping to get out of this. You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t at least possible,” Paul whispered even after turning on the sink faucet to cover the conversation. 

“Why her?” Nobody asked.

“Have you seen her?” Paul asked in reply. 

“Is she special?” Nobody asked. “She certainly isn’t your wife.”

The fire that always lived deep in Paul’s chest seemed to grow hotter. “I’m not a little boy you can just order around.” The words came out in a growl. “I even know where you’re going with this, but Bill died. He died never having what he wanted.”

“Do you truly think Bill regretted not having sex?” Nobody asked. 

“I’m sure he regretted a lot of things.” Paul used one of the towels that hung on a rack fixed to the door. He wet a part of it and used it to wipe his chest and stomach. “I’m not going to let go of an opportunity like this.” 

“One of the great lies of sin is the idea that what you think you want is going to satisfy you,” Nobody said. 

Paul smiled, turning the towel so he could dry off. “I have every intention of being satisfied.”

Nobody’s head sank. He stood up and opened the small door of the combination bath and shower. “Is that really all she is to you?”

“She’s smart, beautiful, and successful,” Paul said. “Any guy would be lucky to have her.”

“But is it that you want from her?” Paul felt Nobody’s eyes lock onto is own despite the opaque mask he wore. 

“I don’t know, but I know I want this,” Paul replied. 

Nobody carefully stepped into the shower. 

Paul chuckled. “Are you seriously going to teleport from in there?”

Nobody paused with the door half shut. “Did you want to talk about how I do it?” His head turned back to the door to the bedroom. “Or did you have other things on your mind.”

Paul looked from Nobody to the door. He only got more angry. “You’re not going to take this from me. You wouldn’t tell me how it works anyway.”

“No,” Nobody replied. “I wouldn’t. He shut the door.” 

Paul watched as the plexiglass flared with bright light. As always, the temperature seemed to dip to freezing, swing to boiling and shift back to normal as the light of the teleportation burst to life. 

He turned around and turned off the sink faucet. Then he put on the plain shirt Stacy had given him. He looked in the mirror. Bill died without so much as enjoying one moment of being in a relationship. Paul refused to miss out on those same things. Of course, that didn’t mean he was guaranteed to get what he wanted. He took a few deep breaths, and walked out.

Stacy sat on the bed. She was beautiful. She wore a strange smile that Paul felt both encouraged and confused by. 

“You’re more shy than I thought you’d be,” she said. 

Paul shrugged. “I don’t really know what to say.”

They both laughed. “You’re weird,” she said. 

“I don’t think I’m weird,” he replied.

“You are.” She used her hand to pat a spot on the bed beside her. “Let’s talk.”

Paul sat down. Next to her, he could smell whatever perfume she wore. He couldn’t identify the scent, but it might as well have been some sort of magic potion. It seemed to cloud his thoughts. “I don’t want to miss out in life.” 

“What would you miss out on?” she asked. 

“Someone … “ His voice caught. “Someone close to me died a while back.”

Her face and posture shifted. She frowned. “Who?”

Paul shook his head. “It’s hard to explain. Can we talk about you for a while.”

She tilted her head. “What do you want to know?”

He looked into her eyes. “Everything.” 

They talked for what seemed like forever. She told him about growing up. She told him about her goals to have her own business. He just listened. It was much easier to listen to her talk than to think about his life. She talked about growing up. She talked about getting into college. 

“Isn’t this boring?” She laughed and shifted as if she meant to stand. 

He snatched her hand. “No!” He smiled. “It’s not boring at all. You’re amazing.”

“I’ve just been talking.” She chuckled softly, letting herself settle back down onto the bed. “I didn’t think you’d listen to all of that.”

Paul smiled. “I already told you. I want to know everything.”

She returned the smile. She leaned in, gently kissing his lips. He was nervous at first. It felt like all of his muscles came to life at once. He held himself back for a moment, afraid to let his desire take over. Then she grabbed his head and climbed onto his lap. After that, they both let their passion run wild.

… to be continued …

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 44

Visits From A Man Named Nobody 44

PT1 // PT 2 // PT 3 // PT 4 // PT 5 // PT 6 // PT 7 // PT 8 // PT 9 // PT 10 // PT 11 // PT 12 // PT 13 // PT 14 // PT 15 // PT 16 // PT 17 // PT 18 // PT 19 // PT 20 // PT 21 // PT 22 // PT 23 // PT 24 // PT 25 // PT 26 // PT 27 // PT 28 // PT 29 // PT 30 // PT 31 // PT 32 // PT 33 // PT 34 // PT 35 // PT 36 // PT 37 // PT 38 // PT 39 // PT 40 // PT 41 // PT 42 // PT 43 //

Paul and Jordan arrived at the Sigma Alpha Sigma sorority house more than an hour after the party’s scheduled start time. Paul didn’t really know the rules of a party, but he felt certain that showing up at the start time was considered uncool.  The four-story building seemed to be jumping with music. It was an effort not to stare at it. They weren’t the sort of people to be invited to these sorts of places. 

“I don’t think I’m going to go in,” Jordan said.

“What?” Paul asked. “Why not?”

Jordan gave him a flat look. 

“What good is it being all religious if you’re never going to have fun?” Paul asked.

Jordan jabbed a thumb at the sorority house. “What they’re doing in there might seem like fun, and maybe some of them are great people, but the majority?” Jordan shrugged. “Dude, they’re in there to get drunk and get laid. It’s not about actual fun; it’s about gratification.”

“Maybe I need a little gratification.” Paul said. 

Jordan gave him a look of pity, which bothered Paul.

“Dude you can do or not do whatever you want, but don’t get all judgmental on me,” Paul said.

Jordan closed his eyes as if Paul had just called him a name. He took a deep breath. “Fair enough. You have a right to do what you want, and I know you like Stacy. Just, just be careful, ok?”

“You’re really not coming in?” Paul asked.

Jordan shook his head. “It’s not about not having fun. I think all those people in there think they’re having a great time. But tomorrow half of them will be hungover, and another percentage will walk to their dorms in shame, regretting the fun they thought they were having. Go in there and take Stacy out on a real date. Get to know her.”

“That would be really great,” Paul said smiling and raising his eyebrows. 

“Not that way!” Jordan said. “Sure, she’s pretty, but what do you like about her?”

“You just said she’s pretty,” Paul replied.

“Lot’s of girls are pretty,” Jordan said.

“Not as pretty as her.” Paul smiled again. “If you’re not coming, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jordan returned the smile. “OK.” He at least made an effort to hide his disapproval, which Paul supposed was something. 

Paul turned around and looked at the door. He had no interest in the drinking, but he wanted Stacy. Maybe it was shallow, but was there anything wrong with a man wanting a woman? How did relationships really start without physical attraction anyway?

Paul climbed up the three stone steps to the building’s large oak door. He pressed the doorbell and waited. The already ear-bursting volume of the music seemed to triple when the door opened revealing a short brunette wearing a sleek black pullover dress. 

She was smiling when she opened the door, but one glance at Paul caused her to frown. “Um … “ 

She jerked and looked at her PID.  The invitation link must have pinged her device. She shrugged as she glanced at the notification. “Come on in.”

Paul walked in. He hardly got both feet inside without having to push through the crowd. Was it legal to have this many people in one place? Paul turned sideways to maneuver past two dancing women and had to pull one kissing couple apart to get by. They only grunted, pulling away from each other for the second it took to let Paul past. Paul had never understood the cliche “bull in a China shop” until that moment.

“Woooo!” A male student, who wasn’t wearing a shirt, passed by with a clear plastic cup full of some drink or another. “Welcome to the party!”

Beer splashed on Paul’s face before he even knew what was happening. Paul could hardly see. He sputtered and tried to wipe his face. 

“Dude! Don’t waste it!” the student said chuckling. “Respect the brew, man!” The cup only had about another centimeter in it, but the man tossed it back and let out another wail, walking away.

Paul was preoccupied with trying to get the alcohol out of his eyes. 

“Not really used to this kind of scene are you?” Even despite the amused derision, Paul knew Stacy’s voice.

He took another moment to use what used to be a nice button-up shirt to wipe up his face. However angry he was, he was that much more determined to talk to her.

“Worth it if I get to see you.” He gave what he hoped was a winning smile. 

She laughed and shook her head. “Flattery got my attention,” she said. “But what got you in the door was how nice you were.”

“Nice?” It was strange. Paul had to basically shout to be heard, but he doubted anyone outside a one-foot radius could hear him. 

“When you helped that cafeteria worker,” Stacy said. 

“That?” Paul asked. “I was just cleaning up a mess.”

“You didn’t have to,” she said. 

“I didn’t have to throw my food all over the place either, but I did. Well, we already discussed whose fault that is,” Paul replied.

Stacy frowned at him. Her brown stare grew harsh. Why? Didn’t he just compliment her.

“So what, you’re just going to stare at me and tell me I’m pretty?” Her tone frosted over. It was almost like she was a different person. 

“Well,” Paul thought for a moment. Something Jordan said before he left seemed to echo in his mind. “Look,” he said after another second of thought. “What I want is to get to know you. Yeah, you’re pretty, and I bet a lot of guys are into you. Yes, I’m one of those guys, but I’m not just after you for, well, you know.”

She gave him a skeptical look, but she seemed to be at least calming down. “You want a drink?”

He shook his head. “I don’t drink.”

Her lip quirked in what might have been a smirk. “You don’t drink.”

“No,” he said. 

She shrugged, but her posture seemed to shift again. Did he just pass some sort of test? “Come on,” she said. “I’ll show you where you can clean your face and maybe find another shirt.”

She grabbed his hand and proceeded to guide him up the large spiral staircase that lead out of the main floor where the bulk of the partygoers were frolicking.

… to be continued …

Musings on Christianity 42

Musings on Christianity 42

The Choice That Ultimately Determines Other Choices

We’re approaching a discussion on what is expressly forbidden by the word of God. That is where the rubber essentially meets the road. One can not truly discuss Christianity without eventually discussing those things that are expressly forbidden.

Before I begin considering this matter, I must first take a step back and ask why any organization would need rules. It seems silly for me to have to do this, but it is actually necessary.  You see, when a college star joins the NFL, he agrees to follow the NFL Code of Conduct. No one blinks.  When a young person decides to join the military, they swear to uphold the Constitution and obey the Uniform Code of Military Justice. No one blinks. My point is that people freely join groups, and they accept the boundaries that group places on them. When one decides to work somewhere, there are rules and policies in place that everyone at that place of business is required to follow. No one blinks.

But ask a Christian what is right in accordance to their faith, and suddenly people climb out of the wood work to talk about how right or wrong these rules are. I won’t deny that some people who claim to be Christian make this situation more difficult. This is because the Bible doesn’t exactly have a long list of expressed sins. It really doesn’t! I’m not even talking about those sins that are currently hot debates in today’s society. I’m currently talking about people adding to faith, which ironically is a sin in and of itself. That’s right. Adding to the word of God is a sin, so anyone who adds a burden to the faith that isn’t expressly forbidden by the word of God is actually a violation of the word of God.

It frustrates me when people try to use my faith as a platform to push their own agenda. It’s ugly. A Christian’s primary duty is to love God. Then there are those who seek to be God’s avenger. God doesn’t need an avenger. Vengeance belongs to him. He’s perfectly capable of meting out justice, and He’s even ordained the day when he will separate the saved from the damned. I don’t have any business punishing people for what they do. However, those God places in authority are responsible for upholding the law. God granted them full authority to judge and prosecute offenders. He ordained this in Exodus and confirmed this ordinance in Romans (among other sections of the Bible).

I’m just a guy, so it’s not my job to judge anyone—except myself and my family. This is because I am the head of my family, and I am responsible for my own actions. No, I won’t attempt to punish anyone who violates an expressed Biblical command unless that person is a member of my family, and even then, just as God has granted me mercy through Christ, I too may be merciful if I deem it appropriate. Any parent can punish a child for, say, not doing homework. Or a parent could simply rebuke the child and leave it there. This is an example of my point.

When I sin, sometimes my wife (or another brother or sister in Christ) lovingly rebukes my sin. It’s never fun, but I respect those rebukes because I respect the faith. People sometimes balk, and rightly so, at some of the “rules” churches put on their congregation. For me, the rules a church has should be based on the word of God and nothing else. This is one reason I love my church so much. It takes Biblical discipline very seriously. It’s also very careful what rules it enforces.

What might scare some people is that some organizations have rules and forces others to follow them. They’re called cults. But there is a difference between a cult, which seeks to dominate and possess people, and any other sane organization. A cult seeks to possess and own. I can leave my church tomorrow, and nothing would change except the place in which I choose to worship. Even Christ gave people the choice. They could choose to follow Him or not.

What happens, however, is that even non Christians understand the implication of those words. Christians, as I mentioned in an earlier chapter, believe that Christ is the only way to Heaven. Therefore, those who don’t follow Christ aren’t going. It’s as simple as that.

If I’m wrong, I’m doomed anyway, and what does it do to anyone else? I’ve mentioned this several times, so it’s time to look at it from another perspective.

Ultimately every person must decide what he or she believes. Is Christianity right or wrong? One must choose.

Those who choose Christianity is wrong can do whatever it is they want. They can choose another religion, but they must then submit to the rules of that religion. One day, we’ll die and figure out who was right. My point is, if one decides Christianity is wrong, they are completely at liberty to do whatever it is they decide to do within the confines of the civilization in which they live. Of course, no American is free to walk around murdering people. That’s against the laws of this nation. But they may choose to do things that violate Christian law so long as it doesn’t violate state or federal law. 

If they’re wrong, they’re doomed just as I am doomed if I am wrong.

Those people who choose Christianity is wrong may simply choose to follow no religion at all. They can do whatever is right in their own eyes. They’re still at the mercy of the state and federal laws of wherever they live, but the rest is a decision they hold the right to choose.

If they’re wrong, they’re doomed just as I am doomed if I am wrong.

Those who choose Christianity is right must then submit to the rules established by God’s word. How can one say, “I truly believe Christ is the only way into Heaven,” and then do things Christ expressly forbids? The one who makes this choice must realize and accept that following Him is a decision they’ve already made.

That creates a lot of pressure from one point of view, but we remember that Christ isn’t just our master. He’s also our advocate. When we sin, just as any sin must be paid for, we can realized that Christ has already paid for that sin. When we’re tempted, we can turn to Christ for strength because He also was tempted (see Matthew Chapter 4). Even when we fail, we can still turn to Him for mercy and forgiveness because He understands what it means to be tempted. We don’t sin without remorse because we want to be like Him, but we rejoice in his forgiveness because He has paid for our sins and speaks on our behalf with the Father.

All of this is only relevant if one chooses Christianity as their faith. That single choice demands the rest of these ideals also be accepted.

If Christianity is wrong, Christians are doomed just as others are doomed if they are wrong.

I have to establish this before I can discus other, more emotionally charged, topics. If you are one who passionately believes Christianity is wrong, then the rules of a Christian life are naturally going to be equally abhorrent to you. But if one takes a step back and says, “He’s a Christian, so he’s going to believe these things,” one can choose to either listen for understanding or walk away because they already know they disagree with the principle any Christian should stand on.

However, if one chooses Christianity is right, then those things Christ expressly forbids must be accepted and avoided.

I don’t know how many atheists really balk at Christian values. I really don’t. But I’ve seen plenty of Christians argue over Biblical law. That’s the thing I don’t understand. If you don’t want to follow Christian laws, then don’t be a Christian. I’m not casting anyone out of anything. I’m not “kicking you out” of the club or “turning my back” on you.

Two people sit down to a game of cards. The game goes on for a while until a man makes a play that’s illegal.

“You can’t do that,” the first man says.

“Why not?” the opponent asks.

“Because it’s against the rules,” the first man explains.

“That rule is stupid! I’m not playing anymore.”  The opponent gets up and leaves.

Anyone who chooses a way of life must then live in accordance to that way. In this, Christianity isn’t any different. No one is forcing anyone to be Christian, not even Christ. However, anyone who chooses to do anything must do so in accordance to the rules.

Just like that game of cards above, the rules to Christianity are in a very-easily located rule book, The Bible. You can read it and decide you want to do what it says (as well as any fleshly person can), or you can read it and decide you don’t want to do what it says.

Again, that is the first choice that determines every other choice. But if people can simply understand that is the most important choice, maybe they could at least accept those differences and live in peace.

I’m a Christian. I’m going to vote in accordance to my faith. I’m going to raise my children in accordance to my faith. I’m going to treat my wife in accordance to my faith. I’m going to work in accordance to my faith. I’m not perfect. I’m going to make mistakes. So I have fellow Christians who can guide and correct me when I make a mistake just as anyone I play cards with might remind me of a rule I have to follow. They don’t do this so that my game is less fun. They do this so that I can keep playing.

The guy at work who comes to me and reminds me I should be working isn’t trying to ruin my life. He’s trying to keep me from getting into trouble or even getting fired.

The same is true of Christianity. Discipline, which is training, not punishment, isn’t to hurt the individual, it’s to help them. The more we remember that, the more we appreciate those who keep us in line.

For our panel: Why is it people are so passionate about debating what Christians should and shouldn’t do? Why are some people so ready to claim to be Christians and yet still so unwilling to obey clearly-expressed laws of God? Can people have it both ways? Can people say they’re Christian and still do whatever the feel is right? Why not? Are Christian rules put in place to control us or make our lives miserable?

Sonnets For My Savior 38

Sonnets For My Savior 38

Heavenly Father

Let me teach as You have taught.

Let me love as You have loved.

Let me raise my sons as I ought.

Let them feel instructed not judged.

Let me be patient, as You are patient.

Let me be merciful, as You are Merciful.

I believe this is the purpose for which I was sent.

Work through my hands so I may be fruitful.

You are the example I can never perfectly replicate.

You are the perfect Father, I wish to faithfully represent.

Everything You do, I wish to emulate.

Honoring You is my intent.

You’ve blessed me with the task of raising these boys.

Let me do so, LORD, with Your grace, mercy, and poise.



Things That Pull My Eyes From You

This world is full of temptations.

Money and fame.

I know that If I turn to those distractions,

I alone carry the blame. 

Money isn’t worth the treasures you give,

but I’m tempted to chase after it.

Cash won’t give me the true life I seek to live.

Please protect me so I wont become preoccupied with it.

The love of the world isn’t real,

but I often wish I had it.

Nothing compares to how Your love makes me feel.

Please help me stay focused on it.

I confess these thing sometimes pull my eyes from You.

Please forgive me and help me to glorify You in all I do.



Abide in Love

He is love.

Abide in this, and you abide in Him.

We know sons of the Lord above,

Because we love each other as we love Him.

You can’t love God and hate your brother.

Any who says otherwise lies.

If We can’t feel love when we see one another,

We can’t love God, who we can’t see with our eyes.

Those who have love have no need to fear.

Perfect love casts fear out.

Those who hold the Lord dear

Have His love, and they need not doubt.

Let all brothers live with love inside them,

For those who have love will always have Him.




Trust is shown in obedience.

Militaries rely on personnel who do as they’re told.

Why then delay or seek lenience?

Why resist and pretend you are bold?

God is above all,

And he places our leaders over us.

Failing to answer the call

Only displays the rebellion inside us.

God is wise. 

All he does is for His glory and our good.

If we want Him to bless our lives,

We must submit to his authority and do as we should.

Just as a loving parent teaches and leads his children,

We show God our love by doing as we are bidden.




Light came with a word.

Man was made from dust.

Every thing that has ever occurred,

He has used for good, for He is just.

Every star was placed with care.

Every planet was set to spin just so.

He’s done more than we are aware.

He’s given us more than we’ll ever know.

The same God who placed every blade of grass,

numbered the hairs on your head.

There is no one who can surpass

the God who carefully placed every grain of dirt on which you tread.

There is no one who could ever be greater,

than our God, our Father, our Creator.




Rejoice, little children;

you are forgiven.

Rejoice, little children.

You have life through the gift Christ has given.

Rejoice, young men;

you have over come the evil one.

Rejoice, young men;

you are forgiven for all you do or have ever done.

Rejoice, fathers;

you know Him who is from the beginning.

Rejoice, fathers;

you are cleansed, and do not practice sinning.

Rejoice, all mankind;

Christ has died for you, and through Him, you have peace of mind.



Deeds, Not Words

Let us not love in word or talk

but in deed and in truth.

Any man can speak, but some men’s words are worth any stock.

Some men keep lies hidden behind every tooth.

Many worship with their lips,

but their hearts are far from Him.

A man who dances around the truth eventually trips.

A man can’t claim he loves anything if he turns from it on a whim.

Love is an action one takes.

Love is sacrifice.

Love is when every decision one makes,

is for the better of whom he loves no matter the price.

If your love is true,

let it be displayed in everything that you do.

Sonnets For My Savior 15

Sonnets For My Savior 15

He Is Both

He is faithful when His justice falls.

He is faithful when His grace abounds.

He is faithful to those who offer Him their call.

He is both justice and grace, and that truth astounds.

To us, His judgments are unsearchable;

His ways are inscrutable,

but through justice or grace, He is wonderful,

and His sovereignty is irrefutable.

We are all deserving of His wrath,

for us His grace is a gift.

Those who walk with Christ have found the right path,

for only He can, our burdens, lift.

For God provides justice and grace the same,

and He does so to glorify His own Holy Name.


Wisdom and Understanding

It was the command Joshua gave his people when they received their land.

Solomon left it as wisdom for his sons to follow.

Behold! The Lord’s wrath is something against no man can stand.

Better are those who stand in his light and wallow.

When one seeks wisdom,

there is one place to start.

Think what would please the ruler of the Heavenly kingdom,

what would one do if he would chase after God’s heart?

Moses said it was for our survival.

Those who do this receive great goodness.

Our sovereign God has no rival,

and those who see him correctly depart from foolishness.

Fear of the Lord is what wisdom is

For he who turns from evil, understanding is his.


Deliver Me Not Into Temptation

Save me, oh God and deliver me,

for my flesh is weak.

The standard Your Son sets is far from me,

and without Him all my hopes are bleak.

Temptation whispers in my ears.

I see them, though I gouge out my eyes.

Sin promises to remove my fears.

Evil promises to make me wise.

But I need fear nothing when You are with me.

Wisdom is simply a proper fear of You.

Be with me, God, and set me free.

Provide for me a way out, as Your word says You do.

Have mercy on Your creation,

Deliver me not into temptation.


Without Him

Without Him I would lay down, but never sleep.

Without Him fear ruled in my heart.

Behold the harvest I did reap

when my pride held You apart.

My enemies surrounded me;

each of them lived within my flesh.

My despair was as vast as the sea,

and I awoke every day with my suffering made fresh.

But my pain humbled me,

and I submitted to your Holy Will.

Now my heart is finally free,

for the giants in my heart, you did kill.

Now I sleep when I lie down and night,

and I wake up because of your sustaining light.


Trust In Your Grace

My spirit knows what it should do,

and it is willing.

Yet my flesh is weak, and I seek strength through You

to face the test that I am taking.

The memory of my former self calls

though that sinner was crucified with Your Son.

Let that that former me stay buried, oh Lord, lest temptation befall.

I take comfort, for Jesus faced sin and won.

I trust your grace is sufficient for my needs

and praise your Glorious faithfulness.

Though fleshly temptation still calls me to sinful deeds,

Your spirit calls me to righteousness.

My own evil desires seek to drag me away!
I seek the way out that I might stay faithful today.


How A Man Lives

Let us be filled by Your Spirit through Your scripture;

let this be our morning bread.

Your Word is our plentiful pasture;

your word is how we’re fed.

Our stomachs need protein and grain,

but our spirit’s need for You is greater still.

Those who seek to fill their flesh do so in vain,

but those who seek Your word shall always have their fill.

What good is it to sustain our flesh

if our spirits die of starvation?

Let the Word make our spirits fresh,

and help us grow in sanctification.

Since the time of the Exodus, it has been known

that man doesn’t live by bread alone.


Every Time

The people did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.

They forgot him and served others.

The Lord gave them to into brutal hands as was his right,

but then sent them a Judge from among their brothers.

The cycle repeated over and again,

Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, and more,

were sent as prophets, both women and men.

Serve the Lord, God, they did implore.

Each time peace returned for a while.

But then their hearts would return to wicked ways.

So God would place them in circumstances most vile,

and His people would beg for a return to better days.

True, God pushed his people for every crime,

but, after they repented and called on Him, he saved them every time.

Sonnets for My Savior 11

Sonnets for My Savior 11

He Came

He was promised when Eve was deceived.

He was promised when Moses led the Jews.

All the prophets who came were disbelieved.

From Moses to the Baptist, they were abused for their news.

Isaiah said he would come as a baby.

Micah told them where the Christ would be born.

Nephi prophesied He would be born to a virgin lady.

These signs would announce that God had done as he had sworn.

He came as Isaiah predicted.

He arrived just where Micah said he would.

The virgin Mary gave birth just as Nephi depicted.

He came, but His people did not welcome Him as they should. 

He came to be a ransom for many.

He came to pay our price and suffer our agony.


The Devil Is Your Best Friend

“It’s OK,” he says. “No one will cast blame.”

Seek not encouragement from friends.

Instead, obey the one with the most Holy name.

His law is written, and his rules do not bend.

“It’s OK,” he says. “Everybody does as you do.”

Seek not the approval of man.

Instead, follow after He who died to save you.

He is the way, the truth, and the light; the only path to Heaven.

“You’ll never be perfect,” he says. “Do what you wish rater than suffer guilt.”

Seek not a path of comfort.

Instead, do what is right according to the one by whom this world was built.

He is God, and His will is one no man can subvert.

Do not listen to the words of man,

Instead hear God, for against His wrath, no man can stand.


That Day

They mocked him, daring him to save himself if he could,

ignorant of the reason for his death.

Nine hours he hung, bleeding on a cross of wood.

“It is finished,” he said, and then he breathed his last breath.

They buried him in a rich man’s tomb

and rolled a stone to the entrance.

The disciples were each filled with gloom,

but they should have remembered what was said in advance.

How foolish it was to think

that a mortal guard could do what death could not.

At an angel’s arrival, the guards did shrink

as he removed the stone and sat upon the rock.

They mocked Christ on that day,

but when he returns again, they’ll know him, kneel, and offer praise.


Let Us Be Ready

Let us wear wedding garments that we may celebrate Your feast.

Let us carry our flasks of oil that we might be ready when You come.

Let us feed and give water to your brothers even to one of the least.

Let us welcome strangers, no matter where they’re from.

Let us increase what you entrust to us no matter the amount,

so that we might be good and faithful servants.

For to those who return your gifts with interest receive more than they can count,

when you rent out your vineyard, let us be loyal occupants.

Let us stay awake

for we know the thief is coming.

For we have more at stake

than simple possessions or even gold that’s gleaming.

Let us be ready for Your return,

for those who do not seek the Son, are only destined to burn.


For Your Brothers

When You are hungry, we will give you food.

When You are thirsty, we will give You refreshment.

If You are a stranger, we’ll offer our welcome and not be rude.

Should You be naked, we will offer you a garment.

If You are sick, we will visit you.

If You are in prison, we will come.

As we do for your chosen, we do it for you, too.

We serve so that Your will might be done.

Let us serve our brothers to glorify your name.

Let us offer our love and fellowship.

For as we treat our brothers, you will treat us the same,

so we share and help to demonstrate our worship.

Let us inherit the kingdom you have prepared.

For whatever your brothers needed, we have freely shared.


The Irony

“…not as I will, but as you will,” He said. He wanted the cup to pass.

Instead, he accepted the will of his Father.

Peter pulled his sword, ready to fight to the last.

Instead, Jesus told him to put it away so He might fulfill scripture.

The people chose Barabbas, denying their Savior.

They saved the guilty, and condemned the innocent.

Soldiers abused and mocked our Ruler.

But even in this, Jesus did that for which He was sent.

“…let Him come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him,” they said.

They reviled him thinking His death was evidence of a lie.

They did not realize that if He came down, we would all be dead.

They didn’t know that his death was for our sin, and through him we are alive.

He did not come down because he lacked the power;

he stayed hung to the cross to save us in our most desperate but shameful hour.


The Commission

Make disciples of all nations.

Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

We can build fellowship and establish good relations,

teaching them the good news and blessing all who hear it.

Help them observe all He has commanded.

Help them learn of Christ and the resurrection.

Prepare them for the end before Jesus has descended.

For only through accepting him can people receive salvation.

Let Your commission be obeyed.

Let us be bold in our testimony.

Though our ability is insufficient, Your Spirit will come to our aid,

Let us follow the spirit of Your commands and not get lost in simple ceremony.

Let us take up your great commission.

To help Your kingdom come, is our most holy mission.

Sonnets for My Savior 6

Sonnets for My Savior 6

The Most Dangerous Temptation

“You will never attain His standard,” the tempter said.

“What is the point in trying?”

It is written, to sin, I’m dead,

if in Christ I’m relying.

“Where is the fruit you’re supposed to bear?

“Where is the sign of your Salvation?”

It is written, in every good work, my fruits are there.

We are first fruits saved through sanctification.

“You can’t be perfect;

“your every sin is accusatory”

It is written, God is perfect,

but all mankind falls short of his glory.

“Why would you believe you couldn’t fall after succumbing to my word?”

It is written, nothing can separate us from God’s love that is revealed in Christ our Lord.


My Lack, Your Grace

Your grace is sufficient for all who sin;

Your power is made perfect in weakness.

I’m humbled by the evil that is in my skin,

for without You, my life is bleakness.

My transgressions continue to mount;

these thorns prevent me from conceit.

These failings come more than I can count,

and there lies nothing in me to use to bring temptation’s defeat.

Even though you do not tempt me beyond my ability,

I sometimes fail to escape though you offer a way.

Yet you still provide for me faithfully,

so that next time I might not go astray.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a way to endure,

Help me trust in your grace, so I won’t succumb to the tempter’s lure.


How He Resisted

He was not tempted by starvation;

He quoted how man lives.

Bread alone does not sustain creation,

but they survive by the word God gives.

He was not tempted by pride;

He did not put his God to the test.

Even though the tempter used scripture when he tried,

Jesus knew the correct words to seek to stand strong in the contest.

He was not tempted by any number of kingdoms for a bribe;

He did not waiver in his loyalty.

Again to God’s word did Jesus ascribe

the commandment to serve only God an not commit idolatry.

He was without sin even though he was tempted.

This teaches us to seek scripture so we might avoid being corrupted.



We thank you, our merciful God;

Thank you for forgiving our iniquity, sin, and transgression.

I find comfort in your staff and your rod,

and You, O Lord, are a God full of Compassion.

Thank you, our High Priest, for you can sympathize with our weakness,

for you faced temptation and won.

You showed such great mercifulness,

by suffering for everyone.

Blessed be they who comfort us in our tribulation

so that we might be a comfort to others.

Jesus served as our propitiation,

so we can receive the spirit of adoption and become Christ’s brothers.

Through the Lords mercies, we are not consumed,

for he has granted us salvation even though our sins should make us doomed.



Behold the gifts we have been given,

all so that we may use them.

Even in our sinful condition,

we have been blessed by God, from whom all good things stem.

Some can teach and other contribute;

others can lead while still others are merciful.

Use these gifts for God in an offer of tribute

so that faith in him will be shown incontrovertible.

Some exhort and others lead

all to bring glory to his name.

Let every action and ever deed

be pleasing to Him and no cause for shame.

We, though many, are one body in Christ,

Let each of us serve Him as is good and right. 


Always for Good

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery,

but God called him to care for many.

Even an act of knavery

can be used by God to elevate nothing to plenty.

Judah believed he’d lain with a prostitute to sate his sinful desire,

but God used that deed to sow the seed of our Savior.

There is no deed that man could conspire

that God can’t use for a cause that’s greater.

The chief priests and scribes had Jesus crucified to silence his teaching,

but that great sin was used to grant our salvation.

Indeed all that happens, no matter how anguishing,

works out for the good of those who love the father of creation.

A man might do as much evil as he could.

but God will always mean it for good.


Do Not Be Anxious

Why worry about clothes and food?

Flowers don’t sew and birds don’t harvest.

Our creator provides for them, so what person would he exclude?

He alone knows what we need best.

Indeed don’t be anxious about anything;

instead pray to Him in every situation.

Offer our God, who created everything,

prayers of thanksgiving and supplication.

Trust in the Lord, not your own understanding;

submit, and He will make your paths straight.

Trust in Him in times, demanding,

for you are weak, but His power is great.

He will never leave of forsake us,

so there is no need to ever be anxious.

Book Review: Standing Strong by John MacArthur

Book Review: Standing Strong by John MacArthur

41KRdFzUS3LStanding Strong by John MacArthur was a book I picked up because I’m aware of how much I struggle with temptation in my life. If I’m being honest, I want to sin pretty much every moment of the day.  That might be a touch hyperbolic, but the intended meaning is accurate. I wanted tools to arm myself for when temptation strikes.

I’ll say this much, the first part of the book frankly terrified me. I’ve spoken several times about the churches in my area (not all, but the ones I was unfortunate enough to encounter).  The beginning of this book discusses the term spiritual warfare. I listened (I use Audible to read these books) terrified that I’m supposed to arm up and hunt down actual demons and other things of the sort.

That’s just not biblical.

So this book, after discussing some of the misperceptions about spiritual warfare, speaks plaining about how we are to fight evil.  We fight the evil in ourselves.  How? Ephesians 6:10-18.

The rest of the book goes into fantastic detail and explanation on each part of the armor of God.  I won’t summarize here since I think anyone interested should simply buy the book. I’m probably going to re-read this in the near future.

The best value of these books is the context and clarification he offers with the text. I think something like this is critical for one such as myself. I’m more aware of the sin in my life than I’ve ever been, and I’m regrettably not nearly as sanctified as I think I should be. That being said, I still want to wake up tomorrow and feel zero temptation, which isn’t, I think, biblical or realistic.  Even Jesus was tempted (Matthew Chapter 4:1-11).

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

For me, this book is as convicting as it is instructive. I don’t always do the right thing, and the fact is my temptation is at its highest when I willfully seek it out. Even if I’m fooling myself into thinking I’m not putting myself into position to be tempted, I tend to reflect and realize that’s exactly what I was doing.

This book won’t make a sinner stop sinning. Neither will it make a person not see temptation. It doesn’t claim to either.

What it does do is provide the reader with a detailed explanation on how to combat temptation when it arrives. I’ll never claim to be “fixed.” That would be a lie I could never support.   What I will say is that when I fight my battles in this way, I find some degree of success, which is ultimately thanks to the Grace of God, which he’s provided through the Spirit that has been given to us. This book is a nice companion to have handy when reading Ephesians.

As I’ve said, I intend to read it again simply because I need the boot in the butt. The temptation to relax because, “I’m so much better” is in itself a temptation I need to resist. (Which I counter by saying, “For all fall short of the Glory of God.”)

If you’re a Christian struggling with sin, try reading Ephesians and this book. I found it helpful.

Thanks for reading,


Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 17

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 17

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.

The Visit

I got on a plane at around 7 p.m.  I landed in Phoenix at about 9 p.m., but with time difference, that means I was in the air for about five hours. When I landed, I linked up with my sister and her children. We jumped straight in the car and took the three-hour drive into Yuma.

By the time we got to another relative’s house, it was one in the morning, and I was exhausted. I went straight into a room, said my prayers, read my Bible and passed out.

We drove to my parents house the next day.  Mom answered the door. I tend to seem unsympathetic.  I might actually be unsympathetic. I’ve always confessed I’ve never been the most sympathetic person. I am, however, empathetic, not like one of the characters in one of my books, but still fairly able to understand the emotional temperature of the room.

I say all of this because my arrival wasn’t some made-for-tv sort of moment where we hugged and cried. That’s just not how our family works. I hugged her. It was startling to see how much weight she’d lost. To be clear, she didn’t look frail, except she’d lost a lot of muscle weight in her legs, which causes her to have trouble standing after sitting down.

She still looked like mom. I honestly had this mental picture of her having been shaved bald.  That wasn’t the case. The sides of her head had clearly been shaved, but it had grown back in the time since her surgery. Honestly, she looked much better than the mental picture I had in my mind.

We all sat down.  My first concern was talking to my mom. I asked her how she was. I asked her about the new procedure she was about to start. Then, I asked her if she was ready for it.


Talking to my mom is a bit tricky.  What I knew right away was that my mom is still in there. She’s still mom.  She’s restless and relentless. She wants a clean house. She wants to talk to and play with her grandkids. I think her lack of ability to communicate, and the physical toll this illness has taken, caused her to feel like she’s a burden.  The woman who was obviously the back-bone to my entire family wasn’t happy needing help.

While mom is still mom, it seems like someone took her entire lexicon and scrambled it. She knows what she means, but she’s using words that don’t match her intended meaning.  She’ll use one familial term when she means the other.  She’ll use one adjective and mean something else. Then she has a few words that sort of sound like placeholders for a lot of other words. “Flaming (or flame)” is the one I remember most. She might be talking about her carpets or a bedroom or even the walls.  This means that talking to her requires a lot of patience and a great deal of translation. However, she’s very good at answering questions, so I quickly realized asking her yes/no questions was a good approach.

That day was a lot of conversation, but it was also incredibly mundane. Were it not for my mom’s struggle with word choice, it would have been like any other visit. She sat there while my dad and I watched the game. My nephew played around the house while my niece reclined on a chair, working on her phone.

In the last segment, I talked about my mantra. Listen, and be supportive. So once Mom said she was ready to take on this new challenge, I looked at my dad, sister, and mom, and said, “So we’re all on the same page. We’re going to do this treatment and see how it goes.”

Seeing my mom walk around and talk and play with her grandchildren really boosted my mood. I think it helped my sister too. I have it easy. I saw mom up and about, complaining that her house wasn’t clean “enough.” I’ve never had to take her to a hospital. I’ve never had to see her lie in a bed, unable to move a limb or even most of her body. For those in my family who had to sit through that, I can’t even imagine the worry that would bring.

Once we started talking about how we got to this point, the reason the problem existed served to become the source of friction in the family. There are actually other sources of friction, but the one causing the most pressure was the manner in which one describes what’s happening.

The surgeon said the tumor had grown and that it was inoperable. This is the individual my sister trusts.  Why not? He’s the doctor who performed that first surgery on my mother.

The oncologist said that the MRI was inconclusive. The swelling and fluid in my mother’s brain was simply too bad for us to really know what was going on. This is the individual my father would quote.

Early on in this testimony, I mentioned my mom qualified for a new, experimental treatment. I’m not speaking on the overall effectiveness of this treatment, but it didn’t work for my mother. She consistently needed to be checked in to the hospital for various side effects. The worst issue wasn’t caused by that as I understand it.  The biggest issue always happened when they tried to ween my mom off the steroids. Please do not take this as a statement of my opinion of the experimental treatment. I don’t have nearly enough data.  All I know is what happened this time with my mom.

As true as that statement is, my sister worried that this approach might be just another excuse to try another experimental treatment. If anyone suspected that, I can only imagine how much distrust and anger that would generate.  I don’t know. I literally have no idea. I’ve never met the oncologist, but while listening, I realized that was my sister’s opinion. I don’t have time to investigate the motives of this oncologist, so again, please don’t take this as a statement of truth.  The only verified truth of what you’re reading here is what my sister felt.

So when facing a new round of treatment, how natural would it be to feel that it might just be a new thing to try? If one believes a doctor is just looking to push the boundaries of science, who would volunteer their mother to be the lead subject?

My dad offered the most logical source of relief. This treatment, avastin infusion, is a normal, FDA-approved treatment. It’s not experimental.  In fact, regardless of possible motives or which of the two sources of information was correct, this treatment is the solution.

Avastin (more scientifically called Bevacizumab), is indeed used as treatment of gioblastoma. It is used specifically for brain tumors that were resistant to previous treatments.

The link I gave you, a link to the NPS Medicinewise website, gives the eye-crossing science of it, but here’s what I know I know.

Avastin essentially cuts off the blood (and therefore the food) supply to tumors. This should stop, or at least slow, the tumor’s growth. It also reduces swelling, which is what the steroids were for. The problem with steroids is that using that much for that long on my mother would eventually just contribute to the problem. So this treatment should work against the tumor while reducing the swelling that’s causing problems.

The plan is to administer a few (three) treatments and then take another MRI to see how things are going.

Knowing this was a normal, FDA-approved course of action put my sister a bit more at ease. I sat there, listening to the discussion. Frankly, I got pretty upset at the team caring for my mom. Being in the military taught me something about communication: When you can, go straight to the source. My frustration was that two people even spoke to my family. I’d be fine with the whole team being in the room to answer specific questions, but man would my family be a lot less stressed if one guy gave us one situation and then provided the list of options to which my father referred when I called him the day before. I’m not saying they’re horrible people or anything.  This conflict had way more to do with the team’s communication skills than their medical skill.

Frustration or no frustration, it provided a very clear line in which my family could stand on opposite sides.

The first task was making sure everyone was supportive of the current course of action. We got there pretty quickly.  I’m still not sure how well I did anything else.

It’s difficult because my family hans’t been united for a very long time. My biological father molested one of my sisters. That divorce did a lot of damage. It damaged our faith:

When my mom was about to move us out, the church we attended at the time saw fit to visit (en mass). They told her, and I still remember the quote.

“You need to get over it and keep your marriage together.”

They argued the sanctity of marriage to my mother, who was trying to get our family (and the rest of her daughters, three of which still lived at home) away from this person who committed this awful act.

I feel compelled to explain something. Matthew 5:32 makes one thing perfectly clear, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”  That word “except” starts the most important prepositional phrase ever in terms of divorce and Christianity. No, a person is not obligated to get a divorce, but my mother was in every Biblical right to divorce my bio-dad.

Apparently that church forgot to read that particular verse in the Bible. As I’ve read and studied the Bible, I’ve come to see that church was (I have no idea what it’s doing these days) sadly misguided in their actions and woefully inaccurate in its doctrine. My greatest obstruction in my walk with Jesus is without a doubt false teachers. I encountered more, but this particular event was what drove the wedge between my family and the Church (if not God Himself).

My bio-dad’s abuse fractured our family: The chain of events that started on that day only got worse and worse, particularly for my sister.  This sister is not the one with whom our mother stayed. I have a lot of sisters.  I commonly call this sister my oldest, but that’s only accurate in terms of siblings I spent a large portion of my life with. Each time something happened, more wedges were driven. We were separated from people we love. The desire for acceptance and attention became critical. Our motivation was validation through gifts and words of affection.

Mom fought to keep us together. Mom fought to make sure we got along. I don’t know if my siblings share this opinion, but I feel that what happened was we all chose to compete for her affection rather than love. It’s shown in various ways. The most common would be to raise ourselves up by speaking ill about the others. I am easily as guilty of this as anyone else in my family.  Rather than being good children and good siblings, we competed to be the best child.

How I wish we’d studied the Lord’s Supper at some point.  How could we though? We’d already been poisoned against God’s words by a list of false teachers.

During the Lord’s Supper, the apostles began a competition to determine who among them was the best. Jesus responded to this debate by washing the feet of each of his apostles. When every one of Jesus’s most trusted disciples were fighting over being the greatest, Jesus showed them the way by doing the most demeaning, humiliating service that could be done in this time. See Luke 22, Matthew 26, Mark 14, and John 20.

Here we are, nearly 30 years later. When my family got that news, words were said. Feelings were hurt. Yes, I know that’s passive voice.  To make the phrase active, let’s say, accurately, that relatives did things and/or said things to each other that hurt. I don’t need to (or want to) list the accusations or perceived offenses.  What I want is for you readers to try and imagine how a family hardened by nearly 30 years of stress  would react when the  central foundation of that family is the person we’re fighting over.

My efforts are to change the wording of this. Rather than fighting over, I hope to get to a place where we’re fighting with her.

For those families split by atrocity, whatever it may be, I ask you to be sure that your focus is on the family as a unit. It was hard for my mom. I didn’t make it easy. I was a prideful, hateful little bastard. I wasn’t exactly an angel before the divorce, and when it happened I, who bear a tremendous physical resemblance to the bio-dad, felt powerless, and I sought power by lying and undermining everyone I could. Even when I realized how selfish and hateful that course of action was, I still sought to be the most loved so that I felt like I was the least like the man who I still recognize because the face in the mirror is hauntingly, agonizingly so much like the face of the man I still struggle to forgive.

Those are my wrongs. Those are my crimes, and in this tale I focus on what I am doing and what I can do to be better.

All of my siblings struggle with this history. I’ve found immense comfort in studying the Bible and applying what it has taught me. So once we all acknowledged that this course of action was the right one for mom, I did the only think I knew was right.

I asked what I could do to help, and I did it. Then I had to keep working with my sisters to at least act like the children we should be.



Questions and Revelations

You actually want to forgive that molester? 

That’s the real problem. You see, the fact is, I know I should. We should forgive others, so that we are forgiven (Matthew 6:14).  That verse doesn’t say, “unless he did something really bad.” In fact one of the biggest issues facing the world today is the idea that there are “lesser sins” and “greater sins.” The simple fact is, sin is detestable to God (Proverbs 6:16) That particular reference provided six things the Lord expressly hates.

We are saved because Jesus took that wrath upon himself, cleansing us with his blood, speaking for us to God so that he may pass over the judgement for which we are all deserving.

We protest sins we don’t like, but we don’t reproach ourselves of the sins we commit because we think them “less offensive” to God.

When the divorce was fresh, and later, when the bio-dad died, I truly struggled with the idea that I might see him one day in Heaven. We picture Heaven as this blissful place where we see all the people we like, and none of the people we hate.  But God isn’t that small. We humans judge and classify things that are small in comparison to the universe as a whole.  We elevate ourselves higher, when the fact is, on any scale, we’re nothing.

So I’ve known my whole life that I should forgive. I’ve even said I forgive. Gotten over, is the more accurate term.  Think about it. Were you ever close to someone. Did someone that close to you ever do something to you that you just couldn’t get over?  It may be the case.  God, however, can get over anything. I say again, anything.  Does that mean the bio-dad is in Heaven? I don’t know.  I’ll let you know when I see you there, if you are saved.

The fact is, Heaven will be filled with the saved. I know for a fact there are people I love who don’t have a ticket. It doesn’t make me not love them, but the ticket into Heaven was bought by the blood of Jesus, and only those who acknowledge that and accept him into their hearts will get one. That means that when I get there, I might see bio-dad. He certainly proclaimed his salvation.  Many have, but that’s not necessarily the truth.

Does that mean I’ll rage out or I’ll hit him. No, because when Jesus returns, all of our sin, including the hate and resentment I feel, will leave me. We’ll all be like Jesus.

Some non-believers use this as justification to remain apart from God. They say, “I could never believe in a God who could forgive a killer.”

There it is again, a mortal elevating one sin above another. A man who lies is every bit as offensive to God as one who kills. I actually wrote a short-story on that years ago. I knew even then that sin is sin, and it’s wrong. It is equally offensive to God regardless of its classification.

I argue it is better to have a God who can forgive anyone of any sin. I feel this way because I’ve done some seriously wrong stuff in my life. I’ve stolen. I’ve fornicated. No, I’ve never killed.

I feared my bio-dad’s crime so much that I realized later in life that I avoided relationships.  I sought out pornography and strip clubs because I was terrified that one day whatever disease or insanity that struck bio-dad, and let’s not forget his bio-dad, the rapist, would visit me.  I kept thinking, “Well, you know, the bio-dad had several daughters, so maybe some strange thing happened in his brain to make him this way.”

For the record, even if that is/was the case, we still choose to sin. Our lusts, no matter how dark, are symbols of our humanity. Our faith is demonstrated in how we resist temptation.  For a long time, I resisted it by being shy. I resisted it by hiding from the possibility.

I think I’m a good uncle. In my arrogance, I happen to feel pretty strongly that I represent all the best things an uncle should be. But what made me fight to be such a great uncle wasn’t just my love for my nieces and nephews.  They were what I felt I was allowed to have in my life. I honestly felt I didn’t deserve love or children because my biological track record had disqualified me. I “could handle” nieces and nephews. I “could handle” being in the “friend zone.”

I have never once felt the desire to molest a child. I’ve never looked at a kid and been tempted. In fact, to this day I’m careful. I hug. I never kiss on the lips.  I fought for decades to avoid a temptation I’ve never felt, and what it cost me was time I can’t get back.

It took me a while to realize most of the children I know today have no memory of the bio-dad.  They’ve no clue at all who he was or what he did. All they know is their Uncle Matt.  I have a young cousin who get’s mad at me from time to time.  You see, I fly her around like  an airplane, and this airplane is very disappointing when it lacks the energy to keep her flying around endlessly.

My nephew gets mad I won’t tickle fight 24/7.

My other niece loves drawing with her uncle.

Saleah liked listening to me play guitar and sing. She loved watching TV with me. Now she’s off to college.

For decades, I struggled with avoiding a man I could never be. All it did was keep me from being the man I can be.

I have an opportunity now. I have this woman I mean to marry one day (soon), and she has three boys of her own. I see a lot of my concerns in them, and I intend to make sure they don’t live their whole lives trying to not be someone.

Our vow to not have sex until marriage (which is currently the only line remaining to cross), is important to me for that reason. I want to endure the temptation of having sex with her to show my faith to God’s will and my trust in him. It shows control of myself.

Whoever we are, God forgives. Whoever we are, Jesus saves. We show our faith and increase our bounty in Heaven by bearing fruit (helping to save others) and resisting temptation (whatever it may be).  Please know that you can never simply push on sinning thinking, “God will forgive me.” Sanctification is the reduction of sin in our lives so that we may be more Holy each day. This means I need to be less of a prideful jerk, and whatever your sin is, no matter how “small” or “large” you think it is, you need to repent and stop.

If we do, no matter who we are, we’ll be forgiven, and we’ll all see each other when Christ returns. We may even see people we hated in this life. If that happens, we’ll be incapable of hate, so we won’t hate them in the next.

For those of you who feel this probability is why one shouldn’t turn to God, I ask you to consider that you may see some people you don’t like, but is there really anyone you like less than Satan? Would you really risk hanging with him for the rest of eternity simply to avoid seeing anyone else? I wouldn’t. He’s the source of evil. He’s who introduced us to sin in the first place.


This incredibly long section is still only a part of the larger, but to help you understand where I come from and how hard it is for our family to unite, I had to explain how  we got to this point.

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 14

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 14

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.



Job 28: 28: “And he said to the human race, ‘The fear of the Lord– that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'”

I hope those who read this journey understand my goal. I want to be a better Christian. I want to be more sanctified with each day.

I recently finished reading the book of Job, and that passage struck me.

The first part makes perfect sense. How could it not be wise to fear our God who is sovereign over all of us. Fear his wrath.

But how well do I understand?

My most powerful temptation is one I’ve struggled with my whole life, and, thanks be to God, I’m improved in that area.  In this, I show my understanding by turning from that sin. I fear saying so because the last time I felt I had a handle on my lust I got battered and fell to temptation.

Even if this sin is one I’ve finally turned from completely, I’m sometimes devastated over how much more sin is in my life.

In order to better process my testimony today, I searched for “How does the Bible define sin?”

I found this webpage from the United Church of God’s Beyond Today.  I’m unfamiliar with this, but it referenced several Bible verses, and I feel more confidence when a church bases it’s sermon on comprehensive Bible study.

The first frustration is the seemingly (important adverb) vague definition of sin.  “All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.” 1 John 5:17.

I’ve read Deuteronomy, and that’s a quite comprehensive list of God’s laws, including the ten commandments.  As I read the Bible, I’m taking note of the books I feel are important to me to study.  Job, 1 John, Romans, and Deuteronomy are up there.

When I look at all the wrong in my life, even in comparison to how far I’ve come, I can feel such discouragement.

That discouragement, according to mutliple books from John MacArthur (Saved Without A Doubt is the one that most comes to mind), is a powerful weapon of Satan.

“You’re never going to be perfect!”

“Look at you! You’ve worked this hard just to overcome this one thing, and you still have this much other filth in your life!”

I’m resentful. I’m lustful. I’m prideful. I’m lazy (my friends would dispute this, but consider please that I only, and I mean only, do what I want). I’m judgmental.

All of those are sins. To think how much I’ve grown because I’m so much less lustful I am when compared to how lustful I was.

I feel weighed down by that discouragement at the moment. I pray more than I ever have.

“You still don’t have a mindset of permanent prayer.”

I make more of an effort to be understanding and compassionate.

“You still fly off the handle when you hear something you consider wrong.  You still judge.”

I don’t know about you, but this tool, this single whisper is something I wonder sometimes.

“If you’re never going to be good enough, why not just give up?”

To give it context, I was raised near a church I’m not of the opinion bases it’s beliefs on the Bible. One well-respected member of the church would stop me on my way home every day and tell me in great detail how destined for damnation I was. He even went once so far as to say he was “concerned” for me because of the company I kept.  That company? The man who is now my brother in law. I stated what a kind man my now-brother was, and he immediately replied with, “So Native Americans go to Heaven now?”

Can you imagine how devastating that was to my journey? What an effective tool it was to think this hateful, clearly-racist man was a respected representative of God.

I’m currently reading the Bible. There are many reasons why people would be concerned for the company one keeps.  Those are hot-button reasons alone. The point needed to be made here is that I have yet to find any scripture that summarily condemns any one race to Hell.

First off, the Bible is quite clear on the only requirement for salvation:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17.

There are ways to evaluate and have assurance in your salvation, and absence of sin in your life isn’t such a way.

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:13-16.

One must truly believe in Jesus to be saved.  The next part is the trick though, and this is where discouragement comes in.

“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” 1 John 5:18-20

A saved person’s life changes. He becomes more holy. Some call this the process of sanctification.

I need to remind you I’m not regarded as an expert in the Bible. I haven’t even finished reading it yet, and I promise you I don’t understand a percent (not one) of what I read. I have to study.

What I think I understand through bible and reference to Mr. MacArthur’s books is that it’s a fallacy to think a saved person will never sin again. The point is, you’re life is changing, and it never stops changing.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-4

We’ll never be fully sanctified and without sin until Jesus returns. What saved people do, however, is purify themselves. The cleanse sin from their lives each day.

Where does the discouragement come from? For me, it’s the thought that I could erase a sin a day from my life and still have a multitude of sins.

I try to target sin.  I try to say, “This is the sin I’ll stop.”

I go a week or a month avoiding it. I might even go that long without ever thinking about it. However, I can’t confess I don’t do any of it anymore.

There are things I haven’t done for some time. There are things I haven’t done for quite a long time. But we sin with our thoughts, and I still think about sin.

This is where my discouragement begins.

Readers, my prayer for you, and what I hope you pray for me, is that you don’t allow your discouragement to become an excuse to give up. Neither should you treat sin as an inevitable opponent. I discussed this in Part 11.

The trick is to be confident in your salvation and diligent in your efforts to change your life. I still have such a long way to go. That list above is a real list. Those are my real sins. I don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I think I’ll be lazy today.”  I just look at my day and realize how lazy I’ve been. My condo is a mess.  My car is in worse shape. I haven’t worked out in two weeks.

Be better.

That’s the option. Our efforts to have permanent change in our lives should be the goal. If we are truly saved, we’re saved. It’s permanent. One effective way to know we’re saved (and there are others) is that our life is changing. My life is changing. I can’t let the fact that my life isn’t “changed,” past tense, trick me into doubting it will.  I can’t let how much more I have to change cause me to want to stop trying to change.

When I dwell on my sins, I hear myself thinking, “Now you don’t deserve to have your mother healed. Now you don’t deserve to marry the woman you’re dating. Now you don’t deserve to see your students succeed or your friends comforted.”

“Fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.”

Yet I lack the understanding to shun evil. Perhaps I have the understanding to know I should shun evil. I do shun some evil, but that’s not the same.

My weapon against this discouragement is the sword of the Spirit (see Ephesians 6:10-18).

The sword of the Spirit is defined in that verse as the word of God.

My current discouragement is that I still sin too much. So today, the verse I look to is 2 Corinthians 4:8-10. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struct down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

Sure, I have a  was to go, but I need to keep going.

“Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24. (NOTE: More than one person may attain salvation. What I take from this is running is what matters.  Never stopping. Never trying.)

I will face trials and receive blessings.  I’ve received quite a few of late (a good review at work. Students all passed their last test. My home. My girlfriend (pretty much a blessing every day).

I just can’t get caught looking at how far I have to go any more than I can stop thinking I’ve come far enough.



Questions and Revelations

Do the verses help?

When I’m smart enough to look for them. Every time I look for scripture on a subject, I feel better. I feel more resolve. I feel more certainty that I know what to do because I went to the bible to find out what that is.

Sometimes I put the sword of the Spirit down, and that’s a mistake for me. The Bible implies by sentence structure that there are parts of the armor you never take off and parts that you occasionally pick up. At this point in my growth, I sort of feel the need to wear the whole thing.

You still think your mom’s health rests on your sin?

No, my mom’s health rests on God’s will. When I sin, I’m not doing a very good job of showing my faith and trust in him though, am I?   I show my faith in him by obeying. I don’t do so based on the belief that “I’ll get what I want.” That’s not really how it works. We show our faith by enduring trials and resisting temptation.  Each failure to resist, I think, is a discredit to God. It hurts your standing. This is compounded when you fail to ask for forgiveness and repent (knock it off). So if I’m not staying true to my faith and trusting in him, wouldn’t it be reasonable to think he’d be less inclined to answer my prayer?

Let’s be clear at this point. This story isn’t the story on my “deal with God.” It’s not a demonstration of what a great Heavenly Walmart manager God is. This isn’t an exchange. There is no exchange. Get saved, or be forsaken. I am saved. I will be saved regardless of my mom’s health.  I’m not trying to be a better Christian because I think that will save my mom. I pray God will do that, but it’s not a transaction. God is glorified in all that he does. He will be worthy of praise if he saves my mom, and he will be equally worthy of praise if he allows my mom to perish. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11.  This ordeal humbled me. It yanked me closer to God more quickly than I was walking at the time. To pretend God will give me what I want simply because I’ve given him this lip service would be a contradiction of the very point of this testimony.  I pray for my mom’s help every day, and I ask you all to do the same for me. However, my mom’s health is not the condition on which my Christianity hinges. If it were, I’d already be lost.

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