Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Trampled!


One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.

Then he asked them, "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?" And they had nothing to say.

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
-Luke 14:1-14


Ok, so imagine this. You are "The Man." You are a leader who everyone looks up to, and adores. You know just about everything, and if someone knows something more, you learn from them until you know what they know. You're not just a leader who simply is there, but you're also, "The Man."

You hear about someone who has been causing trouble for those under you, those you care about. So what do you do? You decide to ask him over, along with all your people, so if he does something wrong, you can point it out, and lay the matter to rest.

So far, the meal has gone well, no obvious fau pax from this troublemaker, and everyone is waiting to see who is going to make the first move, you, or Him.

You look over, and see that he's eyeing the man sitting across from him at the table. "How did he get here?" you think, looking him over. You can see that he's deformed, it looks like he has bags of water in his skin. You're about to say something when this troublemaker looks straight at you. Since you're sitting at the head of the table, and he's sitting far down the table, at the place reserved for those who you don't want around you, he speaks up.

"Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" he says. You pause, trying to think of an answer. You know it's unlawful to work on the Sabbath, but what could he...

Suddenly, you look up, and see this troublemaker reaching over the table, grasping the man's shoulder, saying something quietly to him, nodding, and letting go. You're brain is reeling, when all at once, the deformed man leaps to his feet... and is perfectly normal!

The once-deformed man runs out of your house, worshiping God, and praising him for healing!

You're about to confront this troublemaker, you already have your arguments planned out, God could have healed him anytime, why now? If you're really from God, why would you break this sacred tradition? You are just a troublemaker like is said about you... why should we listen to anything you say? We listen to God.

As you open your mouth, the troublemaker looks up again, catches your eye, and begins to speak.

"If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?"

Again you fall silent... without even getting more than a squeak out. How do you respond to this? This man just trampled one of you most sacred traditions... how do you respond? You can tell that all of your people are dumbfounded, and as you struggle to find something to say, the troublemaker speaks again.

"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Confused, it takes a couple seconds for you to realize what he said, then you remember the time when you were younger, and that you thought that you were the person who they had saved the best seat for... and only found out after the meal began that you were wrong. Standing up, you had to sit on the other end, in the broken chair.

Glancing around the table, you saw the same look of chagrin creeping around the table... the same look that must be on your own face. Suddenly, you have an idea. What if you say that we're all equals around the table? Surely then...

The troublemaker speaks again.

"When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

All at once, the reality of the situation crashes down on you. You could have seen it in his eyes the whole time, but you chose not to. Gulping, you realize that this "troublemaker" is a greater man than you. He took the seat at the least respected end of the table, and now you can't do anything about it, everyone has turned toward him. They're listening to him, and you even hear someone saying something to the troublemaker.

The troublemaker responds, and launches into a story about feasts, friends, streets, gesturing to illustrate points, sometimes laughing, sometimes dead serious.

But for you, there is only that realization in your mind that he is both greater and closer to God than you, and he just trampled over some of your greatest traditions. He has turned the dishonorable part of the table into the focal point, and relegated your position to nothing. He has taken the sacredness of not working on the Sabbath, and turned it into an illustration of how much God cares for the people.

There is only one question running in your mind now.

What am I going to do now that I know?

What am I going to do?

-David

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Prelude of Love, The Journey of Faith: Part 9 - Aftermath

So, four months later...

The words written in the last two years have been tested in my life more than I would have ever expected.

Even so, at that, the testing is something that is or should be... (I really don't know) common.

I think... the testing is common, but the realization is not.

Or, if the realization is, the acceptance is not.

And honstly, sometimes, late at night... I don't want to accept it myself.

My story is here. In the last many ramblings... And even in this next.

This summer has been filled with lessons that I honsetly didn't want to learn... but believe... I honestly believe... that these lessons are ones that are finally shoving me forward.

I often tell people, "It's not the years, it's the miles."

Now, slowly... ever so slowly... but surely, the miles are starting to be tempered by years.

In the last two years, Liege has taught much, and even let me learn some. But until now, it has been a frantic pace, going from one truth to the next, and then suddenly, last week, things changed.

Two weeks before summer began, I thought that I was honestly done with this lesson for a while. Then, something happened.

Lessons are learned most often, through pain, and last year, my heart was torn.

When God first started to teach this lesson, The Prelude of Love, I thought that it was so I could Love a Friend of mine... A good Friend, who still holds a piece of my heart.

It was not so. I'm actually not sure what happened, but even my Friendship with her was lost, despite my heart longings for its return, and for an extremely long time, I was simply healing from that.

Then, one day, I was praying, and I told the Lord, "You know, I think I'm doing pretty good... I mean, when it comes to focusing on You, and not on females."

I think, He laughed. A simple, laugh of one who knows what comes next, and knows just how little I know... And just how much I will, in the end, enjoy what happens.

He may have even warned me, I can't remember for certain... But what I do remember, is walking, and hearing a Friend's voice calling out my name. As I turned and saw my Friend, I remember thinking, "Oh boy, Lord... What's this in my heart?"

Eight weeks later, I still look at my Friend, and say, "Oh boy, Lord... What is this in my heart!?!"

In 2 Peter, Peter says,

"So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things."
-2 Peter 1:12-15


I used to wonder why he said that with such intensity. Three times in as many breaths. I think I now know.

This entire Summer has been the aftermath of those verses repeated over and over again in this, some because of that tugging in my heart, and some because of other things that God is teaching...

Almost surprisingly, I think I can explain it clearly.

For you see, once you've reached the end of the verse, and added on that little bit of Love...


"...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."
- 2 Peter 1:5-7


Do it again!

Each time, the lesson is a little deeper, a little broader, a little fuller.

Each time, we become a little more... Just like Christ.

Remember, because you do it again.

Remember because you repeat it.

Remember because every time you do it... You Will Grow.


"For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
-2 Peter 1:8


I knew this before, but now I Know it. This is how you grow. Grow tall, grow strong, grow up.

This is how you live Live in Reality... This is how you Love.


"As the Father has Loved Me, so have I Loved you. Now remain in My Love."
- John 15:9


-David

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Prelude of Love, The Journey of Faith: Part 8 - Love

"... and add to your Brotherly Kindness, Love."
-2 Peter 1:7

I've been trying for a very long time to write this, every time I start again, everything that I know changes, but I think Liege has finally given me the basis needed for this... at least for the very beginning.

There are many parts of Love, some that are unimportant that we focus on, and other things that are the core of Love, that even the wisest seem to forget.


Does a maiden forget her jewelry?
Or a bride her wedding ornaments?

Yet My People have forgotten Me,
Days without number.
-Jeremiah 2:32


Someone once said: "In what way, are we seeking God? Diligently? Earnestly? Sincerely? With warmth, ardor, and affection? Is our seeking the ardent pursuit of one in love—one who wants to be around this personality and really desires to know Him because we are, after all, going to marry Him and spend all eternity with Him? Or is it a kind of a take-it-or-leave-it, distant, academic coolness because we do not want to make a fool of ourselves or offend others with our zeal? Think about it."

I honestly hope that none who know me can honestly say that my Love for God is a "take-it-or-leave-it, distant, academic" love, I hope they can say that I Love my Liege, but (speaking as the one who spends the most time around myself), many times there are things that I know I need to do or say, and fear still stops me.

A friend of mine recently said, "Evil things happen, and God makes good things come of them." In that, he spoke truth, but I think that there might be more to it than that.

There is a young woman I know by reputation, one whose life has helped define my own.

In her teen years she was a semi-normal teen, but she had an illness, one that she knew would eventually cause her to die.

One summer she left home on a missions trip across the globe, and on her way there something (I don't know the disease enough to know what) happened that let her know she would not survive long.

She had two choices, go home and live the rest of her life in comfort with her family, or spend her last days in a foreign country, giving the last of her life to people she did not know.

Her Decision?

She told no one that she was about to die, and instead gave everything she had for those last two weeks of her life.

Finally, as the plane they got on to go home took off, she began to bleed from her eyes, nose, ears and mouth.

By the time they landed in London, there was nothing to be done.

She died.

In her death lies a testimony of life... Life and Love.


When you want it the most,
There's no easy way out.

When you're ready to go
But your heart lets you down,

Don't give up on your faith,
His Love comes to those who believe and,

That's the way it is.


I can't tell you if in the years before she came to this point that she Loved Jesus, or that she didn't. All I know is that in her death, she gave a testament of Love.


For as long as I shall live, I will testify of Love,
I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough.

With every breath I take, I will give thanks to God above,
For as long as I shall live, I will Testify of Love.


I do know this, that like Sampson, this young woman made more of a impact in her death than her life. Her pastor, her friends, her family, and all those who knew them are changed be her last actions.

I have a good Friend who once looked at me in a Wendy's and said, "I know what it means, 'To Live is Christ, to die is gain.'"

When my friend said that it was the beginning of that understanding, those words were said in sorrow and pain, but someday, my Friend will be able to look at someone in the face, truly smiling, and with jubilee say, "To Live is CHRIIST!!! To die? When God calls me home? It's even better than this!"

When that young woman gave her life, she Lived Love, the Love of God.

But...

What about the rest of us...

Those of us who must continue to "Testify of Love?"

Things get more complicated then one would think!

I've been trying to understand enough of this to be able to type out some kind of explanation for almost two years now, but without much success.

Now... I have learned much, but am no closer to an end than I was In July 2005.

How do you say "Love?"

How do you express it?

It's like a blind man describing the sun!

We see and know bits and pieces here and there: A husband knows the Love of his Wife; a Father, the Love of his children; A Pastor, Loving his flock; A Child loving a parent; Grandparents, loving their own.

All Love, but not All "OF" Love... Not even close to the beginning.

What is Love?


"This is Love: not that we loved God, but that HE LOVED US, and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
- 1 John 4:10


It's not the nitpicking debates, or the incessant power struggles... but its when one who has the Right and the choice to argue or take the power, Chooses to step back, and quietly say, "Love."


"This is how God showed his Love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is Love! Not that we loved God, but that he Loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, since God so Loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we Love one another, God lives in us and His Love is made complete in us."
- 1 John 4:9-12


I don't know, maybe I'm off my rocker... but it seems both so easy, and so difficult that it ends up being deadly.

It seems, that to Love, is to die.

First, we trust; have Faith that God does know what comes of it.

Second, in that Trusting Faith, we begin to do small things like God would; we begin to show His Goodness.

Third, by Trusting Him, and beginning to mimic Him, God opens up... He gives us Knowledge... We begin to get to Know Him, until we actually begin to (albeit slowly and minimally) be like Him.

Fourth, as we start to be like Him, our Self-Control begins to grow, as we not only do what he would do in small, Good things, but in our choices, our lives, even our mannerisms... We begin choose to do things like Him, instead of the way that we know and love.

Fifth, These choices become more and more consistent and begin to permeate more and more of our lives. We begin to Persevere in God-Like choices, even when we really don't want to, and those choices begin to slowly and truly become part of our lives.

Sixth, by doing this, we start showing God-like qualities. Maybe not the Raising-Dead-People or Lots-Of-Food-From-Raw-Fish qualities, but the ones that cause people who barely know us to turn around and ask, "What happened to Him?"

Seventh, those God-Like qualities are pushed to the limit when those close to us begin to see real and dramatic God-Like actions. God begins to change us into His Own Image/Likeness, and we begin to have True compassion for other; we show Real Care for both those we slightly know, and those close to us.

Last, and by far the hardest: We begin to not only have these changes and qualities "tacked on" to our personality, or as "major additions," but the things that we still care about for ourselves begin to die.

This is where our flesh begins kicking and screaming for dear life.

Because honestly, we want to Love and give just that far... So far that we begin to slightly act like Christ... Bear an uncanny resemblance... But let's just leave our the nails, the death, shall we? We'll keep the nice bed, the permission to brag, the right to complain (We are human, after all), 'cause, y'know, getting rid of that was all part of the one man to save them all... Right?

Right?

Or maybe...

Just maybe...

There's a slight chance...

That's where Love begins.

When we work and work without recognition... and people ask "How are you?" we say, "The Joy of the Lord is My Strength!" not, "Absolutely Exhausted... You?"

When people say how exhausted they are, and we get irritated about how (in our pride, we think that) they do so much less than us, we don't try to top them or nod and try to get away... but instead we encourage, and try to give them a little boost.

That when we see pain, we act. Not because we must, but because we choose to Love.

Maybe that's where Love begins. When we're still like Jesus, even when it just galls our flesh, and we want to just STOP! And when we start to Love them, not through clenched jaws, but through loving hands, and kind hearts.

Yes, it goes against every grain of self-preservation, and sometimes it becomes harder than before... But then, we Love.

Then, we begin to be like Christ...

Then, we are our Lige-Lord's servants... His ambassadors.

Honestly, I don't know what else to say.

I'm just a blind man describing the sun. I know it's amazing... I know it's wonderful... I've experienced it and I know that it's far beyond what I say... But I don't know what else to say.

I do know this though: Even without fully understanding Love, somehow, we can Love.

So...


"Dear friends, let us Love one another, for Love comes from God. Everyone who Loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not Love does not know God, because God is Love. This is how God showed his Love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is Love: not that we loved God, but that he Loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, Love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in Love. But perfect Love drives out fear."
- 1 John 4:7-18

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
1 John 3:16&18


My Friends, I feel like C.S. Lewis, when he wrote, "All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."

I feel like I've finally read the first page of the prelude to an amazing Novel... One that will last for all eternity.

I have no idea where this path will lead, and even less of an idea of where it will lead any of you who decide to walk this path too.

No matter what happens, I trust the Lord to keep me... I trust My Liege to teach me to Love.


"Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."
- 2 Peter 3:18

-David

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Prelude of Love, The Journey of Faith: Part 7 - Brotherly Kindness

"... and add to your Godliness, Brotherly Kindness..."
-2 Peter 1:7

I have a friend, and my heart rends to say this, I cannot use names or even grab some fake names for them...


You're My Brother, You're my Sister,
So Take me by the Hand.
Together We will walk, 'Till He comes.
There's no foe that can defeat us,
If we're walking side by side

As Long as there's His Love,
We will stand.


Have you ever had to trust someone with all of you? With all of who you are?

The Lord has me writing a Book, a Novel entitled, "The Accounting."

For me at least, the byline is, "What Will Your Story Be?"

I'm sure you recognize this passage by now...


For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- 2 Peter 1:8


Something that I sometimes (or maybe often) forget though, is this...


But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
- 2 Peter 1:9


In my mind, when we forget that we have been cleansed from our past sins... We forget God.


Does a maiden forget her jewelry?
Or a bride her wedding ornaments?

Yet My People have forgotten Me,
Days without number.
- Jeremiah 2:32


Yes, I know, what does this have to do with Brotherly Kindness?

Well...

I'm not quite sure, this just seems to be where the Lord's taking me!

Several months ago, I was able to talk with a Friend of mine long into the night (we were both sick with some Epidemic), simply about how great and wonderful God is. Although our conversation jumped from highlight to highlight, the central theme barely changed.

At one point we began talking about the spiritual realm, and our conversation ranged from time to spiritual warfare, but in each subject it was, "Wow, God is really amazing!"

God is outside of Time. Wow!

For whatever reason, He has left Demons in existence; he hasn't completely destroyed all the Fallen Angels! What amazing mercy!


Your mercy shines like the Morning,
When the darkness runs from the day.
Like a rising sun, O, Your Glory,
Chases the shadows away,
And we are changed,
By Your Mercy.
-Ray Boltz


I made a Friend that day, one that I haven't had an opportunity to talk to for a while, but a Friend, nonetheless.

That night in the Quarantine of the Nurses Station (we called it the Morgue), two siblings in Christ simply showed each other Kindness, and that's all there is!

Applying that at home can often be a different story.

I have a Sister, and she is probably the most amazing young woman in the world. She chases after God with all her being, she is a literal genius, can sing with beauty that would put an angel to shame, and even complete strangers comment on her amazing beauty both outside and inside.

Her personality is amazing, she can work with almost anyone, and has a gentleness that is amazing.

Oh yeah...

Remember the "'almost' anyone?" She and I are in conflict regularly!

Be it something major, minor, or in between, we will each have a different opinion!

I have a joke with a Friend, it's that when God gave this list, He said, "If you can manage Brotherly Kindness, you've already got Love!"

I wish I could give great and wonderful examples here, but I've been here for a long time, first trying to learn it, then just doing it, and as far as I can tell, there is no quick fix to exhibiting true Brotherly Kindness on a continual basis.

Doing it every once in a while, or even most of the time, just doesn't cut it! Yes, failure is most likely, but as soon as we fail, it is time to pick up the pieces and keep going. Yes, it sounds like a cliche, but remember that our life is like a great battle, and there is not time to stop on the battleground.

Paraphrasing a Great Friend of mine, "If you're looking for perfection, you're not going to find it here."

In this I'm not expecting perfection, but I want to be what I look for in my Friends.

I don't care how often they fail, I want them there to fight when someone attacks my back, just as I expect to be there when they can't defend.

And thus, the most difficult part...

How many of you remember the line, "Back! Let the Prince win his spurs!"

In the Chronicles of Narnia, Peter is about to fight his first battle, and with the strength of an entire army around him, the Great Lion, the High King commands the army back, to let Peter win or die on his own.

Sometimes, true Brotherly Kindness is to back off, and let the Warrior fight.

I have a Friend who the Lord let me fight life battles with for a while, but something that I had to witness took place. My Friend began to rely far too heavily on me.

Instead of being there to catch the stray "arrow," I began to become more and more immersed, until I found that I was losing in my battles where I was truly needed.

It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but I backed off and "Let the Warrior earn the spurs."

I know the battle still rages in my Friend's life, but I also her it when the Lord says that I can't be part of it right now. After taking counsel with some trusted peers and not-so-peers, I know that I simply have to wait, and let this battle turn out as it will, for "The Battle Belongs to the Lord."

To be there when needed;
To back off when one's presence would not be right;
To be there in prayer nonetheless.

This is Brotherly Kindness.

Faith
Virtue
Knowledge
Perseverance
Self-Control
Godliness
Brotherly Kindness.

Love.

Even though it isn't always showing, I love my lil' Sis, and ever so slowly, the Lord is teaching me to be a Brother, to have Brotherly Kindness, and I hope someday I can be someone who can Echo Christ to her.

Brotherly Kindness;

Love.
-David

P.S. I kind of feel inadequate here, by the way, I was hoping to be alot more secure by the time I finished writing this, but hey, at least it's Real.

So apologies to all those who wanted some good pointers and didn't get any, I'll be sure to do another one when the Lord shows me more!
-Me

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Prelude of Love, The Journey of Faith: Part 6 - Godliness

"... and to Perseverance, Godliness..."
-2 Peter 1:6

Alright... Here we are. Three Steps from the finish, and I have a small problem. God has given us a set of steps in 2 Peter that state how to acquire Love... and now... out of the blue... God has gifted something to me. He has taught me what cannot be taught... to Love.

To summarize my last post, I very briefly skimmed over Trust being the most important part of Perseverance, and attempted to allude to another form of Self-Control that I cannot quickly put into words. A very inadequate form to state it would be, "Loving by Losing."

Even the Love God has shown me, Love from a Man to a Woman, is different from the World's view. Even in the smallest points it differs! The World says, "I Love you, you should Love me" ('twas my own view for a while), but out Liege says and tells us to live this; "I Love you, and will both love and Love you (See Prelude of Love, Journey of Faith: Part 2 - Virtue for more on the distinction) no matter whether you Love me or not."

Approximately three weeks before I wrote my last post, I was injured in a classroom related accident, and had the chance to sit for a very long time at home, praying, reading the Word, and growing closer to God. In this time a prayer that I used to pray two or three times a day became a continuous motto for those immobile weeks. "Lord, Teach me to Love... 'Brianna' (not her real name), my Best Friend."

Until this time, I had simply enjoyed being in her presence, looked forward to her calls, and constantly spoke about her to anyone and everyone whom I came in contact with. In short, I "liked" her, and even "(l)oved" her, but didn't yet possess the ability to "(L)ove" her with never-ending Love. Near the end of this time, the Lord gave me a gift, as from a Liege to his servant... He gave me the gift of Love. I Love her.

(You can skip the next 11 paragraphs, its just rambling and summarizing the last lessons)

Then something happened that I did not imagine. I thought (as do many who ask the Lord for Love) that when I began to Love her, she would Love me in return. But that was not God's plan.

A young man, "Jarid Seal," a man who chases after God, won her heart.

And thus I began to Persevere, for while I in myself would enter to vie for her heart and Love, for one reason or another, I must wait. I must Persevere.

(And here's where the "Keeping it Real" part of my blog comes in)

I should, and do, feel joy for "Brianna," she has found a Man who Loves God maybe more than I, one whose honest simplicity is rarely seen. But I also feel sorrow.

I had a long problem to complete earlier this week, and doing it took all my concentration, it took me to nearly 1:00 AM, but when it was done, I had nothing else pressing that I could do, and my sorrow came upon me.

My tears of prayer, joy, and immeasurable sorrow. From 1:00 AM to 11:00 AM I cried. I would think that my tears were gone, then I would remember sone of those "Just Friends" moments that I wish had become more... A laugh we had shared, tears we had shed together, even harsh words thrown between us, and my tears would resume.

I even began to pray, and remembered that the last time I had been praying at that time was because I was awoken from a deep sleep to pray for her, and I began to cry some more. All that to say this, my next lesson will be quite interesting... Loving her, and blessing her, and in every way, shape, and form, following God's guidelines of "Let her Love," "Love her by losing," "Wait (maybe for all time) to even tell her how you feel."

There's a song about staying pure until marriage, and it somehow applies here (I know it because on one of our times of just hanging out before, "Brianna" showed it to me).


True Love waits,
Don't let anyone change your ways
Look them all straight in the face
And tell em, No matter what I'll remain the same
Don't want to be deceived
See, I've found the key can't you see
That I believe, I believe
That True Love waits for me, waits for me


I can tell you that the Lord has given me Love for her, but has told me to stay in the background and wait, maybe for her, maybe not, but that against all my Heart wants to do, to fade out and let her learn to Love.

(If you skipped paragraphs, come back in here!)

I think... in a way... He's teaching me a lesson about Godliness.

I have an idea now, how our Liege-Lord feels, when He stands there, Loving us, waiting for us, and we love another, we love the world. "Brianna" and I have been Friends for a long time, Best Friends from my standpoint, and our friendship grew slowly but deeply in that time.

The same with us and God, our relationship with Him often grows deeper and sweeter slowly, and we eventually become true Friends.

The time when "Brianna" needed me for an ear has passed, and I cannot tell you how sad I have been to not be able to bring some Joy from her Sorrow.

With God, we never come to the point where we no longer need Him. My heart aches when I remember those Longer-than-an-hour calls, and I know that she doesn't need me... What must God feel like when we pray for long times when we feel like we need Him, but when we don't feel that need (but still have it!) we stop and become re-entombed in pain and sin because of it.

I was turned away for someone who I believe may truly be better for her, but what about when we turn God away for something that will only cause us death?

And yet God still Loves us!

God is Love!

"Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails"
-1 Corinthians 13:4-8

God never fails!

This is Virtue; This is Godliness.

Patience, Kindness, Lack of Envy, Lack of Boastfulness, Lack of even Pride! No Rudeness, no Self-Seeking (that's the one my flesh has a problem with!), Not easily brought to Anger, Never keeping records of Wrongs. Never delighting in Evil, Always rejoicing in Truth, always Protecting, always Trusting, always Hoping, always Preserving, and never, ever, Failing these qualities.

That is Godliness. Without Godliness, there can be no Love! These parts do not encompass all of Love, but they are essential to it, without them, there is no Love, just as with no water, there is no Life!

And as an unworthy one to whom God has gifted the capacity for, not all of it, but a large portion of Love, it's true!

Even the ever-troublesome "Self-Seeking," I Love "Brianna" and would/will do anything I can to help her be the best she can be in Christ, even though for now, and maybe forever, it means losing her when I've just begun to Love her. Doing the best for her at my own expense...

Just what Christ did for us.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
-2 Corinthians 5:21

This is Godliness; This is Love.

I can't tell you how I miss knowing that in the middle of the day, just for fun, I might receive a text message from her, or awaiting those Longer-than-an-hour phone calls, and I know that God has a greater plan for her than me. Maybe later I could be the plan... maybe even soon (I hope and pray) but now I am not part of God's greatest plan for her life.

Those of you who have been around for a while may remember my old June 05 post that stated:


Even more recently (June 22nd, 2005) God called me on this calling. The calling to give all we have and all we are, even if we must lose what we desire most.


How does God feel when we break off communication with Him, and it is not because we have something better in our lives, because there is none greater than God! Rather, it is because we have something else in our lives... A new movie, game, job, anything that brings us to a place where we don't spend time with Him. As it was said before; My feelings are of immeasureable sorrow, and I know that "Brianna" is Loving someone in God's will, how must God feel when we give our Love to someone or something that brings us farther from Him and closer to Death.

This is Love: not that we Loved God, but that he Loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
-1 John 4:10

This is Love.

This is Faith: God will reward her for the righteousness I show with her. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

This is Knowledge: I may lose her forever, but she will be someday blessed, whether through "Jarid," myself, or another... At some point, this action (or non-action) of standing back though Faith in God will bless her.

This is Virtue: I will commit myself to a Potent Moral Excellence that compels and commands Action to bring her the best God has for her, to the greatest extent that I can.

This is Self-Control: I will do what is best for her, even when it brings me pain, sorrow, hours of tears, even when it means I will lose what I Love.

This is Perseverance: For as long as God requests it of me, I will be her Friend, her Best Friend if He and she will let me be, but no more, for it is His will.

This is Godliness: I will give up all God will let me for her, Love her all the more, and do all that is in the Power God has given me to Love her per 1 Corinthians 13.

This is Brotherly Kindness: I will always be here for her if she need anything, I will be an image of Christ, Loving her with all the Love and love and Brotherly Love God wills to give me.

This is Love: Whether she ever Loves me back or not, I will take what God has placed of Himself within me, and both Love and love her will all that is righteous... Love her with God's (L)ove not "romantic" (l)ove or (L)ove, and if the Lord never tells me that it is right and righteous to Love with all I am through something deeper and romantic (courtship, maybe even marriage), I will Love her with all that is righteous for me, through God; That far, and no farther.
-David Shore



"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
-John 13:34-35


Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight [He will direct your paths].
-Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Prelude of Love, The Journey of Faith: Part 5 - Perseverance

"...and to self-control, perseverance..."
-2 Peter 1:6

I’m sure that after my last post it seemed ironic that this has been so long in the making. However, this has been a rather long and exhausting lesson for me on the attribute of Perseverance.

In my last post I focused on one very specific portion of Self-Control, because that was the aspect that was being most portrayed around and in me at the time, I tried to do the same here, because to fully examine Perseverance or Patience would take an entire life, if not more, but between the beginning of this post and the end, I learned many lessons regarding Perseverance (including one very interesting one about Solomon) and ended up brushing many different points.

One thing that noted is that the creation or formation of anything worth something requires incomparable amounts of Perseverance. As such, they all contain aspects of Perseverance, the chief of these (in my rather limited experience) being Trust.

“I know I can trust you.” A simple, yet earth-shattering phrase.

Recently, I stood in the middle of a store, and I had been making it a point to look in every face, and in each, I saw sorrow, fear, in some even despair, but every face had a measure of either pride of lack of self-esteem. On none did I see true Joy, and on only one could I see Peace; the face of an infant who looked at me quizzically as he was strolled by.

What have we done here, when Peace is only seen on the face of an infant? When what Joy we see is so often merely a mask, hiding more pain, sorrow, suffering? A month ago I could say that My Best Friend smiles frequently, but often those smiles are only to hide her tears. Now, for several reasons, those times have been more frequent, and the times when her smiles are true, when Joy simply escapes her in laughter… Those times are priceless.

I remember playing Mini-Golf at a church outing, and out of the blue, she mentioned how so many deep promises are left un-kept, how so many times pain from those promises now broken.

Psalms states that God looks down from heaven and asks, “Are there any who understand… Any who seek Me?” David’s response: “I want to be he whose walk is blameless… he who does what is righteous… he who speaks the Truth from his heart.” My addition to that: I want God to say; “I know I can trust you.”

At a conference, I had the pleasure of attending a song was sung, “Jesus, I’ll always stand for You” was the focus of the song, and of course, after the conclusion of the song, there was cheering, clapping, even jumping… But then, the group that I saw who was the most fervent in their praise… Well, a large camera taping the event turned their way, and things changed. Suddenly cries of “I Love You Jesus!” changed to “We Love you [band]!” “Hi Mom!” and “Look at me!!!” But then something happened.

After the fervor had been spent, when most were returning to their seats, out of the silence, two lone voices split the air. I couldn’t hear what one said, but the other shouted a word in Aramaic… “Teruah!” Victory! And in that moment… All Heaven broke loose!

I wish that I could say that those moments when heaven and earth touched changed the lives of all in the arena… but I can’t. Mere hours after this incredible breakthrough I witnessed many who had been there fall, some hard, some not so hard, but all falling. I almost gave up hope that their lives had been changed when something happens that still brings Joy to my heart when I remember.

A Friend stood up. She stood up and Shone. Suddenly, she changed, from a beautiful maiden in spiritual bondage, to a glowingly beyond beautiful, mighty Sword Sister for Christ. She stood, and the world tore away like wet paper bags, fear and doubt fled from her like evil from righteousness, and my Joy was made full.

Through the time since then, I have had the immeasurable privilege of watching her grow in our Liege, Persevering in righteousness, and flying far beyond what I thought she could in the time since then. Unfortunately, one thing has marred my Joy… On that day of breakthrough, I learned many things, but one thing that I should have learned, I didn’t.

“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed, Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth…”
-Isaiah 54:4

I can look at a gang with weapons drawn and colors bright and not fear; I can and have stared death in the face and rejoiced because it could only draw me closer to my Lord; I have entered into Spiritual battle and known that my Liege would keep me; but I never learned to look at something of my heart and trust Him. If you’ve read many of my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m sure that I have begun to like and maybe Love my Friend.

To summarize, I asked the Lord to teach me to Love, and let me Love her (hence this long lesson on the Prelude of Love – The Journey of Faith). Also, in God-given Wisdom, I asked the Lord that if His will was for her not to Love me back, I would simply be the best Friend she ever could have (the implication being that we would remain Friends either way).

Anyway, back to my marred Joy.

For a time, in my prayers I found that I shouldn’t act on my emotions, probably because they were still just emotions, nothing more, but little by little, as I have learned of Love, things have changed. Even when my emotions are against me, I have found lessons that the Lord has taught, bring the same feeling of kinship, honor, and trust toward her, even that one that I believe is Love. The Problem? Even with the experience of horrible things and not fearing, I still fear that timeless task of speaking one’s heart to another; for less than a month ago (from this penning) the Lord gave me permission to come and lay my heart before her.

But before you dismiss this as the random writings of a normally deranged youth, hear what my next lesson was.

As I prepared myself to speak, readying myself for either dismissal or acceptance, I grew to learn something… For a long time, it could be objectively stated that I might have been the best person for her… but less than a week after my permission was granted the Lord, it was postscripted with one sentence that will last me for a long while… “But my son, she has walked in darkness long enough, it is good for her to walk in light.”

One of my gifts is this: I see below the surface. I see what I call spiritual “Undercurrents” that are what people really think or their true motives underlying what they do. My Friend whom I Love, I will call her… “Brianna:” Brave, courageous, loyal; to me, a rose among thorns. Another friend… and new friend to both of us... is “Jarid.”

And the Lord has seen fit to have Jarid Love My Friend Brianna, and to have My Friend and Trusted Companion Love Jarid. When I first met Jarid, I was suspicious, because I couldn’t read him… But I have since learned through prayer that this man, this Descendant of man, has one singular talent, either gifted by our Liege or long practiced… All that he does is on the surface… He has no or few hidden agendas. Everything he is, whether by his design or by our Lord's, is in the light.

I? I still sometimes continue to run things below the surface, sometimes for righteousness sake, sometimes for my own fears. In this, I still sometimes run in darkness, while he lives in light. Do I Love her? Yes. How do I know this? I have been left by the Lord to act on Wisdom, not just permission, and he gave me His Wisdom. “Love her by Losing.”

Is this because of fear? No, I can honestly say that, for I finally had an opportunity to speak to her of my feelings, and I said nothing. Not because of Fear that he was better for her, for fear of rejection, or fear of anything, rather because I could look and see her “undercurrents” and that was the first time in all my history with her when I saw her completely filled with Joy, and when I opened my literal eyes, They were together.

Even this would not have deterred me, but one who I honor greatly and submit to gave me Godly wisdom and said to not speak (a long story that I may relate in part with the next section in this Journey, "Godliness").

“Do you Love her, My Dread Warrior?” My Liege then asked me.

“You know I do, Lord!”

“Then Love her… By Losing her.”

This, the ultimate step in trust and in Perseverance. To Love by Losing.

Is what I feel Love? I can honestly saw that, in Love’s entirety, I don’t know, but I do know this: With everything my Lord has taught me to, I do Love her. And now, I will Love her by Losing. I am called by my Lord a warrior, a Dread Warrior, and now, I must Lose.

This was not a decision made lightly; it took the council of one whom I honor deeply, that and many tears of submission to my Lord.

Will the Lord someday look and say, “Now is the time, My son.” I hope so. I hope it's soon! I hope so with all my heart. I hope that someday I will be the man that He will make to Love His daughter. I know that I have asked Him to make it abundantly clear to me if it is so, ex. Knowing that she has gone through this same lesson as I, hearing that somehow she has asked for the same as I, or having my mentor find that the Lord has said that I have learned what I need to and to say “out of thin air” that he believes that the Lord’s time for that is now… But until this “maybe time” I will do everything I can in my life and my spirit to be the Absolute Best Friend that she could ever have (an exercise in Brotherly Kindness).

This is perseverance.

This is Love. For I Love her, and my Father God Loves her even more.

This is learning to be an image, an epitome, an imitator of what my Jesus would do to the Nations, to my friends, my family, myself.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Learning to Trust Him in all,
-David

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Prelude of Love, The Journey of Faith: Part 4 - Self-Control

"... and to Knowledge, Self-Control ..."
-2 Peter 1:6

Those of you who have read my last post may have realized that I left a critical part of Knowledge out. Wisdom. I really didn't know where to put Wisdom, as a Virtue, as a part of Knowledge, or where, but it ties so perfectly in with the connection between Knowledge (The last section), Self-Control (this section), and Perseverance (the next section), that I decided to put it here.

I have known for a long while that Wisdom and Knowledge were both different and parts of one whole, but I never really "Knew" that until just recently.

One example of how they are intertwined is this, in my last post, I stated, Knowledge is an experience that grows and changes with time. It's something that changes you, changes you and makes you new! Knowledge changes you, but Wisdom gives direction to that change. Wisdom does not bring about that change by itself, anymore than a map or a memory will drive a car, but they are both vital in getting to where you need to be.

Wisdom shows you where to need to be going, Knowledge provides the energy to move, Perseverance brings the gumption to get moving, and Self-Control steers you to your destination.

An example would be this: Beginning Decemberber 2005, I made a commitment to God and myself. I stated that I would Read 2 Peter 1 (Knowledge) at least twice a day (Self-Control), continue to do that throughout the next 12 months (Perseverance), to attempt to increase my measures of each of the 8 steps stated in 2 Peter 1:5-7 every day (Perseverance again), and to have those changes evident in my life (Wisdom).

And so...

Self-Control



Before I get into Self-Control, one thing needs to be said. Do NOT try to be an undisciplined and "wishy-washy" Christian one day, and be a mighty, powerful, wise, and well-rooted Warrior for Christ the next. It doesn't work like that very often.

That's why Peter says to, "Possess these qualities in increasing measure..." (2 Peter 1:8). These qualitites are meant to be slowly and steadily poured on, not heaped on. Take a pinch of Faith, add to it a pinch of Virtue, add to that a pinch of Knowledge, and when you are all done, add to that Love a pinch more of Faith, etc... It's like lifting weights, you don't become stronger by straining against 1,000 pounds of weight on your first day, but by slowly working up to one goal, and then the next, and the next, etc.

I have a Friend, she has become one of my best Friends, but we were not always, the "Best of Friends." When I first met her, I knew that I would be honored to have her as a friend, but never even guessed at how good friends we would become. Over the course of time, we slowly (sometimes agonizingly so) got to know each other better and better. I'm really not even sure who reached out to whom, if I wanted her as a friend first, or if she wanted me as one first.

Regardless, we have slowly and constantly (Perseverance) been there when the other needed it (Goodness). I don't know if I have been there for her as much as she has for me, because she has been there every time I needed, but we have stuck together through thick and thin (Perseverance in Self-Control). When people have spread rumors about both of us, we have always trusted in the other (Faith), and as such have become privy to some of each other's pain and sorrows (Knowledge).

If we were all the way through this lesson, I would speak of how we have shared times and occasions through Godliness, Brotherly Kindness, and Love.

The same is true with God. In my last blog, it was stated, "I know [my friends] because of much more than awareness, much more than simple Facts and Figures, but through time spent with them, becoming their friends and taking them as my friends... We have seen Jesus weep. God Almighty has wept, and in full view of His friends. His friends know Him. We are His friends... Jesus has seen us weep... He is [our] friend."

Jesus showed the paragon of Self-Control in many different ways. He was hungry, and had the power to create bread from nothing, but did not, so that we would see Him and trust in His Father more. He could have simply whisked himself away from the crowds when they became overwhelming, but did not, so that they could see God. He could have ended His own suffering on the cross, but did not, so that we could truly know Him, and know that He is Lord of life and death.

There is a man I know, Pastor B. I have spoken of him before, and maybe even told his story, for he knows Self-Control. He is a Man of God, who was kicked out of his own church. When he found that those who had come against him began to have troubles and pain in their lives, he got on his knees and face, and prayed for the Lord to have mercy on them.

That is Self-Control.

I was kicked out of a church as well, and until I knew him, and knew his story, I could not even bring myself to think about the Pastors who had kicked me out. But as I got to know Pastor B. and his family, I began to see the fruit (in his own life) of the prayers for mercy.


"... And Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. And don't let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you."
-Matthew 6:12-14


... Just as we forgive those... do not fall into temptaion...if you forgive...your heavenly Father will forgive you.

The first thing we see here it that we must forgive others. Then Jesus seems to deviate from his train of thought for a moment into temptation, then goes back to forgiving. The question is this, in the context of Jesus' words, "What temptation are we likely to yeild to?" Forgive...don't yeild to temptation...Forgive.

How difficult is it sometimes, simply to forgive someone? Often it's hard. Always, it requires humbleness... and Self-Control. Forgiveness is never to be, "I, the great and mighty person forgive you of your unspeakable tresspass against me!" Rather it is an exersise in Self-Control, as a calm and loving,"I need to ask you about something. Did you mean to hurt me?" And in either response, Forgive. Or, if we don't learn to forgive immediately, it is an exersise in Self-Control and Humbleness, "I took offense at something, and I don't even know if you meant to hurt me, vut I do know that I sinned against you with my bitterness. Would you forgive me?"

This is Self-Control.

How difficult is it sometimes, simply to ask for forgiveness? Often it's hard. Always, it requires Humbleness and Self-Control. Humbleness to come and ask, and Self-Control to actually do it! "My friend, I hurt you, I did something against you. Please forgive me." or "I wronged you, I sinned. Would you forgive me?"

This is Self-Control.

A wise man once told me, "Knowledge puffs up." Self-Control takes so much Humbleness and requires that we "swallow" so much pride that it will counteract the pride of Knowledge, and bring us that much closer to Godliness and Love.

There are three people near my age that I call by absolute Best Friends. Two guys and one girl, all three from different backgrounds, each with different personalities. Yet, one thing connects them all. With each one, I have swallowed my pride and come to them for forgiveness.

This may fit better in the next step of Perseverance, but it also fits with Self-Control.

As I have studied this passage in 2 Peter more and more, I have grown to see how all of those who I can truly say that I Love, those Three True Friends, as well as Family, have all shared these things with me.

Faith (We share our Faith in Christ, and have shown Faith in one another)
Virtue (We have done things that show a "Moral Excellence" together)
Knowledge (We have grown in Knowledge of Christ together)
Self-Control (We have all sacrificed things [pride, time, etc.] for the other's sake)
Perseverance (We have stuck with eachother when it was sometimes difficult)

And through these, we have shared;

Godliness (We have all shared moments and memories that were difficult at took trust to share, and brought us closer to eachother and God) and
Brotherly Kindness (We have all been there for one another one we needed it)

And finally, we have come to;

Love (We Love eachother, as only brothers and sisters in Christ can Love)

Sometimes it has taken immense Self-Control to become and stay Friends with these three people. Two live across the country, and it is no easy thing to stay in touch with them, and I have had to swallow my pride many times with the third Friend. But it has been worth it!

"... and to Knowledge, Self-Control ..."
-2 Peter 1:6

When we do something to get closer to God, it alwasy seems to spill over into the rest of our lives.

Self-Control
Play a Game or go to Pray

Self-Control
Eat a pizza or fast and Pray

Self-Control
Forgive enemies or sin against God

Self-Control
Ask for forgiveness or keep our pride

Or, as Jesus put it,
Self-Control
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? -Mark 8:36

What good is anything, without Self-Control?

What good is it, if you win the World, but do not have Self-Control, and lose your life, your soul?


But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. Against such things there is no law.
-Galatians 5:22-23


-David Shore