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Memes That Make Me Go, “Huh?” 16

In the last episode of “Memes” I shared it on facebook on my own personal page because someone was wondering why they don’t see them. Then I worried a bit because I wondered what some people thought of me sharing their memes, or liking memes, or commenting on memes and then making fun of said memes, for I did not see any posted for quite some time. But like all cultural phenomena in this here technological age it came back around again and I have seen quite a few in the past few days. So, without further ado, here it is, where I make fun of your sometimes fun, sometimes ridiculous, but always makes me go, “Huh?” it is “Memes that make me go, “Huh?”

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So going right is ending up at the top of that cliff? Is that what this is saying to me? Well, whatever it is saying I know this much, that if I was going up there… a lot will go wrong, and the imaginary force I feel pushing me off of high places would gain physical composition and I would die. End quote.

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This is a weird little multi-meme. That is what I’m a gonna call these; multi-memes. They couldn’t set themselves straight on what kind of art or character, or who even decides what their perspective of themselves really is… Am I a stereotypical granny, or am I Eeyore? Should I just do a little heart art that sums up my feelings? Well, either way, they made sure their tag is on there a couple of times. An interesting quote from a site called “Shut Up I’m Still Talking.”

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Do you see it? Of course you do! Why does facebook feel the need to test us all the time. Well, you see, it is all part of a governmental program that makes sure you see it. Whatever.

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That is not my daughter, and that is not my daughter. The gall someone has in telling me that top one is my daughter! Perhaps it would have been more nice to say something like… oh I don’t know, “Your world, my world.” or “Your culture, my culture.” or “Your ideology, my ideology.” Or maybe stay the whole heck away from trying to start an arguement, like “This is someone’s idea of what constitutes beauty fashioned in the lives of our young people, which is what I am against because this sexualizes our daughters beyond cultural decency unless you live in the backwoods of some non-descript backwoods state and are married to your cousin and only eat anything covered in gravy, while conversely I myself am going against many of these cultural norms and am training my daughter to defend herself through the knowledge and use of a well made American firearm.” …Although that might not fit on the picture. Maybe “Your daughter, my daughter,” is best.

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I want to understand this… maybe? As stated many times previously, I don’t get the whole Trump thing, and I believe a Trump presidency will further lower the quality of our memes. I mean, look, the guy couldn’t even photoshop his face facing the correct direction: toward the whatever he is yelling at. Sad, very, very sad.

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Okay. I don’t talk much about my work on my blogs, but I just had to bring this one up, for I work very closely with copiers. I believe this is from reddit or some such I have no idea about, but they know nothing about printers. No one would ever, never, ever tell you to turn on and off a printer if you indicated that it was out of ink. And that is toner by the way! What hurts the most is that I believe a relative of mine posted this and they did not even think to consult me before posting this. Oh! The horror…

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I sort of like this meme, but I can’t forgive the perspective of this. There is no way this guy is facing his younger self, it is all off, and then the coloring and antique look gives it a creepy vibe. **shudder**

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Oh, I like this one. The symbolism and vision and simple text. I’d really like to know how they did this. This is another meme example of me going, “Huh?” as in I am surprisingly impressed.

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This person obviously wants tear down facebook and throw the world into chaos. Seriously, who doesn’t like the smell of bacon in the morning… it is all such a pointless meme. Wait a second, I didn’t like and share this! I better go back there and find it, then do the right thing by liking and sharing… Nah. That’s too much work.13124856_1191376900881967_6778502376859479733_n

This was a new one on me… The thing that really got me, no, I mean really got me, was the statement at the very end, “I want my like.” You want your like????? What planet am I living on? Did I enter into some alternate dimension as I fell asleep since 1991? God, please take me now. That whole last three lines is one sentence. He says, “You” as in me, “went to check it” which is quite presumptuous, “and I was messing with you,” really? You were messing with… me? and there is a comma, with that final temper tantrum throwing implication that this person deserves some recognition? Who shared this? Man I wish I noted that. Why don’t people all over facebook just post a picture of a puppy and over it say, “I want my like,” like the impish little vile creatures that this world has turned us all into. Here, I am going to re-meme just that…. multiple times. And I am going to post them on my facebook once in a while just to see what people say.

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There. Now join me in the #iwantmylike revolution!

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Dependable. Reliable. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year.

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We do? First time I saw this I thought this lady had one of those dentist towels on the front of her and I thought, “What in the what?” What is she loving a new dentist, a new set of teeth? Yeah, I’m weird too. No one deserves this, but, it doesn’t hurt. Ugh, I think I just threw up a little.

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First time I saw this I wanted to punch both of these people. Oh, man, now the barf is really coming up……. Whew, I’m back……… No, I’m really back now. I still want to punch them and unknown who wrote this, and Love is Answer person. Everyone needs to be punched involved in this. Wait a second… I got a great idea to make this better…

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I can easily get over my feeling of wanting to punch these two lovebirds!

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And all my pens must be out of ink. This one makes me laugh a bit. What are you trying to tell me with this one? Simple, gradient orange.

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I posted a meme from this guy last time, go ahead and check it out. This time he used a drawing of himself and not an actual photo. His drawing looks cooler. His t-shirt is… cooler? His quote: I cannot stop laughing. Seriously, I cannot stop laughing.

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Nope.

See you next time.

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Sunday Scrutinizations: My Personal Philosophy Expounded

As you may have seen from my previous writings, the last several years of my life has changed to within myself a very specific conviction towards valuing in the utmost, our relationship with each other. It began in a men’s study I was involved with and the reading of a book called, “The Exemplary Husband.” One of the chapters was about relationship. As men we tend to build in our lives priorities. Sometimes our priorities are skewed in that work is our main priority, then family, maybe sports, our friends, and the like. Then we become a Christian and we are told that God should be first, then our wives, our family, our church… You know, we have a more sensible priority list. This book introduced the idea that it is not the things in themselves that have the priority, but the relationships. We should look at it as: Our relationship with God is priority one, then our relationship with our wives, and so on. Another thing I learned in this group was that the reason marriage was so sacred is because our relationship symbolizes the relationship of God within Himself or furthermore, between Christ and us.

Tonight, we initially looked at the creation and how God called all things good until he looked at what was missing or unfulfilled in Adam, and that was he was not in relationship. Being in relationship is the reason God created us. He said that He was making man in His image and in that was the relationship God had with Himself. In the Godhead, God is complete through the relationship He has with Himself. Ponder that for a time. Dwell on it. He did not need to make us, but made us to glorify Him in our relationship with Him and in our relationship with each other. One of the most beautiful poems, according to the pastor, was the one Adam said about Eve. It was not about Eve, but about himself. “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” Adam, in his relationship with Eve saw himself. He saw himself fulfilled in Eve. He was fully created for the purpose of relationship and now saw that through Eve, seeing himself fully in that. Does that make sense? Well, look at it this way: when Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God, that relationship was broken, they covered themselves up, hid from each other, and we’ve been doing it ever since. We are not fulfilling our purpose, we are not knowing ourselves except through the relationship of each other and in God. Because of the sin in this world we are constantly hiding from ourselves and from others. We fear being truly known. We are broken and our relationships are broken.

We need to remember the gospel and our purpose in fulfilling the gospel in its freedom and it’s relationship. We need to know that there are two things that ruin our relationships mentioned in Galatians 5:26, “Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” It is the challenging and envying one another that ruins relationships. To challenge means we look down on others, thinking ourselves superior, it is always a negative connotation and never about spurring on others. When we envy, we look up at others and are bitter for what they have or who they are, we feel inferior. Superiority or inferiority are the two things that destroy a relationship. The relationship here between relationship with each other and the freedom we have because of the gospel is this superiority and inferiority. When we think that we are superior we know we can do the things that please God. When we are inferior we are always ashamed at our failures and think we are horrible people. Because of our superior or inferior thoughts we cannot have the true relationship with God that we should have, that we were made for; it breaks our relationship with Him.

So how did we get this way in that we always compare ourselves to each other? The answer is also in the verse, our boastfulness. This word means empty glory. We try to glorify ourselves because the emptiness we have. We fill ourselves with glorying successes or the failures we have in trying. In the sin that sprang from that first sin we are hollow because of our unfulfilled purpose, so we constantly try to fill ourselves with things that don’t fulfill, and furthermore, we boast in that, creating feelings of superiority or inferiority in ourselves and others. Something inside us makes us believe we’re not great, so we have to boast about our greatness. So again, it comes down to the brokenness of our relationship due to our superiority or inferiority.

Look at what Christ says in Matthew 7, “I never knew you.” In that he wasn’t saying they weren’t good enough or humble enough, but that He didn’t know them. The final exam, as you might say, is about how much He knew us.

We look at psychology and it ways of solving our human dilemma, and it focuses more and more on that people just don’t see the value enough in us. Christianity says that it is sin and that we compare ourselves to others and it is the cause of all brokenness.

One of the things we also do is look at others and become attracted to people because of what they can fulfill in us. Can we spend a good time together? Will they bring me into this circle of friends? We look at what others can do for us in making us feel worthy or give us the glory. When we do this we are devouring each other. Galatians 5:15 says, “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” This made me think of Hieronymus Bosch’s depictions of hell, where people are eating each other. This superiority/inferiority and the brokenness of relationships is in many ways a hell we have created for ourselves. When we look at others for what we may gain, we are using them, or devouring them, consuming people for our own gain. One girl I’ve been talking with about boundaries, said that she needs people. Now, we all need people, but when we need them in a very needy way, where it gives us fulfillment just to be around so many, it is as if we are devouring them. That is a boundary she must keep; not to have people around for the sake of your own neediness. I very much understand this attitude. Her and I are alike in so many ways. I see her in me 25 years ago.

We now see because of Galatians 5:13-14, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”” that our only options are to devour or to love, and it tells us in these verses that in love we are to serve one another. How do we choose to serve over devouring? It is by the Spirit of God that we accomplish this.

Philippians 2:5-7 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

We are to walk by the Spirit and not regard yourself too highly. Empty yourself, become that servant. No longer look at what others can do for you, thus devouring them, but see what you can do for others.

Self-examination time: 1) Do you give, when there is nothing to take? 2) Do you sacrifice or feel as if you should be served? 3) Are you moving toward people who give you nothing in return? These are difficult questions. The Christian life is never as easy as it seems.

One thing I did ask after. He stated that he had to take a break from relationships, because they are so hard, is that a proper attitude? Even Jesus had to get away by Himself away from others for a time. I love you Jesus, You are my perfect example. Amen!

~Stranger

Sunday Scrutinizations: Change For the Better?

Going off of last weeks sermon, we are now looking at how people change toward exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. One thing we really want to remember is that we are not changing to be better people, but we change because the gospel being understood fully in our lives and those changes come about from that realization. If we are truly Christians we need to be exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, and as such if we don’t see it we need to ask why. Are we truly Christian or is there some idol in our life that is preventing the fruit from growing?

We are usually warned in these types of sermons that things are going to be rough on us, and today, it really was. I am always very open in all my posts, but it seems like this one will be especially hard for me, in that it did hurt to realize what I did as well as not being sure I want to share. Either way, this blog is about me being open and honest so you can know me better, even though I may or may not know you and the feeling aren’t generally reciprocated.

Our reading is Galatians 5:16-25. After several discussions within several small groups we got to the main part of the sermon. We were handed a sheet that had “Desires” on one side and “Overdesires” on the other. “Desire” is mentioned three times in this section and we learn that it is the greek word epithumia, which basically means an over-desires for something. We usually think of desire in the King James Version of lust, which brings to mind a sexual desire, but it is best described as desiring something in an unhealthy way. We can desire something good, like providing for our family, but when it becomes on over-desire it becomes an idol in our lives. We were told to write down things that we desire, just anything, and include some things that are good. If you are following along, I’ll give you a moment to do this and then we’ll continue…

I guess several years ago that the church went through a fruit of the Spirit series and it was then that they thoroughly went through this each one and it’s opposite; it made me want to be there then, but I went through my learning on my own time. At this point we went through a quick summary:

  1. Love – Opening yourself to serve, not for yourself but in being vulnerable
  2. Joy – Supernatural delight in God
  3. Peace – Trust in God’s control
  4. Patience – Truly forgiving
  5. Kindness – Generosity-delight when others are lifted up, even those you don’t like
  6. Goodness – Sincerity/Integrity
  7. Faithfulness – Full of faith
  8. Gentleness – Humility-thing of self less/strength under control
  9. Self-Control – ability to choose the important things over the urgent

And the opposites:

  1. Fear or self-protection
  2. Vainglory/Man made glory
  3. Arrogance or anxious/crazy
  4. Unrighteous anger
  5. Envy
  6. Hypocrisy
  7. Man’s wisdom or thinking
  8. Pride
  9. Impulsive

When we show the opposite of what the specific fruit is, it is some idol in our life, that is exhibiting one of the opposites from above.

So, back to my list. Here are the things I said. “To be thought of as wise. That people would seek me out. Be less insecure. Have more time to read (which incidentally leads to me knowing more and being sought out). More healthy. To be understood. To be known.” We were told to circle those which were more important to us, possibly than even God. If we would be emotionally injured when these weren’t fulfilled we were to circle them. I circled: to be understood and known. Now, you circle yours.  Pray, take some time to reflect on what these are and how they connect with what is the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit.

As I sat there praying and contemplating these things, I looked at my list and noticed something. They all had something to do with what other people may think of me. I got very emotional, because God was showing me something. I told you that last year I realized I was being legalistic and prior to this realization I took pride in the fact that I was so un-legalistic. Here I am looking in a mirror of that same type of pride again. There is a pride in me that I don’t care what others think about me, but my whole list were about how I wanted people to see me! I want people to think I am wise and come to me for advice. I want to be more secure in who I am, so I can put all that behind me and join the group and participate. I want to be more healthy so that when the time comes when I finally lose some weight somebody will say, “You are looking good!” I want people to understand my motivations so that there can be no question as to why I am doing what I am doing. Same thing with being known. I write this whole blog in an effort to be known. Sure, it is for me knowing myself better, but in so many ways I am hoping you are reading this and know me better, hopefully knowing yourself better too.

In the light of a current situation I am going through, and some unfairness I believe some people are judging me by, I have rehearsed what my motivations are. It is not really a crisis situation I am going through, but this is a very big decision, and I am in no way taking it lightly. They consider my choices to be completely self-serving and that I’ll find all I’ve ever wanted in it, but I don’t see it that way. I’m told why should I even try to make them understand… because I love and care about them. This is one of the most difficult things in my life and all of it piled up in this realization, and I broke down and wept silently. I was supposed to lead discussion in the group afterwards, but could hardly speak. I see that I was being vain in wanting people to see what I’ve done, I was full of pride and fear, and was envious of all those who apparently have what I desire… or have over-desired.

I think the thing in this is that I have had this realization. Now I can truly see where my lack of love, joy, kindness and gentleness might come from. That I have been so concerned what people think about me, and I thought the complete opposite. In talking with a couple of other men after, it seems that how we men are perceived is a big problem. I am glad I am not alone in this. Being someone so insecure makes you believe everyone else is so much more secure than you.

There were three steps given in order to change: Belong-Who do we belong to? Crucify-Know that it is finished, that the power that raised Him from the dead is the same power we have access to. Keep in step with the Spirit-It’s about worship, and it doesn’t mean we try harder, it just means we worship Him. I was shocked by my realization today, so I can’t give you more of what the conclusion is all about, but I believe you get the idea.

Tonight was a great night, I am so thankful for what we have been learning and will ever praise Him. I praise You Lord!

~Known by Him

 

Sunday Scrutinizations: Environmental Freedom

This summer Township Line Church were going out to the streets. Our experiment in inviting the community to our service and dinners had mixed results. It was beautiful to see most of the fellowship continuing to come out in the hot temperatures. It showed the dedication of this family and how we all wanted to be a part of it. There wasn’t many people coming from the neighborhood we were meeting in, but there was many promises of interest; I’m not really sure what to make of that, but God was glorified in it all. The elders have decided that many have appreciated the later meetings so we are continuing it for now, meeting at our old building, 8 miles out-of-town, starting at 4pm and dinner at around 5:30.

Tonight’s sermon, we were told was part 1 of 2. Personally, all the sermons I’ve heard there have one great connection: the Gospel. This first one was called “Freedom”. We’ve been going through Galatians and we are specifically looking at chapter 5:1-18.

So how does the Christian live in Freedom? When we look at the gospel we must understand that all condemnation is gone, that we are accepted because of what Christ has done; it is based on nothing we have done. So we can do whatever we want. That is part of the freedom we understand. Galatians 5:6 says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” We look at circumcision meaning morality and uncircumcision meaning debauchery. So, neither has value when you are in Christ. It changes nothing in our acceptance, changes nothing in our condemnation.

Let’s look at what freedom doesn’t mean before we go on. We have a concept that when we have freedom, it means we can do anything. There are 3 failures in this idea.

  1. It is self-defeating. This means that when we believe we can do whatever we want, it’ll conflict with other’s desires. We cancel out each other’s freedom.
  2. It is incompatible with the complexity of the human heart. Steak is delicious and we would like the freedom to eat it all the time, but it is unfortunate that our bodies couldn’t handle it.
  3. It doesn’t flow from love. It is unfortunate that in this country all our freedom has led to the most selfish nation ideology.

As Christians we have made the inaccurate mistake of emphasizing that Christ has saved us from something. Incidentally, we also make being saved about being able to go to heaven, when it is about spending eternity with the Creator of the universe. There are a lot of things we have misemphasized as Christians, (yes I just made up the word misemphasized). The emphasis that is the key in understanding our freedom is what we are saved for. Look at 5:6 again. It says that the only thing that counts, or is worthy in this discussion of freedom, is our faith expressing itself through love. Our service, our love for others is the freedom we have.

Now, we face this unsuredness of our place in God by doing good things or trying to stop doing the bad things all the time. We face the condemnation of ourselves because of our constant failure in our own attempts. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. How do we remember that? We just have to constantly fill our life with the certainty of His love every day, through His word, from His people. Let the love of Christ dwell in us richly.

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law,” verse 18 reminds us. We are free from guilt. We are free from works of righteousness, and yes that doesn’t mean we have to do any of them, but if we are truly transformed, our freedom will allow us desire and opportunity to do good things for Him. We are free from those things that consume our being that is not Him, to pursue a more beautiful replacement which is the gospel of Christ.

My main take away from this is something that was barely mentioned. Verse 13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (NASB) Again, the bible tells us that our freedom is to serve one another. When we are in the environment God intended for us is when we live to our full potential of love. Look at the fish; it only has freedom in the water, in the environment God intended for the fish to exist in. Does a fish have freedom on your table? Of course not. It only have freedom in the environment God intended. Which is how we are. We only have freedom when we live the life, when we are in the environment He has created for us. He has created us for good works and in doing those with a grateful heart, is when we have true freedom.

~Stranger

Strange Reviews: Lungs

I eased myself into the high passenger seat of a large white suburban. We were men on a mission to see a brick building of interest. The driver, whose quirky personality is difficult for me to figure out, starts up the engine. (I imagine others find it as difficult to see what lies beneath this skull of mine, but he is quicker to smile, laugh, and empathize and thus is seemingly more easy to be with.) Several notes come out of the stereo system, and another man in the back asks excitedly, “Is that the Avett Brothers?” Driver answers in the affirmative, that indeed it is the Avett Brothers. “I knew there was a reason I liked you,” back seat passenger conveys the message of an instant manly bond of music. I take note of band and catch some notes of note, then take some mental notes for later perusal of agreed upon bonding band.

Some days later my wife presents to me a late birthday gift of an itunes card worth, (drumroll please) twenty-five dollars! I haven’t had money for itunes since I wrote my last album review dated May 8th. I figure that an album review here to be forthcoming and begin the search for what to buy… what to buy. I instantly remember the band that brought about the bond that I so much like to experience, of which I semi-wrote about on that one site SIR page. I sent a message to back passenger asking them to remind me of band, then checked them out. Well, they were okay. Not necessarily my style, more on the easy country/rock. My country and/or country rock demands more of a hook and less of, hmmm… shall I say mainstreamism?

I flashed back to my appreciation of 80’s thrash metal, and found nothing that made me want to buy. It is very hard to buy an album when you rarely get the funds to go for it, after all there is so much to choose from and where do you go? Do you pick from your past? Do you go for the stuff you received some moderately impressed praise for having and finding some more of the stuff? Do you go for something new that itunes may recommend? Last time I asked for recommends, I got a lot of no responses or stuff that I wasn’t nearly interested in. Then I remember a song that I first experienced while browsing the net. It showed a kid and his response to a song and the lack  thereof. Very funny video, and the song got stuck in my head. The way the kid reacts is the way I am when it comes to music: if it makes me move, I like it.

I found the song and the album, then listened to the samples. It didn’t thrill me right away, but then I remembered how I use to have to work hard to like an album; listening to it over and over again, so it’d grow on me and it became part of me and I could sing it on a whim. Now wait a sec, you may think that I was forcing myself to like something just because others liked it and I could… bond with them? Nothing could be farther from the truth. It wasn’t that I didn’t hate it and forced myself, but that I knew it had potential to move me.  I love music, I just don’t connect immediately with the specific sound. Like when your friend posts a video of a guy doing the guitar rhythm to an old song that you liked way back when and says to check out the fret work, you suddenly realize that you never really heard the instruments separately, but always as a whole. You never fully realized the work and talent that went into such simple melodies, and how beautiful each part can be on its own. My goodness! How perspectives can change in an instance. Music is the stuff that shows us how beautiful a gift God gave us when it comes to hearing. Alas, like so many other good gifts given us, we make it ugly and spiteful. Yet I suppose that is a part of human existence too.

Back to the review at hand. Since this is a review of an album I don’t have much of a history with, I don’t know it totally in and out, but will give my initial reactions to each song.

Dog Days Are Over: This is the song that I referred to earlier. Great, haunting, lively intro. Her voice instantly takes me in. Love the deep tones and then ukulele(?). Clapping hands and tambourines and a harp builds up the crescendo to the chorus. With pauses in the middle and strong come backs. This is a great song to jump up and down to and sway in melody.

Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up): This one could be on the extreme, alternate, late-night, weekend playing Christian music station. It is a song about offering, sacrifice, change, gifts. Don’t misunderstand, it is not a Christian band as you will soon see, and this is not a Christian song, it just has a great spiritual presence and the beautiful melody will have you swaying.

I’m Not Calling You a Liar: The Machine seems to rely a lot upon the light instrument, harps, cymbals, tambourines. They have great harmony together, and this one showcases that. It is about love and how hard it is to give your heart, it is like dying.

Howl: This one, might be the first to delete. It is a good song, but the lyrics don’t impress me. I do lie more on the puritan side of things when it comes to the gift of relationship God gave man and woman, and this one is just to feral for my tastes.

Kiss With a Fist: Okay, this one is the first I’ll delete. All I here is violence and mutual domestic abuse. In fact it is already gone.

Girl With One Eye: Three songs in a row to delete? This isn’t going so well… but it does get better.

Drumming Song: Another song that I just love her voice. More crashing sounds in this one than usual. It does sound like she is a bit crazy as she tries religion and suicide(seemingly) to rid herself of the drumming. But it is just another one about love and how the emotions inside take over when you see the one you love, the passion is seemingly out of control.

Between Two Lungs: Words and their effect on you? Meh… just doesn’t roll out the barrel, if you know what I mean.

Cosmic Love: Another great one, gotta say her voice is just amazing, they don’t need all the heavy instruments. This one though, reminds me that it should come with a warning that Paul McCartney knew how to do. “You’d think that people would have Had enough of silly love song But I look around me and I see it isn’t so Some people wanna fill the world With silly love songs And what’s wrong with that? I’d like to know ‘Cause here I go again.” Okay! I get it. You’re a woman with strong emotions. I guess this is your outlet. Many a great artist creates out of pain. Here is what I’m going to imagine it as: End of the world, deep in the darkness, with only one person… to face the end of the world.

My Boy Builds Coffins: This one is my favorite so far. Just check out these lyrics: “My boy builds coffins with hammers and nails He doesn’t build ships, he has no use for sails He doesn’t make tables, dressers or chairs He can’t carve a whistle cause he just doesn’t care
My boy builds coffins for the rich and the poor Kings and queens have all knocked on his door Beggars and liars, gypsies and thieves They all come to him ’cause he’s so eager to please My boy builds coffins he makes them all day But it’s not just for work and it isn’t for play He’s made one for himself One for me too One of these days he’ll make one for you For you For you For you.” Those are enough for the price of admission. Yes! A song about dying… Wait, what? All these have something about dying in them. This one is different though. Check it out.

Hurricane Drunk: Women have emotions on a level way beyond the average male, and this one is no exception. This time her emotions are carrying her away like a hurricane. Again, this sounds like something that could be on the alt, alt, alt Christian music station. Just sayin’.

Blinding: A more somber and dark one then the usual lighter ones. Heavy drumbeats mark its entry. She cries out, “No more dreaming like a girl.” Apparently dreaming about the love she has always sought, but then she awakens from the fantasy because she kills someone. Just kidding, she doesn’t kill anyone. But there is something deeper here, perhaps the way we now seek out love? Ugh, my manliness is starting to kick in the gag reflexes to upchuck all this emotion about love and stuff… Let’s look at the last one.

You’ve Got the Love: Wait, this one has “love” in the title. Okay, hold up again. I’m going to say that this one is truly about God. Forget about the fact that all these others are about the pain love brings, or the emotions that destroy from unrequited love or relationships that are just physical, or death and dying from poetic broken hearts. This one is about a love that will never let you down. A love that you really need, a love that picks you up. And listen to the harp this time, it sounds like an angel in heaven is playing it. In the end it all comes down to going back to God; He’ll never let you down. At least that is what I’m going with.

Hmm… Maybe this is why I rarely bond with people over music anymore.

~Stranger

Why Should It Be? You and I Should Get Along So Awfully

Question 10, inspired by this article.

Amherst College: “Sartre said, ‘Hell is other people,’ but Streisand sang, ‘People who need people/Are the luckiest people in the world.’ With whom do you agree and why?”

Ah! Well done Amherst College, well done. Use your questions to discover our stance on two of the most outstanding politically left philosophical, as well as artistic minds of the last century and their seemingly contradictory “statements.”

Let’s start with what Sartre said and why: “Hell is other people,” was a line in Sartre’s play “No Exit.” It is a play about three people who have been condemned to Hell. This Hell that they are in is a room, with no exit… forever. These people only see themselves by how others see them. In the case of only being able to understand yourself from how others may see you, is perhaps the Hell that Sartre envisioned. Sartre himself probably did not “hate” people as may be suggested by the question posed, because of what you are trying to contrast, but may have in fact hated the idea that what people see, by our actions or words, is what they judge us to in fact be. There is so much more to us than our actions or words. We are made up by our history, by our thoughts, by the way we interpret the world, its people and it’s culture. We all have come to conclusions about who we are by everything we have observed and decided how we see these things. How shallow, in fact, what a Hell it would be to live and be judged by people who don’t really know all these things you have seen and how that has made who we are now. You cannot understand from these statements that I believe we all have excuses for our behavior, for we should come to the conclusion that we should not act on every impulse, but be able to control ourselves, that is true humanity, true relationship. If it wasn’t, we’d be all going around killing each other, and stealing, and demanding, and destroying; for there are some philosophies that espouse the notion of doing what thou wilt. Anyway, Sartre does not believe that people are the poison that makes our life Hell, it is just Hell when we don’t know each other; a thought I say “cheers” to, and raise my glass high!

Now, on to what Barbara Streisand “said.” The statement here is from the song “People” from the musical “Funny Girl.” The musical is based on the life of a comedienne from the Ziegfeld Follies days and her turbulent romance with a gambler. Now, I haven’t seen the play “No Exit” or the musical “Funny Girl” so I am surmising a bit about what each of these quotes might mean in the context of a small amount of research I did on the two. What I see from the time this song is sung and the lyrics therein, is it is kind of sad song about how as adults we have lost our childlike ease of entering into a relationship, and that we get to a point of either admitting we don’t need anyone or we have an unhealthy co-dependency towards anyone who shows any interest towards us. Consider this lyric: “We’re children, needing other children / And yet letting a grown-up pride / Hide all the need inside / Acting more like children than children”. The song is filled with regret about how we betray each other, how we don’t really understand that we do need each other, and how lucky those people are who have that knowledge. Those people who have a healthy need for others are finding those of the same need. How horrible it is to have an unhealthy need that you go to those who hurt us the most. It is much like a Hell that we have developed around ourselves, because of those we attract.

You ask me who I agree with and why, when each of these statements are, at the core, almost saying the same thing. Superficially though, I would agree with both. Dealing with people sometimes is like Hell, if Hell were a temporary situation, but it is not. We have to have patience and love for those we deal with, because we never know what they have been through. I have a really hard time with people who are going way under the speed limit in front of me, or those who come up way fast behind me and stay there, on my bumper. However, I do not know their situation. Maybe they just lost their husband, or are hurrying to that meeting they have hoped for in the last 5 years. We never truly know each other at the core of our being. What made us do those things that may so drive others insane? Have patience. Have compassion. Have control. We are not an island dealing with self and self alone, but we do have to deal with how we react to situations. Many people choose not to know why others do the things they do, they just want to stay angry. I know there is differences in our beliefs, but do you just believe by tradition or have you worked out things in your own mind? Have you closed your mind on something solid, or are you still open to what others may say?

You people at Amherst College, have you done your best to understand why others believe the way they do, or do you never give the opposing viewpoint an opportunity to voice their experience? I would hope that as a college considering someone whose view is Christian and conservative, would not reject me outright because I’ve come to my conclusions through the experience of the life I have led. I understand your possible progressiveness. I would see to it that I sought out to understand of all my classmates, professors, and faculty by hearing about who you are and how that came to be, and that you would give me and those of similar ideologies equal opportunity. Let us not break down the structure we have built our “Universities” around; the one from many. You have asked a question that revolves around people and our relationship with all, give all the chance to learn, from all.

~Stranger

Strange Confessions: The Lost Files, a Mother’s Day Confession

Strange Confessions: I once sacrificed a Fisher-Price music clock to my Mom, when she asked my little sister and me to give up something we cared about because we ruined a bunch of her expensive make up.

(Author’s note: This Strange Confession was originally written on that one site as part of the original Strange Confessions series. I posted the picture on the right and wrote the story as a link to it. Periodically I go through the pictures and delete old ones, in which I did for this particular one, not realizing I was deleting the story as well. I received some comments about what a tribute it was for my Mother, and I believe they thought she was… ahem… deceased. I had to go back and tell them it was just a story I remembered and that my Mom is alive and well, as she still is. She took good care of us kid’s during a hard time of a mostly absent Father that eventually ended in divorce. I love her so much and this story truly defined how much she really knew who I was and the fear of who I might become. Since this is a rewrite, I doubt it’ll be as good as the original, but want to make as fine a tribute my Mom deserves. I love you Mom!)

My little sister and I used to pretend to make magic potions in the sink. We’d find soaps and shampoos and toothpaste and mouthwash, and mix it all up in the bathroom sink, stirring it up until it dissolved into a greenish, brown goop. Then we’d always hit the drain lever and down it would go; mess all cleaned up in a hurry. One time we were in my parent’s bathroom and found all sorts of interesting bottles and baubles and tinctures to mix up into a new creation. Gleefully pouring all the stuff and stirring it up, my Mom caught us in the act. She was very angry with us and you could tell, but she didn’t yell at us. In fact, I never remember her yelling at me unless I was in danger or about to break something. This time though, you could tell how just below the surface her anger was. She sat us down on our bed and explained to us how expensive it all cost. I can’t really remember my reaction then, but I imagine it was a lot like one of my kids: you think you might be getting through to them, but when you pause to take a breath they ask to use the computer or for an ice cream or to go outside. You know they are getting it. Which is what I imagine my Mom was feeling at the moment. She told us that it was something valuable to us and it is hard to lose something valuable. Of course this make up wasn’t more important to her than us, but I believe she saw this as an important teaching moment. She explained that she wanted to go and get something of ours to give to her, something that meant a lot, something that was valuable, something that was hard for us to part with.

I would guess I was at least 12 years-old at the time, and supposed I had grown beyond any real connection to toys such as a wind up clock. I had a Bugs Bunny stuffed toy when I was much younger, but lost it somewhere along the way. If I had still had that Bugs toy, it would probably be sitting on my bed in a place of honor, owing to the innocence of youth. I had a friend in high school who had one of those Bugs’ he kept in his room… with a noose around its neck that I was horrified to find. How could he do that to something that meant so much to me… I mean to him. Now that Bugs Bunny toy was something I might have given up at that time. I’m not a very sentimental guy when it comes to that sort of stuff, but that is one thing I wish I still had. With the task of finding something that mattered to me, I looked around the room. I didn’t see anything off-hand, but at the same time I didn’t really understand the scope of teaching my Mom wanted us to understand. I went to my closet and dug to the very bottom and all the way back in the corner, and found good old Fisher-Price clock. I went in to my Mom and with eyes properly downcast and sorrowful, I presented my sacrifice to her.

She takes it away from me, limply clutching it in her hand and asks, “This is something that is really valuable to you?” I look up sadly and tell her that yes, it is valuable to me. She stops, looks at it, looks at me and slowly asks again, “This is something that really means a lot to you? Something that has worth or value?” “Yes,” I tell her, “It is valuable to me.” She looks deep into my eyes. This is the thing I can remember the most. I remember the place I found the clock, I remember sitting on my bed looking around for something, but I can still see her eyes boring into mine. It was like she caught a glimpse of the future in my eyes. A boy who could outright pretend sorrow and regret had some hard troubles in his future, and I honestly did. She might have seen the things in store for me and beat it out of me, perhaps she saw it as inevitable and thought it better for me to face it on my own. Maybe she was just too tired to deal with it that day… but what ever her idea in mind for that long look, it made a long-lasting impression on me.

I imagine that is the way God looked at Adam and Eve in the garden on that fateful day that changed history forever. This has been something that came back to me when I became a Christian. The idea that we can look one in the eye who raised us, provided for us, defended us, and just lie to their face, makes me a little sick to my stomach. She was and is a good Mother who had lots of difficult times and trials in her life, no fewer ones that came directly from me, and she handled it with grace and patience. I know in my heart that I can never match up to that character, Lord though do I try, but the anger just comes out in yelling, and that is where a lot of my grace is demonstrated: in having to ask for forgiveness. God looks on us when we fall short with sorrow, but also with patience and grace. He knows we have a choice to do the right thing and mostly rarely do. It is the grace and patience I remember when I think about God’s dealings with me, and especially when I think of Him in the Old Testament. People have told me how they appreciate the God of the New rather than the Old Testament. They say it is because of His love in the New, and the wrath in the Old. I see a God of infinite love demonstrated through patience in the Old, much like my Mom was. Holding our eyes, waiting for us to make the right choice, knowing that when we do not, the consequences we will face because of our actions, and it makes Him sorrowful. He gives us the choice and never forces us. Thank you Mom for demonstrating His grace, love and patience in the way you raised me, in the way you raised us. I made a lot of wrong decisions along the way, but you are utmost in my mind the way I want/need to be with my own kids. May I make the right decisions with them.

~Stranger

Disillusioned: My “Final” Say on Politics

I am disillusioned by politics and I wish more people would become as disillusioned as well. The opportunity is there, they just have to snatch it and hold it close. There is no shame in that. I’m not calling for people not to participate in the political system, but to just not expect that your particular party is doing what you voted and/or expected them to do. I have been disillusioned since the middle of George W Bush’s first term. I would have considered myself a liberal by the time I became politically aware; sometime in high school. Calling myself, at the time, politically aware is a misnomer. The only thing I was aware of was that Reagan was evil, at least that is what I heard, or thought, or understood. Come to think of it, I don’t know where I got that idea. I just somehow knew he hated the environment, women, poor people and peace: of course he was evil. Opinions change.

My political understanding eventually came under the influence of my new-found faith as well listening to talk radio. I regarded life, and accountability and responsibility above all things when it came to politics, and I saw liberals as having none of those qualities. I went from one political spectrum to the other in a matter of months. When on one side, I dismissed any ideals of the other. That all started to change after GWB began throwing money at stuff to try to fix it. I soon realized that Republicans were no champion of the nation, the state, the individual. They didn’t provide the hope or ideal that they were supposed to be propagating to their constituents. Now that I see such a perceived failure of the other side, I expect many who follow the personality in charge to fall away in droves, following the tact of a reasonable person to realize no political party can truly accomplish what the ideals are set apart to be. It seems, that this is not the case. Many are sticking like the stubborn symbol representative of their party. Come on people! Step away from the politicking mass and fight for reason! Alas, in my disillusion, I seem to be standing alone. Nothing really changes, just the names and whether or not there is a D or an R following.

I see though that a healthy dose of disillusionment is what sets a reasonable, accountable, responsible person apart from a fanatic. Democrats are, it seems for the most part, fanatics. Yes, there are some Republican fanatics, but they are not trying to shut down the voice of the other side. Liberals are viciously trying to shut down conversations on abortion, on creation, on rights, on health choice, on religious liberty. They are unwittingly shutting down our freedoms. They don’t see that forcing people to accept what they are offering, that they are shutting down choice, and freedom. They are amazingly proud of their president, but can’t really say why, but don’t ask them, for it is an attack and you’ll be deemed a racist. You think perhaps I may be exaggerating a bit? I visit many popular culture websites, ones that deal with science and science fiction, fantasy and the “Con” life, movies and television, discoveries and history, comedy and the drudgery of life. Some headlines of articles that deal with the political stance of a cultural issue have words like “Idiots,” “Evil,” “Hate,” “Stupid” forgoing to end an argument by calling the particular conservative names. If you are any type of conservative you know what I’m talking about.

I really try to stay out of the arguments. In fact, on that one site, I have chosen to stay out of politics altogether, except for this one last political blog that I will link to. I’ve had some rather unfortunate situations occur with relatives and friends that I never intended. That one site is not necessarily the forum for civil discussion. So, what I want to say, needs to be said, then I’ll try to keep my peace.

First off let me say that I don’t hate anyone. I may get furious at the driver who is intent on not following any rules of spacing between cars at any miles per hour, but I don’t hate them. Nor do I hate your lifestyle choices. I don’t hate the person who believes life is less important than casual sex. In the same way I don’t hate the person who finds my belief in God and His creation, insane, and at the same time insults and degrades Him. No one is trying to stop you in your lifestyle or beliefs, at least no one who is reasonable. I want to encourage healthy debates. For me those choices are meted out on a personal and individual level. If you ask me what I think or feel or believe, I’ll tell you, and I’d like to know more about why you have chosen the way you think, feel and believe. If there is one thing I am, it is open, to hearing about you. I find it the most interesting thing, to find out why people believe what they believe; it is a part of our heritage, our culture.

Setting the healthcare issue aside, as well as foreign policy, wealth redistribution, immigration, non bi-partisanship, education, and Constitutional issues, this current president has done a fine job. I’d commend him on something specific that was worth standing up and cheering for, but one alludes me right now. The actions taken on the issue of marriage, of the current government, is what has brought me out of my political bomb shelter.

A conservative such as myself, may be seen by history as such a one as the KKK is seen now, if we do not bring the argument to a reasonable transcendence as to why we understand marriage in the way it was created. Within that statement lies the main problem: “created”. “One man, one woman,” we shout from the trenches. Others are more calm and willing to reason, but are rarely heard. For me, marriage is a sacred word. God gave it as a gift for mankind, as a symbol of what our individual relationship to Him is to be like as well as to propagate the species of man. If two women or two men are born or develop a strong sense of oneness between each other, and feel that someone of the same-sex will fulfill a purpose or completeness within them, then I am happy for them. I will not disparage or fight against what they deem fulfilling. Let us set aside why they may have come to be this way, for this conversation is about the term: marriage. Call their relationship what you will, make a new term, for marriage has already been taken. Yes, I understand the desire for acceptance of society and co-opting the word will hasten the day. The abuse that many have suffered in the name of religion, morality and normality is shameful, within all aspects of race, culture or creed. We should be just as loving and forgiving as our heavenly Father. Yes, I believe that actions and thoughts regarding what many a couple do behind closed doors or sometimes even out in the open is sin. I, am a sinner. A sinner who has been given Life and Life abundantly. God has and is still dealing with me in many areas of my life marred by my choice to sin, whether in action or thought. He deals with me on an individual level. What may be something I accept as good in my life may be seen as sinful to someone else. I fully expect God to deal with me or the person who sees me as sinning, to change our hearts and attitudes to His right and true way of thinking. If He does not do it here, than He will definitely in the life to come, when we will finally face Him. Many of my fellow Christians would never see a homosexual having the ability to truly come to Him, but I do not. God draws whom He will and those will have a choice, and God will accept them into His family, as they are. If God sees it necessary to change people after they come to Him, He will do so, or they will be in rebellion against Him. He is accepting and willing that all will come to Him and He has made it ultimately possible because of Him coming as a man and facing all temptation as man faces. It is on an individual basis that God changes, not corporately. He will never force you to come to Him, for that is not love.

Speaking of forcing, it seems that is what is happening to us conservatives. We are being forced to accept that what God has given as sacred is being used as political fodder to force an acceptance of what is sin. I hope I am not the only one speaking in such a way, trying to reason, to present our side. What I do think is happening is that some may see an article on homosexual marriage, find out the author’s perspective is conservative than dismiss it out of hand. I saw a video the other day of a conservative group on a college campus trying to interview participants of a Feminist conference. Someone found out the interviewer was from a conservative group and started telling everyone not to talk to her because of her background. She was followed around and as soon as she found someone to talk to, participants would tell the interviewees and mouths would close. Was that reasonable? It was a disgrace is what it was. That is what is happening today. Civil dialogue is being thrown out the window for shouting down your opponent. Battles are being won by insults. It makes me sad, very sad to what our freedoms has brought us: bondage. There is coming a day that what I say here will be marked as hate speech. It is already in some progressive European countries. Woe to us who have for so long given ground in the culture war, because of apathy and poor arguments, yet this is the way it was dictated to go. We have suffered too long contemplating self. This country was so great our only opportunity was self-examination. Let us look to the opportunities of not staring at our own navels. Go into the world and see what we so take for granted. Show the love God has poured out to us, if not for God than whatever you are thankful for and put it toward… not focusing so much on ourselves.

This started out as a statement I just needed to say regarding the horrifying political climate of today, but has grown into something I did not expect. I pray for this country and the relationship we have with each other, that we can talk again, share ideas and thoughts and why we do what we do or believe what we believe. It hurts me to think that so many relationships have been severed because of who is elected or what laws have been passed, but it doesn’t surprise me because even within the Christian community divorcing each other over the color of the carpet. I look toward the day when all will be made right. I look to the day where I am shown the error in my thoughts and deeds. I look to the day when all nations and cultures will gather at His feet praising Him and His works and His justice and His righteousness, in true unity and true diversity. I pray that we Christians will look beyond our own personal preferences and just desire to share the love that God wants us all to display, because He made us and loves us just as He intended us to be. Thank You God, thank You!

~Stranger

Trials, Tribulation, Persecution and Love

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.”
-2 Thessalonians 1:3-5

We started studying 2 Thessalonians last night in our fellowship/bible study group, when one of our members started on how he was saddened by what he sees in the church today regarding the lack of love displayed among the believers. There was some discussion about the lack of persecution we suffer. The thought from the one discouraged is that the manifestation of love should just be something we strive for, and that is an obvious thing to me as well, yet still we find ourselves lacking. If we love Jesus we will obey his commandments, and He also prayed that we would love each other. So in our love for Jesus are we loving each other as we should? I haven’t felt much love from the brethren here, but what have I given out? Another thought was that our love is in not leaving each other over trivial matters, or divorcing as the word that was used. Would we, as a group that had been together for two years be strong enough to see each other through the next 10 years, or 20?

As I listened to the group I pondered my connection to these people. We started being with these people 2 years after we moved here. It was still a very difficult time for us, not only in the things we had left, but in seeing some of the ways Christians treat each other. It was a powerfully rough time. This group formed through some of this hardship and depression I was suffering. I was glad we decided to have it at our house, because it is a rare excuse I can come up with in not coming. Many a time there was that I would sit in silence most of the night, not wanting to share my thoughts of feelings. My belief in my lack of importance contrived itself to shut me up. It was noticed, but not pushed. Eventually I would give myself over to opening up, denying the feelings of not trusting people, and it was rewarding. The culmination was two Emergency room visits last year that allowed me to be myself, open up and start loving these people.

I shared that the way I feel about these people would keep them in my hearts for years to come, no matter where I end up. But it was only through the tribulation I went through that I felt this way. Even in the verses above it seems that their love, in some way, grew from the trials and persecutions suffered.

The other thing I shared is the idea that we aren’t really holding onto the idea that we are part of a way bigger thing than just living and dying. We have a grand hope and a kingdom to share. Our lives are truly supernatural and that makes us realize that what happens here and now is just so stinking temporary. Our goal is not in being happy here, but looking forward to the grand green pastures of being with our Lord and Creator forever!

One of the things I ask the children here, when I get the opportunity to hang out, is, “Does God want us to be happy and never have a hard time in this life?” All of these kids would say that God wants us to be happy and never suffer. Eventually, when we grow up, and if we remain in the faith, we are given the idea that suffering is for our good. That only the loving parent will discipline their children. We don’t get the idea that tribulation brings perseverance brings character bringing hope until we are “ready” for it. We may understand this concept, but the teaching or perhaps hope as a child that everything will be easy stays with us, and we don’t give ourselves to each other because dealing with other people is hard.

I also brought this up to some guests we have and she said that when going through a hymnal that was about 150 years old, she found in the topical index, “hymns for when a child has died”. Can you imagine that being in our hymnal today? How much is death such a common thing when we are doing hip replacements to 85 year-old people today? We hear in other cultures that when you are ready to die, you take your mat away from the village, lay on it and wait for death. We know that where love and hope and faith grows is where death can be just around the corner. We do not suffer in this country if we are not facing hardship and disease and death on a daily basis. We may believe we are, but in contrast, are we really?

Lately, to me, it seems that we are losing a lot of ground, culturally, to the amoralist society. I wonder about how much we fight these issues and wonder if we should. Especially when we should be looking at people changing on an individual basis and not an entire culture. The fight is right, but is it worth it? I ended up hoping to run into more sinners (of whom do not know Jesus), so that I can share the kingdom I am looking forward to. I pray that God gives me the words, but I have a life I lived in sin and now I am a child of God, and this is what I need to share. It’s not me who changes people, a culture, but God who changes lives. I still sin, why should I try and stop sin when some segments of my life is defined by it? Our world is turning upside-down and we are all here for a purpose, for this time, to this generation. May we grow in love and hope and faith through the trials now and the tribulations of the future.

~Stranger

My song to Him

Our family has been sick, so we didn’t go to church today. I took a walk to spend some time with God, and it was a blessing that I did. I found myself talking to Him about the sermons I’ve heard recently. I heard that there is a connection to completely loving God because we see the connection of how horrible we are and how awesomely good He is in coming down and saving us. I know how utterly horrible I have and can be, and how great our God is, but that doesn’t make the connection of devotion and love I am told should be the connecting factor. Then I spoke to Him how I see His love in His everyday care, especially when I don’t see it at work in me at the present. It is always after the fact especially in Him bringing us here to West Plains. My prayer turned into a song of which I sang several verses, but the chorus, at least the first couple of lines, really struck a chord with me. I began to expound the chorus and this is what I came up with:

That’s how I know I love You,
How You’re precious to me in everyday.
Your mercy and grace, abounding my space,
And Your love and care, chase away my despair,
that I find myself constantly placed in.
You’ve taken my sin, then I find myself in
those everlasting, ever-widening arms.

This is a work in progress and I hope to get more verses out soon.

Thank You God for this time I was able to spend with you today. I praise You.

Mitch Teemley

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